Patent Trolling Lawyers May Have Picked With The Wrong Company To Shake Down: Cloudflare Hits Back

from the bam dept

Earlier this year, we wrote a story about a fairly nutty patent troll, Blackbird Technologies, who had sued a bunch of companies over a patent it claimed covered letting users download content to consume offline (even though the actual patent was for a CD-ROM burning system). Blackbird has been suing a ton of companies over the last few years, and one of its recent targets was CDN provider Cloudflare (note: we're a customer of Cloudflare). The lawsuit is over US Patent 6,453,335 on "providing an internet third party data channel." The patent itself seems questionable. The application of the patent to Cloudflare's technology seems questionable -- but rather than dig into all of that, instead, let's focus on Cloudflare's response to all of this. First, it's pushing back on the lawsuit (of course), but it's going much, much further than that. As detailed in a new blog post, it's directly going after the lawyers behind Blackbird.

You see, it's fairly typical for patent trolling operations to be pretty secretive about how they operate. They are often formed by former patent lawyers who then try to lay low while they know they're abusing the system. In this case, Cloudflare is first calling out the patent lawyers behind Blackbird:

Blackbird was formed three years ago by two attorneys who left law firms where they had been engaged in patent defense work — Wendy Verlander (@bbirdtech_CEO; LinkedIn) at WilmerHale, and Chris Freeman (LinkedIn) at Kirkland & Ellis. Notably, both of those firms promote themselves as ready to protect companies from patent trolls. Kirkland trumpets that its IP practice group scored a victory against the “original patent troll,” while WilmerHale has a Patent Troll Initiative that aims to help businesses deal comprehensively with patent trolls.

Having gained valuable experience and training by working for clients who paid their firms handsomely to fight suits brought by patent trolls, Verlander and Freeman were well aware of the harm done to their clients by patent trolls. Yet, Verlander and Freeman decided to cast their lot with the other side and formed a patent troll for themselves.

But it goes way beyond them just flipping to the dark side. As Cloudflare details, it believes that Blackbird and the two lawyers who run it may have violated legal ethics rules. Many of them. First, Cloudflare makes the case that Blackbird Technologies is really just a law firm, rather than a tech company:

As made clear in this blog post, Blackbird’s founders made the decision to leave law firms that were engaged in the defense of clients who were faced with patent lawsuits, and formed a new law firm focused on bringing law suits as a patent troll. The only services promoted on its website (http://www.blackbird-tech.com/) are legal services; the website notes that Blackbird represents a “new model” which provides the benefits of “top law firm experience” offering clients the ability to “litigate at reduced costs.”

Of 12 total employees listed on the Blackbird website, 7 are attorneys. The remaining 5 are very junior employees described as “analysts” (3 are current undergraduate students and 2 received Bachelor's degrees last May). As far as we can determine, Blackbird produces no products or services which it makes available to the public. Rather, it offers litigation services and is in the business of filing lawsuits. And its output in that regard is prolific, as it has filed a total of 107 lawsuits since September 2014.

As final confirmation that Blackbird is a law firm marketing legal services, its own website includes a disclaimer about “Attorney Advertising,” which states explicitly “[p]lease note that this website may contain attorney advertising.”

Blackbird’s “new model” seems to be only that its operations set out to distort the traditional Attorney-Client relationship. Blackbird’s website makes a direct pitch of its legal services to recruit clients with potential claims and then, instead of taking them on as a client, purchases their claims and provides additional consideration that likely gives the client an ongoing interest in the resulting litigation. In doing so, Blackbird is flouting its ethical obligations meant to protect clients and distorting the judicial process by obfuscating and limiting potential counterclaims against the real party in interest.

And thus, the company is subject to certain rules. Many of which Cloudflare argues it is not following.

  1. Blackbird may have acquired a proprietary interest in the subject matter of the litigation in violation of Rule 1.8(i) — Attorneys have a near monopoly of representing clients in the judicial system. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.8(i) explicitly prohibits an attorney from “acquir[ing] a proprietary interest in a cause of action or subject matter of litigation.” But that is exactly what Blackbird does. Blackbird’s website contains a pitch to recruit clients with potential legal claims under their patents, but then buys those claims and brings them on their own behalf. Wouldn’t that be a violation of Rule 1.8(i)? Doesn’t Blackbird’s attempt to pitch this as a “new model” of being a patent troll ignore the fact that the only non-law firm activity in which they are engaged (buying patents to bring lawsuits) is the exact thing prohibited by Rule 1.8(i)? They shouldn’t be able to use creative contractual or corporate structures to avoid its responsibility under the rules.

