Message Board Thread - "Bogus Lawsuit?"

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Bogus Lawsuit? Tweb69 12/12/2008
We are an engineering firm in Eastern , NC. We provide Thermal Imaging to our customers and potential clients as an added service. We recently received a letter from a company called "HOMESAFE Inspection" from Mississippi, telling us that they held the patent for "certain U.S. Patents related to the use of infrared technology in the inspection of homes", and that we were engaged in using infrared technology without first obtaining a license from them to do so! They went on to say that they would be happy to license us their technology for as little as $79.00 a month AFTER we had been certified by their organization to use their "patented technology" (that according to their website..."can see through walls").I'm asking if any of you have ever received a letter like this and if anyone had any reasons why we shouldn't sue this individual for attempted extortion. Any advice/comments would be greatly appreciated. If ANY of this is found out to be bogus, We fully intend on legally pursuing these grifters.

Thank You,
Tommy Webster
Andrew Engineers, P.C.
Wilmington, NC
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? certir 12/12/2008
Could you post their web site? I sure would love to see what they have to say.

peter@certifiedinfrared.com

www certifiedinfrared.com
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? certir 12/12/2008
Could you post their web site? I sure would love to see what they have to say.

peter@certifiedinfrared.com

www.certifiedinfrared.com
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? JNTOOLS 12/12/2008
Tweb69 wrote:
an engineering firm in Eastern , NC. We provide Thermal Imaging to our customers and potential clients as an added service. We recently received a letter from a company called "HOMESAFE Inspection" from Mississippi, telling us that they held the patent for "certain U.S. Patents related to the use of infrared technology in the inspection of homes", and that we were engaged in using infrared technology without first obtaining a license from them to do so! They went on to say that they would be happy to license us their technology for as little as $79.00 a month AFTER we had been certified by their organization to use their "patented technology" (that according to their website..."can see through walls").I'm asking if any of you have ever received a letter like this and if anyone had any reasons why we shouldn't sue this individual for attempted extortion. Any advice/comments would be greatly appreciated. If ANY of this is found out to be bogus, We fully intend on legally pursuing these grifters.

Thank You,
Tommy Webster
Andrew Engineers, P.C.
Wilmington, NC
Well I am not really sure? I did visit there site and they do claim to have a patient on the process of using IR in home inspection. I am not a patient attorney so I am of little use on this subject, but I would think FLIR might want to look into this. If this guy does have a patient on concept it would make him an exclusive customer to FLIR for the use of there equipment doing any kind of residential work. His claim is very broad and covers just about anybody using a thermal camera for any type of residential inspection for compensation. If this were real I would think ITC and BSI would have some real issues to deal with, considering a lot of people would not buy or take classes if they could not use there camera for residential moisture and insulation inspections without licensing from this guy. I would think it will not be long till ITC or FLIR looks into this. But it could also be feasible?
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? JNTOOLS 12/12/2008
I forgot to laugh at the part were they claim to be able to see thru walls with there thermal cameras. A couple of observations, they (A) never served in the military. (B) Never talked to a police helicopter pilot (C) Never took ITC Level I training. (D) All of the above.
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? Tweb69 12/15/2008
Here is the website...
http://www.homesafeinspection.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=84&Itemid=28
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? Bob Berry 12/17/2008
My knowledge of patent law is limited, but as far as i know you canot simply patent something that is widely in use already. You need a unique step to make it patentable. This patent is probibly not worth the paper it is written on, particularly for those of us that are working in the industry before the patent was filed. If they have developed something unique, then they can patent the unique part, but the licensing would only apply to those that use this unique step. I dont see anything unique on their website, other than their claims, which are at best "suspect".
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? rhynum 12/22/2008
I'm Rick Hynum, director of communications for HomeSafe. I'm posting a response to Mr. Webster's comments on behalf of HomeSafe president Kevin Seddon. Here it is:

As president of HomeSafe, I would like to address a few of the comments made herein.

We take offense to being called “grifters,” which implies that HomeSafe is a fly-by-night, con-artist company. This is absolutely false, it is libelous, and I request an immediate retraction. I think a little background and information on HomeSafe may clear up any misunderstanding you and your readers have.

HomeSafe pioneered the usage of infrared technologies in residential building inspections and pest inspections. HomeSafe’s co-owner Peng Lee began developing these procedures as part of a research project at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Physical Acoustics in the 1990s. His research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lee and I went on to co-found HomeSafe and to further develop his IR inspection procedures for private sector use. HomeSafe filed its initial provisional patent application in 2001. Over the next seven years, the initial patent application was split into a total of nine applications, six of which were approved in 2008 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Due to the USDA’s funding of our initial research, the U.S. government has worldwide rights to our patented processes, and the University of Mississippi has an ownership stake in the patents. One can be certain that these two entities are not comfortable with being called “grifters” either.

