Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Is What Abusing The Court System Actually Looks Like

New Variations on the Patent Scam

Innovatio is also suing Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread and other stores offering free Wi-Fi because they claim that they have some kind of patent that covers Wi-Fi. They’re looking for settlements in the range of $2,300-$5,000—in other words, they’ve priced their lawsuit at nuisance value and hope that these companies will just pay them to go away, and do so before their whole scam gets tossed out of court. 

Tort reformers never seem to mention the systemic abuse of legal process by big business. If they were sincerely concerned about justice, as opposed to being concerned about shielding the very wealthy from the consequences of their actions (via caps on punitive damages, caps on special damages, caps on general damages, and various other roadblocks along the road to justice), they might have picked up this kind of thing maybe ONE TIME.

Just to be clear, I am not opposed to taking an honest look at our legal system, and making changes to things we can fairly say are undesirable. But the "tort reform" movement is a bad-faith attempt to curtail the only means the relatively weaker party has to get some kind of just result from abuse by the relatively stronger party. It is also an attempt to cap damages on a way that makes costing the intentional/reckless harm business does to people (like deciding to kill people instead of redesigning a product) more certain.

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