Thursday, December 30, 2004

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year. Personally, I have no idea what i'll be doing yet, and frankly, I've been extremely lazy in planning for anything this holiday season. Maybe a good, lazy weekend will be just what the doctor ordered . . .

IF YOU THOUGHT FEE DIVERSION WAS ONLY A USPTO PROBLEM . . . On Dec. 20, a letter was sent to the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by thirteen companies that are significant users of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The companies expressed concern about a proposal made in September to increase PCT fees and noted that up to 80 percent of PCT fees are being used to subsidize programs at the World Intellectual Property Organization that "may not be in the interests of patent owners."

They are, of course, absolutely correct. What I found most troubling is that, unlike the United States USPTO and GAO, WIPO doesn't even have a mission statement with regard to the fees, and also has virtually no transparency for users to determine where these fees are going. I'd be very interested to learn what some of these WIPO side projects are. Unbelievable.



PATENT ATTORNEYS - TOUGHER THAN YOU THINK: (Chicago Tribune) Greg Raymer, the 2004 World Series of Poker champion, apparently knows how to wield more than a stack of chips when everything is riding on it.

The soft-spoken patent attorney from Stonington, Conn., fought off a pair of attackers Dec. 20 at the Bellagio hotel-casino after he had finished playing a cash game of poker, according to a Las Vegas police report.

Raymer was returning to his room about 2 a.m. when two men approached, the report said. As he opened the door to the room, they tried to push him in. But the heavyset Raymer resisted and began struggling with the men, the report said.

As he was fighting, one of the men pulled out a gun and said: "We just want the money." But Raymer didn't give up, and yelled for security, causing the men to flee. A security officer said one of the suspects was a poker player and also recognized him from a previous incident.

Police made an arrest in the case but the report didn't identify the person. Raymer, known as the "Fossilman" in poker circles, won the WSOP Texas Hold'Em title and $5 million in cash. He beat out a field of 2,576 in May to win the prestigious event.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

THE NEXT ROCKET DOCKET: MARSHALL, TEXAS? (National Law Journal) When the Eastern District of Virginia, which once had the reputation as an IP "rocket docket," became overwhelmed with patent lawsuits several years ago, the judges advised lawyers to go somewhere else.

That "somewhere else" turned out to be the U.S. district court in a place called Marshall, Texas, about 100 miles east of Dallas.

But now Marshall may be approaching the Virginia district's experience. In the last several years, patent lawyers have flocked to Marshall, a small northeastern Texas town of 25,000, because of its speedy court process, patent-enthusiastic judges and juries considered ideal for hearing intellectual property cases. This year alone, the court has seen 59 patent cases, more than triple the total in 2003, which saw just 14 patent suits.

So what's the big legal attraction in a town whose claim to fame is an annual fire ant festival?

The judges, lawyers say. Specifically, District Judge T. John Ward, who joined the bench in 1999 and helped create what is known in legal circles as a rocket docket for patent cases. He did this by adopting rules that encourage the setting of quick trial dates and firm discovery deadlines. And where there have been discovery disputes, he has made himself available.

But more than all that, lawyers say, what may perhaps be Ward's strongest trait is that he actually likes patent cases.

"That to me is the big deal. You could have a rocket docket in Minnesota or New Jersey, but if the judges don't like patent cases, it doesn't make sense. These [Marshall] judges say they like them and they act like they like them," said attorney Daniel F. Perez of Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas.

"They don't put up with any discovery disputes or any shenanigans," said Charles Baker, an intellectual property litigator with Porter & Hedges in Houston. "Some federal judges make it very well known that they don't like to hear these cases."

Baker noted that some defense attorneys are afraid to try cases there because of its pro-plaintiff reputation, which he disagrees with. He said that the rocket docket also turns off some defense lawyers who feel pressured to produce evidence quickly, leaving little time for preparation.

"People have portrayed [Marshall] as a fear factor: 'Oh, this is a terrible thing. These people are abusing the judicial system. It's unfair.' Well, I don't agree with that," Baker said. "The only advantage [for plaintiffs' lawyers] I see is that they can get them to trial quicker. But as a defense attorney, there are ways you can deal with that if you're a competent lawyer."

Baker said that Marshall's large elderly population also provides a good jury pool for intellectual property cases.

"There are a lot of old people who don't have a problem with sitting weeks at a time and listening to complicated issues," Baker said. "But in Houston, you have people who are fighting to get out of a trial."

Monday, December 27, 2004

WILL THEY TRASH "FIRST-TO-INVENT" IN THE U.S.? It seems that every 5 years or so, WIPO gets together to harmonize patent laws throughout the world. Not a bad idea, if you ask me, but one of the biggest sore points has been that the U.S. is the only country that uses the "first-to-invent" requirement for filing patent applications, while the rest of the world uses "first-to-file." Under a "first-to-file" system, Interference practive would vanish, and the USPTO/Courts would simply look at the filing dates to determine inventorship. Many small businesses have been resisting this change, and were primarily responsible for canning the last harmonization efforts in 1999. Well a new round of harmonization efforts are underway, and I would be shocked if WIPO doesn't revisit this topic again.

I'll keep you posted on any further details.

JAPAN, CHINA AND S. KOREA START TALKS ON PATENT HARMONIZATION: Not waiting for WIPO, South Korea, Japan and China are pushing to unify their industrial property rights systems by comprising industrial patents, designs and trade marks, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Sunday. The Japanese paper said the three countries will soon begin working-level talks to discuss unification of their patent systems, as well as ways to simplify their patent application procedures.

PATENT FOCUS: COLORADO - Last year, at least 48,000 newly incorporated businesses were born in Colorado. But if Small Business Administration calculations are correct, only about half will survive long enough to blow out the candles on their fourth-birthday cakes.

Yet during the state's 128-year history, thousands of businesses, products and innovations have done more than just survive - they've flourished. Each day, people across the country encounter products invented or perfected in Colorado.

From hard candy to dog toys to revolutionary footwear, creative Coloradans have made imprints throughout the world. And, based on the number of new ideas sprouting up each year, there's no end in sight.

According to the U.S. Patent Office, Colorado residents - who make up 2 percent of the nation's population - filed for 7 percent of all patents in 2003; two-thirds were granted. Another recent study done by The Corporation for Enterprise Development ranks Colorado the ninth- most-innovative state in the union.

In the second installment of Colorado Originals (the first ran in June), The Denver Post showcases some of the notable products, businesses and inventions with Colorado roots.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

CHINA TAKES STEP IN CURBING IP THEFT: China promised to get tougher on copyright and patent violations, a long-awaited move that may ease U.S. concerns over rampant piracy, believed to cost foreign businesses billions of dollars every year. In a new interpretation of the law governing intellectual property rights, the country's top court lowered the bar for treating violations as crimes and laid out prison terms of up to 7 years for the worst offenders. However, Beijing's decision to release the new guidelines without giving Washington a chance to weigh in on the final package prompted a tart U.S. response.

"We received the text today. We would have liked to have looked at it before it was issued in its final state. As this is the first time that we've seen it, we need time to review it closely," said Neena Moorjani, spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office. The interpretation, debated behind closed doors for much of the year, aims to address long-standing complaints by the United States and others that China has done little to stamp out piracy of everything from software to golf clubs.

"We should not only sentence such offenders in a determined manner, but also make it economically impossible for the criminals convicted and sentenced to commit the crime again," Cao Jianming, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, told reporters.

Cao said the court had firmed up legal definitions of terms such as "without permission of the copyright owner" and "reproducing and distributing" to make it easier to prosecute offenders. The legal ruling also comes amid heightened awareness within China over the pitfalls of counterfeit products following a fake milk powder scandal that killed 13 babies and made nearly 200 others sick.

Moorjani said the U.S. government would soon have "a more complete reaction" to the new judicial guidelines.

AH, THAT'S MORE LIKE IT: I was worried that the EU Parliment may actually come to its senses and push the software patent directive forward. Against all expectations, the final vote on the European software patents directive was postponed until further notice. The Polish Minister of Science and Information Technology, Wlodzimierz Marcinski, made a special journey to Brussels to demand that the directive be dropped from the agenda.

According to the FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure), Mr Marcinski felt the trip to Brussels was neccessary because of the pressure Poland's permanent representatives were under to accept the draft as it was.

