Corridor Law Group’s Passion For Innovation And…Honey!

Corridor Law Group’s Passion For Innovation And…Honey!

Corridor Law Group’s founder and CEO, Bob Fieseler, is passionate about intellectual property law and innovations that change the world–but did you know that he’s also passionate about beekeeping? Yes, it’s true. Bob loves the art of beekeeping and enjoys its many natural health benefits. Local opinion recognizes that Bob has cultivated some of the best tasting honey in Naperville and often sends honey to friends and clients. On any given Saturday morning during the Spring and Summer months, you’d find Bob in his beekeeping suit caring for his bees and their hives. Bob harvested almost 12 gallons of honey, weighing about 125 pounds, from his hive last year!

Here’s a wonderful article about a new innovation that allows beekeepers to collect honey without ever opening the hive. How appropriate—passion and innovation nestled into one really cool product innovation called Flow Frame.™

A Father and Son's Genius Beehive Invention: Collect Honey Without Opening Hive
“The world of bee keeping has been waiting a very long time for a new innovation. The Father and son team of Stuart and Cedar Anderson have come up with a genius way to collect honey without opening the hive. They call this innovation the "Flow Frame.”

According to honeyflow.com (their website):

“Flow™” is the name of our new invention that allows honey to be harvested directly from the hive without opening the hive and with little disturbance to the bees. The Flow frames are the beehive frames that make this possible. The team recently launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo and at the the time of this writing, have raised over $2,500,000 dollars. This is pretty amazing considering their initial goal was to raise $70,000.”

 

 

“The Andersons believe that beekeepers and bees have a special symbiotic relationship that goes back thousands of years. We have literally evolved together. We care for them, they pollinate our crops and of course make lots of delicious honey. Without the bees we may not be able to sustain human life as we know it, and without the beekeepers we wouldn’t have enough bees….In this modern world of limited natural habitat, beekeepers have become vital carers of bee colonies. We hope Flow™ hive will encourage thousands more people to become passionate carers and advocates of bees and become more aware of the threats facing not only bees but the matrix of life. For more information check out the Indiegogo Campaign or the HoneyFlow website.”

Corridor Law Group sends out a big “congratulations” to father and son inventors, Stuart and Cedar Anderson! We love your innovation Flow Frame™ and its potential to change the world– one hive (and one jar of honey) at a time. Cheers, guys.


Excerpt from eatlocalgrown.com.
 
 

Did Apple Pay $533 Million to a Patent Troll or a Good Guy Standing Up for the Common Man?

(Did Apple Pay $533 Million to a Patent Troll or a Good Guy Standing Up for the Common Man? expands upon our article, An Extensive Collection of Patents Can Deter Lawsuits Altogether.)

Non-practicing entities are sometimes called “trolls” and are typically painted as bad guys in the IP world; however in this case it looks like Apple was seen as the bad guy and the “troll” was viewed as standing up for the little man. We think this case shows the importance of the “story” behind the patent, and how good lawyers recognize that story and use it to their client's advantage, (either in front of a jury or an examiner at the USPTO).
USPatent7334720-figure-drawings

How Apple lost $533 million to an 8th-grade dropout patent troll, by Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune.com.

 

One of its mistakes was to make a fuss about Patrick Racz’ education in front of a Texas jury. Apple rarely comments on legal matters, and when it does it chooses its words carefully. So I read with interest the statement it issued after it was ordered to pay $532.9 million to Smartflash LLC for willful infringement of three U.S. patents. It’s a classic of the genre:

"Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system. We rely on the patent system to protect real innovation and this case is one more example of why we feel so strongly Congress should enact meaningful patent reform.”

You don’t have to love the U.S. patent system or non-practicing entities (A.K.A. patent trolls) to wonder: How the hell did Apple lose this case? It’s a question that took on new urgency when Smartflash turned around two days later and sued Apple a second time, this time for infringement of four new patents. I wasn’t able to reach Apple’s attorneys, but I did have a chat with Brad Caldwell, the Dallas-based patent infringement specialist who represented Smartflash. He tells a curious story.

“I think the reason we won,” he says, “is because we focused on the questions that were going to be presented to the jury: Were the patents valid? Did Apple infringe? Was the infringement willful?” Apple, according to Caldwell, focused on everything but the issue at hand: Three digital rights management patents granted Patrick Racz and others between 2008 and 2012. Apple, he says, “paraded witness after witness through courtroom who couldn’t be bothered to read the patents.”

I haven’t seen the full transcript of the six-day trial, but I’ve read enough to get a feel for what Caldwell is talking about.
When Apple’s lawyers got Racz on the stand they brought up his education (he left school at 8th grade), his horticultural training, the fact that he was from a farming family on the Isle of Jersey. They asked him, according to Caldwell: “Did you invent the Internet?” “Did you invent touch screen technology?” Racz, of course, had not.

By contrast, Augustin Farrugia, Apple’s director of security and its key witness, had previously designed the national banking system for Singapore. On the stand he said he too hadn’t gotten around to reading Racz’ patents. “They thumbed their nose at other people,” says Caldwell. “They acted like we’re Apple and have no need to respect other people’s intellectual property.”

The jury, I’m told, was paying close attention. They took notes. They deliberated for three hours. They found for the plaintiff.
I don’t know whether Apple copied Racz intellectual property or even knew of its existence. I don’t know that it’s worth half a billion dollar. I don’t know where Racz got the technical chops to file these patents, and I’m certainly not qualified to say whether U.S. Patent Office should have granted them. But I think I know now how Apple lost the case.

