Southeast Texas Record Mar. 3, 2015, 9:20am


Don't you hate it when someone takes credit for your idea before you've even had it?

Enjoyment of your own brilliance and creativity is greatly diminished when you discover that your original idea was stolen from you prior to your conception of it.

How does someone else give premature birth to your brainchild? Did that presumptuous someone actually have the idea first, were you subsequently exposed to it unawares, and (when you thought you were conceiving it) were you actually unknowingly recalling it?

Or could it be, as the saying goes, that great minds think alike and that you and another great mind both dreamed up your big idea independently?

To take a real-life example, did Patrick Racz (dba Smartflash) really create various programs for downloading digital content and has Apple actually infringed upon the patents he holds for them?

A Tyler, Texas, jury clearly thought so when it awarded Smartflash $532,900,000 last week.

According to Apple, however, “Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no US presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system.”

Smartflash is represented by Bradley W. Caldwell, et al.

“Before founding his own firm,” notes an article at ArsTechnica.com, “Caldwell began his career at McKool Smith, the law firm that mastered the art of wresting large jury verdicts from tech companies in the small towns of East Texas. His list of representative clients is a who's who of companies that no one had ever heard of, until they were able to use a batch of patents to pound tech companies in court. It's a greatest hits list of patent-troll smackdowns.”

This mystery of whose creativity is whose will be reexamined by a higher court.

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