On October 9, 2012, as part of an assignment in this course, a student posted on the blog the post “Patent trolls and Silicon Valley’s parasitic new industry.” I have since come to believe that certain of the information in the post is not correct and thus have written this post to correct the record.
The information in issue occurred in paragraph 3 of the post and relates to the company Rates Technology. The post said a number of things about Rates. The post first described the website PatentFreedom as classifying Rates as a “non-practicing entity.” The post linked to a BusinessWeek article, in which in a corrected statement, PatentFreedom in fact distinguished Rates from non-practicing entities.
That presumably was based on the fact that Rates actually is the patent holder on a number of patents invented by individuals associated with Rates, including its President Gerald J. Weinberger. See, for example, patent nos. 4,888,822, 5,425,085 and 5,519,769. The post also characterized the number of patents as a “tiny portfolio of patents” without any effort to assess the importance of the patents or the extent of the use of the underlying technology.
The post stated that Jerry Weinberger was the CEO of Rates, when he is actually its President.
The post also suggested that Weinberger had described Rates as a licensing firm, when Rates actually charges a one-time fee in connection with the patents that it holds.
Finally, based on the BusinessWeek article, the post characterized subsequent litigation between Covad and Rates and if that mischaracterized the litigation, I regret the error. The 2012 2nd Circuit opinion regarding the litigation between Rates and, among others, Covad, is here and speaks for itself.
I have consulted the student who wrote the post in connection with this correction and she agrees with it and also regrets the errors.