A FlightPrep fan

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

I’ve read with considerable interest on this and other sites about the FlightPrep patent enforcement efforts and some concerns that have been expressed by the flying community.  I’m not quite sure I understand what all the fuss is about, but then, I come at the issue with a perspective that is perhaps different than most.

First, I’m an attorney with almost 27 years of legal experience.  I’ve read and, believe or not, actually understand the FlightPrep patent that’s at issue here.  Second, I’m a commercial pilot with almost 24 years of flying experience.  Third, I’m a frustrated software developer who has satisfied that frustration, to some degree, by being a beta tester for numerous real developers for more than 25 years.  Among them has been the Stenbock-Everson team in its various iterations since late 1980s.

FlightPrep has said that it is enforcing a legitimate patent to protect its software innovation.  I happen to agree.  Some in the flying community have argued that FlightPrep’s efforts are akin to trying to patent air and are harming the flying community.  I respectfully disagree on both counts.  First, the notion that Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson don’t have the best interest of the flying community at heart is simply misinformed, in my opinion.  Why do I think that?  Because of my familiarity with both of these pilots/software developers for more than 23 years.

Back in the 1980s, Roger M. Stenbock was one of the co-founders of RMS Technology, a company that to this day still bears his initials.  RMS Technology created one of the first ever PC based flight planning programs.  Though crude by today’s standards, perhaps, the first text/DOS based FliteSoft program by RMS was cutting edge for its time.  Needless to say, Roger was a key part of that.

When Roger and his former partner decided to part company in the early 1990s, Roger started MentorPlus. Roger brought Kyle on board and, together, they developed the first ever Graphical User Interface (GUI) based flight planning program for Windows 286/386.  In addition to having the first GUI based program, MentorPlus’ flight planning software innovations over the years have also included:  1) the first point to point and rubber band routing options; 2) the first to create complex aircraft modeling profiles for take-off, climb, cruise and descent fuel consumption estimates; 3) the first GPS based moving map; 4) the first automated DUATs dial-up and weather retrieval script; 5) the first to automatically interpolate and incorporate winds aloft info into the flight plan.

MentorPlus’ software used Jeppesen data and because of the little company’s enormous success with developing new ideas, Jeppesen eventually decided to buy them out.  The Jeppesen FliteStar program that still exists today is what the Stenbock and Everson team created.

The list of “firsts” for Stenbock and Everson in flight planning development is virtually endless, but none is perhaps more important to the flying community than the simple little script they added to FliteStar that automated the process of DUATs weather retrieval.  Why?  Because that little script help to save the DUATs program for ALL pilots who use it today.  How?  When the FAA first contracted with several vendors to make DUATs available to pilots, very few, if any, pilots had access to high speed internet.  These were the dark ages when a 56K dial-up modem was cutting edge and $200 a pop.  In its infinite wisdom, the FAA contracts called for the FAA to pay each contractor by the minute of online time.  Meaning that the longer each pilot stayed online to get his or her briefing, the more the FAA had to pay the contractor.  With most pilots using 28K modems and each briefing requiring interactive responses to every input request, each briefing took between 5-10 minutes to complete.  As a consequence, the cost of the DUATs program was becoming unsustainable.  Because the Stenbock and Everson team had already developed a script to automate the DUATs process, they took the initiative to partner with one of the DUATs vendors and create a stand-alone program that would automate the DUATs process.  The Golden Eagle program, as it became known, was offered free of charge to all pilots when development was completed.  The automated process helped to lower the cost of the DUATs program for the FAA which made it sustainable again.  In short Stenbock and Everson are a key reason the DUATs survives today for all pilots to use.

Not enough?  OK, well how about this:  The Stenbock-Everson development team worked with AOPA to create the first ever Real-Time Flight Planner based on the MentorPlus FliteStar program, the very program and service that is still offered today to all AOPA members free of charge.

Bottom line, Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson are both long-time pilots and software developers.  They have pioneered huge innovations in the field of computer based flight planning and those innovations deserve protection, as all innovations do.  Just because some of those innovations seem ubiquitous today, doesn’t mean they still don’t deserve protection.  If you invent something new, you have the right to protect that invention under our current patent and copyright system.  Just because the Wright brothers patented the airplane, doesn’t mean we all can’t fly one.  Just because Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone doesn’t mean we can’t use one.  Just because Stenbock and Everson developed the first online flight planner, doesn’t mean we can’t use that either.  But under our current system of laws, each of those inventions and time spent developing them deserve protection.  That protection provides the inventor, in part, the right to be compensated by anyone else who profits from the use of the invention.  Not unfair nor unreasonable, in my opinion.  And what’s more, it’s the law.

What the Stenbock & Everson team has done for the aviation community over the course or more than 25 years is simply huge.  They have been generous to a fault, but they also deserve to profit from their legitimate innovations in the field.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in our world of patents and copyrights, it’s also called “stealing.”

BILL SEITH, Hinsdale, Illinois

Comments

  1. Mitch S. says

    .. you can use it to support/assist/protect …or GO BROKE giving away your work.

    This is not the SALVATION ARMY – it’s a business for god’s sake. What don’t you get about that – even this blog page you are using right now complaining about FP is licensed! Go sign up at Boycott FlightPrep.com and give FP even more publicity.

  2. Will S says

    You may have the legal right to carry a big stick…

    .. you can use it to support/assist/protect …
    or
    .. you can use it to bludgeon/attack/destroy …

    One will gain you friends ..
    … the other, enemys,

    Your choice.

    Seems I only hear complaints, or the need for justifications, from those who chose ‘bludgeon/attack/destroy’. Wonder why?

    Its the choice FlightPrep made that has created the public furore, and nothing anyone says about their “Legal Right” (or not) to the patent will change that.

    Personally I think that weilding a big stick over a small market is a really bad business decision and that FlightPrep deserves the response its getting.

  3. says

    Boy,did Bill Seith touch a nerve! Now if ALL 44 respondents on this subject would join mean in getting Warren Buffett to run for office and get the “donkeys and(white)elephants” out of government for starters…………….Something to be said for “numbers”!

  4. W. Lively says

    Given how morally indefensable your position is, you now resort to name calling, how sad.

    Citing Supreme Court decisions is typical lawyer speak for a court room. It has no bearing on whether behavior is moral or fair. I am sure you remember Scott v. Sandford upholding slavery.

