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Apple Transfers Patents Through Shell Company To Sue All Phone Makers 422

Posted by Soulskill
from the hand-in-cookie-jar dept.
New submitter dell623 writes "A patent lawsuit (PDF) by patent licensing firm Digitude Innovations curiously targeted all mobile manufacturers except Apple. A TechCrunch story has revealed that the patents used were transferred from Apple via a shell company to DI, and appear to cover features found in virtually all smartphones. The lawsuit even extends to companies that don't make Android phones, like Nokia and RIM, and to Android OEMs that Apple have not directly sued yet, like Sony. The business model of DI clearly implies that Apple would benefit financially from the lawsuit as a company that contributed patents to DI's portfolio."
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Apple Transfers Patents Through Shell Company To Sue All Phone Makers

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  • well done apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by phreakv6 (760152) <<phreakv6> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:57PM (#38328850) Homepage
    this is a smart way to avoid negative publicity. 'apple sues xyz' makes apple sound like an evil company. 'digitude innovation sues xyz' is a way protecting the brand
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @03:57PM (#38328852)

    Do we have to argue Automatic Radio v. Hazeltine Research and Zenith v. Hazeltine Research all over again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:04PM (#38328920)

    With business practices like these I can only wonder how long it will take for the us government to bring on charges of monopolistic practices and force a breakup of Apple's business portfolio. One can only hope.

  • At some point... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:07PM (#38328950) Homepage

    At some point this stops being about mere offensive lawsuits and goes into being plain evil.

  • by prehistoricman5 (1539099) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:07PM (#38328966)
    Are you so blind as to think that this is some brilliant plan by Apple to end the patent wars? If that's the case, then why didn't Apple sue everyone directly as they have done in the past? Why does Apple continue to litigate against anyone who even comes close to their designs? Why hasn't Apple simply used it's massive pile of cash to buy a few senators and congressmen and make them pass a law crippling the patent trolls? This is nothing more than a monopolistic power grab by Apple.
  • by LordKronos (470910) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:10PM (#38328984) Homepage

    OMG. Yep, our god Steve could never do anything wrong. He must have been trying to do something altruistic. Yep, never mind the fact that Apple outright sued several other companies over phone patents already. This time they must have been doing something good. I'm not sure why he would try to do this good deed secretly so as not to draw positive attention to the company, while at the same time doing the not-so-good deeds very publicly and drawing negative attention, but I'm sure he has his reasons. All hail Steve.

  • Re:well done apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nahdude812 (88157) * on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:14PM (#38329024) Homepage

    So Digitude Innovation is the new SCO, which makes Apple the new Microsoft.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:15PM (#38329042)

    I think they've been watching Microsoft rolling in the dough from all the android sales and they want in on the fun too. Why not? It's the way things are. Apple can continue to sell iPhones and make money and everyone else can make android phones and Apple can make money. It's nice to see them copying Microsoft's innovation for a change.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:22PM (#38329108)

    Of course that bull since they only targeted their direct competitors. Money is NOT the only outcome of patent suits, blocking products is another outcome and is something Apple is directly aiming for.

    The logical reason? Simple, GREED. ALOT of damage can be done before those patents are nullified, assuming they even will be. You make it sound as if lawsuits doesn't benefits the company suing when in fact it does immensely. Otherwise, patent trolls and massive lawsuits wouldn't be so common place.

    As for shutting everyone down, they don't have too. They only need to delay products and damage the companies enough for Apple to run away with more profit. Block basic features from competitors, block/delay products, and weaken the companies; even a partial success is still a success to a company.

  • Re:well done apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by postbigbang (761081) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:44PM (#38329272)

    Yes.

    Tim Cook has learned much from Steve Ballmer, on how to make money from cell phone makers and OEMs. iOS isn't going to run on any of them, so they make no direct enemies. Microsoft 'taxed' a few of their OEMs, but OEMs are used to being picked off by patent trolls.

    Bad move, Apple. You lose friends a handful at a time. Then there are no more handfuls.

