America’s Power to Innovate is Increasingly Crippled by Intellectual Property Law

In yet another example of the broken US patent system, there is a lively discussion about Innovatio IP, a company that holds key patents that cover WiFi technology implementation, suing the users of wifi rather than the companies with far deeper pockets who build wifi technology. These implementations do not seem on the surface like innovative ideas. Instead, they are an extension of existing, wired-networking practices. Two of their targets are coffee shops and coffee chains that offer free wifi to customers. They threaten a suit in exchange for a $2500-5000 licensing “deal.” This is bald-faced extortion. I imagine that it is likely only a matter of time before they begin shaking down educational institutions for the troll’s unfair dues. What about apartment complexes or public wifi offered by libraries? Find out more and the original story on Slashdot here: Patent Troll Says Anyone Using Wi-Fi Infringes – Slashdot.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.