E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Only weeks after having won a digital format battle against HD DVD, Sony finds itself entangled in a legal fight over the technology behind Blu-ray. The ITC will hear a case filed by a retired university professor with a 50-year engineering career against Sony, Motorola and more than 25 other companies for patent infringement. Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, a professor emeritus at Columbia University, is accusing more than 30 companies of violating patents she holds for LEDs and laser diodes that are used in Blu-ray players and other devices.
I wonder whether Ms. Rothschild has ever attempted to manufacture and sell these blue laser diodes. If not, I don't believe she should have the right to stand in the way of someone who is making them. If the law says differently, the law should be changed.
The point of patents, stated in the Constitution, is to advance the useful arts, or some such similar words. Someone who holds a patent without doing anything with it should not have any right to enforce the patent.
Actually, the whole idea of patents is somewhat suspect. See the explanations of various economic studies reported by Mike at Techdirt for very good reasons why patents actually slow progress, not advance it. But even if you aren't convinced by such arguments, it still makes little sense to let someone who holds a patent without commercializing it prevent others from commercializing it.
If I'm wrong and Ms. Rothschild has been manufacturing and selling laser diodes, then I would withdraw this comment, but I've not seen mention of any such activity on her part.
Comparatively speedy procees? Otherwise known as a fair trial and a quick hanging?