Patent Troll Asking For $5 Billion For Patents Google Doesn't Appear To Be Using

from the seems-a-bit-pricey dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about how Google was being sued by a company holding a patent on "least cost routing" technology for phone systems. We noted at the time that it seemed unlikely Google was infringing on those patents, seeing as Google Talk doesn't use the phone system, so there's no least cost routing to deal with just yet. However, the latest details are that the company is claiming $5 billion for this slight -- more than the (already ridiculous) price eBay paid for all of Skype. The patent holding firm in question also complains that Google is arrogant, which, as far as we know, is not an offense you can sue about.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Mousky, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 5:49pm

    USPTO

    From the Red Herring article:

    "But obtaining a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and getting a court to say the patent is enforceable are very different things."

    It should be the job of the USPTO to ensure that patents are enforceable not the court. This is biggest problem I have with the patent system in the US: it grants patents that should have never been granted in the first place. But the patent defenders have no problem with this and why should they? Afterall, they stand to profit from these problems.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    lanthus, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 6:01pm

    No Subject Given

    Is it really too much to ask that these people do something as simple as actually look at the patent before simply stating as a fact what these idiots tell them? 2 minutes of research would have clarified for them the fact that both patents have absolutely nothing to do with voip technology at all.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Mousky, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 6:11pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    No but Google has money, lots of it. But I'm sure that the patent defenders will argue that poor old RTI spent lots of time and resources developing these patents and that Google should be ashamed for infringing on the patents. Then again, I studied least cost routing back in 1989, even wrote a small program, so I'm not sure how the USPTO could even grant a patent on something that is found in spatial geography textbooks. But hey, according to the patent defenders, the patent system is just fine.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    discojohnson, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 6:33pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    "I'm not sure how the USPTO could even grant a patent on something that is found in spatial geography textbooks"

    +1 rep points for you, with an obvious tag (my 2 references for the evening)

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Don Davis, Dec 30th, 2005 @ 6:50pm

    No Subject Given

    To me is sounds like the USPTO wanted google to freak instead of know their own products and pay up. The idiots need to know what they are fighting before they hit themselves in the mouth.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    jdragon, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 1:00am

    Re: No Subject Given

    This reminds me of ...hmmm...SCO Unix Group...this is one of the reasons why companies like IBM and HP file thousands of patent applications each year. It's not so they would go after the little guys, but it's to protect themselves FROM the greedy little guys.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Format c: v:stupid /q, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 2:25am

    This is America!

    We can sue for whatever we want!

    woo hoo!

    Google just needs to realize that and sue the patent troll back for being, well, a patent troll.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    pud., Dec 31st, 2005 @ 5:36am

    No Subject Given

    you'd have to be einstein to work in the patent office these days... uh. what?

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    little guy, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 8:13am

    HP a victim of patent abuse?

    You gotta be kidding...
    Companies like HP and Microsoft are well known for stealing patented technology from little guys.
    So who is greedy after all ?
    Also, the real reason why they file 1000's of junk patents every year is to water down the patent quality, so they can still use their huge patent portfolio to supress competition at the expense of everybody else (e.g. startups with just few patents).
    Those large companies (IBM,HP, etc.) are the real greedy bastards and the biggest patent trolls (ever heard about IBM tax ?)

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Andrew Strasser, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 8:30am

    Google arrogant???

    They are the nicest kidest people out there as far as I'm concerned when it comes to finding things. They are offering more than anyone could ever ask of a company for free basically. I'd be more than arrogant if I was Google I would dominate the market and tell some little chump who wanted my money to go away. Then again a patent is a patent if it doesn't apply there is a whole different spectrum. I'm much more arrogant than Google though :)

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Red1JackFoster, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 6:23pm

    Re: This is America!

    USA! USA!
    How many Americans does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    Hey! We don't like that joke! WE'RE SUING!!!

    I still don't think that google is infringing on anything. They don't offer the services that the company is suing about.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    ccc, Dec 31st, 2005 @ 6:24pm

    Re: Google arrogant???

    "It should be the job of the USPTO to ensure that patents are enforceable not the court. This is biggest problem I have with the patent system in the US: it grants patents that should have never been granted in the first place. But the patent defenders have no problem with this and why should they? Afterall, they stand to profit from these problems."

    That would actually be horrible. I hate IP law in general, but imagine if this WERE the case - the patent office would not be likely to get the massively increased funding it would need, patent examiners would still be overworked, underpayed and frankly not very expert (you going to have experts in every possible field working for the PTO?)
    So while the volume of patents would decrease, there still would be plenty of room for stupid patents to slip through - only now they would have the legal standing of settled case law, meaning people harmed by bad patents would find it essentially impossible to do anything about it.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Mathew, Jan 1st, 2006 @ 8:12am

    wow

    Let me just say one thing about this:
    Is it obvious to anyone else that this company just wants money? Sueing is supposed to be about punishing the guilty (there is no guilty party here), not rewarding the "victim".

