Patent Trolls vs. Progress

Microsoft announced this week that it’s paying America Online $1.1 billion in cash for 800 of its patents. This comes just nine months after Apple, Microsoft and others beat out Google and Intel for control of Nortel Networks’ 6,000 patents, paying a then astounding $4.5 billion in cash. And in August of last year, Google announced a deal for Motorola Mobility along with their 24,000 patents for $12.5 billion. What’s going on here?

It goes back to March 2006, when BlackBerry phone maker RIM agreed to pay a whopping $612.5 million to settle a mobile email patent infringement case with patent-holding company NTP. This comes to $6 for each BlackBerry ever sold. So-called patent trolls, those that own patents but don’t sell products or services, are a pain in the side of those that do.

Read the rest of this post on the original site »


Must-Reads from other Websites

Panos Mourdoukoutas

Why Apple Should Buy China’s Xiaomi

Paul Graham

What I Didn’t Say

Benjamin Bratton

We Need to Talk About TED

Mat Honan

I, Glasshole: My Year With Google Glass

Chris Ware

All Together Now

Corey S. Powell and Laurie Gwen Shapiro

The Sculpture on the Moon

About Voices

Along with original content and posts from across the Dow Jones network, this section of AllThingsD includes Must-Reads From Other Websites — pieces we’ve read, discussions we’ve followed, stuff we like. Six posts from external sites are included here each weekday, but we only run the headlines. We link to the original sites for the rest. These posts are explicitly labeled, so it’s clear that the content comes from other websites, and for clarity’s sake, all outside posts run against a pink background.

We also solicit original full-length posts and accept some unsolicited submissions.

Read more »