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Technicolor Takes Aim At Apple, Samsung, Others for Patent Infringement

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the apparently-technicolor-is-still-around dept.

Patents 161

Master Moose sends this quote from a Bloomberg report: "When Apple's next iPhone hits store shelves, Technicolor's engineers will rush to get the handset — not to make calls or play games, but to rip it apart. Technicolor, an unprofitable French company that invented the process for color movies used in The Wizard of Oz and countless other classics, plans to cash in on its 40,000 video, audio and optics patents to turn its fortunes around. The company has a team of 220 people dissecting every new smartphone and tablet from industry goliaths such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC for patent infringements. Although Technicolor signed its first licensing deal in the 1950s, de Russe [executive vice-president of intellectual property at Technicolor] said, 'it feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are interesting.' Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company."

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161 comments

Announcing the iPhone B&W (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40160967)

It's black and white, so ultra-retro. All the hipsters will love it.

Re:Announcing the iPhone B&W (2)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161547)

Actually, I prefer more monochromatic themes on my Android. It just looks... cleaner.

And, if you're lucky enough to have a phone that's supported by Cyanogenmod (or possibly other custom ROMs), you can make the display monochrome. Looks cool, except for photos/vid/web.

BBC Interviewing a Patent Troll (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162515)

Do you want to know what the Patent Trolls really think of themselves?

BBC happens to interview Paul Ryan, top dog of Acacia Research Corp, a very well known patent troll

Podcast available at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice/bizdaily/bizdaily_20120530-1006a.mp3 [bbc.co.uk]

You tube carries another interview on the same guy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwpGWT_LdDw [youtube.com]

The red pill! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40160985)

Although Technicolor signed its first licensing deal in the 1950s, de Russe [executive vice-president of intellectual property at Technicolor] said, 'it feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are interesting.' Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company."

For some those dreams are a nightmare.

Face Palm (5, Funny)

firewrought (36952) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161033)

Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

Re:Face Palm (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161055)

Well, if Apple sues Samsung for making a tablet with the same dimensions, but black, despite prior art (Space Odysessy 2001).. then why can't Technicolor sue Apple for something equally obvious?

Re:Face Palm (3, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161875)

Because design patents != engineering/software patents.

HTH a little.

Re:Face Palm (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161985)

Agreed. Design patents are even more frivolous

Re:Face Palm (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162265)

No, actually they are not frivolous at all. Design patents have a valid purpose, similar to that of trademarks. By protecting the physical design they prevent copying of the appearance of a good being sold.

Re:Face Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162817)

Isn't that what trademarks are for? Or what, people can't even read "Samsung" and "Apple" anymore?

Re:Face Palm (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162409)

Well, if Apple sues Samsung for making a tablet with the same dimensions, but black, despite prior art (Space Odysessy 2001)..

Not what happened and unrelated anyway.

then why can't Technicolor sue Apple for something equally obvious?

You know that "on a computer' phrase people like to bitch about around here? This is an example of why you really want that despite what the dudes with the mod-points say.

Re:Face Palm (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162943)

Well, if Apple sues Samsung for making a tablet with the same dimensions, but black, despite prior art (Space Odysessy 2001)..

Not what happened and unrelated anyway.

Actually, pretty much exactly what happened.

Re:Face Palm (4, Funny)

otaku244 (1804244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161063)

They were too busy smoking cigarettes and taking naps to FIRE ZE' MISSILES...

Re:Face Palm (2)

jakimfett (2629943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161085)

...but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

Nothing. That's why their most profitable area of business is patent trolling...err...patent licensing.

Re:Face Palm (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162253)

Patents only run 20 years. SO if they haven't contributed anything they wouldn't have any current patents to enforce.

Re:Face Palm (3, Interesting)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161159)

Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

From the article: Technicolor, which made the first colour movie 90 years ago, holds key patents in digital audio and video.

...I have to wonder if it's related to H264...

Re:Face Palm (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161335)

the article is factually wrong - the first colour movies were Kinemacolor, a British colour process invented circa 1906.

Re:Face Palm (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163055)

Kinemacolor was only two-colors, as was the first Technicolor. Also, they were both "additive" - the film was black and white, but it passed through a spinning red and green wheel. Technicolor did this in 1916 and Kinemacolor did it several years before that.

