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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 23, 2013
An "enum" for Python 3
An unexpected perf feature
LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
Posted Oct 10, 2012 7:12 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252)
They know there are lots of patents out there and they consider the hypothetical possibility of these landmines, but they have no way to get an accurate measures. And if you have patents of your own for the technology you've developed then the risk is largely mitigated: if your technology is covered by both your patent and someone's else patent then it's very hard to prove that you have no right to use this technology even if that other patent was granted earlier.
Patents may be a drag for the economy as whole but they sure are a win for each particular participant. Tragedy of commons and all that. And startups who are trying to do things for the common good first and for their own good second don't usually reach the sale stage at all.
Posted Oct 10, 2012 14:13 UTC (Wed) by price (subscriber, #59790)
I believe that *some* small-company shareholders come out modestly pleased with what the patent system did for their pocketbooks, but there are others who come out quite displeased. And I suspect that in net, if you're involved in an early-stage startup and don't yet know how those dice will fall, your expected value from the patent system is negative.
Posted Oct 10, 2012 14:00 UTC (Wed) by Nelson (subscriber, #21712)
If you buy a batch that might be invalid or something, you're not on the hook for legal fights until you pick one. Unless someone can remember a case, I only remember the patent holder projecting their patent into a court room. Subsequently, I would bet money that you could take that batch of possibly bad patents and enter in to pretty far reaching and broad cross-licensing agreements with a lot of other patent holders. Which is very normal, very common and not nearly as news worthy as when Samsung and Apple battle.
I'm not a pro-patent shill, I don't want to sound that way but there is a lot more at play. When you buy a company and there might be patents covering their technology but they have their own patents, it's a radically better deal than buying one without patents; you'll simply attempt to enter in to cross-licensing agreements with the other patent holders and continue doing your business. That's why they pay the premiums for the patents, even if they might be invalid.
Posted Oct 10, 2012 14:20 UTC (Wed) by price (subscriber, #59790)
You're right that patents held by the company to be acquired are unlikely to reduce its purchase price, and can augment it.
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