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Newegg Defeats Alcatel-Lucent in Third Patent Win This Year 143

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fred-chang-doesn't-mess-around dept.
Newegg's policy of not backing down from patent trolls, even ones as large as Alcatel-Lucent, continues to result in victory. Earlier this year, Overstock and Newegg successfully defended themselves with a jury invalidating Alcatel-Lucent's main patent used to force companies as large as Amazon to settle. Naturally, Alcatel-Lucent appealed, but the appeals court quickly ruled in favor of Newegg and Overstock.com. From Ars: "Federal Circuit judges typically take months, and occasionally years, to review the patent appeals that come before them. Briefs in this case were submitted last year, and oral arguments were held last Friday, May 10. The three-judge panel upheld Newegg's win (PDF), without comment — in just three days. ... Alcatel-Lucent dropped the case over its other two patents, desperate to get back the '131 patent that Newegg and Overstock had killed at trial. 'If they had been able to revive this patent, the litigation machine would have continued on,' Reines told Reuters after the win."
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Newegg Defeats Alcatel-Lucent in Third Patent Win This Year

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  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:54AM (#43741089)

    They really need to stop granting patents to generic and vague stuff. Besides, the stuff in that patent was done decades before Amazon even existed.

    • Patent #49382

      Thing that does other things.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        wood filler...

        http://www.google.com/patents?id=HzgAAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

        • by JDG1980 (2438906)

          It's a patent for a specific formula of wood filler, which may well have been novel and non-obvious in 1865 (I don't know enough about the history of woodworking to be certain).

          BTW, the "Japan" reference is probably talking about the product that is sometimes called "Japan Drier" now. Presumably this made the wood filler cure more quickly.

    • They really need to stop granting patents

      eom

    • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:43AM (#43741617) Homepage

      A patent should require a physical object. Yes that means method and software patents die instantly, which is a very good thing.

      • by Myopic (18616) *

        The patentability of software only applies when it is run on a computer. If you never run it on the physical object of a computer, then you can't violate its patent.

        • Then if I run it on a differently designed computer (say ARM rather than x86) it doesn't violate the patent.
        • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by greenbird (859670) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:56PM (#43742317)

          The patentability of software only applies when it is run on a computer.

          Software isn't being patented in "software" patents. Vague ideas and idioms are patented. Pinching the screen to zoom isn't a software patent. If it was a software patent the patent should be on exactly how the software accomplishes the effect, on the implementation. If my implementation accomplishes the effect differently it wouldn't infringe your patent. The implementation is the code. The code is copyrighted. A real software patent would be redundant. The way it works now is the equivalent of inventing a special kind of drill bit and getting a patent on anything that makes holes. That's how software patents work now.

          • Exactly. That is what everyone who rails that "software is just math" completely misses. It's not the implementation in software that is eligible for patent protection, it's the idea/process that the software is an implementation of that is eligible for patent protection.

            • by greenbird (859670)

              it's the idea/process that the software is an implementation of that is eligible for patent protection.

              Ummm...I think you're missing the entire point. Ideas are NOT supposed to be patentable. implementations are.

              • Processes are patentable. Ideas aren't, but a specific idea that is implemented as a process may be patentable. It's still not the software that is being patented, it's the implementation of a specific method/process, not the math involved.

                Claiming that software is just math, therefore, nothing written is software can be patented is an absurd claim. All machines are "just engineering" in their implementation, and engineering is just math, therefore, no object would ever be patentable using that absurd logic

      • by jfengel (409917)

        Software patents are actually defined in terms of a physical object, the medium on which it's stored. They often include magic phrases like "a computer readable memory device having stored thereon a computer program".

        IMHO, the problem isn't with the physicalness of the invention. After all, in the end it's really the insight and effort that you're trying to reward. The problem, I believe, is that the USPTO has done a terrible job of encouraging insight and effort by granting vague and obvious patents which

      • Method and process patents are actually very important in certain contexts, such as the pharmaceutical industry. Some countries, such as India protect the process patents much stricter than the patents for the substances themselves. For instance, to take a historical example, the process to create aluminum was revolutionary and made aluminum a much cheaper product. Instead of trying to patent all of the various ways that someone can implement the process, which can be very difficult, it is appropriate to pa

        • by HiThere (15173)

          While I grant that, this is only what process patents claim to do, not what they do. And obviousness is rarely considered in a reasonable way. It's supposed to be "obvious to those skilled in the art", whereas it is rendered as obvious to the most bigoted member or the jury or to the least appropriately skilled individual in the room. (Well, I exaggerate a little, but it frequently seems only a very little.)

