I’m sick of the current state of affairs of the U.S. patent ecosystem. Among my many frustrations, this is certainly high on the list. My partner Brad also feels the same way. While Brad has blogged extensively, with some help from me before I wrote my own blog, I’ve been silent lately.
But I recently heard about a case that made me want to vent. Get this…
The patent at question is a business method patent concerning sharing confidential information over the Internet. Yes, someone has a patent on sending confidential information over the Internet. This is novel? Like, "duh." Shame on the patent office for granting this patent.
If that wasn’t bad enough, he is suing a whole bunch of companies (including Microsoft and Monster.com) trying to hold them up for money. See the filing here. It is 4 pages long and what probably took this guy’s lawyer 15 minutes to compose will destroy millions of dollars in aggregate shareholder value simply defending this suit.
But it gets better! The plaintiff, Michael Powell is a lawyer at Quinn Emanuel, whose wife is his attorney. According to my sources, he was unsuccessful as an entrepreneur and now with his solely owned LLC that has this one and only patent and no apparent business operations, he’s decided to take his legal education and do something good for our society: becoming a patent troll.
It’s really a travesty that a guy whose couldn’t raise the money to continue to run the business and shut his company down in 2001 waits around 7 years and then files this case claiming that he has a right to money based on an obvious “invention” and furthermore deserves money as a non-practicing entity against companies out there trying hard to run their businesses.
Mike, you not making enough money as a lawyer? You really feel like you added value to our society creating this patent? You really feel this is what the patent system was designed for? You should be absolutely ashamed. Congrats on being yet another example of a lawyer giving all the good ones a bad name. I wish all the best to the lawyers representing the defendants.