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Apple, Amazon, Microsoft & More Settle Lawsuits With Boston University 129

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-using-my-stuff dept.
curtwoodward writes "Boston University hadn't been very aggressive with intellectual property lawsuits in the past. But that changed in 2012, when the school began suing the biggest names in consumer tech, alleging infringement of a patent on blue LEDs — a patent that, no coincidence, is set to expire at the end of 2014. As of today, about 25 big tech names have now settled the lawsuits, using 'defensive' patent firm RPX. A dozen or so more defendants are probably headed that way. And BU is no longer a quiet patent holder."
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Apple, Amazon, Microsoft & More Settle Lawsuits With Boston University

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  • more is coming (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:06PM (#45972085)
    Our college system trolls students with unneeded but course required new book editions. It trolls students with massive debt. It trolls science with god knows how many crap papers just became there is an constant push to publish, publish, publish. Why shouldn't they troll patents too?

    The murican postsecondary education system, the troll under the bridge to your future.

  • by Yi Ding (635572) <yi@@@studentindebt...com> on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:12PM (#45972125)
    This is the way the patent system is supposed to work. The university creates a useful product based on a real technology advance, patents the idea, and then when it becomes ubiquitous the university is able to calculate the worth of the technology and gets large firms to license appropriately. This is completely different from software patents where it's mostly "I did it first, haha."
  • by penix1 (722987) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:27PM (#45972213) Homepage

    Fine then... If this is the way it is supposed to work then there is no further reason to subsidize the university with tax dollars since they have the ability to develop these valuable patent portfolios. The knife should work both ways. Either they fund research using their patent portfolio or tax dollars but not both.

  • by saccade.com (771661) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:40PM (#45972671) Homepage Journal
    I'm puzzled. The patent (at least the one cited in the article) details a very specific method for creating the crystals in LEDs. I can see BU going after various LED manufacturers (Cree, Philips, Panasonic, etc.). But Apple? Microsoft? Those companies re-sell those components, they don't manufacture them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 16, 2014 @12:43AM (#45972993)

    I'm puzzled. The patent (at least the one cited in the article) details a very specific method for creating the crystals in LEDs. I can see BU going after various LED manufacturers (Cree, Philips, Panasonic, etc.). But Apple? Microsoft? Those companies re-sell those components, they don't manufacture them.

    The LEDs were most likely manufactured in China by a company that did not license the technology. They were then incorporated into other products in China. Those products were then imported to the US.

    Under that particular set of circumstances, the company that imports the product is responsible for the patent infringement.

  • by dacut (243842) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @01:15AM (#45973129)

    Does p-doping Indium Gallium Nitride seem like a trivial process?

    It's trivial with the right equipment and materials. Figuring out that you need to p-dope IGN to make an LED, on the other hand...

    Reminds me of the story about the fancy car which, no matter what the shop mechanics tried, wouldn't start. So they call in an old mechanic buddy who had retired a few years ago to come take a look. He studies the engine carefully, making a note of the various fluid levels and temperatures as well as the sounds made by the engine. After going at it for a few minutes, he takes a bit of chalk, marks a spot on the engine, and then hits it with his hammer. With that, the engine roared to life.

    He then handed the customer a bill for $100. Aghast, the customer replies, "I'm not paying you $100 for hitting the engine with a hammer!"

    The old mechanic replies, "Hitting the engine was free. Knowing where to hit it is $100."

2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League

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