Oct 062010

There’s always a patent infringement lawsuit floating in the stagnant backwaters of tech. Most of them involve someone who described how something could work, got the retarded USPTO to agree that such a description deserved to be protected as intellectual property, and then sprung their “claim” on a company who actually made something resembling the description into something that existed in the real world. Keeping with the backwater theme, the Eastern District of Texas Federal Court is one of the most prolific hearer of such claims. Rumor has it that jury screening consists of knowing the difference between CAT5 and baling wire. Or maybe just consists of having an interest in perpetuating the economic benefits that come from bringing mega-rich corporate attorneys to your double-wide shithole. Or something.

The folks over at the Guardian have documented the landscape of legal wrangling in tech. As a general rule, the more arrows you have originating from your name, the more likely you are to be a tech corpse (Kodak) or one that’s choking on its own vomit (Nokia). Lawsuits come and go, but there’s no substitute for actually innovating.

Update: a cool infographic of the Guardian’s exhibit from Design Language News here.

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