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Forgent Patent Troll Loses Again 95

anagama writes "Forgent Networks, a patent troll, got the slap down by a TX jury in May when it invalidated a patent Forgent held regarding video teleconferencing over telephone lines, and today, its motion for a new trial against EchoStar was denied. In fact, the court awarded EchoStar $90k in costs. Forgent probably isn't crying that much though, it already extorted $28m from other defendants. Some of you may recall that Forgent made a business out of cheating companies for jpeg use — till their patent was largely invalidated on that front as well."
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Forgent Patent Troll Loses Again

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  • Patent reform (Score:5, Insightful)

    by also-rr ( 980579 ) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @02:39PM (#20204475) Homepage
    Unlike copyright the patent concept is easy to defend. The benefit for progress of engineering and technological culture can be logically demonstrated - and unlike copyright the limits on duration are not totally insane.

    However there is obviously some need for reform. If I were starting a business today I would be sure to base it in somewhere like China and register my patents in the US in order to minimise my likely exposure while maximising my potential gain. So what could be done?

    Almost the scariest aspect of the patent system is not the actual law but the consequences of the threat of the law. If you are perceived to be infringing your case could be hugely expensive and very protracted - and justice delayed is justice denied. Being right isn't going to be much help if I go bankrupt before I win! Unless you are a huge company you are essentially screwed by a lawsuit. With the intent of keeping the system essentially fair it would seem to be wise to:
    • Assess the patent dispute in a week or so in a semi-formal tribunal of peers. Appeal is permitted, with (capped) costs paid by each side.
    • Assess the patent in an equivalent of a small claims court over a month or so. Appeal is permitted, with (capped) costs paid by the loser.
    • Full lawyer enriching bun fight - but whoever lost the last round gets to pick up the whole cost until a winner is declared.

    By lowering the cost of patent litigation the risk would be reduced - and we wouldn't have to wait so long or force so many people to pay protection money in the course of business.
  • Already extorted? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2007 @03:17PM (#20204731)
    Forgent probably isn't crying that much though, it already extorted $28m from other defendants.

    So with this patent invalidated couldn't the other defendants recover their $28m?
  • Re:Patent reform (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheSkyIsPurple ( 901118 ) on Sunday August 12, 2007 @03:36PM (#20204843)
    I believe it is in the US as well, but the judges tend to take any sort of tiny bit of evidence as evidence that you were serious... ie, give everyone their fair shake.

    That way they don't end up denying the little guy because they didn't all 17-million forms properly filled out in ancient Sumerian on rice paper, with lines numbered in cuneiform (or rather in Roman numerals depending on what your local court prefers)

    Its this "protect the little guy" thing that groups like this take advantage of, since they say "Hey, we're little guys.. and they're trying to take advantage of us"

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten