As reported by Aunty a few weeks ago, here, failed dot.com Commerce One had filed bankruptcy and on the bankruptcy auction block, among other things, were nearly 40 patents for various web services, many of which are in widespread use across the Internet, and incorporated into the web software protocol employed by such industry giants as Google, Oracle, and Sun.
In fact, these companies were worried enough about the possible outcome of this auction that they had a joint meeting with their attorneys, where it was even suggested that they consider financing a bid for the patents themselves.
Well, the auction is over, and the winner is…nobody knows!
The patents were purchased by a mystery bidder, using the front name JGR Acquisitions, and represented at the auction by Dallas attorney Mark X. Mullin.
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The surprise winning bid came after a morning which saw a bidding contest between two venture companies, each, interestingly, with a connection to former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. Just at the last minute, after it was thought that Company-Connected-to-Myhrvold-#2 had won the bidding, Mullin stepped in and swept the auction for his client JGR Acquisitions.
According to Robert Glushko, one of the inventors of the technologies covered by the various patents, the patent holder could use the patents to demand royalties from companies using the technologies, or to block their use.
For now, nobody knows who holds the patent, or what their intentions are. One thing you can be sure of is that several companies are sitting on the edges of their collective seats.
You can read more about this in The New York Times.
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