HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.
HideTechdirt is off for the long weekend! We'll be back with our regular posts tomorrow.

Newegg Inserts Itself Into The Global Archery, LARPing.org Patent Tiff

from the good-guys dept

We've covered in the past how Newegg and its Chief Legal Officer, Lee Cheng, have been both vocal and active in the fight against patent trolls. Far from a lightweight in this arena, Newegg has gone on the offensive against the trolls, with Cheng even going as far as to state that he would never settle a case with a patent troll. Settlements are often times what these patent trolls are primarily interested in, milking money from legitimate businesses that simply don't want to bother with a lawsuit. Like most bullies, a little pushback is all that's required to get them to turn tail and run.

We also recently discussed a rather silly patent and trademark lawsuit initiated by Global Archery against an individual who helps run LARPing.org. That site sells foam arrows used for live-action role-playing, buying them from a German manufacturer and reselling them to hobbyists. Global Archery believes that the arrows infringe on a patent it has for foam arrows and decided to sue LARPing.org for infringement, rather than the German manufacturer. The trademark portion of the suit revolves around Google keywords LARPing.org bought, which include references to Global Archery, for advertising purposes. Those suits rarely go anywhere, making the patent aspect of the suit more key.

Well, Newegg has decided to lend a troll-busting hand to LARPing.org, now stating that it will be donating the profits from its anti-patent troll t-shirts to be used by LARPing.org to defend itself against Global Archery.

“After reviewing the facts and circumstances of Mr. Gwyther’s case, Newegg believes Global’s suit against him is an abusive overreach of intellectual property rights,” said Lee Cheng, Newegg’s Chief Legal Officer. “As a result, we intend to provide assistance to Mr. Gwyther, including the donation of profits from the sale of our anti-patent troll t-shirts to support his legal defense fund. We are also releasing three new t-shirt designs, including a limited edition design created in collaboration with Mr. Gwyther, to raise additional funds for his defense.”

Cheng added, “This case represents the same type of abuse of intellectual property rights Newegg has stood up to for years. Global Archery’s patents would likely not withstand an invalidity challenge, but they are leveraging them to demand settlement terms that would effectively force this enthusiast and entrepreneur out of business.”
What entirely too many of these patent trolls rely on in order to get monetary settlements is the size of their targets. If a business is small enough, say a tiny site used primarily by roleplaying enthusiasts, that site may not have the resources necessary to fend off a legal claim from a patent troll. Instead, that business will typically accept whatever settlement demands the troll has requested.

But suddenly the legal warchest for LARPing.org may be many times what it had originally been, with a company like Newegg getting behind it and lending its support. People occasionally ask what it will take to end abusive patent trolling. There are many possible answers, but one of those answers must include large and small entities banding together to collectively fend off a practice everyone knows is abusive. It's good to see a company like Newegg getting behind that kind of effort.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    WDS (profile), 23 Mar 2016 @ 2:20pm

    Patent Portion Dropped

    Ars is reporting that Global Archery has dropped the patent portion of the suit, but are persisting with the Trademark claims.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2016 @ 2:35pm

    @Geigner
    You might want to read up on a few things before spouting nonsense like this:

    Global Archery believes that the arrows infringe on a patent it has for foam arrows and decided to sue LARPing.org for infringement, rather than the German manufacturer.

    Patent monopolies are geographically limited to the countries in which they are registered. This would mean that to sue the manufacturer GA has to have the patent registered in either Germany or the EU (seeing that the EU has a patent office for all member nations as well as a patent office specifically for said members).
    To cope with this all patent laws contain language that allows that the importers can be sued as proxy when they import into a country items infringing the patent as registered in said country. There is a very simple reason for this. It is to prevent people from setting up a company in a locale that where the patent is not registered and then importing the product as to bypass the patent monopoly.

    That said GA did not start this in good faith. They are no different from any other patent troll out there shaking down small businesses by threatening expensive lawsuits. In this case however they are trying to shutdown a reseller who works for the competition instead of said competition.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2016 @ 2:45pm

      Re:

      >They are no different from any other patent troll out there shaking down small businesses by threatening expensive lawsuits.

