Analysis Suggests More Than Half Of Google & Microsoft's Patents Likely Invalid Thanks To The Supreme Court
from the good-news dept
Over the last few months, since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank, we’ve been noting the good news that the courts seem to be interpreting the ruling to invalidate a ton of software patents. Even some trolls have decided to just give up after seeing how the Alice ruling is being interpreted.
A new analytical study of patents held by big tech companies, done by ktMINE, suggests that more than half of Google and Microsoft’s patents are invalid under Alice. The biggest loser of all, however, may be Oracle, with an astounding 76% of all of its patents vulnerable to the ruling. Twenty five companies are listed — and there are some interesting ones. Rockstar — which is a patent troll “privateer” set up by Microsoft and Apple has 31% of patents at risk. Intellectual Ventures has 24% of its patents at risk (I would have expected more). IBM — which has a tremendous patent portfolio — has 49% at risk.
The article suggests that this may have a major impact as these companies lose “vitally important strategic assets,” but that’s generally almost entirely bogus. Other than for the trolls, where these patents are their only “asset” (if you can call them that), for operating companies, patents have always been much more of a hindrance than a benefit. Many of the companies in the list have a huge patent portfolio mainly for defensive, rather than offensive reasons, and the patents have little to do with day to day operations. They have almost no impact on how the company is actually innovating or growing. In fact, as we’ve seen, patents are generally only useful for companies that are on the downswing, as they lash out at innovators who are on the upswing. If there were a real concern here, it’s likely that we would have seen it in the stock prices of these tech companies — but most of the companies on the list shrugged off the decision (or are even happy about it) because they can just focus on innovating, rather than bogus, wasteful lawsuits.
In fact, it might make for an interesting study to look at the impact of the Alice decision on the stock prices of these companies, and note how little the patent portfolios they hold are really worth, given the likelihood that so many are invalid.