Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Patents The Media

Martha Stewart Out To Exterminate Patent Troll Lodsys 150

Posted by timothy
from the taking-back-the-inch-and-the-mile dept.
McGruber writes "Gigaom's Jeff John Roberts reports that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSLO) has filed a lawsuit against Lodsys, a shell company that gained infamy two years ago by launching a wave of legal threats against small app makers, demanding they pay for using basic internet technology like in-app purchases or feedback surveys. In the complaint filed this week in federal court in Wisconsin, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia asked a judge to declare that four magazine iPad apps are not infringing Lodsys' patents, and that the patents are invalid because the so-called inventions are not new. The complaint explained how Lodsys invited the company to 'take advantage of our program' by buying licenses at $5,000 apiece. It also calls the Wisconsin court's attention to Lodsys' involvement in more than 150 Texas lawsuits. In choosing to sue Lodsys and hopefully crush its patents, Martha Stewart is choosing a far more expensive option than simply paying Lodsys to go away."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Martha Stewart Out To Exterminate Patent Troll Lodsys

Comments Filter:
  • ...and suddenly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Friday September 27, 2013 @06:52PM (#44976387) Homepage

    ....out of nowhere I have a heck of a lot more respect for Martha Stewart.

    It's like MAGIC!

    • Re:...and suddenly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:01PM (#44976435)

      One thing about Martha, she isn't about to take any crap off anyone. I think these assholes tried to shake down the wrong woman.

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:12PM (#44976479)

        "One thing about Martha, she isn't about to take any crap off anyone"

        She may not be taking the crap off anyone herself, but she's certainly willing to help.
        http://www.homedepot.com/p/Martha-Stewart-Living-Wayland-Double-Post-Toilet-Paper-Holder-in-Brushed-Nickel-AL-CLSPH-21/202761287#.UkYem0DE3_o [homedepot.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arth1 (260657)

        One thing about Martha, she isn't about to take any crap off anyone.

        I doubt she's even aware. This is the company, not the person.

        • Re:...and suddenly (Score:5, Insightful)

          by RazorSharp (1418697) on Friday September 27, 2013 @08:03PM (#44976719)

          How often does a company choose the greater loss to make a point without approval from the top? I'm sure, at the least, she's aware of the situation.

          • HQ approval (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Firethorn (177587) on Friday September 27, 2013 @08:27PM (#44976819) Homepage Journal

            You make a good point about the approval from the top, however calculating the 'greater loss' can be complex, especially if you're considering long term. Sort of like how many/most companies today will fight 'frivolous' lawsuits to the hilt - it's more expensive in the short term, against that litigator, yes, but in the long run if you're seen as a target you face so many more lawsuits it's actually cheaper to fight.

            • Re:HQ approval (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday September 27, 2013 @11:11PM (#44977351)

              Correct. Martha is not one of the typical fly-in CEOs that's there for 3 quarters and throws away the long term viability of the company for the quick profit. This is _her_ company.

              • Re:HQ approval (Score:5, Interesting)

                by pspahn (1175617) on Saturday September 28, 2013 @12:39AM (#44977587)

                If anyone would like more proof that it is her in charge, give "The Martha Rules" a read.

                Alternatively, if you don't give a shit about this but you're starting a small business, give it a read anyway, you'll thank her later.

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  I just did a quick google and it seems the only way I'll read it is if it's at the public library. I'll not pay for a pig in a poke. Do you have some quotes from the book?

              • by jedidiah (1196)

                More importantly, it is HER NAME.

                This isn't some insider swooping into IBM and Yahoo. This enterprise has Martha's name on it. There's bound to be a bit more pride and a sense of ownership in that case.

          • When "the top" is arrested, convicted, jailed, and is barred by the SEC from being "the top", it happens a lot.

            Do you think JP Morgan's heirs are notified everytime his eponymous bank hires a new employee?

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              She was convicted of obstruction and lying, not any trading issues. She settled a case with the SEC that should have had sanctions end before now.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I have a friend who worked for a couple of summers at her greenhouse and farmstand. This is basically minimum wage work at a small sideline business that isn't even supposed to make money so much as slightly offset the cost of having a full time maintenance and landscaping staff on her very large personal home and adjoining estate in Maine.

