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AOPA/Jeppesen rebuff patent trolling provocation from Flightprep

FlightPrep has notified entities that provide online flight planning, including AOPA and Jeppesen, that it would like to meet to discuss the FlightPrep patent. The FlightPrep patent is apparently on very specific methods of online flight planning, which Jeppesen has determined are not used in its flight planning products, including the one developed in partnership with AOPA. Therefore, AOPA and Jeppesen have declined to meet with FlightPrep. ( More...

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Chip Hermes 0
Related (the full/back story): []
Stick it to them AOPA!! I really hope this gets ugly and gets the GA community behind the movement against FlightPrep. Long live ForeFlight though! ;)
dstreufe 0
I would encourage all AOPA members to contact AOPA at 1-800-872-2672. Ask for the “pilot information center” then request to be transferred to “Toni”. She is apparently the one collecting comments on this issue. Let her know what you think AOPA should be doing about this. Keep in mind that FlightPrep is an AOPA advertiser.

Just as I’m sure AOPA would reject an advertising request for an ambulance chasing law firm who sues pilots after an aviation incidents, I would argue that AOPA should also reject FlightPrep as an advertiser based on the harm (in my opinion) that the enforcement of this dubious patent is inflicting on the aviation community as a whole. Remember, your dues support AOPA. We need someone to take action.
Talk about going hunting for the first time and immediately poking two very large sleeping bears...
Ric Wernicke 0
My favorite patent is the perforated pizza box. It makes it easy to rip the box into serving plates.
Chip Hermes 0
Great idea, Zach. I will call AOPA this morning?

What about EAA and NBAA?
Guy Pigg 0
Quite interesting. My question, and I only am just curious, who came first? Flightprep or AOPA? I would think that this would have been settled way before now by Flightprep. As seen on a few comment before, think Flightprep wants money. Sorry but I use a varity of programs mainly because I am still a low timer getting a little practice in. So I am not too partial. But this mess bites big time and Flightprep needs to get over it.
tedtimmons 0
As is too often the case, the only winners will be the attorneys.
Depending, Ted.

As I mentioned in the other article, this may be a great case for the Electronic Frontier Foundation to take on. The EFF was created and is extremely useful for situations like this, patent trolls, and other cases involving Fair Use or Prior Art. I still say that someone from RunwayFinder should contact them.
Daniel Baker 0
[ FlightAware Statement on FlightPrep Patent]
Austin Byrd 0
Patents are an important ingredient to our commercial success in the world's economy. I believe that if a person has a unique idea, files for and receives a patent, then they should attempt to stop others from stealing their idea for commercial advantage. Getting patents is expensive, and patent litigation is even more expensive, but that is the system we have, and it promotes innovation. The alternative, where anyone can take and use anyone's ideas, is unacceptable. So let FlightPrep go through the process. If a responsible company believes its position is solid, it will call the bluff, or alternatively it will settle (and pay a license), or will fold. That's the reality, and that is as good a system as there is. If you work hard to innovate and have been through this process, you will understand that all of that is just part of doing business. Thank goodness we have reasonable access to a fair and impartial court system that upholds laws that protect our property rights. I wouldn't want to live under any other system. Time will tell whether FlightPrep is right, or wrong, but I don't blame them for asserting any commercial advantage achieved through the patent process.
wb2cjs 0
byrdflyr: Your comments would apply IF patents were indeed issued only to those providing innovation. Far too often, the patent office grants patents without performing even the most basic search for prior art or "obviousness". This leads to costly litigation to defend against patents that should never have been granted, and frequently those companies producing real products with limited resources must "cave" against patent troll firms that do not actually produce anything but lawsuits.

I'm not saying that is the case, necessarily, in the matter of FlightPrep. They actually do have a product.

Another trend I've seen is trolls going after the USERS or CUSTOMERS of a product, rather than just the manufacturers, especially when those customers have big pockets. This should be illegal.
Gary Paquette 0
I am confused...
ON the FlightPrep website I quote:
"The FlightPrep Mission
FlightPrep is 100% funded by users. Thus, without subscriber revenue, delivering FlightPrep free indefinitely will not be possible."

Wityh the lawsuit this is no longer true - they are now using funds from the lawsuit. Now we all know that trrying to get $$ from free or very low cost website service means they (after all the legal bills) will have ZERO dollars in fact they will loose money with this apporach. I am in the high tech business and SCO tried the same stunt! Now they are completely out of business!
Chris Brault 0
The Flight Prep reviews on iPad app store are extremely poor(average 2 stars/5). This makes me wonder if they ever intend to produce a worthwhile product, or just maintain a product in the market so they are not technically a patent troll.

I agree that developers of technology have the right to protect their intellectual property. I also agree that the new flight planning software that abounds in the marketplace is a tremendous benefit to aviation and aviation safety. So I sincerely hope that some prior art is discovered to shut this action down.


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