Grocio and an Interesting Development

Just received the following:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gerald Buckley,

My name is Dale Pate and I am a founder of Bancot Global Technologies, Inc. (www.bancot.com, http://www.groceryspider.com). I’ve seen your website and I’ve read what you have to say and I suggest you read what I have to say very carefully. I and my company are the owners of a Pending U.S. Patent, filed in 2003, for Online Comparative Grocery Shopping (OCGS) which was published by the United States Patent Office in July 2005.

http://appft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220050160006%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20050160006&RS=DN/20050160006

If you build the website in which you described you will be infringing upon our Intellectual Property Rights and we will do everything in our power to shut you down. You should know that there are extreme penalties for infringement after a patent has been published, which will most assuredly bankrupt you. Unfortunately, you don’t stand a chance. Please do yourself a favor and stop.

Dale Pate, Founder
Bancot Global Technologies, Inc.
http://www.bancot.com
Office:(386) 259-1189
Moblie:(386) 871-6137
Fax:(509) 278-6312

So, I call Mr. Pate and congratulate him on his filing, wish him well and we’ll see if he gets his patent. I’ve just read his filing and have to admit… we’re more than similar in many respects. For the record this is the first time I’ve EVER seen any filing of this type at the USPTO and I’ve never looked before.

It would be quite easy to change up the model in such a way that Grocio’s not infringing on this filing. But, he mentioned in the phone call he holds other applications at the USPTO. So, we’ll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, the site stays put and there probably won’t be any further public or private proof-of-concept updates until he’s given official notice one way or the other from the USPTO. Until THEN I’ll look for the pending Cease And Desist he promised I will be receiving.

Yippee!

[EDIT: Actually, there might be something to the C&D he’s sending. Maurice Kanbar says in his “Inventor’s Notebook” that the status of Patent Pending affords a level of protection from competition (no further detail outlined). So, now I need to consult an attorney and see if we can keep working or have to come up with another bright idea. Crap!]

[EDIT to the EDIT: Patent atty says until the patent is issued all they’ve got is a point on the clock by which to measure damages which starts at time of application. Well, since we’re not live yet (and either are they there’s no reason to sit on our thumbs over here. We’re plowing ahead and will hold short of launch if we get there before the USPTO says yea or nay to these guys. Cool.]

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5 Comments on “Grocio and an Interesting Development”

  1. dalerpate Says:

    I’m not sure if you actually have an audience, but since you put in the public realm…First, like I said you should spend some of that “pre-start-up” money on an attorney. However, for your reading please try State Remedies for Pre-Patent issue.

    I assure you that I will not sit ideally by while you claim to be working on, with the intent to release, online comparative grocery shopping. Furthermore, I find it ridicules that you offer to “opt out”, “buy out.” Why would you offer for us to buy you out? You have nothing…not even a proof of concept in work, or IP protection. We have that. We are ready to go… Better listen to the first person you talked to. BTW: if you are truly incorporated, in Federal Court you must be represented by an attorney. FYI most charge a retainer of $7500-$10000, but when they find out its patent litigation try about $15k – $25k upfront.

  2. gwhiz Says:

    Let’s see if Warren Lubow and your board will consider a conference call where we can all discuss the matter together. Until then, please send your letter to the address I’ve provided you via email. Until then all we have is email exchanges and that’s just not enough to warrant a full-scale c&d.

  3. dalerpate Says:

    We are not interested in a “dialogue” with you.

  4. Joe Says:

    LOL! These guys are a joke.

    Anyone can file a patent, and there’s nothing compelling about comparison shopping for groceries.

    The guy writing you is obviously an idiot and if he had a leg to stand on he woulnd’t be telling you how much attorneys cost and practically begging you to quit competing with you. He’s projecting weakness like crazy.

    I think it some guy who hopes to get rich by harassing others rather than productively bringing a compelling service to market.

    Their claims to own your ideas are a joke, and the attempts to intimidate you are transparent.

    Don’t waste money on an attorney until they have gotten one thats serious…. and check up on any firm you get al etter from. It might be their uncle whose a divorce attorney lending stationary.

    LOL.

    [EDIT: “Joe”… deleted your email address as it bounced. If you’ll email me at geraldb28@mac.com I’m curious to know who I’m dealing with at this point. Kirkland, Washington is about as good as I can noodle. Your given name’s not Javier by any chance…?]

  5. gwhiz Says:

    @Joe – You’re right about most everything above. Intuitions are a good thing. In addition to that… anyone can threaten a lawsuit under our current system. Dale’s actually not an idiot and he really did have a good team behind him at the time.

    I sought legal counsel (both IP and personal as I wasn’t incorporated at the time). Lots of legal bills later and some situation changes all around… it’s obvious I’m plowing ahead with a lot of enthusiasm.

    A word to the budding entrepreneurs out there… As much as it stings. As much as it feels like the money could be spent more productively on coding, gear, consulting, whatever… GET THE BEST LEGAL ADVICE YOU CAN (as early as you can). That includes intellectual property searches, incorporating, etc. Run, do not walk, to your County Bar and ask them to assist in matching you with the right entrepreneur minded attorneys. Interviewing them and finding a fit will obviously be up to you. You might not be “glad” you did. You’ll certainly be sorry you didn’t.


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