In Defense of the Indefensible: That’s Not The Whole Truth And You Know It

Hello, Erin.  Nice article.

Here’s the thing…it is certainly admirable that there are companies out there who want to help the little guy.  In fact, that’s a point I made in my very own Backgrounder right here at IPTT2.  (Is it wrong to link to yourself?  Is that bad protocol?  Will it make my hit counts go up artificially?  ACK!)  But we all know good and well that that is not predominantly what Acacia and InterDigital do.

This is kind of why, when you’re sworn in under oath, you’re told to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”  I once babysat for a kid who, in a moment of “out of the mouths of babes” that you just can’t script, said it like this:

You should always tell the truth, the whole truth, and everything but the truth!

…you know, like politicians!  He was a good kid.  Often wondered how he turned out, but I’m too afraid to look him up because he’d be in his 30’s by now and Good God above I cannot possibly be that old to have babysat him when he was eight.

But I digress.

The Patent Troll issue gets tons of play and it should and this is but one more article to add to the mix that tries to show that not everything is as awful as those of us on my side of the fence make it seem.  I think personally that there’s nothing wrong with defending a troll or two if there’s good reason.  Sure, some trolls actually do work to get the little guy inventor a good deal, but it is always with their own bottom line in mind, so not quite as altruistic as Erin’s article would make us believe.  I also realize that, as I pointed out in my war of words discussion with Charles Arthur, not everyone who sues over a patent is a troll.

But Acacia?  InterDigital?

C’mon.  TROLLS!  BOTH OF THEM!

Just sayin’,

IPTT

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Google + Motorola = iPad Killer

The world is still all a-flutter over the Google/Motorola deal.  Reuters wrote a piece the other day (yesterday, which was also the start of the new school year for my kids so time has been tight as I get them geared up), and I’d like to throw my hat into the discussion ring on it.  Let’s start with a quote:

Google’s move was widely seen as a response to its loss in the auction of 6,000 Nortel patents to a group led by Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Research in Motion, which fetched an unprecedented $4.5 billion in July.

At the risk of beating the poor horse completely into the ground, I still don’t think Google wanted those patents.  THEY WOULD HAVE THEM IF THEY DID.  Money was not an option.  No, I think that Google wanted to run up the price on the patents to jump-start the “Patent Arms Race”, and watch while everyone else bought into it but them.   I think they had plans to buy Motorola all along, and that they have plans to build an actual product.  Further, I think that product will be the tablet that beats the iPad.

I’ll pause while that sinks in.

Part of me thinks that because of another article I read about who can beat Apple at the tablet game.  They didn’t mention Google, so I’m doing it for them.  (I’m nice that way.) If anyone can beat Apple at anything, it’s Google. I said it and I’m glad.

Back to the original article, I don’t think the race is likely to be over so quickly, and certainly not because of Google’s purchase, be it for patents or product development.  (Yes, I do like commas, why do you ask?) I still think the Nortel Patent price was artificially inflated by Google, but I don’t think the prices will come back down automatically.  The war is not only not over, it’s just begun, IMHO*.

Because of the Patent Troll problem and because of the flaws in the patent system, you have to build your stable of patents and everyone who can, will.  Maybe things will go back to normal?  Time, and the InterDigital sale and Eastman Kodak auction.  But either way, I think Google snookered everyone.  They got a decent base of patents, that they can call upon for defensive purposes if needed, for a fraction of the Nortel prices.  And, they have hardware capability now too.  Giddyup.

Just sayin’,

IPTT

*In My Humble Opinion

Nortel buyers, are you angry yet?

So today should be fun!   The whole world (ok, the small slice of it that follows patents) will be weighing in on Google’s recently announced purchase.  Not liking to be left out even though I have a lot of work to do, I feel compelled to add in my 50 cents.  In no particular order, save that the list is actually ordered because I like numbers rather than bullets, are my comments:

1.  What did I tell you?  If Google had wanted the Nortel patents they’d have won the auction.  They had the money, and they had this up their sleeve the whole time.

2.  Then, Google puts out the whiney-baby, “feel sorry for us” article wherein I likened them to a dude that tried to play my friend (note to playah: knock it off, or she’ll knock it off for you).  Well played, Big G.  Throw everyone off the “we’re about to buy Motorola” scent.

3.  How mad is the consortium that bought Nortel’s patents right about now?  Big G ran up the bidding and forced you all to (over)pay a ton of money.  That sent reverberations throughout the industry and forever changed the valuation of every company on the planet with a portfolio.  InterDigital, anyone?  Man, those guys had to be ecstatic!  Here’s a hint, Southern style:  when they bid pi?  You done been had.

4.  Quote from the Wired.com article:

“Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies,” Page wrote.

Again, nicely played.  So, instead of spending $4.5B on a patent portfolio alone, they are now a hardware manufacturer as well.  See how that works?  INTELLECTUAL VENTURES, I’m looking at you.

I like consistency and this purchase meets that criteria.  While recognizing that patents are required to operate in the smartphone space, broken system or not, Google chose to buy a hardware company.  Any patents Motorola has now transfer to Google so they have gotten into the manufacturing business and now hold patents that they can use to defend themselves, all in one foul swoop.  They are behaving in a way that is consistent with the message they have been putting out.  I like that.

Larry Page, for the win.

Just sayin’,

IPTT