by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 10th 2008 2:02pm
by Timothy Lee
Mon, Nov 26th 2007 6:38am
from the legalized-extortion dept
It's not hard to understand why Apple would settle this despite the obviousness of Burst's patents. Research in Motion learned the hard way last year that it doesn't pay to challenge bad patents in court. Even the patent office itself admitted the patents were invalid, but RIM was still forced to pay a $612 million settlement. Comparatively speaking, Apple's $10 million settlement looks like a bargain. But it's important to remember that $10 million is still a huge amount of money for a handful of patents. And every time a bogus patent nets a company a multi-million dollar payout, it's going to prompt other companies to file hundreds more dubious patents, in the hopes of either reaping a windfall themselves or warding off the attacks of a future patent troll. And that, in turn, pushes up the salaries of patent lawyers, diverting thousands of bright and competent people away from more productive profession into a life of filing for and litigating bogus patents.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 21st 2007 11:49am
from the interesting-strategies dept
Apple is now asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit (via MacWorld), though the strategy they're using seems a bit odd. They're focused on Burst's claims that its patents are central to the success of the iPod -- an idea that Apple practically guffaws at in the lawyer's statements: "It's not some epiphanous, oh my God, when you put all these things together you have an iPod." What's odd is that courts usually don't care how important the patented technology is to the final product (which is one of the things the new patent reform law tries to change). Apple then goes on to suggest that there's plenty of prior art in the space and to suggest that the concept behind streaming video is an obvious progression, which makes more sense, given the Supreme Court's recent Teleflex decision, lowering the bar for determining what's obvious. The key point, though, is whether or not Apple would have been able to offer similar video products in the absence of Burst's patents. It seems fairly difficult to believe that no one would have figured out a way to do such a thing without Burst's patents.