Earlier this year, we noted that Wi-Lan's legal team was drooling over the opportunity to hit up WiFi equipment vendors for patent licensing fees. The company basically admitted that they knew they had a patent that covered an element of WiFi -- but waited until the technology was widespread to pounce. Now, we can add Symbol to the list of companies who "want their piece" of the WiFi pie. After a win last week against Proxim over patents, Symbol is preparing to send threatening legal letters to plenty of WiFi vendors, claiming they violate Symbol's patents. In other words, WiFi equipment is about to get more expensive. Again, this totally defeats the stated purpose of patents, does nothing to promote innovation, and promotes patent hoarding. It also weakens the standards creation process for new technologies. Too many companies now join standards groups for the sole purpose of making sure that their patented technology is somehow included, so that they'll be able to set up a tollbooth.
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