Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blogs against patent trolls

An article by Brent Bowers in the IHT concerning litigation between patentee AdvanceMe and AmeriMerchant [David Goldin] includes the text:

Goldin said he found out that the only way he could win was to get AdvanceMe's patent invalidated, and to do that he had to find written evidence that its payment system had been around at least one year before the patent was filed in July 1997.

He started a blog to appeal for supporting evidence. Tim Litle, the founder of Litle & Co., a processing company, told him that the AdvanceMe patent was identical to what he did in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But how to prove it? Litle had sold the company in 1995, and all his documents went with the sale. Goldin said he hit pay dirt when Payment Tech, which had acquired Litle & Co., faxed him those 48 pages of documents dating from February 1992 to February 1994, which referred to a merchant who had paid Litle & Co. out of its credit card receipts.

This was an imaginative, low-cost, internet-based approach to ferreting out invalidating prior art.

Elsewhere in the article one does have criticism of the current efforts in patent reform:

Though [Gerry] Elman sides with Goldin in the AdvanceMe case, he believes small businesses will, in general, be the losers.

"In the past, they have relied on the patent system to become big businesses," he said. "But now, the patent system is being gutted on the strength of lobbying by the information technology industry. Big businesses will be able to copy innovation with impunity and thumb their noses at the inventions of the little guy."

The article closed with the following:

For all of Elman's fears of the threat to small business, Goldin views tighter rules for patent awards as a godsend for entrepreneurs. Today, he feels both vindicated and exhausted. For a year and a half, he said, "I had two jobs: corporate CEO and detective."

IPBiz notes that the proposed post-grant opposition mechanism is merely an over-priced procedure to wear-down smaller inventors. See Post-grant opposition: a bad idea


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