BUSINESS

Patent trolls continue to wreak havoc

TAGs: Amazon, Kindle Fire, patent troll

Patent TrollAmazon is the latest firm to be hit by the all-too familiar limpet that has plagued the online gambling industry and technology’s silicon valley in equal measure. It wasn’t before the patent trolls emerged from the murky undergrowth and Amazon was always going to be next on the list for trying to be just that little bit too innovative. That is by actually deciding to release a device featuring a screen.

Smartphone Technologies LLC – owned by Acacia Research Corporation – has already tried suing both Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) so far this year and now turns its attention to the latest firm to dare manufacturer something. Anything. The ransom note cloaked as a litigation notice was filed against Amazon claiming the soon-to-be-released Kindle Fire tablet has infringed four patents.

One of the patents goes by the following wording:

According to the method, a graphical feature having a surface area is displayed on a touch-sensitive screen…To control software executing on the processor, a user-supplied writing on the surface area is received and the software is controlled responsive to the writing.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Fire for Kindle

At this rate they’ll be taking out a patent on you and me writing on a piece of paper! If this case goes anything like those against Apple and RIM, Smartphone Technologies has a 12-round slobber-knocker on its hands. Both companies have refused to hand over the blood money and are instead in it for the long haul.

In the same industry, Google paid around $12.5billion for Motorola Mobility in a transaction that acted as a masquerade so that they could acquire the firm’s extensive cavalcade of patents. In basic terms, it’s like buying up a nuclear defense scheme for the purposes of technological warfare. Why can’t someone buy up the services of a group of hackers to take down Righthaven, Intellectual Ventures, Smartphone Technologies and all the rest?

Technology’s latest brush with the green eyed monsters reminded us of the days when Scott Lewis was aiming to pilfer as much as he could from the gaming industry. Lewis’ 1st Technology took a similar strategy to the one used by the firm mentioned above and stifles innovation in much the same way. Amazon shouldn’t be that worried though. Patent trolls go after as much loot as they can in the hope that someone will eventually cough up a few measly dollars to fund their latest shipment of sludge to shore up the defenses of the underground cave. If the gaming industry can successfully see off these guys, the behemoths of the technology industry should have not problem with the dubious and invalid nature of many of these firms.

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