Language Transfer is being sued?!

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embici
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Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby embici » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:32 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=werHDuTOz2Y&t=2s

According to the video, Mihalis is being sued by the publisher of the Michel Thomas Method.

If you're in the US and have been meaning to download the audio, you might want to do so soon.
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Xenops » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:57 pm

I can see how MT is seeing Language Transfer as a threat, but patenting "the question answer format"? What?!
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Xmmm » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:34 pm

Xenops wrote:I can see how MT is seeing Language Transfer as a threat, but patenting "the question answer format"? What?!


It's disingenuous to suggest that the MT format is not something unique to MT. When Language Transfer first came out, there was discussion here about "it's an obvious clone of MT, hopefully it's tweaked enough to avoid lawsuits." Guess not!

I have mixed feelings. I totally support the right of the original author to sue, and if MT were here, I'd hope that he'd sue Mihalis for every penny he has ... probably not many.

But ... MT is long gone and it's a corporate thing now. Copyright is supposed to expire at some point after the death of the author, but they keep getting the law changed and extending, which is why the US has no books in the public domain after the appearance of Mickey Mouse.
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Henkkles » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:46 pm

Isn't that a "cease and desist" letter that they send out before they sue, if they will?
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Cainntear » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:08 pm

Not a surprise... particularly given that he uses the MT name on his site and produces courses primarily in languages that directly compete with MT. And then to compound it all, he responds to the lawyer's letter by saying that his course is better than MT. Not clever.

The main thing with the patent is the use of the pause button, and however daft that sounds, well, no course did it before them, so they can argue that it's "non-obvious". My understanding is that in the US, it's no defense to say that the patent's valueless and the patent will be applied regardless -- if you want to get the patent struck down, you have to start your own action to have the patent declared invalid, and that's a costly process.

The good news would be that the patent is only a US patent -- I don't imagine any other country would have granted it if they'd applied -- so all he really needs to do is make sure he's hosting everything on European servers and the problem basically goes away...
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Cainntear » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:37 pm

(Also, encouraging his followers to phone up the lawyer who wrote the letter isn't going to get him any good will...)
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby cas_sj » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:02 pm

Interesting. I would think Paul Noble and his publisher would be the more logical targets, although they might not roll over like this guy might. Expensive to lawyer up and fight, particularly when this product is non-profit.

Of course if she were still alive, Margaret Madrigal might have had a beef with both MT and PN on their content, although I think she got hit with claims of plagiarism as well on her Russian publication. The approach or "system" (i.e question/answer) doesn't seem unique and I question whether it can be protected by copyright.
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby galaxyrocker » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:16 pm

cas_sj wrote:The approach or "system" (i.e question/answer) doesn't seem unique and I question whether it can be protected by copyright.


It's protected by patent, not copyright. So the patent offi e deemed it unique enough, at least
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby Cavesa » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:39 pm

Well, question/answer has been a teaching method since the times of Ancient Greek . And absolutely any course audio is pausable and even meant to be paused often. Both by autodidacts and in classes.

This is completely illogical. However, these things do not follow standard logic, let's hope this ends well. It is scary, true. But it is well possible the company thinks a scary letter will get them rid of competition for free, hard to tell how far they will go. Using words like "amicable" is just the little cherry on the top.

Actually, Michel Thomas might damage their name with this and do more for the LT publicity than any marketing goods packages ever could. Mihalis has been devoting his life to this for years. He has the arguments about the differences between the methods, let's hope he gets a fair chance to present them before the judge. He won't give up.
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Re: Language Transfer is being sued?!

Postby lavengro » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:28 pm

link to the actual patent for anyone who may be interested: https://patents.google.com/patent/US6565358

While I count myself a fan of the original Michel Thomas materials, I had assumed that the patent might extend to include reference to the occasional utilization of grumpiness.
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