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Squawks & HeadlinesFlightPrep sues AOPA

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FlightPrep sues AOPA

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Remember when FlightPrep sued (and shutdown) RunwayFinder and then threatened dozens of others, which resulted in a massive backlash from the aviation community? Now, a couple years later, they've renamed ("SD holdings") and have sued AOPA . . . for $66,000,000. I'm not sure if anyone uses FlightPrep products still, but I'm sure this desperate attempt won't help their sales. (www.generalaviationnews.com) More...

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zcolescott
Zachary Colescott 22
I really hope that AOPA fights this. I'm tired of these bozos and their business ethics.
tyketto
Brad Littlejohn 8
Agreed. This is one reason why I no longer use any site that accepted the terms of FlightPrep's so-called 'settlement' from a patent that clearly had a Prior Art precedent set. And with the government being shut down, the USPTO can and does remain open (its funding is guaranteed per the Constitution), but the FTC is closed from the shutdown and can't fight them on our behalf, and the DoJ is closed so it can't handle any appeals we have.

FlightPrep's shenanigans alone is the reason why I don't use them or any of the sites that agreed to their policy and use.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 5
I wish I could say I'd stop buying FlightPrep products, but their stuff is too crappy for me to have ever used. :)
dherman
Doug Herman 9
These guys are called patent trolls. Their business is to manufacture nothing. They buy or file very broad, poorly defined patents and sue others for "infringement." It amounts to legal extortion.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 3
Agree, and the latest tactic of moving the patent to a holding company really emphasizes their troll tactics.
mariofer
mariofer 5
I work on the Security industry and we are having the same problem. Dubious holding companies getting hold of vaguely written patents on digital video surveillance and suing manufacturers of IP video product, distributors, installers and on some cases, even end users. It is absolutely obscene that our legal system does not possess mechanisms to protect law abiding companies and institutions from folks like these.
JetMech24
JetMech24 2
It does have mechanisms, its called the US Patent Office. I never hear anybody say anything about as to why the Patent Office approved the patnent in the first place?
Ggree001
Gene Greenlees 3
They should give these 7 years on patent & then public domain. Too many monopolies out there now.
noutlaw
nowell outlaw 3
what's amazing is that in the patent that they received its avaiation/marine/roads/etc. how they got by people like google maps, etc. is beyond me. i'm suprised they haven't gone after mapquest, etc. it's internet planning a route (not just air).


Nice for them to have the patent - it's an ugly business going out and basically extracting money from others because you were the first guy to get approval. The other sites aren't taking away from them - wonder when they are going to try to adapt what they are doing to mobile devices (foreflight), etc...

yuck when they shut down the little guy i sent them an email saying i'd never buy a product from them (ever) and we are a 135 operator...
stevenjoseph
Steven Joseph 4
I can't wait to NOT use the next great product that FlightPrep develops. Very few organizations do more to further GA then AOPA.
pdurica
pdurica 2
Who the hell is flightprep?
bjohnsonmn
It is my opinion that the website that I found linked to their "Product" is pretty sad. They don't even have the overlapping of the sectional's figured out. Sad, Sad, Sad...
randy3
randy3 1
A lawyer's dream!
lwilmott
Larry Wilmott 1
Is this the AOPA flight planner that was developed with Jeppesen? Would it be possible for SD Holding to keep Jeppesen, and hence Boeing's legal department, out of this?
benbagnall
Ben Bagnall -5
I wouldn't jump to conclusions about Fliteprep being patent trolls. I was using their Graphics software in the late 80s for flight planning. This was before anyone else that I know of was doing it. Lately I've been using WingX pro with my iPad (And the sky radar ADSB/GPS)
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 3
I doubt you were using their web-based flight planning in the 80s, which is what they got a patent for. It's a broad, vague patent with plenty of prior art. It just needs someone like AOPA that can afford to fight them. And hopefully crush them.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane -9
I'm not fond of FlightPrep's bully actions but I have little love for AOPA.

This is one battle where I frankly don't give a flying flip through a rolling doughnut.
joeffinger
joeffinger 8
I'm convinced that if it were not for AOPA (and a couple of other alphabet organizations) most of us wouldn't be flying today.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane -2
While there is some truth to that, today they are less of a member-driven organization and more in tune with being profit motivated in spite of being a supposed non-profit.

Ethics have nearly gone out the window. I speak from personal observation and experience in dealing with them.
joeffinger
joeffinger 3
And I agree with what may appear to be "profit motivated", but it is really "revenue motivated". They simply cannot do what we need then to do on membership fees alone. They need other sources of revenue or our membership fees would be completely unaffordable. And over the past few years some of there member services have totally sucked. And I told that to Craig Fuller in person.
captainjman
Jason Feldman 1
This is our legal system - Isn't it funny how common sense never seems to become law. Why killers can walk because of a technicality while non-violent people have stiff sentences. A system that allows burglars who fall in your home while robbing you can sue you... And where being clumsy with a cup of coffee is a profitable situation (thank god it was overturned).

I am not unpatriotic, but we need to do better. Lately if you say you don't like something about the US people say "then leave"... but that isn't fair really.. we should strive to be as perfect as possible. And we need to change our system so companies like FlightPrep don't pull stunts like this.

Can you imagine if there were patents on each and every thing you do on a computer? On ordering products using the internet, on checking weather.. Now companies are actually patenting living tissue. Some large companies are trying to patent human genes! How ridiculous!
skylab72
skylab72 3
Hate to break it to you Jason, but each and every thing you do on a computer IS likely touching tens if not hundreds of patents. No where does the US patent system need more reform than software patents. Ironically the original patent law specifically excluded "algorithms" from being patentable, and a computer program, by definition is an algorithm... go figure.
skylab72
skylab72 1
Ken, while I understand and largely share your angst regarding the AOPA, the sorry state of US patent law will come back to dog even you if this kind of thing is poorly handled. I suggest resistance to patent trolls, where ever they pop up as the better course.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 1
I had a chance to chat with a guy in Fort Worth regarding FlightPrep. It seems they were never really challenged their "victims" in court but were only the bully with others giving in.

Hence, their claim to the patent has not been truly challenged. This will prove interesting in the end.