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Newegg Sues Patent Troll After Troll Dropped Its Own Lawsuit (arstechnica.com) 174

WheezyJoe writes: Not satisfied that a patent troll dropped its lawsuit against them, Newegg has sued the troll. So-called "patent holding company" Minero Digital sought to exact royalty payments on a wide range of USB hubs, suing, among others, Newegg's subsidiary Rosewill. But the "non-practicing entity" dropped its East Texas lawsuit against Rosewill within days of getting a call from the Newegg's lawyer. However, Minero dismissed its Texas lawsuit "without prejudice", meaning it can refile the case at a time of its choosing. So, Newegg filed its own lawsuit against Minero in Los Angeles federal court, asking a judge to lay down a ruling that Minero's case against Rosewill is baseless. Says Newegg's Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng, "Minero's case does not have merit, and its patent is not only expired but would suck even if it wasn't expired. Now that they have started the litigation, it would be irresponsible for Newegg to not finish it."
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Newegg Sues Patent Troll After Troll Dropped Its Own Lawsuit

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  • LOL (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:51PM (#51383923)

    I love newegg... sue the bastards... unfortunately I don't see newegg getting financial compensation.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:01PM (#51384001) Homepage Journal

      They are not asking for any financial compensation. They are doing it a) because they can and b) because the troll had it dismissed without prejudice, meaning they could file again.

      • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:14PM (#51384549)
        It also serves as warning for other patent trolls to stay away from Newegg because they will fight back. Even if it costs them money to continue with this lawsuit, it potentially saves them significantly more in the future from all of the lawsuits that they don't have to deal with as a result of any ruling that results from this case or even showing that they have no problem standing up to the bullies of the patent world.
        • It also serves as warning for other patent trolls to stay away from Newegg because they will fight back.

          A warning would be a strongly worded letter. NewEgg doesn't give warnings. They go to war. So they filed suit. Gotta love 'em for it.

        • Or.. it may just signal to patent trolls that if you have a case pending in East Texas (where you probably already one just based on location) you must continue with it no matter what. Otherwise they might get you from somewhere that the courts are less corrupt.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:46PM (#51384323)
      Maybe, maybe not. I for one will make it a point to shop on Newegg just a little bit more.
      • Re:LOL (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Thursday January 28, 2016 @10:41AM (#51387845)
        I thought the same thing, aside from other benefits it is great marketing for Newegg among folks who are likely to become valuable repeat customers.
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      Perhaps not directly, but I'm now considering making my next purchase from NewEgg rather than from a local store.

    • Well I for one will buy more stuff from Newegg. When most other companies are just looking for the bottom line, NewEgg is actually working to make the world a better place.

    • I don't know Newegg from Adam (Savage? or just any Adam?) and I'm not sure if they ship to this side of the ocean. But I'm going to turn off ad-blocking and go to see what they do.

      (Are they in America? I guess it's likely, because Texas is almost in America.)

      • Damn, what's their website? ... Ah, the obvious newegg.co.uk ; it redirects to their UK section, with several other parts of Europe, India, Singapore and Australasia. So I guess the other similar names will redirect appropriately.

        Hmmm, beats my usual supplier by about 6% for a 4TB external hard drive. That is definitely worth remembering.

        Newegg's Marketing Department may have reason to go around to the Legal Department for a mutual high-five. I'd literally NEVER have considered them before because previou

  • by the_povinator ( 936048 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:52PM (#51383929) Homepage
    A group of companies should form a NATO-like pact, binding the companies to employ scorched-earth tactics whenever sued by a patent troll.

    Carthage must be destroyed!

    • The TPTA will just give more power to the trolls

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @03:54PM (#51383959) Journal

      And its fields salted. Defeat of patent trolls shouldn't be the object. Utter and complete destruction and the disbarment of their lawyers should be the proper goal. Don't just defeat those evil sociopathic monsters, make sure they're living in a gutter after it's done.

      • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:20PM (#51384121) Homepage Journal

        Trouble is, the only actual patent troll is the patent office. There wouldn't be any of the people you call "patent trolls" if they didn't have the government on their side to begin with.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Your statement implies a different meaning to "patent troll" than what is generally in use here. This is a troll tactic, but perhaps was not done in pun.

          • Not so much, the patent office gets paid to grant capricious patents, which are then used to harm legitimate businesses. So they're abusing bad patents for their own profit and screwing over innovators in the process.

            • the patent office gets paid to grant capricious patents

              The only alternative would be to fund it out of general taxation.

              That's a bad thing because there's no metric[1] involved, which means they'd be totally immune to market forces or performance related bonuses and before you know it there'd be unions, socialised healthcare and compulsory gay marriage. And nobody could be fired. Ever. Even if they shit on the coffee machine.

              [1] Like a KPI, not the stupid faggoty measurement system all the wrong countrie

            • by UnderCoverPenguin ( 1001627 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @08:15PM (#51385541)

              Not so much, the patent office gets paid to grant capricious patents

              As technology has gotten more complex, the patent office's ability to properly evaluate applications has diminished. As such, the patent office has become a registry, leaving it to the courts to decide. Unfortunately, that is a very expensive and inefficient way to evaluate innovation. Although the litigants do pay substantial court fees, it would still cost taxpayers less to allocate more money to the patent office to hire more AND better patent examiners.

              (Partially because corporations will just deduct court (and other litigation) costs, and partially because the cost will be passed along to the consumers. So, no. Shifting the court costs to the litigants won't save taxpayers' money, only change the route the money follows when it leaves the taxpayers' accounts/wallets/whatever.)

              • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <(charleshixsn) (at) (earthlink.net)> on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @11:09PM (#51386163)

                You can trace a large part of the problem back to the patent office decision to not require a working copy before granting a patent. And for software, even worse, to not require the source code.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                As technology has gotten more complex, the patent office's ability to properly evaluate applications has diminished.

                And as patent examiners have gotten stupider. I guarantee there are exactly zero budding Albert Einstein's working for the patent office now. They're so fucking stupid that they grant patents for non-innovative things simply because someone tacked "using a computer" or "with a computer" onto it.

                Seriously. "A method for adding two numbers using a computer." You didn't see any patents for things like "A method for adding two numbers using a calculator" or "A method for adding two numbers using a slide rul

        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @06:30PM (#51384977) Homepage Journal

          Well, as someone who has friends who are inventors and hold patents, I think they deserve compensation for the effort they put into their inventions. But the thing is, they're real inventions, not bogus ones. The bogus ones are the problem.

          I was CTO of a small software developer back in the early 00s, and every couple of weeks someone would come into my office with a printout of something they'd read on the Internet, and as soon as the word "patent" came out of their mouth, I'd stop them right there.

          "This is going to be one of those things where they took something people had been doing with LORAN for years and substituted 'GPS' or 'LORAN', isn't it?"

          "Well, LORAN was mentioned in the prior art..."

          "Stop!" I'd say, putting my fingers in my ears. "I am not going to read that thing, I'm not even going to listen to you, because (a) it's a bogus patent and (b) if I knowingly do the obvious thing in that patent we'll be facing treble damages."

          The real problem is bogus patents that dress up the obvious way an experienced practitioner would solve a problem in obscure language. If patents were uniformly genuine inventions then I wouldn't have a problem with non-practicing entities buying them and enforcing them. That wouldn't be a pitfall to just doing your job as an engineer.

      • Furthermore (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:23PM (#51384135)

        Once the lawyers have been disbarred, all parties involved should then be brought on criminal charges of extortion:

        The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

        • by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:23PM (#51384625)

          Once the lawyers have been disbarred, all parties involved should then be brought on criminal charges of extortion:

          The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

          You're obviously not a lawyer. That's both a criticism of your suggested legal tactics and an endorsement of you as a human being.

      • "Utter and complete destruction and the disbarment of their lawyers should be the proper goal."

