Enter the Frumpkins
“I had a second letter from the attorneys of the Frumpkin patent union,” Roger McNaughton announced, “addressed to me as chief of engineering. Tara said I should politely ask them what their issue is, beyond ‘actions that interfere with the intellectual property rights of my clients, the Frumpkin Combine.”
“Second letter?” Victor Chelan asked.
“I receive large numbers of letters from people affecting to have some interest or claim on our operations,” Tara Broadhurst said. “Most of them receive a form letter in response, the letters being added to an extremely large file of miscellaneous inquiries, for example from salesman. The first letter was an extremely vague inquiry as to whether or not we adhered to the Intellectual Property Treaty with the Republic. I sent them the form letter assuring them that we did — as does anyone in their right mind — and listing the precautions we take, precautions that guarantee that we are not penalized if we make a mistake.”
“Thank you for sparing me this vast tonnage of correspondence,” Victor said.
“I actually read all of it, looking for correlations, people probing in improper ways. This wasn’t any of those.” Tara took a small bite out of a cookie.
“Advancing to the second letter?” Victor said.
“The second letter was from Kachavaha, LLC, an expensive Rajasthani law firm. Under the IP treaty, they can do certain things in the Union, this being one of them,” Tara looked at the ceiling. “They’re sufficiently expensive, not to mention being well known as being vigorous in defending their clients, that I ask them to be specific about what the issue was. After all, as I explained to them, not that they don’t know, if I don’t know what their issue is, it comes becomes very hard to answer it.”
“They weren’t explicit to begin with?” Victor asked.
“It’s a legal maneuver characteristic of their legal customs,” Tara explained. “You ask a very vague question, making it sound important and threatening, and hope whoever you are addressing, in their response, gives away things that you otherwise wouldn’t have known. There are reasons why Anglic Union law schools typically go on for six years, including two years of Combat Litigation, and recognizing tricks like this was an important part of my training.”