Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
nuclear war, patents

alcatel-lucent, microsoft

Fallout From Alcatel-Lucent's Patent Nuclear War With Microsoft Continues

from the be-careful-who-you-launch-against dept

Part of the conventional wisdom in having tech companies apply for lots of patents is that they're helpful as a "defensive" mechanism against other companies filing patent lawsuits against you. It's the nuclear stockpiling argument that suggests (without much proof) that the more patents everyone holds, the less likely actual patent litigation will result. That doesn't seem to be happening, though, as we see more and more patent "nuclear wars" happening. For example, Alcatel-Lucent went after Microsoft on a questionable patent concerning MP3 technology. While Alcatel-Lucent initially won that battle to the tune of $1.5 billion, everything's gone down hill since then. First, Microsoft hit back at Alcatel-Lucent, dredging up a bunch of patents it claimed the company was violating. Then, a judge overturned the $1.5 billion ruling. Now, Microsoft's patent attack on Alcatel-Lucent has succeeded, as a judge at the US International Trade Commission (yes, Microsoft is also using the popular loophole in patent law here) has determined that Alcatel-Lucent has infringed, suggesting that its products be barred from the US. While this seems like a silly ruling, it does show how if you're going to play the game of accusing companies of patent infringement, you might get burned yourself.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Alfred E. Neuman, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:18pm

    Wasting valuable assets on BS

    What a waste.
    The stockholders should hold the board responsible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:37pm

    A pox on both their houses!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Ted L Nancy, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:38pm

    Quick flowchart

    Uh oh.

    Did the lawyers get involved?
    | |
    | |
    | NO---------------------+
    | |
    | |
    +>YES |
    + Post Resume online +->Can you Negotiate?
    | +-> YES ->Apply for promotion
    | | and Negotiate.
    | +-> NO -> Post resume on Monster.
    | +> Find a way to negotiate.
    +-> NO -> WINNER. Apply for Director Position and negotiate.
    | +-> NO -> Apply for raise and negotiate.
    +-> YES -> Tell Business to Go Pound Sand while you negotiate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Joe, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:22pm

    It's more like Dog-eat-Dog than Nuclear Stockpilin

    Dog owner 1 sics dog on dog owner 2s dog.
    Dog 1 beats dog 2.
    Dog owner 2 gets bigger dog.
    Dog 2 beats dog 1.
    Alternate ad nauseum, adding and subtracting Dog Owners as required.

    I say we stop using the term nuclear stockpiling and start using another term. (How about "Patent Breeding? The only reason a lot of companies put in patents these days is to make money anyway....)
    "Nuclear Stockpiling" just doesn't seem appropriate to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    angry dude, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:45pm

    simply capitalism at work

    yeah, just a dog-eats-dog world by corporate design

    Gotta love it dude or get the fuck out

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Joeboomer, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:29pm

    The lawyers get paid no matter who wins

    Most lawmakers are lawyers, these litigation wars only benefit the lawyers. Ever wonder why we have such stupid patent and copyright laws.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Vincent Clement, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:24am

    So much for innovation, eh?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Wrong Target, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Who you gonna call

    I think the original rational for filing patents for everything wasn't really to protect themselves from other legitimate enterprises. I believe the real objective is to shield themselves from patent trolls. Unfortunately, legal council convince these companies that failing to pursue patent infringement has greater risk than the chance of losing a case or getting a judgement overturned on appeal.

    This situation has a cascading because each side is getting the same legal advice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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