Yet Another Technology Patent Battle

from the they're-everywhere dept

It seems you can’t get away from crazy patent battles in the internet world these days. This article looks at the claims of Tumbleweed, who is suing eBay and Yahoo (among others) for violating the patent they have on sending personalized links over email. Why this is a patentable idea, no one seems to know. However, they’ve already convinced Hallmark and eGreetings to pay up license fees, and just convinced the company that sends out E*Trade’s stock alert emails to pony up $0.04 for every email they send. Once again, this is an example of patents not helping innovation in the slightest. It’s not as if this technology wouldn’t have been invented without patents. None of the companies using this technology “stole” the idea from Tumbleweed. They just added an obvious feature that makes sense to their product, but our patent system makes them either pay a license fee or suffer through the legal fees. These ridiculous patents are quickly going to make it more and more difficult for anyone to do anything online without having to agree to license fifty different patents.

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Comments on “Yet Another Technology Patent Battle”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

How many shares could there be?

Tumbleweed’s stock is down to $1.20 per share. Why don’t ebay and Yahoo join forces, buy the company, change the licensing structure of the patent to free to all internet auctions named ebay and Yahoo and payment sites called PayPal, and then fire everyone at Tumbleweed and keep the IP for themselves?

Sounds like they could even earn income from e-Trade and Hallmark…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: How many shares could there be?

Heh. Interesting. Well, as of Friday, the market cap of the company was $36.5 million, and you would imagine any buyout would include something of a premium, so it’s an expensive proposition. Of course, looking at their balance sheet, they also probably have about $30 million in cash, so maybe it all comes out as a wash…

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