Aiming for the Big Guys, i.e. ridiculous lawsuits

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Its tough being on top and even tougher to stay there. Not only must you be on the cutting edge of technology and advancement, advertising and marketing, but all of the little guys in the pond are trying to take you down or get there cut. Hence seems to be the case with California based company named Shared Memory Graphics which is reportedly sueing Apple and other major companies over a two graphic accelerator systems patented by the company.

According to MacWorld, “The two patents, originally owned by Alliance Semiconductor, describe ways in which microprocessors fine-tune graphics by balancing the flow of data from various sources.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the suit was filed at the U.S. District Court of Arkansas and demands unspecified monetary damages.

The plaintiff’s attorneys are fighting for a “reasonable royalty” from Apple, Sony, Nintendo, along with enhanced damages from Sony.

Apple had no comment to make on the lawsuit filed late last week.”

Whether or not the small business has a legitimate claim against Apple and others, it will be interesting to see how the story unfolds, and whether or not Apple and the other companies will simply settle out of court with the plaintiffs so as to avoid any media attention, or if they will go to trial and risk exposure or something else.

Personally it seems silly that companies like this are allowed to file suit against major corporations simply to try and settle out of court and make a fast buck. While companies like Apple can withstand this small attacks, our legal system seems broken in allowing the overuse and abuse of sueing and patent conflicts.

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  1. I’m not quite sure why this should be considered an abuse of the system. If patents are owned, then by law Apple and others are required to pay. By not paying they are commiting theft. So if the lawsuit is legitimate I see no problem with this.

    One could argue that Robert Kearns, Edwin Armstrong, Walter Avrea, or Gordon Gould were all just filing rediculous lawsuits when they filed suit against big companies. They could have moved on to new things and not spent so much time pursuing damages in court. Yet our society looks to these men as an inspiration. They had an idea, the patented it, then they tried to protect it from big corporations.

    One could argue that settling out of court is a good thing also, and not the silly negativeness it’s portrayed as. First off not all aspects of a settlement are disclosed. So while we may hear that this guy is eventually paid off with millions, what we may not hear is that as part of the settlement Apple gets the patent, or the guy agrees not to file suit against future Apple products that violate the patent. Make no mistake, if somone uses technology Apple has a patent on they will sue to protect their share of the market.

    There is little doubt in my mind that corporations like Apple violate patent law all the time. The reality of life is that with competition in R&D between companies someone will cross the finish line first. If another company then thinks it’s fair to use that technology the other guys thought up without paying them then the company is in the wrong.

    Jared says...
    July 12th, 2009 at 5:34 pm
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