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Patent troll starts suing websites that use roll-over images...

Yup, stolen from Ars. Too good to not use.Ars Technica is running a fantastic, facepalm-worthy story of patent trolling gone wild. Webvention is the patent-holder in question, and their entire operations revolve around a single U.S. patent: 5,251,294.

The patent abstract opens with one of the vaguest and most terrifying sentences ever conceived: "An interactive information environment for accessing, controlling, and using information." Why, I think you just described a computer... and HTML... and set-top TV boxes... and, as the case may be, roll-over images on websites. Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, has been sued for its positively interactive website. Look at how that information... interacts... and can be accessed... disgusting.

It gets worse, though. Webvention is actually seeking jury trials for the settlement of some of its cases -- yes, cases, plural: they are currently suing Dell, GameStop, Visa and others, presumably because they refuse to pay the monstrous $80,000 license fee. Instead of deliberating over serious cases -- you know, like murders and stuff -- Webvention would rather have 12 angry men waste their time with a gribbly, scabby, window-licking patent troll.

If, like me, you're not American and thus can't quite comprehend the point of patent trolling, get this: Webvention actually has licensees! 136 gimps -- including Apple, HP, Nokia, Sony and Google -- have actually licensed this lumbering wreck of a patent.

God bless America.

Tags: 5251294, litigation, patent, patent troll, PatentTroll, usa, webvention