Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
google reader, negotiation, patents, pro se


Dear Google: We're Suing You For Patent Infringement... But Not In A Litigious Way

from the it's-just-our-way-of-saying-hi dept

Eric Goldman has an amusing patent lawsuit filed against Google for alleged violations of two patents by Google Reader. The two patents (one and two) have to do with information "coordination and retrieval" with one of them dating back to the late 80s. However, what's more amusing is what's said in the filing. As Goldman notes, this is a rare case where the lawsuit is being file pro se (without an outside lawyer)... and it shows.

Specifically, the filing suggests that the inventor really, really doesn't want to file a patent infringement lawsuit, and is really hoping that Google doesn't think it's litigious or get upset about it. Instead, the inventor claims that legal precedence forced him to file the lawsuit rather than negotiate. What legal precedent? One that would have allowed Google to file for declaratory judgment in a more favorable court. The inventor was afraid that if he kept talking to Google, they would do so, and that would be bad. He had contacted Google, via an unsolicited email, which Google responded to saying they weren't interested. Following that, he decided the only thing to keep the negotiation ongoing would be to file a lawsuit:
Further, as Priest & Morris, in good faith, only wish that the invention be used to its fullest potential, and have a strong wish that precious court and corporate resources be conserved, the plaintiffs prefer reaching this fair settlement through friendly appreciation and negotiation. In any event, we encourage defendant to not view this complaint as 'litigious behavior' and to view it in respective good faith and action.
As Goldman notes, it's pretty difficult not to view filing a lawsuit as litigious behavior because, well, it is litigious behavior.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Dave, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:09am


    it's just a lame attempt to play nice so that Google doesn't counter sue their pants off.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:35am

    "have to do with information "coordination and retrieval" with one of them dating back to the late 80s."

    Information on Important Patent Law Changes
    On December 8, 1994, President Clinton signed into law the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. This Act made several significant changes to U.S. patent law, including:

    * a change to the measurement of patent term in the United States (e.g., patents will now provide rights starting on the issue date and will expire 20 years after the earliest effective filing date of the application resulting in the patent);

    no wonder they are suing, instead of negotiating one the patents expires on feb 15 2009, (also they probably trying to play nice so they an get what ever they wanted before said date)

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

    • identicon
      discojohnson, 15 Dec 2008 @ 11:50am


      patent expiring 20 years after filing.. yes, but the infringement occurred less than 20 years after filing, so he'd only have to deal with statutes of limitation, if any apply.

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

  • identicon
    Jesse, 15 Dec 2008 @ 1:54pm

    Setting aside the problems with patents as a concept, if the guy did try to negotiate before filing the lawsuit, and Google told him to ef off, then what do you expect? Most others jump at the opportunity to sue, and it looks like this guy did not.

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

  • identicon
    Gloria Wolk, 16 Dec 2008 @ 2:43pm

    Litigation Against Google

    This is not an individual problem. It is a social as well as legal issue. Google appears to have the intent of controlling all creative works. They have begun to scan and publish all works in libraries--without asking permission of copyright holders. They were sued for copyright infringement by a few major trade publishers and the Author's Guild (representing only eight thousand authors). Although none of the independent presses or tens of thousands of other authors were involved; although no other organizations whose members are publishers or authors are represented, the lawyers for the plaintiffs agreed to a settlement that would embrace our rights and allow Google to usurp the power of Congress to change copyright law. If the judge approves the agreement.

    Many of us indie publishers and free lance authors are in a tizzy about this. Must we hire a lawyer? It appears that the only way to keep Google from violating our copyrights is to opt out of the settlement agreement. Why must we do that, when we were not represented in the first place, and when the agreement undermines the Constitution by usurping the power granted to Congress to change copyright law?

    If we opt out, will Google honor this? With its finances (i.e., power) Google knows none of us could afford to take them to court.

    We'll be watching Goldman's action closely because it may foretell the future for many.

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

  • identicon
    Joseph Harris, 16 Dec 2008 @ 4:36pm

    world effects of Google actions

    Adding to Gloria Wolk's #5 accurate observations I would point out that the nature of the proposed settlement extends Google's new found attempt to usurp legislatures to the whole world.

    If you are inclined to disagree, please read the documents before giving voice.

    Joseph Harris - Debt Control Man - in the UK

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.