          The actual implementation is so bad that all process patents currently existing should be deleted,

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:55AM (#43741099) Homepage

    Of the patent(s) at hand would have been nice...

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      Or at least the complete patent number...

      • by idontgno (624372) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:06AM (#43741239) Journal

        I know this is not appropriate to Orthdox Slashdotism, but if you had read TFA, you'd have found this link [google.com] to the actual patent in play.

        • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:12AM (#43741313) Journal

          Yeah I'm an idiot and didn't see that there :p

        • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:18AM (#43741373)
          Am I the only one that read the patent and thought it was extremely vague and so general that it describes almost every client-server relationship since the beginning of the computing?
          • by Paul Slocum (598127) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:33AM (#43741499) Homepage Journal
            "Evidence at trial showed Alcatel's patent application to the U.S. Patent Office (USPTO) that resulted in the issuance of the '131 patent was faulty because the claimed invention was both anticipated and rendered obvious by technologies from the 1980's that preceded Alcatel's patent application by years." source [bracewellgiuliani.com]
            • Only 1980's? I'd be surprised if substantial part of that, at the least, didn't go back to Doug Engelbart's On-Line System demo in 1968. :-) That was a veritable treasure trove, that one.
              • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:14PM (#43742515) Homepage Journal

                Only 1980's? I'd be surprised if substantial part of that, at the least, didn't go back to Doug Engelbart's On-Line System demo in 1968. :-) That was a veritable treasure trove, that one.

                Generally, when invalidating a patent, you go for the most recent prior art that's still "prior" to the priority date of the patent - there's less wiggle room when you say "this was done 6 months earlier by X" as opposed to "this was done 20 years previously by Y", because with the latter, they can respond "if so, how come no one exploited it for 20 years?"

          • by plover (150551)

            That's what I read as well. It was so over-broad that it would have covered IBM 3270 terminals, which were a mainstay of the 1970s. They probably never tried suing IBM over it.

            • I'd like to see that. If the SCO trial has shown something it's that you don't go up against the Nazgul with dubious claims. IBM will never back down. They probably spent much more on trial than SCO was offering to settle.
              • by idontgno (624372)

                If the SCO trial has shown something it's that you don't go up against the Nazgul with dubious claims.

                One does not simply walk into Armonk. [wikipedia.org]

              • by Xtifr (1323)

                Actually, IBM, like most big companies, will pick-and-choose its fights. But yes, they're clearly willing to spend far more than it costs to settle in order to discourage trolls and frivolous suits. If they didn't, they'd be nibbled to death. But it's far more cost-effective for them to do so only to a certain percentage of litigants.

                Of course, SCO made several missteps right off the bat that made them an easy candidate to choose for fighting back. IBM had already invested at least a billion in Linux by the

          • by MrDoh! (71235)
            And thus the problem everyone is having at the moment.
          • > Am I the only one that read the patent and thought it was extremely vague and so general that it describes almost every client-server relationship since the beginning of the computing?

            It seems the answer is no. The judges, in the trial and the appeal, also thought it was a bogus patent.
          • My thought was "they've patented RPC (remote response of an object to an input). Or possibly HTML (terminal system displays an object according to its own capabilities)."

        • by PortHaven (242123)

          Yes, I know there were links to entire other articles. Including ones I knew would have mention of the patent, and likely a link to THE patent. But I was lazy today, and this story wasn't that intriguing for me.

          So I just wanted to know what they were actually being sued for. I figured they had 2-3 paragraphs they could have simply mentioned "Patent involving....2-3 words"

          Some days we'd like to just relax and be lazy. ;-)

        • by PortHaven (242123)

          Curious...

          "The invention is directed to a communications protocol which facilitates the exchange of interface information between a host processor and a terminal, such as a workstation, smart phone, portable computer, etc.,"

          Filing date 1992.

          First use of term "Smart Phone", 1997....

