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Supreme Court Continues to Address Patent Concerns 78

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-a-long-way-to-go dept.
The Supreme Court has taken on another possibly landscape-changing patent case that will determine if patent holders are able to sue everyone up and down the food chain for a patent infringement. "This case, officially between LG and Quanta, really concerns the question of how many times patent holders can get a cut of any component found violating a patent. Currently, patent holders will often sue up and down the food chain. So, if you happen to have a patent on a component within a motor that is used in automobile wipers, you could sue the motor maker, the wiper maker and the auto manufacturer -- and get all three to pay, even though the same product is used throughout the supply chain. This case will look at whether or not it makes sense to allow for that type of double, triple or quadruple dipping."
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Supreme Court Continues to Address Patent Concerns

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  • ... and sue ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nategoose (1004564)
    the car dealer, the owner when she sells the car, the used car dealer, the shop for replacing the wiper motor when it breaks, and the parts store for selling them the replacement
    • by idontgno (624372)

      While you're at it.. sue the drivers of the cars with the patent-infringing wiper motor. They're obviously benefiting from the innovation without having compensated the patent-holder.

      And the drivers of all other cars which may share the road with the cars which contain the patent-infringing motor. They are benefiting from the innovation too, by virtue of being safer on the road because of the the other driver's infringing use of the patented wiper motor.

      Hell, there's no limit to the breadth of (deep or shal

      • No joke, they can. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @02:00PM (#20757895) Homepage Journal

        While you're at it.. sue the drivers of the cars with the patent-infringing wiper motor. They're obviously benefiting from the innovation without having compensated the patent-holder.
        They can, actually, do exactly this. "Use" of an infringing device is considered infringement. Generally, patentholders don't bother to go after end users of consumer product, because it's wringing blood from a stone and really terrible PR, but they sometimes threaten it as a way to discourage use of a possibly-infringing product. (Cf. Anti-Ford ads taken out by competitors alleging that Ford's products infringed the Selden patent.)
      • BTW, don't actually try to do this without paying me my license fee, since I've already patented this business process innovation.

        I'm going to cite SCO as having prior art.

    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Sounds almost like the RIAA/MPAA tactics...
  • by lottameez (816335) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:07PM (#20757159)
    ...are the lawyers.
  • It doesn't... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by repvik (96666) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:11PM (#20757213)
    Of course it doesn't make sense to sue the whole food chain. Sue the manufacturer of the specific part, and leave it at that. Imagine how much fun it'd be if someone discovered that Award (or some other major BIOS manufacturer) had violated a patent in their BIOSes. There is no way the rest of the food chain can verify that no patents have been violated. Of course they can sue Award for damages, but imagine 400 companies suing Award. Anyone get any money? Nah. It would be incredibly expensive for a large manufacturer (eg. Dell) to verify that each and every component it uses does not violate any patents or IP. Same way with a car. Car manufacturers manufacture a fraction of the components themselves, and buy eg. wiper motors from Bosch.
    • by rainmayun (842754)
      Hence why large companies have defensive patent portfolios and "wink-wink, nod-nod" gentlemen's agreements not to sue each other. If you notice, most patent disputes are significantly asymmetric in terms of the size and scale of the parties involved.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      This case deals with the other side.
      I have a patent, award violates it so I sue award, the motherboard manufacturers, and the retailers.

      When really, the only group that I should be able to sue is award.

      This is no different then going after consumer because the company they bought a product from violated some agreement with someone else.
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:33PM (#20757487)
      The real problem is who do you have to sue based on what your patent claims.

      Let's take the example used in the summary of a component used in a motor in a windshield wiper blade. What does the new component do that made it patentable?

      - Is the innovation purely in the use in a motor? (Reducing wear and tear?)
      - Or maybe is the innovation in its effect on the wiper? (A smoother wiping motion with less noise?)
      - Or maybe is the innovation in how the car performs? (Allowing a more aerodynamically friendly wiper?)

      What if the patented item does all three and claims all three things? Does a SCOTUS decision ruling that you can only collect once open the door for a finger-pointing exercise between defendants (something the courts like to avoid) in trying assign infringement? Does going straight to the bottom of the supply chain always make sense? (For example, what if it doesn't do anything for the motor itself but only for the higher level functions?)

