Patent Lawsuit Silly Season: TechCrunch Sued For Patent Infringement After Critical Blog Post

from the this-will-end-badly dept

There are different levels of ridiculousness when it comes to patent lawsuits, with the lowest of the low being patent lawsuits based more on spite than on any legitimate claim. For a while, it seemed like Ray Niro's use of the infamous JPG patent, to sue a bunch companies he just didn't like, was perhaps alone in that category. But, it appears that we now have a new entrant. Apparently, some company (who we won't even name, since there's a good chance it's doing this just to get press attention) sued a more well-known competitor for patent infringement, over a location-based services patent. Looking over the patent itself it's difficult to see how it was approved. People were talking about location-based profile matching a decade ago, let alone five years ago when this patent was filed.

TechCrunch wrote a post mocking the lawsuit as a weak attempt to get press coverage (it worked!), while noting that TechCrunch itself was partnered with the sued company to provide a "co-branded community." This apparently caused the patent holder to amend the lawsuit and include TechCrunch as a defendant. Apparently, there were no threats or notification (though, the guy claims he tried to call TechCrunch). This will likely get tossed out incredibly quickly, as any judge will recognize that TechCrunch is just licensing its brand, not supplying the technology (and also hopefully question the validity of the patent itself). Already, though, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington is planning to countersue, so this could get fun.

The patent holder claims that adding TechCrunch to the lawsuit had nothing to do with the original post, but that's rather difficult to believe. There's also this somewhat amusing quote from the patent holder:
"TechCrunch can say whatever they want, and I applaud them. But no one has the right to infringe on a patent that I worked very, very hard for many years to bring about -- not just on paper but in reality."
Yes, and thanks to a broken patent system, you now get to dump a totally frivolous lawsuit on a site that clearly did not infringe on your highly questionable patent. Just like Thomas Jefferson intended.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 12:43pm


    I'd like to leave a comment, but my attorney advised against it.

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

  • identicon
    Shohat, 9 Oct 2008 @ 12:56pm

    Hilarity in 3..2..1..

    That's a smart move...
    Because Arrington is known for being the kind of person that would roll over, quietly, without making a fuss over IP / IT issues. The kind of person that will turn the other cheek when sued.

    Or, Michael will countersue Earthcomber, burn Jim Brady's dog and beat his children to death with a broken lawn chair. While twittering the whole event.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 1:01pm

    "The bottom of the post included a disclosure that Loopt is a TechCrunch sponsor because TechCrunch promotes a co-branded community on the Loopt service."

    Any idea what this means?

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

  • identicon
    David, 9 Oct 2008 @ 1:28pm

    What would happen if...

    Artificial entities could not hold patents and could only license them.

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

  • identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, 9 Oct 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Stop you are violating my patent on snarkiness


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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Oct 2008 @ 7:54pm

    Oh man, are we back in Branded Community territory again?

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

  • identicon
    MikeMomsdick, 13 Oct 2008 @ 7:42am

    MasNick is a Pussy

    OK, Momsdick:

    We get it. You don't like patents, and you are in love with Mike Arrington.

    Just curious where you obtained your expertise in analyzing patent litigation? You ARE an attorney, correct?

    Eh, nope.

    So why don't we let the big kids with legal expertise sort out the relevence of the lawsuit, and in the meantime, take your mouth off of Arrington's fat ass and do some enterprise reporting of your own. So far, all I can see is a wannabee parroting the Emporer, seeking approval.

    Consider your weak blog another "Yes Mike" enterprise. Mind you, he HATES guys like you because you are on his turf. But that won't stop him from using your shitty site to support his claim that he's not at fault.

    We shall see about that.

    Congrats, Momsdick. You are the A#1 Pussy of pussies. I bet the people at the foster home who raised you are quite proud.


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

  • identicon
    FellowCornellSissy, 13 Oct 2008 @ 7:52am

    Gotta agree, Mike, your argument seems irrelevent


    Like you, I am a fellow Cornell sissy who didn't pay for school myself and is working a full-time job at Starbucks while writing a technology blog in my mom's basement on the weekends.

    However, that is where our similarities end.

    It does seem as though you are, in fact, simply regurgitating Mr. Arrington's position as a defendant in a lawsuit he doesn't want to be part of. But what I don't understand is why it's OK for the Valley to believe that they can trample on intellectual property without consequence.

    YOU don't believe the patent is valid? Really?

    With all due respect, Mike:


    No need to answer. It's a rhetorical question.

    Stay along the margins, Mike. It's where you are best suited.

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

  • identicon
    Spellcheck, 13 Oct 2008 @ 7:59am

    Sorry about the spelling errors


    My apologies. I hate you and your blog so much that I failed to spellcheck in the above posting.

    Irrelevant. Not Irrelevent.

    Again, My apologies.

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

  • identicon
    jclayton, 30 Oct 2008 @ 4:12pm

    Running into issues with Earth Class Mail

    This week, I received legal letters and demands from this company Earth Class Mail that says that my blog’s domain name (earthmailfree) violates their trademark. I am actually looking for help to get people to know more about this and give me suggestions/advice. Thanks.

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

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