What the delay means for the directive now is uncertain. Poland's minister asked for time to prepare a "constructive declaration" on the directive. Several countries support this position, having changed their stance since the vote on the text in May. Germany has already issued a statement saying that the compromise text has "room for improvement."

It is possible that the Luxembourg presidency will take a different approach and allow more discussion of the content of the draft, but the draft could just as easily show up on the agenda of the next meeting of the Council of ministers.

Friday, December 17, 2004

ACACIA WATCH UPDATE: On Thursday, the company agreed to buy Global Patent Holdings, an umbrella company whose various divisions, including TechSearch, have sued or struck patent licenses with Intel, Sony, Samsung and a myriad of smaller technology companies.

The deal would create a patent powerhouse which would own small pieces of dozens of different technologies, many of which are fundamental components of everyday Internet and personal technology businesses. The company said more acquisitions are likely.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

TRADING TECHNOLOGIES DRAWS A LINE IN THE SAND: One of the most notorious holding companies in the Chicago area, Trading Technologies International Inc., recently demanded about $130 million a year from the four top exchanges in exchange for the company dropping its patent lawsuits.

The exchanges involved include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. In a widely circulated "open letter to the futures industry" dated Tuesday, Trading Technologies argued that its software has encouraged the spread of futures trading, so the company should get 5 cents per contract dealt.

In return, the company would improve its products and agree to end all patent infringement suits against brokerages it believes have modified its software without paying for its continued use. The company in recent months settled suits against two trading firms -- Goldenberg, Hehmeyer & Co. and Kingstree Trading LLC -- that admitted patent infringement.

The goal of the letter was to get those firms to lobby the Merc, Board of Trade, Frankfurt-based Eurex and London-based Euronext.liffe, to agree to the payments as indemnity from the patent suits.

WOT? Apparently the EU software directive is not as dead as recent press reports have indicated. European Union governments have recently approved rules governing the patentability of inventions implemented by computers, known as the software patents directive, standing by an agreement they reached in May.

A meeting of ambassadors to the EU yesterday evening agreed to formally endorse a deal reached by member state governments in May of this year. The decision will come as a blow to opponents of the new legislation, among them the open source software community, who argue that the rules would allow the patenting of software. For approval, the legislation must still be referred back to the European Parliament (EP), which includes many opponents of the legislation.

If members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reject the EU governments' agreement, the two sides have to find a compromise, which may end up being closer to the open source software lobby's position.

Poland recently declared that they were opposed to patenting software. But this time, Poland merely issued a declaration saying that it had some "concerns" with the compromise. The declaration fell short of saying that Warsaw would block the proposal at a later date, according to a Dutch Presidency spokesman. Poland is understood to have come under severe political pressure not to undermine the proposal at this stage.

MICROSOFT AND AUTODESK COZY UP: As part of its plan to gain access to a broader portfolio of intellectual property, Microsoft has signed a patent swap deal with design software maker Autodesk.

Under the pact, the two companies will gain access to each other's patents in a variety of areas, including data management, collaboration, digital effects, digital rights management, project management, computer-aided design and location-based services.

Microsoft has been stepping up its activity on the patent front, ramping up its own filings and at the same time trying to ink cross-license deals with other tech companies. Microsoft has been using the combined power as a marketing vehicle against Linux, noting that it indemnifies its customers against potential patent infringement claims.

Neither company would discuss financial details of the cross-licensing arrangement, including whether any money changed hands. Kaefer has said that Microsoft currently spent about $1.4 billion last year on patent licensing, but noted the company has an opportunity to narrow those losses by more aggressively licensing its own portfolio.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

ALL ACACIA, ALL THE TIME: I'm not sure how long this has been out there (and it seems that it has been a while), but streamingmedia.com has a web page completely devoted to Acacia and all of it's activities over the years. After browsing through it, it seems that they have quite a bit of information, including court filings, press releases, etc. The page is good to link if you have received one of Acacia’s letters or are afraid you may receive one.

THE DAY AFTER: After the Federal Circuit essentially upheld-in-part NTP's patent infringement suit against RIM, RIM's stock price dropped 5 per cent. Ah, the power of patents . . .

