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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Supreme Court continues its postive trend with patent law

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the patent exhaustion doctrine applies to so-called 'method patents'. Read the decision here.

A company (LGE) bought up a bunch of patent portfolios (As is often the case, such companies contribute nothing to actual inventions - they merely buy up existing monopoly rights). The patents in question do not involve tangible inventions, but rather a 'process' relating to computer operations. These 'process' inventions are known as 'method patents'.(I have always felt that the entire concept of 'method patents' to be suspect, but that is a discussion for another post.)

LGE licensed its patents to Intel in order to allow Intel to make and sell microprocessors using the LGE method patents. A third party (Quanta), then purchased the microprocessors from Intel to manufacture their own computers using Intel chips. LGE then sued Quanta - arguing that they (Quanta) somehow violated LGE's patents. Got that?

Only one word to describe the claim: Surreal.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court saw through the nonsense and unanimously agreed that there was no patent infringement here.

Its a bit wonky, with lots of legalese, but the decision is worth reading for those who want to know the nitty-gritty insanity of our patent laws. LGE even had the cojones to argue that the patent exhaustion doctrine doesn't apply to method patents.

It is only being done in small increments, but the Supreme Court is slowly restoring some sanity back to attempts at patent law overreach.

More at Patently-O here.

More details on the case at the ScotusWiki here.

AP weighs in with case coverage here.


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