back to article German patent hoarder IPCom fires sueball at Vodafone over 4G

German patent licensing firm IPCom is taking British mobile operator Vodafone to High Court, over claims the telco infringed on its 4G/LTE patents. The trial is scheduled for 19th November – the proceedings have been expedited since the patent in question (100T8) expires in February 2020. Munich-based IPCom deals in …

  1. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It shows you what type of company IPCOM is when they hope to make money out of a patent for prioritising emergency service calls.

    Hope Vodafone wins this and gets the patent thrown out

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    I am a bit torn here, I despise Voda who, in my experience is a horrible company to deal with and equally despise slime covered patent trolls who have all the attributes of leaches.

    Is there any way they could both lose and go out of business?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      They could both spend all their money on lawyers, but then again this isn't a much better result.

      1. MrBanana

        "They could both spend all their money on lawyers, but then again this isn't a much better result."

        This is always the result.

      2. Anne-Lise Pasch

        If the law firm burned down after, I'd be happy with a pyrrhic victory. Or, at least, a Pyre-ic victory.

    2. Andy 97

      There's many pensions invested in VF, perhaps you'd be better to wish for VF to stop being so crap to work with.

  3. MrReal Bronze badge

    Companies who don't use their patents within 5 years should lose them. A new law is needed to stop these parasites.

  4. Jason Brooks
    Stop

    Irrelevant in this day and age

    Patents served a purpose during the industrial revolution, but in this day and age they stifle innovation and, case in point, too often get used for extortion (patent trolling).

    And let's be honest here... should these patent trolls win and Vodafone has to pay millions in a settlement, who do you think is going to eventually foot the bill for this? The customers, of course.

    I'd go as far as to say most people are oblivious to how patents work, what they're for and how they get abused. (pretty much the same goes for copyright law that was intended to protect earning for the creator's lifetime, but has since been extended to ridiculous time frames)

    At the end of the day, big corporations and weasly patent hoarders get rich, while the customer has to pay and have to put up with inferior products, because innovation is halted by fear of patent infringement.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Irrelevant in this day and age

      Patents served a purpose during the industrial revolution, but in this day and age they stifle innovation and, case in point, too often get used for extortion (patent trolling).

      Patents have never served a useful purpose besides creating monopolies and making money for a privileged few.

      If you follow the history of patents, patent enforcement and so on, you will usually see that patents follow froma period of innovation, not lead to such. Typical pattern is as follows:

      1) there are no patents, no patent laws, no patent enforcement;

      2) there is a period of high technological/industrial/manufacturing progress, basically much new stuff is invented;

      3) a lot of 'stealing' of ideas, spread of knowledge, cross-pollinization of ideas, improvememts on others ideas and processes, even more stuff is invented and produced;

      4) individuals or organisations want monopolies on the stuff they've invented, as they are too lazy to keep inventing, they want to rest back and live off what they've already invented, and push for patents and so on;

      5) patents are introduced;

      6) rate of inventiveness goes down, as you no longer have to keep inventing new stuff to keep ahead of the competition, you have your monopolies, you just need to keep that stuff ticking over and keep extending the patents (witness how the pharmaceutical industry keeps being able to - in effect if not literally - get patents extended by combining them with other existing patents, e.g. drug 1 patent, drug 2 patent, both about to run out, hey lets combine drug 1 and drug 2 into a new single dose pill for both those things, and get a patent on that that effectively denies others the use of drug 1 and drug 2 since those drugs while out of patent on them, have effectively got an extension by being in this new patent that combines them);

      7) inventiveness moves to new countries who don't have patent laws, or weak patent laws (e.g. UK -> US -> Japan -> Taiwan -> S.Korea -> China);

      8) rinse, repeat in the new country.

      The same pattern can be seen with regards to copyright as well. E.g. Hollywood a the turn of the 20th century was built on other peoples copyrights, ignoring them. It wasn't until after Hollywood became a significant player that they started whining about their copyrights.

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