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03.22.08

Patents Roundup: Games Patents Hit Retailers; Embargoes Foreseen

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Europe, Hardware, Patents at 12:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sue the Customer, The Retailer, Not the Developer

Glyn Moody and others like TechDirt emphasised the fact that every company is in some sense a software company. In a way, it makes everyone subjected to abuse caused by software patents. As proof of this, witness the news:

Press Statement from Gibson Guitar in Regards to Guitar Hero Retailer Lawsuit [vis Groklaw]

On Monday, March 17th, Gibson Guitar Corp. brought a lawsuit against various retailers, which are selling Guitar Hero products that are infringing on one of Gibson Guitar’s U.S. patents. Gibson Guitar took this action reluctantly, but is required to protect its intellectual property and will continue to do so against any other person in accordance with the law and its rights.

There were early signs of this, but now come the articles which speak of the consequences. Mind the fact that the shops are being sued, not the software developer.

A federal lawsuit filed Monday claims Wal-Mart, Target Corp., Kmart, Amazon.com, GameStop Corp. and Toys “R” Us should stop selling the game.

In a digital age, software patents menace everyone.

Thirty Smacks in One Fell Swoop

Watch another new report.

Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild says 30 companies are infringing on her patent for laser and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). In response, she wants the U.S. government to ban those companies’ imports to the U.S. that are in violation.

Yes, an embargo is actually being suggested. Only half a day ago we wrote about Qualcomm.

The U.S. International Trade Commission will launch an investigation into Sony and about 30 other companies on possible patent infringements related to Blu-ray disc players and other products.

Just like with the FTC, it’s unlikely to be good news, unless you are a lawyer or a law enforcer cracking down on ‘nasty’ unlicensed products.

UK Pushed Into Vortex of Confusion

Yesterday we mentioned the latest bafflement in the UK (over software patent) following Finjan's latest (Microsoft connection) and some previous reports. It seems like an attempt to phase in and enforce software patents in Europe. Even the BBC reports:

The government is appealing against a High Court decision that granted Symbian a patent on a computer program.

The ruling overturns a refusal by the UK Intellectual Property Office to give the mobile phone firm a patent.

This is a recipe for problems.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today… some large company will patent some obvious thing… take as much of our profits as they want.”

Bill Gates

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