Former Patent Attorney Turned Patent Litigant... Sues Other Patent Lawyers

from the the-devil-you-know dept

A growing number of patent attorneys who have worked on cases for patent hoarders have realized that it's such a lucrative game (and it really is a game -- one that wastes money and harms innovation -- but a game, nonetheless) that they've jumped ship, either getting or buying patents themselves and launching lawsuits. An anonymous reader points us to one such lawyer who didn't only do that, but has chosen a rather interesting target for his patent lawsuits: other patent lawyers. Yes, that's right. Patent lawyer Wes Whitmeyer apparently got a couple of patents (5,895,468 and 6,182,078) covering ways to manage patent payments, and he's now going after other law firms.
What's particularly unusual is who Whitmeyer is targeting: IP law firms, which are trained to either dish out the pain--or parry the blows--on behalf of others, but rarely find themselves accused of patent infringement. But no less than eight law firms are now in that position, thanks to Whitmeyer's patent claims.

In June, through his patent-holding company WhitServe LLC, Whitmeyer sued seven law firms: Brinks Hofer Gilson & Leone; Dinsmore & Shohl; Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aranoff; Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, Kusner & Jaffe, Mueting, Raasch & Gebhardt; and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
Apparently, Whitmeyer has sued a bunch of companies that make software for managing patent payments (how the hell is that not an obvious offering?), and won one of the lawsuits. The law firms listed above are apparently all customers of that firm, CPi. So, beyond attacking other patent attorneys, Whitmeyer is double dipping here. This is allowed, but it's yet another example of how ridiculously distorted the patent system has become.

The article also points out some other incredible parts of this story. CPi, which has been in business for over half a century, is being accused of willful infringement and for copying Whitmeyer's patents. CPi's CEO claims that's false, and notes that he'd never heard of Whitmeyer until he sued CPi. But where it gets really ridiculous is that Whitmeyer's lawyers are asking the court to increase damages just because CPi's CEO called Whitmeyer's patents "silly." Who knew that expressing an opinion on egregious patents might get you hit with greater damages?

This sort of situation is not what the patent system is supposed to encourage.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    AdamR (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Talk about breeding and eating your own kind,

     

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

  2.  
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    Jay (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    See what I said about incentive?

    I swear... It's like I don't even know how to ask about how we can change the incentives anymore. It just seems like the Supreme Court has to come down and tell people "sue in bad faith, get convicted, you pay court costs"

    Right now, the entire system really is wonky.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    It's nice to see them attacking each other for once. No honor among dogs who eat other dogs apparently.

    I guess it's too much to hope that maybe they'll destroy each other and leave the rest of the people who actually produce something alone.

     

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

  4.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Circle the wagons

    I'm with you, Mike, I hate people like this. :)

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Danny, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    Lower than theives

    I mean damn there's even some degree of honor among theives. This should proof positive that the patent system is a mess that needs to be cleaned up badly.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    We need a loser pays system...

     

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

  7.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    On the bright side

    another patent lawyer dropped out and became one of the most lucid critics of IP.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Readers interested in this post might also be interested in a story I wrote about Whitmeyer's company last month, located here.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202464370148

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Joe Mullin, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    Whitmeyer story

    Whoops, I didn't mean to be an AC!

    The previous comment and link was left by me.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Do we still need more proof that the system has a problem and needs severe changes?

     

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

  11.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Spare some change?

    Until the unrest foments an armed revolution; there are no problems.

    ; P

     

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

  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Spare some change?

    "You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we all (THIS PORTION OF COMMENT DELETED PENDING COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT LEGAL ACTION)"

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Dog-eat-dog capitalism.

    Combined with the lawyer's medieval guild. Both looting a dying civilization.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Lawyers fighting lawyers? I see no problem here.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 6:09pm

    Doggy dog world?

    The law give it, the law take it.

    Then some people don't understand why so many people are starting to ignore the law.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    Satire IRL

    Wow - this is excellent !

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    JShen, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Stop with the "patent system is broken" nonsense

    It is so easy to blame and say that the patent system is broken. The patent system's primary purpose is to encourage innovation. If it stops encouraging innovation, then the system can be called broken. Just because other activities are happening does not mean that the patent system is broken. To the extent that a patent system can stimulate innovation, it is still working. Nothing's perfect. This is just a case of an individual attorney trying to make some money.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 8:16pm

    This Could Be A Good Thing

    The first sign of the whole patent system imploding?

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 8:30pm

    A patent lawyer with a patent on patent trolling is suing patent lawyers for patent trolling.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Stop with the "patent system is broken" nonsense

    "It is so easy to blame and say that the patent system is broken. "

    It's so easy to say that 1 + 2 = 2. Lets try and argue that it's five instead.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 10:32pm

    "This sort of situation is not what the patent system is supposed to encourage"

    That's an assumption which seems to fly in the face of all available evidence. Just because that's not why the patent system was created, it doesn't mean it's not what the current system is supposed to encourage.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    ds, Sep 9th, 2010 @ 2:56am

    What a bunch of average_joes...

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    zub, Sep 9th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    Meta-trolling

    Wow, so here we have meta-trolling. What about meta-meta-trolling, or more generally (meta)^N-trolling?:)

     

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

  24.  
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    nasch (profile), Sep 9th, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Lower than theives

    No, it needs to be cleaned up well. ;-)

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Sep 9th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re:

    Doggy dog world?

    LOL, it's "dog eat dog world".

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    NY Patent Attorney, Sep 14th, 2010 @ 9:23pm

    His bio indicates that he was lead counsel in Knorr-Bremse, both at the trial and appellate level. It doesn't say who he has worked for in the past.

     

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


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