      These are very important balance issues that the SCOTUS will have to consider.
      • Ummm you sue who is actually producing the violating item. Of course with a bit of maneuvering that violating producer could be a shell company out of the courts jurisdiction with physical production in china at which case the issue becomes more complex as you mentioned.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Valdrax (32670)
          Ummm you sue who is actually producing the violating item.

          That's the bottom of the supply chain argument I mentioned earlier. It seems the easiest argument, but what happens if the innovation is based on the use of the component in a final product and not an intermediary one?

          For example, let's imagine a windshield wiper that automatically adjusts its speed to the rate of rainfall. This would require at least two components -- a sensor for the rain and a controller that acts on said information. Assume th
          • by profplump (309017)
            You're making this more complicated than is has to be -- I can't imagine a scenario where the first assembly of violating system is a difficult point to find. Someone actually assembled the bits into a violating system and sold it. That's the bottom of the chain, that's who you can sue.

            In the case of your wipers example it's just a question of what the patent covers. If it's just the control system, then that component is in violation all by itself, and its manufacturer is at fault. If it's just the practic
            • by Valdrax (32670)
              In the case of your wipers example it's just a question of what the patent covers. If it's just the control system, then that component is in violation all by itself, and its manufacturer is at fault. If it's just the practical application of the control system then it's the auto manufacturer, because they put all the bits together.

              The problem is that patents are not restricted to only describing one thing. A patent can describe both a control system and an application thereof in its claims; it doesn't hav
          • by Gr8Apes (679165)
            Actually, that would be at least 3 patents, one for the sensing item, one for the wiper control, and one for the combined parts. And therein lies a problem, because the sensors have been around for a long time, so you can only patent a very very specific feature, same for the wiper control, and for the integration piece.
          • by Ajehals (947354)
            In your example I don't see why you couldn't go after all three, what you couldn't do though is go after whoever is next in line, lest say the company that resells them AND the company that sells the vehicles, AND the company that sells these vehicles used, AND the end user.

            The supply chain as I understand it will have a discrete point where the infringement occurs for the first time, if you had a patent for a rear view mirror that included say a method of shaping and coating plastic for a better reflection
          • by guruevi (827432)
            I think that is the biggest flaw in our current patenting system.

            In my thinking, ONE should only be able to patent a single working and finished product that ONE will sell. I can patent the motor that runs the wiper if you want to keep the car analogy so that you can't manufacture the motor all by yourself and sell it for a lower price, but if you want to use the wiper motor in your car or your robotics experiment or in your wife's vibrator, you shouldn't have to pay me extra except for the price that I s
          • by sjames (1099)

            Your reasonable argument shows a fundamental problem in the patent system.

            First, it is unreasonable to hold a company responsable for the use someone else makes of their product. Any one of the 3 suppliers might have chosen not to produce an integrated system to avoid patent problems. It's not reasonable to drag them back in. It's even possible that by not knowing the internal details of the componants, even the integrator didn't know the whole would violate the patent.

            It's also unreasonable to hold cus

    • IANAL, etc.

      I think that the Roberts court has done an admirable job of tackling real legal issues and helping to make the law consistant, just, and effective. For example, they have addressed:

      1) Can religions use otherwise illegal drugs in their ceremonies? Yes (interestingly, as a matter of statutory rather than constitutional law). See UVD v. Gonzalez.

      2) What constitutes a patent being "obvious?" An obvious innovation is now defined in a way which is meaningful and can be meaningfully used as a defe
    • Re:It doesn't... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:38PM (#20757551) Homepage
      Well, that was my first thought. But when I reversed it "Should you never sue anyone but the closest in the chain" it wasn't really that clear. I'm sure there are ways to construct some sort of shell company that'll be the the actual infringer, while others are turning the real profit. A classic example are all the cafes and restaurants that go bankrupt, but the building owners which are often the same, never do. Legally they have one company owning it, and one renting and operating it. Or some sort of transit company which buys legally produced goods abroad, then sells them in the US violating US patents. It can be basicly massless with no money to collect. But yes, in the general case where they've bought it at normal rates then the original producer should be the one paying.
      • by dgatwood (11270)

        That will always be a problem. That's why we need changes to our legal framework that make it easier for business owners and management to be held legally liable for damages caused by the company if those people were aware that the damage was happening. Case in point, the idea that people can quite literally commit murder with malice aforethought (e.g. tobacco companies) and get away with it without any individual liability is breathtaking (no pun intended).