COMMENTS ON OPEN-SOURCE IP: Microsoft recently made public statements that some say are an attempt to slow the rapid adoption ofOS software. For example, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently commented that the Linux operating system violates 228 separate software patents, suggesting that Linux users are likely to get sued for patent infringement. No specific patents were identified.

This commentary states that it is no surprise that the company with the most to lose by the adoption of OS would try to slow its adoption. A 2004 Forester survey of 140 large North American companies revealed that 46% of these companies already are using OS software and another 14% plan to do so soon. With 60% of the large North American companies allegedly using OS software, the theory goes that Microsoft is keen on putting a hex on users and developers that are migrating to OS systems

"Between Microsoft's posturing and the latest guidance from the FFIEC, itis clear that companies migrating to Open Source need to tread carefully,"said JamesGatto, an intellectual property partner in the Northern Virginia office ofPillsbury Winthrop. "However, there are a number of strategies and tactics that can mitigate potential liability." Gatto noted that some unique legal issues arise with OS software but that there are unique benefits as well.

The suggestion that users of OS softwareare more likely to be sued for patent infringement than those that useproprietary software, like Microsoft's does not appear supported by actual experience. It is interesting to note that while Microsoft has had several dozen patent infringement lawsuits filed against it in the past few years, none have been reported against Linux, the most popular of all OS programs.

It is also not correct that OS software can not be patented. Many companies that are involved with OS have significant patent portfolios and have declared that they will use these patents defensively to protect against patent lawsuits. For example, in October, Novell vowed to use its patent portfolio to protect open source software products and voiced its oppositionto proposed changes to the European Union software directive that would ease restrictions on software patents. Jeremy Bevan, a Novell VP, added, "there have been various rumors about the possibility of patents in open source technology and what will happen," saying that the company wanted to reassure its customers that "there's no greater risk" with open source than with proprietary technology.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

HERE'S AN INTERESTING RUB: (Reuters) Computer software should not be protected by copyright laws designed for music, literature and other creative works, according to a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court in San Francisco.

Intellectual-property consultant Greg Aharonian hopes to convince the court that software makers can protect their products adequately through patents, which provide more comprehensive protection, but are difficult to obtain and expire in a shorter period of time.

The case seeks to clarify which laws the $100 billion U.S. software industry uses to protect its products. Currently, software makers like Microsoft Corp. use both copyright and patent laws to protect their creations, as well as "clickwrap" agreements that stipulate terms of use.

An official with a software-industry trade group said not every software product is protected by patents.

"If you eliminated the ability to sue somebody for copyright infringement, you would eviscerate our ability to go against pirates," said Emory Simon, counselor for the Business Software Alliance, which estimates that U.S. businesses lost $6.5 billion last year to piracy.

Aharonian argues in his complaint that software copyright laws violate the right to due process enshrined in the U.S. Constitution because they do not provide clear boundaries for appropriate use. That means industry players and courts do not have a clear idea of the rules.

"Until you're sued and a judge makes up his mind about what is the idea and expression (at stake), no one knows," Aharonian said in an interview.

- A longshot for sure, but it raises some valid points. And I bet this is going to get the EU "free software" crowd convulsing over the prospect of having a "patent-only" system in the U.S.

GOOGLE FILES PATENT ON A PAY MODEL FOR SEARCHING CONTENT: This article summarizes the analysis from Susan Kuchinskas at InternetNews on a patent filing by Larry Page (co-founder of Google). The patent application , 20040122811, titled "Method for searching media" was originally filed in September 2003 and its core function is summarised by Susan,

to enable search of printed material, offer pay-per-view documents, scanned documents with clickable ads and even the ability for print publishers to swap out ads in digital copies of their printed pages. There are two key elements of the patent: a method for executing a permission protocol so that the publisher could authorize Google to display more text from the relevant publication; and storing scanned versions of printed documents along with data sets representing the ads that went with them.

It's not just online text that is covered. CDs, DVDs, audio books, hard copy magazines, newspapers and journals could all be included. Susan continues with the analysis:

The patent claims a method for updating advertisement information for the printed documents. For example, it would allow the publisher of a hot news story to resell the ad space to a rotating series of advertisers or let advertisers keep the ad but update prices and product information. One of the claims, covers storing information about products in the ads. This might allow the advertiser to create a special landing page associated with the ad, working like a Web banner ad.

