Who’s suing whom in the mobile business

by Walter Olson on August 3, 2011

A pretty graphic depicting a not-so-pretty situation [Design Language News; more, FlowingData] Related: “When Patents Attack,” NPR; Will Wilkinson, “Patents Against Prosperity”, The Economist; “Good Defensive Patents Are Bad Patents,” Julian Sanchez.

{ 3 comments }

1 Adam 08.03.11 at 8:45 am

Notice how the more notable players have more arrows coming in than going out.

2 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.03.11 at 2:42 pm

Previous Congressional attempts to rationalize our patent system have foundered on opposition by the pharmaceutical industry, who don’t lose much to patent-trolls.

The answer is for Congress to create separate legal standards for software patents (if they are not abolished entirely). Ideas might include:

(1) robust challenge rights against defective patents
(But, to deter frivolous challenges, an unsuccessful challenger should be required to pay a successful defender’s legal fees)
(2) full information to the jury on a patent’s title history.
Is the original inventor filing the suit?
If not, is it being filed by a company that makes real products?
Is the suit consistent with the spirit of the original inventor and patent holder? (Obviously not, in lawsuits against Free Software applications)
(3) Damages in successful patent suits to be computed on “quantum meruit” principles– how much does the patent actually contribute to the profits from a product– rather than “punish and deter infringement” principles.

3 Hugo S. Cunningham 08.06.11 at 9:20 pm

That superb NPR article “when patents attack” has influenced the Wikipedia article on Nathan Myhrvold. Up until about 1 August, the Wiki article was carefully air-brushed not only of the phrase “patent troll,” but even of the politest hint that his “Intellectual Ventures” might be controversial. Even the “discussion page,” usually a valuable repository of leads about controversial subjects, had been largely sanitized.

Since 1 August, that has changed. The article does not say much about the “patent troll” controversy, but it does at least mention it and provides a link to the “When patents attack” article.

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