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone#Origin_of_the_term [wikipedia.org]

          Seems to me that the summary is really an expansion. And I'd wager their broad patent was done on the mainframe decades before hand.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Patent Abstract -- #5649131
      http://www.google.com/patents/US5649131?dq=5649131&hl=en&sa=X&ei=02SUUa_iMuaLjALM8ICYCg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA

    • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:32AM (#43741493) Journal

      I read it -- it took me 4 minutes to figure it out.

      Old way: Server sends, say, menu of 5 items with indicator to highlight first.

      User arrows down two, client sends two down arrows. Server notes this that it is on 3rd item, but only in theory.

      User hits enter. Server receives enter and decides 3rd item is selected.

      Patent: Send IDs for all that shit and client reports ID-based activities.

    • by schlick (73861) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:12PM (#43741875)
      heh the lawyer for Alcatel didn't even know which patent it was!

      "Successful defendants have their litigation managed by people who care," said Cheng. "For me, it's easy. I believe in Newegg, I care about Newegg. Alcatel Lucent, meanwhile, they drag out some random VP—who happens to be a decorated Navy veteran, who happens to be handsome and has a beautiful wife and kids—but the guy didn't know what patents were being asserted. What a joke.

    • by kermidge (2221646)

      All 27,000 of them? (The article, and those before, give the three patents in question.)

      Rather a sad end, all those years of Bell Lab's work, now in the hands of a legal department, doing no real good for anyone. (I don't consider feeding some lawyers' bank accounts quite qualifies as doing real good.) If memory serves, Bell Labs was the exemplar for doing pure and applied research on a large scale, and never really equaled elsewhere.

  • Fuck Yeah! (Score:5, Informative)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @10:56AM (#43741103) Journal

    Give 'em hell, Newegg!

    Another big PC build order comin' your way! Keep on winning

    BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff? The legitimate heir of Western Electric and Bell Labs has fallen very far.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shotgun (30919)

      BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff?

      I was working for them in the early 90's when they broke off from AT&T. No. I don't remember when they ever innovated anything. Even at that time, they were milking the telephone cow.

      Then I worked for Alcatel in the 2000-2002 timeframe. They were also a huge rent seeking corporation, intent on riding their old technology wagon for as long as possible.

      • So, a match made in hell then?

      • It it truly amazing how stupid people are when it comes to investing in, respecting, and keeping Basic Research free from market pressures and profits. How many countless breakthroughs and completely new markets have been created by some free thinkers who were allowed to do just that? But from an idiot congress critter chairman on the House 'science' committee to the scourge of humanity (anyone with an MBA), they all see basic research as a waste of time and money.

        This is why we'e doomed as a species; the
      • by Zeromous (668365)

        Didn't they develop Triple-play?

    • Re:Fuck Yeah! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wiggles (30088) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:36AM (#43741535)

      Yep. I was a contractor there during the dot-com bust. Watched their stock drop like a stone overnight. For the company that essentially invented cellular service, the company that managed to build a global telecommunications infrastructure, and invent Unix and C on the side - it was truly sad to see what the corporate raiders did to them.

      • Huh, wut? Who invented Unix? I always though Bell Labs got credit for that. Now it's Lucent and/or Alcatel? Why are we finding it necessary to rewrite history?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Lucent was the name given to Bell Labs when it was spun out.

        • by Creepy (93888)

          Alcatel-Lucent owns what is left of Bell Labs

    • Re:Fuck Yeah! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Grizzley9 (1407005) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:02PM (#43741787)

      BTW, on a sad note, does anyone remember when Lucent actually innovated stuff? The legitimate heir of Western Electric and Bell Labs has fallen very far.

      Do you mean like this? Light Radio [cnn.com], a programmable cell tower the size of your palm?

      While true it has been a while since the hey day of Bell Labs coming out with new tech every few years, they don't seem dead just yet. I blame their current state on chasing quarterly or yearly profits and having a somewhat unfair playing field with companies like Huawei and ZTE instead of investing in the long term tech.

      Per wikipedia

      On August 28, 2008, Alcatel-Lucent announced it was pulling out of basic science, material physics, and semiconductor research, and it will instead focus on more immediately marketable areas, including networking, high-speed electronics, wireless networks, nanotechnology and software.

      That and their merger with Alcatel hasn't been very smooth. Though too, perhaps the wireless tech is maturing so there is not the low hanging fruit anymore?

