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.

polls_marbles_5820_655419_answer_4_xlarge

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.

JustSayin_small_New

IPTT

{Marbles image found here.}

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Why Companies Settle With Patent Trolls

Subtitle:  Velvin Hogan, We’re Looking at You.

Probably there are many reasons that companies settle with patent trolls, but honestly I think the fear of a jury trial is at the top of the list.  Look what happened in the Samsung/Apple vendetta by Steve Jobs trial.  Turns out, the jury foreman would have been good friends with Steve, in that he too behaves out of spite.  You get one guy on there who doesn’t disclose his history in voir dire, and you’re sunk.  Which begs the question in my mind that, hey, isn’t that juror misconduct or contempt of court or something?  Can you really omit relevant facts before you serve on a jury?  I don’t think you can.  This specific problem with a juror is an anomaly, but it points to one potential issue avoided if you just settle out of court.

Then there is the problem of putting very technical arguments in front of the general public.  That’s not a slam on the general public, for I are one of them.   Patent infringement trials are fraught with all manner of industry-speak and jargon and terms that people have to look up in order to understand.  Or worse, they need the lawyers to explain it them and we all know how that is likely to end up.  (Hint:  lawyers are terribly partisan explainers, in that they explain only the part of the definition they want you to know, the part that will tip the verdict in their favor.)  Unless you just enjoy spending your time reading about the ins and outs of your newest gadget, all that stuff is going to fly over your head.  And if you buy into the rhetoric that corporations are E.V.I.L. and don’t deserve to make money, then you’re almost always going in with the attitude that Deep Pockets is wrong and the Patent Troll is right.  It’s an easy assumption that is difficult to overcome no matter how good your lawyer is.

The way you stay out of court, the solution the trolls are banking on, is that you’ll settle for their outrageous licensing fees.  Increasingly, we see companies go after invalidating the patent with prior art, which is a step in the right direction.  I still claim the best solution is coming back at the trolls with all the firepower you can amass via collaborative defense.  There is a whole slew of people being sued in Central California by Digitech:

IP Lawsuits

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Every single one of those companies ought to pool their resources and fight them.  Get in bed with the enemy long enough to defeat the bigger enemy, and see what happens.  I’m telling you, you stop bullies by punching them in the nose.  Time to take a swing, folks.  Or, go to court and hope you don’t end up with someone like Velvin Hogan on your panel.

Irwin M. Fletcher, you choose.  (I love that movie.)

Just sayin’,

IPTT

This Bears Repeating

Zach Epstein, you’re my new hero.  He wrote an article about a Samsung verdict in Germany, and there are some golden nuggets that need to be repeated plastered on billboards in Silicon Valley:

Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman stated, “The court is of the opinion that Apple’s minimalistic design isn’t the only technical solution to make a tablet computer, other designs are possible.” Other designs are possible.

They are, in a world where you are not sued within an inch of your life on a daily basis by people bullies claiming patent infringement.

Again, designs and innovations need to be protected, but to what extent and at what cost? The current system is not sustainable.

Truer words, my friends.  Truer words were never spoken.

The simple truth is that a system shaped by lawyers may not be the best system for corporations. And it is certainly not the best system for consumers. Things need to change.

This is chiefest among my complaints about patent litigation.  The only true winners are the attorneys.  They always get paid first and most.  Love him or hate him, you can’t deny the amount of pithy little sayings that have come out of the formerly nicotine-filled mouth of Rush Limbaugh, among them this little ditty:  “Follow the money.”  And when you do, you will find attorneys.  Or at the very least a man with a heinous vendetta.  Or possibly both.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

Bullies: Weighing in on The Verdict

This is a rarity for me, because I’m not going to link to or quote anyone else’s blog or news article in this blog post.  Can you even stand how original that will force me to be??  I think I feel a nervous tic coming on…

The thing that has always fascinated me about the patent realm, and it’s red-headed step-siblings copyright and trademark, is the personalities involved.  How much do you have to think of yourself to want to trademark the phrase “You’re Fired!”?  Donald Trump, I’m looking at you.  I’m a huge fan of The Donald, read The Art of the Deal when I was 13 and his personality has fascinated me ever since.  Same is true of the people involved in this blog’s namesake fiasco.  The very idea that two grown men can get so out of sorts for being called exactly what they are is just nuts.  Niro and Albritton went all batcrap crazy when Frenkel called them out for filing a lawsuit on behalf of ESN against Cisco for a patent that had yet to be issued.  Ooopsies.  So Frenkel labels ESN a troll and Niro and Albritton as their allies and they go freak nasty.  Again, personalities are cuhRAZY in this business.  Guys?  How about not doing stuff like that if you don’t want the label?  Or, if what you’re doing (i.e., being a Patent Troll) is nothing to be ashamed of, then why the lawsuits for defamation of character?  I’m no math whiz but something doesn’t add up.

So back to The Verdict, it’s public knowledge in IP circles that Steve Jobs had a personal issue with Samsung.  He was going to make them pay for stealing his design of the iPhone come hell or high water.  And he did.  And in the process do you want to know who really won?  The same people who always do in litigation:  THE LAWYERS.  I mean, don’t you guys watch television?  Harvey Spector’s suits don’t buy themselves, you know.  CLIENTS  (and by extension, customers) PAY FOR THEM.

You can take the Mark Cuban route and complain ad nauseum via twitter that you shouldn’t be able to patent a rounded-corner rectangle and that would be one angle (ha!) to take.  But it’s much more interesting to look at the whole picture, for me anyway.  You have a man who’s clearly a design genius.  If you look at the trial demonstratives that Apple put up vs. what Samsung put up Apple is the winner.  Don’t think that didn’t factor into the jury’s decision…patent law is confusing and if you don’t make it as easy as possible to understand then you’re behind the curve.

But my point is that a man who actually buys about $10 billion (it may be million, but again I promised myself no linking to other stories on this one)  in parts from Samsung was so burned by the fact that they designed a phone that looks similar that he dragged them into court and beat them to a pulp.  ??

If you can prove to me that someone who wanted an iPhone accidentally bought a Samsung phone and didn’t march immediately back to the store and exchange it then I’d be a little more OK with it.  But the fact is that if you want an Apple item you’re going to buy one, regardless of how similar-looking or similar-operating a competing product is.  Even if, and in some cases, for some people, especially if, it’s more expensive.  Why?  Because that’s the legacy that Steve Jobs built.  By suing Samsung he’s effectively saying “I don’t trust the company I built and  I don’t trust my customers to come to my stores if something else out there looks remotely similar.  So I’m not going to let anyone else come close.”

What are you so afraid of, Apple?  We love you.  I have two iMacs and three iPhones and if you made a DSLR I’d buy that too.  You don’t need to be a bully and knock everyone out of the game.  Just be who you are and build what you build.  People want it.  They will come.

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

Hyperbole: Defined

No, Samsung, off-the-cuff statements by CEOs are not admissable in court.

In seeking to introduce Jobs’ statements in court, Samsung argued in a filing that the thermonuclear quote “speaks to Apple’s bias, improper motives and its lack of belief in its own claims in that they are a means to an end, namely the destruction of Android.”

Next up, the “But He Pushed Me First!” defense…

Well done on the judge.  Now, if you’d just find the guts to start tossing baseless Troll lawsuits we’d be in business!

Just sayin’,

IPTT