AT&T Sues PayPal Over Patents

from the more-silly-patent-suits dept

The latest in silly patent lawsuits is that AT&T has filed a patent lawsuit against eBay’s PayPal system. Apparently, AT&T owns a patent for processing secure payments online via a third party intermediary. Exactly why this is patentable isn’t clear. Again, this is a case of patents being used as extortion for those who innovate, rather than as a way to encourage innovation. The point of a patent is for someone who has created something that is not obvious to make that information public and let others build off of it while fairly compensating the patent owner. If someone else comes up with the idea independently (suggesting, first of all, that the idea was perhaps more obvious than they expected) then it’s tough to see how it makes sense to force them to pay to license something that they came up with themselves.

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