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One Way To Defeat The Patent Trolls...

Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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Ars Technica has this piece
on Thomas Edison’s attempt to monopolize the motion-picture industry through
patents and keep it permanently stuck in the flickery silent era. He was
finally defeated by a defiance campaign organized by a guy named Carl
Laemmle, founder of the company we know today as Universal Pictures:

Slowly but surely, the Patents Company discovered that even its deep-
pocketed legal department could not afford all the infringement suits
that it had launched, especially after the independents began sharing
lawyers and pooling the costs of these actions.

For the cartel, "costs of pursuing infringers must have been more than
any court-ordered repayment," Staigler notes. "For the independents,
fines for patent violation were less than profits from filmmaking."

You’d think Edison still held the legal high ground. And yet

... a federal court agreed with prosecutors that the Patents Company and
General Film had broken every antitrust principle in the book,
"terrorizing exchanges and exhibitors" and driving away competitors by
"arbitrary, oppressive, and high-handed methods."

Apparently the reason why film companies have been based in Hollywood since
then is because that’s about as far away as they can get from New Jersey,
where Edison was based.
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