        Such changes to the laws would make shell comp

        • by rainmayun (842754)
          If you can prove murder (or as a more relevant example, fraud) in a court of law, the limited liability protection afforded by incorporation won't protect the defendant.

          I don't see tobacco companies as murderers, because it takes a willful act to smoke a cigarette. That's like charging the CEO at Ford for vehicular homicide because someone ran over the victim with an Explorer. You might call them exploiters, and find plenty of ethical issues therein, but murder (to me) isn't one of them.
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            It isn't the same thing at all. A Ford Explorer, if used properly, does not kill people. A cigarette, if used properly, does; the intended purpose of a cigarette is to smoke it, and doing so directly results in death. They are providing a product that was designed to hook people with the knowledge that its use would be fatal to a substantial percentage of its users. I see no difference between that and designing razor blade packages to appeal to emo kids for wrist cutting....

            If you want a Ford example

      • by bidule (173941)
        Well then sue for the real amount. If the shell company goes bankrupt, sue the next ones down the supply chain for the residual amount. That seems fair to me.
    • by ExE122 (954104) *
      While I agree with you for the most part, the solution isn't quite that simple. The problem is that the current patent laws don't make it so clear. I'll use your example of an Award chip that violates a patent (lets say from Pheonix). The issue is that Dell would probably have a patent out for their computer which clearly lists the use of the violating Award BIOS chip. Because of this, the Dell patent is a violation as well. Sure Pheonix can sue Award, but that doesn't mean that Dell's patent is now va
      • The issue is that Dell would probably have a patent out for their computer which clearly lists the use of the violating Award BIOS chip.

        Dell doesn't go get patents for every one of their computers, or each configuration of parts. Any parts which they make I'm sure they have patents on, like their case with the hinges (assuming they build it.) Getting a patent for every amalgamation of parts they assemble is 1: impossible, since I would think this fails the test of novelty, and 2: ridiculous. Even assuming the patents would be granted, the products wouldn't be offered anymore by the time the patent process was over.

      • IANAL.

        In any case, I'm pretty sure Dell doesn't patent a computer design using an Award Bios chip (since a bios is software and generally flashed into a commodity rom device).

        But for arguments sake, if Phoenix had a patent on a method and apparatus for combobulating a XYZ-Bus device which they reduced to practice in their Bios code and Award implemented this in their Bios and licenced their bios to Dell. If Dell had another patent on a method and aparatus for discombobulating a ZYX-Bus device using a XYZ-de
    • Absolutely. The secondary purchaser takes it for granted that what is being sold to them, the seller holds appropriate patent/license to manufacture. The onus shouldn't be on the customer, but the manufacturer.

      As a side point, anyone know if you "have" to do a patent search? I mean if your planning on patenting your invention, you have to make sure that there isn't a patent already. But say you sit in your office come up with a great idea, and just want to sell the goods. If you don't want the patent your

  • This case will look at whether or not it makes sense to allow for that type of double, triple or quadruple dipping.

    That depends. who's asking? It always makes sense if you're a lawyer.
    • Right, even the defending attorneys make out. Whatever lawyer is bringing this to the Supreme Court must stand to make so much on this case that his future loss of revenue pales in comparison...
  • Patent Laundering (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nymz (905908) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:28PM (#20757433) Journal
    If you deny legal redress, with exception for 'first sale' defendants, then you could certainly expect to see shady companies simply subcontracting out for any possible patent infringing items.

    1) Setup a puppet company
    2) Infringe all you want
    3) Profits!!! stay safe (safely stolen) from patent holders
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I hope you contracted out your post. Because you just violated my patent on patent laundering! Not to mention the Unix code in your post! I'm suing!

