from the this-is-innovation? dept
Of course, Wi-LAN is hardly the only company that claims patents having to do with WiFi. It's a true patent thicket. If all these patents were actually valid and needed to be licensed no one could afford WiFi and it would be worthless. It's also worth noting that Wi-LAN's target list is somewhat ridiculous as well. It appears to be suing up and down the supply chain from chip suppliers like Broadcom and Intel to computer makers like Apple, Dell, Lenovo and Sony all the way to retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City. Assuming that all are somehow responsible for paying Wi-LAN the company could conceivably get license fees three or four times for the same computer. It's not hard to start adding up the questionable things going on here: (1) broad patents that are claimed to be important for a standard long after that standard has become widespread (2) these patents are one of many, many patents that claim to cover WiFi technology (3) filing the lawsuit against many companies at once (4) filing the lawsuit in east Texas and (5) filing the patents up and down the supply chain. This isn't what the patent system was designed to do and patent attorneys know it.