At last, we find a judge who truly understands how patents are supposed to work:
A federal judge denied on Friday a request from a small Virginia company to stop the online auction powerhouse eBay from using its “Buy It Now” feature, which allows shoppers to purchase items at a fixed price. …
… In his ruling, Judge Friedman said the company was not irreparably harmed because it continued to make money from its patents, either by licensing them outright or by threatening litigation against those it believed infringed upon them.
“MercExchange has utilized its patents as a sword to extract money rather than as a shield to protect its right to exclude or its market share, reputation, good will, or name recognition, as MercExchange appears to possess none of these,” he wrote. – [New York Times]
This article is the most acceptable example of the correct disposition of a patent dispute. Particularly impressive is that the judge in this case appears to understand what is actually going on, and rules in a fair manner to all concerned.
Now if you didn’t pick up on my feeling about patents in general from the title of this blog, Let me spell it out. I think the whole patent system stinks. I know the issues aren’t easy to solve, but it seems like here in America, patents are less about protection and more about patent litigation as a career for fun and profit. Very irritating.
At least I now know there is at least one judge who isn’t a mindless patent zombie…
Judge Permits eBay’s ‘Buy It Now’ Feature – [New York Times]