Pretty interesting stuff indeed.


OLIVE BRANCH BETWEEN JAPAN AND KOREA? Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics announced that they had agreed to share patents on basic technology to speed up product development and avoid adding to a growing number of cross-border patent disputes.

The cross-licensing deal allows the Japanese and South Korean electronics giants to tap each other's vast patent portfolios on basic technologies. However, it will exclude key technologies that help differentiate their products, such as those related to Sony's hit PlayStation game consoles.

The move follows a string of legal actions between Japanese and South Korean electronics makers over alleged patent infringements.

"With this agreement with Samsung, we aim to keep clear of unnecessary conflicts and compete only in those areas where we really need to compete," Sony Executive Vice President Yoshihide Nakamura told reporters.

- This is pretty big - being that Japanese companies tend to act in concert regarding corporate and IP policies (emphasis on "tend"), it may be only a matter of time before Matsushita and Toshiba settle their disputes between them and LG Electronics . . .

Monday, December 13, 2004

BACK FROM GERMANY: I just returned from Germany today, where I spoke to clients and law firms about the American experience with software patents. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that the EU Parliment is going to botch this one up, as the people there told me that Parliment is deathly afraid of crossing the small software company owners (who also happen to run Linux and other open-source products). As a result, it is going to be a while before the EU makes a decision on this, and in any case, they are likely to restrict the types of software that can be patented. I think this is bad policy for Europe and it will likely result in a larger gap between US and EU technological innovations.

A GOOD LESSON: The Seattle Times does an article on Harry Rasmussen, who founded the company Crest Industries, which manufactured telephone products during the 1970'2-80's. The story is sad mostly because Rasmussen took what he thought was a good business idea, obtained patents on his technology, and started changing the telephone industry in the 1980's.

Unfortunately, Crest's patent portfolio turned out to be much weaker than he expected (apparently due to poor drafting), and a change in the business climate had his company falling prey to cheap Asian knock-offs. Because law firms were not open to alternate fee arrangements for litigation, his company could not afford to defend it's patent portfolio against these copies being flooded onto the US market. As a result, the company went under.

Undaunted, Rasmussen is now working on encryption technologies, and is hoping to make a comeback. However, I would bet that he is going to be a little more vigilant in obtaining patent protection on his inventions, and perhaps may think twice before abstaining from enforcing his patent rights. Best of luck.

PRIMER ON PROTECTIVE ORDERS: One of the often-disputed topics that arise during patent litigation stem from protective orders and their proper scope. Michael Rader provides a concise breakdown of some of the considerations that in-house counsel need to make when considering a protective order. Some of these considerations include:

  • Does the opposing party have in-house patent counsel? Many protective orders allow for access to confidential information by a single in-house attorney. If the opposing party's legal department does not include a patent attorney, this may mitigate patent-related risk in some cases.

  • How extensive is the opposing party's portfolio of pending patent applications? If the opposing party does not have pending applications directly covering the relevant technology, the risk of patent claims being crafted to ensnare the company's new products is mitigated. Information about the opposing party's patent portfolio can be gleaned from publicly available sources or requested during negotiations over the protective order.

  • How much of the company's confidential information would, in fact, aid the opposing party's patent prosecution efforts? For example, if the company's products are readily reverse-engineered, access to confidential technical specifications may do little for the opposing party's patent attorneys.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

OFF TO GERMANY: I'm taking a trip to Germany this week and will be spotty at best in posting blog entries. I may be able to slip in a post or two over the next week, but the best bet is to check next week for new posts.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

DEAR GOD . . . The software patent ambitions of Acacia Research are well-known to the streaming media industry. Acacia initially targeted Web pornographers, shutting down sites that neglected to pay its licensing fees, but since then has exacted license fees from a broad array of cable, satellite and Web content companies that now number 264 and include Walt Disney.

Acacia's latest target centers on its patent describing how wireless networks present unidentified computer users with Web pages that redirect them to log-in or subscription pages. Hotels, airports and other areas with Wi-Fi hot spots typically use such redirection schemes.

Acacia's patent, No. 6,226,677, was originally granted in May 2001 to LodgeNet Entertainment, a Sioux Falls, S.D., information technology company targeting hotels. Acacia purchased the patent in July.

