by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 31st 2008 7:31pm
And you thought NTP getting RIM to shell out $612.5 million was excessive? It seems that other patent holding companies are shooting much higher. About a year ago, we noted that some private equity firms were so thrilled with the outcome of various patent hoarding lawsuits that they were raising funds solely to buy up patents, stick them in shell companies, and sue businesses that actually made products. We're seeing more and more of those types of lawsuits, with the latest one being pretty impressive. Private equity firm Fortress Investment Group has backed a patent holding firm IP-Com, who is now suing Nokia for patent infringement to the tune of $17.77 billion (yes, billion with a b). At that rate, a mere $600 million seems like pocket change. Expect to see a few more of these types of lawsuits, as well. With so much money going into these patent hoarding firms, combined with fears that we may finally seem some legitimate patent reform (either via Congress or the Supreme Court), many patent holders may be scrambling to squeeze whatever they can as fast as they can -- and starting off with ridiculous numbers is one way to push for a faster settlement.
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