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I got a mail from Kelora Systems LLC, saying something about patent infringement
 
ashk
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I see some of these threads are old, does anyone have any updates on their situation with these scammers?

I’m guessing most are just waiting out the litigation.  Unfortunately there isn’t a lot going on there right now.

Some semi-recent reading:

Magento user blog post in regards to patent troll

Current Kelora v. Target et all suit.  This doesn’t get updated super-often (and isn’t always up to date).  But it does have alot of the court documents that are readable (well, minus the leagalease of it all).  The most recent “good news” update is the judge ruled that if Kelora wishes to interview any of the defendents, they will have to either do it via video conference or Kelora must pay to go to their headquarters.  This is important because normally, these patent trolls eventually win out by forcing the defendents to spend large amounts of money during “fact-finding” (eventually forcing a settlement instead of having to pay to fly out whomever Kelora asks for).  This forces Kelora to foot the bill.

This is a docket from a countersuit (Nebraska Furniture v Kelora).  What is interesting here is they name a very specific person whom Nebraska Furniture is using in their suit against Kelora.  This person has a long history of working on search systems for UC-Berkely.  My guess is they have something to prove prior-art (and thus invalidating the patent).

Other than that there isn’t much going on.  It’s a bunch of hurry up and wait.

 
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clarity
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Lisa A. - 11 August 2011 09:31 AM

If anyone is continuing to receive letters from Kelora, please send them to legal@magento.com, so that we can continue to monitor the matter.

Thanks.

Lisa A.

Scanned and sent. smile

 
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GreyWolf
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clarity - 17 October 2011 07:43 AM

I got a letter today, dated Oct 14, 2011. Being the first I’d heard of this, I googled it, which led me here. I use the free magento cart.

To answer thequestion about what appears to be different:

- Patent breaking claim seems the same. I am supposedly using a guided parametric search that they have the ‘821 Patent for
- They’ve upped the ante. My license offer is $40k, payable by 11/10/11. They offer a 25% discount if I pay by 11/04/11
- There is not much mention of cost in the future. It tells me that if I don’t pay by November 11, 2011, they will “pursue their legal remedies”
- They go on at length about the cost to me of implementing “non infringing alternatives” and the lower conversion rates that I will have without their system
- They tell me that the letter constitues a notice of alleged infringement and that creates a “reasonable apprehension of litigation”, and that I am “required to implement a litigiation hold’ It goes on to tell me how that means I have to “preserves all elements of the e-commerce and other infrastructure at my site. It blithers on some more about if I do make changes that I have to be sure that a “pre-change version of the infrastructure is preserved”. This part made me laugh. Seriously.
- It includes a copy of the license agreement
-They attached a copy of the complaint that they will file in USDC against me if I don’t pay by their date.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I intend to ignore this. I use magento on a site that is a side, side hobby, and really am not alarmed at the possibility of them being able to prove damages against me.

Got the same exact letter on the same date as Clarity. This was the first I had heard about this also. The letter’s stated gross estimate of my 2010 online earnings was grossly exaggerated also, and I think I know where they got the info from. We must have been part of the same bulk mailing from a purchased list from Internet Retailer, as Internet Retailer was referenced in the letter. I contacted Lisa at Magento via email and let her know.

 
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Maldonado
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We are a mom & pop online store that just received one of these very nasty letters where Kelora Systems LLC is demanding that we pay an exorbitant and unrealistic amount of money to them for a search license. They are threatening to sue us if we do not pay them. This could put us out of business. These people are going to ruin many lives! Does anyone know if there is a movement of online retailers that are organizing together against Kelora?

 
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ashk
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These people are going to ruin many lives! Does anyone know if there is a movement of online retailers that are organizing together against Kelora?

I don’t know of any group getting together for legal action.  There are already quite a few suits against Kelora and most are waiting it out (supposedly for some sort of decision in the coming weeks).

Another suit was just filed against Kelora by Baldor Electric Company.

What you can (and should do) is contact your Senate/House representative regarding the issue.  A story about mom and pop small businesses being run out of business by a greedy, classless, worthless, (enter more adjectives here) company like Kelora is just the thing they can get behind in these rough economic times.  This kind of patent trolling needs to have all the light shed on it as possible so the next patent troll doesn’t come along and send out these kind of demands to small businesses again.  This won’t happen, unfortunately, unless the “powers that be” get behind the movement.  Most patent infringing headlines deal with the big companies that most people think of as part of the game.  Our reps need to realize that these effect small businesses too and are an ender to those businesses.

 
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ashk
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Doing a bit more hunting for some prior art I happened across this HCIR Challenge which states as one of its challenges:

In 1990, Nicholas Belkin and Pier Giorgio Marchetti wrote a SIGIR conference paper that proposed and specified a faceted search interface for an information seeking system. Were they the first to do so? Was there any work on faceted search in the 1980s?

Seemed pretty interesting given our “plight”.  So, did a little search for Dr Nicholas Belkin and his paper entitled “Determining the functionality and features of an intelligent interface to an information retrieval system”.