  2. Blackbird may be sharing fees or firm equity with non-lawyers in violation of Rule 5.4(a) or 5.4(d) — In order to preserve the integrity of the Attorney-Client relationship, Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4(a) prohibits attorneys from splitting legal fees in individual matters with non-lawyers, and Rule 5.4(d) prohibits providing an equity interest in a firm to non-lawyers. We think Blackbird may be violating both provisions. Although he no longer owns the patent and is not a party to the case, the assignment agreement’s terms (specifying payment of only $1) makes it possible that Mr. Kaufman has a contingency interest in the lawsuit. If that is the case, wouldn’t Blackbird be in violation of Rule 5.4(a)? Similarly, Blackbird has moved very quickly since its founding to file lawsuits against a great number of companies — 107 complaints since September 2014. So far, none of those cases have gone to trial. We intend to examine whether they have used financial support from non-lawyers to fund the very fast start to their operations in exchange for an impermissible equity interest, or have shared an equity interest with patent holders like Mr. Kaufmann, either of which would be in violation of Rule 5.4(d).

Yeah. So, that might make things slightly more interesting for Blackbird. Rather than just having to fight off the claims of non-infringement or attempts to invalidate the patents, if Cloudflare's arguments here get anywhere, it could put the founders of Blackbird into serious trouble. In some ways, based on Cloudflare's description of how Blackbird operates, it reminds me of Righthaven. As you may recall, that was a copyright trolling operation that effectively "bought" the bare right to sue from newspapers. They pretended they bought the copyright (since you can't just buy a right to sue), but the transfer agreement left all the actual power with the newspapers, and courts eventually realized that all Righthaven really obtained was the right to sue. That resulted in the collapse of Righthaven. This isn't exactly analogous, but there are some clear similarities, in having a "company," rather than a law firm (but still run completely by lawyers), "purchase" patents or copyrights solely for the purpose of suing, while setting up arrangements to share the proceeds with the previous holder of those copyrights or patents. It's a pretty sleazy business no matter what -- and with Righthaven it proved to be its undoing. Blackbird may face a similar challenge.

Cloudflare claims they're taking such an extreme step with the bar complaints to ward off other patent trolls from evolving into this type of model, that will only encourage more bogus lawsuits. And, that's not all the company is doing in going after Blackbird. The company is also crowdfunding up to $50,0000 for prior art discoveries not just on the patent being asserted against Cloudflare but on any patent held by Blackbird Technologies.

The first bounty (up to $20,000) is for prior art which reads on the patent Blackbird is using to sue Cloudflare, the ‘335 patent. $10,000 is guaranteed and will be divided among prior art submissions that raise substantive questions on the ‘335 patent. The remaining $10,000 will be used to compensate prior art submissions that Cloudflare uses as evidence in an invalidation procedure at the USPTO or invalidation at trial. The latest date of prior art on the ‘335 patent would be July 20, 1998.

The larger bounty (up to $30,000) will be spread among those submitting substantial prior art which reads on any of the 34 other outstanding Blackbird patents or their 3 in-flight patent applications and could lead to the invalidation of these dubious patents. Cloudflare will pay the second bounty to people who submit relevant and substantive prior art which, in Cloudflare’s opinion, reads on any other Blackbird patent. The money will be distributed based on the quality of the prior art, the perceived value of the patent, and the extent to which the evidence is used in a proceeding to invalidate one of the Blackbird patents.

We will maintain a list of all the Blackbird patents at cloudflare.com/blackbirdpatents/. The list will provide the number of each patent, the relevant latest date of prior art, and will list germane already-identified prior art. We will update the list periodically as we get new information submitted.

In other words, if Blackbird Technologies wants to go after Cloudflare in court, Cloudflare is going to hit back hard and make sure that Blackbird can't just run away. In many ways, this reminds me of Newegg's scorched earth approach to any patent trolls that sue them. Once a troll initiates a lawsuit, Newegg goes to war to make sure that other patent trolls don't even think of trying to go after Newegg again (and that strategy seems to mostly be working, as trolls now know to steer clear of the company).

