To refresh your memory
Last December we told you about Guyzar, LLC, a Texas company, suing multiple corporations in rapid succession for violating a patent. Patent 5845070 A (‘070 in the suit), originally filed in 1996, was awarded in 1998, and recently acquired by Guyzer.
The patent basically details a method of authenticating a user’s confidential information and preserves the confidentiality against unauthorized use, especially essential information used for logging in and out of websites (also known as OAuth). Indeed, it is probable that if your website uses any type of login (be it OAuth or otherwise) that stores user data, Guyzar could potential sue you as well.
One year later
While they do have the potential to sue a great number of individuals, corporations, and organizations, there may be something else going on here. We postulated that Guyzar was really just a patent troll waiting for their chance to carry out their lawsuits; and they have certainly carried them out.
If you aren’t familiar with the “patent trolls,” it’s a term used for shell companies that buy up patents with the purpose of suing major companies. While we frown on labeling anyone or anything without concrete evidence (and even then labels are subject to change), Guyzar certainly seems to fit the bill.
They’re trolling big fish
In 2015, we reported that Guyzer had filed suit against Internet giants such as Zillow, ESPN, Spotify, and Ebates, Inc. Some pretty big names for Guyzar to be going after. Recently, Guyzar re-directed their aim towards even more big businesses. This time taking aim at Living Social, Inc.; Vitacost.com, Inc.; Myspace LLC; Williams-Sonoma, Inc.; and Thrillist Media Group, Inc.
There are several other businesses and organizations listed in Guyzar’s lawsuits, but these are a few of the bigger corporations they are targeting.
Indicative of a larger problem
Guyzar is only one example of a much larger problem, however. The patent system, along with the courts that support it, is still largely failing despite a few attempts to better the situation. Last year, on November 30, 196 patent suits were filed in Southeast Texas. The suspected reason behind this ridiculous increase in filings was a new Federal Rules of Civil Procedure amendment (number 84 to be specific) that went into effect on December 1, causing a massive compulsion to file.
Prior to the Dec. 1, 2015 amendment, plaintiffs could file “bare-minimum” patent complaints. While this small reform was a step in the right direction, it in no way fixes the larger problem.
More reform is needed to prevent patent trolls like Guyzar from running rampant and filing massive suits against companies for non-specific, bare-bones, violations.
While it seems unlikely any of Guyzar’s lawsuits will become anything more than just a filing, it does speak to the problems of patent trolls and frivolous lawsuits. If something is not done soon, these types of suits are likely to continue.
Since it is entirely possible Guyzar can (and will) sue not only large corporations, but also small businesses and individuals as well, the sooner some reform measures are taken, the better.
Chasing Clubhouse success? How the audio chat room trend affects products
(BUSINESS NEWS) It is inevitable that when a new successful trend comes along, other companies will try to make lightning strike twice. Will the audio chat room catch on?
Businesses are always about the hot new thing. People are the always looking for the easiest dollar with the least amount of effort these days. It tends to lead to products that are shoddy and horribly maintained with the least amount of flexibility in pleasing their customers. However, you also have to look at the customer base for this as well. You follow where the money is because that’s where its being spent. It’s like a merry-go-round, constantly chasing the next thing. And the latest of these is the audio chat room.
During the pandemic the entire world saw an eruption of social audio investments. Silicon Valley has gone crazy with this new endeavor. On the 18th of April this year, Clubhouse said it closed on some new funding, which was valued at $4 billion for a live audio app. This thing is still in beta without a single penny of revenue!
The list of other companies who have pursued new audio suites (either through purchase or creation) include:
This whole new audio fad is still in its infancy. These social media and tech giants are all jumping headlong into it with who knows how much forethought. A number of them have their own issues to deal with, but they’ve put things aside to try and grab these audio chat room coattails that are running by. It’s a mix of feelings about the situation honestly. They are trying to survive and keep their customers.
