Are the Germans insane?
Aren't patent infringements supposed to be settled in a court instead of by a police action? And why can't the Polizei tell the difference between a DVD player and a LCD screen?
A Taiwanese firm is taking legal action over damage to its reputation after an Italian patent troll representing Philips prompted the raid of a Berlin consumer electronics show last month. Teco was among 69 companies targeted by some 200 armed German custom officers during the IFA trade fair in Berlin. The raid was done at the …
Interesting to watch the pavlovian reflexes at work here. Patent/Copyright holder equals bad automatically, multi-billion taiwanese conglomerate Teco is the poor underdog.
Germans in uniforms naturally equal jackbooted Gestapo Stormtroopers.
And that mostly from people right out of europes leading police state, good ol blighty, thats rich mates.
It seems Sisvel cleverly exploits some loophole in Italian (where else?) criminal law that allows prosecution of patent infringement in criminal courts.
Presumably, suspicion of having committed a criminal act in one European country allows this sort of raid to take place in another.
Anonymous Coward has a good point though: CEBIT has seen drastic reduction in attendance in recent years. If the Germans want to hang on to their major trade fairs, they'd best curb this sort of silliness.
I gather Sisvel make the RIAA/MPAA look like a bunch of complacent grannies anyway.
Note (saving a little Dutch face here) that Sisvel doesn't only administer Philips patents - they seem to administer quite a lot of them. I guess the threat of hard time at Silvio's pleasure is more frightening to infringers than having to pay fines...
... by the choice of picture. I seem to recall that the Reg photo archives contain a slightly hotter Customs Officer than dear old Hans (pictured). This lady is the Bird on the Beach for all articles of this ilk.
Please rectify the situation. Have a Paris pic while we wait.
"Interesting to watch the pavlovian reflexes at work here. Patent/Copyright holder equals bad automatically"
Nope, you're buying into the whole monolithic intellectual property propaganda. There shouldn't be patents on the mechanisms underlying MP3 because the details are mathematical/algorithmic in nature, plus there are a lot of good economic arguments for disallowing software and user interface patents, anyway. Whether the physical mechanisms underlying DVD technologies should be patentable is another matter, although I'm sure that particular road has a toll booth every fifty centimetres, making it look like Philips and friends want to be paid forever for their efforts.
Having law enforcement people march in to confiscate stuff, presumably so that their corporate paymasters on this particular job can dismantle it all and take notes (or a bunch of people get a bunch of free gear) seems at the very least hypocritical ("How dare you steal our ideas! Ooh, what does this thing do?") and at worst like state-sponsored industrial espionage. Keep the latter thought in mind as you consider idiot European Commission member thinking on economic competitiveness.
"multi-billion taiwanese conglomerate Teco is the poor underdog."
And not multi-billion (Euro) conglomerate Philips and their pals.
"And that mostly from people right out of europes leading police state, good ol blighty, thats rich mates."
Ah, the schadenfreude comes out to play. Don't let it distract you from what's going on in your own country.
The reason Germany works is that they have rules and stick to them. The Nazi's didn't show us that the law itself is evil, they just made evil laws.
In this case, I far prefer it that patent laws are being enforced properly - because it exposes those laws for exactly what they are. Think of how many tyranical laws there are now in the UK. They are lurking just below the surface, away from the public conciousness, because (as yet) they are only being used to target relatively unpopular and little known figures/groups.
With any luck, the result of this will not only be a political backlash, but for the firms involved, some hefty payouts.
I thought there was a historical allusion I wasn't quite picking up.
In Germany, prior to the trashing of Jewish shops that took place during Kristallnacht, the SA (brownshirts) used to picket them during business hours, intimidating potential customers.
Well, that's what this reminded me of.
>>Nope, you're buying into the whole monolithic intellectual property propaganda. (snip).<<
Nope, but without any real info about what the allegedly infringed patents are about en detail, and I didn't see that info so far, I will refrain from judgment on their validity, one way or the other.
My observation, which so far has not been disproved, was that here, like on most tech sites, there is a reflex to condemn anyone claiming intellectual property violations to patent-troll-hell (which circle is that in anyway?) unless he is proven innocent by some Saint of info-socialism.
As a matter of fact I am myself opposed to most purely intellectual patents, but that's a different story.
>>And not multi-billion (Euro) conglomerate Philips and their pals.<<
Doesn't matter. My point is that this is no little bullied start up, but a massive corp that could very well be bigger then Phillips and Pals and certainly has enough lawyers and legal consultants to have a) Prevented this whole stunt and b) come out of all this only slightly bruised. They'll certainly won't get much pity out of me.
>>Ah, the schadenfreude comes out to play. Don't let it distract you from what's going on in your own country.<<
Anything happening in Greece I didn't notice? Or do you mean the government stepping up checks of school buses? Oh yeah, fascism rears it's ugly head! ;-)
This appears to show serious insanity in Germany.
But an unpleasant incident at a trade show is put into perspective when you compare what happened to Dmitry Sklyarov! Or when you consider the pirates who successfully extorted a large fortune out of RIM with a blackmailing injunction against selling any blackberries in what was naturally their biggest market!
So where is safe to do business in the West? Norway has a somewhat confidence-inspiring track record, and the Netherlands still seems to understand the concept of Free Speech. Anywhere else?
Some (not all) of your are missing the point. It's not a matter of who is violating whose patents, or a matter of criminalizing patent infringement, and so on. This isn't about underdogs and bleeding hearts.
In the USA we have something called "Due Process." Well, we HAD something called Due Process, and then Bush got elected... OK, don't get me started.
But my point is that this is a violation of the concept of due process. The companies in the show were being punished without proof. In fact, without evidence. If Philips wants to take legal action against them, it needs to take them to court, not use bullying tactics.
If I can pay the government enough money to get them to back me, I can beat up whomever I please. That doesn't make me right. It doesn't make them right either, but beating them up isn't the way to settle it.
I agree: the best action overall is to simply stop showing up at German conferences. Vote with your feet.
But I know who I'm rooting for, and it ain't the bully.
Quote: "In the USA we have something called "Due Process." Well, we HAD something called Due Process, and then Bush got elected... OK, don't get me started."
Do a little more research. Clinton-Gore started a lot of the crap that Bush is doing but they tried to sneak it under the radar by doing it administratively. Do a search for "Know your Customer" for a start. And gun control laws for a second. Read the second amendment for a perfect example of a very well written and clear sentence. A well regulated Militia is something that did not exist in New Orleans because the Democrats had taken away law abiding citizen's guns.
I do agree that this was an abuse of power. But remember the judges said it wasn't.
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