    I am also sure you are smart enough to know that Article 1 of the Constitution was written in 1787 and “software” not only did not exist, but was not even dreamed of at that time.

    The only thing software patents do is eliminate competition and stifle creativity. There are many research studies that have provided evidence to that fact. http://eupat.ffii.org/archive/mirror/impact/index.en.html

    As to your “freeloader” comment. As a matter of fact, I do not use any flight planning software at all. I did use DUATS about 6 years ago. My aircraft is not quite finished and all current flights are local. Wrong yet again.

    I am also not a “hater”. I regret that choice of word, which was poorly chosen in haste. I thoroughly dislike the greedy, arrogant, and immoral choice of action that FP has made. They could have chosen to make a better product but instead they want to be the only product.
    Thankfully, the pilot community has seen this unjust act for what it is and has responded in an appropriate manner with donations for the defendant and a boycott campaign.

    I originally just wanted to add my 2 cents worth and have now far exceded that. It is a really a simple case to decide, so I will let it rest.

  5. Mike S. says

    Wade Lively

    “… The premise of your argument is inavalid. THIS IS NOT AN INVENTION. . Software is not nor will it ever be an invention.”

    You may wish that software should not be an invention but you are mistaken:

    In the 1981 landmark decisions in the case of Diamond v. Diehr, the United States Supreme Court upheld that software are inventions and as such are patentable.

    “You need to ask yourself why do companys get software patents?
    1. Because they can.
    2. To protect themselves from patent predators.
    3. To become a patent predator.
    I think most rational people can clearly see which one was chosen by FP and that is precisely why they are hated.”

    You missed the best reason:

    The U.S. Constitution Article 1, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “The Congress shall have Power…to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries,”

    That same Constitution’s 1st Amendment also allows you to express your opinion, however hatefull incorrect and misguided it may be.

    Maybe it just boils down to this: You are angry because you can’t freeload anymore, and are upset that someone had the nerve to actually patent what some believe is an obvious invention or no invention at all. Now you are reduced to disgust and punishing the inventors based on your ignorance and resentment. I hope you get over your hate and live a happy life.

    I‘m not a hater – do you hate FP?

  6. Wade Lively says

    Mike S.

    Again you miss the point entirely, are you a lawyer perhaps. The premise of your argument is inavalid. THIS IS NOT AN INVENTION. Is painting a picture of Ma and Pa kettle and invention? Is creating a program to type letters on a computer screen an invention? What is the standard used to invalidate these types of patents, “prior art”. Very well chosen word, “art”. Software is not nor will it ever be an invention.

    FP did not spend 9 years and many $ to invent, they spent it to only to patent. It would be really sad if they spent 9 years on what took Mr. Parson’s a few weekends to do.

    So to use your premise let’s look at it on the flip side. You created a program for yourself to flightplan. You shared it with friends who liked it and then decided to make it available to everyone and sell some ads to recoup costs and make a few $.

    Along comes someone who says they have an issue with you and
    want to talk about it with a legal NDA. You know you created
    it on your own with no outside source so that would be total
    BS. Who are these people.

    They won’t go away, this time they threaten with a lawyer and
    trump up some outrageous amount of 3 million dollars in
    damages (based on one days supposed visits) and want an NDA
    and they offer to grant a temp license.

    What the heck is this, lawsuit for what? I can’t afford
    a lawyer or lawsuit. If they are calculating damages by the
    day I had better shutdown the site. They want to grant a temp
    license for “their technology”, what, something I created on
    my own is theirs, LIKE HECK. If I sign such a lawyer could
    twist it to say I ackowledge their claim? NO WAY.

    The patent was issued to FP and valid as an issued document, no arguing that. It is sad the PO grants such, but it is done. You need to ask yourself why do companys get software patents?
    1. Because they can.
    2. To protect themselves from patent predators.
    3. To become a patent predator.

    I think most rational people can clearly see which one was chosen by FP and that is precisely why they are hated.

  7. Mike S. says

    Here is an opportunity to not pass judgment on FP, but to give them some advice. A lot of folks have criticized (to put it mildly) that FP has mishandled the patent issue. For this exercise, assume you are the inventor and put yourself in their shoes, given:

    1. You invested the better part of nine years and a $100,000 inventing and patenting your work. Never mind, for sake of argument, that some believe the invention is not valid because of prior art or obviousness – whatever. This question will be answered by folks much smarter than I.

    2. Let’s assume that the only wise action an inventor can take is write a patent notification letter to a potential infringer/licensee (like FP did) and offer to enter into discussions. The potential infringer/licensee ignores it.

    3. You send another notification letter to the potential infringer/licensee and offer to enter into discussions again (like FP did) – also ignored by the potential infringer/licensee.

    4. Now assume that any further communications with a potential infringer/licensee may result in getting sued for a “Declarative Judgment” action (DJ). This is the kind of suit a party may bring to settle a potential controversy in Federal Court in the infringer/licensee’s jurisdiction – very expensive to defend by the inventor.

    5. Assume that unless the invention is protected through some kind of license or some other consideration, it is essentially abandoned and becomes worthless.

    6. Assume that no business in their right mind would negotiate with any third party over anything in public and potentially release sensitive proprietary info such as financials and competitive proprietary data.

    Ok, the rubber hit the road, your move – you are the inventor, here are your choices:

    1- Do nothing – risk abandoning the invention.

    2- Call, email, visit potential infringer/licensee – risk getting sued (a DJ action).

    3- Send cease and desist letter – risk getting sued (a DJ action).

    4- Contact potential infringer/licensee and begin negotiations without an NDA – risk exposing sensitive business data to the rest of the world – risk getting sued (a DJ action).

    5- Sue to get potential infringer/licensee to respond – risk to be seen as a bully and infuriate the aviation community for all the reasons (right or wrong) discussed on these blogs.

    6. Do something else? You are between a rock and hard place? I guess all the furious pilots who have been wronged by FP would now suggest – get rid of the lawyers, abandon the invention, kiss your investment good bye and apologize to the aviation community for your misdeeds.

    Pick one – it’s not easy.

    Of course the questions are rhetorical, you are not the inventor and don’t have to make any choices – its much easier for us to criticize FP and believe they are the big bully and punish them for making a choice, bad as it may appear. Who would have predicted that protecting ones invention would make FP the most hated business in aviation – I bet FP didn’t.

