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Cloudflare goes berserk on next-gen patent troll, vows to utterly destroy it using prior-art bounties

Anonymous Coward

Godspeed Cloudflare. Make sure to decapitate them and bury the head separately so they can't come back as a zombie.

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Pirate

The P. Troll heads should not be buried but put on a spike and displayed at the highest point of Cloudflare's Headquarters.

Cloudflare should demand that ~all~ of the P.Trolls patents become the property of Cloudflare as a condition of any settlement, and that the P.Trolls be prohibited from acquiring any future patents unless they can demonstrate that the original idea and development to a patentable state has been done substantially by the P.Troll

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Mushroom

More fun way....

...all the CDN's blacklist their website and their IP addresses.

Let's see how long they last with 90%* of the internet down.

*made up number, just like all other factual stats.

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Anonymous Coward

Prenda law V2?

Didn't end well 1st time, let's hope great harm comes to this attempt.

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Re: Prenda law V2?

And let's hope Ken White writes up the story.

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So...

"In the past, patent trolls had to hire lawyers and law firms," Prince said. "These guys do away with it entirely and have the owner be a law firm themselves."

So basically Blackbird Technologies LLC is to patent trolling as Prenda Law was to copyright trolling? If so then I wish CloudFlare spectacular success.

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Anonymous Coward

bow and arrow - good!

machine gun and bullets, not fair!

I mean, yes, I hate patent trolls like any man (woman / women / others) on the street, but Cloudflare seem to be shifting the issue away from whether that patent held by the troll is actually valid to the irrelevant point of the TROLL! TROLL, FUGLY TROLL! - AND armed with a new kind of patent gun and we can't have that, especially as (cynical mode one) we're not pointing, but looking down the barrel.

For all I care the bunch of patents could be held by anything that can legally hold it, be it a regular specimen of a troll, a (!&**!) law firm attached to a bunch of patents, or a PM's butt holding them tightly between the (hairy) cheeks. Are those patents valid? Yes / no / dismiss, move on.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

@AC

"Cloudflare seem to be shifting the issue away from whether that patent held by the troll is actually valid"

They are offering a bounty for anyone that can prove prior art for said patent, so they haven't totally shifted away from it.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

Not convinced by that view - it's a well known defensive legal strategy - the Corcodile Dundee defence.

Call that a Knife? THIS is a Knife.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

The architecture described in the article is an HTTP proxy. Clients connect to the proxy which accesses the actual website behind the scenes and then the proxy delivers possibly modified content back to the client. The client never accesses the actual website. That's the whole point of the proxy.

So would there be any prior art for HTTP proxies around the 2002 timeframe. Well ... I suppose there's always the RFC that describes how HTTP has been carefully designed to make them possible. Would that count?

That's a serious question, by the way. In the sane world where you can't just grab an existing public standard and announce that you own it, of course it counts. In a US court hearing an IP case? Hmm ... much less clear cut. We shall see.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

Letters Patent were invented to encourage innovation in a country. They granted a limited term monopoly as a reward for bringing something new and useful into use.

All that is ancient history now. The Patent system has been hijacked by businesses for their own ends. It's time to kick legislators where it hurts until they bring back the idea that patents are for the good of the country, not the patent holder.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

The architecture described in the article is an HTTP proxy.

...

So would there be any prior art for HTTP proxies around the 2002 timeframe.

The other use of an HTTP proxy is to perform a man-in-the-middle ie. intercept attack, so another source of potential prior art will be among hackers and protocol test systems.

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Re: bow and arrow - good!

<So would there be any prior art for HTTP proxies around the 2002 timeframe</i>

The Squid proxy 1.0 was released in July 1996 (according to Pikewedia anyway) so I suspect that'll be all the prior art you need.

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Facepalm

Policing websites

"we remain committed to our belief that it is not Cloudflare's role to make determinations on what content should and should not be online," "

Nor should they be making a determination of what should or should not be allowed. If they are forced down that slippery slope, where would it end? Should Cloudfare boot El Reg because they posted nasty articles against Santa Cruz Operation (SCO)? Should they block American websites that promote America first and advocate for the removal of all Muslim's from the country?

If the website in question if distasteful, complain to the website or originating host, if they are breaking the law, such as offering pirated software, report them to the proper authorities. Cloudfare is offering a service, it is not their job to police the websites that use that service, anymore than it a DNS provider's job to police computers that use their service.

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Vic
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Re: Policing websites

Should Cloudfare boot El Reg because they posted nasty articles against Santa Cruz Operation (SCO)?

I don't think ElReg has ever posted a nasty article about the Santa Cruz Operation.

The SCO that everyone railed against was a different company - formerly Caldera. The confusion appears to be deliberate.

Vic.

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Has BlackBird gone after ISPs?

Well, BlackBird's patent seems to cover the deep packet inspection and insertion proposed (and used?) by many ISPs.

If you request data from example.com, and your ISP inserts an ad for their own internet service (and seriously, how is that a good strategy? I'm already using your internet service!), isn't that exactly what this patent covers?

Seems like a much more lucrative draw, and an ISP might be willing to license if it means they DON'T have to publicly expose what they're actually doing (to prove it doesn't violate the patent).

But maybe I misunderstood the application.

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they should ask the EFF for help.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm sure Cloudflare have more than enough money to deal with this in court. Let EFF help those who really need their assistance.

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Hardly a unique patent troll

Patent trolls that are lawyers / law firms is pretty common.

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Since most of the trolls are trying to suck the blood from internet connections

Can we just suggest that they prove their point(s) in a controlled-trial basis?

I can see setting up a 2400 baud connection to a remote testing facility to show their wares. Then they could slowly let in random users and see how well their "original" invention is received. The 2400 baud is only to prevent large-scale DoS or spam adverts from the same types of preverts.

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$50k?

They are chucking $50k at this in bounties?

So, taking it seriously then..?

What's $50k these days, 2 hours of legal fees?

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Anonymous Coward

Patent Trolls or Patent Office?

Surely the problem with Patent Trolls is that they are only benefiting from the way Patents are granted in the US. How many granted patents have been shown that prior art exists and invalidated, clearly showing they should never have been granted in the first place. If the Patent requests were more rigorously checked to see if prior art existed the problem would be significantly reduced.

Perhaps the litigants in Patent cases should claim costs of the US Patent Office for patents that should never have been granted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Patent Trolls or Patent Office?

>Surely the problem with Patent Trolls is that they are only benefiting from the way Patents are granted

Agree, my first question whenever anyone says they have a patent for x is: can you prove that you had a demonstrable implementation of x at the time of filing? if not, you've patented an idea and thus you've committed fraud as you can't patent an idea.

Whilst the patent application process no longer requires an applicant to supply an implementation of the patent, there is still the requirement that the patent is of a 'product' and not an idea.

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Anonymous Coward

incorporating third party data

"incorporating third party data into existing internet client/server connections"

...isn't this exactly what Google and its ilk do, to inject advertising into website owners pagers?

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Silver badge

Amy patent can look valid if it's broad enough. I hate these broad sweeping patents that seem to prove that the patent office just know eff all about what they grant patents for. Just take any obvious solution to some trivial problem and add some circumstantial stuff (web, internet, blablabla) and voila, a patent!

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