If Your Business Strategy Relies On Suing Others, You're Not A Business, You're A Leech On The System

from the face-facts dept

Canadian patent troll Wi-LAN has a long history as trying to tax any and all wireless innovation with patent threats. With the news that it's suing a bunch more companies -- including Apple, HTC, HP, Dell, Sierra Wireless and others, the company is merely cementing its reputation as a taxer of innovation, rather than a builder of anything useful. The company doesn't seem shy about this. As the link above notes, the company seems to brag about this "business" strategy:
What's more, Skippen said he believes "that our past investment in litigation could generate a significant return in the future. Our record revenues and earnings in the first quarter signal the beginning of that return to WiLAN and its shareholders."
It's hard to read such a comment and not feel sickened by the pure net loss on the economy and innovation from such leeches. Any company whose business model focuses on litigation is not contributing positively to society and innovation. There are times to file a lawsuit, but when that becomes central to your business model, something is broken.

The very core of a functioning capitalist system is that companies make transactions in which there's a buyer and a seller, and both sides come away from the transaction feeling better off. The buyer values the product or service more than the money paid, and the seller values the money more. That's good business. Any time you involve a lawsuit to force someone to pay, you're doing exactly the opposite of that and you're setting up a system that is not working to benefit everyone, but is actively using the force of the courts to try to force a company to "buy" something it has no interest in buying. It's not good for the economy and it's not good for innovation.

Filed Under: business, economics, patents, strategy
Companies: wi-lan


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re:

    Anyone who reads slashdot, and reads about the medical advancements mentioned there, knows that most of them are occurring elsewhere and not the U.S., at least not by the private sector.

    As far as patents are concerned, the NSF funds a ton of research (you can find that info on its website) and it's been discussed on Techdirt how private corporations wind up with the patents.

    and lets not forget that most of what Pharma claims to spend is exaggerated yet pharma absolutely refuses to allow independent auditors to audit how much it spends on R&D. They essentially want an unregulated government established monopoly and they don't want to allow the public the ability to ensure that those monopolies are justified.


    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20050817/0314229.shtml

    Also see

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100429/0214049233.shtml

    Fact is, there is very little pharmaceutical advancement in the U.S. anymore, and what little there is is mostly taxpayer funded and it ends up patented by private firms. I read about medical advancements on slashdot, examples include 360 degree camera pills with higher resolution (developed in Japan, though they do have patents they aren't nearly as strict as the U.S.), among others, and most of it occurs elsewhere, not in the U.S. (or it's occurring out of a tax funded university).

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