  8. Kevin says

    Tom:
    Say what you want but the “court of public opinion” consists of the customers and potential customers of FP. They decide to purchase or not purchase – not the legal system. Stein’s analysis is correct. I will not buy from FP because I don’t like what they’re doing (nor how they’re doing it). Let their attorneys buy their products.

  9. Wade Lively says

    A very nice letter written by a lawyer. Unfortunately it misses all the points of common sense.

    The muddy waters of software patents are deep. This issue pretty much boils down to the basic premise of fairness and moral behavior.

    1. To patent the drawing of a line on a map is ridiculous. To patent software code, I can see that. But, in this case, Mr. Parsons wrote his own independent code on his own idea. Nothing was taken form FlightPrep. Many people arrived at this common idea many times. This is not a unique invention that took copious resources and years of experimenting to do. Mr. Parsons proved that alone.

    2. If you create software of value and is superior to others you will have a lot of business. That should be FlightPrep’s goal. What they are doing is actually stifling invention or creativity by making theirs the only game in town.

    3. Combination of 1 and 2. See Word Perfect, MS Word, Open Office. Write the software people like and they will buy it.

    4. It is clear to anyone judging rationally that FlightPrep looked at the patent as a windfall of profit, as it would enable them to take a % of the competition or eliminate it. This is clear by their actions and their tone in public comments. I don’t care what is “std practice” their is no reason two people can’t sit down and openly discuss their position without lawyers or ND agreements.

    It is very simple in my eyes and I am going to simply refuse allow any $ of mine to go to FlightPrep or any company that does business with Mr. Stenbock.

  10. Stein Bruch says

    I do not have a personal horse in this fight (as I choose to utilize a different flight planner and still will). I try to keep an open mind about this and look at both sides. I am not JD, nor am I patent expert…but I do a whole lot of work in the aircraft electronics and avionics field. I also happen to have one of my own patents, so belive me I know that it is not fast, not cheap, and not usually trivial to get one granted…unless you have your own staff of patent attorneys (like drug companies or large software companies, etc..). Through my normal course of business I also have the pleasure to deal with lots of customers in lots of backgrounds, as well as about every government agency along with various lawyers as well.

    I do belive people have a right to protect their patents. I have not read the FP patent so I can’t comment on it technically. Maybe it’s valid maybe it’s not, but that’s not for me to sort out personally. What I will say with a fair amount certainty is the approach they have taken to enforce their patent is a processs that while probably technically legal, is not the best “smart” way to go about it.

    No disprespect to any legal professionals intended, but WAY to often their approach to such things may be very logical from a legal standpoint, but not very smart….I believe this is one of those cases. I’ve had my fair share of legal wranglings over the years, and suffice to say that the “legal” way of sorting things out is rarely the smartest way of sorting things out. In some ways our legal system is one of the best in the world, in other ways it’s a joke. The Civil Tort system is not a shining example of reason (apologies to the plantiff’s bar, but you know what I mean).

    I guess the bitter taste many probably have in their mouths is not so much the why, but more the how this whole thing took shape. You can argue the merits all day long in the court of public opinion, but the reality is the process this has taken is not favorable to the FP folks – frankly it makes them look sort of inept from a business perspective when it comes to working out partnerships, relatioships, licensing deals, etc..

    I am not impressed by the way they are handling themselves socially or with their communication style – but that doesn’t automatically make it wrong. They may be ignorant and naiive as to interbusiness relations (and trusted some questionable legal advice as to the “how”), but again that doesn’t automatically make their claims false.

    The wording and drafting of their complaint is probably what made it the worst for them, because they chose counsel that made some terrific claims. Some of the language they used in the complaint is what really has riled up the masses.

    It’s too late for them to un-ring that bell, but perhaps chosing some different representation to a better job of explaining things and presenting immutable facts would be in order. If they continue down this exact path they’ve been on, it’s unlikely that the court of public opinion will side with them no matter the legal minutia or finding of fact – and their business does in fact rely greatly on public opinion. They may win on the technical and legal side, but very well may still find themsevels losing on the other side – a side that matters every bit as much as the legal side. You can argue against it, but it’s the way society works. Their counsel could be very good at one part, but appears like not so much at the other.

    Like I said, no personal horse in the race, but I am disspointed to see they way they’ve chosen to handle it. Whether they are in the right or the wrong, they are still going about it in a way that could have been handled so much better and so much differently. They may have very good legal skills, very good engineering skills and very good core business skills, but in this case very poor social relation skills.

    That’s my 2 cents as usual – and again no specific flames intended to anyone in particular. Just my take on the deal as an outsider looking in.

  11. K. Smith says

    Mr. Christman is correct, Mr. Stenbock has nothing to do with present day RMS Technology Inc. Mr. Stenbock also has nothing to do with the present day FliteStar and FliteSchool since they are now and have been Jeppesen products for 15 years. So there should be no confusion for at least the last 15 years now.

    Jerry Miller

    I don’t think the aviation community appreciates your attempted character assassination – especially when based on half truths and faulty recollections. You really should have verified this before you called someone a “thief” sir.

    “Yes, I do recall that Roger Stenbock was a co-founder of RMS Technology, but from there, things get a little conflicted.”…
    “I also remember he then took that copyrighted software that he stole and tried to pass it off as his own. I’m sure this information can be verified if anyone would like to take the time to check it out.”

    Well I took you up on that and did little checking on my own. Mr. Stenbock was not the CO-founder of RMS Technology. He was THE founder of RMS technology. Another words he founded the company on his own, other shareholders came years later. You can get that from the public records.

    Mr. Stenbock left the company following a difference in business philosophy. After complex legal maneuvers with a whole lot complaining on both sides, there was NO judicial finding that anyone “took that copyrighted software that he stole and tried to pass it off as his own”. The issues were finally settled legally and both parties went their separate ways. Christman got RMS Technology Inc. which is doing well today and Stenbock started MentorPlus Software Inc. which was sold to Jeppesen 15 years ago.

  12. says

    Flitesoft … NOT affiliated with or produced by Stenbock (or Everson).

    Stenbock’s long-term goal has been to sow confusion in the market and there are still many who believe he has a business relationship with Flitesoft. He WAS an employee at our company in the mid to late 1980s, mostly part-time, but has had nothing to do with our products since July 10, 1989.