              My friend never directly reported to her, and only "met" her insofar as on a handful of occasions she saw fit to check on things or wanted to have a camera crew shoot som

        • Re:...and suddenly (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 27, 2013 @09:15PM (#44977003)
          I worked on her TV show for 4 seasons (which is why I'm posting as AC - you never know) - and I can assure you, not only is she aware, but once someone came to her with this, she became a driving force behind it. She may not understand the nitty-gritty details, but once she's been told that someone's fucking with her, there's no messing around. She's in it for the kill.
      • by Nyder (754090) on Friday September 27, 2013 @09:37PM (#44977091) Journal

        One thing about Martha, she isn't about to take any crap off anyone. I think these assholes tried to shake down the wrong woman.

        Martha is hard core. She's been to prison and everything. She will probably shiv one or more of them.

        • My siblings and I used to joke about Evil Aunt Martha (she's no particular relation, except that all Stewarts are either descended from a 12th-century Scottish king or peasants on the land of his descendents, so we might be distantly related to her husband.)

          She's going to shiv Lodsys, and it'll look fabulous when she does, with legal papers that are black and white and red all over, in nice wintery colors.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Martha Stewart ended a thousand year galactic war with her apple dandies. These guys won't even see it coming.

          • Well, no one expected her apple dandies to be laced with Polonium-210.

            Can't wait to see what she hits these guys with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've always had respect for Martha, yes she may be a bit of an elitist bitch, but she taught a generation of people (women and men) to cook and garden and fix up their houses, and she did it in a way that was accessible. She also paid the price for her arrogance and moved on. If she is willing to fight back against the trolls and stand up to their demands, It's a good thing!

    • Re:...and suddenly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkFencer (260473) on Friday September 27, 2013 @08:07PM (#44976733)

      I always had sympathy for her after her jail sentence. She went to jail for a MINOR insider trading case (where they couldn't even prove that, just obstruction of justice), while those who collapsed the economy got off scot free.

      Hope her company drives the patent trolls into the ground. And then she decorates the grave with some potpourri warning signs to other trolls or some such.

      • At times I wonder if she even really did it or if someone framed her because she wouldn't give them a BJ. And then I take off my tin-foil hat....or do I?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        She went to jail for a MINOR insider trading case (where they couldn't even prove that, just obstruction of justice),

        My understanding is that she went to jail for "lying" to Federal investigators, which is a felony. She said one thing, her stock broker said another. I suspect they wanted to teach her a lesson so they "believed" him and not her and off she went to the fed pen.

        They couldn't prove insider trading simply because she wasn't an insider at that company. That is she had no business or employment r

        • by cheekyboy (598084) on Friday September 27, 2013 @09:45PM (#44977119) Homepage Journal

          So its ok for the feds to lie to us, for fbi to lie, for Obama to lie, its ok for all politicians to lie to everyone daily.

          Hey feds, the sky is red. Arrest me.

          All of the SEC is spineless and corrupt and a in cahoots with the corp elite.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Amen. She got busted because she was a successful woman. Not in the club, as George Carlin would say.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            So its ok for the feds to lie to us, for fbi to lie, for Obama to lie, its ok for all politicians to lie to everyone daily.

            There's no law against lying unless you're under oath or the cops are asking questions. This isn't about right and wrong, it's about legal and illegal.

            That said, Clapper should be in prison for lying to Congress under oath.

            Hey feds, the sky is red. Arrest me.

            If a cop asks you what color the sky is and you say that, he will.

        • "Lying" to a federal investigator. Right.

          This was an FBI interview. The only record allowed at an FBI interview are the FBI's notes. You are not allowed any other record. So the record can say whatever they want it to say after the fact.

          The fed's started this high profile case against her, for whatever reason, and made a huge media splash. When it turned out that she hadn't actually done anything wrong, they were about to be left looking stupid. Can't have that, can we? So they nailed her on this completely

          • You don't have to be under oath. Lying to the police is a crime in itself, which is one of the main reasons you should never talk to the police. Even completely honest people make mistakes in speech.
            • Lying to the police is a crime in itself

              [citation needed]

              • A person who knowingly makes a false or misleading material statement to a public servant is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

                - revised code of Washington, source [seattlepi.com]. Just a sample.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            The fed's started this high profile case against her,

            The Fed's what, their greengrocer?

            Even if the notes are accurate, what's with prosecuting someone for saying something incorrect?