Accidently grabbed a different paper, “Evaluating User Interfaces to Information Retrieval Systems: A Case Study on User Support”

I’ve also attached a screenshot from that paper.  Basically his system was for finding specific documents.  You give it a term to start with and it gives you suggested additional narrowing categories (along with a count of the number of documents in that category).

Figure 1 presents two windows of the user interface. The background window is the main window, in which the user enters a boolean query and constraints on the search, i.e. the number of desired documents and the search objectives (namely, high-recall or high-precision). The boolean query is constituted by facets (i.e. disjunctions of terms) which are logically AND-ed. Each term is shown with related information: its posting count, a controlled-term flag, a (user specified) degree of interest. Buttons are available to modify facets, terms and their attributes. The buttons on top of the window are used to start the reformulation process, to directly search the database, and to classify the retrieved documents. On the right hand side of the main window, mouse sensitive titles (and possibly contents) of retrieved documents are shown. The foreground window of Figure 1 shows a list of terms obtained from ‘NEURAL NETWORKS’ via a similarity search over the controlled terms of the Domain Specific Knowledge Base; they are the results of the application of a specific tactic. Terms accepted by the user (shown in boldface) are automatically added to the query in the appropriate facet. This kind of terminological support is system-controlled, but the user can get the control of the interaction by clicking on the “Suspend” button, and perform some other activity, like to read retrieved documents or to manually modify the query.

Given that this is from 1996 and the patent was filed in 1998, it seems this would qualify as prior-art.

Image Attachments
prior_art.jpg
 
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Maldonado
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Ashk thank you so much for your insight and research. Yes, something has to be done about patent trolls at the legislative level. Hopefully a loud outcry will soon build up and be heard. I think a lot of small businesses may be hesitant to speak up because they fear it will put them on the radar map and they will be singled out for a severe shakedown. Patent trolls could someday make it impossible for any e-commerce businesses to exist other than the very large and powerful ones. There was a time in this country ( and it is still this way in many third world countries ) where the mafia would come around and demand a payment from a business \"or else.\” These letters From Kelora that are going out to small e-commerce businesses have an ominous extortionist mafia ring to them. It makes me wonder what other dark dealings these people are involved with.

 
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ashk
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Updates............

Those countersuing Kelora had moved for summary judgement, which Judge Wilken has denied.  The judge basically states that while expert testimony is not required to determine if a patent is “obvious”, what has been provided to this point, does not warrant a summary judgement and expert testimony will be required for ruling.  Instead of a speedy resolution, this now gets drug out a bit while both sides gather expert testimony to bring to trial.

The new round of battles is laid out here.

As I understand it, “Summary Judgement” is seeking judgement in a lawsuit when none of the facts are in dispute.  That would mean, whatever facts/evidence was brought to the table by both sides (Kelora and the plethora of Defendents/Counter-Plantiffs) was not in dispute.  I would assume, therefore, little was brought to the table insofar as prior-art (as I doubt Kelora would be in agreement with them).  Given that, while this will drag this out longer, nothing has been “lost” at this point.  They basically went to the judge saying “Look at this patent, it’s obviously a stupid patent”.  Instead of agreeing right then, the judge has basically asked them to show her why its stupid.

I’m sure this will allow for Kelora to send out a few more waves of threats.

 
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cacycleworks
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Ha, we got one. Since I used exactly THIS kind of user navigation to search on Yahoo in 1994, I’m not worried. In fact, I created the “Ducati” category in Automobiles > Motorcycles. smile

 
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ShayBod
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We got today a letter from Manatt Law Firm asking for $40K, we got the letter through Certified Mail.

What is advised to do about the letter?

 
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edwardtilbury
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Thanks to Kelora Systems LLC for the free bird cage liner!

 
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gotalk
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I’m a website designer and I just spoke to one of my clients who received one of these letters by certified mail.  He runs a small mom and pop shop with barely enough in sales to stay afloat.  In fact the website is only 6 months old. Since I’m the freelancer that designed the website using a custom Magento theme, I feel awful that this is happening to my client.  Patent trolling is such a low down, underhanded way to make money!  It reminds me of the stories you hear where people spill something on the floor in a supermarket and then fake a slip and fall to file a lawsuit.  I’m going to advise my client to speak to a lawyer, but I know he can’t afford much.  Is there anything I should do regarding the website at this point or is the damage already done?

 
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CMLSupply
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We received the same letter yesterday 1/30/12. We are a mom and pop using magento.  Same latter asking for $40K with discounts.  The revenue for 2010 is grossly overexaggerated.
The reply date is 2/24, and as best as i can tell, this is close to one of the next court dates. I see 2/23 in onf of the documents.
we will scan and email our letter to legal at magento right now.  And i guess we are forced to contact an attorney just to make sure this can go away.
It seems to be the typical make a big threat in the hopes of squeezing a few dollars out of people. Kelora, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips are hoping a small business will cough up a little cash because it seems cheaper than hiring an attorney.

 
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FUKel0ra
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The latest from the Kelora case:

http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/4:2010cv04947/235910/131/0.pdf?1328090790

Hopefully a good sign.

 
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Rockabilia
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Just received ours also, we are on professional though so sending to magento legal.

 
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