    Stenbock has spent over twenty years naming his products with names very close to ours (Flitesoft vs FliteStar and FlightPrep, GroundSchool vs FliteSchool) and has claimed to have created virtually our entire product line. I don’t understand the logic (brag about “creating” Product A, then immediately knock it in favor of Product B?) but he has succeeded in confusing many people.

  13. M. Santic says

    M. Smith,

    Thank you for your comments. I will take the comment directed at me and will respond. I am glad that you acknowledged your relationship with Mr. Stenbock. You certainly do sound like one of his lawyers.

    Your comment… “So if Dave Parson of Runwayfinder – who of course, has no dog in the fight – is saying there is “prior art” then it must be so. I’m sure his legions of patent attorneys, expert witnesses, with his growing legal fund, will eventually find that “prior art” and prove you right.”

    Dave Parsons is the founder and was the operator of RunwayFinder before it was removed from the internet. How can you say he has NO dog in this fight? Dave is fighting for the entire General Aviation community and the future of the RunwayFinder website! I wish I could make the same comment with respect to FlightPrep. To our dismay, FlightPrep has only served notice to just about EVERY fight planning website on the internet. I would not call Dave Parson’s comments on RunwayFinder biased, he is merely stating what RunwayFinder is currently doing to keep the GA community abreast of any new information.

    I see you did not respond to my last comment. “In the end, the GA community will drive the market, FlightPrep will concede to survive, and, do what they should have done in the first place. That is, improve the flight planning product they currently offer such that it can compete with the other superior flight planning services currently available.”

    Yes, there are a few that will continue to use the product produced by FlightPrep. Many more, (you did indeed ask what will happen if RunwayFinder fails) have decided to either cancel or not renew their current flight planning subscription with FlightPrep and/or have vowed to never again use a FlightSoft product or a product produced by Mr. Stenbock.

  14. Jerry Miller says

    As a long-time user of Flitesoft, I remember things a little differently than Mr. Seith. Yes, I do recall that Roger Stenbock was a co-founder of RMS Technology, but from there, things get a little conflicted. I remember speaking with Neal Christman when he wrote the original Flitesoft program back in the DOS days (which, by the way, he is still to this day the president of RMS), and they wrote the Windows version of Flitesoft long after Stenbock had left the company.

    And Stenbock leaving the company was a story in itself, back in the day. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember Stenbock came in, like a thief in the night – quite literally in fact – and cleaned the place out. I also remember he then took that copyrighted software that he stole and tried to pass it off as his own. I’m sure this information can be verified if anyone would like to take the time to check it out.

    I cannot agree that Rober Stenbock has positively contributed to the aviation community. It’s people like him that I try to steer clear of, and I’m not a bit surprised about this patent of his. I also hope that the online flight planners I use from time to time can weather this storm.

    But I will agree with one comment that Bill Seith made. “Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in our world of patents and copyrights, it’s also called ‘stealing.'”

    Hmmm. Enough said.

  15. M. Smith says

    I provide this feedback with the highest regard to my fellow pilots and wish a prosperous and happy 2011 to you all. And should I meet you sometime at some nice airport, let me be the first to invite you to lunch and let’s go flying.

    Hi Santic, I’m a FlightpPrep fan and I love their products, so you might as well add me to the growing list working for Stenbock, along with Bill, Frank, Tom, J. Moses and James.

    You comment:

    “Dave Parsons at RunwayFinder is currently reviewing the numerous examples provided to him (prior art)”

    So if Dave Parson of Runwayfinder – who of course, has no dog in the fight – is saying there is “prior art” then it must be so. I’m sure his legions of patent attorneys, expert witnesses, with his growing legal fund, will eventually find that “prior art” and prove you right. What if they don’t?

    In your own words, don’t you think that Mr. Parson’s statement will also be viewed as “extremely biased and non-objective?

    Hi John N., My hat off to you, you are one of the few who appear to have actually read the patent. I agree with part of your conclusion”

    “By my reading, it is the use of the internet and a browser. I could be wrong, but this seems obvious to me.”

    But I take exception to your conclusion “I submit the prior art was FliteSoft, itself”

    You might have missed that on line 53 in the specifications, “FliteSoft by RMS Technology” is specifically cited. The examiner considered it and found it not “prior art”. Nice try though, I think you wrote that tongue-in-cheek.

    Hi Jon, If it weren’t so depressing, I find your declarations comical.

    Based on your statement of “fact”, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are a either patent attorney, patent examiner, a federal judge, or juror – who are the only individuals qualified to make such finding of “fact”. So let’s look at your “facts”.

    “That doesn’t in any way change the facts surrounding this particular patent, which fails numerous tests required for patents and in fact does have copious amounts of prior art including, most obviously, AeroPlanner, which was active 2 years before FlightPrep’s initial patent application (which, by the by, did not include many of the claims they added in later re-applications, only after other entities had already implemented those claims) and is still in existence today.”

    You state as “fact” that the Flightprep patent fails numerous tests such as prior art AeroPlanner. While true, Aero Planner was active 2 years before the initial application, but, a big BUT, it was then and may still display only “static fixed sized” maps – lacking any interactivity, waypoints, rubber band routing and layering as disclosed in the FlightPrep patent. The examiner consider this technology and found it NOT prior art.

    Yes, claims change during patent, and if you would have read the original claims, along with the file wrapper (you know what is, don’t you?) and compared them to claims finally allowed by the PTO, you might have noticed that the claims, as granted, were limiting – as a professional knowledgeable in the art, you should know the significance of this.

    If you really believe:

    “FlightPrep has responded to legitimate comments … threatening bodily harm to them, as documented by Aero-News. “

    I suggest you google “aero news captain zoom” and consider the source.

    Scott, you’re not serious are you?

    “Now I understand an ASA publication is part of their empire, so we’ve stopped buying from them as well.”

    Where did you hear this – on a blog? It’s just these kinds of half truths that are causing the uproar. Mr. Stenbock is merely one of many authors at ASA. Check it yourself before you malign ASA.

    And finally Frank, UuaAUgh! I second that!