Kudos to Cloudflare for hitting back against patent trolling that serves no purpose whatsoever, other than to shake down innovative companies and stifle their services. But, really, the true travesty here is that the company needs to do this at all. Our patent (and copyright) systems seem almost perfectly designed for this kind of shakedown game, having nothing whatsoever to do witht the stated purpose of supporting actual innovators and creators. Instead, it's become a paper game abused by lawyers to enrich themselves at the expense of actual innovators and creators.


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 May 2017 @ 9:37am

    And lawyers wonder why they get such a bad rep.

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 May 2017 @ 9:39am

    Important lesson: Do not taunt Happy Fun Cloud.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:54am

    They noticed how much money these trolls were bringing in from people who just didn't want to fight it, apparently more than they were bringing in by defending them.

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

  • icon
    profssrfink (profile), 11 May 2017 @ 9:55am

    get 'em

    I am so sick of these types of lawsuits. I don't believe we need to get rid of the patent system at all, but I do hat e it when non-practicing entities have the right to sue those that are trying to make a product. Gets really old and I bet these attorney's are making quite a nice living off the backs of smaller companies that cant afford to protect themselves.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:56am

    Other Blackbird patents cover location aware games

    Appealing to the collective as Cloudflare also shows a pending patent by Blackbird for location aware games. It seems that Ingress was released in 2012 which is after the priority date for the patent, PUB20140200078. I did find Turf Wars which was published in 2009 that should be usable as prior art and made a submission. If someone is able to find other games like Turf Wars and Ingress that were published (I think even a public beta counts right?) before 2011, please use Cloudflare's prior art contest submission form.

    I really don't want to read about new lawsuits targeting games like Pokemon Go and Ingress when the collective can help nuke the patent now.

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

    • identicon
      Sunhawk, 11 May 2017 @ 6:57pm

      Re: Other Blackbird patents cover location aware games

      I'm wagering that Blackbird will steer well-clear of Nintendo, who's pretty notorious for having an... mmm, call them "aggressive"... legal team.

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

    • identicon
      Gizmondo had Colors back in 2006, 12 May 2017 @ 1:05am

      Re: Other Blackbird patents cover location aware games

      Check out the location based game by Gizmondo called Colors from back in 2006. Location aware has been around for a long time
      .

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:59am

    Karma is a bitch, if she is in heat it is no concern of mine. Don't forget to blame it on the Russians you greedy grabby gringos.

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

  • identicon
    kallethen, 11 May 2017 @ 10:12am

    One problem with being a bully is that eventually you'll run into somebody who won't stand for being bullied.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 11:04am

    how do you pronounce $50,0000

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 11:05am

    Ha, yeah those imaginative accusations by Cloudflare will likely be laughed out of court, so it will be interesting to see if Blackbird decides to make Cloudflare even more of a target by soliciting other people's litigation against them.

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

  • identicon
    bt, 11 May 2017 @ 6:38pm

    Newegg!

    I love them. I order from them whenever I can, and mostly it's because of their patent troll crushing leadership. If you want companies to do things that you think are important, you need to support them.

    We need more Newegg's.

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

  • identicon
    PostToaster, 11 May 2017 @ 7:58pm

    Lawyers

    There are probably as many lawyer jokes as there are lawyers. Here's one of the best:

    -------------------
    The Post Office once considered issuing stamps of famous lawyers. But when they tested them, people didn't know which side to spit on.
    -------------------

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:21pm

    I would just like to point out, without trying to be too personal or offensive, that anyone who uses the word "troll" sounds like a leftist activist idiot. No doubt, I will be labeled a "troll" for pointing out the idiocy of this label. The way you use the word "troll", you include both every inventor who ever asserted a patent, and every writer who disagrees with your point of view. Idiocy, no? It means you have nothing to say of substance. Troll is a "made up" word that makes the author appear an idiot. Try to write something substantial without using it. I don't think any of you have the vocabulary to do it.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 11 May 2017 @ 10:23pm

      Re:

      I would just like to point out, without trying to be too personal or offensive, that anyone who uses the word "troll" sounds like a leftist activist idiot.

      Yes, that explains why such noted "leftist activists" as Republicans Darrell Issa and Orrin Hatch regularly refer to patent trolls.

      http://www.ocregister.com/2013/10/30/rep-darrell-issa-takes-on-patent-trolls/ https://www.wi red.com/2015/03/opinion-must-finally-legislate-patent-trolls-existence/

      Look, if you want to challenge the language, go ahead. But don't make shit up.