            It's a felony to lie to an investigator during an investigation, that's what. It was a stupid thing for her to do.

            You are not under oath

            If she were under oath it would have been perjury rather than obstruction of justice. Honestly, people, I'm neither a cop nor a lawyer an I know that. WTF?

            • by jedidiah (1196)

              > It's a felony to lie to an investigator during an investigation,

              A lie in the moral sense of the term requires intent which is pretty difficult if not impossible to prove. So the entire idea is complete bullshit as the cops are free to lie or simply to disagree. Intent is not required. You can simply be imperfect (not even stupid or evil) and still run afoul of the law.

              It's one of those "catch all laws" that really have no business being on the books in the first place. It's something that the authoriti

              • by mcgrew (92797) *

                A lie in the moral sense of the term requires intent which is pretty difficult if not impossible to prove.

                Sometimes, but the jury seemed to think she lied.

                It's stupid to talk to a cop period.

                Depending on circumstances, yes it is. I would have insisted on having my lawyer present.

      • by houghi (78078)

        The fact that she went to jail and others went free are two unrelated things. Would you have less sympathy for her if the others also went to jail? Or if she also went free?

        I personally do not care if she drives the patent trolls into the ground, unless it means there will be a serious change in the patent system.

      • I always had sympathy for her after her jail sentence. She went to jail for a MINOR insider trading case (where they couldn't even prove that, just obstruction of justice), while those who collapsed the economy got off scot free.

        Hey, but at least we're safer now that Martha has lost the privilege to vote and defend herself with arms.

        Seriously, though, we can probably count on one hand the number of people who believe that the system worked for the benefit of society in that case. When department stores pro

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I always had sympathy for her after her jail sentence. She went to jail for a MINOR insider trading case (where they couldn't even prove that, just obstruction of justice)

        I have no sympathy for her at all. I met a woman in a bar just the other day who spent six months for obstruction of justice just like the rich bitch. Her crime? Criminal stupidity, a cop asked her name and she made one up. The dumbass had no warrants or anything, I guess she thought it was funny. If a cop asks a question, answer truthfull

    • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday September 27, 2013 @08:13PM (#44976767)

      I think she's got an old shiv she can sharpen up for the fight.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And that's a good thing.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Friday September 27, 2013 @06:57PM (#44976415) Homepage Journal

    It's a *GOOD* thing...

  • martha don't fuck around

  • by pla (258480) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:03PM (#44976445) Journal
    Lodsys has finally encountered the perfect enemy - Queen bitch, completely self-absorbed, and very, very wealthy. Martha Stewart not only has the money, power, and influence to defend herself, but if she has taken personal offense to their tactics, she won't stop until she has completely and utterly destroyed Lodsys.

    Yay!
    • by asifyoucare (302582) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:23PM (#44976535)
      By suing she's firmly announcing to other patent trolls that they'd be better off pursuing other targets. Sure, this one time action costs more than giving in, but it might be cheaper in the long run.
      • by Cstryon (793006)

        It may cost more. But maybe she's also considering the principal of the matter. She could be thinking "this might cost me some money, but those (whatever language older....so nice women use) SOBs shouldn't get away with this". Plus it might give other trolls the idea that going after patents/sueing for bullshit claims may not always end in their favor. Kudos to her!

        • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Friday September 27, 2013 @09:22PM (#44977045)

          Plus it might give other trolls the idea that going after patents/sueing for bullshit claims may not always end in their favor. Kudos to her!

          In the bigger picture, it will only make a difference if the people responsible for Lodsys's antics are held personally responsible. Otherwise a troll isn't really going to care if their company goes under as long as they walk away with some money in the meantime.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          It may cost more. But maybe she's also considering the principal of the matter.

          That's what the GP said when he said "Sure, this one time action costs more than giving in, but it might be cheaper in the long run."

          Or did you mean "principle?" If so, you didn't say what you thought you said. I'd think she was more concerned with the interest (the payback) rather than the principal (the cost).

      • by k.a.f. (168896)
        In other words, patent trolls will now expend more effort on attacking the rest of us who are not phenomenally wealthy. Certainly Martha Stewart has every right to defend herself, and I'l probably cheer when she wins - but the outcome isn't really one we can be glad about.
        • by cduffy (652)

          If she gets the patents thrown out, that's good for everyone, rest of us included.

