Patents In The Attic
from the need-money-now dept
Big companies that are scrambling for more ways to make money are suddenly rummaging through all of their patents to see what sort of licensing revenue they can squeeze out of them. The article makes this sound like a good thing – and for the companies making money, I’m sure it does seem like a good thing (after all, they’re making money). But, it sounds like these particular patents are really stifling innovation. Obviously, the company that owns them did nothing to commercialize it when they first came up with the patent (otherwise, why are they suddenly searching for the patent?). So, instead of realizing value from it, they’re suddenly going to go after other companies who probably developed a similar concept independently, and make them pay through the nose for actually developing a commercial product which the patent holder failed to. Amusingly, the article talks about firms hiring intellectual property management firms to help them with these patent search projects and mentions British Telecom as an example company using these services. What they failed to mention was that BT’s latest attempt to squeeze gold out of an old patent is that absolutely ridiculous claim that they patented “hyperlinking”.