        Sounds nice. But lawyers sometimes merely represent their clients. What is good for the patent troll would need to be applicable to the driver injured by a faulty seat belt, the coed harmed by a defective hair curler, the parent whose child was suffocated by a badly designed crib. Lawyers facing disbarment for being identified as facilitating spurious or frivolous prosecution might be saying no to all kinds of

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Hmmm....I think you mean "dismemberment" of their lawyers. It is best not to leave them a way out.

      • Sounds good, but could you work some "lamentations of their women" into it somewhere?

    • by teg ( 97890 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:29PM (#51384167) Homepage

      A group of companies should form a NATO-like pact, binding the companies to employ scorched-earth tactics whenever sued by a patent troll.

      Carthage must be destroyed!

      Your suggestion doesn't help much. Avoiding things like this is one of the reasons you put patents into an NPE [wikipedia.org] - they don't have any other business or valuables you can come after. Put one patent in each sub-entity, and you avoid any chance of losing more than the patent - and if you lost, it wasn't that valuable anyway.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        All the legal wrangling costs money. The more often they lose and then have to pay compensation, the more likely they are to be a net loss. If most of them turn out to be a net loss, they will dry up and blow away.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          What he was pointing out was the the shell company fronting the suit wouldn't have any resourced to recover damages, or even lawyers fees, from.

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            True, but they will lose the patent and whatever they paid for it plus legal fees. Further, they might stand to lose earlier gains on the same patent as they delay cash transfers to avoid comingling of funds (which could expose the parent company to liability).

      • From what I understand, the courts get pissed about this and have started to break through such 'protections' if it's obvious that the company was set up simply to 'shelter' the parent company from judgements against them.

    • You do realize that sort of mentality is why 'the south' is like it is today ... right? Because they burned it to the ground on the march through.

      I hate patent trolls more than the next guy, but that would be a dumb idea.

    • The problem is that sometimes the victims of patent trolls are also patent trolls themselves. See: Microsoft.
    • A group of companies should form a NATO-like pact, binding the companies to employ scorched-earth tactics whenever sued by a patent troll.

      Carthage must be destroyed!

      Now that's a crowd-source idea. I'll throw in $100 a month! Well, as long as I can see the paper trails, literally and figuratively.

      - K

  • And sow the rubble with salt.
  • "Minero's case does not have merit, and its patent ... would suck even if it wasn't expired."

    It's true, it's hilarious, but it's not an argument to make in court.

    "it would not be in the public interest even if it wasn't expired" is marginally better.

    "it would be invalid even if it wasn't expired, for the following reasons..." is much better, as long as the reasons it is invalid are legally sound.

    But yeah, "it sucks" does have a nice ring to it. Just not in a courtroom.

  • The patent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:05PM (#51384017) Journal

    https://www.google.com/patents... [google.com]

    I'm kind of curious to see someone explain how this invention is different from all the other daisy-chain serial bus connections that were in use in 1995 when this was filed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm more curious to see someone explain how USB's tree-structured topology could be construed as a daisy-chain.

      Daisy chains require:
      - all devices must provide a pass-through for the next item on the bus (with the exception of attenuation terminators, which aren't an addressable device on the bus, but merely an electrical necessity)
      - there can be no multiple-output devices or branches in the topology

      If it has branching or input-only devices, it's not a daisy-chain topology. USB has both, and is therefore not

      • by suutar ( 1860506 )

        Not certain it's relevant. The claims never use the term daisy chain, and that's where the legal force is.

      • There's still a possibility that a daisy chain master device is one of slaves on a daisy chain, creating a branch.

        You can do this on the 1-wire bus for example.

    • The Commodore VIC-20 had a daisy-chained serial bus in 1980.
  • There simply was no comparison, Newegg was the best. For many, many years, Newegg was my one-stop computer shop. They ALWAYS had the best prices. Even better prices, in some cases, than buying direct from a channel partner like TechData or Ingram.

