The two most
common questions asked of me is "are you a patent attorney"
and "why did you start FightThePatent.com".
The first answer
is No, I am not a patent attorney. I am a technologist who has been
on the Internet since 1989.
was started with a spark of internet Activism when I first read
about Acacia. Many observers and even some patent attorneys have
called the tactics by companies like Acacia as being "legalized
extortion". As an entreprenuer, innovator, and software developer,
I see it as patent abuse, and just plain wrong.
was created on August 12, 2003 to bring awareness and activism to
Internet-related patents that affect all websites.
A patent gives
the inventor a monopoly to stop people from using their invention
or to allow others to license the right to use the invention. The
problem arises when a patent holder (whether the inventor themselves
or a Intellectual Properties licensing company) takes a patent and
broadly interprets it to mean more than what the patent actually
I founded and
floundered a dot-com during 1999-2000 where I created technology
that allowed a person to use a telephone to record a message and
within 30 seconds, the message was digitized into streaming audio
formats, with playback via a play button on a website. The technology
was well received by so many web companies. One leading dating site
at the time remarked that it was the best audio-to-the-web solution.
that my company faced was despite these companies receiving millions
and millions of venture capital funding, they didn't want to pay
for the service. These companies would rather have a revenue-share
on advertising. April 2000 hit the internet world with a bang as
the bottom dropped out and investor confidence in the internet space
A year ago,
a friend of mine told me they were committing themselves to become
a nun. My friend knew of my efforts with my internet startup and
as we were talking on the phone about her new direction in life,
we both came to the same idea. We realized that my voice technology
could be applied to churches, to give the pastors the ability to
easily update their website with messages, thoughts, and prayers
by using a telephone.
With that moment
of inspiration, I blew the dust off the code and created the Spoken
Messages website. During the summer of 2003, the site was in beta
testing with over 20 chruches and the response was fantastic. We
offered a free demo and pastors would call up and talk into the
phone, preaching their sermons. The beta testing phase was completed,
and the site was about to go live, when a news item caught my attention.
talked about a company called Acacia Research that had a patent
claim to owning the process of downloading / streaming audio/video
files from a server. This immediately caught my attention since
it would seem this patent might affect my efforts with Spoken Messages.
After reading the patent and reading their "marketing"
efforts to "convince" websites to license their patent,
I became outraged at what I had been reading.
have downloaded digitized audio and video prior to the patent filing,
so I know that what the patent is claiming was already being done
in the BBS world.
With the spark
of activism, it ignited my sense of right and wrong to start FightThePatent.com
took down Spoken Messages website, winded down my consulting projects,
and focused a full time effort in bringing awareness and the searching
for prior art.
Real Networks since I had a license for a Real Server, and they
said they couldn't do anything to help unless Acacia was targeting
them. The attorney at Real said he had been contacted by other websites
that had been targeted by Acacia, but I was the first one to have
voluntarily shutdown the website as a response to them. I explained
to him the reason was that I have chosen now to be vocal and active
in the fight against the patent, that having a website that would
appear to infringe on their patent claims would be the fastest way
to stop my efforts.
The first targets
of Acacia's patent "marketing" plan was to target the
Adult Entertainment Industry. A group of them decided to band together
to stand up to Acacia. I made contact with Spike Goldberg, leader
of the Defense Group, and offered by services of any prior art that
I find, along with the volunteer searchers who have joined this
fight with me.
In the first
month of actively contacting companies and individuals to find prior
art, I found that Acacia was not the only company wielding broadly
interpreted patents. USA Video has a patent claim to downloading
video faster than real time and SightSound had a patent on the paid
download of digitized audio or video. My activism was now targeted
at patent abuse, and the tracking of these three companies that
have an interesting overlap to each other in their claims.
Part of my efforts
to bring awareness is to report news items about Acacia and the
other patents cases in the form of satirical articles. You will
find the more recent articles listed on the front of the site in
the blue strip, and an archive of all articles by clicking on the
Articles link at the top of the page.
Tidbits of information
found are posted in my Patent Log on the front of the site, which
is updated continually.
Along the way,
I found my calling to dedicate my personal and professional efforts
to fighting against patent abuse which was actualized in a proposal
to start Fight the Patent Foundation.
The idea floundered
as I could not raise support for the idea. Starting in Feb 2004,
I wound down my full time efforts to go back to pursuing my own
ventures, but continually vigilant in tracking these patent abuse
My hope is that
companies will finally decide to take a stand against patent abuse
and take steps to fight what is wrong. Patent Reform is clearly
needed. In the meantime, private entities like the proposed Fight
the Patent Foundation, is needed to help businesses deal with companies,
who under patent law, that can target companies as being "guilty
until proven innocent".
As a visitor
to this website, I hope that in becoming aware of these issues of
patent abuse, that you will "Get Informed, Get Mad, Get Active"
and help business to Fight The Patent.
been on the Internet since 1989, before there was the web and has
seen it blossom. Old technology combined with a new look is what
the web and "new" technologies is all about. Prior to
finding the Internet while a freshman at Texas A&M, he was involved
in the BBS world, starting with his Timex Sinclair with 16K RAM
expansion module and a tape recorder, to one of the first non-IBM
XT computers that had REAL IBM ROMS.
his Computer Technology degree from Purdue University and has been
involved extensively with internet projects and ventures (founded
and floundered a dot-com).
With his experience
with computers for over 17 years, Brandon has a broad perspective
of computing and networks, from mainframes to PCs.