Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Patents The Courts

Doubleclick Cofounder Responds to Patent Troll by Filing Extortion Lawsuit 225

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sued-the-wrong-guy dept.
New submitter kintamanimatt writes with news that someone other than newegg is fighting back against patent trolls, despite the business case for settling. This time, however, one of the founders of the Doubleclick ad network has decided to use his personal money to not only fight a patent troll attacking his new startup, but to strike back at them under the RICO act. "'There's a lot of outrageous stories, but everyone's so damn afraid of coming forward — It's like going against the Mafia,' he [Kevin O'Connor] said. But the idea that trolls may retaliate against those who speak out is overblown, he thinks. 'If they want to try to teach me a lesson, go for it. This will be my retirement. I'll fight them.' The patent troll's attorney also made the claim that calling someone a 'patent troll' was actually a 'hate crime' under 'Ninth Circuit precedent' and threatened to file criminal charges — unless they settled the civil case immediately, apologized, and gave financial compensation to the troll. The offer was 'good until close of business that day.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Doubleclick Cofounder Responds to Patent Troll by Filing Extortion Lawsuit

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:09AM (#44871633)

    Then again, I hate them both and if they beat the shit out of each other, all the better.

    • by techprophet (1281752) <`emallson' `at' `archlinux.us'> on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:11AM (#44871651) Journal
      Easier to deal with ads than patent trolls. Oops, am I going to jail for hate speech now?
      • by Striikerr (798526) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:24AM (#44871737)

        It's apparent that the whole patent system is in dire need of an overhaul. The question is who will finally step up in the government to fix this mess.. It's something I hear of almost daily (patent trolls killing off innovation and screwing people out of money).

        The double-click ads never land on my systems. I use a hosts file to block their stuff along with other ads. I did some searching around and found a few places which provide hots files which you can use on your computers. Here's a great site which maintains a hosts file which you can use in your computers.. http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm [mvps.org]

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It's apparent that the whole patent system is in dire need of an overhaul. The question is who will finally step up in the government to fix this mess..

          Overhaul, like in "It's apparent that the whole slavery system is in dire need of an overhaul". The word you're looking for is "abolishment".

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by thaylin (555395)
            No, a limited patent system is good for the economy, and does reward innovation, the problem is that the current system does neither.
            • Maybe you could refine your generalization?
            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by pieterh (196118)

              In what reality are private monopolies "good for the economy"?

              The notion that the patent system is decent and necessary but somewhat out of control is totally bogus. It's working precisely as intended. Patent law was built by patent trolls, run by patent trolls, and exists thanks to patent trolls. Aka patent attorneys and speculators and companies with no other way to make a profit.

              Mafia is right. Comparisons to slavery are right. "A limited slavery system is good for the economy". Hogwash. Abolition is the

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Well if ones creations are not protected the group that invests (often large amounts of) money in creating something new and unique then Joe Schmuck will purchase the product when it is first available then copy it and sell it (usually cheaper) and the creator is then unable to recoup their development costs. This the discourages the creation and money put into creating new things.

                That being said :
                1) Patent times are FAR too long in many cases and should not be renewable.
                2) Minor minor changes to the origin

                • by waterbear (190559) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @03:58PM (#44876979)

                  Curiously enough, some of the points made by 'anon' in the parent post here used to be part of some patent law systems in really ancient times (like 16th-18th centuries), but they were one by one abandoned, by court decisions or legislative amendments:

                  >> 1) Patent times are FAR too long in many cases and should not be renewable.

                  An early example of a time limit, fixed in 1623 in England, was 14 years from a really early time-point when patent grant took place -- which used to be almost immediately on application (compared with today's long process).

                  >> 2) Minor minor changes to the original patent should not result in a new patent.

                  One of the very early judges (even 16th century) said that small improvements were only like "a new button on an old coat" and refused to uphold the patent, setting a precedent that lasted a couple hundred years till overturned.

                  >> 3) Patents should only be issues where there is an actual product ... not a process.

                  Definition of invention used to be 'manner of new manufacture' in several countries, but that's gone now pretty much everywhere.

                  >> 4) Software falls under copyright and trademark laws and therefore patents do not apply.

                  The old definition (see 3) automatically excluded this kind of thing from patenting.

                  >> 5) If you have not created and sold a product to the public using said patent within 2 years of filing then you loose ALL rights to it.

                  For many decades (during the 19th & 20th c. in many countries, but not including US, I think) the patentee's failure to make & sell the invention used to be called an 'abuse of monopoly', it enabled others to claim the grant of (royalty-bearing) licenses by right, and it could also expose the patent to a risk of cancellation. So there was a way to achieve no exclusion from a patented invention if the patent holder wasn't doing anything about it.

                  it's of interest to ask 'who lobbied' for all of the changes that got rid of these old safeguards.

                  -wb-

                • Well if ones creations are not protected the group that invests (often large amounts of) money in creating something new and unique then Joe Schmuck will purchase the product when it is first available then copy it and sell it (usually cheaper) and the creator is then unable to recoup their development costs. This the discourages the creation and money put into creating new things.

                  This is a good summary of the arguments for the benefits of patents. However, the same reasoning applies to software patents:

                  Well if one's software is not protected: the group invests (often large amounts of) money in creating new and unique software, then Joe Schmuck will reverse-engineer the software when it is first available, then write similar software and sell it (usually cheaper) and the creator is then unable to recoup their development costs. This discourages the creation and money put into creating new software.

                  So I'm not sure how you get

                  4) Software falls under copyright and trademark laws and therefore patents do not apply.

                  I'm not saying whether we should have software patents or not, but the fact is that a lot of the same reasoning applies. Also, it's worth considering that perhaps the design of the system is fine, but the implementation is terrible. I believe that a significant part of the problem is that the patent office has a tendency to rubber-stamp every broad, vague

        • by louic (1841824)
          Not only the patent system, it seems that the justice system is also in need of an overhaul.
        • by kilodelta (843627)
          Yup, I block a lot of ads too. But the whole patent troll issue needs to be resolved. It's not like it's not clearly visible at this point in the game. But it's ridiculous - in essence the trolls are putting additional meaning into the patents they hold. It shouldn't work like that.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:26AM (#44871755)

        'patent troll' was actually a 'hate crime' under 'Ninth Circuit precedent'

        this should be the quote of the day, probably one of the most ridiculous statements I have read in awhile!! not only do they rip off anyone and everyone but they waste the courts time with absurd charges, or the courts are stupid enough to take on such cases.

        They need a think tank to create new laws or use current laws to put the hammer down on these trolls!!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's even better if you read the article -- O'Conner is using that bullshit claim as part of the evidence of extortion in his RICO suit.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, there was a spammer who posted a diatribe against the anti-spam posts, defending his free-speech rights to spam by saying "you guys are the real terrorists!"

          So this sounds like the same sort of attitude of failing to completely understand why they're being hated.

          • by tqk (413719)

            Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, there was a spammer who posted a diatribe against the anti-spam posts, defending his free-speech rights to spam by saying "you guys are the real terrorists!"

            That's funny. I believe that was the reaction we got as well from the original Green Card Lawyers.

      • by MiniMike (234881)

        No, but you will soon be seeing many ads for defense attorneys...

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        Nonsense, it's not hate speech. Trolls are woodlands creatures who maintain bridge infrastructures through remuneration. Thus they are beloved by both greens and corporatists.

    • by flimflammer (956759) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @10:24AM (#44872859)

      I don't. Someone you don't like doing a good thing is still a good thing.

    • The patent troll's target isn't Doubleclick, it's a newer startup called FindTheBest [findthebest.com] which looks (from a quick glance at the site) much less "evil".
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:13AM (#44871663) Journal

    are the consumers who end up paying for both sides.

    • The winners (Score:5, Insightful)

      by schneidafunk (795759) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:58AM (#44872001)

      And the winners are the lawyers on both sides.

    • by fgouget (925644) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @09:35AM (#44872357)

      are the consumers who end up paying for both sides.

      So your position is that it's better to not fight such extortion schemes? Because then the only victims are still going to be the consumers who are going to pay the patent trolls through increased prices. And since nobody fights back (your policy), more trolls will come to the easy money feast. And that is better how?

      • by Solandri (704621)

        So your position is that it's better to not fight such extortion schemes?

        That's not how I read OP. I read it as a roundabout way of saying that we've reached them point where... "extrajudicial" justice would be more cost-effective than seeking justice through the court system.

      • by sjames (1099)

        It would be better if this nonsense wasn't allowed in the first place. Then the consumer wouldn't have to pay for either side or for the cost of jamming the courts to capacity.

  • by kevinT (14723) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:20AM (#44871705)

    Someone needs to not only go after the trolls, but go after the law license of the Attorneys representing them as well. Get a couple of lawyers disbarred and watch the lawsuits end!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:25AM (#44871747)

    And how they track and use the data they accumulate.
    But they are a far more benign cancer and in fact do help pay for the intarwebs as we know it.

    Patent trolls, on the other hand, do absolutely nothing positive for technology, the internet or the world and no, they do not protect inventors.
    Patent trolls are an extremely malignant force and raise the cost of doing business for legitimate companies tremendously.

    Doubleclick= annoying.
    Patent trolls= criminal.

    I am amazed that anyone with the capacity to use the internet states that they believe otherwise.

