05. The Childhood Neighbor

Dated May 21, 2018; last modified on Thu, 02 Sep 2021

Money was a sore point in the Holmes household. Holmes’s grandparents had squandered away their share of the Fleischmann fortune. Richard Fuisz, a family friend, was a flashy successful businessman.

So in a way, Elizabeth didn’t grow up in wealth? This puts a spin on Chapter 01: A Purposeful Life .

Fuisz was offended that Elizabeth never consulted him. Fuisz made his money patenting medical inventions that he anticipated other companies would someday want.

So a Patent Assertion Entity (aka patent trolls)? PAEs introduce [unnecessary?] costs to business, e.g. $29b in direct costs in 2011, which are especially hard on SMEs. Pro-PAEs claim that they create a market for patent owners, and that they return a sizeable portion of the settlement to the original inventors.

Anticipating Theranos, he patented a physician alert mechanism that could be embedded in at-home blood-testing devices made by other companies.

When Theranos discovered the patent, they sought their legal firm for a patent interference case. However, attacking the parent of a partner was messy. The firm declined Elizabeth’s request for a patent interference case against Fuisz.

Patent trolling is costlier in the US because the American Rule is used, where each party is responsible for paying its own attorney’s fees. In the English Rule, the loser pays the other party’s legal costs. Attorney’s fees can go up to $2.5m, so defendants sometimes settle for “mere” hundreds of thousands, even when they could have won the lawsuit.

The License on Transfer (LOT) Network (spearheaded by Uber; lots of companies are members) is such that if any member’s patents fall into the hands of a PAE, the other members automatically get a license to those patents.

  1. Patent troll. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll . Accessed Aug 19, 2021.
  2. Why we stepped up to the patent troll problem. Michael Meehan. https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/04/why-we-stepped-up-to-the-patent-troll-problem/ . https://lotnet.com/ . May 4, 2017. Accessed Aug 19, 2021.