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Major League Patent Trolling: IBM Gets $36M From Twitter

By William Peacock, Esq. | Last updated on

Trolling isn't just a game of porn copyrights and patented copy machines -- there's a whole 'nother league of trolling at the top of tech.

Trolling, of course, is a matter of opinion. You might think that Righthaven was right, or that Apple v. Samsung has gone on way too long, and that both parties should simply duke it out in the marketplace. (Seriously, we stopped caring last year, but somehow, the battle is still raging on.)

Today's major league battle? It was more of a settlement, as Twitter forked over $36 million to avoid a lawsuit, and to purchase 900 patents from IBM, reports Wired.

Software Patents?

There's no way in heck we're digging through 900 patents, but were we to venture an educated guess, we'd say that the bulk of them are probably software patents. After all, Twitter, at least up to this point, has been a software-only company.

Ah, software patents, which many think are a load of crap. And the Supreme Court? They granted certiorari in a little case out of the Federal Circuit that may invalidate software patents altogether.

The state of software patents is so muddled that when the Federal Circuit (the venue for all patent appeals cases) tried to address the simple question of whether a computer program is patentable, it produced a one-paragraph per curium, plus a concurrence, three separate partial concurrence/dissents, another full dissent, and Judge Rader's separate "additional reflections" on life, liberty, and the pursuit of patent clarity, via the statute.

If those 900 patents are software-related, they could be useless in a few months' time.

Chump Change

Worthless or not, let's be real here: $36 million.

To me, $36 million is unfathomable. To Twitter, a company that just IPO'd and has a market cap of $29.16 billion, that's about what they'd spend on beer in a week.

It's also probably less than it would've cost to defend itself in a lawsuit against IBM. After all, see Apple v. Samsung and BigLaw billing rates.

Speaking of Twitter, we're on it. Follow us, if you dare.

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