    • Except patent trolls aren't actually committing crimes, and therefore aren't criminal.
      • by pla (258480) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @09:06AM (#44872091) Journal
        Except patent trolls aren't actually committing crimes, and therefore aren't criminal.

        The worst criminals have always had the law on their side - From the landed nobles of Old Europe, to the "robber barons" of the late 19th / early 20th centuries, to patent trolls and the RIAA, MPAA, and BSA today.

        Doesn't make it right. They all belong(ed) up against the wall.
      • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @10:04AM (#44872655)

        Except patent trolls aren't actually committing crimes, and therefore aren't criminal.

        That is VERY debatable. In many cases they arguably are committing one or more of: extortion, barratry and/or racketeering. In many/most cases they are simply creating nuisance lawsuits in the hopes of coercing a settlement without any actual time in court. What they are doing is functionally the equivalent of some thug going into a retail store and saying "nice store - shame if anything bad would happen to it". Technically saying that is legal but in reality they are committing a crime. Patent trolls are really no different.

      • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @10:23AM (#44872851) Journal

        Except patent trolls aren't actually committing crimes

        Well, that seems to be something that O'Connor disagrees with.

        Based on wikipedia's defintion, "A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, will not be affected, or would not otherwise exist." I think he might have a point.

        Of course the legalities are probably more complicated than this, but from my layman's perspective I'd say he has a good chance.

  • Ummmmmm..... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by volpe (58112) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:27AM (#44871763)

    Yay Doubleclick?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:37AM (#44871847)

      First positive sentiment I've had towards ads as well...

      Could doubleclick just replace every ad nation-wide with "It is my personal opinion that lawfirm XYZ is dishonest, subversive, and riddled with STD's. Thank you"?

    • Okay, the headline was somewhat misleading, but does anyone on this site even read the summary anymore, or have we devolved to commenting based only on the headlines?

      This time, however, one of the founders of the Doubleclick ad network has decided to use his personal money to not only fight a patent troll attacking his new startup

      Half the posts here are about whether Doubleclick is the lesser of the two evils, but the guy doesn't work at Doubleclick any more, and Doubleclick isn't involved in the lawsuit in any way shape or form. This is like saying "Yay Paypal" because of what Elon Musk is doing with Space-X.

  • So a guy who got rich by assuming illegitimate rights over peoples personal info, is mad that another entity is trying to get rich by assuming illegitimate rights over a process that appears to sell that personal info. Mafioso's all around.
    • by oobayly (1056050)

      Simple - don't use websites that have doubleclick's content. It is your choice after all.

      • ... Or use Adblock, or add "127.0.0.1 ...doubleclick.net" to hosts (lot of work for all subdomains, wildcards not supported), or use "squid" with a blacklist for ad-domains, or use any other solution that suits you better ...
        • by oobayly (1056050)

          I'm very well aware of all the methods to avoid doubleclick (and similar hosts). The reason for my comment as that some people get very self righteous about advert companies tracking them, but still are quite happy to frequent the sites that utilise their services.

          For the record, I only use FlashBlock (to avoid fast moving annoying graphics) and I browse Slashdot with the ads even though I'm given the option switch them off. Why, because I know who pays their bills. You can argue that I've sold my privacy i

    • by gsslay (807818) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:50AM (#44871933)

      Try and step away from the personalities involved for a moment. In this particular situation who is in the right, and who is the scum-bag criminal?

      Personally I hope the patent troll gets pummelled into a greasy spot on the courtroom floor, and a precedent is set that applies for all other patent trolls. So, uncharacteristically, I'm rooting for doubleclick.

      • DoubleClick, owned by Google, is not a party to this lawsuit. This is a suit between FindTheBest and apparently something called Lumen View. FindTheBest's CEO's old company has nothing to do with this.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:39AM (#44871865)

    The troll screwed up this time. $50K?!?! To O'Connor, that's like $20 is to most of us. It might get more expensive? As is $150K, less than 0.1% of his net worth? I don't think he's scared.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      There are a variety of copyright troll cases that are in the works now where the plaintiffs have either had to pay legal fees for the defense or post bond in case they lose. In the former case, $20-50k in defense fees have been awarded before the case even went to trial. Other cases bonds of $250k were asked for. And these are for "simple" copyright infringement cases, not a patent fight.

      Troll cases usually are calculated to cost more than what is a trivial amount, but less than what it will cost to defen

      • There are a variety of copyright troll cases that are in the works now where the plaintiffs have either had to pay legal fees for the defense or post bond in case they lose. In the former case, $20-50k in defense fees have been awarded before the case even went to trial. Other cases bonds of $250k were asked for. And these are for "simple" copyright infringement cases, not a patent fight.

