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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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The feds question the legality of the Nortel patent bidding

As reported previously on the sale of Nortel patents link here, six of Google's rivals most importantly, Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion worked together to make a combined bid and won Antitrust officials probing sale of patents to Google's rivals"> link here. Now, "Federal antitrust enforcers are scrutinizing whether Google, often accused of abusing its Web search power, is facing an unfair coalition of companies that could block its popular Android mobile phone software, according to a source close to the matter."

Unusual for it, the Washington Post's report goes on to raise questions about the wisdom and legality of the increasingly dysfunctional patent system "where even the most amorphous ideas can be rubber-stamped by the government and protected for years."

It goes on, "...companies are increasingly arming themselves with ever-growing patent portfolios to initiate or shield themselves from costly lawsuits.'

"The result, ...companies with formidable patent portfolios can use them as cudgels against rivals, while those with fewer patents risk being eaten alive in court."

"For years tech companies did not go after one another in patent lawsuits. But that has changed recently as the battle to dominate the mobile phone space has grown fiercer. Google's Android operating system has rocketed to the top slot as the most popular in the world, just ahead of Apple's and RIM's BlackBerry."

"The battle to beat Android has already turned into a legal bonanza. Apple is suing HTC, Samsung and Motorola, all makers of phones with the Android platform. Oracle is seeking up to $6.1 billion in a patent lawsuit against Google, claiming Android infringes upon Oracle's Java patents. And Microsoft is suing Motorola over its Android line."

Stay tuned, but there is (some?) hope when the Post can actually be critical of this tragi-comedy in which the United States commits hara kiri by a thousand cuts, in the slow motion expansion of patent monopolies.


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