If At First You Don't Succeed As A Patent Troll, Just Sue Again

from the why-not dept

The excellent new Patent Examiner blog has a post up about a company called SmartMetric, which claims to be in the business of making biometric technologies, but admits it hasn't actually made any money doing that. Instead, it seems to be in the business of being a patent troll. Despite the fact that banks and others have been testing variations on "smart card" technology for many decades, SmartMetric ended up with patent 6,792,464, which it claims covers all kinds of smartcards. Last year, it sued Visa, MasterCard and American Express. And lost.

But why worry about that when it can just sue again?

Yes, even as it's appealing the initial loss, the company has sued the same companies a second time using a nearly identical filing. You can see both filings embedded below. Feel free to do a diff on the two, but Patent Examiner summarizes the two cases this way:
This new lawsuit against MasterCard and Visa concerns both “contact” and “contactless” smart cards (the former are inserted into a card reader, the latter only need to be placed in proximity to a reader), while SmartMetric’s first lawsuit against the credit companies only referred to contactless card systems.
So, basically, after losing, they're just trying to expand what they claim the patent covers. It's hard to see this as anything more than a standard patent troll shakedown of a company that doesn't do anything demanding cash from the companies who do things... even when those things are obvious next steps that were discussed decades before the troll came on the scene.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:06am

    Newbs

    These guys must be new at patent trolling. The experienced trolls know that you don't go after the big guys first, you go after the little guys who can't defend themselves to build up a win history you can use against the big guys. That's how you abuse the system.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    On the other hand a lot of lawyers also are also starting to note that NPE's are just a drag.
    http://opensource.com/law/11/9/ginormous-losses-npe-software-patent-lawsuits

    http://openso urce.com/business/11/9/open-business-reputation-economy-open-source-do-you-take-egg-roll

    On an unrelated note, finally I can see mythical ad here LoL

    http://cdn.techdirt.com/images/ads/SVCF_logo_RGB.png

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Jim L, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 6:39am

    Unrelated

    On a completely unrelated note, why are you annoying the hell out of me with the popup facebook like button on every page.
    Don't you read your own posts?

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:08am

      Re: Unrelated

      Why didn't you block "Facebook Connect" yet?

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:11am

      Re: Unrelated

      Here is one of many apps/addons that can detect and block unwanted third party websites widgets:

      http://www.ghostery.com/download

      "Ghostery sees the invisible web - tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons. Ghostery tracks the trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity. "

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:14am

      Re: Unrelated

      Here is one of many apps/addons that can detect and block unwanted third party websites widgets:

      http://www.ghostery.com/download

      "Ghostery sees the invisible web - tags, web bugs, pixels and beacons. Ghostery tracks the trackers and gives you a roll-call of the ad networks, behavioral data providers, web publishers, and other companies interested in your activity. "

      Using that you get the name of the webbugs and know what to block using other tools.

      Like the Wybiya toolbar annoying thing that some people have complained about some time ago.

      http://www.ghostery.com/apps/wibiya_toolbar

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:17am

      Re: Unrelated

      http://malzilla.sourceforge.net/

      Now really unrelated, anybody knows of a Linux malzilla(javascript malware buster) type of thing?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 10:13am

      Re: Unrelated

      On a completely unrelated note, why are you annoying the hell out of me with the popup facebook like button on every page.
      Don't you read your own posts?


      Er... we're not? Can you provide any more info on this? We're certainly not doing that ourselves.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Michael Costanza (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 10:27am

      Re: Unrelated

      Yeah, we read our posts. Haven't seen this problem though.

      However, we have received a few messages in the past 12 hours about the issue. We're looking into it, but it appears to be related to a Firefox extension called HTTPS Everywhere. For some reason, that extension and the Like button appear to not be playing well together. We don't have any more details than that, yet. But we'll let you know when we do.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Chris Rhodes (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Re: Unrelated

        Ah, HTTPSEverywhere is the culprit!

        Thank god!

         

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

      •  
        icon
        Michael Costanza (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

        Re: Re: Unrelated

        After some investigation, it appears that the problem comes from a combination of the HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension and the implementation of the Facebook Like button in the Wibiya toolbar (at the bottom of the page). The other Like button we include below the text of each post doesn't appear to have the same problem. We've removed the Like button from the toolbar and reported the problem to Wibiya.

         

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

  •  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:25am

    It seems like SmartMetric is being rather dumb about some of the basics of patent trolling.

    First, a lawsuit troll generally benefits by filing the same or a similar suit against multiple companies. The troll gets some economies of scale because they can reuse a lot of their legal research. On the other hand, each defendant is likely to have to either do all of the research from scratch or hire an expensive specialty law firm to handle the case. Refiling an almost identical suit against the same defendant means that they also get to reuse their legal research.

    Second, most trolls are hoping for a settlement. Suing a firm that is willing and able to defend itself in court pretty much rules out the route to a quick ROI.

    Perhaps in this case SmartMetric thinks they have a chance of winning. But if that is the case, they probably need to get some new legal council. SmartMetric has already lost the case once and judges are notoriously cranky when it comes to refiling a lawsuit that has already been decided, especially if it is done in the same jurisdiction.

     

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    identicon
    pixelation, Sep 28th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    One of the few times I'm hoping the big corporations win.

     

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

  •  
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    DannyB (profile), Sep 28th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Let me fix the headline for you

    Was:

    If At First You Don't Succeed As A Patent Troll, Just Sue Again



    Should be:

    If At First You Don't Succeed, Sue Sue Again




    (If at first you don't succeed, use a shorter bungee.)

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    staff, Oct 8th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    another biased article

    Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-
    https://www.insightcommunity.com/cases.php?n=10&pg=1

    They sell blog filler and "insights" to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world’s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don’t have any.

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay”. This is just dissembling by large infringers to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.

     

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


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