June 10, 2013. What’s happening @AIBD_National?

Patent Troll shenanigans cost U.S. companies $29B annually

…Beware of patent trolls!

WASHINGTON, DC – If you have been contacted by a company to pay a license for the right to scan your working drawings to e-mail, you’re not alone. The National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) and the National Association of Home Builders (“NAHB”) are reporting to AIBD that some of their members have been receiving letters from companies called AllLed, AdzPro, GanPan, and HeaPle, among others, claiming to have the exclusive right to send documents via e-mail from a multifunction copier machine, and demanding that you pay a licensing fee of $900 to $1,200 per employee before you can send a document.

Behind these demands is a company called MPHJ Technology Investments Inc., which actually owns several patents on the process of scanning or copying a document and sending it via e-mail from the same machine. This patent troll (a name given to non-practicing entities who don’t produce anything and merely assert their rights to exclude others from using their patents) has been targeting small and mid-sized businesses in a variety of industries in its effort to generate license fees by sending standard demand letters through its shell companies. It has been theorized that their MO is designed to intimidate smaller companies due to the threat of litigation potentially costing much more than the licensing fee.

There is no evidence that MPHJ knows of any infringement before sending these letters. If you receive a letter, you should discuss your options with your legal counsel. Among the options to consider is:

  • Ignore the letter. As of June 4th, we’re not aware of any case that has actually been filed against an alleged infringer.
  • Respond with a request for specifics. Ask why your equipment or software infringes the patents.
  • Deny in writing that there is any infringement.
  • Pay the license fee.
  • Challenge the patent’s validity. After all, the patented process of scanning a document and sending it via e-mail from the same machine is a common, widely accepted practice.

Learn more in a 6-minute audio podcast  presented by NAR Legal Affairs.

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NCBDC Marketing Color small…The July NCBDC exam deadline.

WASHINGTON, DC – The NCBDC Evaluation Committee is accepting registrations until midnight this Thursday, June 13, for the July 13 & 14 NCBDC full CPBD exam event in Pasadena, California. Download the Certified Professional Building Designer Candidate Handbook at www.NCBDC.com (click on Become Certified). Both the General Application Form, for those who have not yet been approved to sit for the CPBD exams, and the Exam Registration Form are found at the end of the Candidate Handbook. If you have any questions, contact AIBD General Manager Whit Peterson by calling 1-800-366-2423 x1104.

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Some other important deadlines…

We’re accepting entries for the American Residential Design Awards until June 21. ARDA includes categories for members and non-members. Check out www.ResidentialDesignAwards.com

Also, register now for the International Conference on Residential Design (ICORD). July 17 & 18. Visit www.AIBDConvention.com/ICORD

…AIBD officials investigate new certificate program and AIA’s CRAN.

ORLANDO, FL – Internal Vice President David Pillsbury (Certified Member, Orlando, FL) has arranged for he and Executive Director Steve Mickley to meet with CRAN Orlando and, at a second meeting, officials at Seminole State College. This Wednesday, beginning with the CRAN luncheon, David and Steve intend to learn more about the AIA’s Custom Residential Architect’s Network while also introducing them to AIBD. “We are always interested in growing our network of organizations of similar interests. I’m sure there can be opportunities for AIBD and CRAN too.” says Mickley.

Later in the day, the two AIBD officials are scheduled to meet with faculty members at Seminole State College to begin designing a work ready certificate program for four-year students interested in pursuing a career in residential and light commercial building design. While the CPBD designation accredited an individual’s knowledge and skills after having gained a certain level of career experience, “I currently don’t know of anything in our industry that helps display readiness to transform from postsecondary programs to employment.” Pillsbury observes. “Possibly there is a need for this nationally and AIBD can fill that need.” he adds.

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…CA Assembly passes AB630 to amend code for architects.

SACRAMENTO, CA – Existing California law defines what constitutes an architect’s professional services. In May, the Assembly passed a bill that would add Section 5536.4 to the Business and Professional Code which states that no person may use an architect’s instruments of service without written consent, contract, or agreement specifically authorizing that use. The bill is now in the Senate’s Standing Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. A hearing was set for last week but was canceled by the request of the author.

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…More events ahead.

  • June 11 – Tapco 6-hour CE series, breakfast and lunch provided, Warwick, RI
  • June 12 – Tapco 6-hour CE series, breakfast and lunch provided, Woburn, MA
  • June 21 – American Residential Design Awards registration and entry deadline.
  • June 21 & 22 – AIBD Florida Quarterly Meeting, West Palm Beach, FL
  • July 13 & 14 – NCBDC Exam in Pasadena, CA (Registration Deadline June 13)
  • July 15-18 – AIBD National Convention, Langham Hotel, Pasadena, CA
  • July 27 – AIBD Oklahoma, Building Codes Updates, Oklahoma City, OK
  • August 17 & 18 – NCBDC Exam in Washington, DC (Registration Deadline July 17)
  • August 24 – AIBD North Carolina Quarterly Meeting, Rock Hill, NC
  • September 5 – AIBD Northeast Quarterly Meeting, Devens, MA
  • October 25 & 26 – AIBD Florida Quarterly Meeting, Orlando, FL
  • November 16 – AIBD North Carolina Quarterly Meeting and Design Competition Awards, Lexington, NC
  • December 5 – AIBD Northeast Quarterly Meeting
  • December 6 – AIBD Florida Organizational Meeting, Apopka, FL
  • (2014) February 6 & 7 – AIBD National Mid-year Meeting, Las Vegas, NV

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