Do you get into debates on LinkedIn? I kinda do, but then again I tend to get into debates everywhere I go. You should see me at the grocery store, what with the whole “paper or plastic” nonsense. Seriously? JUST.GIVE.ME.A.BAG.
Anyway, this morning my frienemy Paul Morinville posted a link to a story about a man who’s company was shut down by a patent troll, despite not believing that patent trolls exist. He did a cursory search and found that the individual in the article didn’t even own a patent (!) and therefore could not have been sued for it (!!) which means he is obviously a liar and his pants are certainly aflame (!!!). Not being one to take
anyone’s Paul’s word for anything it, I did a little searching of my own and would you believe it? I came up with a completely different result.
I’ll pause while you recover from that revelation.
The article that was posted was this one, about a man named David Bloom. He co-founded a technology start up called Ordrx (probably pronounced “Order X”, and not “OR-drix”, like I originally said it in my head) and the software centered around the restaurant business and the electronic ordering process. Or something like that.
It’s not relevant anymore because he’s out of business on account of patent trolls. What was so interesting is that those who think patent trolls aren’t a problem immediately dismissed this man’s case because he didn’t have one. There was no lawsuit filed, and that meant “Hey, dude, what’re you barking about? Like, you didn’t even get sued, maaaan! Why don’t you grow up and quit whining already?”
Update, 5:57 pm CDT: Of course there was a lawsuit, I missed that when I read the article the first time. While some still wish to believe there weren’t, it is clear that OrdrX (dba Ordr In) was sued in the S. District of California, by the patent-holder’s own admission in a press release because why not brag about being a troll? So while I was wrong to say that David Bloom didn’t say he was sued, Paul, et al were wrong to say that he wasn’t sued. But for different reasons. I think? Anyway, he was sued just like he said he was.
Further, Paul and his minions were all “I can’t even find a patent!” Really? Because I did, and it took all of three searches. I found this link on the Application Developer’s Alliance which led me to this link on something called trollfighters.com (note to self: that would have been a good domain to go ahead and buy) where it appears that Mr. Brown is, in fact, the pixel-headed CEO who was so worried about other companies trying to troll him that he refused to even show his face.
Not only couldn’t they find the patent that I found, they claimed the whole thing was a lie because he said he got sued (
he never said that he totally said that) and he didn’t get actually sued ( again, he never said that OK fine, he did say he was hit with a “frivolous lawsuit”) because if he got sued then where’s the lawsuit????
What actually happened, for those of us who read the article, was that he was forced out of business on account of the threat of a suit from a patent troll. Patent litigation defense costs a lot of money. How much will always be in dispute, but it doesn’t matter because when you’re starting your own company, anything not related to your business that costs you more than $50 is “a lot”. Patent infringement litigation defense usually costs more than $50. I feel very safe in asserting that fact.
The dissenters also claimed that if a (non-existent) patent troll was coming after them and they were Google-backed, why wouldn’t Teh Googs just swoop in and lay waste to the (non-existent) troll? Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. First of all, I don’t think they were Google-backed so much as they participated in a start-up contest that was sponsored by Google. Not quite the same thing, even in the made-up land where Paul lives and the trolls don’t exist.
Second of all, Google would rather shutter the venture than try and fend off the lawsuit, unless the Ordrx software were already pulling in mountains of money. It’s the only sensible thing to do unless you’re a badass like Lee Cheng or Drew Curtis or Todd Moore and make the call to fight the good fight every time someone brings it to you. What kills me is the speed with which the “trolls don’t exist” camp went after David Bloom without even a quick search. All they did was look for a patent in his name and a lawsuit, both of which couldn’t be found.
What’s so funny is, finding out the details didn’t even take me that long, I did it while on hold waiting for an online class to start because multitasking is my specialty. I’m glad I did though, because it solved an age-old mystery for me, which is “who was that pixelated man?”
Tell me I’m right, David.
Side note: In the Twitter exchange that followed the LinkedIn debate, it was mentioned that I may be a paid shill for lobbying groups. If nothing else is clear, let it this be: I write this blog for me and for those who are taken advantage of by the black hat, bad-guy, patent-wielding thugs who go after people for infringement just because they can. I do not take anything from anyone for it. Not a single penny, from a single person. #independent