Sunday, January 11, 2009

VPS, LLC + Pictage = Anonymous Laywers Comments

This was posted to my other story, VPS, LLC + Pictage = Patent Highway Robbery?, but I thought it was too important to leave languishing in the comments section.

My wife is a photographer and forwarded this discussion to me. I followed the link to the docket sheet provided by Ryan (I think) but that was little help. It contained links to the ECF site for the case, but only registered attorneys who pay fees can access that. Darn.

Oh, wait: I'm an attorney and I pay those fees. So, on I went.

The first suit was against Kodak in 2002. There was alot of tussling back and forth over discovery issues, lots of high powered law firms running up massive fees. In the end, it was dismissed pursuant to an agreement which I am sure was and is confidential. No trial, no Motions to Dismiss, no Motions for Summary Judgment or other proceedings that could give us some insight into the actual merits of the case.

The next one was against Shutterfly. It was originally filed in Chicago but was bumped to Oakland. Here, too, a bunch of lint-picking over discovery issues but, in the end, dismissed by agreement.

The last one was against Pictage. Here, there was not even much argument over discovery. I'm not signed on right now, but I don't think Pictage even filed an Answer (the responsive document that defendants must file setting out its basic defenses) before the case was dismissed by agreement. This puppy was over in less than 4 months, a legal micro-second.

There are some interesting aspects and I did link to and download some pleadings and "Letter Briefs". On their face, these discuss discovery disputes only, but they do shed some light on the general parameters of the parties' underlying disputes.

Let me know if you want to know more.

What this tells me is that Pictage did not fight VPS, LLC like the other companies did...
  • Is this because they have an under funded legal departement?
  • Or did they just need an excuse to raise prices on the photographers who are already getting GOUGED by Pictage and beat up by the general economy?
I don't know which would be worse. If Pictage has a poorly funded legal department, who else will be able to hurt us via our relationship with them? If they just wanted to raise prices but couldn't be honest about it, can we trust them to tell us the truth in the future? I am going to wait to see what happens with SmugMug ... watch for filings from VPS, LLC and pray ;)

EDIT: Updated new Prior Art at


At Monday, January 12, 2009 3:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Kodak and Shutterfly spent $ trying to fight it with motions of discovery, only to end up settling, why should Pictage have spent any $ trying to do the same thing? Those 2 companies are so much larger than Pictage with much bigger legal departments and obviously they decided that settlement was the way to go.
Should Pictage have spent money on motions first? Why?
Your comments are just ridiculous.

At Monday, January 12, 2009 10:06:00 PM, Blogger Cory said...


Again, none of us (except VPS, LLC and their victims) know exactly what type of settlement was reached.

You guess (probably because VPS told you) that those two other companies paid VPS, but there is no proof of that at all.

In fact, as noted by other readers, the law firms representing VPS's other targets claimed VPS settled in a manner favorable to the client.

Clearly, you have a vested interest in Pictage, and therefore, I cannot say you are being ridiculous -- maybe just a little bit transparent?

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 3:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Settling in a manner favorable to the client is a law term that just means that all parties agreed to the terms. It does not mean that there was no payment.

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 3:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears that no will know except the parties to the case as it appears to be sealed.

It is possible that they paid VPS, but no one (Pictage included) really knows, right?.

At Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:12:00 PM, Blogger Cory said...

Thanks for the post, Anonymous-3.

I still feel that Pictage should have spent time (more than they did) trying to protect their customers from VPS, LLC.

Unless, of course, it is all a poorly disguised ruse used to raise prices.


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