by Mike Masnick
Tue, Apr 22nd 2008 4:06pm
We've been covering the story of Rambus' tricks to get itself a patent that covered a standard by sitting in on standards meetings and then modifying its patents to cover the standard. The rulings on the various lawsuits have gone back and forth on this, and while Rambus has had some wins and some losses in court, last year the FTC stepped in and smacked the company down, noting that it had used questionable means to get itself an effective monopoly on the memory market. Unfortunately, that FTC ruling has now been overturned by an appeals court that said the FTC failed to show evidence of a monopoly. This is unfortunate for a variety of reasons. If the FTC's ruling had been allowed to stand, it would have shown how an ill-gotten patent would be the equivalent of an illegal monopoly. That seems like the proper result, as a patent clearly is a government granted monopoly. So, if the patent is gained through questionable means, then that monopoly should be considered an illegal monopoly. Unfortunately the appeals court disagreed, and that will make us all worse off, as it will give the government fewer tools to crack down on abusers of the patent system.
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