Skip to content

Patent trolls take a hit: Newegg and the shopping cart patents

“It’s actually surprising how quickly people forget what Lemelson did. [referring to Jerome Lemelson, an infamous patent troll who used so-called “submarine patents” to make billions in licensing fees.] This activity is very similar. Trolls right now “submarine” as well. They use timing, like he used timing.”

With regrets to Don Costar, may he rest in peace, Newegg is gaining some ground in the intellectual properties racket justice. Ars describes how Newegg crushed the shopping cart patent and saved online retail.

Lemelson provided significant support to Don Costar’s Nevada Inventor’s Association and was a good friend. But Lemelson dreamed up ideas to patent and did not put them into practice. When some entrepreneur later was able to make that idea a reality, Lemelson took his share as patent holder. That is the essence of patent trolling which has been aggravated by software and business process patents especially in the I’net commercial arena where the stakes are very high.

“Just in our experience, we’ve been hit by companies that claim to own the drop-down menu, or a search box, or Web navigation. In fact, I think there’s at least four that claim to ‘own’ some part of a search box.”

Everyone wants a piece of the pie and the US patent system has been a great assistance in issuing patents for simple and obvious ideas implemented via software. The heyday of this sort of abuse may be in the past. Let’s hope the pendulum doesn’t swing too far and a reasonable balance is found between intellectual property and public commerce.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.