by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 14th 2007 3:55pm
Back in September, we noted that the Supreme Court was going to hear a rather important case concerning patents, determining whether or not it's possible for a patent holder to "double dip" and get license fees up and down the supply chain. The anonymous Patent Troll Tracker alerts us to the fact that a ton of organizations and companies have now filed amicus briefs in support of one side or the other (or neither, in a few cases). While the Troll Tracker's post focuses on the fact that most of the briefs filed in support of LG's position appear to come from patent hoarding firms (and their attorneys), at the end he does mention in passing that Yahoo! sided with LG as well. While he doesn't name them, the Troll Tracker notes that most of the firms filing against LG's position come from the tech industry. This is the usual breakdown. Companies that rely on patents to make a living tend to want stronger patents (no surprise there). Companies that tend to focus on business models that don't require intellectual monopolies tend to favor weaker patent laws. That said, it seems quite odd that Yahoo! falls in with the former, rather than the latter. While it has been involved with some patent lawsuits (most notably, the dispute with Google over paid search patents), Yahoo tends to be more focused on providing useful services rather than focusing on its patent portfolio. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of things to come. We've certainly seen other formerly successful companies turn to patent lawsuits after they failed in the marketplace. Perhaps Yahoo is signaling to the world where its future lies.
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