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July 27, 2009

Last Hurrah

Martin Reiffin was a former patent attorney at IBM, who pulled a patented claim to multithreading out of the PTO 15 years after his original application filing date of 1982. A seriously vile junk patent. He then sued Microsoft over Word's spelling checker. With lack of spec support for his claims in his '82 brew, and new matter pulling his effective filing date to 1994, Reiffin lost first in court, leaving but a reexam for residue. Still, he doggedly and shamelessly pursued it. Today the last dog died, as his CAFC appeal over reexam flew south, leaving only droppings behind. A disgraceful man got his due.

In Re Reiffin Family Trust (CAFC 2008-1544) non-precedential

Patent Hawk worked this case for Microsoft during litigation, searching prior art and providing technical analyses.

Posted by Patent Hawk at July 27, 2009 8:54 PM | Litigation

Comments

It is one thing to win. It is another thing to win with grace.

I generally enjoy your writing, but what you wrote is something I would expect out of a slip and fall attorney (or a 15 year old), not a professional and not a patent attorney.

You had a choice to take the high road or the low road, and you decided to tear, at full speed, down the load road.

Posted by: Passing through at July 28, 2009 8:39 AM

Passing through,

What the hell are you writing about? Get a grip.

Reiffin should have known better. He wasted a lot of the courts' and PTO resources out of sheer greed, in defiance of decency as I reckon it.

There are a lot of close cases, where either side could have prevailed, both having reasonable arguments. This was the furthest thing from that, though it took a lot of work to show Reiffin as a poser, because the case required nuanced technical knowledge. Read the CAFC decision for starters. John Vandenberg of Klarquist was lead counsel on the matter, and did a bang-up job.

My role in the case was small, and I just wrote about my work in the matter as an advertising plug for my services. I could do so only because my having worked that particular case is a matter of public record.

Posted by: Patent Hawk at July 28, 2009 9:54 AM

"though it took a lot of work to show Reiffin as a poser"

If it took that much work, then it wasn't a slam dunk case. Easy cases should be won easily.

Regardless, even if it was a slam dunk case, show a little professionalism.

If you ever cringed, after seeing some late night commercial from some hack attoney (who is going to refer the case out anyway) because you know that person is coloring (in a bad way) how people think about your (our) profession ..... just realize that I had the same cringe when I read your comments.

Posted by: Passing through at July 28, 2009 4:15 PM

Passing through,

You must be working garden hose cases.

Patents can be of technically abstract or intricate subject matter. To a technologist, the situation can be clear. For a lawyer to make a case to another in the legal profession, who is not a technologist, it is a lot of work.

Your point is unclear, other than you cringe about my bad-mouthing a patent lawyer. You seem to think that patent lawyers are generally ethical, or even professional in their behavior. Lawyers are no different than a typical human, other than law school empowers their sense of rationalization, the ultimate form of denial for bad behavior. Cringe away.

Posted by: Patent Hawk at July 28, 2009 7:07 PM

Maybe I'm way off base, but the claims sound a lot like the early time sharing systems developed in the 1950s and 1960s:

http://www.multicians.org/thvv/7094.html

I have always suspect when a patent takes 15 years to issue. But maybe with the growing backlog my suspicions will have to change in the future.

Posted by: niRPa at July 29, 2009 6:12 AM

"Lawyers are no different than a typical human, other than law school empowers their sense of rationalization, the ultimate form of denial for bad behavior. Cringe away."

Lawyers are professionals. Your comments, albeit perfectly acceptable amongst buddies or when talking to your client, are unprofessional. Rationalize your opinion all you want ... I don't care about the merits of the case. I do care, however, when someone in my profession (one who I normally enjoy reading) acts like a 12 year old punk.

"law school empowers their sense of rationalization, the ultimate form of denial for bad behavior."
you should read your own statement a couple more times ... perhaps it will sink in.

BTW ... my cringing wasn't you bad mouthing another patent attorney ... who it was doesn't matter. It was your bad mouthing in general -- a PROFESSIONAL does not need to engage in it.

