Tech patents have become a huge commodity in America.
Why buy a patent? Well, you’ll be able to sue anybody who infringes it.
You could also license it, and use the technology it covers all you want.
With these lucrative possibilities in mind, tech companies typically buy patents in big bundles.
And these patent bundles can go for jaw-drawing amounts.
Patent brokerage firm IPOfferings has now provided a glimpse into exactly how much a company will buy for the right to somebody else’s invention.
7. Adaptix’s $100 million sale to Acacia Research
In January, Adaptix sold Acacia Research 230 patents covering 4G technology, according to IPOfferings.
The deal was Acacia’s first major move to buy its own patent rights, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Previously, Acacia partnered with universities and other organizations to help them enforce patents.
Acacia has been criticized as a “patent troll,” or a company that makes most of its money from licensing patents or filing patent lawsuits.
However, Acacia CEO Paul Ryan previously told BI that people who use that term are just “name calling.”
6. Fujifilm Corp.’s $105 million sale to Universal Display Corp.
Fujifilm sold 1,200 patents covering OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology to Universal Display Corp. in July, according to IPOfferings.
OLEDs are used to make increasingly popular high-contrast, low-energy screens, Science Daily has reported.
5. Real Network’s $120 million sale to Intel
In January, Real Network sold 190 patents to Intel covering technology for media players, according to IPOfferings.
The deal also included 170 patent applications (patents that haven’t been approved) and some video streaming software, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The patent acquisition built Intel’s portfolio for technology that allows streaming on smartphones and laptops, according to the Journal.
Cutting-edge technology is expensive enough as it is; why overpay for the stuff that’s not a good value? Laptop Magazine’s Avram Piltch breaks down some of the worst all-time bargains in tech.
Hate gallery view? Go ahead and check out the post in one page here.
Laptopmag.com brings you in-depth reviews of the hottest mobile products, the latest tech news, helpful how-to advice, and expert analysis of the latest tech trends.
Microsoft Surface RT ($619 w/ Touch Cover)
How would you like a brand new convertible with a one-of-a-kind retractable roof for the reasonable price of $22,000? There’s just one catch. You must pay an extra $10,000 for the convertible roof you saw highlighted in all the commercials.
At its $499 base price, Microsoft’s first tablet costs the same as the fourth-generation iPad, the well-established leader in the tablet market. The attractive Surface has a worse screen than the iPad, it lasts 5 hours less on a charge and, at launch time, had only a handful of decent apps for its nascent Windows RT operating system.
However, you may want the Surface because of its heavily-advertised Touch Cover keyboard, a must-have accessory that will set you back an extra $119, even though it costs Microsoft only $16 to manufacture. That’s $619 for a new, unproven tablet which trails the $499 market leader in most ways.
Voodoo Envy 133 ($2,099 – $3,299)
One of the most anticipated products of 2008, the .7-inch thin Envy 133 notebook was supposed to inspire its name in all of your friends. But at a starting price of over $2,099 that jumped up to $3,300 when fully configured, this 3.4-pound notebook was far too light on performance and specs to justify its heavy price.
The high-end Envy 133 configuration featured a modest 1.8-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, just 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal Flash storage that copied files so slowly it was more of a Solid State Park than a Solid State Drive. Worse still, the notebook lasted just 2 hours and 32 minutes on a charge, making this ultraportable not very portable at all.
More: Top 10 Ultrabooks
Cisco umi ($599 Plus $24.99 a Month)
Psst. Come over here. I have a copy of this week’s Village Voice newspaper that I’d like to sell you for just $25. What? “It’s free,” you say? Well, my version has slightly sharper print so I’m sure you and millions of others will be more than willing to pay my premium.
Cisco applied this perverse logic to its 2010-era umi home telepresence system, which cost an eye-popping $599 for equipment plus $24.99 a month to provide a slightly better video chat service than competitors like Skype and Google offered for free. With the umi, which was short for You / Me, you could hook up a camera to the top of your TV and either talk to one of the five other umi users — or with your friends on Google Talk who were paying nothing at all.
Sony VAIO P Series ($899)
Back in 2009, netbooks were as hot as the Jonas Brothers, and everyone wanted to get in on the action. On the low end, non-computer companies like Sylvania (yes, the light bulb people) were making their own versions of netbook. On the high end, Sony tried to reinvent the genre with its 1.4-pound, 8-inch VAIO P.
At first glance, the VAIO P was an engineering marvel. The system was thin and narrow enough to fit into an overcoat pocket while providing premium features like a bright 1600 x 768 pixel display and 3G connectivity. However, with super-sluggish performance, mediocre battery life and a stiff keyboard, the notebook wasn’t good enough for extended use. At $899 and up, the value just wasn’t there when the best premium netbooks at the time cost $499.
More: Longest Lasting Laptops
Apple Lisa ($10,000)
In the early 1980s, few people had seen a computer with a graphical user interface. Xerox had been experimenting with GUIs since the 1970s and launched its Xerox Star 8010 in 1981, but it was Apple’s Lisa that finally brought windowed operating systems to the mainstream in early 1983.
Unfortunately, for the privilege of rolling a mouse around Lisa’s 12-inch, 720 x 360 black-and-white screen, you had to pay a cool $10,000 ($22,000 in 2011 dollars) and put up with a pair of unreliable “Twiggy” floppy drives that used their own proprietary 860K disks. At the same time, you could buy a brand new Apple IIe, the leading home computer, for just $1,395, a Compaq Portable PC for $3,590 or an original PC for far less.
Nokia Booklet 3G ($1,720 Over Two Years)
Subsidized netbooks with two-year 3G contracts were always a bad idea, but never more so than with the 2010 Nokia Booklet 3G. For $299 and a commitment to give AT&T $60 a month for two years ($1,720), unsuspecting shoppers got an attractive but incredibly incapable 10-inch netbook.
Perhaps Nokia and AT&T thought the Booklet’s Macbook-esque aluminum chassis would distract consumers long enough that they would make it through the return period without noticing the system’s glacial 4,200-rpm hard drive, painfully slow Atom Z530 processor or cramped keyboard.
DIVX ($499 Plus $4.50 per Disc)
How would you like to pay $500 just for the right to pay another $4.50 every time you want to rent a movie? That was the premise behind DIVX, a late 1990s movie rental system designed by someone who had watched too many episodes of “Mission Impossible” and loved the idea of self-destructing media.
After buying a $500 DIVX Player, you could then purchase any of about 400 movies on disc for about $4.50. A mere 48 hours after you watched the film, it would expire and you would have to throw away the disc or pay another $3.25 for another 48 hours. Circuit City, the leading seller of DIVX players and discs, touted the new technology as a convenience that would help you avoid late fees. However, the player was $100 more than a regular DVD player and the discs were more expensive than renting a film at the store.
More: Best Smart TVs
BlackBerry PlayBook ($499)
Research in Motion Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie must have been eating some psychotropic blackberries when they laid out the MSRP for the company’s first tablet in spring 2011. At $499 – the same price as the industry-leading iPad 2 – the BlackBerry PlayBook provided a significantly smaller screen and an operating system so half-baked that it didn’t even include native email support at launch.
Within a few months, the price of the PlayBook had dropped dramatically. Today, you can get one for just under $180, which is still too expensive. Much-better 7-inch Android devices like the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire cost around the same price and have a far better selection of apps.
Motorola Laptop Dock ($499)
A dual-core smartphone is already more powerful than an older PC, so why not use it as one? That was Motorola’s thinking when the company launched the Laptop Dock, a keyboard / screen combo that turned the Atrix 4G handset into a notebook runnin, the browser-centric Webtop OS.
At $499 by itself, or $300 when bought together with the Atrix, the 11.6-inch Laptop Dock cost the same or more than a full-fledged Windows 7 netbook that could run all of your software. Considering that its cramped keyboard was worse than those on most netbooks, Motorola’s dock was one of the biggest rip-offs of 2011.
AT&T VideoPhone 2500 ($1,599)
Today, anyone can conduct an online video chat for free, using Skype, Google Talk, FaceTime or any of a dozen other solutions. But back in 1992, we didn’t have broadband Internet or HD webcams. So when AT&T released the VideoPhone 2500, a standard landline handset that could send and receive video, the world took notice . . . of its whopping $1,599 price.
Considering that it both sent and received video on a sluggish 19.2bps modem, the VideoPhone 2500′s 10 frame-per-second performance was pretty impressive for the time. However, to use the device, you needed your friends and family to buy it too, something few consumers were willing to do.
More: Best Bluetooth Speakers
Apple Macintosh G4 Cube ($1,799)
How much extra would you pay for sexy? If you were a Mac maven in 2000, Steve Jobs thought you would spend $1,799 for the PowerMac G4 Cube, a tiny cube-shaped version of Apple’s PowerMac G4 desktop. Unfortunately, at that price, the Cube was a square peg trying to fit into the round hole of Apple’s product line.
At the time, consumers could pay $1,000 less and get an iMac, which came with a monitor included. Creative professionals who had the money to spend preferred to buy a PowerMac G4 tower with better performance and the ability to upgrade.
Motorola Xoom ($1,079 Over Two Years)
When they released the first true Android slate in early 2011, Google and Motorola were a year late to the party and yet they wanted hundreds of dollars more than Apple’s belle of the ball.
At a time when the iPad 2 cost $499 with Wi-Fi, or $629 with contract-free 3G service, the Motorola Xoom launched at $599 and required you to sign a two-year contract with Verizon at a minimum of $20 per month ($1,079), or $799 sans contract. While the cheaper iPad 2 had access to thousands of apps, at launch, the Xoom had a measly 46 tablet-optimized apps.
IBM PCJr ($669 to $1,269)
A stripped-down chip off the old block, 1983′s IBM PCJr (PC Junior) would have been overpriced at any cost. At $1,269 with the absolutely necessary floppy drive ($669 without), the PC Jr. was quite a bit cheaper than full-fledged IBM PCs of the time, but about on a par with the Apple IIe and far more expensive than home-computing competitors like the $200 Commodore 64 and $150 TI-99/4A.
Unfortunately, with its horribly stiff chiclet keyboard, slow performance, and a slew of compatibility issues that kept it from running popular PC programs, the JR wasn’t worth the premium. That year, I arrived at computer camp earlier than the other kids, just so I could grab a seat in front of a real PC rather than this awful offspring.
OQO Model 01 ($1,899)
In launching the world’s first 14-ounce Windows PC, OQO’s 2004 Model 01 was a true trailblazer. However, even by early 21st century standards, the Lilliputian laptop’s 1-GHz Transmeta CPU, 20GB hard drive and 256MB of RAM provided sluggish performance. Meanwhile, the tiny keyboard just felt awkward.
Considering that you could get a fully functioning laptop for hundreds of dollars less, it was hard for most consumers and business users to imagine buying this severely neutered novelty for such a high price.
Newton MessagePad 2100 ($1,000)
By 1997, Apple had improved the software and solved a lot of the handwriting recognition problems on its Newton PDA. Perhaps because of these improvements, the company felt it could price its grayscale handheld at a whopping $1,000, more than some PCs cost.
At the same time, the PalmPilot Personal cost just $299. Yes, the Newton had a better processor, more storage and a larger screen, but none of these features justified spending $700 more, even during the Internet bubble.
Bad news: the “copyright notice” you’ve been reading (and sharing, ugh) is completely bogus and a waste of everyone’s time. Facebook owns the photos, videos, and statuses you upload, and that’s not going to change just because you say so.
But here’s something you can do that might actually make a difference.