If a competitor creates this new capability and they stay stagnant then they lose customers. If they do this however without dealing with their current issues then they could also lose people. It’s an interesting catch 22 for people out there. Which group do you fall in? Are you antsy for a new toy or are you waiting for one of these lovely sites to fix a problem? It’s another day in capitalism.
This web platform for cannabis is blowing up online distribution
(BUSINESS NEWS) Dutchie, a website platform for cannabis companies, just octupled in value. Here’s what that means for the online growth of cannabis distribution.
The cannabis industry has, for the most part, blossomed in the past few years, managing to hit only a few major snags along the way. One of those snags is the issue of payment processing, an issue compounded by predominantly cash-only transactions. Dutchie, a Bend, Oregon company, has helped mitigate that issue—and it just raised a ton of money.
Technically, Dutchie is a jack-of-all-trades service that creates and hosts websites for dispensaries, tracks product, processes orders, keeps stock of revenue, and so much more. While it was valued at around $200 million as recently as summer of 2020, a round of series C funding currently puts the company at around $1.7 billion—approximately 8 times its worth a mere 8 months ago.
There are a few reasons behind Dutchie’s newfound momentum. For starters, the pandemic made cannabis products a lot more accessible—and desirable—in states in which the sale of cannabis is legal. The ensuing surge of customers and demand certainly didn’t hurt the platform, especially given that Dutchie is largely responsible for keeping things on track during some of the more chaotic months for dispensaries.
Several states in which the sale of cannabis was illegal also voted to legalize recreational use, giving Dutchie even more stomping ground than they had prior to the lockdown.
Dutchie also recently took on 2 separate companies and their associated employees, effectively doubling their current staff. The companies are Greenbits—a resource planning group—and Leaflogix, which is a point-of-sale platform. With these two additions to their compendium, Dutchie can operate as even more of an all-in-one suite, which absolutely contributes to its value as a company.
Ross Lipson, who is Dutchie’s co-founder and current CEO, is fairly dismissive of investment opportunities for the public at the moment, saying he instead prefers to stay “focused with what’s on our plate” for the time being. However, he also appears open to the possibility of going public via an acquisition company.
“We look at how this decision brings value to the dispensary and the customer,” says Lipson. “If it brings value, we’d embark on that decision.”
For now, Dutchie remains the ipso facto king of cannabis distribution and sales—and they don’t show any plans to slow down any time soon.
Ford adopts flexible working from home schedule for over 30k employees
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ford Motor Co. is allowing employees to continue working from home even after the pandemic winds down. Is this the beginning of a trend for auto companies?
The pandemic has greatly transformed our lives. For the most part, learning is being conducted online. At one point, interacting with others was pretty much non-existent. Working in the office shifted significantly to working remotely, and it seems like working from home might not go away anytime soon.
As things slowly get back to a new “normal”, will things change again? Well, one thing is sure. Working from home will be a permanent thing for some people as more companies opt to continue letting people work remotely.
And, the most recent company on the list to do this is Ford Motor Co. Even after the pandemic winds down, Ford will allow more than 30,000 employees already working from home to continue doing so.
Last week, the automaker giant announced its “flexible hybrid model” schedule to its staff. The new schedule is set to start in the summer, and employees can choose to work remotely and come into the office for tasks that require face-to-face collaborations, such as meetings and group projects.
How much time an employee spends in the office will depend on their responsibilities, and flexible remote hours will need to be approved by an employee’s manager.
“The nature of work drives whether or not you can adopt this model. There are certain jobs that are place-dependent — you need to be in the physical space to do the job,” David Dubensky, chairman and chief executive of Ford Land, told the Washington Post. “Having the flexibility to choose how you work is pretty powerful. … It’s up to the employee to have dialogue and discussion with their people leader to determine what works best.”
Ford’s decision to implement a remote-office work model has to do in part with an employee survey conducted in June 2020. Results from the survey showed that 95% of employees wanted a hybrid schedule. Some employees even reported feeling more productive when working from home.
Ford is the first auto company to allow employees to work from home indefinitely, but it might not be the only one. According to the Post, Toyota and General Motors are looking at flexible options of their own.
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