      Also for clarification Bell Labs is still around in at least some form, it is the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent. Lucent merged with Alcatel back in 2006.

  • How did they end up owning this patent? Alcatel-Lucent is not on the original patent. Also, now that the patent has been thrown out, what changes in here [google.com]? I can't find anything in there showing its updated status.
    • by alen (225700) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:10AM (#43741285)

      at the trial the alacatel VP who was sent to testify had no idea which patent newegg was violating or how they were violating it. alcatel just said you must be violating one of our 27,000 patents

    • by Shotgun (30919)

      A patent is property. That is why companies give bonuses to engineers that come up with patentable ideas. Only people can be awarded patents, and for the company to then take ownership, they have to pay for them.

    • How did they end up owning this patent? Alcatel-Lucent is not on the original patent.

      Patents are property that can be bought and sold. Whoever has ownership of the patent has the power to enforce it by taking infringers [wikipedia.org] to court, even if the owner had nothing to do with inventing the patented invention.

      Also, now that the patent has been thrown out, what changes in here [google.com]? I can't find anything in there showing its updated status.

      That link goes to a google page (i.e., absolutely unofficial), and maybe nothing will change. The Patent Office may not get around to updating the patent on record, either. But barring a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, the patent is unenforceable. Alcatel-Lucent therefore cannot u

  • Good show, NewEgg! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sstamps (39313) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:10AM (#43741287) Homepage

    THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

    Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

      Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

      Amazon are not pure patent trolls or they would not have been sued. They actually use their technologies. I'm not saying they are squeaky clean, I certainly didn't like their 1 click patent [wikipedia.org], but they are not a complete troll.

      • by Jonner (189691) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:08PM (#43741843)

        THIS is why I give my business to companies like NewEgg, and have and will NEVER buy a single damn thing from ones like Amazon.

        Amazon settled because it is also a patent troll. Blood runs thicker than water, especially between patent trolls.

        Amazon are not pure patent trolls or they would not have been sued. They actually use their technologies. I'm not saying they are squeaky clean, I certainly didn't like their 1 click patent [wikipedia.org], but they are not a complete troll.

        Indeed, the genius of the pure patent troll company is that I can never be attacked in the same way it attacks. Since the troll company doesn't produce any useful products or services, there's no activity it does which could be considered for patent infringement, at least until one of them is granted a patent on enforcing patents as a business method.

        Big corporations wield large portfolios of patents as weapons all the time, suing and countersuing each other when it looks like that action will help profits. While this is a very damaging abuse of the patent system, it's quite different from the type of trolling described in TFA. Also, the fact that Amazon chose to settle has little to do with how that company may have abused their patents in the past. They made a decision calculated to be best for their bottom line, whether that was a correct decision or not.

        As a customer, I think it's a mistake to make broad buying decisions based solely on one aspect such as the suits described in TFA. I've been a customer of NewEgg for years because they have good prices and service and now I have yet another reason to use and recommend them. I've also been a customer of Amazon, especially of their music store which has long provided downloads unencumbered by DRM, proprietary formats or requirements to use specific client software. OTOH, I'd never use Amazon's Kindle system with its very restrictive DRM and other lock-in mechanisms.

    • LMOL ummm no, business makes a cost benefit analysis decision. What's the cost of going to trial versus settling? In many cases, patent trolls set the price below the cost of a trial, so businesses settle. It's all about numbers. Few companies make principled stands. Principles are great but often don't generate revenue.

      What is needed is patent reform. Make it harder for a company to bring frivolous lawsuits. Make them show you the infringement, not simply say, you infringe because we have a milli
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In many cases, patent trolls set the price below the cost of a trial, so businesses settle. It's all about numbers.

        "And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
            But we've proved it again and again,
        That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
            You never get rid of the Dane."
            -- Rudyard Kipling

      • by Golddess (1361003)
        I'm sure these companies already factored this in to the decisions they made, but it isn't just about the cost of going to trial for this one thing vs settling out of court for this one thing. You also have to factor in how many fewer patent trolls may try to entice you to settle out of court if you demonstrate that you will call their bluff and take them to court (or how many more patent trolls may come knocking when they see what easy pickings you are).
        • by alen (225700)

          yep, wal mart figured this out long ago

          it has a policy of fighting every lawsuit, no matter how minor. keeps all the scam artists who slip in their stores on purpose away

          same thing happened decades ago with product liability suits. a few companies settled and then everyone started getting sued for all kinds of "defects"

      • by plover (150551)

        I'd also make the patent troll produce something from that patent - shit or get off the pot. If you are not using the patent, then you have no right in retaining it or using it against someone.

