New Laws Needed to Curb Patent Trolls

Did you know that last year alone there were 247,713 patent applications in the United States? The first Patent Act of the U.S. Congress was passed on April 10, 1790, titled “An Act to promote the progress of useful Arts”. But at what point do Patents stop promoting “useful arts”? The recent Samsung vs. Apple Patent lawsuits has brought forward some funny and ridiculous patents. Things like “rounded corners” on smartphone devices and finger gestures to switch between screens. Silly patents aren’t the only thing that is inhibiting discovery and innovation, patent trolls are too.

According to Wikipedia, a Patent Troll is someone that:

-Purchases a patent, often from a bankrupt firm, and then sues another company by claiming that one of its products infringes on the purchased patent;

-Enforces patents against purported infringers without itself intending to manufacture the patented product or supply the patented service;

-Enforces patents but has no manufacturing or research base;

-Focuses its efforts solely on enforcing patent rights; or

-Asserts patent infringement claims against non-copiers or against a large industry that is composed of non-copiers.

Gigaom recently released an article about Patent Trolls. It disclosed that Twitter because it is a large and profitable company, is often the target of patent trolls. These frivolous lawsuits typically take months, sometimes years to fight and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The troll isn’t even held responsible for these costs if the lawsuit is found to have been filed without merit.

A recent study at Boston University estimated that in 2011 alone, these baseless patent troll lawsuits cost U.S. technology companies more than 29 billion dollars.

Twitter and other companies that fall victim to these trolls are often forced to employ large teams of lawyers and employees focused solely on researching and fighting the lawsuits. If a patent troll were to attack a small company or startup, this could easily close their doors forever, further inhibiting innovation and discovery, all of which our country (and the world) were built on.

There is something that needs to be done to stop these baseless lawsuits from scaring individuals and companies into doing amazing new things. A new bill was announced in Congress last month by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), the Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act [PDF], would force these patent trolls to pay for all fees related to the frivolous lawsuits if it is found to have no merit, thereby hopefully curbing some of these lawsuits from ever being filed.

What are your thoughts or comments on patent trolls? Please share your comments below.

Also, be sure to share this if you enjoyed it and do not feed the trolls.

Happy Birthday No-IP!


That’s right, it is our birthday today, lucky number 13! We want to celebrate with all of our users who have helped us get here by offering a giveaway! Just answer the following question for a chance to win. The first 20 users to answer will win a No-IP t-shirt!

Tell us how long you have been using No-IP and what you use us for.

The winners are as follows:

Claudio Antonelli
Karl Håkansson
Ivan Tomovic
Robert Hedell
Jimmy Utterström
David T Connolly
Charles Farence
Ezzine Karim
Andrey Z
Erik Vonderscheer
Grant W
Pedro Chavez Gomez
Sebastian M
Cleber Medina

Congrats! If you are one of the winners, please email ngoguen-giveaway[at]no-ip[dot]com with your T-Shirt size and mailing address.

Managed DNS Outages Can Happen: Be Sure Your DNS is Diversified

A large majority of websites today experienced downtime because their provider experienced major technical difficulties. Many people complained on Twitter because that same provider hosts all of their web services, not just their website’s hosting or DNS.  One tip to live by is to diversify your services. If one provider is handling your email, DNS, and web hosting, you have a single point of failure. If that provider goes down, so does your online business activity for the day.

Websites are crucial to most businesses. I ordered a pizza earlier and because one pizza places website was down, I couldn’t view their menu online. You know what I did? I found another pizza place. This is just a drop in the bucket, but it can greatly affect small/large businesses that depend heavily on their online e-commerce.

How can you diversify your managed DNS?

Already have a DNS provider? You can have No-IP’s infrastructure act as a backup to your primary DNS in the event that it goes offline.  No-IP Squared works by having your current DNS provider list our DNS name servers on the domain.  Your zone then needs to be configured to back up to us too.  Once you specify your providers master DNS server IP in our manager, we will begin backing up and serving queries for your domain, if there is ever an outage. So, if your primary managed DNS provider goes down, your DNS records will automatically failover to ours, and your website won’t experience any downtime.

You can also do the opposite; No-IP as your primary managed DNS provider, and another provider set as the failover.

Remember, there are no upsides to downtime. Make sure your website is running on a rock solid foundation by not only choosing a fully redundant DNS provider but also by ensuring that your DNS is diversified.

Interested in a solution? Our Technical Support team is here to help! Give us a call today for more information.

Have you or your business ever been affected by a DNS outage? Share your thoughts below!

11k Facebook Likes Giveaway Results

The winners for our No-IP 11,000 Facebook Likes giveaway are the following:

Barry Allen
Jose Mora
Clayton Holloway
Nick Eklund

Congrats! Please email ngoguen-giveaway(at)no-ip(dot)com to claim your prize…

Nigerian Scammers on Craigslist Still Common

Today I was in the post office mailing out some No-IP t-shirts from our past giveaway, when a college age girl came running in frantically. She rushed to the next available clerk and started explaining her issue. She had sent a package to Nigeria yesterday, and she had just found out it was a complete scam. The postal clerk said there was nothing that could be done.

The girls face dropped as she quietly thanked the clerk and walked slowly out of the post office surely ready to burst into tears at any moment…

I was filling out a customs form in the corner when this scenario was playing out and I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard the girls plea. I thought in my head, “do people really still get scammed by craiglist scammers?”

Apparently, Yes.

What can you do to safeguard yourself against scammers?

1. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Typically, these scams start by the scammer replying to an item for sale or a job posting on Craigslist or another online posting site. The scammers often say that they are overseas or want the item fast and will send payment immediately. This is scam. The payment would have been a fake check for more than the price of the item. Upon deposit into your account, the scammer will request for you to send the extra money back to them via Western Union. After a few days, your bank will call you to let you know that the check was fake and the funds/fees are now your problem.

2. Be mindful of the sender of the email. If the address seems funny, or if the email is sent to more than just you, it is probably a scam.

3. Scammers often use stories that will pull at your heartstrings. “I lost my wife and three children and am now in Nigeria on missionary work feeding the poor, so please send the money here.” NO!

4. If a Nigerian Prince emails you and says he needs your help depositing money, please stop reading. You will not be handsomely rewarded, you will be scammed and feel really dumb. The same goes for someone that says they need your assistance claiming an unclaimed lottery ticket.

Microsoft recently did a study “Why do Nigerian Scammers Say They are from Nigeria?” It is very interesting. Obviously, I am not the target audience of these emails and the scammers probably know that. 9 out of 10 people probably aren’t the audience, but that one person, (probably a grandparent, parent, or really gullible college student that refuses to listen to their much wiser parents) is their audience and it seems like they are still winning the battle.

Please don’t end up poor, scammed and feeling really dumb. Let me reiterate, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Do you know anyone that has been a victim of an online scam? Leave your thoughts and comments below!