In Gene O’Quinn’s diatribe, we find this hilarity:
Mark Cuban, the flamboyant owner of the Dallas Mavericks,
Flagrant use of a derogatory adjective in a blog post: Fifty points!
That’s one way to describe Mr. Cuban, flamboyant is. I prefer hypocrite, but that’s just me. One cannot claim to hate patent trolls (and evidently, all lawyers who make money in the patent industry) and be invested in one as well. It just doesn’t…what’s the word? Jive. The complaints don’t make sense to me when the blog maverick himself says “Yeah, those trolls are rotten!! But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Just buy right into them that’ll take at least some of their patent bats out of the arsenal” Holy Mother of God, what a bucket of stupid that is.
That’s why I think he’s an idiot.
Back to the blog post though, this is a great point:
Again, the only problem with what she says is that is it flat wrong! It is not nearly impossible to fight back. Choices are made — conscious choices — to pay extortion-like settlements of $25,000 rather than mount any kind of defense. Samuels wants the reader to believe that patent litigation defense costs many millions of dollars. That is true on average, but for those who cave and pay extortion the fees are substantially less.
I think it’s pretty well established that patent litigation defense does cost many millions of dollars so if Samuels wants the reader to believe that, she’s got a friend in me. Gene’s right though when he says that those who pony up the coerced fees, as RPX’s chart shows, oftentimes pay less. What I want to know though is this: are the extortion payments as low as $25k? I get the feeling that they are a lot more than that, on average. Though the chart is, by their own admission, assumption-filled, I do tend to think that the average payment is minimum six figures.
So who is to blame? Aren’t those who complain about the system and say they will never settle and will fight to the death to blame for caving when they jump at that first, extortion-like settlement offer of $25,000?
I think this is spot-on part of the issue. I have been advocating for a while now that you don’t ever settle, and that you bring the fight to the trolls. I think it will take more than individual companies doing it though. I think it needs to be a collaborative defense. Once the suits are filed, it’s not like you don’t know who else got sued. Pool your resources and force an all-out battle royale every time a troll sues. Stamina, people!
Or, you round up the posse and meet the enemy in their own backyard. This has to be done pre-litigation. Find out who’s zooming who before it gets to the legal system. Then you’ve got some real leverage.
The thing is, what the patent trolls are doing is not illegal as Gene points out. They are abusing an existing system and I think he’s right when he says that some of the judges are complicit in that they don’t do enough to toss out the most ridiculous of suits. But the fact remains that the trolls are skirting existing laws and manipulating the system. And you think adding to that system by creating more patent laws (hello, ineffective SHIELD act) is going to help? Haven’t these guys proven that they will worm their way around the laws, whichever ones you create? It’s what they do.
Finally, this was something of which I was heretofore unaware:
Did you know that many of the so-called Silicon Valley elite play golf with patent trolls? Did you know that they go out to lunch and dine with patent trolls? Did you know that they are on first name basis? Many of the so-called Silicon Valley elite refer to those who they vilify in the halls of Congress as “my patent troll.” They believe that if they work together in a cordial way they will be able to get along better. Doesn’t sound like they are really all that upset about the phenomenon if you ask me, now does it?
He lost me at “play golf with patent trolls” because golf. The only time golf was interesting was when that girl busted out her husband’s windshield with a nine iron. That’s worth a Sunday afternoon inside to watch! And I’m not sure you can substantiate that those kinds of back-room dealings are going on and even if they are, they are between the big players, the heavy hitters with access to lobbyists and to the
daft morons congressmen and women on the hill. The regular Joe patent troll target, the ones who are so hurt by the suits because they truly do hinder innovation by taking money out of their pockets that could be better spent bring a product to market, are not out on the green with anyone, troll or congressman.
But I’ll say this, I would really love to get me this “my patent troll” thing he speaks of. I am imagining a little troll-doll wearing a sash that says “Patent” on it. Someone should totally create that and sell it. Ooh ooh, on The Shark Tank! Mark Cuban would definitely invest in that.