Beau Berman

UNC MATC

Month: November 2014

JOMC 711 “Storify Assignment”

PERINE VS Melvin-Gordon-ISO-Wisky

Record Breakers

I created a Storify post about the shake up of the college football record books taking place this week.

A 15 year single-game rushing record was snapped by just two yards on Saturday November 15th. It made national headlines and vaulted Melvin Gordon into the Heisman Trophy race.

Then, on Saturday November 22nd, the all-time single-game rushing record was broken again.

This time the rusher was Samaje Perine, a freshman running-back for the Oklahoma Sooners. So the record held by LaDainian Tomlinson stood for 15 years before it was broken by Melvin Gordon. Then Melvin Gordon’s record stood for less than a week. Perine beat Gordon’s record by 19 yards.

Reaction on social media was swift and strong across many social platforms. My Storify post explains what unfolded and showcases the Tweets and videos that documented the madness!

View my Storify post here 

 

JOMC 711 FAQ Assignment

Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 9.57.36 PM

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. What is Sole Collector?

Sole Collector provides an all-encompassing sneaker experience online  and in print  via interactive forums and a blog. It’s a one stop shop for those dedicated to collecting sneakers and learning about new models, upcoming release dates and the latest about anything sneaker related.

Sole Collector is divided into sections including: news, release dates, forums and marketplace. The news section features articles about developments among brands and the sneaker culture, including detailed information on upcoming shoes releases. The release dates section is strictly related to the calendar dates predicted and slated for the release of highly anticipated new shoes. This section helps sneaker heads plan their budgets and their time.

 

2. How did Sole Collector begin?

Sole Collector is a subsidiary of Complex Media, a group that creates Complex Magazine and Complex.com which centers on urban culture and clothing. 

Prior to Complex Media’s purchase of Sole Collector in 2011, it was owned and operated by Steve Mullholand, a self-proclaimed sneaker head who owns more than 1000 pairs of shoes.

Mullholand founded Sole Collector in 2003 and before that, founded In Style Shoes after he was inspired by a trip to Japan. His idea with Sole Collector, was to be anything but amateur.

Sole Collector started as a forum with a few hundred users and has grown to more than 400,000 registered users today.

The site draws 4.4 Million unique users a month and is touted as the second-largest sneaker marketplace outside of Ebay.

Despite the acquisition by Complex Media, Mullholand remains GM as has the same staff of 10 employees.

3. Does Sole Collector sell shoes?

No. But Sole Collector does host a marketplace section.

The marketplace is a center for buying and trading of both new and used shoes between members. So third-parties sell shoes between each other via Sole Collector’s marketplace boards. But Sole Collector does not directly sell any shoes. However shoes are sometimes raffled off during periodic contests offered on the site.

4. Are the release dates always accurate?

Not always, but most of the time, yes.

Sole Collector’s release dates are essentially crowd sourced and provide as a courtesy to visitors but are not intended to serve as a definitive guide to when shoes will be released in stores or online.

We are just one source among many providing information and most are based on limited data and some degree of speculation.

So, while we hope to be accurate 100% of the time, we cannot guarantee that level of accuracy not should visitors expect that.

5. Is Sole Collector tied to a shoe company?

No.  Sole Collector features photos, articles and news about nearly every brand of sneakers form New Balance, Nike, Adidas and Saucony to Reebox and even LA Gear.

We are owned by Complex Media.

6. Can I be kicked out of the forums?

Yes.  Sole Collector reserves the right to edit content posted to the forums and determine whether membership privileges are revoked.

7. Can the forums and marketplace be trusted?

At Sole Collector, we do our best to monitor the forums and the marketplace, but your private information is not protected on the forums and your money is not guaranteed by Sole Collector if you operate within the marketplace.

8. How can I join Sole Collector as a writer?

Head to our contact page and email us a writing sample or link to your blog. But please be aware we are currently staffed with 10 writers and are only budgeted for 10. Openings only come along if and when one of those 10 writers decides to leave for another opportunity.

9. What if the marketplace infrastructure malfunctions and affects a shoe sale?

Head to our contact page and email the support team.

The address is support@solecollector.com

10. Where is Sole Collector located?

We are based in New York City, but some of our writers live elsewhere across the United States.

Our main address is:

Complex Media, Inc. 
1271 6th Avenue, 35th Floor 
New York, NY 10020 

 

 

 

 

JOMC 711: Week 10-11 Assignment, “Online News Story”

Judge Favors Conn. Company in Patent Infringement Suit

by Beau Berman

Nov. 9, 2014

MIDDLEFIELD, CONN. – A federal judge in California ruled in favor a Connecticut racing photography company last week, finding a patent infringement suit against Capstone Photography invalid.

Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California ruled that the three patents challenged by businessman Peter Wolf invalid, determining them ineligible subject matter for patent protection.

Judge Snyder referenced 35 USC Section 101 in her October 28th ruling.

