Judge Alsup kicks troll in the patents

Luckless patent troll Network Protection Sciences is really regretting the day it tried to sue security vendor Fortinet in Texas.

The case was booted from Texas to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California where it falls under the remit of district court Judge William Alsup, of Oracle versus Google fame.

Alsup is one of the few judges who actually knows something about technology. It looked like Alsup would kick the sorry case out of court, but he did something much worse.

As Network World reports, he ordered NPS to essentially teach the jury a course in patent trolling by defending the antics that got the case tossed out of Texas.

Firstly, there was the fact that NPS may not have owned the patent it was claiming Fortinet infringed upon until after it filed its lawsuit.

NPS founders Rakesh Ramde and Wilfred Lam knew that they did not own the patent and attempted to conceal evidence by being difficult.

It signed the acceptance for the patent only 22 days after it filed suit against Fortinet.

NPS then manufactured a venue in Texas by renting a windowless file-cabinet room with no employees.

They pretended it was a real business to the Texas judge and claimed that the building landlord Gregory Cuke was a “director of business development”. He wasn’t, but the company wanted a venue in the Eastern District of Texas, which would be friendly to its case.

NPS made more than 50 patent claims against Fortinet, which was unreasonable and it sandbagged its lawyers with newly produced documents and infringement contentions that attack over 70 Fortinet products without supplying claim charts.

Judge Alsup denied Fortinet’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and ruled that the jury should get to hear NPS defend the tactics it employed.

But what has won us over is how Judge Alsup talks to NPS and makes it absolutely clear how stuffed it really is.

He told them that the best it could hope for is that the jury’s going to decide this. But for the jury to decide the sham nature of this “closet in Texas”, they’re going to have to understand why somebody would want to do such a thing. He wanted an NPS expert to explain it.

He said that the jury needed to decide if the patent troll was running a sham and needed to understand the background of why it was or was not a sham.

“This jury is going to hear all of this stuff about the closet. And you’re going to have to explain why “Mr. Sham” was signing these documents,” he told the beleaguered NPS brief.