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Owner of Nortel Patents Sues Cisco For 'Immense' Patent Infringement 83

jfruh (300774) writes "The venerable Nortel Networks may have vanished into bankruptcy five years ago, but thanks to U.S. patent law, it can strike back at its old rival Cisco from beyond the grave. Spherix, a Virginia-based 'research company' that bought Nortel's patents in 2009, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Cisco has been knowingly violating 11 Nortel patents. 'The vast majority of Cisco's switching and routing revenue from March 2008 until the present is and has been generated by products and services implementing technology that infringes the Asserted Patents,' the lawsuit claims."
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Owner of Nortel Patents Sues Cisco For 'Immense' Patent Infringement

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:05PM (#46587687)
    Proof that patent chests don't work. If some non-practicing entity acquires the patents, your war chest doesn't help. What is Cisco going to do, sue Nortel for infringement (since there is apparently no formal cross-licensing agreement), and try to get those debts applied to the current patent holders, to cancel out their suit?

    This is a good thing, as it will help prove the downfall of the current patent system. When you can get the big patent holders scared of other patent holders, we can get some progress in trimming the power of the vague and obvious patent.
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:24PM (#46587889) Homepage Journal

    That sure doesn't sound like they're even pretending to be a research company they're patent trolls plain as day says it right on the first page of the site

    Don't be silly - the patent system only promotes the progress of science and the useful arts. It says so right in the Constitution. Government-granted monopolies are good for the economy.

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:24PM (#46587893) Homepage Journal

    Spherix aquired some of the patents from Rockstar last year

    And then they did 'research' - "Let's go through these things and see if we can sue any really big companies for biggie whopper zorkmids!"

    Thank you USPTO Lottery!

  • by Chirs ( 87576 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @06:14PM (#46588333)

    Once you accept the notion of patents in the first place (as a temporary monopoly on something in return for disclosing it instead of keeping it secret), it's a very small jump to buying and selling them. If an independent inventor comes up with an idea but doesn't have the capital to bring it to market, they can sell the patent to a bigger company.

    This is fine in and of itself. Even patent trolls would be fine if the patents they were holding were actually valid and the companies they were suing had in fact copied the idea from the published patent.

    The problems are twofold:
    1) If someone else comes up with the same idea totally independently, it should invalidate the patent as too obvious.
    2) Patents have been granted for things that should never have received them. In particular people have been allowed to patent *concepts* rather than *specific ways to implement a concept*.

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