Tired of all the patent-related stories? Especially the ones that seem like they are more about financial gain than fairness? We thought so. We'd imagine it's even more of a frustration if you're one of the companies regularly involved. No surprise then that some firms -- such as Google, BlackBerry, EarthLink and Red Hat -- have decided to do something about it, taking the fight directly to the FTC and DoJ. In a recent blog post, Google explains that -- along with its collaborators -- it has submitted comments to the aforementioned agencies, detailing the impact that "patent trolls" have on the economy.
While the financial cost to the US taxpayer is said to be nearly $30 billion, the four companies also point out how such behaviour hurts consumers even further, suggesting that when start-ups and small businesses are strong-armed, innovation and competition suffer. Some specific practices such as "patent priveteering" -- when a company sells patents to trolls who don't manufacture anything and therefore can't be countersued -- also come under direct criticism. The cynical might assume this all comes back to the bottom line, but with the collaborative extending an invitation to other companies to help develop revised, cooperative licensing agreements, they are the very least making it difficult for them to engage in similar behavior in the future. At least until the FTC and DoJ respond.
Source: Google Public Policy (blog)