      FWIW, for years, we deliberately chose not to use the term patent troll, even as everyone else did. Eventually, the term was so widely used and so widely accepted across the board that we, too, started using it. Language: you use the terms that make the most sense to get the point across. Everyone knows what patent trolls are, and thus, the language is appropriate.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 11:01pm

        Re: Re:

        OK, Mike, spell it out. What is a patent troll? Is it anyone who asserts a patent right? Are there any "non-trolls" who assert patents? Can you name one?

        Is it the truth that you are paid by multi-national corporations specifically to try to weaken or destroy rights given by the US Constitution to American Inventors?

        "Our patent (and copyright) systems seem almost perfectly designed for this kind of shakedown game, having nothing whatsoever to do witht the stated purpose of supporting actual innovators and creators."

        Are you a patent attorney? I think not. Do you have any certified legal training or experience? I think not. "Perfectly designed for" - are you kidding? The patent system is not perfect, no US system is perfect - but the US still leads the world in innovation, and the patent system is one important reason why.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 11:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I must add I am really interested in your answer. There is a large body of published work that you have established, and your use of the word "patent troll" is quite prolific. You represent yourself as a journalist, so it must be that you use your words carefully and have a lot of experience writing. Please, explain to your readers (including me) exactly what you mean by "patent troll", and the journalistic standards you follow before applying the term in public to third parties (which you do often). To my reading, you throw the term around without any regard to the facts or the targets of the attack, you simply attack people and companies you don't like, or are paid to not like. So please, I really would like to see your definition that "Everyone knows". Simple request, right? Everyone knows.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 11:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Just as an aside, pointing out that "Everyone knows" what a patent troll is also means "Everyone knows" what a patent troll is not. So, calling someone a patent troll in public (on TechDirt), when they are not, leaves you with easy to establish liability.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 1:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              And there we go, regressing to narcissistic replying to yourself again. Never mind the fact that Techdirt has never made itself out to be a journalist, are you a patent attorney? If not, you're not in a position to comment on the usage of "patent troll" by your own terms, as according to you only "patent attorneys" are permitted to do so.

              Unless you have credentials you'd like to start proving, but we all know it's an exercise in futility. You can't produce what you don't have.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 3:04am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Uh, obvious question - if Techdirt has never made itself out to be a journalist, then why is it asking for contributions under the name "I support journalism"? Seems like a contradiction.

                If you would like to add something useful to this conversation, how about defining "patent troll", a definition that "Everyone" is familiar with.

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 1:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Is it the truth that you are paid by multi-national corporations specifically to try to weaken or destroy rights given by the US Constitution to American Inventors?

          I'm curious:

          1) Which other organizations do you think are being funded by these multinational corporations?

          2) Which multi-national corporations do you think are doing so?

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

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      I would just like to point out, without trying to be too personal or offensive, that anyone who uses the word "troll" sounds like a leftist activist idiot.

      Do you mean that "patent troll" in specific is used by "leftist activists", or that "troll" in general is used by leftists?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 3:20am

        Re: Re:

        From what I have seen on this site, they routinely use the phrase "patent troll" to attack the character of any company or individual they disagree with. But, as Mike Masnick himself pointed out with his references to the legal debate to define patent trolls, they are not careful. They often label and attack companies that invented and patent their own technology, do not acquire patents from others, create and sell their own products for customers, and are responsible for major innovations in the field. He even labels companies that have never been involved with patent litigation "patent trolls". When TechDirt falsely labels these companies "patent trolls", I believe they are provably wrong in doing so, and should be held liable for any damage their cause to third party reputations. What say the readers of TechDirt? Is it OK to falsely call someone a "patent troll", or should the perpetrator be held financially responsible when they are provably wrong?

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 3:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If they aren't patent trolls and they suffered damages, sure. Though I'm not sure how much economic damages any company would suffer from TechDirt calling them "patent troll".

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 4:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Thank you for that opinion. I could give you an example of how damages could be suffered from TechDirt calling someone a "patent troll". Imagine that during multiple sales meetings with high profile customers, those in attendance Googled the name of the presenting company, and at the top of the results was a TechDirt article falsely labeling them as a "patent troll". "Google Presence" has amazing power to sway people's opinion, and TechDirt is quite expert at spreading their misinformation.