      -- Darl McBride

    • Re:Patent Laundering (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:44PM (#20757631)

      1) Setup a puppet company
      2) Infringe all you want
      3) Profits!!! stay safe (safely stolen) from patent holders
      Wouldn't discovery expose a shell company like that? RICO covers that sort of thing, doesn't it?
      • Shell Company (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nymz (905908)

        Wouldn't discovery expose a shell company like that? RICO covers that sort of thing, doesn't it?
        A shell company is not an active bussiness, often holding zero assets. A puppet company would be a real company, that passes on cheap (patent infringing) items, but not passing on the legal liability.
        • by e4g4 (533831)
          Good point. Makes me think that it might be a possible way for start-up companies to avoid being destroyed by patent litigation. Say for example, some relatively small startup company (this could apply to both software and hardware) is manufacturing a product that has a component that could maybe-kinda-sorta infringe on another company's patent. Said startup could spin off a (very) small company with very few assets, and contract with it to produce said component - if the patent holder sues and the compo
      • by kebes (861706)

        Wouldn't discovery expose a shell company like that? RICO covers that sort of thing, doesn't it?

        But in many cases the main reselling company and the base manufacturer might not even be in collusion.

        The problem is that if it's always the base manufacturer that is liable, then being such a manufacturer is not very attractive. Investors may specifically keep such companies small to limit their own potential losses. The end result is the same: damages to resellers and companies "higher in the food chain" ar

    • by ivormi (1106139)
      The patent laundering question is certainly valid, but I would think in those cases that there should be some reasonable cause to believe that the downstream company knew the component to be infringing. e.g. If I'm making a product and am simply choosing components based on price and performance, I shouldn't be held liable for patent infringement unless I'm aware of problems with the components I'm purchasing.

      At least that way there would be *some* onus on the side of the prosecution to prove wrongful inte
    • Doesn't your argument make a case against so-called "puppet companies", rather than patent laundering?

      Still, as another poster suggested, the profiting company would be an accessory or involved in conspiracy to infringe. Perhaps not as big a fine, but would jurors give two bits about your legal setup?

      I don't think it's conscionable to expect the seventh company down the food-chain (say Johnnie fixing the neighborhood computers) to pay for Award infringing on someone else's patent. If Award goes bankrupt,
      • I don't think it's conscionable to expect the seventh company down the food-chain (say Johnnie fixing the neighborhood computers) to pay for Award infringing on someone else's patent.
        And a jury would agree with you, if someone brought a case against poor Johnnie. There is no guarantee of a winning case (against Johnnie), just as there shouldn't be a guarantee of a lost case (against criminals) due to a 'first sale' legal loophole.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:36PM (#20757529)
    I propose a axillary test for obviousness. If two or more companies already implemented your patent before your initial application date then your invention was too obvious to patent. This seems like a common sense idea. That if someone is already using your proposed idea you ought not to be able to patent it. This would drastically cut down on patent trolling.
    • by ween14 (827520)

      This is already how the patent process is supposed to work, in the USA at least. We have a first to invent patent process here, which is supposed to mean that you can not get a patent on something that another person has already invented and been using.

      In most other countries however, they have switched to the first to file method, and there is pressure on the USA to switch as well.

      The problem is that it is very difficult to determine who invented/implemented/developed something first. This is one of the

      • This is already how the patent process is supposed to work, in the USA at least. We have a first to invent patent process here, which is supposed to mean that you can not get a patent on something that another person has already invented and been using.

        I do know it's a first to invent system but why are ridiculous things like patents for "1-click" shopping lawsuits happening? Amazon and a few others had that feature before the patent was filed?
    • They already have such a "test", it is called PRIOR ART.

      The only problem with prior art is that the patent offices are pretty slow and often do half-assed jobs at evaluating prior art when people point it out. The proposed USA patent reform is supposed to make it easier to invalidate patents by submitting prior art to reduce the amount of patent trolls.
      • There goes my patent for using a gas turbine to power a ducted fan for the purpose of generating thrust for aircraft.
      • IMO prior art doesn't go far enough, if two people independently invent something within a short time window then IMO there was nothing particularlly inovative about the first one.

        I believe there are a LOT of "inventions" that are the result of the obvious soloutions to a new problem or the obvious uses of new technology.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kebes (861706)
      I'm not a patent expert, but isn't this already the case? Prior art is indeed a valid defense against patent claims.

      The problem is that proving prior art is difficult. Even if you are in the right, and can provide evidence to that effect, it becomes a long and expensive court case, which many cannot afford (especially the small-time inventors that patent law ostensibly promotes).