Since the article says 90 years, that means 1922 - which probably means they are referring to the first color film... that did not require any special projection equipment, and made a much bigger impact on the film industry. I think Technicolor can take credit for that process, along with the three-color film process 10 years later.

Re:Face Palm (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161179)

Prior to a name change, they were Thomson SA.

Have you listened to an MP3 lately?

Yes, its technically right at the edge of twenty years, but I bet the most benefit came in the past ten.

Re:Face Palm (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161237)

Technicolor isn't the measly US company known long ago for that color thingy from the abstract. It is actually the renamed gathering of activities of what once was Thomson.

So at least in the audio and video field, that H.264, mp3 (pro) and related hardware for you. That is probably also where they are doing the most benefit in their IP. Not for very long, considering the age of the patents involved.

Re:Face Palm (5, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161299)

Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

Do they still make those amazing coats?

Re:Face Palm (4, Funny)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161439)

Do they still make those amazing coats?

Dream on, pal.

Re:Face Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161561)

It's Joseph! Get it right!

Re:Face Palm (3, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162475)

>Dream on, pal.

Shouldn't that be NTSC or HDMI these days?

Re:Face Palm (2)

dan828 (753380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161485)

You're showing your age.

Re:Face Palm (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161549)

Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

Do they still make those amazing coats?

Sure .. but their production methods have improved. Just check out their website Joseph's coats [josbank.com]

Re:Face Palm (3, Informative)

Bo'Bob'O (95398) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161413)

A pretty decent bit at least. They used to own Grass Vally and Thompson Broadcast, two big players in broadcast and cable video, as well as still being apart of cinema both digital and analog. So it's not just some holding company using a once familiar brand-name, they've been a relevant company. Of course, they have sold off a lot of that stuff now so maybe this is another sign of their decline.

Re:Face Palm (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162183)

They invents a TON of technology, but everyone uses it without licensing. So they are dying.

They actually invent things,
People rip them off,
and on /. THEY are the bad guys.

Re:Face Palm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162677)

Actually most of their patentable "inventions" were from RCA, which they purchased primarily to get their patent portfolio.

Re:Face Palm (2)

ragefan (267937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162889)

They invents a TON of technology, but everyone uses it without licensing. So they are dying.

They actually invent things,
People rip them off,
and on /. THEY are the bad guys.

The reason is that on /., most of us think the missing step in the Profit meme should be "make a useful product and sell it", not "patent troll".

Re:Face Palm (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162993)

You can invent and then sell whatever you want. It can be made cheaper in China. Some sort of patent protection is necessary to reward people who do the invention and innovation. Otherwise, why would any company even bother?

Re:Face Palm (2, Insightful)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161669)

If nothing else, Technicolor has contributed to that paragon of smoke-and-mirrors: endless growth in gross domestic product. GDP includes funds earned through the "service" of extracting licencing fees, whether sanely justified or obtained by threat of legal oblivion.

Re:Face Palm (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161747)

Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

The thing is, they could have. I remember reading an article about Kodak vs. Fuji and how, while Kodak was busy trying to figure out how to make disposable digital cameras, Fuji was inventing new kinds of films that enhanced the picture on LCD screens. So when the whole LCD TV thing exploded, there were Fuji products -- emphasis to show that it wasn't just patents -- inside every one.

Technicolor is still a viable brand. I remember it. Why aren't they in on that game? Why aren't there Technicolor-branded TV screens? So what if whatever makes a Technicolor TV "Technicolor" has nothing to do with the original Technicolor film process? It's a worthwhile brand, and if Technicolor had been smart and come up with a little TV technology, it might have licensed its name to every TV manufacturer in Asia.

Re:Face Palm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161807)

That Technicolor IS still a viable brand is why there is a company named Technicolor.

Emphasis on the named. They have no significant organizational or structural relationship with the original Technicolor company it's just through some arcane steps, they purchased the rights to the name.

That's it.

Re:Face Palm (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161931)

Exactly. Same reason that there is a music download service called napster. Brands are worth something as long as you don't plaster it on some crap product.

Re:Face Palm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162331)

Well, they should team up with Bell & Howell, then.

