Thursday, July 28, 2011

When Patents Attack

This American Life, a quirky and wonderful weekly radio program on National Public Radio, has featured stories on comedians, how to speak to kids, psychopaths, unconditional love, and mind games.  On July 22, 2011, TAL investigated a special breed of trolls:  patent trolls.  Here is how TAL describes the program:
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.  We take you inside this war, and tell the fascinating story of how an idea enshrined in the US constitution to promote progress and innovation, is now being used to do the opposite.
This patent who dunnit is fascinating and entertaining.  Moreover, it transforms a field of law often viewed - even by other, non-patent, attorneys - as dry, technical, and inaccessible, into something that, like Lord Byron, seems mad, bad, and dangerous to know.  Listen to the program here.

Hear it before you go infringing. You'll never go in the patent pool again!