        Actually, this is one point I'd disagree with.

        If the inventor of the patent chooses to make their own widgets, are they really making their own, or are they contracting with a Chinese factory to produce them under license? Do you require the inventor to stand on the factory line and hand-assemble each and every patented widget personally? That quickly gets silly.

        So the inventor can choose to make widgets themselves, they can license the ability to make widgets to other people, or they can cash out and sel

    • There's something creepy when Newegg now sends me emails about 30% off rice cookers. Not sure if they have to deversify as the PC market (um, matures?), or they want to go head to head with said Amazon.
  • by RichMan (8097) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:15AM (#43741341)

    The patent office should have to pay the legal fees of the winning side every time a patent is defeated in court.

    The patent office are the gate keepers. They are currently enabling all the patent shakedowns.

    For proper control every system needs proper negative feedback. If the patent office gets money for granting patents and does not lose money for granting bogus patents they are going to grant everything under the sun to encourage more applications and more incoming money.
    Only by penalizing the patent office for improper patent granting will there be a proper measure of control.

    • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:21AM (#43741393)
      Maybe not only the patent office, but both the company that filed or bought the patent should get to pay. Not just the legal fees, but a penalty on top. That should make people consider more carefully when they buy or file a patent.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:15PM (#43741897)

        Maybe not only the patent office, but both the company that filed or bought the patent should get to pay. Not just the legal fees, but a penalty on top. That should make people consider more carefully when they buy or file a patent.

        Forget fining the patent office -- all that will do is reduce the funding available for patent examiners to do their jobs causing the reverse effect of letting more bad patents slip through. But a fine on the patent holder for certain kinds of invalidations sounds good to me. It is my understanding that it is the patent filer's responsibility to seek out prior art as part of the application process. If a patent is invalidated for what is essentially failure to follow the filing process correctly then I think a big fine is appropriate.

        What we do not want is to turn the system into one where a big company can simply out-lawyer a small patent holder and then add insult to injury by forcing them to pay a fine too. That increased risk would discourage little guys with validly patentable inventions from filing in the first place (or force them to settle out of the court on poor terms).

        • The SHIELD Act [arstechnica.com] was introduced by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on February 27, 2013.

          It creates a "loser pays" system for certain types of lawsuits, in which do-nothing patent holders will be forced to pay the defendant's legal bills if they lose their lawsuit. However, losing defendants won't have to pay, so it's more like a "losing plaintiff pays" system.

          Following up, another act introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on May 2, 2013, seeks to dramatically lower the cost of paten [arstechnica.com]

      • by Bios_Hakr (68586)

        Maybe demand the filing party put a value of the patent into an escrow account. If the value of the patent goes up, just put in more money. After the patent expires, the company gets the money back.

        If they file a suit, they can't value the patent at more than is in the escrow account; i.e. MS uses a $10 unlicensed patent to do $100M in business means the company can sue MS for $10.

        If they lose, the escrow account goes to the winner.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but this is probably the dumbest idea I've heard in a long time. The do realize the US patent office is a part of the federal government, right? You further realize that the federal government's sole source of revenue is taxes, correct? Do you realize that you are espousing that we, as the taxpayers, pay the litigation costs for a company winning a patent battle against a bogus patent?

    • And reduce the funding to pay for more patent examiners? So the worse they do, the worse they get. Beatings will continue until morale improves.

      Some internal controls are warranted. (If n of your patents gets invalidated, you're canned and we hire somebody better to take your place.) Taking money from the gatekeeper so that he can guard the gates better isn't the way.

    • The US PTO gets a great deal of positive feedback from granting patents. That feedback loop has spun out of control. At this point, A little negative feedback may help, but it's probably too late to keep this mechanism from consuming us all. There are just too many crappy patents.
      But, I feel there is still some value in documenting this train wreck. There may be a few survivors. Or maybe someday, the children of Patent Trolls may wish to do something else. Plus, there may be isolated nations that wish to
  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:21AM (#43741395) Homepage

    The best way to deal with a playground bully is to punch him in the face. Even if he has his buddies with him. Even if you'll get disciplined by the school. You do that a few times, and no one will mess with you.

