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Patent Trolling - it's what old companies do

February 20, 2010 11:15:43.579

I'm not sure whether I should laugh, or cry about this story - Kodak is trying to get touchscreen smartphones banned on patent infringement grounds:

Eastman Kodak claims that Apple Computers and Research in Motion are guilty of infringement of patents. Kodak has taken the step to request the U.S. International Trade Commission prevent both companies from importing their smart phones into the United States. Nokia filed a similar complaint in December 2009.

What patents, and why?

Kodak's complaint says the iPhone and BlackBerry infringe on the patent approved in 2001 regarding the ability to preview images. Kodak made more than $622 million on intellectual property last year and expects to receive more than $450 million in royalty this year from Samsung. It is seeking a similar agreement with Apple and Research in Motion.

How hard would it be to change the system by just this tiny amount: in order to bring a patent infringement suit, you would have to actually be providing a competing product in the space that you are complaining about - thus showing that there's actual harm? I know, it's just crazy talk. How would that keep legions of lawyers employed?

Update: I love this from Gordon Weakliem:

Ideas are worthless without execution, and as it is, the practice of patent trolling completely subverts the intended economic incentive behind patents. I’m amazed that corporate America hasn’t thrown their collective weight at Congress and forced reform. I suspect that the attitude is an intellectual property Cold War the large patent-holders are building a system of mutually assured destruction and regard the patent terrorists as a manageable cost of doing business.

Read the rest of his post - he makes some great points.

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posted by James Robertson

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