Company Threatens EFF With Defamation In Response To EFF Trying To Bust Its Patent

from the slappity-slapp-slapp dept

Back in January, we noted that the EFF had scored another hit in its ongoing patent-busting project, getting the USPTO to re-examine a patent held by Seer Systems. It appears that Seer Systems doesn't much like being targeted by the EFF and decided to threaten the group with a defamation lawsuit over how it described Seer's actions. For example the EFF claimed that Seer was "threatening small companies" and Seer disputes the EFF's definition of small. That seems like pretty fine tooth nitpicking there, and hardly defamatory. It certainly feels like a threatened SLAPP, and (luckily) California has a pretty good anti-SLAPP law, which the EFF's attorney has suggested that Seer Systems acquaint itself with before moving forward with any lawsuits. Either way, it's fairly amazing that anyone would think it's a wise move to threaten the EFF with defamation based on something as weak as whether or not some startup is "small" or not.
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Filed Under: anti-slapp, california, defamation, eff, patents, slapp
Companies: eff, seer systems

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  1. identicon
    magscanner, 6 Mar 2009 @ 6:35pm


    Hey, I can hear the EFF's knees knocking all the way down here in San Jose.

    So here's my idea: Nathan Myhrvold should fund the EFF a couple million dollars or so to go after the silly-season patents they've identified. God knows there's no shortage of real ideas that might be patented, and this makes him look better, and also keeps the really stupid patents from making people think ALL patents are a bad idea. I suppose he could make the deal contingent on the EFF using some other person's money to sue Intellectual Ventures (his own company), or maybe he should just sign up to have them sue him as well as anyone else they think is abusing the process.

    So here's my second idea: Nathan Myrhvold (or Jeff Bezos or Paul Allen or whomever) funds the EFF with tens of millions of dollars so that they can sit in on his patentability discussions BEFORE they get to the lawyering stage. If the EFF person says, "No way, Nathan, that's a dumb one and we'd sue if they ever issued it," then he's just saved himself a pot of money on filing and defense costs, and again makes himself look even better.

    Using a tiny percentage of his actual patenting costs, NM publishes a "Non-Patenting Journal" describing all the ideas his company decided not to try to patent (this is an old tradition in high tech, but seems to have fallen out of favor), thus establishing prior art such that no other person can ever try to patent the silliness under discussion.

    If Nathan et al decide this is a good idea, they can reward me with a nice dinner at a laundry restaurant I know.

    Mike (a different Mike)

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