Judge Ignores Supreme Court Patent Instructions While Making WiFi Devices A Lot More Expensive

from the we-are-marshall dept

Late last year, we wrote about how a judge in every patent hoarder's favorite court in Marshall, Texas had sided with a the Australian science agency CSIRO, which claims a patent on some of the core technology found in WiFi. CSIRO is interesting. It's a government agency, and therefore claims it can ignore lawsuits against its patents, but still makes full use of the U.S. courts in enforcing those patents. The judge in this case has apparently issued an injunction against Buffalo Technology, the defendant in the case. This seems to go against the Supreme Court's ruling last year about how patent injunctions often don't make sense. Most courts since have (reasonably) ruled that injunctions don't make sense if the patent holder doesn't have a product in the market. After all, the greater harm in that case is clearly to society, since no product is being offered. However, in this case, the judge decided to issue an injunction anyway -- making the bizarre decision that not offering an injunction present irreparable harm in the form of "lost opportunities." As has been explained repeatedly (though, apparently not to this judge) "lost opportunities" is not an actual loss. Buffalo Technology will hopefully appeal, as it has a pretty strong case, given the Supreme Court's MercExchange ruling. However, in the meantime, this could mean that basically anyone offering WiFi products may suddenly have to pay up to the Australian government if they want to keep selling those products.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    discojohnson, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:23am

    screw australia's government. screw america's broken legal and patent system. things like this make me less proud to be an american.

     

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  2.  
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    Bah who needs one, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:24am

    This ignores the larger issue that a government is holding any kind of "IP" at all.

    Funding research and development out of tax money and then turning right around and claiming "IP" to accrue royalty payments whose purpose in law is ostensibly to reimburse one for R&D costs seems to be double-dipping.

    All work product of government should, if it's not actually secret classified stuff, be automatically public domain.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    JD, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:38am

    Re: Govt holding patent

    I see your point, but I would not be remiss in pointing out: This is not even our government, so any rules we make for them do not apply.

    In addition, what is an Australian agency doing with an American Patent. and if it is not an American Paten, who cares!

     

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  4.  
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    Jacob Buck, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:39am

    Now if only the RIAA and MPAA could understand that lost opportunities lost sales.

     

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  5.  
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    Joe Smith, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:40am

    other shoe

    And if Australians lose at trial are they going to compensate the Defendants fully for the Defendants' lost opportunities as a result of the injunction having been issued against them?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Comment number 2, way to read...

    Its isnt OUR govt doing it. It is Austria's govt. So if they want to charge a US company to use the tech that they developed with THIER TAXPAYER'S DOLLARS.. it makes complete sence to me...

    It would be like if we suddenly discovered a means to produce a solar panel that is 99% effective at converting the sun's energy, we wouldn't just igve that tech up to the austrians...

    Hell no, we would be pattenting the hell out of it, mass producing the pannels, and selling gross supplies of energy to developing nations. We would line OUR pockets, and would actually show the American people that "HEY LOOK, we actually did something productive."

    Nah what am i saying... we should be charitable prostitutes and take money from our bank to fund research (putting us in debt) then once we ahve something worth a fortune, just hand it out to the world so a few individuals can bank off of it... seriously man, before you post again... Think about what you are saying, re read the article... then just forget what you were going to say.

    ^^^Also that... would never happen... oil co's would likely have that kind of dicovery burried, or would just say "it takes resourse X to build this... lets buy all of resorce X"

    Corruption and stupidity abound

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:46am

    Idiot Mike

    Mike, forget about Australia

    Think about US research universities investing LOTS and LOTS of money and effort into basic research.
    Are they to be compensated for their work ?
    YES or NO ?
    Just answer the question, Mike.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    InkChemist, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    Dear Bah,
    Please learn to use your brain. It is a beautiful thing when used properly. The Australian government paid for the research with Australian tax payer money and took out a US patent. The Australian government can enforce its US patent and recover its investment through royalties paid by US and other non-Australian companies. What's wrong with that?

    The US government owns many patents. They actively seek to license many of them to companies that will commercialize the technology. Nothing wrong with that, either.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Casper, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Re: Idiot Mike

    angry dude, where did the funding for the research come from? Your acting like they are some how in debt for their research when in fact they are given money up front for research efforts.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re:

    Dear Bah,
    Please learn to use your brain. It is a beautiful thing when used properly. The Australian government paid for the research with Australian tax payer money and took out a US patent. The Australian government can enforce its US patent and recover its investment through royalties paid by US and other non-Australian companies. What's wrong with that?

    The US government owns many patents. They actively seek to license many of them to companies that will commercialize the technology. Nothing wrong with that, either.


    The problem is that the Australian government agency has a double standard rule. They can't be sued, but they can sue. You can't be in and out of the legal system at the same time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    ScaredOfTheMan, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:57am

    Not Everyone....I bet they won't be paying this extortion in China!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    No Idiot, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 11:59am

    Re: Idiot Mike

    US Universities invest very little money in research. They get their money from corporate, State and US Gov't research grants.

    Corporations get patents that they then use to sue each other. States and the US Gov't generally get patents, then license them back to the researcher or an industry council to help all businesses. Well, except maybe the 90% or so they keep under wraps or secretly license to military contractors for reasons of national security.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:02pm

    can we just give texas back to mexico already?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Haywood, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:17pm

    Re:

    Or better still, annex Mexico. It would solve the illegal immigration problem. Your way just moves it up to the red river.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    "Corporations get patents that they then use to sue each other. States and the US Gov't generally get patents, then license them back to the researcher or an industry council to help all businesses."

    Just think about what you wrote...

    "To help all businesses" ???? Never heard this one before...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Idiot Mike

    You make three assumptions:

    1. All research leads to valuable patents

    Most patents sit on a shelf gathering dust. Invention is not innovation. Plenty of people invent things. It's getting that invention out to the market that is important.

