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01.07.08

Patents Roundup: Illustrating the Serious Issue Using Examples

Posted in Europe, Google, Humour, Microsoft, Patents at 11:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s present a quick summary of recent patent news. Some of the good links come from digitalmajority.org (thanks, zoobab) and some have been collected in the past couple of days.

The first is a good extraction from an article about the German system.

The IPKat recalls the Open Source seminar he attended last year at QMIPRI, where an articulate IBM exponent of patent reform maintained that nowadays patents are stockpiled in order to create thickets, cartels or standards, but that no-one bothers reading them any more.

This is more or less being confirmed by the following comment from IEEE Spectrum.

I am continually amazed at the lack of prior art searches done by major corporations. Microsoft certainly would have found it was infringing if it had done an exhaustive prior art search. The same goes for other corporations. At a billion and a half dollars, Microsoft certainly would have saved their money if it had done so. But, this begs the question, do corporations purposely not do prior art searches because it just doesn’t matter? If violating another patent results in billion of dollars in profits (as in RIM), what is a measly half billion dollar settlement? High tech firms profits are accrued in the immediacy of the moment. Whatever patents they receive are outdated within a few years. And with patent application pendency running more than six years, for most high tech inventions, does it really matter? It really seems to be a free-for-all in regards to patents. For all sides the US patent system is a joke.

Yesterday we covered some outrageous lawsuits which resolve around gaming on the network. Watch this new item:

Cyberview Technology Inc., the world leader in server-based gaming solutions, announced today that it was granted a patent, US 7,297,062, “Modular Entertainment and Gaming Systems Configured To Consume and Provide Network Services.”

There are some fairly benign patents such as this one from Google, which is hot in the news at the moment.

Google has filed a patent for the recognition and use of text contained in images and videos.

IBM’s situation with Asustek gets some federal attention.

IBM’s infringement complaint about some Asustek Computer products will be investigated by the US International Trade Commission (ITC).

To top of it all off, Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] seems to be receiving awards for selfish abuse. Its claims are not even being challenged.

Acacia Research Corp., which develops, acquires and licenses patented technologies, said Monday its Contacts Synchronization Corp. unit settled a patent infringement dispute with Verizon Wireless.

Settlement terms are confidential.

If Acacia and other patent trolls can carry on collecting money in this way, then there’s little hope for the current patent system.

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