So, did Apple pay $533 million to a patent troll or a good guy standing up for the common man? The moral of this tale may be as simple as this—it's important to frame yourself as the good guy, both to a jury and to a patent examiner. Especially, if you're seen as just a wee little troll. For more on the subject of Non-practicing Entities, click here.

Whether you’re looking to add to your own arsenal or are looking to acquire your first patent; give Corridor Law Group a call for a free consultation to discuss intelligent strategies that our firm can implement to protect your company’s assets.

An Extensive Collection of Patents Can Deter Lawsuits Altogether

(An Extensive Collection of Patents Can Deter Lawsuits Altogether is a follow-up to our article, Defensive Patent Portfolio Strategies.)

Technology companies often use defensives patents to prevent and/or settle litigation. The strategy involves accumulating an extensive collection of patents to use as protection in the event a competitor attempts to file an infringement suit. Like the Soviets and the United States during the Cold War, competitors often partake in “patent arm races” with neither side ever actually planning on pressing the metaphorical button, since doing so would set off a chain reaction of law suits leading to the “mutual assured destruction” of both parties.
CLG-patent-arm-races

A well-organized defensive patent portfolio strategy can often help protect your intellectual property—and those patents can deter lawsuits. The legal benefits can include:

  • The ability to force a settlement quickly by threatening a countersuit
  • Preventing competitors and trolls from applying for similar patents

The “patent arms race” is typically seen as an expensive game only the “big boys” can play. (Google's recently spent over $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility and its portfolio of roughly 17,000 patents to "help protect the Android ecosystem.") However, it’s worth noting that even having a couple of patents can be enough to level the playing field. In Smartflash vs. Apple, Apple was ordered to pay $533 million for patent infringement to patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC.

The moral of the story is, whether you’re a superpower with a patent arsenal large enough to “blow your competitors up" several times over, or a relative newcomer simply looking for respect, having the option to “go nuclear” on a competitor is a very powerful deterrent.

Whether you’re looking to add to your own arsenal or are looking to acquire your first patent; give Corridor Law Group a call for a free consultation to discuss intelligent strategies that our firm can implement to protect your company’s assets.

Encouraging Kids of All Ages to Learn About Intellectual Property

Our kids are the future of this country; they are the inventors and innovators of tomorrow as well as our future business leaders. Thankfully there are many resources for them to learn about intellectual property. We were thrilled to learn that the USPTO has launched a new website that encourages kids and teens to create and invent, all the while discovering the importance of protecting their Intellectual Property (IP). The new site includes history, informative links, activities, and videos designed to help educate students, parents and teachers about patent law.

Here's a nicely produced video where innovators within the arena of extreme sports talk about the importance of inventing, patenting, and advancing their own tools of the trade. Many athletes (and even young people who aren't athletes) constantly serve as innovators within their disciplines, creating goods and technologies that make it possible to break new ground in competitions such as the X Games. Have a look:

 

 
That's how it's done, and it all starts with your idea! Corridor Law Group attorneys have a history of educating students about the patent process. Firm founder Bob Fieseler has visited local schools to teach students about patent law. This is something we feel that is important, because tomorrow's innovators are nearby in our own local classrooms.

Learning how to get your idea off the ground (and protected properly) isn't just for kids, either. Our attorneys often find themselves taking on the role of a teacher as they instruct and guide "first-time" clients through the patenting process. Give us a call if you have your own questions and want to learn more about developing your own IP.

So, way to go USPTO! Big applause from all of us at Corridor Law Group.
 
 

Napsters Meet Trolls and Open Checkbooks for Past Illegal Downloads

If you or someone you love (say your teenager) shares or downloads copyrighted material online, you should be aware that there is a new breed of troll: the “Copyright Troll.” This breed has been lurking in the shadows for years but they have now begun to show their faces and they have evolved to become very adept at sniffing out copyright infringers who engaged in past illegal downloads.

The favorite prey of the Copyright Troll are Millennials who were brought up in era in which it was common to use peer-to-peer services like Napster (shut down by courts) and peer-to-peer sites like Pirate Bay to obtain “free” downloads. These millennials are now facing criminal and civil infringement suits, sometimes for crimes committed years ago. Since being found liable for, or even sued for, a copyright infringement charge could deny that person's entry into certain professions (military, law, medicine, law enforcement), many millennials are paying monetary settlements to remain anonymous.

napster-and-trolls-past-illegal-downloads


(This image is a parody of the movie, Troll Hunter, ©2013 Magnet Releasing and Wagner/Cuban Companies. The actual movie, is available for legal sale via Amazon and may also be viewed on Netflix without consequence.)

Here's how the copyright trolls are hunting their prey:

  • Trolls are identifying IP addresses used to illegally download a given copyrighted material, often targeting those who have downloaded other copyrighted materials. The troll then brings a federal lawsuit against the anonymous owners (John/Jane Does) associated with infringing IP addresses and subpoenas the internet providers asking them to provide the name of the customer associated with the IP address.
  • The internet providers then send a letter to the customer stating that the customer’s name will be provided unless they resolve the matter with the troll by a given deadline.
  • If the customer lets the deadline pass, the internet provider sends the customer’s name to the troll who then substitutes the customer’s name for John/Jane Doe in the lawsuit
  • If the customer contacts the trolls lawyers, they are often told the extent of their infringing actively that the troll has discovered and offered a monetary settlement (usually around a few thousand dollars) to have the subpoena withdrawn and their IP address dismissed from the lawsuit. This allows the customer to remain anonymous and hopefully avoid attracting the attention of other trolls.

Corridor Law Group has experience representing defendants looking to be dismissed from copyright lawsuits brought against them for their past illegal downloads. We are adept at helping individuals who may have fallen victim to such trolls. If you find yourself in this somewhat harrowing situation, give us a call.