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Nintendo acquires "troll's" patent portfolio after legal victory (gamespot.com)
78 points by bane 1258 days ago | hide | past | web | 19 comments | favorite



Come on! IA Labs built similar tech and met with Nintendo before the wii remote was announced, if I was in their shoes I would sue too.

Unfortunately Nintendo had already created the tech and had evidence, so IA Labs run themselves into the ground.

I would not label IA Labs a troll, thats not fair and misrepresents what was going on.


IA labs developed their own technology and weren't just suing because they owned a patent, but because they thought their competitive advantage gained from development was being infringed upon. So they aren't a patent troll.

This case does, however, seem to be a solid win for reasonable patent law enforcement. The precedence from this appears to be: if you over-step or over attack using your patent portfolio, you'll pay a big price. Hopefully this will help those defending legal disputes with real patent trolls moving forward.


This will merely make trolls create shell companies for each individual lawsuit. If a shell loses a lawsuit (i.e. patent found invalid), the winner can just pick up a lot of nothing.


Don't some do this already? However, the corporate veil can be pierced - it's not a get-out-of-jail-free card.


Yep, and I think that if NPE's annoy the courts too much, that's exactly what you'll see happening.


This shell company can not own nothing, it have to own the patent(s) in question.


> This shell company can not own nothing, it have to own the patent(s) in question.

Does it? IANAL but I believe it's possible to license the rights associated with a patent without transferring complete ownership. The shell organization would be a sub-licensee that does your dirty work.


Think this through, why would someone licensed a piece of tech be able to use on its behalf?

This is like saying that I have the rights to use the Unity engine, so I should be able to sue Microsoft for parts of Silverlight that I think are infringing and profit personally.


I'm not saying that all licenses have this property. I'm saying it may be possible to create a custom one that does. For example a "standard" software license (proprietary ... not OSS) does not include the right to sub-license but there do exist software licenses that include that right.

Having a license doesn't mean you can sue. Having a "license to sue" might though! (if it can exist)


I don't think that that is transferable,

In the media-tomb(?name might be wrong, and I know copyright is different) case, the lawsuits were all eventually shut down because the plaintiff, being the 'right to sue' licensee and not the owner, didn't actually have standing or right to sue.


You do not infringe on rights of the licensee, licensee may continue to use the licensed IP, there was no damage inflicted. I believe there's no form of "license to sue" (besides legal representation which is a different thing).

Needless to say, IANAL as well.


It's in the field of copyright rather than patents, but the Righthaven suits suggest some form of precedent in this area.

But that's kind of a sideshow - I believe the real issue being pointed at is if the defendant chooses to argue that a patent is invalid, and succeeds, then the only award they get is the now-invalidated patent.


Is it possible to license away the right to sue someone for infringing, though?


I believe it's called "legal representation" :-)


A patent troll is a company with the sole purpose of, well, patent trolling (Collecting patents, waiting for a successful target and suing them for profit, not for keeping competitive advantage)

In this case, I don't see that. They may be called over-aggressive, evil even but not patent trolls.


It's pretty bad that this whole patents are evil moniker/sentiment has risen in the past few years. Seems to be great for page views!

Not everyone with a patent is a troll, rather many are the little guy who were not able to win the race because A) they don't have enough resources or B) they couldn't rally enough troops to get behind them.

Thus a patent is a way to stake a claim and protect their invention. If it's worth something then others will copy it and due to sheer luck make it a success. While you the inventor are left with an empty bag and oh a patent that you can try and use to be rewarded for your invention.


> Not everyone with a patent is a troll, rather many are the little guy who were not able to win the race because A) they don't have enough resources or B) they couldn't rally enough troops to get behind them

In other words, the patent system benefits big companies with big lawyer armies and trolls with nothing to lose, and is useless for the little inventor who doesn't have the muscle to fight the legal war if someone copies his precious invention but now also have to worry to be the one being sued because of some obvious patent one can infringe just by breathing.

But let's keep the fantasy that patents protect the little guy after all.


Is the patent troll moniker appropriate in this case? Wasn't IA Labs actually building and trying to sell similar products?


Not really a patent troll. Too aggressive in defending their patents, yes, but will within their rights to try. Especially as it appeared to them that their ideas had been ripped off after they pitched them to Nintendo.




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