Admitted Patent Troll Finds The Phrase 'Shell Entity' Offensive

from the oh-really? dept

You may recall last year that we wrote about a patent lawsuit where the judge banned the use of the word "patent troll." That seemed reasonable enough, since it's clearly a negatively loaded phrase. However, it looks like some patent attorneys are trying to go even further with that concept. Ray Niro, in defending Scott Harris (who, you may recall, licensed his own patents to be used in lawsuits against his own firms' clients), is demanding that the phrase "shell entities" not be used either, claiming that they, too, are used negatively. That's because, like so many patent holders these days, Harris used shell companies to hold the patents and to sue companies. Of course, "shell entities" is a descriptive term, not one that is clearly designed as an insult like "patent troll."

Besides, this seems quite rich, coming in defense of Harris, who used to own the website ImAPatentTroll.com. And, indeed, the lawyers on the other side of the case wasted no time in pointing this out:
Additionally, the Motion to Strike asserts that the term 'shell entity' is synonymous, in this context, with the term "patent troll." Significantly, Mr. Harris, even while at Fish & Richardson, sponsored a website, imapatenttroll.com, in which he proudly and openly referred to himself as a "patent troll." Truth is an absolute defense.
Separately, it is also rather amusing to see patent system defenders get upset about the phrase "patent trolls" when they're so quick to refer to any sort of patent reform as "patent deform", companies in favor of patent reform "The Piracy Coalition," while, of course, insisting that any individual in favor of patent reform a "shill."


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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Admitted Patent Troll Finds The Phrase 'Shell Entity' Offensive .... Really? Ahhhh, poor guy, "LOSER" , maybe he likes that better. How about Patent "A-H"

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 8:53am

    You can't blame the mirror if you don't like what you see.

     

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    Sticky Tape Guru, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 9:25am

    It looks everyone's gone mad by living in their branded communities for so long.

     

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    MLS, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 9:38am

    "Patent Troll"

    The terms is pejorative and overinclusive as it has been and is being used in a context that oftentimes embraces virtually every inventor(s) who is actively and diligently trying to move the "innovation process" (as you define the term) along to secure the services of others downstream to attempt productization of an invention and its introduction into the market. Such inventors have oftentimes also been referred to as "Non Practicing Entities" (NPEs).

    For example, it has been applied to universities engaged in tech transfer programs, medical professionals who have crafted new devices (such as, for example, stents) who seek out manufacturers for such devices, etc. These groups/indivisuals are most certainly not sitting on their thumbs waiting for businesses to beat a path to their door, nor are they laying in wait from some other group/party to introduce a new product so that they can sue them to the hilt for infringement in order to "extort" royalties.

    "Patent Deform"

    This is a term adopted by some attorneys and non-attorneys as a means of noting that there is little in the proposed Patent Reform Act of 2006 that in any meaningful manner addresses what many agree are problems with the current system. For example, one area that receives virtually no attention is the long recognized need for the USPTO to have readily at hand the resources needed and time allocated for patent examiners to properly perform their responsibilities. Rather than solving problems residing within the USPTO, the proposed legislation attempts to "load shed" USPTO responsibilites upon patent applicants themselves.

    Most practitioners well recognize the shortcomings of the present system, but strongly disagree that a solution lies wherein the USPTO is able to shift its statutory responsibilities to applicants.

    Other concerns, which I share, is that portions of the proposed legislation operate as cardinal shifts in the law in the name of "international harmonization", i.e., "they are all doing it so we must do the same." Perhaps some of these shifts are appropriate, but the dearth of any discussion within the Congress about pros and cons raises what I believe are justifiable concerns about unintended consequences.

    Rightly or wrongly, there is also suspicion that the drafters of the proposed legislation was apparently a cabal of corporate lawyers in the employ of many major corporations. This suspicion is no more and no less than the suspicion expressed on this site concerning recent legislative proposals prepared by the MPAA and the RIAA. Again, pro and con discussion of what this all means has been almost non-existent.

     

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    angry dude, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 10:16am

    trolls indeed

    I've never heard of any real estate trolls or copyright trolls

    Why patents are different in people's perception ?

    Patents are property rights after all and they should be treated the same way as any other property

     

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      Jerm, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 12:36pm

      Re: trolls indeed

      @angry dude

      No they should not be treated the same, as they're not like any other kind of property.

      "trolling" would be a bit tougher to do with real estate and copyright due to their nature.

      Patent trolls notoriously take ideas (obvious or not), patent them, and instead of trying to profit from their invention, wait for someone else to get rich off the idea, then sue them for "damages" that don't exist.

      With copyright, you actually have to create something for your property right to exist. If you could copyright, "A story about a villian who uses a knife to kill blonde women in new york" without having to actually write the story, then you would most certainly see copyright trolls.

      Patents give you right to property that doesn't exist -- not even (necessarily) virtually.