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

            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 4:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Imagine that during multiple sales meetings with high profile customers, those in attendance Googled the name of the presenting company, and at the top of the results was a TechDirt article falsely labeling them as a "patent troll".

              I'd imagine that anyone who could be called a "high profile customer" would do more research, and wouldn't let a single article sway them that much. I'd also imagine that if they might become a customer what they'd care about would be if the alleged troll would sue customers, which isn't something that patent trolls are known for. The alleged troll would have to have such a bad reputation that no one would want to be associated with them, SCOG type bad reputation, and a TechDirt article isn't going to do that.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 4:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Well, you might be right. I do know other people have similar complaints about exactly the same phenomenon of Google results and defamatory TechDirt articles.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 5:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  And you might actually name them... if they existed outside your fist-shaking imagination.

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

                  • identicon
                    Wendy Cockcroft, 12 May 2017 @ 6:03am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    If that's true do a search on my name. There are two negative search results. Right then, what do you think of me after checking out my search results?

                    Bottom line: Google search results reveal a lot but that doesn't mean that negative coverage on blogs makes people think you're a bad person. I was promoted shortly after a troll tried to get me fired from my job by lying about me on review sites and a certain individual picked it up and added some hate sprinkles. Why did these posts not do me any harm? Because they don't stand up to scrutiny; criminal activity is reported to the police, not to review sites.

                    Where negative coverage causes actual harm it's usually down to the reports being confirmed correct when scrutinised.

                    So then, why did I get promoted? Strong reasoning ability, which enables me to acquire new skills and learn new tasks quickly. What my employers know about me and unverifiable claims by a stupid troll are completely different things.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 6:07am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Think you meant to reply to the post before mine, Wendy, but pretty much spot on.

                      It gets funnier when you consider that the usual detractors of the site have been adopting a "Techdirt is insignificant because Alexa rankings are down" tactic in order to suggest that no value would be lost if the site went down. So apparently Techdirt isn't a site worth taking seriously... but somehow still affects Shiva Ayyadurai to the point where he has no choice but to sue. Funny, that!

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:33am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I did search your name, Wendy. Twitter, Medium, Facebook, LinkedIn, Storify, then a cartoon, then Behance. They all seem positive or neutral to me. I don't see any TechDirt articles about you at all. I'll bet you would be singing a different tune if you were the target of a TechDirt smear campaign.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:38am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        OK - found it, this one, right? "Ms Cockcroft suddenly became very angry and threatened to ruin my business before it started. She said that she was in with a very influential group of people on a technical blog who would write about me and many other people would comment. She said this would mean that my reputation would be ruined and it would remain at the tip of Google."

                        Well, you do seem to be in with a "very influential group of people on a technical blog", that seems real. And you also seem to be reinforcing my argument regarding the damage done by Google search results.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:07pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Hmm.. Wendy, I thought you would respond to this by now. What is the story, Wendy? The story this "troll" (as you put it) tells seems pretty believable, especially the part about threatening to smear his reputation using this very TechDirt blog. The details about web site authorship, cartoon characters (which I've seen you use) and the threat that his "reputation would be ruined and it would remain at the tip of Google" all seem pretty believable and consistent with the history of TechDirt. That does not these accusations are true, of course. Why not straighten us out? How does this guy know so much about you, and what is his purpose? What do you mean by saying he is a "troll"? Just does mean you just don't like him?

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:42pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Just for completeness, here are some of the cartoons attributed to you: http://on-t-internet.blogspot.com/

                            And the ripoff report: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom/interne t/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom-wendy-cockcroft-manchester-u-1280160

                            It is rather ironic that you were able to post in response to his accusations, but your job on TechDirt is to hide other people's posts. That is, you are able to publicly defend yourself on the web, but your job is to prevent others from doing the same. Ironic, no?

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 10:14pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Well, OK, Wendy, you can be silent if you wish. I would just point out that there is a 100% certainty that the public dispute between you and Mr. Diaz will cause both sides of any defamation case against Mike (including the current one) to get your testimony (and his) on record. It bears directly on the issue of whether TechDirt is a defamation service "for hire", as it appears to me and others (maybe even you). The idea that the primary moderator of TechDirt (you) uses the threat of Internet defamation (exactly as practiced by TechDirt) to settle business disputes (as witnessed by Mr. Diaz) is of compelling public interest. I'm not saying I believe him, Wendy, maybe there is some other explanation. I would say that what you posted as a reply seems overthought and maybe not straightforward. Simple question - do you know this guy? Did you take money from him? Did you threaten him with defamation, as he asserts? Pretty simple questions.