        Yes, but I'd take those with a grain of salt - specifically, the Prenda copyright cases had bonds and sanctions with payment to the defense attorneys because of some truly outrageous behavior, including fraud on the court, forged signatures, etc. The Righthaven cases had an issue where Righthaven didn't actually own the copyrights they claimed to be asserting. There are tons of other copyright cases that haven't required anything of the sort - see, for example, the Jammie Thomas and Joel Tenenbaum RIAA case

      • > As you pointed out $50k is a drop in the bucket. But is $300k? $500k?

        Yes, when you have a billion dollars and you're pissed, no amount ending in "k" is scary. On the extreme high side, a million dollars, that's well under 1% of his money.

        Let's guess the average net worth in the US is about $50,000. 0.1% of that is $50. So a million dollars to this guy is like $50 to the average person.

        * DoubleClick sold for $3 billion. I'm guessing O'Connor has about a billion.

  • by Grand Facade (35180) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:41AM (#44871879)

    So folks are hesitant to fight because a court ruling in favor of the Trolls would set precedence.

    There is also the resources consumed in a protracted fight coupled with the above that makes it seem kinda suicidal.

    On the other hand one good win could loose the flood waters and lead to some kind of reform.

    I just don't see that happening as too many are making bank on the status quo.

  • Trolls vs mafiosi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alexhs (877055) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:57AM (#44871993) Homepage Journal

    'It's like going against the Mafia,' [Kevin O'Connor] said.

    The patent troll's attorney also made the claim that calling someone a 'patent troll' was actually a 'hate crime' under 'Ninth Circuit precedent' and threatened to file criminal charges

    It's telling that they object to being called patent trolls, but are ok with being compared to the Mafia :)

  • Strong Arm Tactic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andover Chick (1859494) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @08:57AM (#44871999)
    This is a strong arm tactic commonly used by criminals. It is done by the mafia, it is done by prison gangs. Of course it is not without precedent in the economy. For example, in the music/entertainment world aggressive lawyers have long beaten down artists. All those nice office buildings around the West Hollywood and Beverly Hills area are full of lawyers. Another example, I once had a rug cleaning guy, who was really a lawyer, come into my apartment to clean a rug. After I signed his work order and he immediately started to threaten to take me to court unless I paid $400 (which was 1000% the cost of the cleaning). Being an athletic lady I snatched the work order out of his hands, shredded it, and flushed it down the toilet. I then threatened to scream "rape". Anyways, the point is it is not good enough to just have computer skills to become an internet entrepreneur, you need some well rounded skills such a law. In Babson College's entrepreneurial program they require students take a law courses since they know starting a business is full of legal landmines and shakedowns. Also be ready to kick a bully in the gonads.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @09:15AM (#44872175) Homepage Journal
    This is like a fight to the death between Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. No matter who loses, I win! *gets popcorn*
  • by IP_Troll (1097511) on Tuesday September 17, 2013 @09:55AM (#44872569)
    "and threatened to file criminal charges — unless they settled the civil case immediately"

    Threatening criminal charges to gain the upper hand in a civil case is against the rules of ethics for attorneys. Every state has its own flavor of rules but they are derived from the ABA model rules.

    Mr. O'Connor should immediately file a complaint with the (every) state bar in which this attorney is licensed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by weatherwax (59856)

      Threatening criminal action for a frivolous cause also seems like marvelous fodder for a RICO case.

    • "the rules of ethics for attorneys"

      That can't be a real thing, you just made that up.

  • Really? Politicians focus on sugary drink portion sizes and intervening in foreign civil wars, but can't be bothered to address a widespread racketeering hustle the destroys innovation?

    By the way, here's an example of a modern day patent troll as profiled by the NY Times. A real class act.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/business/has-patent-will-sue-an-alert-to-corporate-america.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [nytimes.com]
  • The patent troll's attorney also made the claim that calling someone a 'patent troll' was actually a 'hate crime' under 'Ninth Circuit precedent' and threatened to file criminal charges — unless they settled the civil case immediately, apologized, and gave financial compensation to the troll.

    "Subsequently, the patent troll crouched on his hands and knees behind O'Conner's legs. The attorney then shoved Mr. O'Conner, who fell backwards over the patent troll. Then the attorney climbed atop Mr. O'Conner's chest, took hold of each of his wrists and forced Mr. O'Conner to strike himself about the head and shoulders, all the while screaming, "Stop hittin' yourself, O'Conner! Stop hittin' yourself!""

  • hate crime? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It IS a hate crime.. against trolls. Poor species of bridge and cave dweling creatures should never be compared to someone as vile and disgusting as patent attorneys.

  • I guess evil will win

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose

Working...