Re:Face Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162659)

The current company called technicolor has 3 brands, Thomson, RCA, and Technicolor. When Thomson went into bankruptcy, they emerged back as Technicolor. Thomson used to make Televisions at some point in the Past, but they got out of it due to it being not profitable. Technicolor has been working at selling all their profitable divisions like Grass Valley to get enough cash for their new venture..Patent Licensing!

Re:Face Palm (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162873)

Go look at the credits of most movies and you'll see technicolor in the credits.

Most warner bro's cartoons IE Bugs Bunny had a huge technicolor logo at the beginning.

However I fail to see what Apple owes them, were not talking about celluloid patents here anymore, this is digital.

Re:Face Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161999)

> Not that Apple, et. al., are innocent by any means, but WTF has Technicolor contributed to humanity in the past twenty years??

We ask that question every single day about US companies being greedy and the answer cannot be published here.

So that you know, because just for mentioning 20 years your age shows, every f**ing film until 20 years ago was "Color by Technicolor" (and I'm not talking about pr0n).

Not what I would call a "contribution", though.

Re:Face Palm (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162947)

They still do film processing (most films are still shot on film), and provide a significant amount of expertise and lab work in film restoration and archiving.

If you're asking what they've invented in the last 20 years, the answer is essentially nothing.

Re:Face Palm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40163305)

Oddly enough, a surprising amount. "Technicolor," isn't really just the technicolor of old. It used to be named Thomson, and did a lot of stuff under that name. The Technicolor name for the company is only a few years old. They basically made digital acquisition, intermediate, distribution and projection possible for cinema. They were the first people who could perform the party trick of putting a film print next to a digital projection, and having the colors match exactly. They own MPC, which is a major VFX house. At one point, they owned RCA and the GE consumer electronics division. You may went to check out on wikipedia just how much stuff they are involved in. Their RnD group even does an expo of stuff in the labs.

Technicolor illustration of a broken patent system (5, Insightful)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161049)

This will illustrate very clearly how the system it broken. It's not about abstract computer science concepts. It's not about things the jury cannot understand. (Although those optics patents might be highly technical.) It will show beyond doubt how a has been company is suing innovative new companies, in a different era, even different century, just because they can. And . . it's the most profitable business of the company!

Sickening.

But it is even more clear than Microsoft claiming patents that cover Linux or Android, and then claiming Linux or Android are building on Microsoft innovations.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1, Insightful)

witchman (214735) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161665)

Technicolor wants to sue companies to force them to license their patents. (this is how the patent system is supposed to work)

Apple wants to sue companies to prevent them from creating competitive products (THIS is an example of a broken patent system)

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (2, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161983)

The patent system is supposed to exist to allow inventors to have time to get their product to market and not have some giant company swoop in with their own development lab and get a copy of their product to market before the inventor even has a chance. In the event the inventor does not have the resources to get it to market, or you have an idea that would incorporate with the inventors idea but wouldn't directly compete with his product, he can license the patent to you so you can make your own product. Or he can out-right sell the patent to you. The patent system was not intended to protect an idea for eternity, being sold from corporation to corporation for centuries so every device ever invented would forever be beholden to some patent clearinghouse that had absolutely nothing to do with inventing anything even remotely relevant to anything modern. Do any of the people that had anything to do with whatever patents technicolor is going to sue for even work there anymore? Are they even alive? How much did the actual talent make for coming up with the patent? $10? The guy that invented the laser used in Blueray got a $100 giftcard and a plaque. (no, I'm not kidding)

Well, at least it's Apple. Fuck them, they deserve it.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162073)

"The patent system is supposed to exist to allow inventors to have time to get their product to market"
wrong wrong WRONG.

The patent system is design so inventor have control of what they want to do with their patent.
If that means sitting on it, then so be it. If that means selling it to a company then so be it.

"The patent system was not intended to protect an idea for eternity, "
And it doesn't.

" How much did the actual talent make for coming up with the patent? $10?"
irrelevant.

" The guy that invented the laser used in Blueray got a $100 giftcard and a plaque"
and his paycheck he got every month.
He worked to invent something for a company that paid him. Irrelevant to the conversation.
I wrote coed that saved a company a billion a year. I got a football and 1000 dollar bonus.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162245)

You wrote a coed that saved a billion a year?