It’s a victory for Middlefield, Conn. company Capstone Photography after a lengthy court battle that cost the company $100,000 according to owner, Michael Skelps.

“It was a shock,” said Skelps when he first saw the lawsuit in January 2014. 

capstone

Capstone Photography of Middlefield, Conn.

Wolf, owner of Photocrazy.com filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Capstone Photography on December 31st 2013.

wolf

Peter Wolf – owner, PhotoCrazy.com

He alleged that Skelps’ company committed “willful infringement of the three patents” registered by Wolf.

Wolf claimed that Capstone essentially used his methods of cataloging race photos online without paying licensing fees to him. 

He demanded thousands of dollars in damages and thousands per year as a licensing fee for use of his multiple related patents.

But Skelps and Capstone Photography hired attorneys to fight the patent infringement claims in court.

capstone-photography

Michael Skelps – owner, Capstone Photography

“In this case, the Court finds that the “basic character of the claimed subject matter is readily ascertainable from the face of the patent,” and that plaintiff’s arguments for delaying the § 101 inquiry are unpersuasive,” wrote Judge Snyder, in her opinion.

THE JUDGE’S RULING

The Judge determined that Wolf’s patents were relatively basic in nature.

“The Court finds that the practically identical ‘214 and ‘875 patents are directed to the abstract idea of providing event photographs organized by participant, as applied using the internet. As the specification explains, event photographers traditionally The Court finds that the practically identical ‘214 and ‘875 patents are directed to the abstract idea of providing event photographs organized by participant, as applied using the internet. As the specification explains, event photographers traditionally,” wrote Snyder in her opinion.

This wasn’t the first time Peter Wolf sued a company for alleged patent infringement.

He’s sued a dozen other companies, and each one eventually chose to settle and pay Wolf, instead of continuing to fight in court.

“I’m really sorry to see Mr. Skelps head down the same path that a dozen other people have. I think he’s just going to spend an awful lot of money with attorneys, when we could sit down and come to a reasonable agreement and move on with life,” said Wolf in May 2014.

But Skelps chose to fight the suit, refusing to settle.

He says it forced him to layoff two staff members and create a fundraising website to seek help covering legal costs.

PATENT TROLLS

Wolf was described as a “patent troll” in some online blogs.

Patent Troll is a negative term to describe someone who establishes patents, not necessarily to use the idea, but more often to aggressively sue other companies who use the idea.

“That’s not at all the case with me. I don’t fit that definition and I take offense to someone calling me a patent troll. I’m simply defending some ideas that I invented and I expect other people to respect those patents,” said Wolf in May.

He did not respond to a request for comment on the ruling.

CAPSTONE NOT ALONE

Capstone isn’t the only Connecticut company that’s been sued for patent infringement recently according to Attorney General George Jepsen.

“They typically prey on small businesses and realize that they would run up far more costs in legal fees than they would just to pay the licensing agreement and get rid of it,” says Jepsen.

Jepsen didn’t comment directly on the Capstone case, but he has kept an eye on others in the state.

On average nationally, it costs just under $1 Million dollars in attorneys’ fees just to fight a patent lawsuit in court, win or lose.

Last year, Attorney Generals in 42 states, including Connecticut, expressed support for anti-patent troll legislation pending in the U.S. Senate, already approved by the House.

But it’s a complicated job finding a balance between so-called patent trolls and those who are not “rent collectors” but business owners who sue to defend patents in the field they actually practice.

“It’s trying to sort through so that legitimate patent infringement can be enforced but small businesses are not victimized by those who would prey on them,” says Jepsen.

COURT BATTLE CONCLUDES

In the Wolf case, the Judge didn’t call him a Patent Troll, but she did rule strongly against his case.

“The court finds that all three of the patents in suit are directed to patent-ineligible abstract ideas, and lack an inventive concept that would make them patent-ineligible applications of those ideas,” wrote Judge Snyder.

With that, the court granted the defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

“It’s not a complete happy ending in that our legal bills have racked up to $100,000, but at least we will have the chance to stay in business,” said Skelps.

Skelps created www.endpatentabuse.com to share his story and unite other companies facing similar infringement lawsuits.

Screenshot from Endpatentabuse.com

Screen shot from Endpatentabuse.com

“After a ten month ordeal and about $100,000 in legal expenses, Capstone Photography is pleased to announce that a Federal Judge has ruled in our favor and declared three patents are ineligible for patent protection under 35 USC Section 101.  The lawsuit is over and Capstone has prevailed.  Thank you for all of your support,” he posted to the site after the judge’s ruling.

We are grateful to be vindicated by the courts, as we knew we would be.  The photography business is now better for these rulings, open to free and fair competition that is the basis for our American economy,” wrote Skelps. 

While the case is complete, Skelps is now asking others to donate to his legal defense fund to defray costs he racked up during his legal fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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