Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Fark Fends Off a Patent Troll

If the rash of recent tech patent stories has made your eyes glaze over, try this one: The language, at least, is much more exciting.

Fark.com publisher Drew Curtis says he’s settled a nonsensical suit brought by something called Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC, which claimed Curtis’s site and a host of others had infringed a patent for “news release generation.”

The take-away is that Curtis says he was able to get Gooseberry to drop the suit without having to pay the patent holder a dime; he says he would have countersued but didn’t want to spend the money.

Well worth reading all of Curtis’s words on the topic, but if you’re pressed for time his Fark-ready headline will do: “Patent-infringement lawsuit against Fark settled for zero dollars. Also, patent trolls suck hairy donkey balls.”

Gooseberry’s original suit, filed in January, named several big Web publishing companies, including Condé Nast, Yahoo and AOL, via TechCrunch (you can read the complaint here via another entertainingly titled post).

Curtis says that Yahoo settled “a while back” and that Condé Nast settled this week; he says AOL is still fighting the suit. I’ve asked all three companies, as well as Gooseberry’s lawyer, for comment.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald