This weekend patent experts turned their attention to the ongoing dispute between 1st Technologies and Bodog, offering their opinions on the drawn out confrontation. After reading their comments, one would think that Ronald J. Riley, President of the Alliance for American Innovation, sees the entire issue as one big joke.
Riley, who is also an executive for a number of other patent related websites, commented that Bodog founder and chief Calvin Ayre’s lawyers must be “having fits” over the way in which he has handled some of the exchanges between the two companies. What could he possibly be referring to?
One of those reasons might have something to do with the fact that Calvin Ayre issued a challenge on October 19th of 2007 to 1st Tech’s Scott Lewis to a 3-round Bodog MMA Fight. Riley recently told gambling information website Gambling 911 that he believes that Ayre is walking on eggshells in regards to his firm’s recent filing for a patent re-examination.
“Frankly, the way Calvin Ayre is conducting himself is incredibly prejudicial," said Riley. "His attorneys must be having fits. I strongly suspect that Ayre thought that his offshore corporate status would protect him against infringement lawsuits and that the default judgment situation is totally his own doing. Unbridled ego can be incredibly expensive.”
Riley's organization, The Professional Inventor's Alliance, was created more than a decade ago to protect American inventions and encourage innovation.
According to the organization’s website, American inventors saw a need to track congressional legislation and federal policy that impacts independent inventors, small and medium-sized businesses and colleges and universities. The Alliance provides independent inventors a united voice to improve public policy, and over the years its members have testified before Congress, offered counsel to key Senate and House committee members and successfully pushed legislation to protect America’s independent inventors.
With such a strong background in the patenting process, Riley is certainly no slouch. He has produced dozens of inventions in telecommunications, biotechnology and consumer products industries.
“Inventors are also gamblers,” Riley explains, “we spend years perfecting an invention. Then we face many obstacles which could easily bankrupt us but we forge ahead.
“After sinking hundreds of thousands to a few million in the process we may have something of value. And at that point we have to deal with egotistical, fat-headed patent pirates. Those of us who make it that far are incredibly tenacious and we do kick the living crap out of those who pirate our property.
“Frankly, Calvin Ayre appears to have a very poor hand and should know when to hold and when to fold. His problem is that the re-examination will make the patents much stronger if he does not successfully kill all the claims. That is unlikely. If just one infringed claim is left standing he will be in a really bad situation. Continuing to operate as usual while this drags out could expose him to punitive damages, up to three fold. Fallout from this could be the defining moment of his life.”
Riley maintains that Ayre is making a strategic mistake he may never forget. He offered this advice to the ambitious Bodog chief:
"The smart thing to do at this point is to learn from the mistake, pay the judgment, and move on. The alternative is to suffer the same kind of fate as RIM. They had a case which could have been settled prior to infringement for perhaps five million. Up to the start of trial it could have been settled for ten to fifteen million. The court awarded 25 million and due to RIM’s conduct that was enhanced to more than 50 million. They appealed and faced losing the appeal – they could have settled for 450 million. They insisted on outrageous terms and in the end paid $612 million."