      Let's keep the terminology clear.

      Patent TROLLS come up with a patent, but do not actually generate a product. You might say they claim an idea, without having proven that they (or anyone) can implement it. Then they wait until someone does actually produce a product, and threaten to sue, sue, sue.

      These are not patent trolls.

      These are patent BULLIES. They have a product, so their patent may actually be implementable. (I'd tend to suspect that there's prior art going back to before the _alphabet_, let alone before the patent office. The MBA-equivalents probably amused themselves with padded arrows for relaxation between arduous shifts spent flogging the laborers on the Babel skyscraper project.)

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Mar 2016 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      From the Ars article...

      ""After the dust has settled and our legal counsel has had time to analyze a translated copy of the German prior art reference provided to Global Archery by Mr. Gwyther’s counsel, Global Archery has decided to voluntarily dismiss the patent counts against Mr. Gwyther with prejudice," Jackson said in an e-mail. He continued:

      Mr. Gwyther refused to provide us with a certified copy of the prior art reference he was relying on or to provide any detailed analysis to us as to why one or more of our patent claims were possibly invalid. All we were provided was an untranslated copy of what was purported to be a German patent covering the iDV arrow. As I am sure you can appreciate, it takes time to review and obtain opinions on the validity of patents from legal counsel.

      Our counsel has undertaken such an analysis at our request and this is why we have decided to voluntarily dismiss the patent counts from our complaint. However, Global Archery does not believe that all of the claims of its patents are invalid."

      But we are dropping those claims to make it harder for anyone to start to try and invalidate our patents.

      Considering their claim of he is selling on Amazon is proven false by their own filing, the claims the PATENTED arrows he sells infringe on the GA patent issued years after one might consider there was never any good faith on their part. He dared to offer to sell arrows to sites offering people the experience of shooting foam arrows at each other. They seem to assume if it has the word LARP on it, he is 100% responsible and behind it... they aren't very bright.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 23 Mar 2016 @ 11:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Translation: 'Wait, they can mount an effective defense now? Our patents might be invalidated and we won't be able to use them to shake down other companies and/or keep them from offering competition?! Pull the patent infringement claims, protect the patents at all costs!'

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

  • identicon
    Scote, 23 Mar 2016 @ 3:06pm

    The Global Archery Trolls are the "Archery Tag" people

    I wanted to buy some "Archery Tag" arrows from Archery Tag but they don't sell them to the general public. Instead Archery Tag sells franchises that buy Archery Tag gear and hold "Archery Tag" events.

    This series of legal actions by Global Archery is likely about control. Global Archery want a complete lock on the market, not just control over one version of a foam arrow.

    I'm pretty darn enthused that I'll be able to buy foam tipped arrows from LARPing.org. Thanks for suing them and bringing them to my attention Global Archery! I hope you loose big time and have to pay legal fees.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous, 29 Apr 2016 @ 9:09am

      Re: The Global Archery Trolls are the "Archery Tag" people

      Speaking from experience as a Licencee, they are also bullies to their licencees with legal threats, law suits and much more.

      They are creating illegal licence agreements and distributing them globally, exerting far too many restraints, controls and fees on operators when in reality, for said fees, restraints, controls it should actually be a franchise system, thus the confusion why everyone refers to them as a Franchise.

      I hope that one day this can come to light as their operation is killing many businesses that could possibly bring this activity to a new height

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

  • icon
    DB (profile), 23 Mar 2016 @ 3:34pm

    It appears that Global Archery filed for and was granted a patent on the design of a product they were sourcing from someone else.

    They didn't come up with the invention. They just patented the design here in the U.S., without the inventor's knowledge. Presumably they used the patent to attract investors, and obviously they used it to threaten competitors.

    They dropped the patent from the lawsuit because they don't want it invalidated, and they certainly don't want discovery into the why they fraudulently filed for a patent on something they didn't invent.


