I'm actually posting this from a WiFi hotspot that clearly violates a variety of new patents, but it's not entirely clear why WiFi patents are suddenly in the news. A year ago, we noted that Nomadix had patented hotspot login screens, and in October famed patent hoarding company Acacia basically claimed an identical patent. Nothing much has changed, but both companies and their WiFi patents are back in the news. News.com wrote about Acacia's plans yesterday, while Internet.com has the story about Nomadix's patents today. What neither article mentions, however, is the question of whether or not these are valid patents. Having a login page show up at a hotspot doesn't seem like a particularly innovative idea -- and the fact that there are two totally separate patents in the space suggest that it's not particularly "non-obvious."
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