E-Data, emboldened by their success against Microsoft and not waiting around to see how their case against Corbis and Getty Images goes is now suing a bunch of other online companies including Amazon.com, the NY Times, American Greetings and Hallmark. E-Data, of course, claims all of these companies are violating its patent on downloading media. Even worse, the patent actually expired last year, but E-Data is suing them for violations while the patent was still valid. This is a perfect example of just how stupid patents work. The point of getting a patent is to encourage the inventor to come up with the idea in the first place and then to publish the idea so others can make use of it -- while licensing it from the inventor. Patent violations should be for companies that actually do "violate" the patent -- and take what they learned from the patent and make use of that "non-obvious" idea without compensating the inventor. Does anyone really think that Amazon decided to get into the business of offering downloadable media after first reading this patent? Meanwhile, E-Data has done nothing themselves to further innovation with this patent other than to make plenty of other companies waste money. How does this encourage innovation in any way? The patent system is broken.
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