Facebook Has To Waste Money On 750 IBM Patents Just To Ward Off Other Patent Lawsuits

from the play-the-game,-waste-money dept

It's been a pretty open secret for quite some time that Facebook is actively in the market to buy a bunch of patents, and now it's done its first big deal, scoring 750 patents from IBM to add to the 56 patents it currently has (some of which it purchased, and some of which it applied for). There's been plenty of talk about people who don't really know much about patents about how Facebook "needs" more patents, and the ridiculous Yahoo lawsuit only increased the attention the issue is getting. Plus, there are some investors who still -- for whatever reason -- think that the number of patents in a portfolio are a reasonable proxy for innovation or the ability to control a market. Of course, none of these patents will help Facebook against its most common legal foe: the patent troll. They're really only useful either against other operating companies (to ward off patent nuclear war cross-suits) or if Facebook decides to become obnoxious like Yahoo and start suing others offensively.

What this really shows is just how broken the patent system is. Facebook basically just had to waste a large chunk of money on a bunch of patents that have nothing to do with innovation, which won't help Facebook provide a better product for its users and which will only serve to create more money for lawyers somewhere down the road. That's not a healthy system. That's not an efficient system, and it's not one that's good for innovation or economic growth.

Filed Under: defense, inefficiency, patents, waste
Companies: facebook, ibm, yahoo

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2012 @ 7:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Abolition FTW

    Basically, why do any research or really develop anything, when you can take someone else's work and go from there?

    Ask the people who developed the VTK why they tinkered so much with it, ask the millions of hackers worldwide that just hack for the pleasure of it.

    Why would anyone try to build a NMOS transistor from scratch?
    Homebrew NMOS Transistor Step by Step - So Easy Even Jeri Can Do It

    First and foremost, the people doing it must love learning, that is the principal motivation to anyone, second in a world where we can't do everything alone people quickly realize they need others and that is the principle behind sharing knowledge and achievements. Those are the people who create the market because they create something out of passion and others find uses for it and then only them sales come to be.

    DEFCON 19: Build your own Synthetic Aperture Radar

    So no, if you remove the financial incentive to do something you are removing a facilitator for someone who love something to do it, but if there are other ways that can be achieved they will pursue it regardless of the financial outcome.

    Further IP law is not an incentive to create something, is an incentive to promote bad behavior and an exclusionary mentality that actually harms the economics of a market.

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