      Patent-happy companies will continue to throw as many patents at the system as they can. Whatever sticks is ammunition, regardless
  • Lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by db32 (862117) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:37PM (#20757537) Journal
    Ever wonder why lawyers write the laws? And no this isn't about some vast conspiracy by the megacorps to make people hate lawyers. A lawyer acting in your best interests involves you not being in court anymore and protected in the future, which is entirely counter to their best interests of being in court and continuing to bill someone. The common man can do nothing until the laws are written by common men, common men cannot write the laws so long as people attempt to exploit them. The folk clever in manipulating the law for exploiting are lawyers, so you must hire another lawyer to defend yourself against that, and the cycle continues forevermore. The underlying desire of men to exploit eachother lead to the creation and continuation of lawyers. The best you can do is get a lawyer from out of town so that the opposition's lawyer isn't his golfing buddy and he might actually do a decent job of representing you.
    • by Valdrax (32670)
      A lawyer acting in your best interests involves you not being in court anymore and protected in the future, which is entirely counter to their best interests of being in court and continuing to bill someone.

      Not really. That's a common misperception, but the rules of the courts are strongly tilted to force people into some form of non-judicial settlement. Of course, big corporate lawyers have many, many other things that they can bill over outside of the courtroom, so your point isn't entirely moot there.

      T
      • by db32 (862117)
        All lawyers bill for many many other things outside the courtroom. To include drawing up the papers based on the agreement in the courtroom and then billing your ass when you have to send it back 5 times for corrections. The only tilt involved is towards the person with the least funds settling out of court, the other end is the person with the most funds dragging it out until the person with the least funds cannot afford a lawyer and must show up in court alone or settle with bad terms.

        I would rather h
    • by Oddster (628633)

      Ever wonder why lawyers write the laws?
      No. Lawyers do not write laws. Politicians do.

      You elected the politicians to write laws, but that's another topic.
      • by db32 (862117)
        Most of which are graduates from law school. Coincidence? The farther away from the law field a politician is the more likely they seem to not be asshats. Ron Paul is a doctor.
  • by starseeker (141897) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:45PM (#20757661) Homepage
    While it is refreshing to see an outburst of sanity from the Supreme Court, remember that Congress can proceed to pass new laws (a point made by the blogger.)

    If the commercial interests in the patent system in its current form are able to purchase enough political influence, Congress may take the steps needed to make software and friends explicitly patentable under the law.

    The only answer to something like that would be to vote in people who would change the law back to something sane. Will it happen? Who knows. It doesn't seem too terribly fantastic given the current system...
  • Of course it makes sense to sue as many people as you can, because after all, each lawsuit makes money for lawyers. More law suits means more work for litigation experts, and after all, keeping the lawyers and judges employed is what this is all about REALLY.
    • by mikey07 (1162587)
      You do realize it isn't up to the lawyers to file the lawsuit... it's up to the patent holders (who generally hate to pay lawyers as much as anybody). The patent system is not about "keeping the lawyers employed," it's about encouraging technological progress (which it definitely does, despite what slashdot nerds say). And patents definitely are not about keeping judges employed... they have plenty to do with all the criminal cases and insurance companies screwing people over.
      • by nagora (177841)
        The patent system is not about "keeping the lawyers employed,"

        That's true: the legal system as a whole is about keeping lawyers employed.

        it's about encouraging technological progress

        Well, that's the excuse. The reality is that it's just a way to protect market dominance, which is the general purpose of any monopoly, state-granted or home-grown, and always has been.

        TWW

        • by mikey07 (1162587)
          The reality is that it's just a way to protect market dominance

          Yes, but it is a temporary way to protect market dominance. And giving someone a temporary and limited monopoly encourages people to invent (so they can get that limited monopoly for their inventions) and it encourages people to innovate around the patented invention.
          • by nagora (177841)
            Yes, but it is a temporary way to protect market dominance.

            Not when you're filing 2000 patents a year it's not. The patent system protects the market leaders far more extensively than it does their challengers who can rarely even afford to find out what's already patented in the field of interest.

            TWW

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @01:48PM (#20757713)
    First sale doctrine already does apply to patents. More commonly referred to a patent exhaustion. The linked to -> linked to "patently o" reference explains it:

    "Exhaustion - also known as the first sale doctrine - serves as a default rule in both patent and copyright laws. Under the principle, a license fee is only be charged one time per object. Thus, a rights holder controls the first sale of a protected object, but does not control subsequent sales. The copyright rule is codified in Section 109. The patent rule, however, is only based on case law."

