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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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  • Re:more is coming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:17PM (#45972151)

    What did you think would happen if you hit the American post-secondary education system with massive, across the board budget cuts?

    American colleges used to put out their research for (effectively) free to the public and corporations benefited HUGELY. Now its time to pay the piper and hes looking to collect interest.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @10:49PM (#45972347)

    I guess I'm a bit old fashioned, but I always had concieved of universities as being places where the pursuit of learning and new knowledge were ends unto themselves. Patents and "monitizing" of the university system seem to me to corrupt the purity of knowledge and education for their own sakes, replacing those abstract goals with concerns like "how much money will that research be worth" and "will teaching those classes result in higher wages for our graduates (and hence more and larger donations)". Research with intent to commercialize is more properly conducted by commercial research labs. Instead we seem to have decided to shut down the big ones and offload that work to the university system, with a complete lack of concern or interest in the cultural consequences for higher education.

    I think we need to add another four years on to our high school education programs, or make some other arrangements so that universities can return to their role of being pure research and learning institutions whose deliberate and specific intent is to foster research and learning without concern for whether it can be monitized. We should be adjusting our "standard" or "high school degree" education standards so that the majority of employment opportunities available in the work force can be successfully handled by those graduates. "Higher" education should not, by definition, be a general requirement for virtually all worthwhile employment in this country.

    Undoubtely this view is somewhat impractical, and it is a fair point that universities cost money to run and maintain, but the support of the altruistic pursuit of knowledge is one goal for which I will cheerfully, even eagerly, pay more taxes. I have a deeply held conviction that some things are more important than money, and one of the measures of merit by which civilizations shoudl be judged is how they support those pursuits - if we can't look at anything as fundamental as learning about the world around us without wondering how we can "monitize" what we learn, we are diminished as a civilization.

    Boston University is most likely on fairly solid grounds with this patent (unlike, say, most software patents) and within their legal rights to act in this fashion, but I view it as a sad commentary on our society that things have reached the point where a university either needs to or wants to take advantage of a mechanism like patents, which fundamentally restrict the application of knowledge in the first place.

  • Legality (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @11:44PM (#45972685)

    My taxes contributed to the funding that made the research resulting in these patents possible. Where is my cut? Are class action suits by "We the people" (the Fed of course) next to garner some returns on those investments?

  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @12:48AM (#45973011) Homepage

    In this case, I have no problem with the patent being issued. The problem I have is with who gets sued.

    I'll bet Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft did NOT order Blue LEDs using BU's patent. They ordered blue LEDs and had no idea what tech was used to manufacture them. The manufacturer that actually used BU's tech to make the LEDs is the legitimate target of a suit.

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