Universities Get Into Patent Trolling Game; Sue Over Bluetooth

from the pay-up,-pay-up,-pay-up dept

Can't get far these days without running into yet another pointless patent lawsuit. The latest comes from the University of Washington, which has asked a research foundation to sue Nokia, Samsung and Matsushita, claiming all three are daring to offer Bluetooth technology without first licensing the technology from them. And people wonder why standards bodies these days dissolve into deadlocked stagnation for years. It's all about the patents. No one wants to give up on the version of the standard that might include some tiny bit of their own (probably overly broad and obvious) patented technology, because it's just so damn lucrative. The end result is that it slows down or kills various useful standards that would help move industries forward. Once again, that seems to go entirely against the purpose of the patent system.

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  1. identicon
    Tyshaun, 3 Jan 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Maybe not all bad...

    Not being a lawyer I did a search on patent law and found this site:

    http://www.ladas.com/Patents/USPatentHistory.html

    What troubles me is how I've heard so many people assert that "the purpose of patents is..." when after reading this article the only assertion I can comfortable make about what the patent system is intended for is that it is completely dependent on the prevailing times. The article mentions that the original framers were very pro patent, however at various points in history (like the depression) patents have been seen as monopolistic and have fallen out of favor.

    Given the general pendulum nature of how patents have been historically viewed in this country I would think it wouldn't be a sound decision to assert that patents are ment to do anything. Unfortunately the answer seems to be more muddied than that and in fact we have to look at the context they are being used in the current timeframe. For now, as far as I can see it, the "purpose" of patents is a a method to generate proitected revenue streams and any contribution to the greater public good is definately not being emphasized (in recent history anyway, but who knows what changes in administration, technology, and public perception will bring).

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