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 10:58pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                I'm looking again at the complaint from Diaz and the documents you provided to ripoffreport. His Email address seems to be Manuel Diaz <manuel.man1@yandex.com>. If I read your document correctly, on January 16, 2016, you tweeted "Yeah I took cash from Diaz", and on the same day you wrote "I've never heard of this man before". They both can't be true, right?

                                http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom/i nternet/wendy-cockcroft-web-design-wendy-cockcroft-interservecom-wendy-cockcroft-manchester-u-128016 0

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

                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2017 @ 8:07am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  Wendy, I took a look at your twitter posts on the day you wrote about the complaint against you:

                                  https://twitter.com/search?l=&q=from%3Awendycockcroft%20since%3A2016-01-16%20until%3A2016-01 -17&src=typd

                                  My takeaway is that you contradict yourself about knowing Mr. Diaz. On ripoffreport, you don't know him, but on your twitter feed, you do.

                                  Mr. Diaz's story, on the other hand, at least seems consistent. You do seem pretty preoccupied with cartoons, as was the basis of his business complaint.

                                  In fact, you took the time to draw a cartoon quoting a man you say you don't know at all. That seems a little unusual if you really didn't know him at all. And if Mr. Diaz is telling the truth (as he seems to be) that could be a serious problem.

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

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 14 May 2017 @ 8:19am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    The thing that really makes your defense on ripoffreport look deceptive is your use of the word "troll". This is what I pointed out in my original post to Michael Masnick and TechDirt. This is a word over-used by deceptive people. If you actually do not know the man, then you have no basis to label him a "troll". If you do know him, then you lied about it in ripoffreport. Either way, the context of your use of the word "troll" reinforces my original point. It is vastly overused by deceptive people to attack the character of anyone they don't like.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 6:16am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Well, I was thinking of the Inventor of Email, and the current court case Mike is part of. I believe he (the Inventor of Email) is making substantially similar claims of damages caused by defamatory TechDirt articles. No fist shaking here.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 6:57am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      So when asked for other examples to support the existing case, which you insist should go forward because other these examples of "defamation" and "damage" exist... you cite the same example.

                      And here I thought you had the capability of thinking past your hero Shiva Ayyadurai.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:08am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Sorry, perhaps I did not express myself clearly. I believe Michael Masnick and TechDirt have defamed companies by falsely calling them "patent trolls", which have a specific definition that (Mike points out) "Everyone knows". That is what I was referring to initially. The secondary reference was to the Shiva Ayyadurai case. Two separate, but perhaps similar, instances of defamation and damage.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:19am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          And when asked to bring up these "companies" it turns out that none of these examples exist beyond your "belief" that they must exist. Because you "believe" so.

                          It's like a teacher asking a student what "2 + 3" is, and the student answers, "2 plus 3 equals 2 plus 3".

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:23am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                            Well, you could help here if you would like to. How about posting the definition of the patent troll that "Everyone knows"? Perhaps you could teach us all something.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 8:03am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              Hamilton. For the last time. Get back on your meds. You're a continued embarrassment to the name. We know you very much want to blame anyone but yourself for your fuckups. Get over yourself and get a life. This is just pathetic.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 8:30am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                              You were asked to back up your claims of people you feel are actually harmed by Techdirt... and your response is to not provide evidence that people exist, but to ask a completely unrelated question. Wonder why nobody takes you seriously? This is why.

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 8:41am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                It is not an unrelated question, it is a question that goes to the heart of the matter. What is the definition of a patent troll? My entire point (starting at the top of the thread) was that only dishonest or misguided (or paid) people use the term at all.

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

                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 9:00am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                  <i>What is the definition of a patent troll? My entire point (starting at the top of the thread) was that only dishonest or misguided (or paid) people use the term at all.</i>

                                  And since the term is already well established in legal usage within the legal profession, that already disproves your point. Unless you would like to refer to all patent lawyers and judges who use the term as dishonest, misguided or bribed to do so (which one might point out would count as defamation, but that's your gimmick).

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

                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 9:04am

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                    Citation needed

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

                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 9:11am

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                      How about this definition - everyone agree on this?

