Why Is Yahoo Siding With Patent Hoarders?

from the something-yahoo-wants-to-share-with-us? dept

Back in September, we noted that the Supreme Court was going to hear a rather important case concerning patents, determining whether or not it's possible for a patent holder to "double dip" and get license fees up and down the supply chain. The anonymous Patent Troll Tracker alerts us to the fact that a ton of organizations and companies have now filed amicus briefs in support of one side or the other (or neither, in a few cases). While the Troll Tracker's post focuses on the fact that most of the briefs filed in support of LG's position appear to come from patent hoarding firms (and their attorneys), at the end he does mention in passing that Yahoo! sided with LG as well. While he doesn't name them, the Troll Tracker notes that most of the firms filing against LG's position come from the tech industry. This is the usual breakdown. Companies that rely on patents to make a living tend to want stronger patents (no surprise there). Companies that tend to focus on business models that don't require intellectual monopolies tend to favor weaker patent laws. That said, it seems quite odd that Yahoo! falls in with the former, rather than the latter. While it has been involved with some patent lawsuits (most notably, the dispute with Google over paid search patents), Yahoo tends to be more focused on providing useful services rather than focusing on its patent portfolio. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of things to come. We've certainly seen other formerly successful companies turn to patent lawsuits after they failed in the marketplace. Perhaps Yahoo is signaling to the world where its future lies.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 5:16pm

    Mooooo

    I thought Yahoo made chocolate milk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2007 @ 9:13pm

    Re: Mooooo

    Thats Yoohoo or some such nonsense

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    ulle, Dec 15th, 2007 @ 2:50am

    Many years ago there was not many choices for those of us who were not tech oriented who wanted to enter into the WWW world, at that time Yahoo offer a nice alternative to AOL and I can honestly say I have fond memories of those early days. We had fun in yahoo chat while trying to learn about computers and the web, even gained the confidence to explore IRC, yahoo mail worked well during the days when hotmail and outlook express were causing griefs and creating home pages was a breeze. It is real sad to watch yahoo fall and continue to self-destruct

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Overcast, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 9:06am

    Why? Because Yahoo obviously sucks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 10:57am

    I knew Yahoo and the Internet were bad news. I'll always stay true to 1990 Prodigy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Roy, Dec 16th, 2007 @ 12:46pm

    I personally side with patent holders myself. By having this system it allows smaller companies to compete with larger ones, or work in symbiosis with them.

    If the patent system was removed then you would effective kill an industry and say good bye to small start up companies. Its an effective system for creating and industry around innovation.

    The system obviously has flaws in it though, and like anything with a flaw in it people will find exploits. The problem that need addressing are around how patents are issued.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Dec 16th, 2007 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    I personally side with patent holders myself. By having this system it allows smaller companies to compete with larger ones, or work in symbiosis with them.

    If the patent system was removed then you would effective kill an industry and say good bye to small start up companies. Its an effective system for creating and industry around innovation.


    Roy, you should look at the evidence on this one, as it suggests exactly the opposite of what you have said. In places where there is little or no patent protection, you tend to have many more startups. When patent protection is put in place, you get consolidation and only large players can compete. That's because it's impossible to do anything unless you can own/license all the patents necessary to make a single product -- so it can only be done by large companies.

    Yet, without patent protection, you get real competition in the marketplace, and it makes it easier for small companies to get started and to innovate.

    So, your claim that without a patent system it would kill an industry is simply false. Just look at the history of industrialization in places like the Netherlands and Switzerland -- both of which lacked a patent system while they became industrial successes. Just look at the pharma industry in Italy, which was thriving prior to having patent protection cover pharma, but which significantly shrunk after pharma patents were introduced. Look at the research of Petra Moser, who shows that places without patent protection still provide plenty of innovation.

    Your argument sounds good on the face of it, but does not hold up when you look at reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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