    The same principle applies to patent trolls: Always fight if you can at all manage it.

  • i wanted to scan the opinion, but there is none. and the decision says nonprecedential.

    not a lawyer but it seems this decision cannot set a legal precedent for future cases

    • by wiggles (30088)

      That's why the lawyer quoted in the article was lamenting not being able to move forward with his appeals - he keeps winning at lower levels, and the other companies drop the lawsuits because they don't want a precedent set.

    • by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:41AM (#43741595)

      Maybe not a 'legal' precedent, but most certainly a 'social' precedent.

      It tells everyone that the trolls can be taken down. Notice how the trolls are backing off of Newegg. The trolls know Newegg will fight back. The trolls know that Newegg will take out their best moneymakers. Better to go pick on somebody that won't put up a fight. Well, when the rest of the playground sees that the bully will back down if you punch him in the nose, the bully's control is greatly curtailed.

    • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:42AM (#43741615)

      i wanted to scan the opinion, but there is none. and the decision says nonprecedential.

      not a lawyer but it seems this decision cannot set a legal precedent for future cases

      There was no precedent to be set here. Basically, the appeal was Alcatel trying to get its favorite patent un-invalidated, and the the judges looked at the case and are basically telling Alcatel "There's nothing wrong with the lower court's decisions - it stays invalidated. Now go away and quit bothering us".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This article http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/05/newegg-nukes-corporate-troll-alcatel-in-third-patent-appeal-win-this-year/#p3 explains the case.

    Essentially everyone had given up. The patent covered eCommerce.

    NewEgg did not give up.

  • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:30AM (#43741469) Homepage Journal

    Newegg might be smaller than Lucent, but they are still not a Mon 'n' Pop. I know that in the corporate mind anything under a thousand employees is "small business" but, face it, Newegg is not small business.

    The real tragedy with patent trolls is that the *real* small business can not fight them. They can shut down a business writing innovative software with 2-3 employees just like that.

    Good for Newegg, but treating it like a David vs. Goliath win is not too smart.

    • by suutar (1860506)
      were I in a small business facing this kind of situation I might see if Mr. Cheng is interested in moonlighting so he can try out those strategies he's been working up. Worst case you're in the same boat as before, best case the troll gets flattened, middling case the troll runs away :)
  • Consequences? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ggpauly (263626) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @11:53AM (#43741711) Homepage

    What happens with the settlements that Amazon and others made over this patent? Can that money be clawed back?

     

    • Re:Consequences? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Solandri (704621) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @01:17PM (#43742541)
      Amazon gets nothing back. They entered an agreement to license the patent, irrespective of whether or not the patent was valid. That's why patent trolling works - no risk of a negative outcome (a zero outcome is still possible).

      Same thing happened to Research in Motion. They were sued by NTP for patent infringement. After RIM lost the court cases and the SCotUS turned down their appeal, they were backed into a corner and forced to settle with NTP for $600+ million. Then the USPTO decided to review the patents and invalidated some of them. (They're still in the process of being reviewed AFAIK. The courts have put NTP's lawsuits against other wireless companies on hold until the review is completed. Fat lot of good that does RIM. We'll always wonder if they would have fallen as badly as they did if they had had $600 million extra to put into R&D back in 2006.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      What happens with the settlements that Amazon and others made over this patent? Can that money be clawed back?

      Depends on the terms of the settlement agreement. Frequently, there will be a clause that says that future royalty payments are terminated if the patents are invalidated. Rarely - as in almost never - there might be a provision to return some past payments. And similarly rarely, there are contracts where royalty payments continue even if the patent is invalidated.
      The settlement is just a contract - whatever you agree to in that contract is what happens.

  • by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday May 16, 2013 @12:33PM (#43742053) Journal

    So, does Amazon now get to sue Alcatel-Lucent for the amount of their settlement, as they were being extorted for greenmail on something that now doesn't exist, and isn't enforceable?

    Let the blowback begin!

  • From what I know -I've met some people there- Alcatel has some very serious development - and a lot of experience with being ripped of by chinese copycats. Not what you associate with patent trolls. So I'm a bit surprised by the wording in the article.Then again. I don't know Lucent.

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