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back to article FTC squelches Ethernet patent squatter's price hike

The US Federal Trade Commission is barring a patent-squatting firm from raising its royalty rates for a now-standard Ethernet technology. On Wednesday, the agency settled a complaint against Negotiated Data Solutions (N-Data) which the FTC claims was demanding unfair royalties for licensing its patents The FTC accused the firm …

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wow

is the head honcho at the FTC go by the surname of "Billy-Goat-Gruff"? Cos they seem to be really hitting the trolls this year.

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It's appropriate but

I have never before heard of a patent troll called a patent squatter nice sort of swap between a domain squatter and a patent troll are there now domain trolls, seems likely. My god this means they have been interbreeding run for the hills.

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not enough.

Such an unethical attempt to cash in by reneging known contractual arrangements should not only have been met with a ban against raising prices, but a stripping of the patent from the current patent holder.

This is exactly the kind of bullshit that so many companies are trying on for size with the standards. Get their patent-encumbered solutions approved as part of standard based on promises to not enforce said patents, then when the standard becomes widely accepted cash in by suddenly requiring license fees for the patent.

Any and all standards organizations should require that all patent holders permanently relinquish all rights to patents for technology they want included in a standard. Otherwise it's just asking for more trouble like this, like Qualcomm, like so many others.

ISO? You hearing this with Microsofts OOXML proposal and all the IP encumbrance that it comes with?

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Pirate

Is there a rat smell in the room?

Just something I noticed.

N-Data claims on their site that all proceeds from the license offer fees will be donated to charities identified by the RIPL group.

(http://negotiateddata.com/node/2)

But the RIPL group site is a bit, umm, empty for a group that is supposedly championing environmental issues. Actually, it looks like it could be thrown together with less than 10 minutes of typing and a $15 domain registration fee.

(http://www.riplgroup.org/)

And why does the RIPL site look like nothing more than a green version of the N-Data site?

Hmmm, could it be that whois lookups for both negotiateddata.com and riplgroup.org show that both domains were registered by bluehost.com? Isn't that a tad strange? Might someone infer that RIPL is just a shell non-profit for N-Data?

No, I guess not. That would be crazy talk.

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Pirate

Madam Chairman

i wonder if she's a Bush appointee, it sounds like one of their usual technology and patent opinions: "Government has no regulatory role in business, because business is holy and virtuous! Where business goes, rainbows, butterflies and unicorns follow!"

bought-and-paid-for corporate whores (without any pretense of reason or moderation), the whole lot of them.

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So..

what WAS the currently proposed license fee???

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Why sell?

Why did National Semiconductor sell the patent in the first place, and why did Vertical buy it? What were the terms of the sale?

Because, if Vertical had intended to stay "honest", then the patent had almost no value. What, $1,000 every time a new company wants to design a Ethernet interface? In this age of consolidation, how often is that going to happen? Five times a year?

Unless NS just gave away the patent, they must have known all along that Vertical (or its spin-offs) was going to pull a trick like this.

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@Yeah, right

"Such an unethical attempt to cash in by reneging known contractual arrangements should not only have been met with a ban against raising prices, but a stripping of the patent from the current patent holder."

That's actually a bloody good idea. A patent is a privilege; and, as parents and teachers were so fond of telling me when I was a kid, Privileges May Be Withdrawn If Abused.

If the courts could order the premature expiry of a patent, this would be a powerful weapon against patent trolls.

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Perfect example

Ya know, this is a perfect example of why standards bodies that set 'standards' need to be a) non-commercial, and b) must be co-inventor/co-rights holder on any and all parts of anything that is declared a 'standard'. I don't mean a de facto standard such as Windows. This is a perfect illustration however. If a commercial organization wants to work with a standards body such as the IEEE and leverage the work being done by that body and others lending their efforts, then the fruits of that need to be co-owned by the non-commercial standards body precisely to prevent some jackass with a spiffy suit and yellow tie from hearing the ka-ching noise as visions of being a gate keeper on some terrific new technology play through his mind.

No offense to folks wearing spiffy suits and yellow ties of course, you're not all jackasses, just the ones with fewer morals than a cockroach and less sense than a lemming with a diving fixation. Besides I like yellow, it's a happy color.

Seriously though, had the IEEE be a co-holder to the rights on the technology concerned it would have been far easier to prevent this stupidity from happening.

Alright, back to my 8x8 Utopian world, there's code to be written, and queries to resolve.

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Anonymous Coward

cheaper then a franchice

so what was the price they were going to raise it to?

was this charge for each new product ?

or was this charge one time fee for all the products this one company builds?

whats wrong with a price increase for new manufactures?

how come a company can not raise it's prices but the gov can raise it's prices?

(now that's a thought , can we now say no to tax increases because it is a now-standard gov....)

name a franchise you can buy for a thousand dollars, ,,where as you can now make money

where as you can now make money on ethernet equipment with this license ..

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international standards tied in with patented designs

As someone who was secretary to several British Standards Institute and International Standards Organisation committees working in partnership with other Standards bodies worldwide (in the automotive field) I am familiar with the desire for corporations to have international standards written around their products and there is nothing wrong with that per se. Further I do not think it unreasonable for corporations to seek to make money from their inventions. However it was always understood at ISO that whilst there may be a cost attached to licensing and use of technology owned by an individual organisation, this cost must not be unreasonable or excessive. Most standards organisations are self regulating and it is probably optimistic to expect them to take any sanctions against their members. However from a legal standpoint - where it appears that a clear undertaking had been given by the owner of a given technology regarding the future cost of using that technology prior to adoption of the technology into an industry standard - I would consider this to be unreasonable and I would expect most legal systems in the world to enforce that original undertaking. F Gerschwiler

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