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09.02.11

When Patents Attack: Facebook is One of the Attackers

Posted in Patents at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Incredible Hulk and Facebook

Summary: Microsoft’s ally, Facebook, is already attacking small rivals using software patents, but BusinessWeek portrays Facebook as a potential victim

THERE IS a very obtuse new article titled “When Patents Attack: Could Facebook Be Next?”

The headline is ridiculous because Ashlee Vance, a former troll/writer from The Register, paints Facebook as a victim when it fact Facebook is a patent aggressor attacking small rivals. And speaking of small companies being threatened or attacked by patents, yesterday we mentioned the Patent Pledge (not to be confused with the Microsoft Patent Pledge), which we and others at the time considered to be silly because it’s basically an exemption for small companies, avoiding all the real patent issues that impair the industry. Here is a detailed explanation of why the Patent Pledge does not address the issues properly. To quote part of it:

The bigger issue is that it seems like this pledge may be targeted at exactly the wrong group on both sides of the pledge. First off, the companies signing it tend to be startups who aren’t asserting any patents against anyone anyway. Second, when startups of less than 25 people are getting sued for infringement, it’s pretty frequently by small trolls, who have no business but suing (or threatening to sue), and who would never sign such a pledge. I don’t think we’re going to see Lodsys or Kootol sign up for something like this ever, and no amount of shame is going to make them care about it.

As shown in the previous post, patents have become extremely anti-competitive, even among mega-corporation. It is us, the customers, who pay the price, sponsoring hoarding billionaires and their lawyers. As Carlo Piana, put it yesterday, it increasingly seems like the only solution is to abolish them. Patents have outlived their purpose.

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