Microsoft and Facebook concluded a significant round of pass the patent parcel today as the soon-to-IPO social network gained rights to a bundle of IP formerly belonging to AOL. The companies have carved up the $1bn patent pile that Microsoft secured from AOL earlier this month, strengthening both their respective IP positions …
If a little fraction of that patent money (say some %) would go to the guys who actually came up with the patents, I'd be impressed. But as it is, the patents just seem to float around, acquiring or losing virtual value, being transferred for unimaginable quantities of dollars and occasionally being contested in billion dollar lawsuits.
How again do patents stimulate progress if the inventors are fed a few $ for their work and some detached IP industry handles the 10-figure sums to get an edge over the competition? Surely the billions shall pay off by shutting down the innovative competition, so if you are in the business of innovating (as opposed to handling IP), you might be outlawyered soon.
All nice an all.
But this is all mostly bullshit, as there is one license that Microsoft so desperately want, and it's not for sale, and it's worth more than this even by itself.
It's the Google owned patent on PageRank, and it's what makes all other search engines totally shit compared to Google...
And it's key to everything that Google does, makes Google more money that anyone else from advertising, and makes my searching better.
Sorry Microsoft, you lose again.
The PageRank patent belongs to Standford University. Google has exclusive license rights, though.
Can we please shun the term "IP"?
Call me a Stallmanite grouch, but I still find the term "IP" unhelpful, preferring the more specific terms: patents; trademarks; copyrights; trade secrets.
This story is about patents and patent applications.