    These days I almost always find better prices on Amazon for the same stuff. Couple that with Prime membership and zero hassle returns... I just can't justify buying from Newegg anymore.

    Am I a bad human being?

    • I'm in the exact same boat.

      I'll still check out the Shell Shockers, but most of those really aren't deals either compared to Amazon.

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:24PM (#51384147) Journal

      >These days I almost always find better prices on Amazon for the same stuff.

      Amazon has probably the largest proportion of counterfeit products of any retailer, due to the way their business works. Some of them are very good counterfeits; the fake Otter Box from Amazon I looked at the other day had a perfect look-alike box, with the hologram sticker, very hard to tell the difference between the fake and the real thing except the fake was a bit lower quality. The rubberized button covers weren't really rubberized, so it was very hard to press the button, etc.

      On the other wide, Newegg has been a leader in fighting patent trolls for years. Is it worth an extra dollar or two to be confident of getting legitimate products, while supporting a company that's fighting patent trolls?

      • That is funny, as the only time I have ever gotten a fake was from Newegg marketplace. The few times I needed help from Amazon? I got what I paid for or the cash put back in my account almost the same day, when I got a fake from Newegg? Despite a dozen emails they wouldn't do shit, I ended up getting nothing but a pile of garbage for my money.

        Ironically I was about to pull the trigger on nearly 2K worth of parts on some new builds but after fucking me over for $40? Amazon got that cash along with every p

        • Yeah, the Newegg Marketplace means you're not buying from Newgg, but from some random person who signed up to sell on their site - much like Amazon or eBay.

          • Except with Amazon market its backed by Amazon and will fix the problem, with Newegg? It might as well be eBay. Between their shit customer service and the way they throw Newegg market results with their own? I'm sorry but they are no longer a trustworthy company IMHO.
      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        If I want a certain model/version/edition I tend to go with ebay as it's more WYSIWYG than amazon. Amazon has a really high tendency to use stock photos.

        Plus some of the listings have been screwed up for years! Check these two out http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com] Buy nickel get brass

        http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-... [amazon.com] Buy brass get nickel

        They have been like that since at least as far back as march 2014!

        But the 2 day shipping and no rush credits are still great!

        I haven't gotten anything from amazon or ebay th

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        What people take away from what you wrote is that Amazon is cheaper.

        If you want to do the morally right thing, you should go to a localy owned store and buy it there, supporting the local community.
        If it is not available, either buy an alternative, start selling it yourself or go without.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      First off, yes, Amazon is not a responsible place from which to purchase.

      Also, whenever I'm looking for components or whatnot I find that Newegg is comparable or better price that Amazon, and usually the standard shipping gets to me in about two days anyway.

      • Good points, I hadn't really thought about it like that before. I appreciate your reply.

      • by nwf ( 25607 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:32PM (#51384691)

        I've found that searching for components on NewEgg is much easier. It's almost impossible to search for anything on Amazon that's not totally mainstream. I just put together a PC for a media server, and I purchased everything from NewEgg. They were either cheaper or I could actually find the products quickly. I don't really want to read page "1 of 234" containing random products with no relation to what I searched for. Thanks amazon.

        I hate all their "marketplace" sellers (although NewEgg is doing this crap, too.) Amazon is becoming crap of late. Reviews are useless in many cases, partly because they group tons of similar products into a single "product" (especially bad with movies.) I was searching last night for LotR on Blu-Ray and their descriptions don't even say what's on the extra discs. Useless. And marketplace sellers sell cheap knockoffs that mess up reviews of genuine products. I've ordered a product based the description only to get something else. The seller then says "oh some other seller changed the description." What's the point of having descriptions, then, if any idiot can change them?

        NewEgg is still pretty decent to deal with and getting someone to help you is MUCH easier than with Amazon. Everyone I've done a chat with at amazon was totally clueless. One even re-ordered my order for no apparent reason, which I then had to return. Amazon is becoming the Mos Eisley of shopping anymore: a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Good luck trying to find decent coin batteries, Lion batteries, chargers, etc. They sell them, you'll just never find them.

