Some of the news today was surprising, but some not so surprising. Here goes:Don Marti makes a smart but flawed (in my view) suggestion that appeasing patent trolls with a settlement may be the way to go, rather than fighting them off. I see his point, but the problem is that if everyone does this, patent trolls will proliferate. Do we really need to encourage them to have offspring? Firefox has apparently boosted its market share at the expense of Safari and Internet Explorer according to Net Applications. Net Applications also says, however, that it may have overcounted. Watch … Read more
While much of the industry lives in fear of a patent troll rearing its ugly head, Cognex has decided to take on trolls like Lemelson and Acacia, and has been spanking them on a regular basis.
As PJ at Groklaw notes, it's far too early to throw up our hands in despair at the dreaded patent trolls:Imagine if [Cognex] had, instead, thrown up his hands, assumed there was no hope, said the patent system was a joke, the system totally corrupt, etc. and just paid for a license he knew, and as he later proved, he didn't … Read more
Credit Jim Brady for speaking truthfully about a controversy even though he's never going to win in the court of cyber opinion.
In an interview with my colleague Greg Sandoval, Brady, who is the executive editor of the Washingtonpost.com, suggested that online anonymity can foster abusive, locker room language that violates Web site standards.
"People say things online they would never say when disagreeing with someone at the dinner table. I think heated debate is fine, but when there are (flame wars), many people won't take part for fear they will be attacked and bashed over … Read more
Editor's note: This story was updated at 3:25 p.m. PDT to add a response from the Coalition for Patent Fairness, which represents large software, hardware, and Internet companies. ARLINGTON, Va.--A handful of patent lawyers on Friday beat up on large technology companies lobbying for a U.S. patent system revamp, arguing that their efforts could discourage start-ups, prompt foreign competitors to rip off inventions, and tear apart the economy more generally.
There weren't any Silicon Valley interests directly represented during this panel discussion at a conference here hosted by the American Bar Association's intellectual-property … Read more
Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and one of the fathers of tabletop role-playing games, died on Tuesday at the age of 69. He had suffered from heart problems.
The news was first announced on the message board of Troll Lord Games, the publisher of Gygax's most recent works. It has since been directly confirmed by the company, which will post an announcement on its Web site later Tuesday.
Gygax was best known for helping create Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. He also pioneered tabletop role-playing games. The first D&D rulebooks were released … Read more
I failed to see this last week, but Acacia Research, the patent troll that recently went after Red Hat and Novell, got its first day in court with a Texas jury and lost. Big time. It was seeking $900 million in damages, as paidContent notes, and instead got 35 percent of its stock price chopped.
I weep for Acacia. OK. Maybe not. Looking at this stock chart, I will admit that a smile has played across my face:… Read more
In two consecutive days, The Wall Street Journal presented two different answers. The first is not surprising: Intellectual Ventures, the brainchild of ex-Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. It's now out "to raise as much as $1 billion to help develop and patent inventions, many of them from universities in Asia." I know I will sleep so much more comfortably knowing that IVL will be out plundering Asia so that it can turn around and plunder the rest of the planet.
The second might surprise you: the University of California. The University of California may be especially pernicious because it can sue for patent infringement but has sovereign immunity:… Read more
Groklaw has uncovered a curious, but perhaps not surprising, connection between Acacia, the patent troll behind the Linux desktop patent lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell, and BayStar, SCO's sugardaddy (with Microsoft behind its support for SCO). Incest runs amok in the patent trolling world.Guess who has Acacia Research, the parent of IP Innovation, now suing Red Hat and Novell over alleged patent infringement, in their portfolio, or at least demonstrably did in 2006? Baystar [PDF]. What a small world. Who'd think that the very same Baystar, whose Lawrence Goldfarb told the court in the SCO v. … Read more
Sometimes you just have to sing. I read Groklaw's report on a new lawsuit launched by IP Innovation (subsidiary of Acacia) against Novell and Red Hat over Linux desktop infringements of its "a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" patent and just wanted to break out into Stephen Sondheim:
Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer? Losing my timing this late In my career? And where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother - they're here.
Why clowns? Well, the more Groklaw digs into this, the more it looks like the ultimate patent troll/clown, Microsoft, may be behind this all. Some might say that Ballmer always sings on cue, and surely his commentary about Red Hat last week may be coincidence or simply poor timing, but Monsieur le Troll must be smiling, regardless.
Groklaw writes:… Read more
It's almost time for another patent and intellectual property auction from Ocean Tomo, and the gem in the catalog this time is a patent on a poker game.
Invented by Anthony Cabot, the game, informally called Multiway Poker, involves dealing 25 cards facedown in a 5x5 array. You then make hands out of the rows. In all, there are 12 hands in each deal: five vertical rows, five horizontal rows and two diagonal ones. There are a ton of variations, but the most common is draw poker.
The patent, No. 7,007,953, has an expected value of $75,… Read more