This issue of patent cannot cease to amaze. It seems like no work is actually being done, unless you count attorneys and bankers. Innovation is hurt, not defended. According to this exclusive article from The Register, an entire decent invention and standard, 802.11n Wi-Fi, might never take off, just because of patent-associated fear.
The IEEE working group developing the 802.11n Wi-Fi is holding urgent meetings this week to discuss a significant threat to the standard from patents held by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Despite requests from the IEEE, CSIRO has failed to promise not to sue anyone for infringement.
It does not get better than this. Here you find another cross-licensing deal, which pretty much means that two companies have piled up stacks of technical paper sheets; but they do not get used, only swapped or filed in a portfolio. It’s akin to the accumulation of nuclear warheads which never truly get used (only dismantles at the end).
“The decision to form a pool was made in order to minimise the risk of patent disputes,” a Samsung spokesman told Reuters.
Yes, just like weapons are supposed to “minimise the risk of disputes” and defend a country (never mind if all they do is simply kill people). Why are these patents being painted and portrayed so positively? Even Microsoft suffers from patent trolls and only a few days ago it got a small & exemplary relief.
Microsoft won its bid to have a patent-infringement lawsuit by creditors of defunct Internet service provider At Home thrown out.
Small and large companies alike are being harassed in this fashion while the court eventually proves that many patents were altogether and all along void or ineffective. Apple is a sufferer too and Cringely opines that their most recent debacle is being ignored for no good reason.
There is both a lot at stake in this case and a very fundamental underlying issue. What’s at stake is about $500 million, which is what Burst feels it is owed by Apple for patent infringement to date.
At the end of the day there is some good news too. Here is a short analysis of the SCO case where an argument is made with regards to patent trolls. The wrath of the open source community is shown to have made any threats to it utterly unworthy. Companies like Blackboard will watch and SCO or think twice before inciting hatred and anger through ineffective litigation, and even insinuation (a la Microsoft).
Due to SCO’s unsuccessful battle, this type of software protection racket will forever be associated with companies in their death throes.
- EFF Challenges Bogus Patent on Internet Subdomains
- EU accuses Rambus of ‘patent ambush
- Open Source Patents
- When Patents Threaten Science