Berman said Acacia launched its Wi-Fi licensing campaign in September and is in advanced licensing discussions with a number of potential licensees. No Wi-Fi licenses have been signed yet.

ADVANTAGE: SCHICK - In a mega-litigation action between the #1 and #2 razor makers, a German court ruled today that Energizer Holdings Inc.'s four-bladed Quattro razor does not infringe Gillette Co.'s European patent on three-bladed progressive exposure.

Energizer, which purchased razor maker Schick Wilkinson Sword last year, said the German court ordered Gillette to reimburse Energizer's court costs, but it does not yet know what the reimbursement amount would be.

Gillette said it disagreed with the German Patent Trial Court's decision. The company plans to appeal and continue related litigation that includes additional claims.

The U.S. litigation is still ongoing, but Judge Patti Saris of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in January rejected a bid to halt Quattro sales on grounds the device infringes on the patent for Gillette's three-bladed Mach3 razor.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

PatnetCafe Introduces IPFront Line: PatentCafe, publisher of global patent data, enterprise patent research software and invention resources, has introduced IPFrontline™ Intellectual Property and Technology Magazine. IPFrontline is claimed as the first online publication to feature patent industry reports covering 14 key industry segments, as well as the 200 most active companies receiving patents.

The patent activity reports are designed to help venture capitalists, industry analysts, fund managers, business investment advisors and other technology investors keep current on the latest U.S patent trends. The IPFrontline focus is on news, trends, technologies, laws, policy and issues related to the discovery, commercial exploitation and protection of invention.

The real-time patent charts online track patent trends of 14 key industry segments, as well as patent performance of the Top 200 companies and patent law firms. Andy Gibbs, PatentCafe’s CEO notes that “intellectual property accounts for more than 70 percent of the market cap of the Fortune 500, and nearly 90% of NASDAQ-listed companies. Whether investing in a Fortnue 100 companies, or early stage technology start ups, the understanding of patent trends of companies and industries is vital to intelligent decision-making.”

ANOTHER GOOD REASON TO DO DUE DILLIGENCE: Once touted as revolutionary for its ability to compress and send DVD-quality video down a phone line at high speed, Adam Clark's technology is under dispute by the company he sold it to for $16 million.

Media World Communications was billed as "the next Microsoft" [editor's note: "Bwaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"] when it formed in 2002 mainly to develop and commercialise Adams Platform Technology (APT), with Mr Adams becoming a director. Since then the 29-year-old - who started his first audio-visual and events management business while still at school - has debuted on BRW Magazine's Young Rich list with a personal fortune said to be $25 million.

But after serious doubts about APT surfaced in September, Media World Communications went into administration.

Analysis by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers found the compression technology was already available and the encoding performed by APT was actually from commercially available hardware and software disguised to make it appear as APT.

Video coding and compression expert Tim Ferguson found "many" technical flaws in the US patent filed relating to APT, and that APT would not perform as well as a modern compression method.

Mr Clark and his lawyers Baker & McKenzie did not return calls yesterday.

PATENT SYSTEM AT RISK? Herb Wamsley from the IPO writes an article in CNET claiming that the budgetary problems at the USPTO (read: fee-diversion) is placing the patent system at risk:

The problem is that our current patent approval system is underfunded and overburdened. That means nothing but trouble for American technology-based
companies, entrepreneurs and the American economy.

The lack of resources for the United States Patent and Trademark Office
is particularly troublesome for the nation's computing and advanced technology
industry. Absent the assurance and incentives provided by a strong patent, few
companies will invest in next-generation technologies. And absent investment,
there will be less innovation and job creation in the U.S. tech sector.
To be honest, there is nothing new in this viewpoint, as practitioners have been screaming bloody murder over the last 10 years over fee diversion. But I am constantly baffled why groups like the IPO and AIPLA don't make political hay out of this. I mean, does anyone really know the names of representatives and/or senators that continuously retain the fee-diversion provisions? Have they been threatened politically in any way? It should come as no surprise that politicians respond best when a block of people unequivocally say "Do X, or we will do everything in our power to see that you don't get (re-) elected". The IPO and the AIPLA have been making nice for too long. I say they name names and start leaving some horse heads in the bedrooms of certain representatives.

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