When Patent Attacks are Attacked Patently

Mobile Aug 03, 2011 No Comments

For anyone who hasn’t listened to it yet, last week’s This American Life was a breathtaking look at the broken system of software patents.  Entitled When Patents Attack, the episode educated consumers about how the business of software patents has not only begun to stifle innovation but is becoming a business unto itself.  A large portion of the program is devoted to an exposé of sorts about the company Intellectual Ventures, a patent holding company that presents itself as a service for inventors but in practice has become a major litigating force in the technology space.  If you haven’t listened to it already, follow the link above and enjoy one of the more accesible introductions to this matter that ends up affecting us more than most people realize.

It’s worth mentioning that the hosts of the show made clear that large companies like Google and Apple are now faced with the necessity of applying for and purchasing patents that could help them in future cases.  On the heels of last week, Google’s senior vice president David Drummond penned the blog post When Patents Attack Android, blasting the consortium of companies that outbid Google for the Nortel patent portfolio last month.  While everyone is frustrated with the current state of patent litigation in this country, Google is blaming the wrong party by attempting to call out Apple, Microsoft, RIM and everyone else in the group.  The truth is, I can’t do a better job of explaining this and pointing out the hypocrisy than John Gruber of Daring Fireball.  His article is short and cuts right to the matter.  Go have a read.

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