Very interesting article. The practice of “legal blackmail” extends further than this, of course. That would also be an excellent description of the use to which software patents are put by their owners.
While geeks across Europe are comforted by the fact that there are no software patents “as such” in most European countries, the fact is that they exist sufficiently to allow this sort of “legal blackmail” to be conducted throughout Europe. Legal certainty about a claim by a patent owner can only really be obtained at the end of a court case. Given such things are punishingly expensive, it is enough just to threaten most companies in order to trigger settlement.
This is why, despite the rumoured non-existence of software patents, they remain a serious problem for all software companies.
Each time I see an article like this, I wonder whether today’s legislators realise the position they are taking protecting the interests of the lobbyists around them are both untypical of their predecessors and also harmful to their constituents.
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