  • Re:OMA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:48PM (#38329292)

    You know the world is fucked up if "groups of companies sharing patents" is seen as a good alternative.
    "No patents" should be the alternative.

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:48PM (#38329298)
    No, I really doubt that Apple is trying to wreck the patent system. Take a look at the lawsuits they've filed of late, specifically the immediate effect they've tried to have: broad suppression of competing products in whole markets-- Samsung's Galaxy tablet in Australia, for example. So far the bans have eventually been overturned, but that's still a win for Apple: a market that wants a particular technology isn't going to complain very much about selection; someone who is dead set on (say) a Galaxy is going to import one or wait for the courts to come to their senses, and they wouldn't have been a potential customer anyway.

    These temporary monopolies give Apple a huge head-start on their competitors: the typical consumer isn't going to buy multiple tablets or smartphones, and if they are then they'll be more inclined to purchase ones that they know will be interoperable. When the time comes to replace equipment, they'll be more likely to go with a brand that they're familiar with. Even if this sparks patent reform (which it almost certainly won't), Apple solidifies its grasp on lucrative markets.

  • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:53PM (#38329360) Homepage

    The bottom line is then:

    "WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS SHIT THEN?"

    1. Because they can
    2. Because they will earn more money this way

  • by znerk (1162519) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @04:53PM (#38329362)

    The outrage is right here - or are you missing the large number of comments calling out Apple for the crooked, non-innovating, patent-abusing company they have turned out to be?

    I am reminded of the parable with the snake and the turtle - the turtle doesn't want to carry the snake across the river because he is afraid the snake will bite him, but the snake convinces him to do so anyway, with the comment "Why would I bite you in the middle of the river? I would drown!"
    The turtle agrees to carry the snake across the river, and the snake bites him halfway across.
    "Why would you do that?!?" the turtle cries as he sinks.
    The snake replies, "I'm a snake, what did you expect?"

    The big problem with massive corporations is that they are designed to acquire profit. When we expect them to act in a fashion that is anything other than self-serving and greedy, we are expecting the snake not to bite.

  • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:19PM (#38329570)

    How many of the companies being sued HAVEN'T used patents as an offense rather than a defense? These days, legal departments are profit centres, and are more important than engineering departments; engineers' jobs are being outsourced and offshored while lawyers are rubbing their dirty little hands and laughing all the way to the bank.

    I suspect most of the 'victims' of Apple's attempted sleight-of-hand are simply reaping what they've sown. The whole litigious nature of doing business today has gotten out of hand, but I can't say I feel terribly sorry for any of the players involved.

    A society that believes lawsuits are the path to riches, and rewards people for spilling hot coffee on themselves or not watching where they're walking, can't help but devolve into this kind of crap. In the end it's a zero-sum game, and a tremendous drain on our resources. I'm surprised it's taking us so long to figure that out.

  • by Lifyre (960576) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:23PM (#38329606)

    Apple via DI just picked a fight with pretty much every player in the mobile phone market?

    This reeks of desperation. Something tells me the recent rulings against them around the world from Germany to the US to Australia are a major blow to their ego and they're lashing out like the cool kid who is suddenly being abandoned by all his friends...

    It will be interesting to see if Apple can survive a fight with Microsoft (who are obligated to help due to agreements with Nokia and WP7), Google (Own Motorola), Sony, Samsung, RIM, LG, and Amazon...

  • Re:well done apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@nOs ... t-retrograde.com> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:23PM (#38329614)

    this is a smart way to avoid negative publicity. 'apple sues xyz' makes apple sound like an evil company. 'digitude innovation sues xyz' is a way protecting the brand

    Yes it's also smart from a defensive standpoint. If Apple were to sue, then it's simple to counter sue, eventually they'll cross license the patents in question. However, if Apple is only seeking to be anti-competitive instead of competitive, they'll use the shell company. This way, since Digitude makes NOTHING the folks they sue can't exactly use their own patent portfolio against Digitude.

    The interesting thing is, now that the cat's out of the bag, expect suits to be filed against Apple in hopes they'll call off their trolls. However, unless the same shell corp tactic is used they'll end up looking like the bad guys in the press.

    Moral of the story? Set up your corporation today. File the taxes, pay the dues, you don't have to do anything else with it. Later, you can sell them to the big guys who are looking to do some shady shit, OR to the new guys who want to seem like they've been in good standing for much longer than they have. Invest Now! These fake paper people are actually appreciating in value!

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:29PM (#38329654)

    It's not an act of desperation. It's an act of Machismo, to match every other company (mainly Google, as a countermove to the Motorola purchase and subsequent attacks).

    The whole thing is insanity really, there are no white hats here - Google, Apple, the whole lot of them suing each other in ridiculous ways over silly things with absurd demands.

    I think there is a purpose for patents, I don't want to see them all go. But plainly something is utterly wrong with the system as it stands, where consumers all sit in the eye of the patent hurricane and hope it doesn't affect some fragment of our lives...

  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:35PM (#38329714)
    evil
    Adjective:
    Profoundly immoral and malevolent.
  • by znerk (1162519) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:37PM (#38329726)

    This should be illegal. Not just the transfer of patents solely for the purpose of litigating with them, but patents in this field - and maybe patents in general.

    This post rambles a bit, but please bare with me as I explain that Intellectual Property is a large component of the destruction of modern society and civilization.

    Originally, copyright was a big deal. I understand that. A couple hundred years ago, there weren't a large number of printing presses "in the field". Since then, technology has progressed to the point that not only can we print documents immediately upon desiring a hard copy of them, but there are entire publishing houses based on the idea of "print on demand" for books, periodicals, and other similar products. Humans have even developed a three-dimensional printer, allowing the production of any single plastic object that we can make a CAD document of. "Copying things" was not a personal concern when these laws were instituted, it was to prevent CompanyA from stealing CompanyB's work and printing a couple hundred copies, so that CompanyA would make money by stealing CompanyB's market. At that point in the technology curve, big companies were the only means of production for these products.

    Let's think about the here and now, where nearly every home has a printing device. Where paper and ink are available to anyone who has access to a vehicle, and even to those who do not, if they live close enough to a Walmart, a Kmart, a drug store, a grocery store, or in some places even a convenience store. At this point in the technology curve, it becomes obvious that "protecting intellectual property" really means "creating an alternate revenue stream in the guise of monopoly".

    It has been said over and over, but I'm going to repeat it one more time to be sure my point is clear:
    Patenting software is like patenting a recipe, or an algebraic equation. You cannot patent the number 7, you shouldn't be able to patent "a method for obtaining the number 7 as output from a specific sequence of calculations". Recipes are protected under copyright law, because there is an artistic expression in listing ingredients and instructions for mixing them together... Wait, what?

    So-called "design patents" are even worse - they attempt to make it illegal to do what any layman could do with no more tools than their eyes. "Rounded rectangle" should not be patentable, any more than "cube" should be patentable. Apple suing Samsung for making a smartphone that happens to be white was one of the most retarded, idiotic, moronic things that I have ever read, until I came across this article [techcrunch.com], describing how Apple sued a teenager for making "conversion kits" to turn iPhones white before Apple was ready to release the white iPhones... The appropriate thing to do in that case would have been to tell Apple they should have gotten their product to market sooner, and stopped using an artificial shortage to inflate sales figures. That is to say, Apple built the hype for a specific product, but hadn't made it to market with that product yet. Someone else made a product that allowed a cosmetic change to Apple's existing product in response to the apparent demand, and they sued the crap out of him.

    I am sick and tired of seeing people arguing about implementations of ideas. I am sick and tired of seeing people trying to claim a monopolistic chokehold on the technology industry, simply because they were able to get to the patent office first. I am sick and tired of being afraid to publish my own software, due to the fact that someone out there will claim I'm infringing on some obscure, obvious "to one skilled in the arts" method of doing something that they have a patent on... like clicking a button, or scrolling a text field.

    These intellectual property laws are stifling innovation, doing the exact opposite of the original purpose of the system; patents were desig

  • by kikito (971480) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:39PM (#38329738) Homepage

    If it's dickish or deceptive it is evil. The fact that it's allowed by the system doesn't magically make it non-evil.

