So today I read a news story on Ars Technica about how NewEgg defeated the mighty patent troll, Soverain Software.
The timing was perfect! I’ve been having a stressful few weeks at work, and today was shaping up to be just like the others. Around lunch time, I decide to see what was going on in technology news.
Let me fill you in on my personal views of how patents are wielded in today’s society. Most of the high profile lawsuits filed today in the technology realm are complete bullshit. These things are stifling innovation, and screwing us as consumers. We need a little reform, and we need to stop granting patents on obvious things.
Tech companies, if any of your policy makers happen to read this, please quit suing each other and start competing on the merit of your products. I’m begging you.
Anyway, back to the point. Online retailers (some big ones like Amazon) were paying Soverain Software because, apparently, Soverain held some magic patent that covered ALL forms of online shopping cart. The patent supposedly covered the basic principle of the cart, so they could (theoretically) sue every online retailer using one. When’s the last time you went to buy something online, and didn’t put it in a cart first?
NewEgg, unlike the other retailers Soverain went after, fought tooth and nail to stop Soverain–and they did it. That’s right. They didn’t settle, they didn’t cave after the initial ruling, and they did it because it was the RIGHT THING TO DO.
This news went a long way to making my day better. What put it over the top, however, is how unbelievably awesome NewEgg’s Chief Legal Officer, Lee Cheng, is.
To all the patent trolls out there, he literally says, “Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.”
Actually, he’s fairly straight-forward throughout the interview. The whole article is a great read. Lee Cheng deserves some sort of awesome lawyer award.
Also, does anyone else feel like Soverain’s name is eerily close to the evil AI from Mass Effect? Seems apt, right?