Patent Hoarder Says Only Bad Guys Are Those Who Don't Pay Up
from the well,-of-course-he'd-say-that dept
Acacia Technologies is a name that folks in the patent business know well — as they were one of the earliest firms to get publicity for hoarding patents, and then threatening to sue anyone who didn’t license those patents (sometimes referred to as a “patent troll” though that name is problematic). Acacia became well known for trying to get just about everyone to license an incredibly broad patent they hold on any kind of streaming media. The patent is so famous that it’s at the top of the EFF’s list of patents that should be busted for holding back innovation. News.com is now running an interview with Acacia’s CEO who trots out the typical story line about how they’re just in the licensing business, and anyone who dislikes them is probably just stealing ideas and doesn’t want to pay for them. He tries to twist things around, by claiming it’s just a few random companies who would prefer to steal rather than innovate — not noting that many of those companies have been pushing the innovation envelope for decades, constantly bringing new and innovative technologies to market that have helped drive large parts of the economy. He also pulls a nice little trick by claiming that because some big companies have licensed Acacia’s patents, they obviously have no problem with the company. What he leaves out is the process Acacia took to get those companies to license the patent. They started out by going after online porn companies, knowing that not many would want to defend them. Then, once they got a few of those to give in, they went after larger and larger companies and used the success against smaller ones as leverage to get the bigger companies to pay up. For many of those companies, they simply decided it was cheaper to pay up to keep Acacia from going to court. Just because you pay up the local mob boss for “protection” money, it doesn’t mean that he represents a legitimate insurance company.