      For real estate, it's physical (therefore finite) property -- not even infinitely reproducible like things covered by copyright. The powers that be generally want real estate to exist before you claim ownership of it.

      The RE analog would be, "I hereby claim ownership of any future additional area of Virginia," and then suing the people that extended their beach for occupying 'your' land.

      Basically, the reason you don't see copyright and RE trolls are because they really can't exist in the same way as patent trolls do.

      The closest thing i might give you on copyright trools might be the infinite-extention proponents http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act

       

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        angry dude, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re: trolls indeed

        "Patent trolls notoriously take ideas (obvious or not), patent them, and instead of trying to profit from their invention, wait for someone else to get rich off the idea, then sue them for "damages" that don't exist"

        A little correction is in order, even assuming that such eggregeous entities exist

        "Patent trolls (aka small inventors) notoriously take ideas, patent them, and being unable to mass-manufacture their inventions, wait for some large company to get rich off the (stolen patented) idea, then sue for damages"
        This would be about right
        You have any problem with this, little punk ?

        there is movie coming out in October: "Flash of Genious"
        It's about late Bob Kearns and his epic patent battles with the crooked automotive industry
        Watch the movie, little dude
        It will help you understand the real dichotomy between small creators and large manufactoring corporations

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 2:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

          You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills. Perhaps you should sit down with "My First Grade Reader" and see if you can follow along. Then come back and maybe you can make something resembling an intelligent argument, if that's even remotely possible for you.

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2008 @ 5:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

          "Patent trolls (aka small inventors) notoriously take ideas, patent them, and being unable to mass-manufacture their inventions, wait for some large company to get rich off the (stolen patented) idea, then sue for damages" This would be about right You have any problem with this, little punk ? Ooh ooh, I do. You see, the 'idea' isn't the hard part - doing something useful with it is. Creating the value is. I have ideas all the time, but unless I can do something with it, it's no good to anyone. The correct form is: "Patent trolls have an idea and patent it (or buy patents from others), and then do nothing with them that is useful or creates value. Someone else has the same idea, creates something useful that has value, and the troll sues." Were we using the term "patent troll" to describe a small inventor who'd actually come up with a product but been beaten out in the market by a large company, your argument might carry a little more weight. But we're not. Put the strawman away. That's leaving aside a total lack of empirical evidence that patents spur innovation, and the fact that granting monopolies encourages cartelism and protectionism (exactly the opposite of your supporting the little guy), but we'll take this in small steps, eh?

           

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            angry dude, Aug 2nd, 2008 @ 9:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

            Mudak

            patents are issued for new and unobvious inventions, not for some abstract "ideas"

            But ot course every invention boils down to some brilliant idea
            Disclosing a brilliant unobvious idea to everybody as opposed to keeping it secret is the essence of the patent system.
            Patent system is largely responsible for the tremendous progress this country achieved in the last 200 years

            You are a clueless moron

             

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    •  
      identicon
      Evil Mike, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 9:44am

      Re: trolls indeed

      Patents are as much property as domain names are, you pudd.

       

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        angry dude, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 10:03am

        Re: Re: trolls indeed

        Domain names ARE property too: they are sold abd bought

        You should know it already little punk

         

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        •  
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          Evil Mike, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

          No, only leased. One cannot have hold of a domain name OR a patent in perpetuity, as each is only a fictional temporary monopoly granted at the whim of some "authority."

          A domain name is not real property, only Intellectual Privilege (or Property, for the uninitiated.) Same can be said of a patent.

           

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            angry dude, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 10:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

            You need to familiarize yourself with the concept of "property" little punk

            You own a property of you can exclude others from using it and if you can buy or sell it to anybody else and that person will have the samwe rights as the original owner
            Just like the real estate property, e.g. your house (which you don't have of course)

            I own a domain name and a patent. Both things are my PROPERTY. I can exclude you or anybody else from using them
            (very easy with domain name but kind of difficult with patent lately)
            I can also sell them to anybody

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Evil Mike, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 10:38am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

              You obviously don't understand the difference between "REAL" and "Intangible."

              "Real" property includes things your can touch, move, and physically control. They can be held in perpetuity through-out as much history as your descendants (ha) care to hold on to them for.

              "Intangible" (i.e. Patents, domains) only exist in the records of some authoritative entity, and are only yours upon the whims and policies of said entity. In no way are they actually yours, you have no physical control over them.

              And if this begins to require more educating, I shall begin to charge you for the service. ;P

               

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              •  
                identicon
                angry dude, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 11:02am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

                Punky

                you are starting to get annoying

                If you happen to own real estate you should know that you only "own" it as long as you keep paying property taxes
                Mine are 10k a year

                The moment I stop paying these taxes my very own house is not mine anymore - I will be evicted and the house will be sold at an auction to the highest bidder

                But you can keep your Ipod forever, of course, and pass it to your heirs, if you ever have ones

                You see, punky, your "owneship" of anything important in this world "only exist in the records of some authoritative entity, and are only yours upon the whims and policies of said entity"

                Now get lost pridurok

                 

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                •  
                  identicon
                  Evil Mike, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 11:08am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

                  Just because Real property can be seized by your zealot government in the name of its imaginary tax system does not make it any less Real.

