Offering Internet In Public Places: Patented

from the patent-apocolypse-indeed dept

Just as more people are finally realizing the potential for a "patent apocalypse" if our patent system isn't fixed soon, we have yet another example of idiotic patents getting in the way of actual business. Wayport, the company that has offered both wired and wireless internet access in hotels, airports and random other places (such as McDonald's) for years has now been hit with a patent lawsuit from a tiny company in New Hampshire, called PowerOasis, that claims they've just received a patent on offering internet access in public places -- because, obviously, no one had ever thought of that idea before this company came along and patented it. Exactly which patents they're suing over isn't entirely clear. The company claims 2 patents in the space, but a search of the USPTO finds 3 patents in the company's name, all for a "Power and telecommunications access vending machine." No matter which patents are the ones they're suing over, the company's statements help demonstrate how bad our patent system has become: "Wayport has deprived PowerOasis of the ability to sell and expand its services in airports and other locations, including hotels, to an extent that cannot be calculated but that has severely hampered PowerOasis in its effort to expand its businesses." Read that a second time. Basically, PowerOasis is admitting that Wayport has a better sales and marketing force. No one at Wayport deprived PowerOasis of anything. They just beat them in the market. Too many patent holders these days seem to think that a patent (no matter how ridiculous it may be) entitles them to simply have the market, rather than still having to go out and win the market with a good product, backed up by a good sales and marketing team.
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