from the gotta-get-it-done-before-bilski dept
points us to the news of yet another questionable patent lawsuit
filed by yet another shell company, yet again in Eastern Texas against a ton of software companies. The patent in question (5,222,134
) is for a "secure system for activating personal computer software at remote locations," and was originally filed back in 1991 and granted in 1993 -- meaning that the patent is actually nearing end of life. Odd, then, that it was suddenly noticed that all these companies were infringing. The lawsuit is filed by a shell company called BetaNet, and no one seems willing to speak. The lawyers representing BetaNet won't say who is behind the company, or how they even got the patent. This is typical. Many of these types of lawsuits are filed by shell companies to hide who is actually behind them. As for the defendants, here's the list:
Adobe, Apple, Arial Software, Autodesk, Carbonite, Corel, Kodak, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, McAfee, Online Holdings, Oracle, Rockwell, Rosetta Stone, SAP, Siemens, and Sony.
Obviously, none of those companies could have come up with ways to remotely activate software without this patent (yes, that's sarcasm). As the Register notes in the link above, even some of the software products listed as violating this patent don't seem to involve activation at all, raising serious questions about how they could possibly violate this patent. This sounds like yet another case of someone having read the book Rembrandt's in the Attic
and deciding to go trolling
for companies to sue with a meaningless patent.