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Bill B., Jan 2nd, 2006 @ 2:48am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "something that is found in spatial geography textbooks."


    This is actually something now taught in my High School's Discrete Math class (took it in 11th grade even though you need to be in 12th, lucky move I guess, refer to page 33 of the WICSD HS Course Catalog for more info).

    I quote that document: "Some of the topics studied include networking, telecommunications, computer design, cryptanalysis, robotics, operations research and social choice theory (group decisionmaking theory)."

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    seo_spammer, Jan 2nd, 2006 @ 3:37pm

    Google is a CIA front

    Just sayin'

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    patentman, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 4:53am

    Re: No Subject Given

    "This is actually something now taught in my High School's Discrete Math class (took it in 11th grade even though you need to be in 12th, lucky move I guess, refer to page 33 of the WICSD HS Course Catalog for more info)."

    Ok, given my first experience on this site a week ago I probably shouldn;t even waste my time here, but I'm a glutten for punishment so I'm going to anyway.

    Congrats on the fact that you are learning this stuff in highschool now. BUt the patents at issue were issued in 1996 and probably filed much earlier. I haven;t read everyones posts, but can anyone point to a reference prior to the filing date of the patent that teaches the claimed technology? Everything looks obious in hindisight.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    patentman, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 4:54am

    Re: No Subject Given

    And yes, I know my typing sucks.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    patentman, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 4:55am

    Re: wow

    "Is it obvious to anyone else that this company just wants money? Sueing is supposed to be about punishing the guilty (there is no guilty party here), not rewarding the "victim"."

    Welcome to the world of patent trolls. Even I, a staunch defender of the U.S. Patent System, HATE these people with a passion.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Mousky, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 6:24am

    Re: wow

    You mean a staunc defender of the status quo ;)

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    little guy, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 6:38am

    Plaintiff = troll


    How can you defend patent system and, at the same time, hate people who just defend their legal "right to exclude" ?
    It looks to me that the good old word "inventor" gets nowdays substituted almost automatically with the mean "patent troll" each and every time some patent gets enforced in court.
    Enough is enough. This "patent troll" talk is just a cheap BS coming from big corporate infringer's PR departments.
    The only serious issue here is patent quality, but once a patent is found valid it MUST be enforced to be of any value.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    patentman, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 7:45am

    Re: Plaintiff = troll

    "How can you defend patent system and, at the same time, hate people who just defend their legal "right to exclude" ?"

    I don't question any patentee's "right to exclude." There is a difference in my mind, however, between individuals who legitimately engage in research and development to advance a technology and those who read a lot of patent literature and file applications based on their "prediction" of what the next advancement in the art will be (the quintessential "patent troll" behavior). Is what these people do legally permissible? Certainly. Is what they do viable from a commercial perspective? Certainly? Is this thye type of behavior meant to be fostered by the patent system? Probably not.

    Don't get me wrong, I am all for people exercising patent rights. I just personally find people who engage in troll-like behavior distasteful and a blight on an otherwise generally functional system.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    little guy, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 8:07am

    Re: Plaintiff = troll

    It is easy to find every breakthrough invention obvious in the hindsight.
    I've heard a lot of people (usually non-creative types) claiming that Bell's patent was obvious, and Gould's patent was obvious, and, of course, the Wright's patent was utterly obvious to everybody...
    Human nature never changes:
    Jealousy and Envy deny the merit or the novelty of your invention; but Vanity, when the novelty and merit are established, claims it for its own... One would not therefore, of all faculties, or qualities of the mind, wish for a friend, or a child, that he should have that of invention. For his attempts to benefit mankind in that way, however well imagined, if they do not succeed, expose him, though very unjustly, to general ridicule and contempt; and if they do succeed, to envy, robbery, and abuse.
    -Ben Franklin, 1755

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    patentman, Jan 3rd, 2006 @ 9:56am

    Re: Plaintiff = troll

    "It is easy to find every breakthrough invention obvious in the hindsight."

    I agree 100%

    "I've heard a lot of people (usually non-creative types) claiming that Bell's patent was obvious, and Gould's patent was obvious, and, of course, the Wright's patent was utterly obvious to everybody..."

    Well, I'm not a "creative type," but I am a scientific type, and I've worked in the patent field for many years. There is a legit argument that Bell's patent was anticipated or obvious in view of another inventors (earlier) work. As for wright, I don't know. Lots of stuff re: flying had been tried at the time they made their plane (i.e. Davinci's glider model), but none of them actually worked.

    Nice quote by the way :)

     

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