    Now that they have

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 24 Mar 2016 @ 1:57pm

      Re:

      First to File, Dude. It's not WHO invents it, it's who filed the paperwork first. ;)

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

      • icon
        Wyrm (profile), 4 Apr 2016 @ 10:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Wrong.
        What you're describing is true (more or less) for trademarks, not patents.
        Patents do need to be "original", at least in the law. You can't take someone's invention and patent it... at least not when one can prove prior art. Unlike trademark, patents are not a race to the registration office.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2016 @ 3:54pm

    Mental note: Buy more crap from Newegg.

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

  • identicon
    Digitari, 23 Mar 2016 @ 4:36pm

    Newegg

    I just bought 3 items from Newegg Monday and laptop cooler just Yesterday for the wife. I Adore Newegg!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2016 @ 8:27pm

    Lee Cheng...

    ...for President!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2016 @ 9:01pm

    You seem to associate the filing of what I believe to be a single lawsuit to fall within the definition of trolling. By such measure anyone filing any lawsuit, no matter how meritorious, against an alleged infringer would be considered a troll. Surely you mean something more restrictive, or perhaps there are additional facts that have not been presented in either the original or this article.

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

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Mar 2016 @ 10:11pm

      Re:

      I can look at a single filing from a copyright lawyer and know if they are a trolling or not in about 3 minutes. There are several features to a trolling case...

      It is a wildly overboard filing filled with misleading claims designed to silence a competitor in the market.
      They then attempted to get the court to stop him raising money for his defense and bar him from speaking about the case.

      There is no merit in this case and the lawyer who brought it forth should be before the ethics committee for filing such utter crap & misleading the court.

      I'll help you catch up...
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/02/archery-company-sues-larper-over-patents-then-files- gag-motion-to-silence-him/
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/patent-battle-over-larpers-foam -arrows-heats-up/
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/newegg-donates-10k-to-larping-org-in-foa m-arrow-patent-fracas/
      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/03/archery-company-drops-foam-arrow-pa tent-case-against-larper/

      Lee Cheng gave Larping cash to fight back, he doesn't support just random things. The fact that there is now money to mount a defense and they immediately drop the patent claims from the lawsuit tends to lend credence to them being meritless. The fact they called the German Patents 'prior art' means they might have drawn enough attention to get their arrow patents invalidated having 'stolen' someone elses unique idea and trying to use it to profit.

      They took a single screenshot of an Amazon page that listed there were multiple sellers offering the item, and based on that alone made claims that Larping was behind selling the items on Amazon. It appears they saw the word larp and assumed that only larping uses that word, much like their Archery Tag trademark can only be used by them.

      They have only successfully managed to damage their brand, and funny there are former customers of Global coming forward with stories of how Archery Tag was way more hassle than it was worth.

      If it makes you feel better call them a proto-troll. They got caught on their first filing out, imagine if they had silenced their target and won. How much money could they get demanding settlements & licensing agreements when they have a big court win where they were awarded every cent their target had earned from day one. Not that much cash in the grand scheme of things but if your a little indie seller the idea of having to pay them all the money you ever earned.... you are gonna settle.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2016 @ 2:58am

      Re:

      Hi, Slonecker! Finally detached yourself off antidirt's phallus?

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

    • icon
      Spaceboy (profile), 24 Mar 2016 @ 4:49am

      Re:

      Trolls have to start somewhere.

      Going after a guy that sells foam arrows for patent infringement is trollish behavior when you didn't invent foam-tipped arrows. I was shooting home-made foam-tipped arrows 30 years ago. These guys do not own the idea of foam-tipped arrows.

      If anyone should be trolling it's Nerf with all the foam product they sell.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2016 @ 3:49pm

      Re:

      Are you aware that there's a bigger thought process involved in defining a patent troll than merely counting lawsuits?

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

  • identicon
    Kevin, 16 May 2016 @ 4:42pm

    Good guy Newegg. Didn't know about this, but man don't feed the trolls.

    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
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

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