    You can ignore this if you prefer hysteria and misinformation to reality.
    • by KiahZero (610862)
      Yet LG only licenses its patents with a clause preventing exhaustion. If such clauses are allowed, the first sale doctrine is meaningless, because patent-holders who want to "dip" multiple times will simply include similar language in their contracts.
    • I think the subsequent sale issue is referring to the idea that liability would be extended to "users" of the product (for example, Microsoft claiming patents on areas of Linux and suing not just developers but also companies that use the software). The issue between Intel and LG involved patented chips that had been *legally* licensed and sold to one company who then sold them to another company. LG wanted to collect revenue from the second buyers but was smacked down since they had already been paid for a
      • by KiahZero (610862)
        Your summary of this case isn't correct. In this case, Quanta purchased licensed chips from Intel. The question presented to the court is whether a clause in LG's license prevents the patent rights from exhaustion when Intel sells the chips to others.
    • by DRJlaw (946416) on Wednesday September 26, 2007 @04:46PM (#20759955)
      "First sale doctrine already does apply to patents."

      True, but the article summary and your response both gloss over the interesting issue in favor of something that's irrelevant. Patent exhaustion exists. Caselaw preventing double dipping for infringement damages already exists. This situation is different.

      The decision in the Federal Circuit [fedcir.gov] holds that a patent is exhausted by an unconditional sale, p. 7, in line with Supreme Court precedent, but also holds that a patent rights are not exhausted by a conditional sale, pp. 7-8, in line with about 20 years of Federal Circuit precedent.

      The interesting problem here is that the LGE patents do not cover the products sold by Intel. They only cover those products when combined with additional components. It appears that in the absence of a license, LGE could only have sued Intel for "contributory infringement" because Intel would be making products specially adapted to implement LGE's invention when combined with other components, see 35 U.S.C. 271(f) [uspto.gov], but not the patented combination itself. In essence, LGE and Intel negotiated a license that makes Intel a component source/supplier. Now those who purchased the specialized components and combined them in a manner that would infringe the patents are arguing that a license to manufacture a non-infringing but specialized component without fear of a patent lawsuit also conveys to the supplier's customers the right to practice the entire invention. That's not a clear cut question.

      One of the axioms of property law is that you can only sell that which you yourself possess. If Intel has a license that merely permits it to manufacture and sell a specialized component, then arguably the purchasors have the right to resell the specialized component (that fraction of the patent right is exhausted), but do not have the right to manufacture or sell the patented invention because not even Intel has the right to manufacture and sell the patented invention. If Intel has a license to manufacture and sell the patented invention using its own components, with LGE getting a percentage of the revenues for the Intel components, then arguably neither Intel nor its purchasors have the right to manufacture or sell the patented invention when manufactured using non-Intel components -- LGE would be deprived it its rightful revenues, and Intel would infringe the patent for those combinations made with non-Intel parts.

      The decision is unclear on the license structure, and I don't have time to dredge up the District Court decision, but there are potentially valid reasons for dividing up patent rights and royalty rates in this manner that cannot be reasonably described as double-dipping. For example, the Intel chips may still have value when combined with non-Intel chips in ways that do not produce the patented invention, but it may not make economic sense to manufacture two types of chips, one with the specialized aspect and one without. A licence with a modest royalty that is less than the entire royalty, whatever that is, benefits Intel by simplifying its product line and securing it from the potential of being sued as a result of the actions of its customers.
  • Maybe next they'll look at how many people the RIAA can sue over the P2P distribution of the same song. They've settled with Napster, KaZaA, some sort of deal with the major ISP's, and are now after normal consumers and college students.
    • by Microlith (54737)
      Considering that each redistribution is itself a copyright violation, as many as they can afford to.
  • Hey look at this, I found the origional patent for fire. Guess I get to sue anyone that uses fire for infringing on my family patent. Anyone who makes lighters, firewood, fireplaces, stoves, ovens, cars, planes, etc. Im rich man Im rich!

    eh I can dream anyway
  • The Principle of Final Sale should act as a firewall against this kind of touring lawsuit - justice is based in intent. Punishment should not derive from ignorance.

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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