Samsung Calls Dyson “Intolerable”, Files Lawsuit To Prove It

Samsung, it seems, is not a fan of patent trolls and as they’ve sued Dyson for calling them names (presumably because they didn’t have a woodshed nearby to take them behind), I think that means that they think Dyson is a troll.  In a way, I sort of agree with this because Dyson is awfully proud of it’s patented technology for vacuum cleaners, machines that have cords that are entirely too short and a trap-door release mechanism for their canisters that is fraught with design flaws.

I’m not the biggest fan of Dyson, as you can see.

This time, it wasn’t the famous cyclonic motion that Dyson’s panties are all in a wad over, it’s a steering mechanism.  The conversation between Dyson and Samsung went something like this:

James Dyson:  Pardon me, but as wherefore and thus and suchwith I am a Sir, which means of course that I myself hath been knighted by The Queen, I henceforth do allege and assert that you have created a “cynical ripoff” of the mechanism by which my vacuums are hitherto steered from one place of dirtiness to another.  Thou musteth pay up now-eth, so saith The Queen.

Samsung Rep:  That would be a no.  We’ve been working on a way to steer our vacuums for over a year.  So take your stuffy Queen’s Speech and blow it out your ear, pal.

James Dyson:  Shitters and briggety.  You have?  Really?  Dern it all.  Well, then, as this case has thus appeared not to provide us with the smashing victory for which we were dearly hoping, I suppose we shalt take our marbles and proceed to the homestead.  Bugger.

Not content though to put Dyson to shame, Samsung sues back for

“intolerable” litigation that has “seriously hurt its corporate image.”

Dyson didn’t so much get to take their marbles and go home, as they’ve had them stolen and hurled back at them.


Disclaimer: Not the actual marbles tossed at Dyson.

Here’s my issue with this whole thing:  Dyson, we get it.  We know that you invented cyclonic technology and now no one  can ever even use the word “cyclone” and “vacuum” withing ten miles of each other that you won’t slap them with an infringement suit.  And now you’re all over the  ball-steering feature like a tick on a hound.  Because no one else could possibly have ever come up with the idea, like, say, your brother?

Dyson is not a patent troll, not even by my definition.  But boy do they ever sue a lot and make a nuisance of themselves!  That’s what patent trolls do, and therefore I think they must be a distant cousin or something.

I’ve pointed out before the personality matters in the patent world.  James Dyson is a personality, all right.  The sort of personality that makes companies want to come  back after you for stupid litigation.  This piece does a nice job of explaining what I don’t like about his business model:

he takes a problem you didn’t know you had and finds a solution for it that doesn’t account for the fact that if you could afford a car, you wouldn’t need a better bus ticket.

I don’t have anything personally against James Dyson, though I recognize it probably feels like I do.  Rather, it’s simply my feeling that patent litigation ought to be reserved for severe cases of infringement that are clear, willful, and actually caused damages to the patent owner.    Patent litigation that is a nuisance, designed to scare people into stopping their own forward progress, and not properly researched is wrong.

Bad and wrong and costly and trollish and Dyson-ish.



{Marbles image found here.}

Cause She’s Got {boom} Personality, {walk} Personality..

I commented on an attorney’s blog recently (Dan Pierron, here’s the link) that personality matters, and here’s yet another instance of that.

Newegg, God love them, took down a troll.  Get  those folks a beer, bar tend!!  What’s so interesting to me is this tiny little sentence:

Newegg’s Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng says that the attitudes of the court officials had a lot to do with Newegg’s win, when they finally decided that enough was enough and gave Soverain what it deserved.

Bold emphasis mine.  It makes a difference who you go in front of to try these troll cases.  It matters who your counsel is.  It matters who the troll is.

This is particularly true in the technology industry, where personality plays such a huge role in decision-making.  I’ve seen it personally when I was told many years ago that I was not the best coder for the job (wait…what??), but that I was outgoing and responsive and, well, the client liked me better than the other guy.  Even though it cost them a little more over time because I wasn’t quite as efficient, they’d rather have dealt with me than the other guy.  Personality made the difference.

Anyway, that was the point I made in commenting on this blog.  Not very many people have heard of Monsanto.  More have heard of DuPont, but not nearly as many as have heard of let’s say Dell, Apple, Cisco, etc. as Dan points out.  Dan Pierron further makes this point:

What’s more, from my perspective, the findings of infringement in both the CMU v. Marvell and Monsanto v. DuPont cases will have much more significant effects in terms of impact on the consumer than the Apple v. Samsung suit

The papers (did I just type that?  I meant online news sources, most assuredly) don’t talk about what’s important, they talk about what sells.  People don’t want to know that some chip-maker will drive up the cost of their kid’s Nintendo DS, they’re going to buy it anyway so that they can have peace and quiet as they drive over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house.  Likewise, do people even know how much of what they eat contains soybeans and soybean by-products, over which Monsanto has a choke hold?  Not likely, or they wouldn’t actually eat them.  Soybeans?  Blech.

Here’s my comment on Dan’s entry, and I think it makes sense here as well, in that who you’re dealing with, individually and as a corporate entity, matters in terms of media coverage and what people think is important.

This is an interesting take…not only is the subject matter less interesting, the players are. Has anyone even heard of Monsanto? People outside of law firms, anyway, as you correctly pointed out? Not likely.

And yet, familiar as I thought I was with that case, I can’t think of a single name associated with it. In the troll world, however, you have the likes of Nathan Myhrvold who is by all accounts easy to hate. Steve Jobs is easy to love *and* hate. Then of course you have the original Troll Tracker issue with the shananigans and ballyhoo in EDTX and the ruffled feathers of poor Mr. Albritton.

The players really do make a difference, as does the industry they play in.

Well played, Mr. Dan.

Patent litigation is need of some seriously outrageous personalities on the bench.  From the opinion, which looks to have been written  by one Pauline Newman:

We conclude that the prior art CompuServe Mall system, by clear and convincing evidence, rendered obvious the “shopping cart” claims: claims 34 and 51 of the ’314 patent and claim 17 of the ’482 patent. These claims
are invalid; the district court’s contrary ruling is reversed.

I don’t know her but I like her already.  As Jesse James Dupree would say: “Puh POW!” Just say the words and make them stick.  That’s personality, folks.

Part of what it will take, in addition to more changes to the patent laws so that bogus patents are never even issued or moving to my favorite “use it or lose it” solution, is people with the type of personality to get stuff done and call it like it is.  Newegg’s corporate personality is one of “we’re not gonna take it” and the Judge’s is one of “yeah, you right!”

Just sayin’,