I am going to take a different approach to my Thursday Rants and instead of looking at three items from my news services I am just going to really focus on ripping into a topic and well throw my opinion out to the winds.
The land of Patent Trolls is alive and well and I have expressed my dislike for this class of money grabbing IP (Intellectual Property) whores more than once in the past (Patent Trolls beware….Google’s Legal Boss is Tired of Patent Warfare, What I hate about Technology…today, Facebook vs. Google+, Patent Law is Bunk and iPad RedFlags) but this latest foray into outright crap really takes the cake.
I love my guilty pleasure of Social Gaming. In fact if I was not writing this blog every morning that is exactly what I would be doing. But in a recent court filing against US Patent No. 7076445 it would appear that the act of buying and trading “virtual credits” is actually owned by a shell company called Gametek LLC.
I am no patent lawyer but this has gone on long enough. I can see the importance of patents to protect the IP of the creator of an idea but this patent has been bought, sold, traded and transferred multiple times since it was filed back in 2000 and granted its patent status in 2006.
There needs to be a line drawn that allows the protection of an idea, a concept or a product and one that allows for the innovation and development of new and profitable business ventures. The current state of Patent Law and Patent Enforcement does neither and the only people reaping the benefit seem to be Patent Trolls and companies that gobble up their competition (not for market share but for their IP rights).
Also this week, Amazon and its Kindle line of e-readers were hit with a patent infringement suit with regards to its “screen saver app”. US Patent 5,748,190 is another “commodity” bit of IP that has traded hands several times until it ended up in the grubby mitts of Acacia Research Group who in turn moved it over to it “Troll Division” NPS in December.
What amazes me about the “Mother of all Trolls” is that even their home page puts their Patent Conquests directly on the fore front for all the world to see. Maybe it is just me but how can the employees of this company live with themselves? I would not be able to sleep at night knowing that I was a part of such an ugly beast that does nothing but try to stifle innovation and extort money for ideas that are not even their own! Working for a company that shares the “Research Group” part of their name…I am embarrassed to be held in the same general category as them…even if by name alone.
What is even more crazy is that Acacia is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: ACTG) that has filed more than 300 patent suites in the past 18 years and generates $350 million in revenues from Patent Enforcement and Licensing agreements. This is absolutely insane that this activity is allowed to go on…this is nothing more than an act of Extortion but if the company was owned by Italians (really bad generalization that all Italians are Mobsters) and not Norwegians (Viking Pirates must be making a comeback) it would be under investigation and be part of numerous RICO investigations for organized Crime.
I just don’t know anymore. A system that was designed to promote innovation and protect legitimate owners of IP has been so tainted by the “stank” of slimy legal representation and shady back room deals is more than just pathetic…it is disturbing.
Well…that is the new style of Rant.
Chris J Powell