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An Intervention (Lawsuits, SfY and PRC, Speech Apps)

This is going to be a short post today, which might be good news or bad, depending on how you feel about my usual pontification. I won’t hold it against you either way.

I’ve written about the ongoing legal issues between the developers of the speech language app Speak for Yourself and the Prentke Romich Company in a number of posts, including “The Iceman Cometh, with his Legal Team” and “A Day Without Lawyers” and, most recently, “The Grownups“. I’ve discussed this complicated and unfortunate situation in the capacity of an interested but largely uninvolved party.

That’s no longer the case.

Last week, the court was notified that three very young users of the Speak for Yourself (SfY) app will be filing a motion to intervene in this case. Representatives of these users will attempt to make the court aware of the very personal and real issues of this case that go beyond mere business decisions, and of the fact that the court’s decision will have a very real and potentially harmful effect on the lives of people who do not currently have a voice (so to speak) in this case.

My daughter Schuyler is one of the individuals represented in this motion.

I want to be clear about something. This isn’t about siding with Speak for Yourself or PRC, or making some kind of statement about the validity of the case that is making its way through the legal system. I don’t know anything about patent law. I assume that the important people in expensive shoes waving papers at each other will know a little something something about that. But as those suits debate the legal issues that affect the financial bottom lines of each party, the court needs to be aware of the very real human beings who stand to become collateral damage in this fight. The case currently revolves around the idea of irreparable harm. The court needs to understand exactly what that really means.

This was a difficult decision, getting involved directly in this case. The Prentke Romich Company has been instrumental in Schuyler’s past success. Speak for Yourself has the very real potential to bring her a great deal of success in the future. I have very deep and real affection for members of both parties, and watching this whole case unfold has caused very real pain. But we didn’t feel it was right to sit back and watch this scenario unfold without giving Schuyler the opportunity to add her voice of advocacy to the conversation.

To read more about this, you should go visit Dana Nieder’s blog, Uncommon Sense, where she writes about the issue in detail. Dana has been the driving force behind bringing awareness to this issue, and her stakes in this situation, or more accurately her daughter’s, are extremely high. When it comes to her advocacy on behalf of her daughter and kids like her, I would not recommend pissing Dana off. Just a friendly tip, from me to you.

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