Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Patent trolls, again

from an article by Jeff John Roberts titled Troll sues New York Times with 1998 patent from Holocaust group

In this case, the patents in question were granted to the Shoah Foundation, a non-profit launched with the help of Steven Spielberg that is dedicated to recording testimony of Holocaust survivors.

A Shoah spokesman said by phone that the University of Southern California, where the Foundation is located, now controls the patents. As TechDirt reported last year, USC auctioned a license to the patents in 2010 to a private equity firm which created a series of subsidiaries — including Preservation Technologies LLC — to demand payouts from companies ranging from Google to Facebook. This month, it expanded the campaign to target the Times, Fox, CBS and video service Vimeo.

Patent troll litigation is a drain on a wide variety of industries, and raises ethical questions for universities like USC, which espouse a belief in research and innovation while simultaneously facilitating broad-based patent trolling. The University of Boston recently commenced a similar lawsuit campaign directly, filing suits against Apple and dozens of other companies over a 1997 patent.

See also BU Sues Leading Tech Firms for Patent Infringement including text

The University has filed a number of lawsuits against some of the brightest stars in the high-tech constellation—Microsoft, Motorola, Sony, and BlackBerry among them—to defend a College of Engineering professor’s patented material used in the production of blue LEDs (light-emitting diodes), which are components in many electronic devices.


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