    • I agree except that worry about Amazon getting too big and taking out too much of the competition. Then we'll be like, "Amazon used to be so great, but now I have no other choice." I may be a little dramatic but companies like Newegg are worth keeping around.
  • by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:20PM (#51384113)

    Cool. I bought some rosewill drive enclosures a few years ago that are still working great. Although I didn't know they were a store brand at the time.

    I don't buy much of anything on new-egg anymore. The site layout is just so messed up now I can't find anything anymore. It was better before they started letting people post classified ads as products for sell.

    If it shows up in the list of results I expect to be able to buy it on Newegg not click through to Bullshitbrandxcompany to complete my purchase there.

    • by JazzLad ( 935151 )

      It was better before they started letting people post classified ads as products for sell.

      If it shows up in the list of results I expect to be able to buy it on Newegg not click through to Bullshitbrandxcompany to complete my purchase there.

      This! I've shopped NewEgg for over a decade (bought this [newegg.com] for $90 in 2002, heh), but killing the usefulness of ShopRunner and then letting some really, really crappy sellers sell through their site has turned me off. I still look when I shop, but as often as not, I buy at Amazon. If NewEgg would allow me to have an account-level setting that made me never see the other sellers, I'd be a lot more loyal (the ShopRunner ship sailed, c'est la vie).

    • On all searches there is a choice for "New Egg Only".

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:20PM (#51384115)
    Minero Digital awoke a sleeping giant. Once that is done, it's wrath is felt. I like how Lee Cheng said, "... Now that they have started the litigation, it would be irresponsible for Newegg to not finish it."
    • who knew it was Newegg? They sued a probably unknown (to them) company only to find out they were really Newegg.

      Their internal policy is probably "don't sue Newegg" and what a surprise when the phone rang and the caller ID displayed "Newegg legal department"

  • Newegg should INSIST on getting compensated for all of this. In fact, I think that they can ask for 10x the compensation. No?
    • How about asking for $150 HR + court costs.

      • How about asking for $150 HR + court costs.

        You forgot a zero, maybe two, $150.00/hr might have worked in 1953.

    • and who exactly is going to compensate them? they are a patent troll company, they would almost certainly be a shell company with zero assets and the directors with no direct liability. I am all for punishing the pricks that do this, but it aint happening under current laws.
  • "... Newegg house brand Rosewill..."

    In my experience, Rosewill products are of often poor. It is interesting to learn that Newegg management is responsible.
    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Rosewill was poor when it first came out. It has improved quite a bit for a cheap storebrand.
  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @04:44PM (#51384293)
    ... its patent is not only expired but would suck even if it wasn't expired....
    • I was focused on the same thing and was going to write a post based on the same quote.

      It's funny, you normally expect lawyers who are speaking publicly to use legalese jargon....

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2016 @05:26PM (#51384647)
    If it is anything like a normal patent troll then this lawsuit is pointless, it will be a shell company that will just trade the patents to a new shell and evaporate leaving newegg with extra legal bills for no purpose. The whole business model of a patent troll is to have no real assets or employees to risk, just lawyers in a shell company.
    • It's not pointless - Newegg isn't suing for money, they're asking the court to find the patent invalid in order to prevent any potential action in the future.
  • I'm glad for their policy against patent trolls, but I buy from them as little as possible.

    Reason? Not prices, not selection, but return policy. Even if you receive a defective item, you have to pay return shipping.

    Newegg's excuse? "It's not our fault if the product's defective." Honest, look it up on their site, that's their published excuse.

    Well, if I get a defective product from Newegg, it's not my fault either. They can go suck Eggs.

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      "It's not our fault if the product's defective."

      Really? Damn, things have changed.

      We ordered a rackmount LCD console from them back in '04 (about $1000 or so). The vendor shipped the wrong gender cable with it. Called NewEgg. They didn't give me the "It's not our fault" line. Instead, they shipped the correct cable at their expense. Arrived two days later.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.

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