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AU Optronics Asks For US Ban On LG LCD Sales 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the alphabet-soup dept.
eldavojohn writes "After a lengthy patent case, complete with countersuits, AU Optronics has asked for an injunction against all LCD products made by LG. While this may not sound serious, LG is the number one manufacturer of LCDs used in LCD TVs, laptop PCs and desktop monitors. A quarter of global LCDs shipped in March were LG brand. The bizarre part of the story is that LG Display struck first against AU Optronics way back in 2006 with a patent suit to the tune of $690 million, and in 2009, when the case finally went to court, AUO filed counter-claims of patent infringement that are now coming to fruition. So before you call AUO a patent troll, keep in mind that LGD shot first."
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AU Optronics Asks For US Ban On LG LCD Sales

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  • Eliminate Patents. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:46AM (#32064658)
    Quite honestly, it is time to eliminate patents. As we've seen from countries with lax IP enforcement (AKA China), if you have a quality product, the knock-offs can't compete. The entire point of patents is to add to public knowledge, but that isn't happening. So really, we need shorter patent protection times, or just eliminate it all together.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:11PM (#32064852)

      ...or just eliminate it all together.

      The patent system was originally designed to protect the small inventor from a large business entity that could simply absorb the product into their existing product line and mass-produce it at a lower cost than the inventor ever could. This was done by creating a time-limited exclusive right and granting it to the small inventor specifically to prevent this -- thereby forcing the larger business to pay them for their invention (licensing) instead of simply copying the product and leaving the inventor with no return on his/her investment.

      That need still exists today, and the principle behind it is still solid -- so solid in fact, that it's written into our Constitution as a specific right granted to the government. And you might recall, our founding fathers were quite stingy about giving the federal government much power at all even after the failure known as the Articles of Confederation. That speaks clearly to the need for patents and copyright.

      The problem is that it's been mutated and corrupted into something businesses use to fight one another in endless litigation, and the patent office has been so poorly funded that there's no way for them to vet the process correctly. The only people who even know how to file a patent are lawyers and large corporations dedicated to the task. The patent office is so pathetic that they'll reject a patent if it's faxed in upside down. Imagine if Thomas Edison had the light bulb rejected because he put it in a brown envelope instead of a white one -- it's that kind of idiocy that needs fixing.

      We don't need to eliminate patents and copyright; We need to restore them to their proper place and purpose, which is to protect individuals from corporations, not the other way around. And we need reasonable time limits -- and if you want to eliminate anything, start with that mother fucker Mickey Mouse and the corporation that owns it, because that's what started this whole trend towards a billion years plus the life of the author bullshit.

      • by shalla (642644)

        Gah. I hate when someone says what I'm trying to say much better than I say it while I'm off typing out a response. Nicely done.

      • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:54PM (#32065230)

        We need to restore them to their proper place and purpose, which is to protect individuals from corporations, not the other way around.

        Sigh. No, their proper place and purpose is not to "protect individuals from corporations." It's

        To promote [cornell.edu] the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.

        All you have to ask about a given patent application is, "Is this going to promote the progress of anything but some lawyer's vacation-home equity?" If an engineer who's confronted with the same problem is likely to arrive at a similar solution, then the answer is "No," and the patent should not be granted.

        If we could just make the USPTO understand that whatever solution is immediately grasped by the first person to confront a problem is not always worth a government-granted monopoly, we'd go a long way toward reforming the system. It has nothing to do with whatever anti-corporatist agenda you're pushing. The patent system is ridiculously broken, and I'm not sure it's possible to make it work equitably for all stakeholders from inventors to end users. But if it is, then that should be the goal.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nedlohs (1335013)

          Not quite.

          Each individual patent does not need "to promote the progress of science and useful arts", just the system as a whole. Some bad patents that are balanced by good patents for a net gain is still a system promoting progress.

          • by gd2shoe (747932) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @05:05PM (#32066776) Journal

            Both of you bring up good points, but I think that it is "Man On Pink Corner" that identifies the vital missing piece. Individual patent examiners really should adopt the progress clause as a personal mandate. A lot of the problems could be fixed from within the patent office if just a few of them stood for principle. (They need an organizational refit, and their budget should be re-examined, but those would be much more effective if internal reform has already begun.)

            Personally, I think the progress clause ought to be enforced by the courts*. The patent office gets its authority from congress. Congress gets its mandate from the Constitution (its authority comes from both the legitimate election by the people and the Constitution). Congress cannot delegate authority that it doesn't have, and the progress language reads as binding to me. The framers didn't include much that was extraneous, and those few words seem quite important. Note that it does not say: "The Congress shall have power to... secure for limited times... exclusive rights." Rather it says: "The Congress shall have power... To promote the progress of science and useful arts..." Let me say that again, for emphasis. They have power "To promote", not "To secure rights". They may promote by securing rights, but securing rights is subordinate to promoting. It is that way in the language of the Constitution, it should be that way in our legal system.

            *(I won't be, but I can dream.)

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Eldred v Ashcroft says it is up to congress to decide whether or not it secures the progress of science and useful arts, and courts can't argue with them.

          • True. I think a lot of people looking forward to the Bilski decision are going to be disappointed for just that reason.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jonbryce (703250)

              Bilski is different because it isn't a constitutional case. Congress has decided that mathematical algorithms and business method patents don't secure the progress of science and useful arts and have excluded them from patent protection. The issue is whether or not a computer program that works out the price of derivatives and buys / sells them in response to trades with customers comes under these categories.

              In Europe, which has similar exclusions from patentability, a similar case was heard, and it was

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:11PM (#32065350)

        "The patent system was originally designed to protect the small inventor from a large business entity that could simply absorb the product into their existing product line and mass-produce it at a lower cost than the inventor ever could."

        You're confusing the situation today with that two centuries ago when patent legislation originated in the USA. There was no mass production. Guns with interchangeable parts didn't appear until some decades later, and the assembly line not until later still. The patent system was not about small inventors vs. large businesses, the point was to prevent inventions from being lost because the inventor kept it secret from his competitors and then got kicked in the head by a horse one day without ever having passed on the knowledge.

        Personally, I feel it is highly unlikely in today's world that any individual's invention is going to be so specialized that it could not be discovered independently by someone else in less time than it would take for a patent to expire. The patent system today is nothing more than "neener neener, I thought of it first!", welfare for lawyers, and a tool used by big business to shut out competition.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by msclrhd (1211086)

          Don't you mean: "Neener, neener, I *filed* it first!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by coolsnowmen (695297)

          Bah, spoken obviously as someone who doesn't actually try and make anything new and useful. Yes the consumer seems to lose out in the short run for patents, but that isn't the point. It is about the long run.

          It wasn't about the lost of information due to unforeseen accidents. It is to prevent two eventualities of an America w/o patents.
          Either the invention is impossible to reproduce and the inventor takes it to his grave, or someone sees the invention, which didn't exist until the inventor made it, and say

          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @04:18PM (#32066498)

            Bah, spoken obviously as someone who doesn't actually try and make anything new and useful.

            Non-necessarily. Working in the EU as a computer programmer, my ideas and creations have never been protected by patents. Software patents are not-enforcable in the EU. That fact has never stopped me creating stuff, either as an employee or when doing my own thing. Nor has it stopped any of the rest of the European software industry.

            Now, is there something fundamentally different about software patents, or is it that patents are unnecessary? That's the question.

            • If you nullify software patents, then you call into question all that is hardware patents, because there is NOTHING that can be done in software, that can't be done in hardware.

              I feel that you completely ignored my comments on the implications of 'non-obviousness' being a criteria.

              If I think of some userinterface that is new and non-obvious, why shouldn't I be able to patent it? Otherwise I make about 100$ on it until the first person who sees how it could be done undercuts me. W/O the income potential, wh

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by BasilBrush (643681)

                If you nullify software patents, then you call into question all that is hardware patents, because there is NOTHING that can be done in software, that can't be done in hardware.

                Indeed I DID call into question hardware patents. I'm far from convinced they are necessary. Indeed I could point you at an American company, that develops novel and non-obvious chips including a unique multi-core microcontroller. They've never applied for a patent for any product or technology, and they are possibly the most creati

                • my parent poster- gave an untrue characterization of the need for parents. He is a disingenuous at best, a liar w/ a straw man at worst. My parent is blind to the protections small time inventors do require if they ever actually want to make a dime on their ideas. Not all of us are independently wealthy.

                  • I don't see anything wrong with the points that poster made, nor do I see you making walid arguments that he's wrong. Just insults.

                    Why should you have a right to earn money from ideas? Ideas are worthless [google.com]. It's good implementations that are worth money. And you can earn money from good implementations without ever filing for a patent.

              • by kocsonya (141716)

                "If you nullify software patents, then you call into question all that is hardware patents, because there is NOTHING that can be done in software, that can't be done in hardware."

                You say that anything that can be done is SW can be done in HW too. Yes, that's true. On the other hand, if there are things that you can do in HW that you can not do in SW, then that means that unpatentability in SW still leaves a part of HW to be subject to patent.

                A new way of doping the Si is a HW process that has no equivalent

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              Your caseis true of most programmers, but not all. The work of most programmers isn't(or shouldn't be) patentable in any country. Just as the work of most engineers and other people who create physical machines isn't covered by patents.

              That doesn't mean that there aren't engineers, programmers, doctors out there who are creating work which should be covered by patents. A software application is just a process and if that process is sufficiently innovative and non trivial, then it shouldn't be treated any di

          • The problem with non-obviousness is that lawyers argue that it is impossible to judge in hind sight. So they come up with all kinds of "alternatives" which essentially always come down to "No prior art? Then it's not obvious." in practice. Or in other words :

            "It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without con

        • by Miseph (979059)

          The Industrial revolution was already kicking in the late 1700s. The assemble line was still a ways off, but British troops carried guns with (theoretically) interchangeable parts in the War of Independence. One of our many beefs with England at the time was, in fact, that they were denying industrial technologies to the colonies, enforcing a system where they bought raw materials from the Americas at a discount, then sold finished goods back to them at a steep mark up.

          One of the other big issues, unfair ta

      • The patent system was originally designed to protect the small inventor from a large business entity...

        That's a nice little piece of half truth there. The patent system was not designed with just that in mind. It protects ANY inventor from the free rider problem [wikipedia.org]. Size can be a factor but it is a second order effect. The patent system is designed to promote innovation - it wasn't designed to protect any individual or corporation regardless of size.

        We don't need to eliminate patents and copyright; We need to restore them to their proper place and purpose, which is to protect individuals from corporations

        Patents and copyright are not fundamentally about protecting either individuals OR corporations. It is about protecting incentives to innovate regardless of wh

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dgatwood (11270)

          The patent system is designed to promote innovation - it wasn't designed to protect any individual or corporation regardless of size.

          That's a bit disingenuous. At the time the patent system was created, there was no notion of a corporation as we know it today with most of the same rights as an individual. As far as I've been able to determine, corporations didn't typically own patents until around a century after U.S. patent law came into being, though it's hard to say that with any degree of certainty.

          Mo

      • by sjames (1099)

        The problem is that they ONLY seem to reject patents due to trivial procedural problems. If you correctly fax the patent while rubbing your belly, patting your head and hopping on your right foot, they'll grant it no matter how trivial and obvious it is to anyone even vaguely in the field. OTOH, if you submit a patent that results from a truly stunning insight but you were rubbing your belly counter-clockwise, no patent for you.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Aldanga (1757414)

        That need still exists today, and the principle behind it is still solid -- so solid in fact, that it's written into our Constitution as a specific right granted to the government. And you might recall, our founding fathers were quite stingy about giving the federal government much power at all even after the failure known as the Articles of Confederation. That speaks clearly to the need for patents and copyright.

        Actually, not all the Founding Fathers were in fervent agreement about patents and copyright. In particular, Thomas Jefferson himself was very particular about giving any "dibs" on ideas. [uchicago.edu] He believed that ideas cannot be owned, and still stated that it is not the right of any man to own an idea as far as it is without himself. It's hard to tell precisely from his letter, but it seems like he was not greatly fond of the idea of patents in any form.

        Just because something is written into the Constitution does

        • by gd2shoe (747932)

          The US Constitution is an imperfect document formed by many imperfect men of different beliefs and opinions.

          I really wish that people would remember that. The Constitution is a great document, but it isn't infallible in either method or ethics. We should always be on the lookout for better ways to live and act. Because of the protections it affords, the Constitution should not be changed lightly. We must, however, remember that it can be changed, and that the framers did get a few things flat wrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_compromise [wikipedia.org]

      • by rolfwind (528248)

        The patent system was originally designed to protect the small inventor from a large business entity that could simply absorb the product into their existing product line and mass-produce it at a lower cost than the inventor ever could.

        Citation please.

      • The problem is that it's been mutated and corrupted into something businesses use to fight one another in endless litigation,

        The thing is, this isn't new. The steam engine is a perfect example -- two competing inventors form corporations, and each independently develops their own unique significant improvement to the steam engine, but as they aren't willing to cross-license, the industry is held back until one of the patents expires, at which point both improvements can finally be combined into the same engine.

        This still happens today. Why can't I have a laptop with a magnetic power cord and an upgradeable video card in the same

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shalla (642644)

      "The entire point of patents is to add to public knowledge, but that isn't happening."

      Only in the most roundabout way. The point of patents is to give the creator a period of time to profit off their invention before everyone can completely copy it for free. It's to give people a reason and reward for innovation--if you are the one who comes up with something and patents it, you are the one who has the right to decide who can use your patent and how (and for how much) for that 17 years or whatever. Witho

      • by Zugok (17194)

        "The entire point of patents is to add to public knowledge, but that isn't happening."

        Only in the most roundabout way.

        I am quite sure patent comes from the Latin, patere meaning open. That being the case, the meaning of patent really has been bastardised. I onder where this leaves software patents if they are not open source then...

    • As we've seen from countries with lax IP enforcement (AKA China), if you have a quality product, the knock-offs can't compete.

      The widespread Chinese counterfeit market would beg to differ.

      • Ok, put a Chinese iPhone and a genuine iPhone side by side and ask people which one they would prefer. Most people would choose the genuine iPhone because they got things right that the fake iPhones can't emulate.

        About the only thing they can compete with is price and not much else. In the end it doesn't matter that the iPhone has all the patents or not it is the implementation that really counts.
    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:26PM (#32064996) Homepage Journal

      if you have a quality product, the knock-offs can't compete.

      In an ideal world, maybe. (depending on the market) The problem is not focused on competing in the sales market so much as it is in the R&D arena. R&D is outrageously expensive, and has a very high probability at any time of generating zero return for all the money you dump into it. The whole idea of patent is to allow you a chance to recoup your investments when your R&D pays off. If you eliminate patents, it stifles innovation because companies start spending more time doing "market research" (corporate espionage and trying to reproduce the competition's products) and it ends up in somewhat of a "Race to the Bottom [wikipedia.org] in terms of amount of R&D done because the profit margin for copying is much higher than innovating. In the end, everyone is watching everyone else like a hawk and nobody's making anything original.

      Trademarks are somewhat involved with this because they help the innovators to reap additional benefits from their R&D by improving the value of their brand. Without trademarks and patents, brands lose their meaning. Just ask yourself how many things you buy based on brand. Not just technology... think even about the grocery store. Half of what you put in your cart is probably chosen by brand. How would you like to lose that choice? You wouldn't lose the choice, but you'd lose the meaning, as every brand of beans would taste the same.

      The concept of patent and trademark itself is a very good idea, it's just implemented with laws made in a totally different world. (era) As with so much of today's laws, they are so screwed up from assumptions made 200 years ago that they are beyond fixing and just need to be thrown out and start from scratch with modern circumstances taken fully into account. People keep trying to "fix" them, but its like trying to fix a building with a bad foundation. If it's too broken you just have to knock the building down and put up a new one.

      People that say "we need to get rid of patents!" only have it half right.

      • by msclrhd (1211086)

        Trademarks are there for identifying brands. This is so that someone cannot come along and create another product with the same name (be it software, hardware, fast food, shop name, shampoo or whatever). Protecting identity here is a good thing.

        Copyright is about protecting the written text (be it a book or code or documentation), or audio or video. This is there so that people do not make copies of your work and sell them as their own. This protection is needed, but is currently too long. Maybe it should l

      • R&D is outrageously expensive, and has a very high probability at any time of generating zero return for all the money you dump into it. The whole idea of patent is to allow you a chance to recoup your investments when your R&D pays off.

        If that's the idea, it's failing terribly. The patent office grants patents to ideas that can be thought up in a moment, are the most obvious solution to a problem, and/or have never had been implemented even in a prototype form by the claimant. When someone comes a

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      You know, I keep hearing 'abolition patents' said over and over, but considering the current system, for all its problems, does actually function ... I've yet to hear any really compelling reason to abolish it.

      Everytime a patent troll gets someone the company takes a hit, redesigns the product to not get hit by the patent and moves on. Patent trolls really do actually inspire invention just from trying to get away from the bastards.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by russotto (537200)

        You know, I keep hearing 'abolition patents' said over and over, but considering the current system, for all its problems, does actually function ... I've yet to hear any really compelling reason to abolish it.

        Everytime a patent troll gets someone the company takes a hit, redesigns the product to not get hit by the patent and moves on. Patent trolls really do actually inspire invention just from trying to get away from the bastards.

        Broken window fallacy. And you're ignoring all the companies where the com

    • Free rider problem (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sjbe (173966)

      Quite honestly, it is time to eliminate patents.

      No problem. Just come up with a solution to the free rider problem [wikipedia.org] and we won't need patents or copyright. A Nobel prize in economics awaits your brilliance.

      As we've seen from countries with lax IP enforcement (AKA China), if you have a quality product, the knock-offs can't compete.

      Knockoffs compete just fine. Ask any drug manufacturer if generics (a knock off even though a legal one) hurt their business.

      The entire point of patents is to add to public knowledge, but that isn't happening. So really, we need shorter patent protection times, or just eliminate it all together.

      Sure it is. The laws and patent system just have loop holes and faults that are creating unintended problems. The problem isn't with the idea of patents it's with the implementation.

      • This isn't a free rider problem, unless you consider companies to own potential profits. In reality, knock-off products are produced with a person's own materials. The free-rider problem only exists when there is some scarce resource involved. The issue you're pointing to is that of the value of something affected by other things available in the market, similar to how the value of a supermarket is affected by its proximity to other supermarkets (which can change if new ones are built close by).
        • by KarmaMB84 (743001)
          GIven where a lot of the more lucrative knock-offs are coming from, it's a potentially wrong assumption that they're even paying for the materials. The real company might be paying for them while the factory operator spits out units on a second shift while telling them the materials were defective or the units produced with them were defective. The fake units then go out the back door and are sold for 50% off to people who think they're buying the real thing all without ever paying for R&D or marketing.
      • by vadim_t (324782)

        No problem. Just come up with a solution to the free rider problem and we won't need patents or copyright. A Nobel prize in economics awaits your brilliance.

        I see it this way: The situation with patents is starting to become unmanageable. Removing patents would make it a lot better. You demand that a replacement must be not just better, but absolutely perfect, and if it can't be then the broken system must be kept.

        I think that the problem of free riders would be much less severe than what we have now, so th

      • by gd2shoe (747932)

        No problem. Just come up with a solution to the free rider problem [wikipedia.org] and we won't need patents or copyright. A Nobel prize in economics awaits your brilliance.

        Forget the award. Think what you could make by patenting that!

        Sorry, couldn't help myself.

        Knockoffs compete just fine. Ask any drug manufacturer if generics (a knock off even though a legal one) hurt their business.

        Of course they will. Competition hurts any business competing in a free market. That's life. That won't keep them from complaining about it. Yes, they need money for their R&D budget. If they've got enough money to bombard me with ED commercials, then they've got too much money. No, I"m not talking about merely getting the word out. You advertise to doctors for that. I'm talking about the unending barrage

    • by rabtech (223758)

      I have to say that I disagree completely; Patents are a good thing so long as patents are only granted for truly novel inventions. It seems to me that the majority of these patent battles would not be relevant if the patent office didn't approve so many business method, general, vague, or non-innovative patents. (I think there are also some reforms that would help protect small inventors against large corporations, without opening the floodgates to companies being pestered by individuals needlessly.)

      The Sup

    • by nomadic (141991)
      As we've seen from countries with lax IP enforcement (AKA China), if you have a quality product, the knock-offs can't compete.

      I disagree. If company X and company Y both manufacture product Z, which was developed by company x, then all things being equal company Y will always be able to undercut company X's prices because they don't have to spend the money on R&D.
    • by brxndxn (461473)

      The idea of eliminating patents and intellectual property rights seem better than the current alternative.. The RIAA/MPAA has proven that they can be such litigious assholes over a non-universal 'right' that is not even accepted in countries with 94% of the world's population (according to the recent US research) that eliminating them seems more beneficial to society as a whole. The current patent mess in the technology world is infuriating. You cannot develop anything new and useful - even completely innov

  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:48AM (#32064682)
    FTFA

    "The court concludes that AUO has established by preponderance of the evidence that LGD literally infringes the patents asserted by AUO in this action, and that LGD has not established by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted patents are invalid," wrote Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr., in a 77-page verdict.

    If you're LG that is not what you want to hear.

  • by Immostlyharmless (1311531) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @11:57AM (#32064746)
    Might make sure that people aren't drawing attention to themselves, if LG hadn't started the fight, perhaps AUoptics might not have stepped in to finish it. Perhaps this will have a bit of a chilling effect in 'throw the first punch' lawsuits where it's not entirely sure where their own patent portfolios stand.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Or they knew it would happen and it was a preemptive strike?

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:00PM (#32064764)

    They spend millions upon millions fighting in a broken system that for each side amounts to a crap shoot, endless appeals, and slowing down the entire production cycle with needless approvals and cross-checking to attempt to deflect or marginalize the risks, raising the cost of entry into the market, and do you know who pays for all of this?

    You.

    This isn't bad news for Optronics, or LG -- it's bad news for us. The consumers. Because regardless of who wins, there'll still be LCD displays being produced, and they'll be just that much more expensive now to cover the costs of the elephant mating going on between these two massive corporations. That's why the system needs reform -- not because arguments that are pro- or anti-intellectual property have any validity, but because the way it's setup now costs too damn much.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:14PM (#32064884) Homepage

      Bingo. Lawyers are the new priests; worthless parasites who spout esoteric gibberish, and the cost of their tithe is built right into the economy.

      Actually, I doubt there were ever as many priests per populace as we have lawyers now. As with the Reformation, the only real solution is to cut them out of the loop, and just ignore them. Just get on with business, shred any legal demands, and when Men With Guns do finally come to sieze your assets at the behest of their masters, fold the company. Hell, burn it to the ground rather than let them get their pound of flesh. They must be starved into finding real jobs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rotide (1015173)
        People _love_ to bash lawyers but the fact of the matter is that someone has to _hire_ the lawyer before they sue/defend/etc/etc. So get pissed at LG or AUO. The lawyers didn't start this fight.
        • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:28PM (#32065020) Homepage

          Well, if those lawyers were so crystal clear and professional, they should be able to see that LG case was weak...but that wouldn't result in charges related to trial.

        • by Abreu (173023)

          Yeah, but a lawyer should be able to say: "its silly to sue your neighbor over that avocado tree, have you tried talking to him?"

          • by tepples (727027)

            Yeah, but a lawyer should be able to say: "its silly to sue your neighbor over that avocado tree, have you tried talking to him?"

            It's standard practice to talk to an alleged infringer first [wikipedia.org]. It comes to a lawsuit only when talks break down.

        • And who wrote the law that allowed the person to hire the lawyer to sue? Hint; most politicians have law degrees. This is not a coincidence.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099)

          The problem is wider than lawyers, but lawyers are the ones supposedly charged with the responsibility to not let their profession become a pox on society. When they fail, the judge is supposed to sanction them, but judges are just anointed lawyers and are also failing.

          Truly, a few bad apples have given the other 1% a bad name.

      • Hell, burn it to the ground rather than let them get their pound of flesh. They must be starved into finding real jobs.

        I agree, and if those lawyers were working in that plant while you burned it to the ground, well ... let's just say it's a win-win situation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dpilot (134227)

        > Bingo. Lawyers are the new priests; worthless parasites

        Isn't this a fun quandry.

        The Law and Government are the evolution of what started in the 1200's with the Magna Carta. Prior to that we had Kings, and what the king said, was Law. (Not exact with all of this, but the general gist.) In essence, Law and Government are recognition that a society works better that enables and rewards more of its populace, not just a hereditary few. Absent Law and Government, we'd mostly be farming, sometimes having

        • by sznupi (719324)

          We also have to recognize that, ultimatelly, governments (especially in so called "western world"...though not nearly only there, it's not so simple) and generally public institutions and...company practicies are just a reflection of the society; also corruption in them and what you have there.

          Or where do you think people in those structures come from?

