Monday, April 9, 2007

ValleyWag on Technology Patents

by Doug Pollack

Valleywag, the self-described tech gossip rag for Silicon Valley, weighs in on patent law. An interesting view relating to tactics used by the "old guard" in the technology and communications industries for using patents to protect their position in emerging, highly competitive markets.

Their recent article follows:

America's crazy patent law

"Verizon's legal persecution Vonage -
- which resulted in the internet telephony company being told by a judge today to stop stigning up new customers -- is yet another demonstration of the perverse effect of US patent law. Patents are supposed to protect inventors, and encourage innovation. Instead they've been co-opted by lumbering corporate giants such as Verizon to stifle competitors; or by failing entrepreneurs who hope to salvage some of their losses by suing a nimbler competitor; or by trolls who collect patents simply to shake down successful companies. Vonage is not a popular cause; it's no longer at the forefront of innovation; and the business press is relishing the drama of the New Jersey company's decline. Vonage may fail, but, if it does so, it should not be for patent infringement. Verizon's inventions would have stayed in a drawer had not the telecom incumbents had to deal with cut-price internet telephony. The law, once seen as a cornerstone of American capitalism, now stands in the way of technological progress. "



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