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patent trolls

  1. Entertainment

    Marc Maron and Adam Carolla Fill Us in on the Current State of the Podcasts vs. Patent Trolls Fight

    Today's episode of WTF with Marc Maron features the great Billy Connolly, but before that part of the show Maron sat down with fellow podcaster Adam Carolla to discuss the current state of his fight against the patent trolls currently targeting podcasters. Hear how it's going and learn what you can do to help.

    Read on...
  2. Tech

    White House Takes on Patent Trolls, Promises Reform of Patent System

    The United States patent system is broken. Instead of its intended purpose of protecting inventors from having their ideas stolen, it's been turned into something used to stifle innovation. Today the White House announced a plan to reform the patent system, and to stop so-called Patent Trolls.

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  3. Tech

    The SHIELD Act Isn’t Related to Comics, Though It’s Still Pretty Important

    When we heard there was a SHIELD Act working its way through Congress right now, we only had one thing in mind, but it turns out that the SHIELD in question doesn't stand for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. It stands for Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes, and it's looking to keep America safe from patent trolls by making them cover the legal fees for their frivolous lawsuits if they lose. It could be the only thing standing between podcasts and certain doom, so I guess it's still a little bit like Nick Fury.

    Read on...
  4. Tech

    Patently Ridiculous: Obama Calls Out Patent Trolls in Fireside Hangout

    Patent trolls are the worst, and that's coming straight from the top. President Obama on Thursday answered a question about patent trolls during his Google+ Fireside Hangout, and he didn't have anything nice to say about them. The President didn't exactly call trolls "the worst," but his comments were not far off.

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  5. Tech

    Knock it Off: Patent Trolls Now Targeting Podcasters

    Patent trolls have been a problem in the tech industry for years, but now they're branching out and trying to ruin more things. A company called Personal Audio is waving around an incredibly vague patent that it claims virtually every podcast on the Internet is violating. They've already gone after some big names in podcasting like Adam Corolla, and they pose a serious threat to the medium.

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  6. Tech

    Troll Claims Every Single Touch-Based Apple Device Infringes On Its Patent

    Patent trolls have something of a reputation for overreaching when it comes to the lawsuits they file. In just the past few months, for instance, trolls have claimed they have patents on microtransactions in gaming, buttons that type smiley faces, tweeting in public, and Wi-Fi in general. If none of that sounds outlandish enough for you, you might be interested in a new suit being filed against Apple by a company called FlatWorld Interactives. What are they staking claim to? Not much, just the touch technology behind every single Apple device that has ever had a touch pad.

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  7. Weird

    Troll Claims To Hold Patent On Tweet Seats, Tweeting In Public by Extension

    Recently the fad of "tweet seats" -- seats in theaters where patrons are allowed, even encouraged, to tweet -- has been becoming more and more embraced, even making its way to Broadway. If that sounds like a stupid idea to you, you might be pleased to hear there is a roadblock to further adoption. You shouldn't be happy to hear that it involves patent trolling, however. Patent trolling of the most frivolous variety.

    Read on...
  8. Tech

    Samsung, RIM Sued Because There’s A Patent For Buttons That Write “:)”

    Patents are aimed to protect innovators and make sure they get their due. When you invent something, a non-obvious something, you patent it and these wonderful laws will make sure that, for a limited time at least, you alone reap the benefits of your genius. After all, it was your idea. It's all great in theory, but patent trolls have been turning it on its head for a while, and the ever increasing amount of things that can be patented isn't helping. Someone patented menus and buttons that assist users in writing emoticons, for instance, and RIM and Samsung are being sued over it.

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  9. Gaming

    Patent Troll Aims To End Micro-Transactions In Gaming

    Micro-transactions aren't particularly new or novel. Every since FarmVille exploded, the concept of buying in-game materials in order to speed things up, making things prettier, or make things easier has been pretty widely adopted. It may, in fact, be the future of gaming, what with free-to-play games proving to a rather persistent trend. Considering that everybody is using micro-transactions and everything seems to be working out just fine, it can be that someone has a patent on them, can it? It can.

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  10. Weird

    How Patent Wars Are Stifling Innovation [Infographic]

    We all know that patent trolling is a pretty annoying and increasingly serious problem because they waste money that could be used to fund innovation, but what does that really mean? This infographic from MBA Online explains the depth of the situation pretty well. In recent business acquisitions, companies have found themselves paying hundreds of thousands of dollars per patent that comes along with the purchased company. If that's not enough, your average smartphone can require upwards of 200,000 patents. Really? Does your smartphone really do 200,000, unique, creative, patent-worthy things? Even considering internal processes? Probably not, although it would be pretty sweet if it did.

    Full infographic after the jump.

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  11. Weird

    Patent Troll Claims To Hold Patent For Wi-Fi, Sues People Left and Right

    Alleged patent troll Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC has decided that one of its (presumably many) patent portfolios is for Wi-Fi in general. As such, it has begun to sue companies left and right as patent trolls are wont to do. So far, the suits have largely been against restaurants, coffee shops, and department stores including Caribou CoffeeCosí and Panera Bread. In an attempt to freshen up the patent trolling process, it seems that Innovatio is asking for comparatively tiny settlements of between $2000 and $5000 to make the option of going to court seem extra expensive.

    At this point you're probably thinking "wait a minute, but I use Wi-Fi." Rest assured, Innovatio has no intentions of going after your wallet you...yet. In an interview, Matthew McAndrews, lead litigator for Innovatio lawsuits said "Innovatio has made a strategic and business judgment at this stage that it doesn’t intend to pursue [lawsuits on the basis of] residential use of WiFi." He also made a point of mentioning that "This is not a seat-of-the-pants, fly-by-night shakedown." The lawyer doth protest too much, methinks.

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  12. Weird

    Study Shows Patent Trolls Cost Innovators $500 Billion, Are a Bunch of Jerks

    We all know patent trolls waste everyone's time and money, leech off the productive and innovative, and are generally annoying. If you're into the independent software development scene at all, you probably support a few developers that have been trolled. It's expensive and wasteful and we all know it -- well, we all have anecdotal evidence to support that claim anyway, but now, thanks to researchers at Boston University, we now have a study we can point to and that study shows innovators have lost $500 billon to patent trolls since 1990.

    Authors James Bessen, Mike Meurer, and Jennifer Ford estimated the losses by checking the drop in a company's stock valuation shortly after a lawsuit had been filed against it, and did this for a whopping 1,630 lawsuits. The average loss per defendant was $122 million. At this point, a patent troll might argue that this loss is intended to make its way to the innovators who were "wronged" in the first place, but the study pretty clearly shows that that isn't the case.

    Read on...
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