Holy shit. Does she dream of electric sheep, or is he or she just a pleasure model?

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

jacks0n (112153) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163019)

The purpose of a patent is "To promote the progress of science and useful arts". (Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution)

Since sitting on a patent cannot possibly promote progress of any sort, doing so ~should~ invalidate the patent.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162513)

Earlier than that, the patent was supposed to give the inventor a source of income from sharing his know-how with the world. If he ran a self-owned business, that knowledge would have been lost if he died or retired. If he documents that know-how as a patent, he csn block others from using that knowledge unless they pay him a fee. 30 years was supposed to be enough time for a career to last.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (5, Insightful)

snookums (48954) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162003)

Technicolor wants to sue companies to force them to license their patents. (this is how the patent system is supposed to work)

Apple wants to sue companies to prevent them from creating competitive products (THIS is an example of a broken patent system)

What? You have it completely backwards.

The patent system is exactly designed to prevent the creation of competing products. You invent something and you get to sell that thing exclusively for a limited time, in return for donating the "secret" of its construction to the public domain at the end of that period.

It's the concept of passively sitting on a idea and then trying to extort money from anyone who actually brings a product to market that stifles innovation and acts against the interests of society. If I had my way, the patent system would be use-it-or-lose-it. If you don't make a genuine effort to utilize a patent, you'd have to sell it (not license it) to someone who will or it would become void.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162887)

If I had my way, the patent system would be use-it-or-lose-it. If you don't make a genuine effort to utilize a patent, you'd have to sell it (not license it) to someone who will or it would become void.

If you got your way, major corps would just stonewall inventors till said inventers were forced to sell their patents. Then the corps would pocket big profits. Actually they already do this, but your way would probobly force it to happen more often.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161963)

Your argument doesn't wash. That the company is a "has been" in your opinion isn't here or there. What's shown is the patents had value, in that they were bought from somebody who invented. And so it follows the patent system encourages invention.

Not saying I'm not sick of the whole business just like you are, I'm only pointing out why your idea doesn't get traction in the courts and in the legislature. You're displaying perspective blindness, not an economic example of a broken patent system. And it's the latter we have to show if we're going to get anywhere.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162099)

So, as an inventor, would you dare use your own invention, or keep it to yourself lest you be sued for patent infringement?

Of course the patent system is broken. It's not for the inventors and entrepeneurs anymore!

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162023)

This shows exactly why the systems works.

Technicolor invented a bunch of stuff. Other people used it without permission, Now they have recourse.

It's not like Apple can't do a patent search.

Re:Technicolor illustration of a broken patent sys (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162335)

and you pyramid builders better be careful or you'll get sued by the Egyptians.

yadayada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161061)

' Patent licensing was the most profitable business of the company."

Re:yadayada (2)

DickBreath (207180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161317)

From TFA . . .
> 'it feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are interesting.'

It feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why protection rackets are interesting.

It feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why extortion is interesting.

Cinerama suing for multiple desktops! (2)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161065)

...and don't even think of using curved screens!!!

Re:Cinerama suing for multiple desktops! (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162723)

That's why they went to flat screen. Now everyone is running around to see if they can apply a patent they already hold that would apply to flats so they can sue the rest of the world... before they get sued themselves.

Technicolor was American, not French (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161083)

Just to be clear for those that are easily confused, Technicolor was invented in America and is named after MIT. From Wikipedia:

The Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation was founded in Boston in 1914 (incorporated in Maine in 1915) by Herbert Kalmus, Daniel Frost Comstock, and W. Burton Wescott. The "Tech" in the company's name was inspired by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Kalmus received his undergraduate degree and was later an instructor. Technicolor, Inc. was chartered in Delaware in 1921.

Re:Technicolor was American, not French (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161427)

Do all dead or dying American corporations end-up French?
- Technicolor
- Atari
- Commodore
- Amiga
- ???

Re:Technicolor was American, not French (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161787)

You left out:
- Alcatel-Lucent (as in Western Electric and Bell Laboratories)

Re:Technicolor was American, not French (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161833)

Do all dead or dying American corporations end-up French?
- Technicolor
- Atari
- Commodore
- Amiga
- ???

Did the html mangle your profit meme or has it been patented?

