A Rare Friday Evening Post

Or, as I like to call it these days, “a rare post”.

I’m not typically given to personal posts because I prefer to let everyone assume my life is as fabulous as possible.  Which of course it is because I’m me.  But since it’s been so long, I thought I’d jump in and update with a few bullet points:

  • WTH is up with eDekka??  That one company is driving a lot of traffic so I’m going to spend my Friday night reading up on what’s going on instead of eating cake icing out of a plastic tub relaxing in the bath.
  • There’s a troll that is after a friend of mine (and I do consider him a friend) and that’s the next post up.  Also?  Please don’t unfriend me, friend, because I haven’t written that press release.  Yet.
  • I completely forgot to finish my Q3 Quarterly Troll Report for this year like I said I would do.  I’m only telling you this because #vulnerability.  I hear that’s a thing now?  If so, then I’m on fleek.  If not, then I’m off fleek.  Which is totally a thing.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

JustSayin_small_New

IPTT

An Open Letter To Garth Brooks, Of Whom I Am No Longer A Fan

NPR:  Not patent related.

Dear Garth Brooks:

Do you know what year this is? I’ll tell you…it’s 2013. You put out your best life’s work in a format that, honestly, shouldn’t even exist anymore. The CD is the new 8-track, my friend.

But I fell for it and bought your new box set, braving Walmart on Black Friday to do so, mind you, because my husband dearly loves you (personally, I like your wife better because she can really cook and I know this because she comes on Food Network right after The Pioneer Woman and I’m way too lazy to change channels on Saturday mornings ) and that’s all he wanted for Christmas.

So I go to rip the CDs to my iTunes library because, referencing the first paragraph here, IT’S THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTEEN and no one switches CDs anymore only it won’t work because of you and your completely idiotic and cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face hatred of all things mp3 or mp4. You have blocked that process during the manufacturing of the CDs.

What.the.hell????

I hate you and all that you stand for and I hope that when you come back on tour no one goes because they have no free time to attend concerts WHAT WITH ALL THE SWITCHING OF CDS THEY’RE HAVING TO DO.

Sincerely,

Steph

(I don’t really hate you but right now?  I totally really hate you.)

Play-uhs Gonna Play: Monsanto Wins Patent Battle, But Fails To Rock A Puffy Coat Like Bowman

I don’t know why it affected me so personally, but I was really sad to see Vernon Bowman lose the soybean case to Monsanto.  I guess he’s like the Grandpa I never had growing up because we lived 2000 miles away from either set of grandparents as a result of family feuds my father’s job.  But if I could have picked a grandpa to be mine, it would’ve been him, with his cool tractor and mustache, and even cooler dog.

Aaron P. Bernstein for The New York Times

Aaron P. Bernstein for The New York Times

Alas, Monsanto’s attorneys were able to convince the Supreme Court that my proxy Granddad is an intellectual property thief because he planted soybeans and they (*GASP*) grew in the ground, as seeds are wont to do.

I read about the decision and felt compelled to complain.   First of all, I need to get out more because I didn’t realize that Monsanto actually manufactured the RoundUp product and gave exclusive rights to sell it to Scott’s, who distributes the product.  So what you’re telling me is that you’ve made a pesticide, and then genetically engineered a soybean that is resistant to it?  Maybe I don’t understand science even though I watch The Big Bang Theory religiously, but why couldn’t you just have created a pesticide that only killed, you know, pests to begin with?  It seems a little double-dip-ish to create a solution to a problem that creates another problem that you then create another solution for.  (If you’re an Aggie or a patent troll, you might have to read that last sentence twice.)

Nevertheless, here’s what happened:

Vernon Bowman, an Indiana farmer, thought he had come up with a clever way of avoiding the cost of paying Monsanto’s licensing fee. Bowman bought soybeans that were sold to be consumed, not planted, from a grain elevator, planted them, sprayed them with Roundup Ready, and then planted the seeds from the surviving plants.  (Such seeds were of course from Roundup Ready plants, since they had survived the spraying of Roundup).

OK first of all?  Don’t talk about my proxy Granddad like that.  “Thought he had come up with a clever way of avoiding the cost of paying Monsanto’s licensee fee.”  Is that really what he did?  It was on purpose, what he did?

You know what?  Maybe it was.  But what I’d like to know is what are Monsanto’s damages from this guy?  Because I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to believe that My Granddad’s Mr. Bowman’s crops have hurt the sale of Monsanto’s RoundUp ready seeds in any substantial way.   Now, if he had planted the soybeans that were meant for consumption rather than actual seeds, spent the time to plant them and harvest derivative RoundUp ready seeds, and marketed and sold them as an alternative to Monsanto’s patented first-generation seeds, then I might be more willing to sit down with him over a glass of sweet tea and possibly a splash of whiskey and say “Grandpa?  You really shouldn’t do that.”

But for him to legally purchase soybeans, plant them, take seeds from those plants and plant them, and for those seeds to have inherited the RoundUp resistance of the original bean seems way on down the food chain and seriously, how much did it cost Monsanto to sue this guy anyway?  Did anyone but the lawyers even win any money?  Wait, don’t answer that.  The answer is always “NO.”

Either way, the personalities of both monolithic Monsanto and sweet farmer Bowman are what kept this case in the news.  We know it cannot possibly be about the details of the doctrine of patent exhaustion because OMG how boring can you get?  Who’s reading a bunch of articles about that?

No, it’s the whole Play-Uhs Gonna Play doctrine that kept this thing exciting.  Which brings me to the second main point of this whole post:  even though Monsanto won the war, no one rocks a puffy coat like Mr. Vernon Bowman:

BowmanMonstanto

Puffy coat, for the win.
(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Put that in your Supreme Court docket and smoke it, folks.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

Comic-Con: No Crazy Costumes Required (NPR)

NPR = Not Patent Related

My first exposure to Comic-Con was the year that KOTCS came out.  (For those of you who are not ultimate Indiana Jones fans, a) why not?, b) shame on you for not knowing, c) it stands for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and d) it was 2008.)  That’s where they first announced that Karen Allen would be back to reprise her roll as the Indiana Whisperer, Marion Ravenwood.  *sigh*  She was the best of all the Jones girls, bar none.

Around these parts, however, Comic-Con stands not for that fan convention out on the left coast, but for the Comic Constitution.  The Comic Constitution was born out of a need for a certain group of then nine-year-old boys to prevent each other from stealing ideas for comic book characters.   As was the practice at that time, a group of boys would get together and draw comics during class when they should have been paying attention recess and it so happened that the creator of the Chicken Hawk and Rooster Hawk characters, a little boy we’ll call “Michael” because that’s his name, became disenfranchised with his buddies when one of them deigned to include his character in their comic.  Without asking first.  And they drew the characters ALL.WRONG because don’t you know that Chicken Hawk would never be seen holding a bow and arrow?  You don’t know that?  Oh, the humanity.

Not content to simply go ask the offender (or possibly offenders, I never quite got the whole story) to knock it off because isn’t that what nine year old boys do?  They just go up and punch each other’s lights out until the issue is resolved and then buy each other a beer, or possibly a shot of tequila?  No?  No.  That is not at all what happened here.

Evidently, Michael took it upon himself to write up a Comic Constitution.  Something akin to third grade Copyright Law, that outlines what you can and cannot do with regard to writing comics.  To wit:

The Comic Constitution

Here’s the text, verbatim:

There shall be no stealing Ideas/Characters from other peope’s comix.  The creator of the comic does not have to let it go, he/she can rip up the comic if they do not aprove.  And they have to write the owner of the comic name on the title, if they don’t they have to throw away/tear the title and writer has to write a knew one.

It’s so simple, it’s brilliant:  If you use my character without telling me, I don’t have to just ignore your gross malfeasance, I can rip your comic all to hell.  Or, you can use my character, but my name had better be on the title, bitchez.

Ask me how many times those kids got in another fight about comic strips?  It’s less than one, just to put a number on it.  And they did it all without lawyers!

So what’s the point of this little anecdote?  The point is that these people in Maryland are completely crazy when they say that the school gets to own the stuff the kids who attend there create.  Nine year olds in Texas figured out a year ago that that ain’t so.

What’s wrong with you, Maryland?

Just sayin’,

IPTT

NPR: Why Is This An Issue?

As God is my witness, I will never understand why companies think they own the data I store with them.

I used this analogy in an online article (which is no longer linkable on eLegalTechnology.org, bummer) called Occam’s Razor and the Cloud, and it has to do with those storage places.  Yeah, the ones that dude is suing that show over.

In order for Instagram to think it owns what I put on it’s servers, then the local Climate Controlled Storage place would have to claim ownership my great Aunt Bertha’s hideous couch that I’ve put there for safekeeping until I can bequeath it to one of my children when they leave me for college.

“But wait”, you say.  “That’s preposterous!”