  16. James says

    I’m not on the bandwagon to destroy Flightprep – but for those who are, here are a few appropriate words

    “The cowards lacking the courage to rely on their own conviction to debate the merits of any issue with the tools of truth, inevitably seek strength from the pack of the ignorant”…Hans Jurgen

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation”… Herbert Spencer

    But there is hope for those suffering from this affliction – just hang on to these words:

    “A closed mind is a terrible thing to waste” which is about as bad as “a mind is a terrible thing”… Dan Quaile

  17. Robert says

    “I was beginning to think I was the only one in the pilot community capable of rational thought. Kinda scary when you realize we have to share the sky with some of them.”

    “You appear to have missed the point, again, Robert. Which, ironically, serves to make the point Tom and I have been valiantly trying to get across perhaps better than we ever could.”

    After re-reading the quotes above it seems that you and Tom need your own block of airspace to share. And leave some room for the “pilots” at flight prep. The rest of the aviation community appears to be unimpressed with your argument and less impressed with the way flightprep has gone about their business of extorting gain.

  18. Scott says

    Bill, Tom;
    I’m not impressed.
    The more you write the deeper you get.
    FlightPrep charges for a service that has been free for so long, that they don’t stand a chance of collecting the market.
    Claiming that Runwayfinder’s site hits (for free service) represent $149 loss to FlightPrep for each occurance is an example of the moral level of activity that FlightPrep (and you, by your statements) find acceptable. So a boycott is a natural tool consumers use to discourage such behavior.
    Now I understand ASA publications is part of their empire, so we’ve stopped buying from them as well.

  19. M. Santic says

    Bill Seith – quoting you from above, “many have chosen to join the mob mentality”. You must be taking lessons from Mr. Stenbock (FlightPrep). He called the entire aviation community the same thing, a “mislead mob”, few weeks back. Your calling others arrogant. Come now. The arrogance you have displayed to others via your comments here is undeniably certain.

    Yes, Mr. Seith, such infuriates the aviation community. From the comments listed here it is clear that you and Tom are working for Mr. Stenbock or have worked personally with Mr. Stenbock in the past. Your statements here, thus, will be taken as extremely biased and non-objective. They are far from being unbiased personal observations. And far from providing a balanced point of view as you have claimed.

    Previously, you have demanded past art which may lead to invalidation of FlightPrep’s patent. Dave Parsons at RunwayFinder is currently reviewing the numerous examples provided to him via the supporting community. Please re-read his statements at http://www.runwayfinder.com I invite all to do the same. That same community is much too intelligent to post such examples for obvious reasons.

    As I have mentioned previously, the general aviation community is a rather small group with a very long memory. In the end, the GA community will drive the market, FlightPrep will concede to survive, and, do what they should have done in the first place. That is, improve the flight planning product they currently offer such that it can compete with the other superior flight planning services currently available.

  20. Ed Fogle says

    Just what has FlightPrep patented here? The simple act of online flight planning or particular software to do it? I’m not real good with abstract concepts so would like a little clarity here before I get too upset with the company.

  21. Bill Seith says

    Robert–““Pilots” like you who believe that no one else should share in the joy of flight simply because you see things differently are arrogant.” You appear to have missed the point, again, Robert. Which, ironically, serves to make the point Tom and I have been valiantly trying to get across perhaps better than we ever could.

  22. John N. says

    If Stenbock had patented his invention of computer flight planning in 1980’s when he wrote FliteSoft (a fine program, by the way), his authority on this issue would be enhanced in my view (I’m a programmer, not a lawyer). The patent would also have expired.

    The first claim of this patent is…

    “A process for generating a flight plan for preflight use by a pilot, comprising: accessing over a computer network from a client computer a Web page having a housekeeping frame and a selected composite travel navigation chart from among plural selected composite travel navigation charts stored at a server computer, each selected composite travel navigation chart including a travel chart merged with travel navigation waypoints, the travel navigation waypoints including radio navigation aids; downloading the Web page with the selected composite travel navigation chart from the server computer to the client computer as a two-dimensional array of map tiles that include up-to-date navigation data and cover an area over which a flight is to be planned; indicating X, Y coordinates of each of a plurality of navigation waypoints on the selected composite travel navigation chart at the client computer; sending the X, Y coordinates of each navigation waypoint to the housekeeping frame of the Web page; and drawing over the selected composite travel navigation chart on the client computer route line segments according to the X, Y coordinates, as instructed by housekeeping frame of the Web page, to generate a flight plan for preflight use by a pilot.”

    What has he claimed here this didn’t exist in FliteSoft? By my reading, it is the use of the internet and a browser. I could be wrong, but this seems obvious to me. I submit the prior art was FliteSoft, itself.

  23. Jon says

    Not once in this entire missive does Mr. Seith ever actually address the specific complaints about this patent and the way FlightPrep has gone about using it offensively. Instead, he uses an appeal to authority as an attempt to dismiss them out-of-hand. A 27-year attorney, a 24-year commercial aviator, and a hotshot software developer for 25 years on top of it all? Wow! He must know his stuff, even if he hasn’t actually bothered to write a single word specific to the topic at hand.

    It’s wonderful that you admire Mssrs. Stenbock and Everson and I appreciate the personal history you’ve given. That doesn’t in any way change the facts surrounding this particular patent, which fails numerous tests required for patents and in fact does have copious amounts of prior art including, most obviously, AeroPlanner, which was active 2 years before FlightPrep’s initial patent application (which, by the by, did not include many of the claims they added in later re-applications, only after other entities had already implemented those claims) and is still in existence today.

    Your personal story does not change the fact that FlightPrep has litigated against the small fish in the pond, knowing full well that they could not afford to mount a rigorous defense and must submit to the extortion they are now facing or shut down, thus significantly reducing the competition they face, thus significantly reducing the innovation available to general aviators.

    Your personal story does not change the fact that FlightPrep has responded to legitimate comments and complaints sent to FlightPrep’s private e-mail boxes by penning letters from a fictitious person threatening bodily harm to them, as documented by Aero-News.

    FlightPrep’s patent is bunk from the get-go, and in an attempt to paper over that fact, FlightPrep has used multiple unsavory tactics against the general aviation community. This attempt at whitewashing the facts by a personal friend does not change any of that.

  24. Mark C says

    Legalized extortion is still extortion. The patent should never have been granted. Patenting the printing press is legitimate, patenting the idea of putting words on paper is not.

  25. Robert says

    Yes Mr Seith… arrogance. “Pilots” like you who believe that no one else should share in the joy of flight simply because you see things differently are arrogant. The personal attacks began with your original statement and that says it all.

