Space Ramblings

If We Can’t Beat You, We’ll Sue You

The modern day corporate dictate seems to be that if you can’t beat the cheaper, smaller and better competition in the marketplace, you can always use your competition to beat them to death and your lawyers to choke off their economic oxygen. Case in point, Verizon has managed to all but strangle Vonage and cheap alternative VOIP by using its patents to apply a strangehold to Vonage and by turn to intimidate any small VOIP providers making it clear that its telephone monopoly is to remain in place. Or else we’ll sue you.

Internet radio is now in the process of being crushed to death by raising rates so as to force internet radio stations completely out of business. Microsoft is now pulling the same trick as Verizon with its bushel of patents aimed at open source. Under a current system of patent law that seems geared to allowing just about any company to patent any darn thing it likes no matter how obvious and no matter how much pre-existing prior art there might be– we’re approaching a situation where companies can use their patent holdings to batter their smaller more agile rivals out of existence before they can even begin to pose a serious threat.

That’s capitalism for ya.

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