Re:Technicolor was American, not French (2)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162737)

Technicolor has a research center in France. You will see adverts for research scientists in color science.

Given the way that texture compression is a big issue for mobile devices, and that there are demos that use movie videos as textures, that drifts into their territory.

Clueless People Love Money! (2, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161097)

Although Technicolor signed its first licensing deal in the 1950s, de Russe [executive vice-president of intellectual property at Technicolor] said, 'it feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are interesting.' Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company."

Dude has it wrong. Being a Patent Lawyer is the most Profitable Business.

Re:Clueless People Love Money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161225)

Try parsing that sentence again. The sentence said "Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company". By definition, these profits go to Technicolor and not to whichever lawyers they hire, otherwise they wouldn't be called "profits".

Re:Clueless People Love Money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161247)

Being a Patent Lawyer is the most Profitable Business.

Man do I wish that was true. /sigh

Patenting an idea is insane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161123)

The idea that one can patent or copyright an idea is silly. Only the state could come up with such a vicious construct to stiffle innovation, competition and expression.

Imagine if someone had copyrighted words. You wouldnt be able to talk.

Humans are copying machine by definition. Wait till we get brain implants and lawyers will start making pay for our own memories of movies and songs.

Re:Patenting an idea is insane (1)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161277)

in other news... monkeys to file suite on humans copying them...

new Technicolorized classics? (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161133)

In the latest re-re-re-release of Wizard Of Oz 3DD, they digitally innovate a new character, Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Toto and the new superhero, Mister Potter's Patent Lawyer.

The Wicked Witch Of the West is digitally morphed with Richard Stallman's equally ugly visage.

Woah! You can't have it both ways. (3, Insightful)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161149)

Motorola (first mobile call 1973) are being sued [zdnet.com] by Microsoft (formed 1976) because, whilst clearly they are the newbies in this area, each and every time the obvious sequence of events is brought up out come the naysaysers whining about all Motorolas relevant patents having expired. So, these jerks with their '50s technology is somehow relevant, how?

Re:Woah! You can't have it both ways. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162111)

They have been developing technology since the 50s. If it was a technology developed in 1950, there wouldn't be a story.

Re:Woah! You can't have it both ways. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162779)

Here's a hint, they're not suing over 1950s technology.

Talk about stifling innovation.... (3, Insightful)

gatfirls (1315141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161199)

I would be cartoon knee-knocking scared if I ever "invented" and popular and revolutionary product. It's basically like a zombie movie with these patent suits. They wait for success and then pop out of the ground in hoards.

Re:Talk about stifling innovation.... (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161873)

I would be cartoon knee-knocking scared if I ever "invented" and popular and revolutionary product. It's basically like a zombie movie with these patent suits. They wait for success and then pop out of the ground in hoards.

Well, just having an idea will get you nowhere. To make any money off it, you have to either have the wherewithal to manufacture it yourself, or convince someone else to.

If you really want to go it alone, unfortunately, I think what I'd look into is to sign on with a patent troll company, like Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures. Seriously. Instead of getting sued, maybe you sell a piece of your patent to them. Then you can try to make a business out of it, and if you run into problems, you've got their massive patent-troll portfolio behind you, to stave off the lawsuits.

Ain't that a bitch?

When you will people get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161201)

It doesn't matter whether it's Technicolor, a university, a big tech company, a small tech company, or a patent troll who owns an obvious patent. An obvious patent gives someone a right to prevent someone else from implementing an idea, when the originator of the patent contributed nothing.

Now you *might* be able to ameliorate the impact of obvious patents through various means, but they are by their nature immoral and economically inefficient. Immoral because they give a person a right to extract money from someone else without doing anything to earn it. Inefficient because they cause people to put time/energy/money into obtaining these obvious patents so they can profit form them.

Nothing wrong with patents per se. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161259)

But there * IS * something wrong with 40-year-old patents.

Re:Nothing wrong with patents per se. (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162075)

Lots of patents are 40 years and older. In fact these are the best kind of patents because they constitute published technology that everyone is free to use.

Re:Nothing wrong with patents per se. (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162103)

Especially in tech where things are dated in months, not years or decades (although I feel things have slowed slightly in the past 4 years)

Re:Nothing wrong with patents per se. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162159)

what 40 year old patent? huh ?
This is about newer stuff.
Technicolor SA was formerly Thomson SA and Thomson Multimedia.

