06.30.08

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Tackling Intellectual Monopolies the Wrong Way: An OIN for the Wealthy

Posted in Courtroom, Law, OIN, Patents at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTOAs many people are probably aware, OIN is an interesting-but-not-so-effective solution to the plague which is intellectual monopolies on software. In particular, OIN is unable to defend businesses or programmers who use software programs in the face of patent trolls. That being the case, it was odd to find this new initiative which seems like another OIN, plus a very hefty payment that leaves small businesses and free software developers out in the cold. They endorse rather than battle the problem.

Tech giants form group to buy patents

To join the group, each company will pay about $250,000 put about $5 million into escrow for future patent purchases, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter

This seems like a very partial solution which is self-serving to some giants, but what about the rest? Are they acquiring the privilege to be exempt from a broken law that they seem unable (or insufficiently willing) to fix? The same short article proceeds:

A sweeping patent law rewrite backed by seemingly every prominent hardware and software maker was part of that effort, but it stalled in the Senate last month. The so-called Patent Reform Act of 2007 would have curbed the ability of patent holders to obtain what the companies consider disproportionate damage awards, spurring the rise of so-called patent trolls who exist only to extort large payments out of deep-pocketed companies.

The giants just seek convenience here, as opposed to a cure.

In other news, another struggling company has just decided to sue all the giants from which it hopes to extract money.

Struggling in-flight entertainment house e.Digital is challenging some of the world’s biggest gadget companies with claims that it owns vital patents for using removable flash memory in portable devices.

It’s targeting brands such as Casio, LG Electronics, Olympus, Samsung and Sanyo in a legal scrap filed last March. But e.Digital says there’s a far larger pool of companies currently infringing its patents, and has “identified annual U.S. revenues of more than $20 billion,” from products using its technology.

This is business? This is development? An upsurge for the market? For lawyers, maybe.

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