  26. Bill Seith says

    Pete Anderson–“this is the court of public opinion, information and disinformation without objection.” Indeed, that is the reason I was motivated to step in–to counter the disinformation upon which some pilots appear to basing their public opinion.

    “They have enough lawyers. Look where that got em.” I’m not speaking as anyone’s lawyer here. Just a long time customer and beta tester who has a lot of experience with the principals of a company that is being unfairly attacked, in my opinion.

    “And stop calling out names…it is childish and crude.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. Though I do find it ironic that if I respond with tongue firmly planted in cheek to the ridiculous personal attacks that have been leveled against me, I’m now the one doing the name calling.

    Pete, you have captured and summarized the point of my original letter quite nicely–the sooner those in the “court of public opinion” refrain from name calling and reliance on disinformation, the sooner it will become apparent these folks aren’t the evil doers some are alleging. Unfortunately, instead of folks basing their opinions on sound facts, logic and reasoning, many have chosen to join the mob mentality that has developed on this and many other forums. When emotions rather reason drive the discussion, the discussion becomes counter-productive and pointless. That’s really all I was trying to point out and counter, and I apologize if you believe I did it inartfully.

  27. Tom says

    So let’s see if I understand this. Since a rational debate on the issues fails, let’s all resort to making it personal and attack Mr. Seith. I’m impressed.

    “This is not the courtroom that you find yourself so comfortable in…this is the court of public opinion, information and disinformation without objection… And stop calling out names…it is not becoming of an attorney with 27 years experience…in fact it is childish and crude.”

    Who is calling the kettle black here?

    Well, like it or not, I and quite a few others, are objecting to the disgusting persecution of one of our own in the “court of public opinion”. So their PR may not be the best, but don’t dismiss and condemn them so quickly until you have walked in their shoes, struggled as they have, to provide whatever measure of service to the aviation community they could over all these years. For what? Protecting that for which they struggled at great costs and time to them – any sound business does this.

    According to some, the “court of public opinion” cares little about the actual facts and truthful information, and instead relies on bogus theories and trumpet-up accusation that have no foundation in the actual truth. I don’t think so, when the truth sees the light of day – as expressed here by Mr. Seith and others, “public opinion” will respect the truth.

    I guess, some believe the truth be damned and just win in “the court of public opinion” by any means necessary. I’ve seen this before – a little review of history might be helpful. What ever happened to the American way and the rule of law?

    Personally, I’d rather rely on the rule of law, than in an injudicious jury in the “court of public opinion” any day.

  28. Pete Anderson says

    Mr Seith, This is not the courtroom that you find yourself so comfortable in…this is the court of public opinion, information and disinformation without objection. Your life experiences obviously demand balance. Unfortunately, you have entered the world of private enterprise. We don’t “steal” (apparently common the world of patent attorneys) and we don’t purchase inferior product. That is not misinformation, that is the real world…in this country anyway. The bottom line in this cat fight that is “out of balance” is that a large jury of pilots have decided to vote against Flight Prep with their pocketbooks. It doesn’t matter what their reason is. The fact is that if FlightPrep wants to sell aviation goods they need to hire a new public relations firm…they have enough lawyers. Look where that got em…out of balance. And stop calling out names…it is not becoming of an attorney with 27 years experience…in fact it is childish and crude.

  29. Bill Seith says

    Warren Christman–“Please. Was Mr Seith’s initial letter dictated by Stenbock?” No, just my own personal observations in working with you and Roger at RMS Technologies as a beta tester. In no way were my comments intended to slight you or RMS’ continued sucess since Roger’s departure. BTW, are FliteSoft and Vista still copyrighted, or is it ok for me to make copies and sell them for my own profit?

    Robert–“In your own little world you are the only one in the pilot community with the arrogance to say such a thing.” Arrogance? No. Just my assessment of folks like yourself who prefer to resort to personal attacks, rely on misinformation and make assumptions. None of which are conducive to a rational discourse of any issue nor in keeping with our training as pilots.

    Scott–“C’mon Bill – were you hanging out at country club cotillion with Roger abnd Kyle again – you can tell us – really.” Yup, that’s how I roll. Regular 2100 mile trips from Chicago to Aurora, OR just so I can hang with my peeps.

    M. Santic–“The entire aviation community is furious.” I guess you’re right since it’s nonsense comments like that make me mad enough to right a huge letter in a futile attempt to provide some balance. Guess I’ll just slink on back to the country club in Aurora now.

    Scott–“I guess your (sic) a software expert too.” No, but I worked a lot with a Scott Cromer at MentorPlus who was. He always thought my suggestions on code improvements were pretty helpful. I’m guessing you’re not that Scott.

    Tom and J. Moses–Thanks for your comments, though it would appear yours fell on deaf ears as well.

  30. Tom says

    If one were to take the “information” presented by M. Santic and others at face value, the loathing for Flightprep is quite understandable. However, much of this”information” just is not correct:

    “I have read the patent from beginning to end, and this patent should not have been granted due to prior art being in place even prior to 2001.”

    I’ve seen statement like these from others as well. While it is entirely possible that there is prior art, not a single example of prior art has yet been cited (35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b)). Just because one says there is “prior art” with high moral authority, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Lots of art today, but what matters is the word “prior” which goes back to 2001.

    “Many claims in the patent were not in place in 2001 but developed during the subsequent time period, when others had those features in place. But, the patent was dated as of the initial application date. A clear mis-use of the patent system. Ethical, hardly.”

    This conclusion is just patently wrong (pun not intended). Reading the file wrapper (330) pages reveals that the specifications (35 U.S.C. 112) NEVER changed – if they did, the patent would have been rejected because of new matter. What did change were the claims – in 99.9% in all patents they always do. The claims must always be based on the specifications. In this case the claims where actually narrowed (made weaker). This is not as “a clear mis-use of the patent system”. Most all patents follow the process.

    Given the spread of this misinformation, by I hope, well meaning pilots – its now wonder that “The entire aviation community is furious”

    Come on – if you are going to condemn Flightprep, don’t do it with half backed opinions. I’m just getting sick of this hate mongering by my fellow pilots.