Where you listening to MP3s 40 years ago?

Twit.

Re:Nothing wrong with patents per se. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162981)

Where you listening to MP3s 40 years ago?

Well, I was, but only because I have a time machine. Interestingly, time travel technology will be derived from some of what these patents cover.

Re:Nothing wrong with patents per se. (2)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163087)

I think MP3's were invented by the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. Not by Thompson in France.

Free Enterprise 0.1 (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161261)

The idea that a company can remain solvent in perpetuity doing nothing but simply licensing out ancient IP and suing those who violate said IP rights is an incredible bastardization of Capitalism.

Re:Free Enterprise 0.1 (2)

countach (534280) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161345)

Well they can't do it in perpetuity. Patents expire after 20 years.

Re:Free Enterprise 0.1 (3, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162063)

Not if they change the patent slightly. Since they own the patent they can create a new device/process/whatever based on the original and basically renew the patent. Drug companies are famous for this. Look at CFC free albuterol inhalers.

Re:Free Enterprise 0.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162859)

That's because the patent office is incompetent and approves things that would be considered obvious in the industry as an extension to prior art.

The real problem with the patent system is almost completely due to the fact that things are getting patented that are not appropriately novel. It serves no-one in the industry (except the patent holder) when a patent is granted for an 'invention' where a huge percentage of people skilled in that particular field could come up with a similar or identical solution. It's even more annoying when a patent is granted for something that itself might be particularly novel, but the patent just also happens to contain a few bonus broad brush claims on precursor concepts that aren't novel at all.

This is why the patent system is broken.

Re:Free Enterprise 0.1 (2)

thebigmacd (545973) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162945)

The thing is though, someone else could patent the improvement first and they would be dead in the water. Why doesn't this happen more often?

There's some sort of Irony here... (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161281)

... that I'm having trouble articulating.

On one hand, you have these companies using patents, an abstract barrier, to make money. On the other hand, they are sniffing out violations by means of reverse engineering. This is an act that, if many big companies had their way, would also be forbidden. Another abstract barrier. Something doesn't add up, but I can't flesh it out. I figured I'd drop this incomplete thought in case someone wanted to pick it up and run with it.

Re:There's some sort of Irony here... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161325)

in case someone wanted to pick it up and run with it.

I will bite. Constructing abstract barriers has always been good for business. Ask any lawyer.

Re:There's some sort of Irony here... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162049)

The component you're missing is lawyers. Lawyers make those abstract barriers, and ultimately it is lawyers that profit from those abstract barriers. The whole system is a confidence game built of the lawyers, for the lawyers and by the lawyers.

Its taken Technicolor this long.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161437)

...to pay attention to the man behind the curtain?

Kill Patent Trolls Now (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161507)

The good that would come out of this is if the government kills patent trolls and sharply limits patents both in time and scope.

Re:Kill Patent Trolls Now (1)

barv (1382797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40161617)

I mod you up to 5

Re:Kill Patent Trolls Now (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162033)

Who would pay for all the politicians vacations and parties? I mean, besides everyone else bribing them.

Re:Kill Patent Trolls Now (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162169)

This has nothing to do with patent trolls. Nothing at all.

The only thing worse then in ignorant post is the person saying it should be modded up.

Sorry, de Russe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40161571)

You came in at the wrong time. The rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are broken. They're still not interesting.

Major Contradiction (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 2 years ago | (#40162013)

Technicolor, an unprofitable French company...

and then:

Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company.

I'd hate to see how their other efforts are going.

Isn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162043)

Wouldn't their dismantling the device be a violation of the DMCA with the intent to reverse engineer so they have grounds for the suit?

Poor Technicolor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40162983)

Technicolor actually spends a lot on research. I worked there for years, up until very recently. Unfortunately they also make a lot of bad business decisions. They closed one of the best research labs in the company. You know who you are :)

How will ripping the phone apart help? (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 2 years ago | (#40163029)

I've taken apart ipads, iphones, pretty much every device.

I don't think I could tell what was patent infringing from that view and what was not.

I think they're just issuing press releases.

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