  • Re:well done apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @05:54PM (#38329896)
    Apple has always been worse than MS, they just have never had the clout before to utilise their evil.
  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:16PM (#38330070) Journal

    I think they've been watching Microsoft rolling in the dough from all the android sales and they want in on the fun too.

    No, they want to kill Android. There was an interview with Steve Jobs where the interviewer asked how he lost the OS war. Jobs said, "We didn't see it as a war, we just wanted to make things people liked." Then he stopped and said, "maybe that's why we lost."

    Apple doesn't understand that Microsoft won because they were very responsive to what customers wanted. They bent over backwards to give what (the biggest segment of) customers wanted. They were on top of it all throughout the 80s and 90s. Of course, they didn't have a problem playing sharp business games (ie, all their unethical stuff), either.

    Apple still doesn't get it. They don't get that enterprise wants backwards compatibility, for example. Who would ever build an enterprise app to run on OSX, when it may be obseleted and ejected from OSX (like Carbon was in Lion, and a bunch of others)?

    Apple did see the unethical stuff Microsoft did, and they thought that is why Microsoft must have won. So they decided to follow the unethical stuff.

    They would do better if they were more responsive to customers (like, ok, remove Carbon if you must, but provide a downloadable compatibility layer, or open source it! Some people need this stuff).

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HiroProX (2502852) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:25PM (#38330172)
    You mean Xerox PARC's innovations?
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:30PM (#38330224)

    Look, obviously 60% cannot continue until the end of time. But your bullshit use of some improbably far off number ignores the realizing mid-term potential for further Apple growth that can easily continue for many years.

    But by all means short them (or do not invest) if you are so sure about Apple's failure!

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:32PM (#38330238) Journal
    The longer you wait to file suit for patents the more committed your victims get to the underlying methods. They build things on them, and things on top of those things, and frameworks to rapidly implement platforms on top of those so you get to victimize their partners and embarrass them as well. Ideally they build a partner ecosystem around them. And when they've committed the maximum amount of time, money, effort and credibility, when they reach the maximum commitment that maximizes your licensing revenue in event of a settlement, THEN you yank the rug out. But first you transfer the patent to somebody who didn't wait, so the victim can't say "Hey - no fair - you were helping us do this the whole time!" It's how you prevent the maximum amount of progress with just a handful of patents. Then while the suits wend glacially through the courts you have a FUD club to beat the victim with in the press through "analysts" like Enderle and Mueller even while no misdeeds are even proven because nobody wants to build leasehold improvements on property whose ownership is in doubt. And it's perfectly legal.
  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:36PM (#38330280)

    HTC is a company that makes phones, it needed the patents to defend its business.
    DI is a company that trolls patents, it needed the patents to have a business.

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:37PM (#38330288) Homepage Journal

    This is entirely allowed by our patent system and isn't evil at all.

    This is a total non-sequitur. It's not like the Congress is Almighty God and gets to say what is right and wrong. It's legal to buy congressmen, as long as you have the resources to mount a complex campaign of money laundering. That doesn't mean it's not evil.

    Neither is faking a pass and then running the ball right down the middle.

    OK, if you need the difference spelled out for you, I'll do it. (1) In football, the two teams meet voluntarily. In lawsuits, the defendant is not a willing party to the affair. (2) In football, the by standanders benefit from the fake play *even when it is attempted against their own team*. A deceptive play is a test of defensive skill and a thrill when it is thwarted. In a lawsuit, the customers of the defendant have to pay higher prices.

    But wouldn't YOU like to get paid for all the sales your competitors get?

    Another non-sequitur. I'd like to have all the money in the bank vault. That doesn't excuse me dynamiting my way in.

    Let me explain why what Apple is doing isn't necessarily as LEGALLY kosher as you think it is. It comes down to two words: anti-trust law. It's legal to be granted patents that give you an effective monopoly on a type of product. It's not legal to conspire with another company to restrain trade. The intersection of patent laws and anti-trust laws is a gray area, but the conspiracy angle adds a new wrinkle that's more than just PR.

