Patent Troll Apparently Didn't Appreciate Being Called A Piece Of Shit, Sues Over Basic Location Functionality
from the if-the-name-fits... dept
In a moment of refreshing honesty, Hulls (against the advice of his lawyers) sent a letter to the patent troll, calling the troll "a piece of shit" and wishing bad karma on him, as Paul Carr at PandoDaily highlighted in the link above:
Dear Piece of Shit,Rather than scaring the troll off, it apparently embolded the troll to file a lawsuit which actually included Hull's note.
We are currently in the process of retaining counsel and investigating this matter. As a result, we will not be able to meet your Friday deadline. After reviewing this matter with our counsel, we will provide a prompt response.
I will pray tonight that karma is real, and that you are its worthy recipient.
That's part of the problem with so many of these patents. The "inventors" (and I use that term loosely) weren't inventing anything here, but were rather looking at where the underlying technology was clearly heading, and then patenting ahead -- recognizing all of the obvious apps that just about any programmer would be able to implement once the underlying tech was there, writing the patents, and then waiting for someone else to do the real work... and then shaking them down. Given that, it seems that Hull's description of the troll is all too accurate.
The rest of the patents in the suit are basically variations on this theme of using GPS and phones to locate others. The second patent is US 7,764,954 for a "Method of providing cell phones in a cell phone signal strength chart of multiple cell phones in a communication network." The third is US 8,126,441 for a "Method of establishing a cell phone network of participants with a common interest." And the fourth is US 7,672,681 for a "Method of renaming soft switch controls in all participant's cell phones by an administrator."
And yes, unlike many patent trolls, the company behind this lawsuit, Advanced Ground Information Systems, Inc., does apparently make an actual product, but it's not even remotely competitive. They make products for first responders and the military to help them communicate. They're not competing in any way with Life360's family social network, and Life360 certainly didn't "copy" the work that AGIS did. Because they didn't need to. Location-based information services, connecting local people is an idea that was talked about at great length going way back. I remember detailed discussions about "people finder" apps in the 1990s. Lots of people were thinking about this stuff, and it's yet another indictment of the patent office that it granted a bunch of obvious patents, and AGIS and its lawyers looking to tax an entirely different business is equally as lame.
Just another sign of how broken our patent system is. Congress could fix it... but probably won't.