06 November 2009

Skill in Debate

I am somebody who admires people who can debate effectively. I wish my high school had had a debate club -- I think that this could have been a fun activity. I mean, sure, in the Real World compromise is frequently a better alternative to never-ending debate, but sometimes you have to stick to your principles and defend your position.

A good debate, done well, can be a very enjoyable thing....even if one is merely observing from the sidelines. It is enjoyable to see somebody who has all of the facts at their command, can come up with logical arguments, and can communicate effectively as well.

So, anyways, the other day, as I was searching for something else, I came across Kurt Denke's response to Monster Cable's cease and desist letter. Oh, wow, this is awesome! Now here is a gentleman who knows how to debate.

I think that my two favorite quotes from the letter are these:

Further, on that point: one of the design patents you attached is closely related to a utility patent applicable to the same design, and you failed to point that fact out. I need to be able to rely upon the completeness and accuracy of the information you send to me and I find this sort of omission deeply disturbing because it is clear that the effect of this nondisclosure is to obscure the real significance of the patent features. Similarly, as I note further below, you omit reference to another patent Monster has held which appears, frankly, to be fatal to your position. If you expect to persuade me, you had better start making full, open and honest disclosures; I will find out the facts sooner or later in any event, but the impact upon your credibility will not be repaired. It looks like when you sent this letter, you were operating on the premise that I am not smart enough to see through your deceptions or sophisticated enough to intelligently evaluate your claims; shame on you. You are required, as a matter of legal ethics, to display good faith and professional candor in your dealings with adverse parties, and you have fallen miserably short of your ethical responsibilities.


After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985, I spent nineteen years in litigation practice, with a focus upon federal litigation involving large damages and complex issues. My first seven years were spent primarily on the defense side, where I developed an intense frustration with insurance carriers who would settle meritless claims for nuisance value when the better long-term view would have been to fight against vexatious litigation as a matter of principle. In plaintiffs' practice, likewise, I was always a strong advocate of standing upon principle and taking cases all the way to judgment, even when substantial offers of settlement were on the table. I am "uncompromising" in the most literal sense of the word. If Monster Cable proceeds with litigation against me I will pursue the same merits-driven approach; I do not compromise with bullies and I would rather spend fifty thousand dollars on defense than give you a dollar of unmerited settlement funds. As for signing a licensing agreement for intellectual property which I have not infringed: that will not happen, under any circumstances, whether it makes economic sense or not.

It is very clear to me that Mr. Denke would be a very formidable person to engage in a debate. If you wanted to summarize Mr. Denke's letter to Monster Cable it could be summarized thusly:

  1. You just messed with the wrong guy
  2. If you ever lob a hand-grenade into my camp again, I will respond by dropping an atomic bomb on top of your shack.

Mr. Denke's letter is an excellent display of skill, and I enjoyed it very much.

1 comment:

Brian St. Pierre said...

Don't forget this gem:

"Not only am I unintimidated by litigation; I sometimes rather miss it."