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Upside: Patent wars

Jul 12, 2000, 06:41 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Sam Williams)

"Fortunately, software patents are a relatively minor issue in the hardware-oriented VMEbus market. As local block captain, it's Alderman's job to lead the community fire brigade whenever patent issues do come up. Such was the case last year when networking systems Nortel (NT) issued letters to nearly a dozen VITA members demanding three separate royalty payments for all hardware systems employing Nortel bus-board patents."

"In a quick show of community solidarity against this so-called "triple taxation," Alderman and the VITA staff mobilized VMEbus vendors into a joint defense association, or JDA, pooling both legal fees and research efforts to dig up past examples of "prior art" to undermine Nortel's patent claim. So far, the case has yet to make it to court...."

"The issue of software and Web patents has become an increasing concern throughout the high-tech industry within the last few months. What with more than 13,000 new patents introduced last year, nearly one out of 10 granted patents, software patents have become yet another weapon in the intellectual property arsenal of most corporations."

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