Exactly.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

*NPR = Not Patent Related

NPR: Why Law Firms Should Not Create Subsidiary Businesses

Note:  NPR = Not Patent Related

From an article in Law.com, it seems that Drinker, Biddle, and Reath has decided to spin off its lit support group and create a subsidiary company that handles eDiscovery for its own clients in addition to anyone else’s business they can get.  The way I see it, the odds are four to one against that being successful, and here’s why.

1.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to mandate the compliance of firm partners on any issue.  Ever tried to put together an Approved Vendor List for a law firm?  How’d that work out for you?  I thought so. The partnership business model simply does not support such a beast.  If a partner has a problem with a production from your own subsidiary vendor, he’s not using you again and you can’t make him.   If a partner has a friend at another vendor, he’s not using you and you can’t make him.  If a partner’s client insists on using their own vendor or he’ll fire you, he’s not using you and you can’t make him.  See how that works?

2.  Along the “if there’s a problem with a production” lines, the client may fire you as both the vendor and the law firm.  When you’re using a true outside vendor, the  firm has a bit of wiggle room in that they can say “Dude, it wasn’t us!  It was the vendor’s problem!  Fire them!”  That just falls right smooth apart if you and the vendor are on the same payroll.

3.  It’s already been tried, and it failed.  This is my weakest argument in that I cannot find the name of the firm that did this.  They’re in NY or DC though, and it didn’t work.  If past performance is any indication of future performance, than Drinker, Biddle, and Reath would do well to find these folks and see what happened so it doesn’t happen to them.  Which it probably will, which is why this is on the list.

4.  Psst…law firms?  You’re in the business of providing legal services.  That is what you do.  Yeah, I know, you want to “recapture revenue lost to legal process outsource companies” and “own the technology”  but that’s not who you are.  You do the lawyering and let the experts collect, process, and produce the documents.  This is most definitely an industry where horizontal integration is very ill-advised.  Stick with what you know, people!

The only possible way this can end well is if the Managing Partner mandates that you always and only use your own subsidiary and that you never make a mistake ever.  See #1 and #2 above.

It’s like that old football analogy, that I attribute to Darryl Royal because I’m a longhorn, but that someone recently told me really came from some coach at Ohio State, but whatever:  “Only three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad.”

This decision to spin off eDiscovery as a subsidiary is equally positioned.  The conditions that will make it successful are highly unlikely to occur, and the bad things that out-weigh it are very likely to occur.

To say nothing of the fact that Drinker is using Autonomy:

After reviewing a number of software options, Lidbury said the firm decided on Autonomy, which is an HP company.

Huh?  How is this “owning the technology”?  You’re not owning it, Autonomy is.  What am I missing here…?

I think Leonard Deutchman, GC of LDiscovery Solutions is right when he says “creating an eDiscovery vendor model requires a large investment of time and expertise.”

Good luck.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

NPR: Now You’ve Gone and Pissed Me Off AND I Have to Find a New Book

WTH, Jonah Lehrer?

Every year I select at least 12 books to read just because it’s good for me I can impress my friends I like to stay well-read I like to sound smart in conversations with strangers I was forced to read as a child and I am still afraid my Mother will punish me if I don’t.  On this year’s list was Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer.  Only I just found out this morning that he’s a big fat liar liar and his pants are most assuredly on fire.

I had no idea it was considered plagiarism if you swiped words from your own self.  Isn’t that recycling?  Reusing?  Reducing the amount of time you have to spend coming up with new words?  Or do those concepts only apply to plastics in your garbage can that you have to put into a different garbage can on Mondays and Thursdays?  I AM SO CONFUSED.

Making up quotes or taking them out of context?  Not so confusing.  You totally cannot do that.

I was on page 102 of Imagine.  I’m sort of disinclined to finish it now, you know?  That’s sad, because a lot of what I read so far has meshed with books I read last year, like Enchantment and 10 Mindful Minutes.  Only guess what?  Those authors didn’t lie.  Good on you, Kawasaki and Hawn!

Really though, what’s most distressing is that the next book on the list is The Quest, a follow-up to the best book ever (Hello?  The Prize.) and I feel compelled to read my book list in order and I hadn’t planned on starting that one until the kids were back in school in three weeks.

Thanks.  Thanks a lot, Jonah.

Also, there’s a trial going on.  Something between Apple and Samsung?  The internal conversation in my head (is that redundant?) on that one is keeping me up at night.

What?

You don’t think of patent lawsuits in your sleep?  What’s even wrong with you?

Just sayin’,

IPTT