NTP is a patent-holding company. It doesn't make things. Instead, it monopolizes ideas and sues others for infringing on its state-granted privileges. Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes the background of the case:
NTP was co-founded in 1992 by former patent examiner Don Stout and the late inventor Thomas Campana, who worked on ways to send emails wirelessly. In 2001, NTP sued RIM saying it held patents covering the "push" aspect of wireless email.RIM wasn't accused of breaking into NTP's office and stealing something. It was accused simply of implementing an idea that Campana had "worked on" and had registered with the state.
This is (intellectual) property and protection of property rights? Balderdash! It is a license to extort. As the Washington Post reports: "Intellectual property attorney Donald R. Steinberg said the size of the settlement might spur more lawsuits from patent-holding companies, but that in most cases, a settlement is often desirable because it limits risk on all sides." What risk does the suit-filing patent-holder take? That his extortion might not succeed? This is "entrepreneurship in the Corporate State.
What great products aren't we seeing because of this corrupt system?
Patents are a key form of state-privilege by which people get rich at the expense of others. The patent system would have no place in a real free market. It is said that patents are needed to encourage innovation, but now the truth is clear for all to see. Patents suppress innovation. The notion of intellectual property rights has no justification. It fails both the natural-rights and "utilitarian" test. As Thomas Jefferson recognized long ago, ideas, lacking finitude, are not the kind of "things" to which the principles of property can be applied:
He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.