NTP is the New SCO

patent trollNTP, the shell company whose only business is to extract ransom from real businesses does not sit on the $600 they extorted from RIM.  They are now suing just about all the smartphone industry: Apple, Google, HTC, Microsoft, LG and Motorola.

Is NTP the new SCO?

Related posts:

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)


The Green Fight: Solar Panels vs. Trees

We’re supposed to save trees – not only because there are laws against cutting them, but it’s the right thing to do. So Sunnyvale couple Richard Treanor and Carolynn Bissett were doing a good deed by planting a bunch of redwood trees between 1997 and 99.

Their neighbor, Mark Vargas must also be environmentally conscious, as he installed solar panels on his roofs in 2001.  There’s only one small (actually large) problem: solar panels don’t work without exposure to the sun.

The redwood trees grew to be giants, some reaching 400 feet, and they cast a shadow on the solar panels.  The neighbors have been fighting for years and finally Vargas filed a lawsuit.  Last December a judge ordered the couple to remove the trees. They won’t appeal, as after spending $37,000 in legal bills and can’t afford the lawsuit anymore, so they will abide. 

The lawsuit, and decision was based on California’s Solar Shade Control Act, which requires homeowners to keep their trees or shrubs from shading more than 10 percent of a neighbor’s solar panels.

Now, here comes the controversial part:

Existing trees that cast shadows when the panels are installed are exempt, but new growth is subject to the law.

CA state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) of Palo Alto plans to change it.  The bill he introduced this week would protect trees that were planted before the installation of solar panels. Those planted next to already existing solar panels would still be subject to removal.

Here’s the NBC11 video.

Update:  2009-10 will be the perfect time to install solar, as supply is expected to exceed demand.


Did YOU Invent Facebook? Take a Number.

The ConnectU vs. Zuckerberg case is still open, but The New York Times reports Facebook’s real inventor, at least on a conceptual level might very well be another Harvard graduate, Aaron J. Greenspan, who established a Web service at Harvard, which he called houseSYSTEM:

An e-mail message, circulated widely by Mr. Greenspan to Harvard students on Sept. 19, 2003, describes the newest feature of houseSYSTEM, as “the Face Book,” an online system for quickly locating other students. The date was four months before Mr. Zuckerberg started his own site, originally “” (Mr. Greenspan retained his college e-mail messages and provided The New York Times with copies of his communications with Mr. Zuckerberg.)

So Greenspan (Aaron, not Alan) is claimant #3… but wait, perhaps it was Your Momma Nick O’Neill:

For all those that think they came up with an idea similar to Facebook before it was launched: congratulations! Unfortunately you didn’t have the same luck or resources that Mark Zuckerberg had at the time. Oh and by the way: I was one of the founders of Google. Just thought you should know.

They will all have to fight it out with Pete Cashmore, though, whose claim dates back to 1997:

I can only conclude that Zuckerberg used a mind-reading contraption to literally steal the idea from my brain. This will be the basis of my $1 billion lawsuit to be filed later this month.

But thoughts are not enough.. so Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu’s claim may be stronger, since he has a Thought-ent (thought-patent) on it:

That very moment, his eyes lit up, and he screamed “Yes, YES, OMIGOD, Face on the book, FACE BOOK, I Got It, Now I Really Got It, That’s what I am going to do, Facebook. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, I LOVE YOU!”

…So naturally I went to my lawyer, because I remember being told that is the first thing you are supposed to do in these situations. You know, like, billions could be at stake here.
He listened to my story intently, and started explaining the legal situation, in that measured, precisely crafted manner that I had come to associate with him: “Clearly you brought the two distinct ideas “FACE” and “BOOK” together in one sentence, on which the whole Facebook foundation rests, and which Mark Zuckerberg took from you, as proved by the reaction he had when the idea was transmitted to him. In legal terms, what you had was a THOUGHT-ent, also known as a thought-patent, which are considered legally equivalent to patents.”

(It’s a long but humorous post, I don’t even know which part to quote, you might as well read the whole story)

Last, but not least, my own claim:

I graduated in CENSORED when Mark Zuckerberg was likely in diapers. I really did not like our facebook on paper – I was seriously considering moving it on the Net. There was only one problem: the Internet did not exist. So first I had to invent it. Now you know: Al Gore did not invent the Web. I did.

Additional reading (claimants?): Insider Chatter, Mark Evans, muhammad.saleem, TechCrunch, Mashable!, Techomical and New Scientist Technology Blog.