  31. Jamie says

    The point you miss is that a concept cannot be ‘obvious to anyone trained in the art’ to be patentable. Clearly this is. Flightprep’s patent is basically taking what has already been done on PCs for years and going it in a web browser. That’s hardly a new invention, and certainly not one deserving patent protection.

  32. VIctor says

    I’m glad that the rest of the world doesn’t work like Flight Prep’s patent apparently does. I like choice. I like being able to look at several different products (including software) to determine which is best for me.

    While I am grateful for their submissions to the aviation industry in general, that doesn’t entitle them to retroactive “reaping of the harvest” – if they want to make money, simply build a better service and charge for it. Using the patent laws as leverage to muscle out your competition is not only immoral, but show’s a companies true character, which is why I will not use FlightPrep anymore.

    I can’t think of a single other instance where someone has been able to do what they’re doing – suing anyone that has a piece of software that even resembles theirs. Microsoft can’t sue the makers of wordperfect (for visa versa), Ford can’t sue GM for making cars, David Clark can’t sue Bose for making headsets, Michelin can’t sue Bridgestone for making tires, Heck, Lowes Home Improvement can’t sue Home Depot for having a similar mega-store…

    the Dyson argument is different. He has patented a technology, not a concept… he didn’t take other Vacuum makers to court because they sold vacuums, he took them to court because he had a unique way of MAKING a vacuum.

    Flightprep is going after anyone, as someone put it, that can draw a line on a map. perhaps some other company out there that makes their money on the internet could sue Flight Prep because they, too, are making money on the ‘net.

    See, everyone’s rub isn’t about enforcing a patent. It’s about giving them a patent on something so basic, so elementary and ethereal as “online flight planning software” – that’s like giving Microsoft the patent on “operating systems” – or worse “word processors”

    Anyone out there like choice? I know I do. If all else fails, I still know how to use an E6B, a sectional and low-altitude IFR charts… I have no problem going back to using them exclusively. “online flight planning” isn’t a THING to be patented, it’s a procedure, an action.

    I’d like to see someone develope a new automobile and try to patent “driving a vehicle” and then suing everyone else that makes a car. I am sure the patent would read something like “operating a motor vehicle by means of operating pedals and manipulating a steering wheel” – that just about covers every car out there I think.. I need to find a patent attorney, I could be rich!

    Ridiculous.

  33. Robert says

    “I was beginning to think I was the only one in the pilot community capable of rational thought. Kinda scary when you realize we have to share the sky with some of them.”

    In your own little world you are the only one in the pilot community with the arrogance to say such a thing.

  34. Scott says

    C’mon Bill – were you hanging out at country club cotillion with Roger abnd Kyle again – you can tell us – really.

    Instead of the huge letter – you could have just used this one statement. Its says it all.

    “I’m an attorney with almost 27 years of legal experience.”

    I guess your a software expert too.

  35. M. Santic says

    Intellectual property law was intended to promote innovation and not stifle it. Flightprep’s actions have made it clear to the entire aviation community that they clearly are doing the later. I have read the patent from beginning to end, and this patent should not have been granted due to prior art being in place even prior to 2001. Many claims in the patent were not in place in 2001 but developed during the subsequent time period, when others had those features in place. But, the patent was dated as of the initial application date. A clear mis-use of the patent system. Ethical, hardly.

    The entire aviation community is furious. All one has to do is visit any of the aviation related forums and read portions of the individual threads regarding FlightPrep and RunwayFinder. Examples of such forums are the AOPA forum and the type club forums, such as the Cessna 180 forum. The social media is condemning the actions of FlightPrep. I am happy to see that the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has taken note. See http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/01/when-bad-patents-hurt-good-people-patent-threat

    The aviation is a rather small and close knit group. The group has a long memory and the majority will certainly think twice before they consider supporting FlightPrep, either via use of their flight planning products or any product produced by Roger Stenbock.

  36. J. Moses says

    Bill’s exposition on Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson’s role in the evolution of computer-based flight planning is very helpful. They seem to have contributed quite a lot to the field over a sustained period of time and may, in fact, have invented some of the key technology. This background offers and new perspective and balance to the current debate. Maybe Stenbock and Everson aren’t as evil as some allege.

  37. Tom says

    First let me say I’ve been a satisfied Flightprep user for many years and I actually managed to get a patent myself, so I know a little about this from first hand experience. When I read the posting (below) made it sense until I checked it out.

    “Remember the phrase “Patent Pending”. That would have prevented a lot of this problem. Flightprep could have made it known years ago that a patent was in the works, but they didn’t.”

    I did a little digging, and I believe that Flightprep actually made it (the patent) known years ago. Check the back issues of Plane & Pilot, AOPA, Aviation Consumer, and any of the FlightPrep brochures, going back to late 2001 you’ll notice the phrase “Patent Pending” on product descriptions, and screen shots. If you could go back to the actual web site at the time, I bet you’d find “Patent Pending” also. Also, the PTO publishes patent application filings, years prior to issuing any patent. So I believe FlightPrep gave notice. It’s up to any potential infringer to check this out before developing and marketing their products.

    As for being obvious, when looking back at most patents, even the GPS seems obvious. This invention must have been unique enough in 2001 since no one else had a full feature graphic flight planner running on a web page at the time. If it was so obvious why didn’t others invent it first?

    A lot of folks have carped about prior art. So far I’ve not seen any actual prior cited that covers this invention. I’m sure the inventors and examiner did an exhausting search over the 8 years it took to get this patent and would most likely have discovered it. But you never know until all the lawyers are done.

    Also, while a complex concept, assuming a patent is finally awarded, it’s my understanding that patent protection begins from the filing date of the original application (2001) and lasts for 20 years. Patent enforcement can start the day of the patent issue (2009). See Public Law 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501 (1999). I’m not a patent attorney, so I could be wrong on this.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  38. Bill Seith says

    Frank, thanks for jumping on. After reading some of the visceral comments posted here and eslewhere on this subject, I was beginning to think I was the only one in the pilot community capable of rational thought. Kinda scary when you realize we have to share the sky with some of them. I truly am disappointed in those who seem unwilling or unable to listen to reason and get the point, especially given the audience. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

  39. Tom says

    “Patent pending” has been on all references to the flight planner and on the actual flight planner web page, on all AOPA ads, and all literature since 2001 – for the entire time since the patent was filed – more than eight years. I checked my AOPA back issues – So there was proper notice.

