"Defensive patent aggregator" RPX have a new line of business: selling patent troll insurance to startups.
Last month, the makers of Monster Energy Drink (Warning: Flash, Ads) sent a cease and desist letter (PDF) to Rock Art Brewery, makers of The Vermonster beer. Brewer Matt Nadeau plans to fight back, even though such a fight would be nasty, time consuming, and very, very expensive. [more inside]
Farmer Homer McFarland is being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Monsanto corporation. His crime? Replanting his crops' own seed, as farmers have done for millennia, which violates the biotech giant's intellectual property rights, the company claims. Quietly, Monsanto's aggressive "seed police" have been suing farmers in 25 states for years, often settling out of court for huge sums, according to the Center for Food Safety's new report, Monsanto vs. US farmers [PDF link]. For more information, also see a new documentary called The Future of Food.
Think the RIAA is doing something new by threatening and suing? Think again... it's all part of a 4-step process.
Eolas® Technologies Inc. owns the plugin concept. Meet US Patent 5,838,906: "The patent claims to cover mechanisms for embedding objects within distributed hypermedia documents, where at least some of the object's data is located external to the document, and there is a control path to the object's implementation to support user interaction with the object." Eolas sued Microsoft, was awarded $521 million, Microsoft is appealing, and the W3C held (Macromedia hosted) an ad hoc meeting on the recent court decision and launched a discussion list. Microsoft plans to promptly make changes to Internet Explorer. If this follows through, what are the negative and positive implications?