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How the Patent System Broke

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Date: Nov 07, 2011 - 07:31 AM
Over in the San Francisco Chronicle, a fascinating interview with Tim Porter, Google's patent lawyer, on how the US patent system broke down.

Q: Let's talk about Microsoft. They sued at least one of your Android partners and have pressured others into licensing agreements, arguing that they have patents that cover critical parts of the software. What do you make of that?

A: Unfortunately, the way it works is you don't know what patents cover until courts declare that in litigation. What that means is people have to make decisions about whether to fight or whether to reach agreements.

This is a tactic that Microsoft has used in the past, with Linux, for example. When their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android, they use the large patent portfolio they've built up to get revenue from the success of other companies' products.
Read the whole thing - you'll be amazed.

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