by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 18th 2008 8:31am
Here we go with yet another ridiculous patent hoarding company trying to sue anyone and everyone. This time, it's Rembrandt IP, a company that we recently wrote about for gaming the new MercExchange injunction rules. It did so by getting two competitors to fight against each other, allowing only one to license the patent, which the "winner" could then use to force an injunction against the other one (basically, suing two competitors and telling whichever one caved first that it could help put the other out of business). A few weeks back, it unfortunately won that case, and is now gearing up to use the winnings as it claims patents on both the digital TV broadcasting standard and the widely used cable modem standard, DOCSIS. In both cases, it's asking for huge licensing fees. On the broadcasting standard, it may have a tough battle, as it appears that Rembrandt is doing the same thing that the FTC just smacked down another company for doing: basically buying up a patent and then ignoring an earlier agreement on how that patent would be used. In this case, Rembrandt is trying to ignore the fact that AT&T (who originally held the patent) promised to license it for "Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory" (RAND) rates. Either way, though, this is yet another unfortunate example of a hedge fund-backed patent hoarder trying to exploit the system, rather than doing anything to "promote the progress."
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