Why tech vendors fund patent 'trolls'

Some of the largest names in the tech industry are funding patent 'trolls,' for protection from lawsuits and for access to the patent pool

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"Because the patent system was designed with product manufacturers in mind, not NPEs, the NPEs are able to exploit the lack of clarity of the reasonable royalty standard in a way that manufacturing companies cannot."

Just nine months later, in December 2009, Micron sold at least 20 percent of its patent portfolio to Round Rock Research LLC, a Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based patent aggregator. Micron's patents are the only ones that Round Rock holds, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark database. Appleton was still Micron's CEO when this sale occurred, a post he held until the time of his untimely death in February 2012.

Apple and Micron refused to comment for this story.

Based in San Francisco, Gina Smith is a New York Times best-selling author and a veteran tech and science journalist specializing in news, news analysis and investigative work. She's also the editorial director of the geek site aNewDomain.net. You can email her at Gina@aNewDomain.net.

Read more about IT industry in Computerworld's IT Industry Topic Center.

This story, "Why tech vendors fund patent 'trolls'" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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