background preloader

Patent Troll

Facebook Twitter

Patent troll stalks travel site Hipmunk. Hipmunk’s quest to “take the agony out of travel planning” has won plaudits from users and the media and earned the start-up a new $15 million investment.

Patent troll stalks travel site Hipmunk

Now, a patent troll wants Hipmunk to give it a piece of the action. Just days after Hipmunk’s June funding announcement, a company called i2z Technology LLC told the travel start-up that it has to buy a license for a 1994 patent that covers a method for displaying data in multiple computer windows. Despite its high-tech sounding name, i2z is simply a Texas shell company run by a California lawyer that is targeting internet and travel companies including Kayak, Google, Yelp and Microsoft. Under i2z’s business model, known as patent trolling, firms that don’t make anything collect patents in order to extract licensing settlements from companies that do. What If Tim Berners-Lee Had Patented The Web? You may have seen the stories a week or so ago about how it was the 20th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee putting up the first web page.

What If Tim Berners-Lee Had Patented The Web?

While many, many people still confuse "the web" with "the internet," Berners-Lee's creation really did help take what was mostly a system used by a few nerds (myself include) and add the elements that made it possible to go mainstream in a big, big, big way. And while many folks are talking about just how amazingly far we've come in just 20 years, Marco Arment (the InstaPaper guy) reminds us that if Berners-Lee had sought and received a patent for the web, it would just now be coming out of patent coverage. That sets up an interesting thought experiment. Where do you think the world would be today if the World Wide Web had been patented?

Here are a few guesses: Rather than an open World Wide Web, most people would have remained on proprietary, walled gardens, like AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy and Delphi. It’s time to start worrying and hate the patent bomb. It’s been a very interesting week for mobile industry lawsuits — and it’s still only Thursday.

It’s time to start worrying and hate the patent bomb

First Nokia and Apple came to a settlement that ended their patent battle, probably costing Cupertino hundreds of millions of dollars in the short term. And now Google, which is being sued by Oracle over its use of Java in the Android operating system, has filed a fierce series of objections to that case. In particular, Google suggests the testimony and evidence of Oracle’s expert witness, Boston University economics professor Dr Iain Cockburn, should be disregarded. If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws. Sometimes it’s not the obvious things that create the biggest problems.

If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws

In this case one of the hidden job killers in our economy today is the explosion of patent litigation. Every technology company I have is getting hit by patent lawsuits that are the biggest bunch of bullshit ever. Every week it seems like a new one comes up. Between having to pay our lawyers a lot of money to review each, to increasing insurance rates and settlement costs because we can’t afford to pay to fight the nonsense, it’s an enormous expense. My Suggestion on Patent Law. It is easy to complain.

My Suggestion on Patent Law

Much harder to come up with solutions. Many won’t like what I propose, but who wants to make lawyers happy anyway ? The solution ? 1. End all software patents. Patents against prosperity. AMERICA is still in denial, but among economists and wonks I think the hard truth is settling in: we're not as rich as we thought we were and our prospects for future high growth rates aren't looking so great.

Patents against prosperity

America's last best hope for breaking free from what Tyler Cowen has called "the great stagnation" is the discovery of new "disruptive" technologies that would transform the possibilities of economic production in the way the fossil-fuel-powered engine did. As it stands, growth, such as it is, depends largely on many thousands of small innovations increasing efficiency incrementally along many thousands of margins. Innovation and invention is the key to continuing gains in prosperity.

Zero-sum "win the future" rhetoric notwithstanding, it doesn't much matter whether the advances in new technology occur in China, India or America.


That Didn't Take Long: Spotify Sued For Patent Infringement Just Weeks After Entering US Market. Hello Spotify.

That Didn't Take Long: Spotify Sued For Patent Infringement Just Weeks After Entering US Market

Welcome to America, where if you do anything even remotely innovative, you get sued for patent infringement. Indeed, just a couple weeks after entering the US market (finally), Spotify is being sued by PacketVideo for patent infringement. I knew the name PacketVideo sounded familiar... and then I remembered. A decade ago it was considered one of the hottest startups on the planet for trying to figure out ways to do streaming video on mobile phones (something I noted at the time I thought was not at all compelling -- which I'll admit I was totally wrong on, but that was before the invention of large screened smartphones that we have today).

Of course, PacketVideo failed to live up to the early lofty expectations, and last we heard of it, the company was being acquired by DoCoMo for what appears to be a lot less money than it raised over the years.