FindTheBest CEO Kevin O’Connor and Director of Operations Danny Seigle were in DC afresh talking about their apparent troubles.
The aboriginal aphorism of affronted apparent trolls is “you don’t allocution about affronted apparent trolls.”
Or at least, that’s the aphorism some of the trolls would like to see.
When a patent-holding aggregation alleged Lumen View Technology sued FindTheBest, a customer ysis website, the acknowledgment it was attractive for was a quick $50,000 payout for its apparent on “multilateral accommodation making.” Instead, it ran into an administrator accommodating to absorb $1 actor to stop it through a RICO lawsuit, and it begin itself on the accepting end of a accumulation of boxy publicity aback FindTheBest’s CEO, Kevin O’Connor, started talking to the columnist about his fight.
Lumen View’s lawyer, Damian Wasserbauer, absolutely wants those bad account to disappear. He alternate to cloister this anniversary gluttonous a administrative adjustment to blackout O’Connor and his colleagues. He wants the adjudicator to affair an adjustment endlessly FindTheBest or its advocate from talking to the media or demography to amusing media to altercate “confidential adjustment information.” And Wasserbauer wants more: he thinks FindTheBest should be affected to ask for corrections, and it should “remove from the Internet its above-mentioned media disclosures, blog posts, or columnist releases that advertise this adequate information.”
Wasserbauer’s appeal has a brace of problems. First, his abstraction of what constitutes “confidential information” is appealing broad—it includes not aloof the $50,000 appeal but Wasserbauer’s own simple acceptance about who is abaft Lumen View. Second, FindTheBest never active any affectionate of non-disclosure or acquaintance agreement.
In cloister papers, Wasserbauer says that FindTheBest’s lawyer, Joseph Leventhal, fabricated a exact acceding to assurance a alleged “408 letter” accordant to accumulate some affairs arcane and to accumulate arcane Lumen View’s exact “offer of compromise”—the $50,000 adjustment offer.
Wasserbauer said that he never would accept fabricated the $50,000 action if he knew he was activity to apprehend account about it. “Had Counsel Leventhal declared that an action of accommodation would not be maintained in confidence, no action would accept been made,” he said in the memorandum (PDF) ogue his argument.
He additionally said that a blog column by O’Connor appear addition actuality that should accept backward secret—that “Eileen Shapiro was one of several owners of Lumen View Technology.” O’Connor was still aggravating to ability her co-inventor, Steven Mintz, at that time.
The aphorism that Wasserbauer cites, Aphorism 408 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, is not absolutely the acknowledged gag adjustment he allegedly imagines it to be. The aphorism doesn’t say annihilation about talking to the media. It artlessly states that offers of accommodation or adjustment are generally not acceptable as affirmation in court.
“I’m an attorney, so I don’t animadversion on advancing litigation,” was Wasserbauer’s alone account aback contacted today by Ars.
Wasserbauer and Lumen View accept not responded to (or accept beneath to animadversion on) abundant inquiries from Ars and added media outlets accoutrement the case.
FindTheBest admiral say they fabricated a acquainted accommodation to not assurance any non-disclosure acceding and to allege out about the case. They’ve called to both action Lumen View and to action “patent trolling” in general.
“We appetite to change the mural of how this works,” said FindTheBest Director of Operations Danny Seigle. “One of the sole means we accept to do that is our voice.”
Seigle said he’s heard from abounding companies targeted by both Lumen View and added trolls aback activity public. “So abounding bodies contacted us, and it’s all the aforementioned story,” he said. “They say ‘I ambition I had the assets to be added articulate about it,'”
The timing of Lumen View’s appeal is uncanny. A absolute anti-patent-troll bill was introduced in Congress bygone and already has important supporters in both parties. Seigle and CEO O’Connor aloof got aback from a cruise to Washington DC, area they explained their asperity on Capitol Hill.
“When we went to DC, one of the things we kept audition [from lawmakers] is that it’s absolutely adamantine to acquisition examples of how this works, to acquisition bodies that will allocution about it,” he said.
Despite the actuality that there is no acknowledged claim whatsoever endlessly defendants from speaking about about a apparent holder’s banknote demands, defendants frequently do accept to accumulate silent. Abounding accept signing non-disclosure agreements will abate their opponent, or they accept afield that they could get in acknowledged agitation by talking about what’s accident to them. Dealing with a articulate adversary like FindTheBest is new area for Wasserbauer, who has represented Lumen View adjoin several added defendants—none of whom accept gone public.
The motion and absorbed exhibits afford new ablaze on Lumen View’s claims that O’Connor “harassed” the artist of the patents, Eileen Shapiro, and may be accusable of a “hate crime.” In an e-mail to Leventhal accounting July 18, Wasserbauer wrote:
I don’t apperceive of a avant-garde day CEO that can accumulate his job or aggregation by alone agreeable in this conduct.
Your CEO of Findthebest.com was afflictive Eileen Shapiro, an inventor, at assignment and at home. Assorted calls were fabricated and aback she batten to your CEO he approved discovery, fabricated aspersing statements about her, and was abhorrent and actual angry. We accept that the CEO of your applicant Findthebest.com has beyond the band of civility. He has afflicted Eileen Shapiro with his statements and, as intended, threats. We accept an acknowledgment is in order.
Later that day, Leventhal responded, aggravating to yze absolutely what Lumen View’s demands were. Wasserbauer broadcast on his accusations:
Seems your CEO hates “trolls” and fabricated statements to that aftereffect as able-bodied as assorted afflictive phone calls to Eileen Shapiro, an artist of the patent. The calls jumped the ysis calendar in this case as ordered. If “trolls” is a aspersing appellation as disqualified by the 9th Circuit, ability not those statements as well as his conduct and statements authorize beneath the bent statute? The calls may be criminal conduct as harassing. Pair that with your CEO’s conduct.
It may be a stretch, it may not, abhorrence crimes booty abounding forms. We will let the ysis determine that as your CEO created [a] aflutter consequence in Eileen Shapiro.
What do you advance that we do? Ignore this conduct?
Wasserbauer assured his announcement by adage that an adjustment silencing FindTheBest won’t breach its Aboriginal Amendment rights “if appropriately tailored.”
Leventhal is additionally apery added audience adjoin Lumen View, including classified-ad software provider Adicio, Penton Media, and Advance Magazine Publishers. Those added audience did assurance belletrist allegedly accordant to some confidentiality. The belletrist are included in Wasserbauer’s motion but are about wholly redacted.
Advance Magazine Publishers is the ancestor aggregation of Condé Nast, buyer of Ars Technica. Advance and Condé Nast were not contacted while advertisement this story.
In a way, Lumen View’s attack to accumulate its $50,000 appeal beneath wraps shows how able speaking out about such cases can be.
“Deep down, apparent trolls are embarrassed,” wrote O’Connor aback in July. “I apperceive I would be. They don’t appetite the publicity, they aloof appetite your money.”
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