Patents In Digital Media

Companies are trying to profit from patents, but do they protect unsung inventors–or opportunist litigants? A story which includes, in large part, digital media patents. Acacia alone has collected more than 120 patents, signed hundreds of technology-licensing agreements and filed several lawsuits on patents relating to, among other ideas, electronic bar codes, credit card fraud, video-on-demand services and chips for setting parental controls on TV use.

Here’s the argument on both sides: Intellectual Ventures‘ Nathan Myhrvold responds that at least his company invents things. He accuses outfits like Acacia Research, which concentrate almost exclusively on patent acquisition, of creating the problem.

Acacia’s Paul Ryan, for his part, asserts that companies such as his are giving a lifeline to individuals who don’t have a powerful company behind them. His company supports people such as Carl Elam, who invented a V-chip-like technology.


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