by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 14th 2010 11:35am
Years ago, we wrote about how the US gov't used a "state secret" claim to simply ignore patents from a startup that may have been infringed by Lucent, so that it could use a startup's patented technology without getting a license (Updated to clarify that it wasn't Lucent's patents). Of course, there have been some other lawsuits on the subject and in the famous Zoltek case, it was ruled that the US gov't could effectively ignore patents of citizens. While some felt this probably wouldn't be that big of a deal (how often would it come up?), others are now pointing out that, thanks to the US gov't bailing out certain companies and taking equity stakes in the process, it could be argued that a US-owned GM is simply not subject to patent laws any more, and could, legally, get away with ignoring the restrictions on certain technologies covered by patents. Would GM actually do this? I doubt it, but it certainly could make for quite the legal fight if the company ever tried to use this as a defense in a patent lawsuit...
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