SALT LAKE CITY—Texas Instruments Inc. reached an agreement with Canadian technology licensing firm Wi-LAN Inc. to end all litigation between the firms over Bluetooth, Wi-LAN said Wednesday (July 5). Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Last week, Wi-LAN (Ottawa, Canada) announced that it acquired a collection of 60 U.S. patents covering mobile communications from Glenayre Electronics Inc. Wi-LAN paid $8 million cash for the patents, the company said. The acquisition brings WiLAN's patent portfolio to over 1,400 issued and pending patents, the company said.
In April, Wi-LAN confirmed that four litigations that were scheduled for trial in early 2011 were dismissed as a result of agreements signed with major semiconductor and product vendors, including Intel Corp.
The idea behind patents is to protect the inventor to build his product without competition. Somehow it has turned into something else. A way to print money and sell the rights to anyone. Just doesn't seem right compared to the initial intent.
It seems that these companies purchasing patents might be subsideries of the giant companies, otherwise how come it would be possible to purchase 1400 patents by a company that is not known to everyone.
There was a press release on June 29, 2011 that Wi-LAN paid $8M for 60 patents from Glenayre Electronics, a company in Duluth, GA.
And here, less than a week later, there is this settlement with TI.
I have two questions:
(1) What was Glenayre Electronics doing all this time, if these patents were so essential to Bluetooth?
(2) Why is it that so many patent trolls are Canadian companies?
Perhaps the real issue is that our world is becoming so interconnected that "everything interacts with everything". Carving out an isolated concept for a stand alone patent is becoming increasing challenging since new technologies interact with other new devices which remain under patent protection. The days are past in which an invention (the better mousetrap) is a completely stand alone device with no external intellectual property encumbrances.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.