Patent Trolls on the Hot Seat

Today Congress heard overwhelming evidence about how patent trolls—companies that assert patents as a business model instead of creating products—are abusing the system to stifle innovation. At a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, witness after witness testified about patent trolls who use the threat of ruinous defense costs to pressure companies into paying settlements on vague and overbroad patents.

Why the Patent System Doesn't Play Well with Software: If Eolas Went the Other Way

Everyone, take a deep breath: it seems we’ve had a moment of sanity in the patent wars. Last week, a jury invalidated the dangerous Eolas patents, which their owner claimed covered, well, essentially the whole Internet. The patents were originally granted for an invention that helped doctors to view images of embryos over the early Web. A few years later, smelling quick cash, their owner insisted that they had a veto right on any mechanism used to embed an object in a web document. Really? The patents were obvious—now in 2012, and back in 1994, when the first one was filed.

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