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Last post
Dave
Statement regarding our friend RunwayFinder.com
Along with many others, we are deeply saddened to watch the ugliness unfold. We continue to hold out hope that an agreement can be swiftly reached that allows Runwayfinder.com to continue to operate. As far as we know, SkyVector was the first licensee of the FlightPrep patent. As is typical with such licenses, we cannot disclose the terms or reveal the details of the negotiations. For this reason we have kept silent. We even took the extraordinary step of locking a forum thread that had begun to accumulate some of the outrage. This was done because SkyVector is forbidden to talk about the patent or the terms of the license. We honestly don't know what our liability would be for a comment posted on our forums and if that could cause us to be in breach of our license agreement. Some have taken to assigning to SkyVector some of the blame for what is happening to RunwayFinder. They argue that by purchasing a license we have contributed to the problem. If this is even partly true then we are deeply sorry. We purchased the license only out of a desire to continue to operate. Dave Parsons and I did speak by telephone before SkyVector bought the license. I told him that we had entered into a NDA and that I was expecting to successfully negotiate a license agreement. He didn't tell me what to do and I didn't tell him what to do. I am deeply saddened at what has happened so far and maintain hope that it can be fairly resolved. -Dave
anonymous
Skyvector should be ashamed.
Skyvector should be ashamed.
Dave
Sad? Yes.
Ashamed? No. If we had acted differently we would be facing the same situation as RunwayFinder.
anonymous
FlightPrep
You're going to take a lot of heat over this decision because you were the first to cave in to these bullies. You're like a scab during a union strike. The aviation community is a small tight-knit group and they have a long memory. People will remember that you didn't stand up for what was right. And btw, if you had taken the time to read and understand the patent in question, you would realize it didn't apply to your site. Craig Morton
Dave
I understand.
I understand the sentiment, and I don't blame you for feeling that way. But your anger is totally misplaced. You may think that things would be better if we hadn't negotiated a licence. The reality is that they wouldn't. When a judge and jury examine RunwayFinder to decide if they infringe, SkyVector's license will not factor into it one bit. We may be being used like a pawn in the public relations battle, but that battle will have zero affect in a court of law. Judges in black robes don't care if there are a million people outside protesting. They follow the law. If you don't like the law, write your congressman. Blaming SkyVector for any of this mess completely wrong. We did study the patent very carefully with some excellent patent attorneys. SkyVector is not like Jeppesen or AOPA. Our technology is different, and our bank accounts are different. Fighting a lawsuit would have meant the end of SkyVector. I hope that you can see things from our point of view. If you want someone to blame for RunwayFinder, look somewhere else.
anonymous
I use to be an avid skyvector
I use to be an avid skyvector user. I am now, along with many, choosing not to use any services affiliated with flightprep. Its a sad day when pilots/pilot services have to act like children.
Dave
You are aware?
You are aware that I am not affiliated with FlightPrep, aren't you?
anonymous
Skyvector not at fault here
Folks, Let's be reasonable here. Skyvector is no more at fault than the poor kid who gives up their lunch money in the school yard to keep from getting beat up. A common factor found in this industry is that we all have a passion for aviation and for pilots. When a bully shows up among us we need to protect the kids that can't stand up for themselves. Flightprep seems to think that they are brilliant computer scientists and that they made discoveries that were beyond the state of art. They have only discovered the substantial extents of their own egos and greed. It is truly a sad day when someone in our community believes they cannot compete on a level playing field and resorts to claiming commonly used and obvious computer science techniques as their own, damaging our industry as a whole. The economy has been tough enough the last couple of years. Resorting to steeling from other companies in our small industry is essentially acting as a parasite. Very concerned...
anonymous
One question: FlightPrep's
One question: FlightPrep's patent deals specifically with generating flight plans over the internet. This is a very small (and almost insignificant) part of the SkyVector's functionality. Wouldn't it be easier to disable flight planning features and tell FlightPrep to go to hell?
Dave
Yes it would be.
We did consider many changes we could make to SkyVector which would give it greater distance from the claimed invention. We also have new features in development that we would have had to reconsider. SkyVector doesn't do as much as some other flight planning sites, but what it does do that sets it apart is easy point-and-click flight planning and fun rubber-band dragging of course lines. Building a flight plan by interacting with a chart is more natural and intuitive then typing a list of waypoints into a text entry field. We believe that natural and intuitive also means safe. That kind of user experience is at the heart of the patent claims. In the end our decision to enter into a license agreement was more about the future of SkyVector than its past. It was a question of being frozen with a reduced feature set or to have the freedom to innovate. With the license we can continue to grow SkyVector into a more full-featured site. A final factor, which has largely been ignored in this debate and is very relevant, is the license itself. As has been revealed by FlightPrep in various public statements, they are open to very affordable royalties from small sites like SkyVector and RunwayFinder. Do I agree with their lawsuit? Absolutely not. Do I find their license price and terms acceptable? Yes I do.
anonymous
I get it
Dave, I'm very upset at FlightPrep, but I understand your decision. I won't be doing business w/FlightPrep, but I will continue to use SkyVector. Good luck.
anonymous
Yes, you should be ashamed
Sorry, SkyVector. You caved to the bullies. It's as simple as that. It makes it all that much harder for someone like RunwayFinder to stand up to them. And you can slice it any way you like, it makes the bully puff up their chest even larger when they've been successful with you. They check you off their hit list and go after the next guy. This is how Hitler conquered much of Europe. You have lost my respect and I'm sure the respect of many others in the aviation community. When things like this come up, we all need to stand together against injustice, or we perish one at a time.
Dave
And there it is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law
Topic locked