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Microsoft funding patent troll ..

Anonymous Coward writes | about a year ago

0

An anonymous reader writes "Some days $30 million seems like a lot of money, and other days it's just a bit of a letdown. Vringo is a once-upon-a-time ringtone company that's now basically a holding company for search patents dating back to the Lycos days, and it used those patents to sue Google. In November, a federal jury found that the patents were infringed, but Google should pay just $30 million, far less than the nearly $700 million it was seeking.

Investors had big dreams for Vringo, but that too-small payday, combined with an assurance of a lengthy appeal by Google, has left the stock price disappointingly stagnant.

In January Vringo unveiled its wholly predictable backup plan—sue the one other viable search engine, Microsoft's Bing. Now that case has settled for $1 million, plus five percent of whatever Google ultimately pays, according to a Vringo regulatory filing yesterday...

The five percent addendum is an interesting twist to this early settlement. One has to wonder if Microsoft really fought very hard. The company has effectively paid $1 million for an "option" to see its chief competitor hurt 20 times as bad as it is.

The settlement also provides for Microsoft to transfer six patents to I/P engine, the patent-holding subsidiary of Vringo. "The assigned patents relate to telecommunications, data management, and other technology areas," stated Vringo in its filing."

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