Fallout From Alcatel-Lucent's Patent Nuclear War With Microsoft Continues

from the be-careful-who-you-launch-against dept

Part of the conventional wisdom in having tech companies apply for lots of patents is that they’re helpful as a “defensive” mechanism against other companies filing patent lawsuits against you. It’s the nuclear stockpiling argument that suggests (without much proof) that the more patents everyone holds, the less likely actual patent litigation will result. That doesn’t seem to be happening, though, as we see more and more patent “nuclear wars” happening. For example, Alcatel-Lucent went after Microsoft on a questionable patent concerning MP3 technology. While Alcatel-Lucent initially won that battle to the tune of $1.5 billion, everything’s gone down hill since then. First, Microsoft hit back at Alcatel-Lucent, dredging up a bunch of patents it claimed the company was violating. Then, a judge overturned the $1.5 billion ruling. Now, Microsoft’s patent attack on Alcatel-Lucent has succeeded, as a judge at the US International Trade Commission (yes, Microsoft is also using the popular loophole in patent law here) has determined that Alcatel-Lucent has infringed, suggesting that its products be barred from the US. While this seems like a silly ruling, it does show how if you’re going to play the game of accusing companies of patent infringement, you might get burned yourself.

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Companies: alcatel-lucent, microsoft

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Comments on “Fallout From Alcatel-Lucent's Patent Nuclear War With Microsoft Continues”

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Ted L Nancy says:

Quick flowchart

Uh oh.

Did the lawyers get involved?
| |
| |
| NO———————+
| |
| |
+>YES |
+ Post Resume online +->Can you Negotiate?
| +-> YES ->Apply for promotion
| | and Negotiate.
| +-> NO -> Post resume on Monster.
| +> Find a way to negotiate.
+-> NO -> WINNER. Apply for Director Position and negotiate.
| +-> NO -> Apply for raise and negotiate.
+-> YES -> Tell Business to Go Pound Sand while you negotiate.

Joe says:

It's more like Dog-eat-Dog than Nuclear Stockpilin

Dog owner 1 sics dog on dog owner 2s dog.
Dog 1 beats dog 2.
Dog owner 2 gets bigger dog.
Dog 2 beats dog 1.
Alternate ad nauseum, adding and subtracting Dog Owners as required.

I say we stop using the term nuclear stockpiling and start using another term. (How about “Patent Breeding? The only reason a lot of companies put in patents these days is to make money anyway….)
“Nuclear Stockpiling” just doesn’t seem appropriate to me.

Wrong Target (profile) says:

Who you gonna call

I think the original rational for filing patents for everything wasn’t really to protect themselves from other legitimate enterprises. I believe the real objective is to shield themselves from patent trolls. Unfortunately, legal council convince these companies that failing to pursue patent infringement has greater risk than the chance of losing a case or getting a judgement overturned on appeal.

This situation has a cascading because each side is getting the same legal advice.

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