    So: is there any substantive difference between Apple using its patents to establish a monopoly itself, and having a third party do it for them? YES!

    If Apple tried this itself, Motorola, Google, and others would retaliate with their own defensive patent lawsuits, forcing a settlement. By assigning their patents to DI under and agreement that exempts themselves, Apple has secured a de facto right it doesn't have under patent law: to be immune from countersuits. DI's legal attack can't be turned aside by counter-suit because DI doesn't make anything.

    Let's get back to morality again and apply the categorical imperative here. What if *everyone* did this? What if everyone assigned their legal rights to third parties who do nothing but threaten lawsuits and have nothing to lose by being as aggressive and over-reaching as possible?

  • by Locutus (9039) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:43PM (#38330330)
    believe it or not there are lots of people who believe that if the system "allows" it then it is legal and proper business leveraging it. I've run across a number of people who think this way. They were all hard-core Republicans and believe the government should stay out of the way of business.

    It would be interesting to poll Harvard Business grads and ask them about deception and "dickish" deeds which are legal and ask if a business should leverage those deceptions for their own gains.

    LoB
  • by F69631 (2421974) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @06:44PM (#38330348)

    Corporations exist to make money. Therefore, they'll make money however they can. This is entirely allowed by our patent system and isn't evil at all.

    You could argue that people don't have any duties towards other people or the society and each should just try to gain as much money as legally possible. You could even argue that if everyone tries to do that, things end up better for all of us. I would disagree but I could at least understand both the ethical and economic principles behind those claims.

    Corporations, however, aren't something that "just exist". They're tool that we, as the society, came up with and gave certain exclusive rights to. To be more exact, corporations are tools through which we grant certain people (CEO, Shareholders, etc.) certain rights that they wouldn't otherwise have (e.g., when the company earns money, it can direct it to shareholders but when it can't pay back its debts, we don't hold shareholders personally responsible).

    You can say "You don't whitelist rights! Government/Society/etc. don't GIVE rights" but in the case of corporations, society really has created some rights that don't have any ethical reason to exist. They've been created because we believe that if we create them and give them to people who use them responsibly, society becomes a better place and everyone wins. That being the case, we have all the right to say "You either accept BOTH the rights and duties (=some social responsibility) of this corporation-thingy or we don't give you either of them" and thus expect some social responsibility from corporations.

  • Re:You are nuts! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:19PM (#38330652) Journal

    Even in the 1980s it was well known MS put out crappy software. I didn't have a PC then but I knew this from reading mags. People only used MS software because they thought it was 'good enough', certainly not because MS gave them what they wanted.

    See, this is what you don't get. You and Apple both don't get it. Yes, Microsoft put out crappy software. Yes, other software was better. Yes, the Macintosh was a better computer. So was the Amiga. BUT.......

    If your software doesn't have the one feature I need, it is useless to me. I will go with the buggy, ugly software that does what I want every single time. This is the core principle of enterprise software. Find out what the customer wants, and do it. If you don't understand this, you will never make it in enterprise. Microsoft got it. Apple didn't. You don't get it either. Maybe if you weren't so busy insulting people, you would.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raved Thrad (1864414) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:21PM (#38330666)

    So far from the tree has Apple fallen,
    Burning their karma patent-trollin';
    So committed to this course of action,
    And to alienating every smartphone faction,
    They've even set up a patent troll proxy --
    Can't fix their broken rep with a ton of epoxy.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @07:34PM (#38330758) Journal
    OK, you've demonstrated you can read the official Apple propaganda. Good job.

    Now back in the real world, people don't want to rewrite their code every few years to fit the latest framework. We want our code to keep working. This isn't an unreasonable demand.

    Apple could have made a compatibility layer. They could have open sourced Carbon so others could have, if they didn't want to do the work. No, instead they said, "Screw every single one of you. We don't care if you have the resources to do this or not, you're stuck."

