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The Latest Patent Troll Story (Updated)

Poor patents, which include patents on software and business methods, are bound to spread damage and it shows. Here is the latest case of harassment.

A Texas company has sued AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, claiming that all four web giants have infringed its patent "for conducting business transactions over the Internet".

[...]

"Defendants have used, and continue to use, Plaintiff Performance Pricing's patented technology methods and systems that they make, use, sell, and offer to sell, without Plaintiff's permission," the suit reads. "Plaintiff seeks damages for patent infringement and an injunction preventing Defendants from making, using, selling, or offering to sell technology claimed by the patent without Plaintiff's permission."


Microsoft is not better off, by the way, because it not only claims infringements, but it also refuses to give details. It blames paperwork for the inability to be more specific.

Immoral and poor patents remain a threat to Free software. Here is a video of a demonstration against a company's patent which actually costs the lives of many.



Update: IBM appears to be realising the negative impact of bad patents. It has just sent out the following message in response to a Slashdot rant that made big waves.

IBM has put into the public domain and withdrawn its application for patent number US2007/0162321 - Outsourcing of Services. This patent application covers analyzing work flows, skills, economic costs, etc. Here’s why we are withdrawing it — IBM adopted a new policy a year ago to sharply reduce business method patent filings and instead stress significant technical content in its patents. Even though the patent application in question was filed eight months before the policy took effect in September, 2006, had the policy been in place at the time, IBM would not have filed the application. We’re glad the community pointed this application out so IBM could take swift action.


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