Today Eric Schmidt of Google fame said in a speech at the Mobile World Congress that government regulation, especially in Europe, was stifling innovation. This kind of grated me the wrong and I said on Google+ that it is too bad that he couldn’t address the real cause of innovation in technology these days, that being patents and copyrights.
After all when you get companies like Google who create something like Street View; which has done more to spur online map innovation, the idea that some company; after all the years that Street View has been around, can suddenly show up out of nowhere and sue Google as well as Apple over some technology used in Street View is ridiculous.
However such is the case with a new lawsuit being filed by a company out of Florida called PanoMap where they allege that both Apple and Google are violating one of their patents, specifically U.S. Patent No. 6,563,529, which is described as an “Interactive system for displaying detailed view and direction in panoramic images.”
My first question about this is if they held this patent what have they waited until now to sue Apple and Google, especially Google since the company originally launched Street View in 2007 and this patent was granted in 1999. Why wasn’t Google sued the day after Street View was launched.
The answer – PanoMap bought the patent from the person who it was granted to – in other words they are being nothing more than a patent troll; and that folks is the problem with patents today and why they are increasingly killing any innovation in technology.
PanoMap only purchased the patent in order to sue. They never had any intentions of using the patent for any other reason and that alone should invalidate the patent but we all know that won’t happen and chances are that both Google and Apple will pay PanoMap their patent blood money because that’s cheaper than even trying to fight.