    Assuming the patent is issued, patent protection starts on the first day of filing and enforcement can begin on the day of patent issue. See Public Law 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501 (1999). Its complicated – check with a real patent attorney – I’m not one.

  40. Bart says

    Remember the phrase “Patent Pending”. That would have prevented a lot of this problem. Flightprep could have made it known years ago that a patent was in the works, but they didn’t. Now they want to enforce it. Legally, maybe they can, but only the lawyers will make money. Once it’s over Flightprep will be gone and alternative means of accomplishing the same end will invalidate the patent. It’s happened many times.

  41. says

    I was impressed with ALL that Stenbock and Everson have accomplished in their software development careers, I did not know that! I do not find it overwhelmingly greedy for these men to enforce their patient; BUT in a nutshell, what BILL said so eloquently comes down to common sense.

    I have owned my own safety training business since I was 23 years old, I’m 44 now. So for the good of mankind, I am to give away my works to the likes of anyone just to make everyone safer? How about thinking like this; What was the businessman thinking who took a patented idea for his own gains expecting to have happen? Dah…and I can only imagine that Dyson, ya know him right? the sweeper guy is he a greedy bad boy too? When Hoover and many other companies marketed his technology after he showed it to them in hopes they’d use it, OH they did alright but without paying him for the idea, he stepped in under the protection of a U.S. patient and raked in the doe as he had preserved his right to do so BEFORE he showed anyone his invetion. Marketing is not inventing. It takes money and time to invent and by the time you get to the market you are enervated and have no cash to do it properly. Other entrepreneurial types take the invention to market and that is called business. The FREE MARKET does not mean FREE and people do not have the right to take ideas from anybody without compensating them. Also, just think if these guys did have more money and the ability to focus their efforts on even more great innovations; think of the lives that have been saved and could be saved by having these good men well compensated for their intellectual property. Oh it is a gifted few who could have done what they have, but gifted does not mean “A GIFT”. Ones sense of fair and greed most certainly seems to be determined by which end of the argument you place yourself on. You are not giving any leeway for an empathetical evaluation. In this case, it is not how you feel that bothers me, it is your disrespect for how this country was built and the laws that govern it. Its peoples sense of entitlement for other peoples works that gets me. If you did not see value in this product you would not be upset. LOOK and you will see that your statements say more about your own perspective than you may realize. You don’t want this legal action to limit your access to this invention. Take a deep breath, engage your entrepreneurial spirit and get into the business yourself. Walk a day in the shoes of these good men and you my friend will see the light. See the difference between Empathy and Sympathy and you will better understand who is the victim and the perpetrator here. Stop seeing yourself as the victim and thank these men and support these men for their hard work and passion for making people safer and more informed. What is the price for life? These men are asking for peanuts in comparison.

    2+2=4; 2-teach is 2-touch a life 4-ever

    I’m not a hater, the truth can be the light or your own version of HELL, its really up to you to decide. I cannot control your free will and only you can. I win every argument I have because my father taught me the only way to win every argument is to clearly understand where the other side is coming from. It is clear to me that you would have to admit to yourself that you are worried about losing access to such a great service, credit the inventor for that. UuaAUgh!

    GOD I love General Aviation News!!!

    good stuff ;-) Is there no one else?

  42. Ron Steele says

    What a pile. I don’t claim to understand the patent claims, but they are both obvious and non-innovative in my book. I will say that this glorification of the purported inventors is completely unfounded.
    I was doing moving map displays in 1984, based on externally input location data. And I know for a fact that a lot of other people were doing the same things. The fact that the data didn’t come from a GPS and the computer wasn’t a PC is irrelevant to anyone with the slightest knowledge of computer systems – they are OBVIOUS extensions to well understood and widely used technology.

    Compare these guys to the invention of the GPS chip. The differences are so huge as to be laughable, yet they claim the same protection under IP laws. The system is broken.

    Ron
    Ron

  43. Bob Daszy says

    Well, I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that Stenbock gets nothing for the eight years prior to the patent approval. From that date forward, possibly. He was not the only person qualified to invent new technology and why should other inventors now have to pay homage and bucks to him for their efforts and contributions to aviation during that period ( did GM have to pay Ford for their automobile inventions-steering, braking systems etc). Then too, what did he do while waiting? Was public notice of the patent broadcast? Were other businesses, inventors or experimenters advised as to his plans when the patent was approved? One further item and I’ll shut up–It seems and I would like to understand, Why is he only going for the little guys. Could it be that he knows they could not sustain a prolonged court case while AOPA, for example, could and would. I’m not anti- Flightprep just pro-fair dealing!
    Bob Daszy

  44. Anonymous says

    Mr. Seith’s comments have nothing to do with the patent or the matter at issue today. Just because somebody did something good in the past doesn’t mean that their actions today are not evil or even make good business sense. Mr. Seith obviously isn’t aware of the tactics Flight Prep has used to exert leverage over their targets.

    Humans are especially adept at identifying bullies. In this matter, Flight Prep is being a bully. They are attempting to use the broken patent system plus the known costs of litigating patent defense to extort license fees from companies. There are no two ways about it: Flight Prep’s actions today are smarmy at best.

    Although they invested in technology in the past and they innovated in the past, they have made bad business decisions recently and their company suffers as a result. They may “deserve to profit from their legitimate innovations in the field”, but what they have in the patent is not an innovation – it’s not even a desirable or relevant method today.

    They are simply using a contingency fee attorney to extract license fees by taking advantage of a weak system. They are going after the weak hands (financially) first, claiming they are fighting other businesses, which are simply shell LLCs. That is being evil, and most human will and already have recognized their actions for what they are.

    They haven’t patented flight planning – the patented the notion of a server drawing a line on an image on a server. That’s not flight planning.

    The law may give you the right to take an action. That does not mean, however, the action you take is right or moral or beneficial for the community.

    I hope the followers at Flight Prep see their leaders for what they are and decide that there are better places and ways to create a legacy for themselves and their families.

  45. Jim Mullins says

    What a bunch of BS. You should represent me – I have a nice bridge I’m selling. Great location too. My grandfather was the first one to ever build a bridge. You can collect a lot of money from everyone that has “stolen” his concept. And I have written a lot of scripts that do a lot of things – we could both get rich real fast. But then again, you may be too busy sucking up to Stenbock & Everson…

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