Take court rulings with grain of salt
TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs reads the coverage in Friday morning’s papers about Microsoft Corp. losing a ruling on MP3 patents and being asked to pay $1.52 billion in damages and wonders what all of the fuss is about.
Fuchs wrote, “The Washington Post goes all subjective on The Business Press Maven, announcing that ‘Microsoft Loses Big in MP3 Patent Suit.’ The subheadline starts right in on the ominous larger implications: ‘$1.52 Billion Penalty Could Be Harbinger.’
“The first sentence tells us that hundreds of companies use the technology in question and the second raises the prospect that scores of other companies could be similarly liable. The all-important third sentence, with that first defining quote, talks about the great concern that so many companies besides Microsoft must have. That quote, by the way, is from one of Microsoft counsels, who is obviously trying to rally other companies to his cause by scaring the bejesus out of them. However, that does not have to define the story, especially because it’s about an issue that can be turned on appeal (many patents cases are) or could end up with some relatively modest royalty payments all around.
“Unfortunately, The Washington Post’s stance is echoed all over the place, with restraint in short supply. The Financial Times speaks in its first sentence of ‘sweeping implications.’ The Wall Street Journal, for its part, goes with ‘broad-impact’ in its subheadline.”
Concluded Fuchs: “‘Take in stride.’ It should be the mantra — painted on the forehead, if must be — of any business journalist assigned to write about big business law cases. Investors, do your friendly neighborhood Business Press Maven a favor. Take such news in stride when the business media fail to.”
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