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Google Open Source Patents Technology

Google's Schmidt: Patent Wars Harm Startups 82

Nerval's Lobster writes "Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt opened up to The Wall Street Journal in a Dec. 4 interview. Among the topics covered: the status of his company's ongoing patent war with Apple, as well as its attempts to make the Android mobile operating system more of a revenue giant. In Schmidt's mind, startups have the most to lose in the current patent wars: 'There's a young [Android co-founder] Andy Rubin trying to form a new version of Danger [the smartphone company Mr. Rubin co-founded before Android]. How is he or she going to be able to get the patent coverage necessary to offer version one of their product? That's the real consequence of this.'"
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Google's Schmidt: Patent Wars Harm Startups

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  • Re:Funny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:45PM (#42192843)

    But buying up startups then killing their work doesn't?

    Arguably, no. Why do I say this? Because of two reasons:

    One...the fact that the startup got bought out provides incentive for other startups to form. Let's face it...being bought out by Google is a payday. It almost always means you've hit some kind of success, and as a result you are being paid well for the company. Failed startups that are bought as they lay on their death bed are never bought by companies like Google, but rather other smaller companies who want some minor aspect of what the startup still contains.

    Two...the fact that the people who started the first startup are now (after a year or so) free to start a new one. And they're MORE able to do so, because they have the experience they gained the first time around, the track record of having done it successfully before (VC's get their part of that buy-out payday too), and their own inherent financial stability now so that they don't have to worry about putting food on their table or paying the rent while they get the next venture up and running. They've made connections, made mistakes, and learned a lot along the way. I know several people who have done multiple startups, and they've all seen their original creation changed in some major way by the company that bought them out, but meh...they go on, and create something new.

  • Especially... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PortHaven ( 242123 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:57PM (#42193017) Homepage

    When patents are given for things as basic as rounded corners, or actions that have been around for decades, or grids of icons like my old Palm Pilot from the 90's.

  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:20PM (#42194091) Homepage

    Semiconductor companies have long held massive patent portfolios. They crossed licensed the patents to each other so, for them, the problem that you couldn't build anything without stepping on somebody's patent wasn't big issue. But startups don't have such portfolios and would be simply be crushed. Cyrix and Nexgen wanted to build x86 compatible processors but Intel had patents critical for compatibility that could not be worked around. They tried having their chips manufactured by IBM, which had cross-licensing agreement but both eventually had to be borged into larger companies (AMD and National Semiconductor) in order to keep operating.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson