April 4th, 2006

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If you can't beat them (or just don't want to), then shut them down...

Looking at CNN.com tonight, I saw this story, Netflix wants to shut Blockbuster online rentals. So I was intrigued, so I started to read it.

Well its another patent infringement suit, but this one I think has merit where as the one against RIM did not. The lawsuit says Blockbuster was aware that Netflix had obtained a patent for its business method and was seeking a second, but willfully and deliberately violated the existing patent when it launched its online rental service in 2004.

Now part of me says that this is just a way to stop your competition, but at the same time if the US patent office issued a 2 patents for this stuff, and Blockbuster went ahead with there site despite it, then that is another thing. Now the major difference here is that Netflix's is not a patent squatting company where as NTP was. This might be one of the first, major, ground breaking patent lawsuits of our generation and of the internet age it's self.

But also, I can’t help but wonder had the first video store filed a patent about people walking into there store to "rent" videos and take them home with them, could they have sued anyone else that tried to copy there idea? Would the government have even given a patent for that idea? Which in theory is not much different then what has happened here. Or could LiveJournal.com patented the idea of giving people a place to write a "blog" and then post it using there service, could they sue anyone else who tired this idea? I have no clue, but part of me says no, but then again I really do have no clue.

I think this will be a case to watch, and see what the outcome is. I also wonder as this case gets going, how many people will leave blockbuster, cus they are worried about the service getting shut down. Like I said, if you can’t beat them (or just don’t want to), then shut them down...
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