Satirical, bizarre and amusing news website Fark has kicked the fark out of a patent troll called Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC. The original lawsuit was leveraged in January, claiming Fark infringed on a patent that covered a “method of inputing news releases into a web form, which would then compile the news release and email it to media outlets.”
The patent, for those who know Fark, has nothing to do with how the site operates. It doesn’t distribute “news releases,” aka “press releases,” – it aggregates news.
And here’s the best part: the suit was settled, after 8 months, for a grand total of zero dollars.
Disclosure: TechCrunch was also sued by Natural Resources, see bottom of post for more info.
After receiving the threat, Fark decided to fight back. Apparently, when the patent troll realized this was the case, they asked for Fark’s best offer, says the company via a post on its website today. So Fark suggested “how about you get nothing and drop the lawsuit?”
Unbelievably, the troll agreed.
Fark, or any company facing similar litigation, normally would not be able to discuss the particulars of such a lawsuit, but in Fark’s last round of settlement negotiations, the patent troll agreed to let Fark strike the NDA provision which would otherwise prevent it from talking about the details of the suit.
That’s how Fark is able to report how much it settled for: ZERO dollars.
Writes Fark founder Drew Curtis,
“It was a nightmare. Imagine someone breaking into your home, then being forced to sit on the couch while their lawyers file motions over how much stuff they can take…
Too much money was wasted on this, too many sleepless nights, too many hours away from running Fark, and all this because someone else decided that suing companies for bearing a vague resemblance to their patent (patents they don’t even appear to use themselves) is a good business model.”
Curtis adds: “We’re short a full-time employee thanks to these douchebags.”
Fark wasn’t the only one targeted by this ridiculous patent lawsuit. Other sites included Reddit, The Atlanta-Journal Constituition, Digg, Geeknet, Newsvine, Yahoo and yours truly, TechCrunch.
We don’t have an update on the status of our lawsuit at this time, but we’re assuming AOL’s lawyers are handling it for us. At least, we should hope so.