A story of rather uncool corporate behaviour. It’s akin to cartels, which tend to also be outlawed in countries (as part of oligopoly-related legislation).
Companies making agreements that result in an anti-competitive environment is just not on. Interesting to see how corporations and people who profess to be all for free markets actually engage in this kind of behaviour, and the only thing that might stop them is getting caught. Not the best example of decent corporate principles and best practise, is it.
And then there’s the whole corporate extortion thing using patent portfolios and cash reserves which was also uncovered as part of the case. Yuck.
Just in case you still thought that software and abstract/method patents were a good and sane idea promoting business and innovation… do read this article on Techdirt. This new troll approach is all about going after small businesses that offer Wi-Fi services. You know, your local coffee shop, your library, the hotel down the way.
It’s a simple extortion scheme: “Pay us a few grand and we won’t sue you.” Even if it wouldn’t hold up in court, a small business can’t afford the legal expense and is likely to simply pay up on demand. All of us will get targeted directly or indirectly by this nonsense, it really has to stop – be stopped.
Also note this article from 2008, referencing a Haliburton patent application for the process for patent trolling. I kid you not. A quick search at USPTO reveals that the application still exists in the system (but hasn’t been approved at least).