    2. All patents are easy to copy

    If it takes someone 10 years to invent something, it's unlikely that someone else will be able to copy in days, weeks, let alone months. Besides, something that is easy to copy or is obvious, should have never received a patent in the first place.

    3. All inventors are entitled to a revenue stream.

    The US Constitution allows the government to grant a time-limited monopoly so that you have an OPPORTUNITY to recover your costs and earn a living.


    If you are going to ask us questions, let me ask you a question: Which company had a positive impact on the global economy: RIM, the innovator with a line of products, or NTP, the patent hoarder, with not a single product?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    GoblinJuice, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:37pm

    How come all/most of the judges aren't on the same page? o_O

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    GoblinJuice, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re:

    Mexico is due for revolution. Illegal immigration is the only thing that has delayed it. ;(

     

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  19.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 21st, 2007 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Idiot Mike

    Just answer the question, Mike.

    I find it hilarious that you demand I answer your silly question when you refuse to respond to any of the questions I've asked you over the years.

    Let's try again:

    Angry dude, what patent do you hold, since you keep talking about it?
    How come you told us you had a patent years ago, but last week you admitted you just got your first patent?

    Just answer the questions, angry dude.

    Now on to your question:

    Think about US research universities investing LOTS and LOTS of money and effort into basic research.
    Are they to be compensated for their work ?
    YES or NO ?


    Angry Dude, I'm coming to the conclusion that you don't actually bother to read anything we write. The way you phrased the question is quite misleading, so a simple yes or no doesn't make sense.

    It's like saying, "a house wife works very hard, investing lots of her time at home, cooking meals and taking kids. Is she to be compensated for her work? Yes or No?"

    Or, better yet, it's like saying, Joe down the street put a ton of effort, time and money into the restaurant he built. No one came to it. Shouldn't he be compensated?

    The questions are the same. Somehow, I get the feeling you don't think the failed restaurant owner should be compensated. The way markets work is that everyone has the *opportunity* to enter a market and try to convince the market to compensate them.

    I'm not so sure why this is so difficult for you to understand, but we have NEVER said that people shouldn't be compensated. What we've said (and which you continue to ignore) is that people should be compensated by the market... not through gov't monopolies. It's much more efficient for everyone.

    So, please, angry dude, spend some time trying to understand what we've actually said.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Mark Baker, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 1:03pm

    They already do

    Companies worldwide already pay CSIRO for their infamous Wifi patents. Buffalo was targetted because they *didn't* pay.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    Mike, don't play an idiot...

    I am specifically talking about RESEARCH universities doing basic research.
    Are they supposed to manufacture each and every thing they invented to reap the "market" benefits ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 21st, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    Oh look, angry dude still demands I answer his questions, but refuses to answer mine.

    Come on, dude, show us your patent. And tell us why you lied about holding a patent a few years ago.


    I am specifically talking about RESEARCH universities doing basic research.


    Who is funding the research?

    Are they supposed to manufacture each and every thing they invented to reap the "market" benefits ?

    Do you spend much time at research universities? You do realize that those who do really good research can get very lucrative consulting projects in or for industry as well. And they can do all that without holding back the innovation of companies.

    So, again, angry dude, I'm answering your questions. Why won't you answer mine?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    andy, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    as much as this whole argument is feeding the troll, at least you're feeding him crow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 2:00pm

    Of course... They are not judges. They are GODS.

    At least, that's what they believe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    DCX2, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Idiot Mike

    Did Dijkstra patent his algorithm for solving the shortest path problem?

    Why don't you understand that sometimes the answer is yes and other times the answer is no?

    You say that universities spend a lot of money on research. Have you considered that their compensation is the grant money that the public is paying to have the research done?

    Think about what CSIRO wants. They want the public to continue to pay them for something that they have already paid for. If that's what you call fair...you're a lost cause.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    Gee, you people are just hopeless..

    CSIRO did not use US taxpayer's money, cause it's Australian agency
    A--u-s-t-r-a-l-i-a-n !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Brian Carnell, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 4:58pm

    It Makes Perfect Sense

    "The judge in this case has apparently issued an injunction against Buffalo Technology, the defendant in the case. This seems to go against the Supreme Court's ruling last year about how patent injunctions often don't make sense. "

    Huh? The judge issued a summary judgment that a) the CSRIO patent was valid and b) Buffalo was infringing. Six months later Buffalo still hasn't negotiated terms with CSRIO so the judge issued an injunction barring them from selling infringing devices until they do reach terms with Buffalo.

    What about this is so odd?

    Also, you should note that although CSRIO claims it is immune from lawsuit, the judge in this case already rejected that claim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Me, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    Come on angry dude. what, are you to scared to answer mike's question about your patent, or is it just that you don't actually have any patent at all and you are worried that everyone will see that you are full of crap?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 21st, 2007 @ 5:45pm

    Re: It Makes Perfect Sense

    Huh? The judge issued a summary judgment that a) the CSRIO patent was valid and b) Buffalo was infringing. Six months later Buffalo still hasn't negotiated terms with CSRIO so the judge issued an injunction barring them from selling infringing devices until they do reach terms with Buffalo. What about this is so odd?

    The judge could have ordered a fine and allowed Buffalo to keep selling the product... Ordering an injunction to stop selling just isn't necessary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    I'm guessing that angry dude does have a patent but its weak and obvious and we all know how obvious patents are treated around here...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Me, Jun 21st, 2007 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Idiot Mike

    Hear, hear! I agree wholeheartedly!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    CF, Jun 23rd, 2007 @ 12:34am

    Re: "Angry Dude" AKA...

    ....Robert L. Scott????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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