Silicon Valley Patent Attorneys Register Their Own Patents; Sue Google, Microsoft, Yahoo And Others

from the more-lucrative dept

A few months ago, we pointed to Joe Mullin's excellent article detailing how various patent attorneys were finding a lucrative side business in registering or buying their own patents and suing companies themselves. It's just that much more lucrative. Mullin is back, describing two Silicon Valley patent attorneys, Dominic Kotab and Kevin Zilka, who have been registering or buying a bunch of patents, and have been quite active in both setting up multiple shell companies, and suing many different defendants. And, despite the fact that they're both based in San Jose, right down the street from many of the firms they've sued, all of the lawsuits are being filed in Texas, of course. This includes a lawsuit against Adobe, whose headquarters are a mere four blocks from the offices of Kotab and Zilka. Adobe asked for the case to be transferred to California... and the request was rejected.

They've sued pretty much all of the big name tech companies, including Microsoft (five different times, on five different patents), Google, Yahoo, Adobe, Nokia, Motorola, Palm, AT&T, AOL and many, many others. The most recent is a lawsuit against Google for apparently violating this patent, which the lawyers claim Google is violating with its new Chrome browser.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    vrobca, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Time Relativity

    I'm not American, but in my county as well people are continuously finding loop holes or pretty much very dirty ways to make easy, steamy piles of cash. Is it only me that feels like most of the gov's legislation, regardless of the area it addresses, was written in days when people, overall , had a higher sense of morale and human decency ? Old laws against new situations, maybe its time a generation like mine ( gen X ) starts thinking about a new set of constitutional heroes that provide an onramp off this cobble stone road we've been treading on for so long.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Hang em

     

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

  3.  
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    Xanthir, FCD, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 9:49am

    Re: Time Relativity

    I'm not American, but in my county as well people are continuously finding loop holes or pretty much very dirty ways to make easy, steamy piles of cash. Is it only me that feels like most of the gov's legislation, regardless of the area it addresses, was written in days when people, overall , had a higher sense of morale and human decency ? Old laws against new situations, maybe its time a generation like mine ( gen X ) starts thinking about a new set of constitutional heroes that provide an onramp off this cobble stone road we've been treading on for so long.

    No, and especially not in these circumstances. People have *always* been assholes. One thing that's changed is the ease with which people can magnify their assholeishness, though, as technology allows faster travel and communication.

    Plus, patent law is just five kinds of fucked up.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 9:49am

    The silver lining

    The only good I can see in this is that situations like this really highlight what is wrong with our current patent system. The courts, USPO, and even some members are starting to see the problems, and these types of activities are only going to highlight the problems and keep them in the media.

     

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  5.  
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    I patented the intertubes in 1937!!!, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    Stop the madness

    Patent lawsuits really are getting out of hand, as well as trademark suits. I never understood how most patents even got issued when they're so vague.

    A guy in my community owns a small business and owns a few patents relating to the business. I think he makes small motor parts or some such. He was just telling me a few days ago he's being sued for patent infringement. So its not just large business that is affected by these cockroach lawyers. The courts need to start imposing heavy fines when its decided a case is frivolous.

    Something definitely needs to be done when a huge company like Apple sues a school for using an apple logo, meanwhile Education + an Apple go back centuries. Or when lawyers do things like stated i this article. Disgusting times we live in.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:15am

    I find it a little suprising that these "lawyers" haven't had a vehicular accident or a runaway baseball bat to the knees happen to them. One thinks that a certain level hiring thugs to change someones attitude would be much cheaper than paying off the cockroach or fighting it in court.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:16am

    I wonder if they've patented my foot going up their ass yet...

     

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  8.  
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    angry dude, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Mikey's head is square

    but his ass is triangular and he writes with it

     

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  9.  
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    mike42 (profile), Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Ya know...

    It seems like corporate executives that support software patents and the patent system in it's current state are NOT acting in the best interests of the corporations they work for or their shareholders. Time and again the large corporation gets the shakedown from some troll, and who pays for it? Not the executives, no. The shareholders take the hit for the executive's misconceptions. Even if the company wins, it's thousands wasted on court costs at a time when many companies are scrimping on office supplies.

     

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  10.  
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    Moderation, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Patent abuse and Copyright abuse...

    are two of the biggest problems the US faces... Not saying our economy isn't bad now, but it doesn't help when leeches suck the blood out of companies that are trying to make due... and force them to either not hire, or lay off workers to pay for moronic law suits like this...

    This on top of the fact that these practices are killing innovation... unless you consider finding ways to screw the system innovative... Why try going into business or selling a new product, or developing the next great idea, when some asshole lawyer will just take it all from you... or end up being your boss...

    Sickening... what can be done to shed more light on this problem? Why the HELLL would Adobe's motion to transfer this case be rejected!? The judge that rejected this request needs to be investigated!

     

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  11.  
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    Evil Mike, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    Sadly, there aren't enough hired thugs to go around. In fact, the few competent hire-able thugs are nearing retirement age, and cannot afford to retire. Please donate to your local Hire an International Thug Union (HIT-U) today!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Monarch, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    All the Thugs for hire decided it was more lucrative to get law degrees and MBA's. Come on, make more money playing the numbers in corporate finance and get lesser sentences when busted. Plus it's more profitable to break a pocket book than a knee!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    astontechno, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    to sue or not to sue

    only if a lawsuit of this nature is victorious will

    the lawsuit actually be explained to the layman

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    I'm confused.

    How is it possible a patent is granted for a process that's been out for years?

    Shouldn't this be illegal for these idiots to sue companies over post-process patents?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 12:29pm

    Why Texas?

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Jan, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 3:06pm

    how come?

    How is that even possible that they are allowed to make money of patents? Don't you have any law against 'conflict of interest' in America?

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 4th, 2008 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Mikey's head is square

    That's so incoherent Angry Dude, that it makes me wonder what you write with?

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 12:04am

    Re: angry dud

    Nurse! He's over here.

     

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


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