    • ...and she has experience with the US legal system!
    • I'm not sure it will really matter in the end.

      Why wouldn't the company, if it saw itself getting close to losing, simply withdraw and sell it's "assets" (patents) to some other shell company and simply start the game all over again under a different entity?
  • by oldhack (1037484) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:06PM (#44976459)
    Wouldn't you know it, Lodsys is one of Myhrvold's shell entities.
  • ... she seems to do the right thing.

    Caught for insider trading? Goes to jail and takes it like a man (so to speak).

    Unjustified patent lawsuit filed against her? Takes out the trash.

    • by bfandreas (603438)
      Nope. The judge threw out the insider trading charges first thing in the morning.

      She got jailed for Obstruction Of Justice(aka we caught you at a dishonesty while investigating you for a non-crime). Whenever you read charges like Obstruction, Wire/Mail Fraud, Consiparcy,... in a federal case then you read about the DoJ being a dick. They ain't got nothing, count on jury stupidity and plea bargains. Whatever DA gets results that way is not fit to run for a higher office since he took a huge dump on what ju
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        She got jailed for Obstruction Of Justice(aka we caught you at a dishonesty while investigating you for a non-crime).

        They weren't investigating a non-crime, they were investigating her for insider trading which WAS a real crime and it SHOULD be a real crime.

        Guess what, if you're being investigated for selling dope when you've never seen dope in your life, lying to the investigator is both illegal and stupid.

        I can't understand why so many of you can't understand that.

        • by bfandreas (603438)
          She was charged with insider trading, yes. But that got thrown out pretty soon.

          Her broker got wind the CEO of another company was selling all of his shares. Neither Stewart nor her broker knew why. These were the facts as accepted by the court. And on that basis they concluded that insider trading laws didn't apply to her actions.

          While you ARE entitled to an opinion you should take proper care to know at least a little bit. Otherwise you are an easy mark for populist opinion forming processes. I'm prett
        • It was a non crime in the sense that she didn't do it. The obstruction charge is just bullshit. If there was no case there then logically there's nothing to obstruct.

          It hands far too much power to enforcement, just like "resisting arrest" and "failing to obey a lawful order".

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            It was a non crime in the sense that she didn't do it.

            Neither one of us were there. A jury convicted her, who are we to second guess? But I do agree that there are a lot of bullshit charges; my best friend's brother and half of his high school graduating class spent five years in prison on a bullshit charge.

            His "crime"? Loaning money to a former classmate who happened to be a dope dealer. The charge was "conspiracy to distribute cocaine." Mike's brother wasn't a dope dealer and never touched the stuff, he

            • Innocent men have been executed for murder because of crooked cops and prosecutors.

              Don't disagree. It's a matter of record.

              So you can see why I have little sympathy for her.

              Not really. Weren't you told as a toddler that two wrongs don't make a right[1]?

              Perhaps that's so long ago that you've forgotten.

              [1] while I think revenge has its place, it surely can't be relevant where the victim of the second isn't the perpetrator of the first.

  • by gwstuff (2067112) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:20PM (#44976509)

    Go Martha go-bble, yum, sorry, can't speak with my mouth full. Mouth watering. Delicious. Wow!

  • by MetalOne (564360) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:31PM (#44976587)
    It seems to me that congress needs to revise the rules for obtaining and holding patents. I think that if the subject being patented can be recreated simply by having seen it in action or by a reading of the requirements, then it does not deserve a patent. So stuff like one-click or side to unlock would be excluded. There needs to be real hard work put forth on something before it should be considered an invention. We need to stop patenting mere ideas and obvious stuff. The hard work part should not be based on how hard the patent holder worked, but on how hard a challenger to the patent would have to work. I do think a good system of rules would be hard to develop. The system should not be easily gamed. If it proves too difficult to write such a set of rules, then it seems to me that having a patent system is bad idea. Furthermore, most all inventions are going to be incremental improvements. Most fields have lots of people working in them. So if the increment of improvement is small and there are many people in the field, then clearly it won't be much work for others to achieve the same result, and hence the first to file concept seems grossly unfair. So now you have to decide what is a significant enough increment for something to warrant a patent. Perhaps if you have a mind like Tesla one could truly invent something stunning, but even then I have my doubts, for every Tesla there seems to a Marconi.
    • by Memnos (937795)
      And all too many patent applications are crap for reasons of prior art or obviousness, but examiners at the USPTO don't have nearly the time to research all, or even most of them. BUT, if you hear of a patent application (or patent) that is just BS due to prior art, you can just go to the Ask Patents website (run by StackExchange and free) and ask if it's a valid one based on prior art or obviousness. Anyone can also provide answers to the questions asked, and the answers will be crowd-ranked according to
  • by Beeftopia (1846720) on Friday September 27, 2013 @07:48PM (#44976649)

    They went after the National Association of Realtors. [realtor.org] The fifth largest all-time donor to federal politicians since 1989. [opensecrets.org]

    When big political donors get upset, politicians will act.

  • Long-term thinking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday September 27, 2013 @08:02PM (#44976709) Homepage Journal

    This is an example of long-term thinking.

    People only look at their personal short-term gain, with no thought about the long-term consequences. It's paying the Danegeld [wikipedia.org], nothing less.

    I read all the time about this-or-that injustice and oh! the outrage it sparks, but no one wants to do the right thing and fight because it's so hard!

    When a cop violates your civil rights, do you take him to court? If no one does, then cops feel free to do whatever they want, and rights violations are everywhere.

    When the BSA (business software alliance) demands to search your office without a warrant, when the RIAA offers to settle for less than the court costs, when the border patrol stops and searches your car, or when patent trolls demand license fees, it's all the same: bullies feel free to operate, it's the Danegeld in another form.

    If people stood up for their rights and took the bullies to task, there would be a lot less bullying. It would be expensive for the first few people, but in the long run it would be better for everyone. Consider it an investment in your childrens' future: if you fight now, they won't have to fight later.

    Next time you read about an injustice, think about what the victim could do to take the bullies to task. Then ask "why didn't they do that?"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 27, 2013 @09:58PM (#44977149)

      >Next time you read about an injustice, think about what the victim could do to take the bullies to task. Then ask "why didn't they do that?"

      They answer is simple. The victim didn't have the financial resources to fight back. Justice in America is strictly pay-for-play.

    • by Nivag064 (904744)

      Rudyard Kipling got it right:

      http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/dane_geld.html [poetryloverspage.com]
      [...]
      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.
      [...]

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Usually, because "doing the right thing" is not rewarded by society. You maybe potentially would win something, probably not enough to recoup costs, and for most people you couldn't even go the entire way through before finding your entire life in ruins thanks to the runaway costs of the legal system. I'd be happy doing the right thing, but not if it costs me everything in the process.

      Note that there's a reason why trolls like Lodsys only sue small companies or even individuals. You never hear about them
  • At the heart of the patent licensing issue is the relatively unlimited ability of the patent holder to ask for exhorbitant patent license fees.

    To turn that around, the legal design problem is to define a reasonable statutory patent license fee that can reasonably fit with the public purpose of the Constitution's patent clauses.

    Taking the F.O.B. wholesale price of any product (such as a cell phone or computer), I think the fair statutory patent license fee is 1.5%. That 1.5% would be shared equally with each

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Why is the the patent license fee so low?

      Low? Huh?? $280 for a twenty year monopoly, Copyright costs $35 for a lifetime monopoly (it was $20 when I registered my first copyright on computer programs that are now obsolete). I don't see how the math works with your calculations.

  • I think it would be interesting if patents were treated a bit more like trademarks in that if you don't defend them you lose them. it may stop a few things from happening;
    1. Waiting till a product gets widely accepted and then suing. If you don't sue withing a certain number of years the patent is dead.
    2. Picking on the small guys who do not have the money to defend themselves. Require patent holder to sue all patent violators or the patent is dead.
    The main issue is would the patent holder know about the in

  • In-app purchases and feedback reviews aren't technologies, they are concepts.

  • Never cared for her, but this is the right thing to do and I have to admire it.
  • ...Lodsys feels the same way the rebels felt when the Death Star was looming over the corner of the planet?

    Only difference is that the Rebels didn't have the Force, R2-D2's data, and the Empire had the smarts to cover up every exhaust port and hole on the Death Star.
  • There's an old saying about knowing what's more expensive in the long run. It's "penny wise, pound foolish". Paying this patent troll to go away this time is cheaper than a lawsuit. How much cheaper is the lawsuit, though, than setting a precedent of being pushed around by patent trolls and paying them off?

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

Working...