If not a fatality or flawless victory, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has at least scored another win for the good guys. The EFF’s Patent Busting Project — which hounds the worst those who use nebulously defined and idiotically granted patents to extort fees out of other companies — has won a significant court victory against one of their Top 10 offenders, NeoMedia.
The patent in question is NeoMedia’s barcode scanning patent. Stupidly overbroad and made utterly redundant by prior art, NeoMedia’s patent covers using your mobile phone as a way to display bar codes, which then can be scanned by a merchant device as a ticket or coupon. Prodded by the EFF, the US Patent Office re-examined NeoMedia’s patent… and rejected each and every one of NeoMedia’s ninety-five patent claims. This judgment immediately put an extortive lawsuit filed by NeoMedia against a competitor company, Scanbuy, on hold. NeoMedia has some options left open to them, but it’s not looking good.
Excellent work, EFF. The US Patent System is a septic tank. The Patent Busting Project has now scored victories against five out of ten of the companies on their most wanted list. I hope Nintendo’s “handheld software emulation” patent is the next challenger to be ruthlessly eliminated from the EFF’s list.