Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 42289
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2018/07/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2006/3/17-20 [Science/Electric, Science/GlobalWarming] UID:42289 Activity:nil
3/17    Trolling for profit:
        \_ If these people got their knees broken I'd call it justice.  If
           I saw the CEO getting his teeth kicked in in a back alley, I would
           not call the cops.
Cache (5478 bytes)
AP Forgent Uses 'Trolling' As Business Model By MATT SLAGLE, AP Technology Writer Fri Mar 17, 2:52 PM ET AUSTIN, Texas - While most technology companies make money by developing software, building hardware or providing services, Forgent Networks Inc. has taken a different route: It produces threats and lawsuits that try to cash in on ideas. Forgent and other companies with similar strategies -- often called "patent trolling" by critics -- amass intellectual property portfolios and file suits against other businesses, accusing them of infringement. With a skeleton crew of 30 employees and the help of a law firm, Forgent has built a business out of suing -- or threatening to sue -- companies, even though it offers no related products and does no development of the technology itself. Though critics say such tactics curb innovation and drive up costs for consumers, Forgent CEO Dick Snyder insists he's merely providing maximum value to shareholders. "This country was built on innovation, and in the Constitution there is a provision in there to protect innovation through patenting," said Snyder, a former executive at Hewlett-Packard Co. "It's the American way, and we're just doing what we believe is the right thing to gain value from what we own." For Forgent and other companies, the business model is paying off. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, is expected to consider a patent dispute between eBay Inc. At the heart of the so-called 672 patent is something ubiquitous in the technology world: the JPEG format for digital pictures. Though used in countless electronic gadgets and software programs since the 1980s, it wasn't until two years ago that Forgent sued 44 companies, including some of the high-tech industry's largest players. It claimed they were using the patented compression technique covered in the 672 without paying a licensing fee. Over 50 others not involved in Forgent's lawsuit have agreed to pay unspecified royalties for using the patent, including RIM, and Forgent has notified more than 1,000 other companies they may owe royalties. Though a dollar figure wasn't disclosed, RIM spokesman Mark Guibert said negotiations with Forgent resulted in a "reasonable agreement." and Microsoft -- is still pending in the US District Court in San Francisco. Dan Venglarik, an intellectual property attorney with Davis Munck Butrus in Dallas who is not involved in the case, said Forgent's tactics have far-reaching impact. Many smaller companies especially will be more likely to settle than dispute Forgent's claim because of the high costs of litigation, which could easily top $3 million, he said. "If the numbers make sense, companies are going to be inclined to settle to avoid the risk," he said. The issue has led some lawmakers to call for changes to the nation's patent system. A draft proposal remains under review by a congressional subcommittee chaired by Smith, a spokeswoman for his office said. recently won a request to have the validity of the 672 reviewed by the US Patent Office, a process that could take years. The group claims Forgent's patent was incorrectly granted and should be revoked. "I think it's stupid that this type of policy is legal and profitable," said Dan Ravicher, the group's executive director. In 2001, the company was renamed Forgent, and executives decided to focus on intellectual property. "At that juncture we really decided it was best from a shareholder perspective to at least for the foreseeable future, focus ourselves around being a patent company," Snyder said. Forgent's earnings, largely dependent on revenue from the 672, have fluctuated wildly over the years. Forgent, which has about 30 other technology patents waiting in the wings, is already moving ahead with its next potential profit generator: US Patent No. and 12 other companies have been named as defendants in the case. A federal judge has set a mediation date for next month in US District Court in Marshall, Texas. In Austin, Snyder, 61, sips from a coffee mug as he acknowledges the money won't come in forever. Though it will be enforceable retroactively, the 672 expires in October. Snyder sees part of that future in the company's tiny NetSimplicity division, which makes scheduling software for businesses. "Forgent's really a company that's in transition," he said. "We got ourselves into this current mode of licensing because it's been very fruitful for us. We see that as good return to the shareholder and good return on the R&D investment we made. But eventually, patents expire, so we will need a business in the future that's sustainable." MagicRAM PC Card Hard Drive The MagicRAM PC Card Hard Disk provides a cost effective solution and offers one of the lowest costs per MB of any removable storage in a Type II PC Card format. com Find, compare and buy products in categories ranging from hard drives to PC laptops. Read product reviews and compare prices with tax and shipping from thousands of online stores. With a skeleton crew of 30 employees and the help of a law firm, Forgent has built a business out of suing some of the technology world's largest companies. The so-called 672, which covers a very specific method of compressing digital files, has generated $105 million in settlements and licensing agreements in the past three years. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.