To learn more about our patents, simply visit the USPTO’s Web site and perform a search at http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm. Our patent numbers and a summary of the patented processes are listed on the HomeSafe Web site under the “About Us” link in the section titled “Patent Information.” The URL for this section is http://www.homesafeinspection.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=287&Itemid=107.

Starting in 2003, HomeSafe began promoting the use of IR as a new tool in the home inspection business. We went on to license our technologies and processes to home inspectors and PCOs nationwide and developed the industry’s first comprehensive training program specifically for IR usage in residential building inspections and wood-destroying insect detection. At that time the industry mainstream still rejected the use of IR in home inspections. They said it was too expensive. They said it revealed too much and would be rejected by real estate agents. However, as time moved forward, IR has become widely accepted by the industry. Fortunately for us, this acceptance has coincided with the federal government’s approval of our patents on certain processes for using IR in home inspections. Unfortunately for us, the approval process took seven years and, in the case of the remaining patents, the approval process continues.

With these patents, HomeSafe was granted certain rights, including the right to prohibit others from using our patented processes. Instead, HomeSafe has chosen to allow everyone to use these procedures for a reasonable licensing fee.

Please be aware that HomeSafe does NOT require anyone to buy, lease/license or use any particular IR camera or other technology. We encourage inspectors to buy the highest-quality IR camera possible, and we feel that manufacturers such as FLIR offer excellent IR cameras for the job. Furthermore, we do NOT require anyone to be trained or certified by HomeSafe, although we do encourage training and certification under programs like those endorsed by FLIR.

What we do require is that home inspectors and pest companies that are utilizing IR in their business make sure that they are not utilizing our patented processes. We also encourage inspectors that are utilizing IR to consult with patent attorneys and review in detail the patent claims to make sure they are not infringing on the patents.

HomeSafe also DOES require that anyone who utilizes these patented processes license usage rights from Homesafe. HomeSafe spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the patents alone, not including the years of development time and effort. HomeSafe is required to enforce its patents and will do so whenever we feel that an infringement is taking place.

Anyone with questions about our patents, our processes and our technologies may contact me directly at 662.236.1232. If further clarification on our patents or legal position is required, they will be put in touch with the inventor or our legal counsel. Meanwhile, we look forward to working with industry professionals nationwide and assisting them in attaining high-quality IR home inspection training, certification and equipment.

Sincerely,

Kevin J. Seddon
President, HomeSafe Inspection, Inc.
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? TDLIR 12/22/2008
here is some info on one of the patents:

http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080295582
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? pp_314156 1/8/2009
Sorry if this is a double post ...

Even if the patent is valid, it can be overturned because it is obvious. On their web site they claim that they have patents on using combinations of obvious things, like adjusting results based on prevailing weather conditions, or adjusting the thermostat to create a temperature difference etc. How obvious can you get? You can find ideas like this in ASHRAE publications. Of course air infiltration depends on wind speed and direction. Would anyone try to image an interior wall if the indoor and outdoor temperatures were identical? And if they did and got a monotone image, wouldn't adjusting the heat up or down occur to them as an alternative to coming back another day?

They seem to be fascinated with termites.

The silliest thing is the idea that they can patent the idea of using multiple sources of data to validate results. Anyone can cut the heat and graph the rate of change, measure C02 or other gas concentrations, count dust particles, temperature, humidity etc. and analyze the results. The measurement of fundamental physical properties and used to verify basic thermodynamic ideas (like the conversation of energy, entropy and thermal resistance) has been done everywhere for decades.

Did I say they like termites?

The termite disrupter is silly. Insects don't care about low energy vibrations. I have a degree in Biology, and I've seen termites everywhere - including eating and cutting through Verizon FIOS optical cables in the junction boxes on telephone poles ... reminds me of those bogus cockroach repellers. I am convinced that no serious, repeatable verification has ever been done because it can't.

I haven't had the time yet to retrieve the actual patents yet and see if they are accurately represented on their web site, but will and write up an expose. If they exist and are gross mistakes in judgment by some US patent attorney, then they need to be challenged and ridiculed.

No one should acquiesce to this kind of gross misconduct nor should abuses of the patent system be tolerated.

 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? Gary Orlove 1/19/2009
The link below contains some advice from FLIR Systems for your use in determining whether a HomeSafe license is required to use your camera for building inspections.

http://flir.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/497
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? Flash 10/27/2009
Bob Berry wrote:
ledge of patent law is limited, but as far as i know you canot simply patent something that is widely in use already. You need a unique step to make it patentable. This patent is probibly not worth the paper it is written on, particularly for those of us that are working in the industry before the patent was filed. If they have developed something unique, then they can patent the unique part, but the licensing would only apply to those that use this unique step. I dont see anything unique on their website, other than their claims, which are at best "suspect".
That's hilarious, I’m about to file a patent on eating with a knife and fork and I’m very close to filing one on walking on the pavement…

http://www.waterdamageout.com
http://www.purocleanhomerescue.com
 
Re:Bogus Lawsuit? Jbelrose 3/15/2011
rhynum wrote:
k Hynum, director of communications for HomeSafe. I'm posting a response to Mr. Webster's comments on behalf of HomeSafe president Kevin Seddon. Here it is:

As president of HomeSafe, I would like to address a few of the comments made herein.

