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Patents The Almighty Buck The Courts Wireless Networking

Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes 436

akahige sends this excerpt from an article at TechDirt: "The Patent Examiner blog has the incredible story of Innovatio IP, a patent troll that recently acquired a portfolio of patents that its lawyers (what, you think there are any employees?) appear to believe cover pretty much any Wi-Fi implementation. They've been suing coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels first — including Caribou Coffee, Cosi, Panera Bread Co, certain Marriotts, Best Westerns, Comfort Inns and more. ... The lawyer representing the company, Matthew McAndrews, seems to imply that the company believes the patents cover everyone who has a home Wi-Fi setup, but they don't plan to go after such folks right now, for 'strategic' reasons."
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Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes

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  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:14PM (#37594872) Homepage Journal

    Because the U.S. patent system is fundamentally and completely broken. Patents cover the manufacture, distribution, or use of a patented technology. What, you didn't really think you owned that Wi-Fi access point, did you?

    The only reason this complete joke of a scheme hasn't led to public outcry is that the patent trolls haven't managed to screw over a broad enough segment of the population to make any real impact. If strict application of patent law were to allow some dirtbag company like this to take away the country's Internet connections, however, I predict all of Washington D.C. would be burning within the hour, sure as if Congress canceled Monday Night Football.

    As for this company, I vote we just go ahead and declare them to be enemy combatants and get it over with. It'll save everyone the trouble of dealing with the rioting and looting later. Just saying.

  • Short term thinking (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weedhopper ( 168515 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:15PM (#37594886)
    This solves one problem only once. Then the portfolios passes to the next person and the problem repeats itself.

    To solve the general problem, we need to encourage more ridiculous patent trolls. This needs to get to a critical threshold where the entire system is brought on trial and exposed for the absolute absurdity that it is.
  • This is why... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bky1701 ( 979071 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:21PM (#37594920) Homepage
    ...the western world's economy is collapsing. When you make ideas property, everyone gets hurt, even the big guys (but more so, the little guys). We already have patents and copyright strangling the market and preventing innovation, and now we're seeing more and more their use to undermine technology that is already a basis part of out society.

    This is just another example in an infinitely long chain of abuses, and still there is essentially no proof that either patents or copyright actually encourage much of anything. So, are we going to abolish imaginary property, or fade into legally enforced obscurity? Because I know China won't give a crap about our patents once they no longer need to sell us cheap junk. If all we export is old ideas and lawsuits, there will reach a point when other powerful countries just shut down that trade all together.

    Wake up, people, now is the time to elect people who are going to do something about this untenable situation. You aren't going to get another chance.
  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday October 03, 2011 @08:46PM (#37595076) Homepage Journal
    I hold a patent on the process of buying patents from other companies and then suing people who it might be argued are using something vaguely related to my patents and who are wealthy enough to pay me off but not wealthy enough to defend themselves legally.
    These bastards owe me money!
  • Re:CSIRO (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 04, 2011 @12:54AM (#37596128)

    Maybe, though the story the CSIRO guys tell is that the inventive step was using OFDM on indoor channels, which was not being done in 1992, and they were actually told by others that "it won't work". Also in their favour, they did develop and commercialise a product (via Radiata). They also didn't wait until WiFi was widespread, as they were in there from day one saying "we have a patent". Rather the big companies ignored them, hoping that they would go away. Eventually CSIRO got sick of doing it gently and brought out the big stick.

    On the bright side, the CSIRO patent must be nearing expiration (21 years), so it will soon be open season on WiFi?

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry