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Comment: Unfair and Deceptive Business Practice (Score 1) 562

by Compulawyer (#41979477) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

One of the cardinal rules of contracts is that words are given their ordinary plain meaning. This rule is applied within the context of the transaction. If words have a usual or customary meaning within a particular industry, then that meaning is attributed to the word used. If you want to depart from that rule, you have to provide a definition in the contract.

Hard drive manufacturers got into trouble with this principle when they quietly redefined a megabyte to be equal to 1,000,000 bytes instead of 2^20 bytes like everyone was used to.

If I had AT&T as my service provider, I would be complaining to the Federal Trade Commission alleging this as a violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. I would also be complaining to my state's Attorney General alleging a violation of my state's consumer protection laws.

Comment: Re:Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 1) 167

by Compulawyer (#40857987) Attached to: Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills
Except that you have to make the initial investment, there is always a risk that you will lose, and there is always a risk that although you have been awarded costs, you will not actually be able to collect the money. Early settlement by taking a license provides financial certainty and eliminates the legal risk, which are two things that companies like a hack of a lot more than litigation.

Comment: Re:Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 1) 167

by Compulawyer (#40857927) Attached to: Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills
"Highly questionable" doesn't mean the claims are invalid (although they may be). In this context, highly questionable means that the claims either do not fully describe the product or process accused of infringement or can only be characterized as fully covering it through unreasonable ("imaginative") interpretations of the claim terms.

Comment: Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 5, Informative) 167

by Compulawyer (#40854503) Attached to: Bill Would Force Patent Trolls To Pay Defendants' Legal Bills

Section 285 of the Patent Act of 1952 (35 U.S.C. 285) already permits judges to declare patent cases to be "exceptional" and award appropriate relief. From the defendant's perspective, a case can be declared exceptional if the plaintiff cannot show that at least one claim of the patent in suit covers the device or process accused of infringing the patent. This section is regularly used by defendants to obtain attorneys fees and costs.

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 1927 of Title 28 of the U.S. Code also provides bases for the same relief.

The problem with patent trolls is not the inability of defendants to get costs. It is that trolls often wage licensing campaigns by bringing highly questionable claims but set the costs of licenses below the cost to defend an action in court. Companies typically choose to go the economical route and take a license.

Comment: R10 Box (Score 1) 264

by Compulawyer (#40205329) Attached to: DirecTV CEO Scoffs At Competition From Apple TV
I have DirecTV and still have an R10 box. Two of them, in fact. One reason is that I own the box so I don't have to pay monthly rental fees (DTV gave it to me when I upgraded service). The main reason is because it has TiVo software. The DirecTV interface sucks! So -- what was that you said again, Mr. White?

Comment: Surprise! Inconsistent Positions (Score 2) 138

by Compulawyer (#39964661) Attached to: FDA Cracking Down On X-ray Exposure For Kids

Because we all know that all the agencies of the US Government work together seamlessly to develop and implement policy:

FDA: Protect the children from radiation

TSA: Protecting the public from terrorists requires us to irradiate the public

FDA: Radiation is bad

TSA: Radiation is good

FDA: Too much radiation for kids is bad

TSA: Radiation is harmless

FDA: Think of the children!

TSA: The children might be terrorists

Anyone else surprised?

"Pull the trigger and you're garbage." -- Lady Blue