Aoude huffs and puffs, but he fails to blow down the edifice which the district court competently constructed from the facts and applicable law. Cf. The Three Little Pigs 16-18. In particular, the claim that the court below misused its discretion in declining to issue a restraining order trenches upon the frivolous. What appellant labors to portray as a robust haboob is not even a gentle zephyr. The house, we think, is sturdy enough to withstand the prevailing winds.
The middle class isn’t all that mobile, either: only twenty per cent of people born into the middle quintile ever make it into the top one.
Patent Troll News
Two patent troll decisions today. One from California and another from Delaware.
In California, Judge Chen refused Zoosk’s request that GeoTag be ordered to put up a bond to cover Zoosk’s attorneys fees (should it eventually win attorneys fees).
Zoosk only points to three facts in support of its argument: First, that GeoTag is a serial litigant asserting infringement of the ‘474 patent against approximately 300 defendants, second, that they have asserted a construction that has been rejected by a district judge in the Eastern District of Texas, and third, that GeoTag has licensed the ‘474 patent to multiple companies. However, that GeoTag may be a serial litigant does not mean (or even imply) that its claims are inherently brought in bad faith or without merit. See, e.g., Digitech Image Techs., LLC v. Newegg, Inc., 2013 WL 5604283 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2013) (“The Court is not persuaded by Newegg’s rote attempt to shift the burden of paying legal fees by hurling Digitech into the crusade against ‘Patent Trolls.’ A party seeking protection of constitutionally granted patent rights is not automatically the villain simply because it brings infringement allegations against multiple defendants.”). Zoosk’s remaining assertions similarly fail to establish even a “reasonable possibility” that this Court would find that GeoTag has engaged in malfeasance.
GeoTag, Inc. v. Zoosk, Inc (N.D.C.A. February 26, 2014)(Chen, J.)
So, I guess being a troll isn’t inherently “malfeasance.”
Delaware next: Plaintiff PUM moved to preclude Google from calling it a Troll or using other derogatory terms. Google agreed not to use the word “troll”, but Judge Stark will allow Google to call PUM a “non-practicing entity.”
C. PUM’s Motion in Limine to Preclude Google from Characterizing It as a Troll or Other Derogatory Comments.
PUM requests that the Court preclude Google from using the terms “patent troll,” “non-practicing entity,” and “paper patent” or otherwise indicating that PUM does not practice the asserted patents at trial. Google has agreed not to use the term “patent troll” or other similar pejorative terms. To that extent, PUM’s motion is GRANTED. Google argues that it should be allowed to (i) clarify to the jury that PUM is not Utopy, the operating company and predecessor-in-interest to PUM whose name appears on the patent and (ii) rebut the argument that the patents were a commercial success. During the pretrial conference, PUM explained that at trial it will be “necessary background for the jury to understand what the invention is … the background of when it was developed, how it was developed.” If PUM is going to present its evidence as to the background and development history of the patent, in fairness Google must also be given the opportunity to do so, which here can include proof of the distinction between Utopy and PUM. Additionally, Google may attempt to rebut PUM’s effort to show commercial success of the patents-in-suit by presenting evidence that the patents were not commercial successes for Utopy or PUM. Although showing lack of commercial success is not indicative of obviousness, see, e.g., Miles Labs., Inc. v. Shandon Inc., 997 F.2d 870, 878 (Fed. Cir. 1993), a lack of commercial success may be probative evidence to rebut a showing of commercial success. Evidence showing that Utopy and PUM were not successful at the times they owned the patents-in-suit is probative of Google’ s contention that its own commercial success is in no way due to its alleged practice of the patented technology. Evidence of Utopy’s financial state prior to selling the patents-in-suit and the “tax-consequences” and circumstances surrounding the sale of the patents is relevant to rebutting PUM’ s contentions that the patents are commercially successful; any unfair prejudice to PUM from introduction of this evidence does not substantially outweigh its probative value.
Personalized User Model v. Google (D. De)(February 27, 2014)(Stark, J.)
He who seeks equity must do so with full pockets.
John Kay on Basic Science Research
In 1969, Senator John Pastore asked Robert Wilson how his particle accelerator would help defeat the Russians. He replied:
new knowledge has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to help make it worth defending.
Kay argues that funding basic science research is important, even some of the research will be useless. I like his summary:
No doubt the grain merchants of Athens asked what Plato was doing to improve their harvests, and the goldsmiths of Pisa, their feet firmly on the ground, asked Galileo what use was gravity. The philistine fixation with temporary utility is swamped in the long run by the enduring power of ideas. And just one discovery such as calculus, gravity or democracy will pay for a lot of research.
Philistines may carp but scientists should reach for the sky. John Kay for the Financial Times (Feb 18, 2014)(Paywall).
Financial Times App is Slow
Financial Times app is great for people who like seeing this loading screen for 2-3 seconds every time they open or return to the app.
2-3 seconds. every. single. time. Also bad: app has no “copy” and no “define” functionality. Also bad: paying $352/year to use this app.
Bitcoin vs. Central Bankers
Mark Williams argues that “A dangerous mistake lies at Bitcoin’s intellectual core" (Financial Times, February 10, 2014).
Bitcoin is designed to take [the job of keeping money stable and trustworthy] away from central bankers and give it to a simple algorithm. Since an autonomous computer system cannot react to complex data such as the unemployment rate or the level of output, Bitcoin uses a fixed formula to control the currency supply.
Really? Computers can’t react to complex data?
Some newer competitors to Bitcoin try to correct this, allowing the supply of the currency to grow indefinitely in an attempt to generate low but positive inflation. Others incorporate penalties for hoarding, which are intended to ensure that the tokens circulate more freely. While these are a marked improvement over Bitcoin, they all share the same flaw. The state of the economy does not depend solely on the pace of money creation but also on patterns of human behaviour that are too complex to capture in a simple rule.
I agree that BitCoin’s failure to advance low-but-stable inflation is its biggest shortcoming. But this isn’t an inherent shortcoming of all crypto-currencies. The premise that a “computer system cannot react to complex data” is absurd. Of course they can; its their greatest asset. For now, central bankers are the best tool for regulating the money supply. But it didn’t take long for computers to beat Kasparov at chess, and it won’t take long for computers to edge out Greenspan, Bernanke and Yellen at central banking.
The crypto-currency that achieves low-but-stable inflation will be the technological achievement of the decade.
Hackathon Highlight: @dazzagreenwood’s argument that our verbal contract was actually a written contract under e-sign because his memory was “tangible electronic medium” per 15 USC §7006. and that,
The contract only has to be “retrievable in perceivable form.” Its not my fault if you don’t have the technology to retrieve it out of my brain.
Data Privacy Hackathon
Data Privacy Hackathon was a fantastic weekend.
Next year, I’d like to see more software developers on the judging panel. We were basically 7 lawyers and policy wonks who dabble in software. A better balance would include a few software developers who dabble in law and policy.