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March 30, 2006

'Star Trek' Producers Awarded Cell Phone Patent Damages

Hollywood, CA  |  In a landmark case, a U.S. Federal Court has awarded $11.8 billion to Viacom, Paramount Communications and the estate of Gene Roddenberry. The ruling ends a seven-year dispute during which Viacom claimed "intellectual rights" to cellular telephone technology, insisting the concept came from the original Star Trek television series produced in the late 1960s.
Star Trek Communicator
A source inside the legal team representing AT&T, Samsung, Panasonic, Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Nextel admitted, "We never had a prayer. Roddenberry obviously thought of it first."

The decision came as no great surprise, following a similar dispute between Canadian company Research In Motion and Virginia-based NTP, Inc. over the BlackBerry operating system. Patent holder NTP was awarded royalties for a device that could "send messages and stuff from computers to some kind of wireless thingie" despite never intending to design or produce a working prototype.

After this major court win, Viacom is optimistic about pending litigation over other technologies they say were taken from Star Trek concepts, including the Palm Pilot, Bluetooth wireless headsets, CD-ROMs and Flash memory cards.

Another defining case currently working its way through the U.S. legal system involves the battle between five-lawyer company MercExchange and eBay over its "Buy It Now" online selling technique.

And in a lawsuit just filed by the BBC and Eric Idle, the former Monty Python member is asking for an unspecified amount resulting from all future stem cell and human genome research. The claim cites the 1972 "How to Do It" sketch in which Idle describes in detail how to rid the world of all known diseases: "First of all become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any diseases ever again."

All original content on The Specious Report © Dale McFarland  Political Satire  Redistribution limited to excerpts for non-commercial use only.