I understand that the deadline to avoid a threatened Acacia lawsuit
is only couple of weeks away, and I was wondering what other schools
I do not have a legal or intellectual property background, but have
been asked for technical advice. I admit to being puzzled by the
I find it hard to believe that their purchased patent passes muster.
As I understand it, they claim that the 1991 patent covers all
demand-based media streaming . This is amazing to me. Weren't we
doing demand media (voice) streaming with our digital phone and
voicemail systems in the 1980s? Didn't newsgroup binaries support on
demand media downloads in the 1980s?
Also, I'm puzzled that they are going after the customers
(universities) of the technology, not the folks (Microsoft, Apple,
Real, etc.) who are selling products that incorporate it. If someone
had a patent on a new automotive technology and discovered GM was
using it, should they go after every GM customer, or GM? Is this
some sort of cynical strategy to go after the more vulnerable, i.e.
more likely to cave to avoid legal costs?
Our attorneys, like others, are working with Wes Blakeslee's legal
group for formulating a defense strategy. I am inclined to recommend
sending them a nice letter saying we believe in patent law and
honoring patents, but don't know what specific applications they are
talking about or why they are contacting us since we use technology
licensed by Microsoft, Real, Apple, etc. Or something like that.
Clearly, I'm no lawyer...
What should the IT position on this matter be?
Roger A. Lawson, Director http://www.uvm.edu/~ral
Computing & Information Technology University of Vermont
email: [log in to unmask] tel: (802) 656-1175 fax: 656-0872
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