Something that should put a smile on everybody's face today

And we can help! Cloudflare is setting out to destroy a patent troll:


Correction – another one. :slight_smile:

Here’s an except from the new blog post:

offering $100,000 to be shared by the winners who are successful in finding such prior art.

Please help!

NANOG is not the right place to post this. This list is not an “interesting news group”, and as fascinating as the patent troll take down is, it has nothing to do with operational issues. Read the AUP, if your don’t believe me. Item 8:

Posts of a political, philosophical, or legal nature are prohibited.

I for one don’t want the list to be overrun again by people with a political axe to grind, no matter how noble.


A major North American Operator goes after some industry boogeymen who
tried to extort them with a router (Networking) patent. Seems pretty
on topic to me.

Bill Herrin

Cloudflare is a service provider. Getting sued by patent trolls is an operational issue. And you’re a fine one to complain about political axes to grind.


Doubly so because this is exactly the right community that can help eliminate an industry scourge with its knowledge of prior art, etc.



Sorry, but Cloudfare wasn’t sued because they’re a service provider. This dispute is no different than if they had gotten into an argument over a copier toner scammer. And your snide remark about my comments, claiming they are political, is uncalled for. I fastidiously avoid making political comments, and take pains to explain my operational concerns if there might be any doubt (as I did with the Parler cancellations).

I never said the copyright troll issue isn’t important. It just doesn’t belong on NANOG. It hinges entirely on philosophical issues with the PTO.


Snort. Your gubbermint conspiracy theories about the DoD address space dripped of politics.

They were sued because they are a service provider with money and they are fighting back asking for the community to help out. As William said, that seems pretty on-topic to me. This community is in a good position to provide that help which would be of benefit to NANOG in general. Again, on-topic for network operators.


Hi Mel,

If the patents at issue pertained to copier toner I might agree with
you. They're networking patents purporting to govern technologies many
if not most of us use.

Bill Herrin


No, I explained very clearly that my comments about DoD address space were not related to any single party — in fact, government malfeasance with citizen data has gone on equally with every administration since J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI. THAT is clearly an operational issue, since operators have to decide if they’re going to let this bizarre IP space enter their networks.

But your comments do drip — with venom and bile — so this conversation is over.



Blackbird chooses its victims based on whether any of a couple dozen vague patents they hold can plausibly be used to extort money out of a victim company. BB doesn’t go after service providers in particular, it just happens to have chosen a service provider (unwisely, it turns out) in this case.

There are no operational issues here. No individual Internet protocol or technology “many of us use” was named. The patent was invalid on its face, as it only described an abstract idea — “Providing an internet third party data channel” — in the most general terms possible, not as an invention, as required by U.S. patent law.

The only difference between Cloudfare and BB’s other victims was that, rather than compute the instant cost-benefit analysis most companies do (“It will cost us tens of thousands to fight this, but only a few thousand to settle” ), Cloudfare valiantly chose to stand on principle, rather than mathematics, and fought the claim. By that simple act, the case by BB was thrown out virtually instantaneously.

Judge Vince Chhabria held that “abstract ideas are not patentable” and Blackbird’s assertion of the patent “attempts to monopolize the abstract idea of monitoring a preexisting data stream between a server and a client” was not an invention. The case was rejected before it started because the court found Blackbird’s patent to be invalid.

The choice to fold or fight in a patent troll battle is clearly a philosophical one, not a network operational decision. Now, rather than lengthen this out-of-policy thread further, I will take the non-valiant “fold” path, and leave the rest of you to your perpetual arguments.


Respectfully Mel, the patent with Blackbird may well have been that -
my reading of the past case agrees with yours for the most part - but
the current case is Sable Networks suing Cloudflare over a patent
involving routers. Given the patent involved and the choice of
Cloudflare as a target, this well could snowball into a situation
where ANYONE using a router would be considered to be infringing, and
I submit that such a broad possible hit against the operator community
in general is most certainly a danger that operators should be aware
of, and if possible assist with defeating.

I'm well aware you said you were folding, but I think you were
accidentally looking at only the original case from a couple of years
ago, not the current case that is what brought this up - which is why
a number of us feel it meets the letter of the rules, as well as the



Looking at the usage guidelines
NANOG Mailing-List Usage Guidelines, did you notice the section
"How to report a violation of these guidelines"? #1 states "Subscribers who
are subject to or wish to report a violation of these guidelines should
contact us at admins [at]" Did you make such a complaint?

I didn't notice anything stating reporting it on-list is an option. In fact
rule #15 seems to prohibit filing complaints on list. I'm certainly not going
to make a formal complaint over what I'm sure is an out-of-character email.

FWIW, I found this of great interest. The existence of overly broad patents
such as this harms the entire operator community and internet in general.