Risks of patents
Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 @ 22:33:24 GMT
Topic: Legal


From the KeelyNet.com: In a little-noticed opinion this month, a federal appeals court ruled against the Crater Coupler patent holders and upheld a sweeping interpretation of the controversial "state secrets privilege" -- an executive power handed down from the English throne under common law that lets the government effectively kill civil lawsuits deemed a threat to national security, even if the state is not a party to the suit.

As such, it is a potentially worrying development for inventors -- particularly those developing weapons, surveillance and anti-terror technologies for government contractors -- who may find infringement claims dismissed without a hearing under the auspices of national security. After about a year of development and testing, Lucent had good news for the inventors: The device passed all the tests, shaming a competing, clunky design that French says resembled an old thermos. But when the inventors got on the phone with Lucent's lawyers to discuss license terms, the company dropped a bomb. "Almost the first thing they said was, 'Well, we don't have to do anything, because this is under some sort of provision for military secret stuff where we don't have to pay anything,'" says French.

Original story: Secrecy Power Sinks Patent Case






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