JPG Patent Holder Goes For The Sympathy Vote

from the oh-boo-hoo dept

Back during the RIM-NTP patent battle, one of the sleazier moves pulled by NTP was to have the widow of the patent holder write a letter to Congress about what a "gross injustice" was being done to her in the case. It was purely an attempt to influence the case for sympathetic rather than legal reasons. There are plenty of folks out there who have bogus patents -- and there's no reason to grant them rewards just because they've had some personal hardships. However, it looks like Global Patent Holdings (GPH) is taking this strategy to a new level. GPH, if you don't recall, holds the extremely questionable JPEG patent that has basically been used to bully people that patent attorney Ray Niro doesn't like. The Troll Tracker notes some interesting language used in a recent filing against a resort in Boca Raton.

In the filing, the lawyers play up the fact that the inventors named on the patent made very little money in 2006 and have some health problems (actually, it discusses one inventor and the other inventor's widow). In fact, it gets worse than that. In another filing, GPH points out that the inventors are old and "feeble". Again, it's not clear what the personal, health and financial problems of the inventors has to do with the validity of the patent or the claims of infringement. It seems to be purely an attempt to gain sympathy. Also, as someone in the comments on the Troll Tracker site notes, why focus on 2006, rather than 2007? The suggestion is that given how aggressively GPH has pushed to license the patent since last year, perhaps their income was substantially higher in 2007. Elsewhere, though, GPH notes that it owns the patents entirely, meaning that who the inventors are is somewhat meaningless -- but why let that stop the company from pushing for sympathy.

Either way, the filing then goes even further in pushing for the sympathy vote, noting that the resort in question is owned by a private equity firm in New York that was somehow loosely involved in the subprime loan crisis. Again, this obviously has nothing to do with whether or not the company is infringing on a patent by putting a JPEG image on its site -- but is being used to make the company look like a big bad evil giant. So, now the case is positioned as big multi-billion dollar subprime-mess-contributing NY-based private equity firm against poor, weak, sick inventors.

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  • identicon
    All That I Have Mastered, 22 Feb 2008 @ 9:55am

    I hope he dies and his widow gets cancer.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2008 @ 11:21am

    Isn't the charity of the firm wonderful!

    As a cynic - why does GPH not state THEIR income for the last few years and the amount that their lawyerS EARNED.

    Presumable, they feel sorry for the poor inventors. So they
    are going to give all the money to the inventors?
    Sign oveR all the patent rights to the poor and infirm inventors?

    Oh Yeh! Right!

    Is all this money, if there
    is an award, going to be given to the poor and infirm investors? I assume that the lawyers will also work 'pro bono' for these poor people.

    I think that the difference between science and law is that
    with law the lawyer tries to argue that the law should change "in this case'. With science, scientists and engineers work within the laws!

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

  • identicon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), 22 Feb 2008 @ 11:21am


    So patent attorneys took one from the scammers' playbook. Seems like a perfect marriage.

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

  • identicon
    erinol0, 22 Feb 2008 @ 12:39pm

    Who is John Galt?

    At times like these, it feels like Ayn Rand was right about society. They're actually suggesting that there should be a monetary award based upon feelings instead of facts.... Where's John Galt when you need him?

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

  • identicon
    Joe Smith, 22 Feb 2008 @ 2:43pm

    ask the question

    Now I would have thought that the obvious response for the Defendants is to ask the Plaintiffs lawyers ( in front of the judge) how much of any damage award would go to the inventors ( since the Plaintiff has put their circumstances in issue ) and to ask why the circumstances of the Defendant are relevant at all.

    The resort to arguments ad homenem are a sure sign a lawyer knows the facts and the law are against him.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2008 @ 5:51pm

    Sympathy for the Devil

    "Please allow me to introduce myself
    Im a man of wealth and taste
    Ive been around for a long, long year
    Stole many a mans soul and faith"

    Rolling Stones - of course

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

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