When you signed up for Facebook, you agreed to Facebook’s Terms of Service (ToS). These are the rules you agree to play by so long as you use Facebook, period. They’re Facebook’s rules. Odds are you didn’t bother reading the ToS before you signed up, because Facebook was new and exciting and who ever reads that stuff anyway? No one does.
Half a decade or so later, we’re still bound by those rules—and that means that, despite all the hoaxes floating around today that might tell you otherwise, Facebook owns the pictures and videos you share. And you can’t opt out, ever, because you agreed to this:
(I’ll bold the important parts)
Your Content and Information
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
In short: if you upload a photo, Facebook is 100%, completely allowed to use it (or sell it) until you delete that photo or delete your account. This isn’t to say that it does any of this stuff—and in fact Facebook is adamant that it does not—just reserving the right to at some point in the future.
But those rules aren’t written in stone. Instead of posting pointless copyright notices, to your timeline, try something that might actually get something done. Say you don’t want the photos you take of your private life to be potentially sold by a company with shareholders whose interests aren’t yours. Say you object specifically to the wording of Section 2.1 of the Facebook ToS:
The photos, videos, thoughts, and all other intellectual property I create should remain mine unless I tell Facebook they can own it. Facebook should remove section 2.1 from its Terms of Service, terminating its “transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post.” Short of this, I should be allowed to opt-out of this agreement with Facebook.
Ask your friends to like and comment (or even share) if they agree.
Or better yet, send it to Facebook customer service.
It’s a longshot, but at the very least you’ll be sharing a sentiment that’s not pure misinformation and naïveté. Sharing fake copyright BS is an annoyance. Sharing a sincere grievance isn’t. But remember: until anything changes, Facebook will own the text of your grievance in full.
The CFTC is suing popular betting site Intrade. And now Intrade is telling its customers to start shutting down their accounts.
ATTENTION U.S. CUSTOMERS – IMPORTANT!
We are sorry to announce that due to legal and regulatory pressures, Intrade can no longer allow US residents to participate in our real-money prediction markets.
Unfortunately this means that all US residents must begin the process of closing down their Intrade accounts. We strongly urge you to begin this process immediately:
Step 1: Close out open predictions
You must close out all open predictions before 8:00am GMT (3:00am ET) on December 23, 2012. Instructions on how to close out an open prediction can be found HERE.
If this is not done then by the deadline noted above, Intrade will close out your predictions for you at what we consider to be fair market value as of the daily session close of December 23, 2012.
Fair market value will be determined using current and historical price information, including daily close prices and recent trades. Values will be set at the absolute discretion of Intrade and will not be open for review, discussion or argument – our determination of fair market value is final.
Step 2: Withdraw funds
Please note, no customers will be charged the $4.99 monthly fee due on December 1, 2012.
Members have until December 31, 2012, to withdraw all funds from their account. Instructions on how to request a withdrawal can be found HERE.
To h! elp you receive your funds as quickly and easily as possible, the $20 fee normally charged by Intrade for processing a bank wire withdrawal will be waived. Please be aware however that any fees charged by the sending and receiving bank, plus any intermediary bank the transfer is routed through will NOT be refunded by Intrade.
We understand this announcement may come as a surprise and a disappointment to our US customers, but this in no way signals the end of Intrade in the US. In the near future we’ll announce plans for a new exchange model that will allow legal participation from all jurisdictions – including the US. We believe this new model will further enhance Intrade position as the leading prediction market platform for real time probabilities about future events. We would like to sincerely thank our US customers for their custom, support and loyalty over the years.
For our non-US customers, we will continue to offer real-money prediction markets. In the coming weeks and months we plan to implement a number of improvements to the Intrade website. These include expanding our market categories to include sports, adding more convenient funding options and a new and improved trading interface. We’ll keep you posted on these initiatives as they develop.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at November 26, 2012 20:53:16 UTC
To protect yourself from identity theft never give out your Intrade login or password.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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