While the obviousness question is one of the bigger problems with the patent system, another is the collateral damage provision that lets a company that believes its patents are being infringed upon sue everyone up and down the supply chain (all the way to the end customer) if they want to. The latest example of this is that a company that holds the patents on the "V-Chip" system designed to let parents block out certain TV programs is suing Best Buy for selling some TVs from a company that didn't license the patent. Why didn't the patent holder go after the TV company directly? They claim they can't find any contact info. Of course, the reporter writing the story claims that he had no trouble at all finding a phone number (it was listed) or getting someone on the phone -- which certainly makes the patent holder's claim suspect. Even the patent holder says they'd prefer not to sue Best Buy, but it's unclear why they should have the right to go after Best Buy just because they couldn't take the time to look in the phone book for the proper phone number of the company actually responsible for avoiding the patent. Of course, none of this even touches on the question of whether or not it seems right that a government mandated system should be patented and controlled by one private company.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Feds Insist It Must Be Kept Secret Whether Or Not Plaintiff In No Fly List Trial Is Actually On The No Fly List
- Documents Show LA Sheriff's Department Hired Thieves, Statutory Rapists And Bad Cops
- Unarmed Man Charged With Assault Because NYC Police Shot At Him And Hit Random Pedestrians
- Judge In No Fly Case Explains To DOJ That It Can't Claim Publicly Released Info Is Secret
- German Court Says CEO Of Open Source Company Liable For 'Illegal' Functions Submitted By Community