Saturday, March 04, 2006

blackberry blackmail

The Canadian manufacturers of the Blackberry have given in and agreed to cough up over $600 million to resolve a dispute over the patent.

It's total bullshit. I'm NOT a Blackberry user -- I wouldn't have one if you paid me, and people who are proud of being at their bosses' beck-and-call 24/7 because of this nasty little device are equal parts full of themselves and self-deluded. However, it's completely bogus that a company that submits a vague idea -- in this case, for a wireless email device -- and gets a patent for it without EVER attempting to actually build the device, and in fact doesn't even address the technical and software challenges in making such a thing, gets to hold the Blackberry manufacturers hostage. The winning company, NTP, is nothing but a parasite.

This is another good example of how our patent system needs an overhaul, badly. Amazon's one-click shopping is another bad patent, in this case for a business method. One kid even patented the technique for riding a swing -- put up to it by his lawyer dad, who just wanted to demonstrate the absurdity of our current patent system.