Saturday, March 02, 2013

Laminar Research (with X-Plane) hit by patent troll lawsuit for using a small amount of "free" copy-protect code


Electronic Frontier Foundation is continuing to publish stories about patent trolls, including the story of Austin Meyer, who runs a business called Laminar Research and offers a mobile product called X-Plane Flight Simulator, link here.    

Meyer says he was at a trade show when he received a cell phone call from a lawyer in Texas offering to defending him for something like a million dollars – when he didn’t even know yet that he had been sued by Unlioc, which claimed to own the source code (for copy protection) provided to Laminar by Google. 
  
The EFF story would (by Julie Samuels) be here

Laminar has its own account about the lawsuit (and a petition) here The link did not take me directly to his White House Petition, which I could not find quickly.  The WH site invites me to create my own petition.

  
There could be situations where ordinary small businesses are sued for using technology (even though they don’t sell it) that they thought had been provided free by a service provider or maybe a hosting service.  But the danger seems to arise if the technology is embedded inside something they do sell or offer.  I wonder if this could affect certain kinds of websites, social networks, or forums.  

EFF and Laminar are reminding visitors to support the Shield Act in Congress.  The closest bill that I could find is HR 6245 from the 112th, “Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes”, link here
  
A Shield Act would create a “loser pays” systems for patent suits, preventing “patent extortion”. 

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