Whitaker on Patent Marketing

by Dennis Crouch

Following up on the patent experience of US Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.  Although not a patent attorney, Whitaker has been a board member of the now defunct invention promotion scam World Patent Marketing.  In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit against the company, won a preliminary injunction against its ongoing business, and then a consent decree for $27 million in judgments and injunction against ongoing business.  (Apparently at least $24 million is gone and not being repaid.)

Gene Quinn has written extensively about invention marketing scams discussed the preliminary injunction on his IPWatchdog site.  Quinn explains:

“The record supports a preliminary finding that Defendants devised a fraudulent scheme to use consumer funds to enrich themselves,” concluded United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles. “Accordingly, the Court finds a preliminary injunction is necessary to maintain the status quo pending a trial on the merits.”

Perhaps most egregious, however, were the threats and intimidation World Patent Marketing directed toward complaining customers.

As a former Federal Prosecutor, Whitaker’s place on the Board lent the company a high level of credibility. For lending his name, Whitaker was paid only about $600 per month.  At the time, Whitaker was also managing director of his own small Iowa law firm and penned at least one letter toward a complaining customer:

Whitaker was not prosecuted by the FTC and was not named in either the preliminary injunction or the consent decree.  Unlike other board members, Whitaker has not returned the cash he received in the scheme and has made no public statement regarding his role or the scam.  My hope is that the AG will have learned from this experience, however his ongoing silence on the issue is troubling.

22 thoughts on “Whitaker on Patent Marketing

  1. 8

    Thank you for bringing this to light. As said more strongly by Gene Quin – what he did broke the rules of legal ethics and as such he should not be an attorney much less AG. My representatives and senators have been contacted. I say this as generally a libertarian and non-liberal. Some things rise above party.

    As for what I would like him to say – I would like him to explain how telling an individual that saying you will file a complaint with the BBB unless you receive a refund is legal extortion – when it is most certainly not – does not violate legal ethics?

  2. 7

    Thanks for pointing that out!
    Innocent until proven guilty – yes, but that does not mean that we should have people with such clouds over their integrity in positions of power, especially without any attempt to clear the cloud.

  3. 6

    At $600 a month, how much cash could there be for him to return? And since he was acting as legal counsel for this entity, what sort of public statement would you like him to make? He really couldn’t say much more than, “Yes, I represented them and I wrote that email.” Agree it was apparently a scam, but are you alleging that he knew that?

    1. 6.1

      I don’t believe he was acting as a legal counsel but rather as a Member of the Board for the company that, it turned out, was a major fraud (as of 2017). Now he is the chief legal officer for the nation.

      1. 6.1.1

        Advisory Board, not Board of Directors. And the board apparently included a number of other notables. But this letter was obviously sent as legal counsel. Again, if his silence is troubling, what would you like him to say?

    2. 6.2

      Agree it was apparently a scam, but are you alleging that he knew that?

      He knew it because he’s a scam artist and a s-ck-up for authoritarian @ h0les and he has no other skills.

  4. 5

    Sharks gotta swim.

    Bats gotta fly.

    Grifters gotta grift.

    1. 5.1

      “Movement” conservatism (and all of its affiliated house organs such as FOX News, NRA, WSJ, etc) is only 10% an ideological phenomenon and 90% a cold calculation by a certain class of ethically indifferent lawyers and pitchmen. They have hit upon the regrettable realization the class of folks prepared to believe that (e.g.) global warming is a hoax and that Hillary Clinton’s email server was an important national security breach are the easiest marks that God ever made.

      And—Heaven help us!—these folks shell out for the con again and again, and beg for more each time. I continue to pray for our nation because I have no idea what else will save us from our self-imposed deterioration.

      1. 5.1.1

        Greg good to know you are located here on this planet.

        Reality has a liberal bias ;-)

        1. 5.1.1.1

          … something only a liberal would (incorrectly) put forth…

      2. 5.1.2

        “Movement” IP law suffers the same. It is multi-billion dollar industry built entirely upon scamming inventors. The invention promoters are the low man on the totem pole. After them are the patent prosecution lawyers, the USPTO/OID/SAWS/PTAB, the DOJ/SG, post-grant lawyers, the litigators, then the courts. Fussing about an invention promoter running DOJ is like fussing about Obama’s birth certificate.

        1. 5.1.2.1

          Fussing about an invention promoter running DOJ is like fussing about Obama’s birth certificate.

          I cannot see the connection. It is not just “invention promoter” that is at point, but the affirmative actions involved with that entity that are at point. Such — as affirmative actions — is simply different in kind than any of that “birth certificate” C R P.

  5. 4

    The ongoing silence is NOT the only troubling thing.

    There need be consequences of his Board participation.

  6. 3

    I’m feeling revolted, disgusted.

    But apart from that, full of admiration for all those lawyers (officers of the court), expecially those who are parents of young children, who willingly choose to put their heads above the parapet, in defence of that precious thing, the Rule Of Law.

  7. 2

    Hey this blog is just another hater trying to keep from MAGA.

    Conservatism can never fail. It can only be failed.

    1. 2.1

      +1

    2. 2.2

      -1

      Feeding a “one big bucket” approach is decidedly unhelpful for situations where concerns actually do cross into patent land.

      The snide shot itself fails.

      1. 2.2.1

        Anon – I’m behind on this – what is a “one big bucket” approach?

        1. 2.2.1.1

          Malcolm’s (mainly) tendency to label anything not to his beliefs as belonging to some (same) “bad” bucket.

          Here, the insinuation is that this bad actor should not be scrutinized because of his political affiliation, and all of those against that affiliation are thus justified in their (typically) anti-patent rhetoric.

          Bottom line is that pro-patent people are NOT in the same bucket as the anti-patent people would have it. Quite in fact, and being perhaps one of the most pro-patent people here, my votes this week went across the board to a number of different political parties, and to whom I thought was the best person for the job. Again (and to no real surprise), it is the “one-bucketing” folk that seem to demand a one-party-no-matter-what type of LACK of critical thinking – as witness the series of comments of Malcolm on a newer thread.

          Marty tends to follow Malcolm like a Lemming — not always true, mind you, but this comment certainly reflects that type of following.

          1. 2.2.1.1.1

            “Here, the insinuation is that this bad actor should not be scrutinized because of his political affiliation”

            What? How?

  8. 1

    Perfect. The USPTO and the DoJ have been running the bait and switch scam all along. Sell inventors a property right to exclude others, knowing full well ot is no such thing. Not a property right. Not the right to exclude.

    I don’t have a problem with the USPTO selling revocable monopoly rights for a fee, but that is not what they are advertising to inventors.

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