Friday, September 23, 2005

How to steal millions, legally

Lucent Technologies must be feeling pretty good about themselves stealing an invention from the people who invented it.

Lucent Technologies licensed a use of a patented technology from its inventors for use in a classified Government project. Once it became apparent that the technology worked better than competing technologies and that the Government was interested in using it, Lucent Technologies informed the inventors they're not paying a dime for the use of the technology. Pretty cool.

It seems Lucent Technologies knew how to abuse the state secrets privilege that allows Government officials to intervene in civil suits to prevent subpoenaing documents to support the civil case. They knew that the privilege would be used, if the inventors would sue Lucent Technologies for the royalties. They knew they could steal the invention without ever getting into legal trouble for it.

Since the Government project is classified, although it's suspected to have something to do with wiretapping underwater fiberoptic cables, it's impossible to know how much the US Government is paying Lucent Technologies to work for them. The inventors were asking for roughly $500K for the use of their patented technology. I have to believe that would've been pocket money for Lucent Technologies.

Pretty sad for a company which roots are in the famous Bell Labs research center, full of inventors like the ones they chose to steal from.

-TPP

1 comment:

Fiid said...

You point out that Lucent grew out of Bell. This would not be the first time "Bell" has stolen IP - Their patent on the Telephone was also hijacked from someone else by some "strategic contributions" - uh .. bribes.