                  Do stop attempting to address an issue that isn't!

                  (You are up to .02 credit hours, so far that's $1.20)

                   

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                  •  
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                    angry dude, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 11:14am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: trolls indeed

                    $1.20 buys you something to chew on where you live ?

                    Good for you little lemming

                     

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  •  
    identicon
    Grady, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 11:21am

    Hmmm..... They find "Patent Troll" offensive, and now "Shell Entity," because it's loaded with a negative connotation. Let me think about this......

    Is has a negative connotation because everyone can see waht they are doing, and everyone hates it, well, aside from those gaining from it. Maybe, just maybe, they need to grow tougher skin to deal with what they have decided to do make themselves rich.....like a congressman.....

     

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    Old Guy, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 11:31am

    Getting rid of them

    As a long time rpg geek, I know this... You wanna get rid of trolls...you need to use fire or acid, otherwise they just keep coming back

     

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    Saigon Zogg, Aug 1st, 2008 @ 6:17pm

    Patent FU* Trolls....

    To the "Patent Trolls" & "Shell Entities" I say "PISS OFF!!". YOU DON'T MATTER. I DO NOT RECOGNIZE YOUR CLAIM. You bastards that that specifically patent an "idea" present a road-block to Human Progress & Human Evolution.
    I Give This Message To All The World. . .
    If I Receive Plans for, Or Develope a Technology for clean, renewable energy... I will freely transmit it to the world. I will share it with everyone. Including China, Russia, Africa, The Balkin States and everyone. Regardless of their political status. Technological information belongs to the world. Every human being. Fuck Big Brother. Fuck the patent trolls and the security camera. AND The Government Control.......... . . .It Belongs To The World.

     

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    stv, Aug 4th, 2008 @ 6:41am

    stop the shilling!!!

    You miss the point. Reporters become shills when they consistently present only one side of an issue even after they become aware of others. Clearly, one is then a shill. Another term that comes to mind is biased. That is then not amusing, but rather abusing.

    By the way, inventors do not as a whole object to all changes to the patent system. The problem is that most all the present changes as embodied in the Patent Reform Bill do not address what we perceive as true problems, but will instead create many. All this talk of bad patents is a hoax invented (that’s the closest they come to inventing these days) by some large tech firms as a way to in effect legalize theft. The changes they propose are therefore not reform, but deform.

    What is truly amusing is that the big firms and their lackeys continue to use the slang “patent troll” even when they don’t even seem to know what it means. Now that, is funny.

     

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      Mike (profile), Aug 4th, 2008 @ 3:05pm

      Re: stop the shilling!!!

      You miss the point. Reporters become shills when they consistently present only one side of an issue even after they become aware of others. Clearly, one is then a shill. Another term that comes to mind is biased. That is then not amusing, but rather abusing.

      Well, odd, then that you seem to take a single biased position and repeated it over and over again without acknowledging the other side.

      Clearly, stv, you are a shill by your own definition.

      By the way, inventors do not as a whole object to all changes to the patent system. The problem is that most all the present changes as embodied in the Patent Reform Bill do not address what we perceive as true problems,

      Oh, I see now. You falsely seem to believe that the patent system was designed to protect small inventors. It's not.

      Come back when you learn what the patent system is about.

       

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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Aug 6th, 2008 @ 6:14am

    Piracy Coalition

    Mike, reasonable people might think that you are a shill for those who pirate other's patent properties.

    There is a reason that so many people are spewing patent troll nonsense. The reason is that the Piracy Coalition has been spending several hundred million dollars a year to create the myth of their being waylaid by trolls.

    The reality is much different. Every inventor thinks that their invention is the most beautiful baby. They promptly tell all who will listen about their baby. One out of ten of the companies who look at the invention will introduce an infringing product about a year later. The inventor then go back to them seeking a license deal and after a year or two of getting jerked around the inventor finds themselves a patent enforcement entity and proceeds to adjust the patent pirate's attitude.

    That is when the patent pirating entity's PR machine goes into overdrive claiming that they are being abused by a vicious troll.
    Ronald J. Riley,


    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.


    Many large companies do listen, but with larceny in their hearts. Trying to do business with these companies is much like

     

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    identicon
    Ronald, Sep 3rd, 2008 @ 4:45pm

    Research

    Maybe if people were just a little more careful and did some more research before patenting their ideas, they'd realize that there's already something similar on the market!

    I think websites like WikiPatents.com are really helpful so the online patent community can see what is out there before they get too far along with their invention.

     

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