Unexpected and Fruitful IP Law, Design & Economics.
Using RICO against patent trolls is an interesting theory. RICO brings the threat of mandatory triple damages against trolls.
FindTheBest.com recently filed a RICO counterclaim against patent troll Lumen View (I blogged the patent infringement issues). The RICO lawsuit is still pending, but FindTheBest may drop it now that they’ve won the patent infringement case.
Anyway, here are some interesting RICO/Patent Troll links:
Here’s how a law designed to fight the Mafia could stop abusive patent lawsuits. Washington Post, by Tim Lee (9/17/2013).
Controlling Patent Trolling with Civil RICO Yale Law and Tech, by Blair Silver (2009).
In early 2013, Innovatio (a patent assertion entity) overcame a RICO claim filed by Kirkland & Ellis for Cisco, Motorola, and Netgear. Joe Mullin tells the story on ArsTechnica.
From the intro to the unsuccessful RICO complaint:
Defendants are engaged in a nationwide pattern and scheme to indiscriminately and improperly threaten, defraud, and extort money to which Defendants are not entitled from thousands of businesses, both small and large, that use standardized Wi-Fi (802.11) technology. These businesses include Plaintiffs’ customers. Rather than approach companies like Cisco, Motorola, and NETGEAR that develop and supply devices that provide accused Wi-Fi technology, Defendants instead target retirement homes, cafés, restaurants, convenience stores, health-care providers, and many other businesses that neither develop nor supply the accused technologies.
Defendants are conducting this pattern and scheme through fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, and other forms of unlawful conduct. For instance, Innovatio’s demand letters fail to mention that thousands of the allegedly infringing products are subject to existing licenses, and therefore are beyond the reach of Innovatio’s infringement claims. Adding to their unlawful conduct, Defendants fail to disclose, disregard, and repeatedly breach obligations to license Innovatio’s allegedly standards-essential patents on reasonable and non-discriminatory (“RAND”) terms, something Innovatio is contractually committed to do as the alleged owner of these patents. [edited for brevity]
Lemelson v. Wang Labs is a 1994 Massachusetts case where Defendant’s RICO claim survived a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff immediately settled. From the ruling:
Defendant contends that the plaintiff has extorted millions of dollars in settlement monies through a pattern of litigation involving infringement claims based on fraudulently obtained patents. Defendant alleges that the predicate acts are the enterprise’s repeated and continuing use of the United States mails and the interstate use of the telephone wires to further of this extortionate scheme. Defendant’s RICO counterclaim meets the threshold requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss will be DENIED.
“Oops, You Just Hired the Wrong Hitman" by Jeanne Laskas for GQ.
On the street he goes by Thrash or Hammer or any name that might suggest a ruthless killer, but for this story we will call him Special Agent Charles Hunt.
The Snowden Leaks and the Public by Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger in the November 2013 NY Review of Books.
It is harder than you might think to destroy an Apple MacBook Pro according to British government standards. In a perfect world the officials who want to destroy such machines prefer them to be dropped into a kind of giant food mixer that reduces them to dust. Lacking such equipment, The Guardian purchased a power drill and angle grinder on July 20 this year and—under the watchful eyes of two state observers—ripped them into obsolescence.
Bangert v. Hodel, 705 F. Supp. 643-45 (D.D.C. 1989)(Judge Greene enjoins random drug screening for Dep’t of the Interior employees).
As the tourists view the majestic Interior Department buildings from the outside, there being lectured by their tour guides on the freedoms under our system of government, on the inside of these buildings platoons of bureaucrats will march in unending streams toward the Department’s toilets for their next urination procedure under the steady gaze of the government’s urination inspectors.
Issued this week to Google—a design patent for an “Electronic Device.”
~Judge Linn. Predicate Logic, Inc. v. Distributive Software, Inc., 544 F.3d 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2008).
When the complexities inherent in the English language meet the peculiarities of patent jargon, the result can be the bane of many unsuspecting patentees.
Prof. Green on NSA. Johns Hopkins made Green take down this blog post (on dubious grounds). A shitstorm ensued, and the post came back. Outside of the drama, Green is a great writer and an expert in cryptography.
One of my biggest concerns was to avoid coming off like a crank. After all, if I got quoted sounding too much like an NSA conspiracy nut, my colleagues would laugh at me. Then I might not get invited to the cool security parties.
But I was totally unprepared for today’s [9/5/13] bombshell revelations describing the NSA’s efforts to defeat encryption. Not only does the worst possible hypothetical I discussed appear to be true, but it’s true on a scale I couldn’t even imagine. I’m no longer the crank. I wasn’t even close to cranky enough.