This story will circulate a lot today. I’d like to suggest a more informative and accurate headline than the likely “Lodsys dismisses a lawsuit and donates to charity”.
Let’s cut through four big bullshit points immediately:
“Lodsys” is allegedly one of many fake, meaningless entities created to absorb negativity from Intellectual Ventures’ real business: large-scale patent trolling and extortion of the majority of the tech industry.
Maybe Nathan Myhrvold doesn’t want to admit (to himself?) what his company really does. Or maybe he doesn’t want to tarnish his new reputation as a high-end culinary icon with the people and small businesses his company shakes down and the huge tax he extorts out of one of the world’s biggest industries.
Assigning negative press to “Lodsys” instead of Intellectual Ventures and Myhrvold is exactly what they want the public to do, but it’s dishonest by omission to ignore Intellectual Ventures’ involvement in the Lodsys patents. Bring the fight to their door, not their shell company’s fake office.
“Lodsys” isn’t donating a damn thing to charity.(Update: Sorry, I read this incorrectly — their proposal required both sides to donate.) They were losing, so as a manipulative political move in their settlement proposal, they required a mutual donation to a charity.
- This isn’t a “victory” against Lodsys that’s meaningful to anyone else, because it’s not repeatable. The defendant says himself that he was only able to settle this suit because two patent lawyers donated nearly $200,000 worth of their time to fight pro bono on his behalf, and that figure could have easily surpassed $1 million if it went to trial. Patent trolls usually sue small companies that can’t afford to defend themselves, so as long as defending against a patent suit is this expensive, the extortion scheme will continue to work.
- Lodsys didn’t really “lose” anything. They spent very little to file the suit, caused someone else to effectively spend $200,000 to defend against them, and lost nothing except their own legal fees in the process. Again, the scheme still works.
There are no winners in this case. Nothing has changed for the better. If anything, the system has been strengthened and validated.
We’re all losers — except patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures and Nathan Myhrvold, who continue to steal time, money, and willpower from thousands of hard-working people and make the world a worse place, with no repercussions for themselves. Hell, the culinary world thinks Myhrvold’s some sort of genius hero.
I don’t know how anyone in this racket sleeps at night.