[Asterisk-Dev] Patent lawyers?

Paul digium-list at 9ux.com
Wed Jun 1 12:54:31 MST 2005

Jonathan Dale wrote:

> Vince Vielhaber wrote:
>> On Wed, 1 Jun 2005, Dustin Wildes wrote:
>>> Just a thought - what about all the other commercial companies out 
>>> there
>>> that are doing the same type of services, ie: Cisco Call Manager?
>>> Are they 'paying' patent fees in order to sell Call Manager?
>> The idea these folks are using is to go after the little guys that can't
>> afford to defend themselves (or are perceived as being unable to) so 
>> they
>> have a number of judgements in their favor as they get to the bigger 
>> guys.
>> Nonetheless, the patents should never have been granted.  I understand
>> that Computer & Communications Industry Association (ccianet.org) is
>> fighting it and there is supposed to be some legislation in the works
>> to make it easier/less expensive to challenge.  I haven't found any
>> details on that yet - haven't looked either tho.
>> Vince.
> Would this qualify for class action status?  I mean, IANAL, but it 
> would seem that these patents basically say that every email system, 
> including Outlook, violates one or more of them.  Would it be possible 
> to make this into a class action counter-suit to invalidate the 
> patent?  Not that I would enjoy helping Microsoft, but I wonder how it 
> would look if this came to light in the larger technology arena?

We need to see a class action suit that results in some heavy 
punishment. It has to be something based on a company seeking patents 
frivilously and then using the patents to strongarm others. Invalidation 
of the patents would be a nice side-effect. Legislation might help. What 
would help most is a case suceeding that might put a scare into others. 
We should assume that there will always be a problem of patents being 
granted for things that really don't deserve a patent. We need some 
litigation that clearly demonstrates damages and remedies. Malicious 
prosecution might be a cause of action here.

These people will probably try to claim they are not acting maliciously. 
Put the engineers and developers on the stand and the truth will come 
out. They knew they were not developing anything worthy of a patent. 
They were told by management to apply for one anyway.

I had discussions a few weeks back with a brother. He is on this kick 
where he is looking only for things that can be patented, trademarked or 
copyrighted. Whatever books and seminars he is into lately seem to 
emphasize that in order to get serious venture capital. That sort of 
reinforces my belief that management is ordering engineering people to 
patent everything they can. It would be so funny to see those management 
people do some prison time.

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