          • by dpilot (134227)

            I've come to the conclusion that "human nature" isn't good enough any more. We have bigger, more powerful, more destructive toys. It's time that we have to become better, to handle them. Failure to do so will be self-correcting, probably painfully.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Piffle. What I recognise is that the difference between kings, barons and priests, or presidents, CEOs and lawyers is purely one of nomenclature.

          All institutions tend towards corruption, and the solution is always revolution and rebellion, against whatever the vested interests are calling themselves at the time.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2010 @03:39PM (#32066304)

        Hahahah everyone loves to bash those darn lawyers and their evil-doing ways. Oh except those ones down at Legal Aid who protect battered wives. Or the ones in Law School Clinics who represent the poor against giant corporations. Or the ones at the ACLU arguing on behalf of the constitution. Or the ones at the EFF who fight for things we like. Or the government ones going after companies who pollute or exploit or violate or whatever else have you. Or that one who protected your interests in that road accident. Or the public defender who kept your innocent buddy out of jail. Or the public prosecutor who got that murderer put into jail. Or that one who went after the government for that thing it was doing wrong.

        Yeah those guys are complete wastes of space.

        • so there are good drug dealers (your pharmacist) and bad drug dealers (your coke supplier)... sorry, but I don't have a problem bashing bad drug dealers - or bad (IP) lawyers who make gazillions of dollars arguing about who owns the air we breathe.
        • by mjwx (966435)

          Hahahah everyone loves to bash those darn lawyers and their evil-doing ways. Oh except those ones down at Legal Aid who protect battered wives. Or the ones in Law School Clinics who represent the poor against giant corporations. Or the ones at the ACLU arguing on behalf of the constitution. Or the ones at the EFF who fight for things we like. Or the government ones going after companies who pollute or exploit or violate or whatever else have you. Or that one who protected your interests in that road acciden

        • by arkhan_jg (618674)

          Absolutely, it's the 99% of the lawyers that give the rest a bad name...

          Seriously though, it's not that often that criminal lawyers (most of the ones you list) annoy me, though I have contempt for the one that threatened Gary McKinnon [wikipedia.org] with the eventual death penalty if he didn't stop fighting extradition, for example - and there's AMPLE examples of prosecutions that should never have happened.

          Many civil lawyers, especially those that work for large firms or on class action suits are simply parasites on soci

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dachannien (617929)

      Well, the question is a bit more complicated than that. Yes, patents result in goods being more expensive due to the monopoly-or-royalties effect on prices. (The legal costs of "elephant mating" pale in comparison to the eventual elephantine damage awards or settlement that may result.) But the other question that must be asked is whether the economic incentive of patents is necessary (or even just helpful) in inducing companies to develop new products in the first place. Unfortunately, it's extremely h

      • by Imrik (148191)

        It may not be necessary for companies, but it is necessary for individuals.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Imagine if MRI had been delayed by 20 years or so, for instance.

        That's what NSF grants are for. They would cost us all a LOT less.

  • by RudeIota (1131331) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:02PM (#32064774) Homepage
    May not look serious? What the Hell does that mean? Why would this NOT sound serious? :-)

    Personally, I think sales injunctions under *most* situations are merely a "dick" move to shut down competition. What company wouldn't jump at the chance to disable any portion of sales by their competitor?

    I think a more sophisticated way to deal with this is levy royalties, retroactive if need be, and enjoy your opponent's success.
  • by pem (1013437) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:16PM (#32064902)
    A "patent troll" is pejorative language for "non practicing entity" -- a company which doesn't actually build anything. As world's third-largest LCD panel maker, AUO couldn't possibly qualify as an NPE.
  • So before you call AUO a patent troll, keep in mind that LGD shot first

    Who shot first doesn't matter. Patent trolling, in my opinion, concerns using patents to suppress other innovations, particularly when the plaintiff isn't using the patents for any product or active research at the time; the mere presence of an IP-based lawsuit isn't worthy of calling someone a troll.

    Which company is actually using a smaller proportion of the patents they sued over, and which of them has the most patents at issue working in products and current research? The first one would be more of a

    • Which company is actually using a smaller proportion of the patents they sued over, and which of them has the most patents at issue working in products and current research?

      So if you patent something but cannot afford to begin using your patent because you don't have the funding to build large-scale manufacturing facilities, but mega-corporation "A" does have massive production facilities and pirates your patent and starts cranking out product, you lose?