Posted by: Passing through at July 29, 2009 11:28 AM

"Lawyers are professionals."

I must say, Passing through, you have a lot of nerve coming here and trying to impose your ethics and sense of "morality" on Hawk. What (or Who) has given you that right, do you think? You certainly haven't followed the biblical model for correction by scolding publicly in an anonymous blog comment.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Honestly Passing through, I wouldn't want to be you, no matter how righteous you may think you are.

P.S. You made a bad assumption at the very beginning which destroys your whole argument. You might do well leaving the judging to God.

Posted by: niRPa at July 29, 2009 12:12 PM

"John Vandenberg of Klarquist was lead counsel on the matter, and did a bang-up job."

Uh, actually it was the PTO's Solicitor's Office, since it was an appeal from the BPAI.

Posted by: Pat Tent at July 29, 2009 12:13 PM

"You must be working garden hose cases.

Patents can be of technically abstract or intricate subject matter. To a technologist, the situation can be clear. For a lawyer to make a case to another in the legal profession, who is not a technologist, it is a lot of work.
"

I try to tell Noise this, but people like them just do not get it.

They also feel like people who do not get it should be 100% entitled to bring infringment suits when they don't even understand the tech they are working on.

Posted by: 6000 at July 29, 2009 12:55 PM

6 says "I try to tell Noise this,"

Um, like when? Do you have a clue what is being discussed?

Posted by: Noise above Law at July 29, 2009 2:05 PM

"Um, like when? Do you have a clue what is being discussed?"

Yes.

I'll repeat really slow:

"P a t e n t s c a n b e o f t e c h n i c a l l y a b s t r a c t o r i n t r i c a t e s u b j e c t m a t t e r . T o a t e c h n o l o g i s t , t h e s i t u a t i o n c a n b e c l e a r . F o r a l a w y e r (or anyone else) t o m a k e a c a s e t o a n o t h e r i n t h e l e g a l p r o f e s s i o n , w h o i s n o t a t e c h n o l o g i s t , i t i s a l o t o f w o r k ."

That took a lot of work, you better be grateful for my generosity in putting up with your routine incomprehension of man talk.

Posted by: 6 at July 29, 2009 5:54 PM

6K, don't you know how to use a spacebar? Sheesh, not a very good looking work product for all that effort. And the correct English is, "I'll repeat it slowly." You're welcome.

[Anyone have any good recipes for crow, in case this doesn't work? Testing:]

P a t e n t s   c a n   b e   o f   t e c h n i c a l l y   a b s t r a c t   o r   i n t r i c a t e   s u b j e c t   m a t t e r .   T o   a   t e c h n o l o g i s t ,   t h e   s i t u a t i o n   c a n   b e   c l e a r .   F o r   a   l a w y e r   t o   m a k e   a   c a s e   t o   a n o t h e r   i n   t h e   l e g a l   p r o f e s s i o n ,   w h o   i s   n o t   a   t e c h n o l o g i s t ,   i t   i s   a   l o t   o f   w o r k .

Posted by: niRPa at July 29, 2009 6:34 PM

Sure, you can repeat something - that doesn't take too much brains.

Again, like when have you tried to tell me "this"? Which of our many discussions have centered around this concept, rather than the routine beat downs I give you about what the Law is?

Posted by: Noise above Law at July 29, 2009 8:56 PM

"Which of our many discussions have centered around this concept,"

None of them "centered" on it. Don't worry though. My comments are laced with more wisdom than you're ever going to accumulate, I don't expect you to pick it all up.

Even now, you still don't know wtf Hawk and I are saying. Not really. Perhaps intellectually it is starting to sink in. Maybe. In a superficial kind of way.

Your little "beatdowns". Hah, they are analogous to what you could do to me irl. You'd hurt your hand more than you hurt me if you punched me square in the nose.

Posted by: 6 at July 29, 2009 11:42 PM