    This is why at home you can have a pretty Mac as a toy, but when you go to work, nearly everyone uses Windows. COM and MFC is trash, but at least it still works.
  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:03PM (#38330958)

    "every few years" is being disingenuous. Here in the "real world" we like to debate using accurate language.

    Carbon was the state of the art, so to speak, in OS 8.6 (and released before then). It was finally killed off in Lion (and strongly limited during the push into 64 bit with Snow Leopard).

    To say that, if your app relied on the Carbon API, that Apple was "forcing you to rewrite your code every few years" is to just be laughably dishonest. It was in use on the Mac (in the current latest OS version) since 1997 to 2011 - that's hardly a rewrite "every few years" - that's longer than the entire lifetime of OS X itself (not including its time as a NeXT product).

    Cocoa was introduced with OS X and worked alongside Carbon for many years until finally taking over as the sole player in mid 2011 (and slightly earlier in Snow Leopard for 64 bit apps, it was still there just in 32 bit only).

    If you can't manage to alter your code to transition to Cocoa in the TEN YEARS that OS X has been around (and the same amount of time you've known that Carbon was deprecated) and you're whining that Apple is making it hard for you then you need to get a different fucking job. Perhaps something with a little less "time pressure" like Bonsai tree gardener or continental plate drift measurer or something. I know ten years is barely enough time to make changes to your code.

    I am of course, assuming that your code existed on the Mac in OS 9. If it started its life on OS X and you still used Carbon then... well, I return to my point about getting a different job. Clearly reading the documentation is too challenging.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JAlexoi (1085785) on Saturday December 10, 2011 @08:09PM (#38331002) Homepage
    You probably missed the main difference here - HTC is Google's partner that is being sued over Android by Apple, while Apple transfered their patents to a patent troll.
    To all Apple app developers under fire from Lodsys - this is what the company that you develop for* thinks of patent trolls.

    * - Yep, you develop for them, notice how your hard work resulted in their successful ad campaign "There's an app for that"
  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Sunday December 11, 2011 @01:03AM (#38332488) Journal

    Shifting now to the patent troll sockpuppet CEO POV.

    I can't get retroactive damages, but I'm not blocked by estoppel in pursuing my claim if I just bought a patent and it wasn't heretofore acted upon because it wasn't me that failed to act. That I worked for the previous owner for twenty years and now work for this transparent spinoff is irrelevant because it's a different legal entity whose ownership and control is cloaked in privacy regulation. I can pursue injunctions in various jurisdictions. The shadows of ownership work for me here. I can keep the matter before the courts and so in doubt for several years - which is the point. With good motion practice just getting to discovery can take over a year, and three years to trial. With luck I can distract real workers in counterparties with depositions and preparing with such, make being in such an adversarial environment personally less pleasant. A distributed array of lawsuits can shut down executives and engineers completely - and that's the point. And while it's in doubt I can encourage the counterparties to settle for the larger damages implicit in their developed dependence without let - and that whole time it's legitimate flackalyst press bait.

    I might not be able to win in the courts, but that's OK. Really, a decisive decision in court is like 3% of how these things end up. Some settle after a couple years to fund the puppets like me, and some don't.

    If I score a couple good licensing deals I can merit a good bonus and buy a few square miles of Idaho to build a lodge on and retire in - and then sue the same victims again.

    I might run out of capital and become a bankrupt shell immune from countersuits, but that's OK because then I can hop back to the corporation I came from as a conquering hero who fought the good fight and took one for the team, and buy the lodge out of my bonus. It's all about keeping the FUD in play for as long as possible to prevent progress. By keeping multiple puppets with multiple claims in play I can use the courts to halt progress, and those that settle pay me to keep this up. One way or another I'm spending my idle years fishing Golden Trout from a Barcalounger in my living room, because a stream runs through it.

    Winning the suit is not the goal here. Here the lawyers are just cogs in the machine. The goal is preventing progress I don't control.

  • Re:Why now? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Sunday December 11, 2011 @09:56AM (#38334406)

    Patents are now commodities which can be bought and sold and just like weapons, they can be used to attack an enemy. Welcome to corporate warfare.

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