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:19PM (#32064936)

    Until I read it to the end:

    SOURCE AU Optronics Corp.

    I'm not disputing the facts, but I'm damn sure a press release from AUO is not the best place to get an impartial view...

    (And no, I'm not an LG sockpuppet).

    • Yep. The "news" part of "PR Newswire" is an aesthetic, meaningless part of their name. The "PR" stands for "Public Relations." All it takes is some paperwork to get your account set up, a little dab of money, and they'll push any random drivel you want out to the news outlets -- regardless of veracity. Any time you see *anything* come from PR Newswire, you should treat it as coming from the website of someone who has an inherent bias regarding the topic.

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:47PM (#32065614) Journal

      Until I read it to the end:

      SOURCE AU Optronics Corp.

      I'm not disputing the facts, but I'm damn sure a press release from AUO is not the best place to get an impartial view...

      Well, I submitted the article. I guess I don't know what to do about the second link. The first link is by IDG and should be unbiased. Every single article I could find about that ruling linked back to AOU's news service [auo.com]. Granted I didn't search the entire internet but everyone's spewing the same thing [yahoo.com]. I couldn't find anything about this on LG Display's site [lgdisplay.com]. I couldn't find any court records from the super awesome District of Delaware's web site [uscourts.gov] (holy sh*t, 1993 called and wants your site back).

      I don't know what to say ... if you had offered a better link I wouldn't even be responding to this but I came up empty. I guess next time I submit a PR from a company I should put a disclaimer in the summary? It was meant to augment the first link, not be the focus. That was the only link where the patents were named. Any suggestions on how to make submissions better are welcomed. Suppose it's time I installed RECAP on all my home machines [slashdot.org].

      (And no, I'm not an LG sockpuppet).

      I also certainly hope I didn't come off as an AUO sockpuppet ... apologies if I did/do. They do hold 16-17% of the LCD display market so I think they may be justified in this patent and counter patent suit action. It's not like they're a non-practicing entity patent troll.

  • Communist America (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Becausegodhasmademe (861067) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @12:42PM (#32065148)

    Every patent issued effectively blocks off a segment of a market to competitors, creating a micro-monopoly. We are rapidly approaching a time where, due to patent trading large corporations are coming close to total ownership of a particular market.

    America is the major culprit in all this patent absurdity. Behind the friendly face of enterprise and free capitalism lies a very different reality. Corporations with vast resources and political lobbying power apply for patents shotgun-style to prevent any form of competition, so that they can profit by driving down production costs giving consumers overpriced, low-quality products.

    From the abuse of patent law comes state-sanctioned monopolies, which is reminiscient of Soviet communist economic practice.

    China, a formerly Communist nation is far more capitalist than America these days.

    Posting from the UK.

    • Rather than Communism, a more descriptive term would be a Corruptocracy formed by an alliance between politicians, bureaucrats, and megacorporations, but it doesn't matter what it's called. You're right. It has become a self perpetuating, self serving, anti-human abomination. And it is EVIL. Pretty funny that the people who took on King George's power have now gradually saddled themselves with an opression at least as great.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Sunday May 02, 2010 @01:18PM (#32065404)
    I can't imagine any court would grant an injunction. The undue hardship upon OEMs and end-users makes it almost certain not to be granted. MS was sued a few years ago for violating a product activation patent, which I think was found to be an infringement, but the court refused to grant an injunction, as it would do great harm to the consumer. Although the court did seem a bit ignorant of technology, and utilized an argument that a months long total rewrite of Office was required, instead of just slipstreaming a minor update disabling product activation. The court could have given MS a reasonable amount of time to fix it, then granted an injunction. I think it ended up being a damages linked to royalties award.
  • What again is the point of patents? Regardless of the original intent for protection of the little guy, all it seems to have ever done is line the pockets of the attorneys, funded by higher product prices.

  • LG started this by threatening Optronics. I am presuming in a somewhat vague way.

    While perhaps this could be modded redundant, this story(which appeared on /. a few years back) with attached letter by a business owner who used to be a patent attorney is just priceless. It shows that when you scrap just under the surface of these initial IP letters that would send the average person into a tailspin, this guy hits back [audioholics.com]. I presume just as Optronics did.
  • and you are gonna get burned.

    I don't think these are software patents. Slashdotters, are you against all patents or something?

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