My friend and yours Zach Walton has just posted an article about Windows 8 and how it’s “bringing out the trolls“. Only here’s the thing…those of you who know me (Charles Arthur, this means you) know that I hate hate hate patent trolls. If the question were ever posed to me in one of those standard survey formats where you have to choose on a scale of “Like Them Tremendously” down to “Strongly Dislike Them”, patent trolls would have me writing in a vote of “Very Strongly Dislike Them A Whole Lot”. So if I have a chance to call one out and dump on them, by God I’m not missing out.
But here we’re in a bit of a gray area. Which reminds me of a quote from one of the best movies ever besides Star Wars which has incidentally been completely ruined by the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney. George? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? At least you had the foresight to put Kathleen Kennedy – no relation – in charge of branding. Anyway, the quote is:
FLETCH I have pictures of him. Dealing….
WALKER So let’s go! We run the pictures.
FLETCH He’s not the story! There’s a source behind him.
FLETCH Well, there we’re in a bit of a gray area.
WALKER How gray?
Are these guys trolls? We’re in charcoal territory here…let’s don’t just toss that name out willy nilly, as it sullies the term and makes it less of a biting commentary on the real thing if it’s used inappropriately. It looks like these guys have a decent patent, though it also looks like they haven’t brought an OS to market using the concept. So in that respect, they meet the partial definition of a troll, something closer to the Non-Practicing Entity end of the range, I’d say.
True trolls sue repeatedly. A quick search of my emails from PriorSmart yields exactly one result for SurfCast, and that’s this suit. One lawsuit against one company over a patent that seems valid does not a troll make.
What else you got on them, Zach? Bring it on!