                                      An entity or individual that asserts a patent aggressively against a company or entity that produces a product or service. The patent troll simply owns the patent (or rights thereto) and does not produce the product or offer the service embodied in the patent. Patent trolls are also referred to as "non-practicing entities."

                                      http://www.smithhopen.com/glossary_term/115/Patent-Troll

                                      Which means that an entity or individual that DOES NOT assert patents aggressively IS NOT a patent troll. Legally. Defamation-wise. Provably. Right?

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

                                      • identicon
                                        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 8:41pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                                        OK, Michael Masnick and Techdirt, here is my suggestion. Act like journalists. If in any way you do not believe the quotation above reflects the definition "everybody knows" (as you put it), please correct it. Otherwise, do not expect to credibly argue with this definition in the future when it can and will be used against you. That's fair in journalism. Define your terms, then live with them.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      And you've been upgraded from troll to dickhead. And a pretentious one at that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:34pm

    I support journalism

    In my memory of journalism, real journalists usually are quite open about their relationship (if any) with the subjects of their articles. So, I have a journalistic question for you, Mike Masnick, the author of this article. Were you compensated, either with cash or credit or other things of value, for writing and promoting this article? Were the posters above compensated in some manner for their posts? God's truth is, Mike, I really don't know the answer to that question, but you do. How about your support journalism with a full disclosure of all your "paid for" articles and posts, and who paid you, and how much? That would go a long way towards silencing your critics. When you don't disclose what is paid promotion and what is not, and instead stay silent, you appear deceptive (at least to me).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 9:59pm

      Re: I support journalism

      Great, it's the Hamiltonian fanboy again. Apparently you permit Trump to grab all the "pussy" he wants but using the word "troll" in a phrase that has long since been accepted in legal language is too offensive for you. Gasp, shudder, squeal.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2017 @ 10:04pm

        Re: Re: I support journalism

        Thank you for reinforcing my point and distinguishing this blog from any form of journalism. I support journalism. Journalism is not represented here, by demonstration. Again.

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 1:35am

          Re: Re: Re: I support journalism

          > Thank you for reinforcing my point and distinguishing this blog from any form of journalism.

          How does a comment from an anonymous commenter say anything, one way or another, about the authors of this site?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 7:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I support journalism

            I think I was trying to express my expectation that the only reply that I will get to my question is nonsense like that posted above. Michael Masnick and TechDirt ask people to give them money under the name "I support journalism". I believe journalists normally try to disclose their bias, or even potential bias, in their writings about others. If Michael Masnick and/or Techdirt are being paid to write this article, or other articles, I think the "journalistic" thing to do would be to disclose it. So, perhaps I was commenting on what I did not see.

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

      • icon
        Matthew Cline (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 1:34am

        Hamiltonian?

        > Great, it's the Hamiltonian fanboy again.

        Who's the "Hamiltonian" that get's referenced here at TD?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2017 @ 2:01am

          Re: Hamiltonian?

          The relentless bot here spent his early debut spamfests ranting about how he was a glorious descendant of Alexander Hamilton... because that was somehow a significant part of his thesis about how Shiva is going to tear down this website.

          If anything that label has merely contributed to the embarrassment he deserves.

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

  • icon
    CharlesGrossman (profile), 12 May 2017 @ 10:44am

    Is reverse crowdfunding a new thing?

    I understand that word meaning can change, but is it really "crowdfunding" when Crowdflare "is also crowdfunding up to $50,0000 for prior art discoveries"? Isn't this the opposite of crowdfunding (at least in its traditional meaning) -- Crowdflare is giving away money for what it seeks, not trying to raise money -- or is this a new thing to be called "reverse crowdfunding"?

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

  • identicon
    Johann Wilkerson, 15 May 2017 @ 3:01pm

    Patents are antiquated

    They should unilaterly shorten the life of a patent to 5 years (compensate for now-faster-technology-time) and immediately expire EVERY older patent into a "prior art/do not re-patent" database. Poof. Instant new innovation.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 11:04pm

    After a few days of deciding not to waste my time on the Hamiltonian troll... I can't say this endless replying to itself was a surprise. The best part is how he chose to harass another user on a completely off-topic tangent to get his jollies off.

    Shiva, is this who you deploy as your attack dogs? You might want to read up on Tara Carreon and John Steele. Maybe re-evaluate your strategies. Just saying.

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


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