Investor Upset That Transmeta Isn't Solely Focused On Suing Companies For Patent Infringement

from the focus,-people,-focus! dept

Back in 2006, we noted that hyped-up Transmeta, the semiconductor startup that Linus Torvalds worked at for a while, had pretty much failed in the marketplace and was making a last ditch effort to sue companies for patent infringement. It was a pattern we had seen over and over again: a company that can’t actually compete in the marketplace responds to its own misfortune by trying to drag down the company that did succeed, using patent infringement claims as the anchor. However, it appears that an investor in Transmeta is now upset that the company didn’t take this “sue everyone who did a better job than us” strategy far enough. Specifically, Transmeta settled with Intel a few months after filing a patent infringement lawsuit, and the investor is upset that the company didn’t fight it out for a higher return. So, now, he’s hoping to buy out the rest of the firm, shut down the parts that are actually doing something and producing value, and instead just turn the whole company into a patent lawsuit machine. Just as Thomas Jefferson originally envisioned.

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Companies: transmeta

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Comments on “Investor Upset That Transmeta Isn't Solely Focused On Suing Companies For Patent Infringement”

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12 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

I fail to understand why you blame people for playing by the rules? That “investor” is looking at making money, don’t blame him for not wanting to leave money on the table.

If you have a problem with the rules, bitch about the rules, but don’t blame people for making sure they get the most out of what is allowable.

Do you take tax deductions? Would you be pissed if you missed some? Isn’t that the same thing?

Paul (user link) says:

Re: Re:

No, its not the same thing. These people are abusing the system, whereas tax deductions are the way they’re supposed to go. Patent Infringement suits were never intended any money-makers. And, there is *NO* money being left on the table here. Its not like there’s money there and the company didn’t take it. They’re trying to steal money from someone else.

Mike Mixer (profile) says:

Re: Playing by the rules

According to you then, We had no reason to put criminals in jail because they are following the rules. All of those poor
people that got nabbed for running California into the ground by making their own energy crisis didn’t break the law, they just gamed the rules to fit their needs. We are not just a nation of laws, we are also a nation of conscience, which means that we must act without malice even when we are technically allowed to do so by the absence of any hinderance. Holding any other belief will only hasten the demise of free society.

Konrad Sherinian says:

Re: Re: Playing by the rules

That is a nonsense argument. Enron violated anti-trust laws when they ran up the price of energy. Your argument about “nation of conscience” is especially galling. It is particularly unconscionable for a giant company to ignore the intellectual property of a smaller one, use its greater resources to crush it in the marketplace, and then claim that the smaller company is “stealing” from it when it sues to enforce its patent rights. Any argument to the contrary is either deluded or comes from one who is on the take.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, it is leaving money on the table. Why did the companies lawyer receive a $10 million bonus after taking less money from Intel?

Malice? So following the law and going aftersome according to the law is malice? Are you a friggen idiot? Answer me this, if you got hit by a truck and a lawyer came up to you and said he could get you $10 million from the trucking company and not charge you a dime, would you say no?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Are you a friggen idiot? Answer me this, if you got hit by a truck and a lawyer came up to you and said he could get you $10 million from the trucking company and not charge you a dime, would you say no?”

The person you have described is called and “Ambulance Chaser”.

Ambulance chaser is a derogatory phrase sometimes used to describe a trial lawyer who specializes in representing accident victims. It typically refers to attorneys who solicit business (sometimes called barratry) from accident victims or their families at the scene of an accident or disaster (or immediately thereafter).

In the United States, such conduct violates Rule 7.3 of the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

dorpass says:

Re: Anonymous Idiot

“Answer me this, if you got hit by a truck and a lawyer came up to you and said he could get you $10 million from the trucking company and not charge you a dime, would you say no?”

Could you actually come up with an example that mattered? In this case it would be you walking on the street and a lawyer coming to you and saying he can win $10 million for you if you say that asbestos hurt you, even though you never got touched by it. Now that’s an example closer to truth.

Joe (user link) says:

Transmeta is a bad example

Transmeta is an example of a company which used patents to protect their inventions. They used trade secrets before launch and patented their core technology, specifically their clock reduction / power saving technology.

Intel did their best to copy the improvements as soon as the Transmeta chip was launched and used it’s near monopoly power to push Transmeta nearly out of business.

So to say that Transmeta “just couldn’t compete” is doing a disservice. They pretty much invented the flexible power chip, and their tech was stolen.

I know you’re not a big believer in patents in general, but this is a case of real engineering, real invention, and a lot of capital spent trying to shake up the system. Transmeta should be the poster child for the non-patent troll; the one you point out when people patent things and then never bring it to market.

Michael Evans (profile) says:

Agreed: Transmeta a -very- bad example

There is probably a very short list of reasons Transmeta failed:

1) Semiconductor manufacturing is a very cut-throat business with extremely high barriers (Cleanroom build, tool install and qualification just to name a few) to entry.

2) Intellectual Property issues make it very difficult to find leading edge fabrication partners willing to run your wafers (and you raise entry barriers even higher thanks to the margins on doing so).

3) Those same IP laws make it very difficult to buy access to existing developments at a fair (to all) price, and only the biggest player(s) can afford to have a team develop a replacement in the blind properly.

4) Isn’t there some issue about the x86 instruction set where right now only Intel, AMD, and VIA have licenses; I keep hearing AMD’s license to it vanishing being one reason no one will buy them/allow them to go in to bankruptcy…

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