CLOUDFLARE HAS RESPONDED TO A RESPONSE FROM one of those software trolls with an attack on its lawyers, the case, and bloody patents in general.
Software claim cases are frowned on and companies that squat on patents are widely loathed and called trolls. The firms that own patents tend to be what people might be called shady and offer few points of contact and do little business other than to pop up every now and then with a patent lawsuit.
Cloudflare is not just going to take that shit. Especially when it says that it does not even use the controversial US Patent 6,453,335 on "providing an internet third party data channel". It has posted a blog response that goes in swinging at the lawyers behind the company and the claim.
"The infringement claim is not a close one. The asserted patent was filed in 1998, and describes a system for monitoring an existing data channel and inserting error pages when transmission rates fall below a certain level. Nothing from 1998 comes close to describing our state-of-the-art product that is provisioned via DNS, speeds up internet content delivery, and protects against malicious attackers," it said with confidence.
"Our technology is innovative and different, and Cloudflare's technology has about 150 patents issued or in process."
Good for it. So long as it does not abuse them and go the way of Blackbird Technologies and its lawyers and start being a real dick about them.
"Blackbird is a new, especially dangerous breed of patent troll. Like the dinosaur in the latest Jurassic Park movie, a synthetic combination of Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptor, Blackbird combines both a law firm and intellectual property rights holder into a single entity. In doing so, they remove legal fees from their cost structure and can bring lawsuits of potentially dubious merit without having to bear any meaningful cost," it added.
"In other words, Blackbird's new breed of entity is specifically designed to add leverage and amplify the already widely maligned problem of patent trolling."
The post goes on and on and does not get any easier on Blackbird, repeatedly calling it a troll, and bringing up the awkward fact that it was set up by two patent lawyers who presumably got bored of watching other people make more money than them.
"Blackbird was formed three years ago by two attorneys who left law firms where they had been engaged in patent defense work — Wendy Verlander and Chris Freeman at Kirkland & Ellis.
"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."
Fighting talk, we hope that it is loud enough to penetrate a bridge. Regardless of that, anyone who likes a patent and isn't a prick about it could stand to make $50,000 out of this. Cloudflare has announced that it will award that amount to anyone to support a search for prior art that can be used to invalidate Blackbird's patents.
Blackbird has had some success with its past patent complaints and has bagged wins over everything from sports bras to LED lightbulbs. µ
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