The patents plague

AFP report at the NZ Herald:

The internet Age is becoming as known for patent litigation as it is for online innovation. …

The break in the unofficial truce was inspired in part by “patent trolls,” entities that buy or file with the sole intent of some day suing entrepreneurs who use the ideas.

Ranks of patent trolls are growing, as is the number of large companies turning to patent litigation not just to cash-in but to gain or protect market terrain, according to Chien. …

AOL this week announced plans to sell more than 800 patents to Microsoft in a US$1.056 billion deal giving the faded Internet star a needed cash injection.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said that the software giant is getting “a valuable portfolio that we have been following for years.”

Facebook in March confirmed that it bought 750 software and networking patents from IBM to beef up its arsenal on an increasingly lawsuit-strewn technology battlefield.

Early this year, Google bought 188 patents and 29 patent applications related to mobile phones from IBM but did not disclose how much it paid.

Last year, IBM sold Google 2,000 or so patents ranging from mobile software to computer hardware and processors.

I’m one of those who think copyright over code is the better way to protect software intellectual property than patents, as seen by these ridiculous and expensive patent wars.

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