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Patents The Courts

Patent Troll Ordered To Pay For the Costs of Fighting a Bad Patent 191

We mentioned last year that FindTheBest CEO Kevin O'Connor had taken an unusual step, when confronted with a demand by patent troll company Lumen View that the startup pay $50,000 for what struck O'Connor as a frivolous patent: He not only refused, but pledged to spend a million bucks, if necessary, to fight Lumen View in court. Now, as Ars Technica reports, O'Connor has succeeded on a grand scale. Before trouncing Lumen View in court, Ars reports, "FindTheBest had spent about $200,000 on its legal fight—not to mention the productivity lost in hundreds of work hours spent by top executives on the lawsuit, and three all-company meetings. Now the judge overseeing the case has ruled (PDF) that it's Lumen View, not FindTheBest, that should have to pay those expenses. In a first-of-its-kind implementation of new fee-shifting rules mandated by the Supreme Court, US District Judge Denise Cote found that the Lumen View lawsuit was a 'prototypical exceptional case.'"
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Patent Troll Ordered To Pay For the Costs of Fighting a Bad Patent

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  • Newegg did that too? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:12AM (#47145789)

    "Unlike the other 36 codefendants, Newegg chose to go further and recover its legal fees, an action that most companies choose not to pursue because prevailing defendants were, until recently, required to demonstrate that a plaintiff acted in bad faith."

  • Re:but (Score:1, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:26AM (#47145845) Homepage Journal

    To be fair, it is how our legal system was crafted. The US has a strong streak of 'handle your own problem, power to control your own fate' to it,

    But US law has a strong streak of "you may not handle your own problem, we will tell you what your fate is" to it. That's why, for example, it's harder to start a small business here than in most of the world. Where I live, it costs more in permits than materials to build a two-bedroom house.

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:36AM (#47145891)
    If FindTheBest is willing to spend the money on lawyers and court costs, that will not protect the patent troll. There exists a legal basis for "piercing the corporate veil". Dissolving the corporation and forming a new corporation with the same assets(in this case, patents) is a classic example of where that can happen and what that very concept was created for.
  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:38AM (#47145905) Homepage
    This case is mentioned at the end of TFA.
  • Re:but (Score:5, Informative)

    by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:46AM (#47145943) Homepage

    There are some places in Canada were the permits cost are huge.. Think about a construction permit fee based on the lot size (multiple $$$ per square feet) where the minimum lot size is required to be at least something close to an hectare...

  • Re:but (Score:5, Informative)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @08:48AM (#47145957)
    Ah, that old case. It should be noted that there were actually hundreds of injury cases associated with their coffee. They had really bumped up the temperature to unsafe levels and were fully aware that that the standard accidents people had with beverages were resulting in significant burns compared to normal serving levels. The government should have intervened long before that, but they did not because civil suits were the 'solution'.

    The problem was not that it was 'hot', but that they were serving it much hotter then would be typical since that was cheaper then using cups with marginally more insulation.
  • Re:but (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday June 02, 2014 @09:31AM (#47146153) Homepage Journal

    Even in the most expensive parts of the country, you could barely manage to build an uninhabitable, unfinished shell of a house for the price of a building permit.

    It's over $30,000 in permits to build a small two bedroom house (say, 1000 square feet) in Lake County, CA, counting the water connection fee and other bullshit. You can buy a kit home for $45/ft^2 or less. A seasoned contractor who purchases materials at the right time of year can absolutely get the materials for less. It'll be a little shit-shack of a house like virtually all of them are, made out of chipboard and sheetrock, but that's what at least nine in ten of the houses being built today are like anyway so let's not be discriminatory. And I've got to add that this is one of the cheapest parts of the state, at least, that nominally still has water. Oh, did I mention that people on municipal water are being subjected to restriction? No new wells are being permitted, so you can only build where there is municipal water, which is mostly really bad here?

    Sometimes, I hope I live a long time. Sometimes, I think human lifespans are too damned long. The crusty old fucks holding up progress in this town really get my goat.

  • Re:but (Score:1, Informative)

    by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @09:46AM (#47146229) Homepage
    The coffee was not at an above normal temperature, in fact the temperature is lower then the temperature recommended by various coffee drinking group.
    The way the low temperature got in was the lawyer sueing went around to places that were selling less amounts of coffee and recorded the temperatures of those places.
    McDonalds stilll tells its franchises to sell at the temperature of the lawsuit and if you purchase from any major coffe chain that is the temperature range you will mostly likely get.
  • Re:but (Score:3, Informative)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @10:25AM (#47146531)
    From the trial, the plaintiff had documented evidence where McDonald's told their restaurants to keep coffee at 180-190 F. This is 30 F from boiling. The recommended temperature is between 155 and 175 for taste and comfort considerations.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @10:37AM (#47146655)
    "Can be" and "will be" are two different terms. When going into bankruptcy, not all suits and judgements are automatically negated when a company files for bankruptcy. A court still has to determine if the suit can proceed and which debts are still valid. The main thing that bankruptcy does is to stop the suit until a court rules on it.
  • Re:but (Score:5, Informative)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @11:40AM (#47147105) Homepage

    That's a vast oversimplification. []

    Most significantly, the temperature people generally serve coffee at is, in fact, hot enough go give third-degree burns. The general recommended temperature to store coffee at before serving is 185 degrees (farenheit, obviously). The truth is neither that the lawsuit was totally frivolous, nor that it was totally justified, but that this was a complicated situation with a number of issues that generally get glossed over.

  • Re: but (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @11:41AM (#47147111)
    Right from the National Coffee Association USA []

    Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction. Colder water will result in flat, underextracted coffee while water that is too hot will also cause a loss of quality in the taste of the coffee. If you are brewing the coffee manually, let the water come to a full boil, but do not overboil. Turn off the heat source and allow the water to rest a minute before pouring it over the grounds.

    So, Umm....

    The real thing to know here is that no one at the time did not know that McDonalds coffee was really hot. Many went there for that reason. Fuck that bitch.

  • Re:but (Score:4, Informative)

    by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Monday June 02, 2014 @11:42AM (#47147121) Homepage

    Actual specification for that area was, in 2008, 8000 to 9000 square meters per plot; 95$ per square meter of lot size plus 150$ per square meter of habitation for the construction permit. Other requirements were two stories, full masonry, hidden garage entrance and no roof slopes at less than 12-12.

    Needless to say we went somewhere else.. having had that kind of money I really would have liked to build at that place though.

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