We take offense to being called “grifters,” which implies that HomeSafe is a fly-by-night, con-artist company. This is absolutely false, it is libelous, and I request an immediate retraction. I think a little background and information on HomeSafe may clear up any misunderstanding you and your readers have.

HomeSafe pioneered the usage of infrared technologies in residential building inspections and pest inspections. HomeSafe’s co-owner Peng Lee began developing these procedures as part of a research project at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Physical Acoustics in the 1990s. His research was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lee and I went on to co-found HomeSafe and to further develop his IR inspection procedures for private sector use. HomeSafe filed its initial provisional patent application in 2001. Over the next seven years, the initial patent application was split into a total of nine applications, six of which were approved in 2008 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Due to the USDA’s funding of our initial research, the U.S. government has worldwide rights to our patented processes, and the University of Mississippi has an ownership stake in the patents. One can be certain that these two entities are not comfortable with being called “grifters” either.

To learn more about our patents, simply visit the USPTO’s Web site and perform a search at http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm. Our patent numbers and a summary of the patented processes are listed on the HomeSafe Web site under the “About Us” link in the section titled “Patent Information.” The URL for this section is http://www.homesafeinspection.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=287&Itemid=107.

Starting in 2003, HomeSafe began promoting the use of IR as a new tool in the home inspection business. We went on to license our technologies and processes to home inspectors and PCOs nationwide and developed the industry’s first comprehensive training program specifically for IR usage in residential building inspections and wood-destroying insect detection. At that time the industry mainstream still rejected the use of IR in home inspections. They said it was too expensive. They said it revealed too much and would be rejected by real estate agents. However, as time moved forward, IR has become widely accepted by the industry. Fortunately for us, this acceptance has coincided with the federal government’s approval of our patents on certain processes for using IR in home inspections. Unfortunately for us, the approval process took seven years and, in the case of the remaining patents, the approval process continues.

With these patents, HomeSafe was granted certain rights, including the right to prohibit others from using our patented processes. Instead, HomeSafe has chosen to allow everyone to use these procedures for a reasonable licensing fee.

Please be aware that HomeSafe does NOT require anyone to buy, lease/license or use any particular IR camera or other technology. We encourage inspectors to buy the highest-quality IR camera possible, and we feel that manufacturers such as FLIR offer excellent IR cameras for the job. Furthermore, we do NOT require anyone to be trained or certified by HomeSafe, although we do encourage training and certification under programs like those endorsed by FLIR.

What we do require is that home inspectors and pest companies that are utilizing IR in their business make sure that they are not utilizing our patented processes. We also encourage inspectors that are utilizing IR to consult with patent attorneys and review in detail the patent claims to make sure they are not infringing on the patents.

HomeSafe also DOES require that anyone who utilizes these patented processes license usage rights from Homesafe. HomeSafe spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the patents alone, not including the years of development time and effort. HomeSafe is required to enforce its patents and will do so whenever we feel that an infringement is taking place.

Anyone with questions about our patents, our processes and our technologies may contact me directly at 662.236.1232. If further clarification on our patents or legal position is required, they will be put in touch with the inventor or our legal counsel. Meanwhile, we look forward to working with industry professionals nationwide and assisting them in attaining high-quality IR home inspection training, certification and equipment.

Sincerely,

Kevin J. Seddon
President, HomeSafe Inspection, Inc.
Rick,

I spoke with Jay, your Goofball, bottom-feeder lawyer today. I will report him for harrassment to my States Attorney General's office if I ever hear from him again.

Why aren't you suing Flir, Fluke, Extech or anyone else that makes these cameras? why are they readily sold for legal use? I asked Jay that and he couldn't tell me. He also couldn't tell me why you are trying to stop anyone from using...you know what? I haven't a clue about what you are trying to do other than trying to scare people into paying you money you have not earned, for something anyone can see or do freely. Call it what you want, but it does resemble a form of extortion.

I don't own a camera. I rent one if I need it. Most every restoration company in this country has one. Are you suing them? ServPro, PuroClean, BoldCore, Service Master, etc? Probably not, because they all have deeper pockets than you do and they all most likely told you to get lost (just like I am).

Do what you do for legitimate business and leave people alone. Otherwise, you are no different than a common criminal. You have no basis for your position and are simply trying to take money from hardworking people without having to work for it yourself. You are smoke and mirrors and nothing more. And if Jay contacts me ever again..even one more time, it will be considered harrassment. You are now on notice not to have any contact with me, or your company or any representative of, or on behalf of HOMESAFE Inspections. You will not receive one dollar from me..ever!

Jeff Belrose

 


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