TED has posted a new video with Fark Founder Drew Curtis, which Fark, of course has shared with its audience. He talks about how Fark was sued, along with Yahoo, Reddit, MSN, AOL, TechCrunch and others by Gooseberry Natural Resources.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington wrote about it in early 2011:
We, along with our fellow defendants, have allegedly been violating US Patent No. 6,370,535, titled System and method for structured news release generation and distribution. The invention underlying the patent appears to be the notion of typing text into an admin system, storing that text on a server, and then publishing it on the Internet. The patent was awarded in 2002.
Curtis talks about the patent being for the creation and distribution of news releases via email.
"One of the major problems with patent law is..that when you are sued by a patent troll, the burden of proof that you did not infringe upon the patent is actually on the defendant, which means you have to prove that you do not infringe upon the patent they are suing you on, and this can take quite a while," he says.
"You need to know that the average patent troll defense costs $2 million and takes 18 months when you win," he says. "That is your best case outcome when you get sued by a patent troll."
He goes on to say how he hoped he would be able to team up with some of the larger companies that were being sued, but one by one they all settled out of the suit, even though none of them were infringing - because it's cheaper to settle than fight the suit. He ended up beating the troll by simply asking them to provide screenshots of the infringing content on Fark, and they settled for zero dollars.
"Don't fight the patent. Fight the infringement," he recommends. Secondly, he says, "Make it clear from the beginning that you have no money at all or that you would rather spend money with your attorney, fighting the troll than actually giving them the money."
Finally, he says to make sure to tell them you'll make the whole process as annoying and painful for them as possible. The whole thing, he says, boils down to one thing: "Don't negotiate with terrorists."
As usual, there are plenty of entertaining comments on the Fark post. Here are a few:
i patented purple shirts. you owe me!
I just patented commenting on Drew's TED patent troll thread, so pay up, biatches!!
I just patented the act of listening. All you motherf*ckers better settle.