Sunday, December 01, 2013

Universities sometimes make strange bedfellows to patent trolls

Timothy B. Lee has a new article in the Washington Post “Switch Blog” explaining how universities are somewhat acting as strangebedfellows of patent trolls, receiving income from old patents in which they have little or no technical involvement.  Apparently, the University of California at Berkeley received income for years on the programming technology that allows the everyday practice of embedding videos on websites and blogs.  And the University of Pennsylvania and University of Utah joined Myriad in chasing income in breast cancer detection technology after the Supreme Court had rules that human genes can’t be patented.  The Nov. 30 Post article is here.
Trolls, in copyright, patent and perhaps trademark, exist because people say they need to make “real money” support families after innovation, so “buying the right” to that income seems to make “moral sense” to them.  Proposals to weaken Section 230 on the web could further weaken the ability to preclude trolling.  

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