Wednesday, September 29, 2004

AND IF THE TV COMMERCIALS WEREN'T BAD ENOUGH, NOW THEY'RE LITIGATING THEIR PATENTS: PowerOasis sells "pay-as-you-go" Internet service at public kiosks and wireless hotspots in 21 US airports and a handful of public buildings. Customers log onto the system and use a credit card to pay for Internet access by the hour or by the day. PowerOasis also holds four patents related to pay-as-you-go Internet service; the most recent of them was issued in April. On Monday, PowerOasis filed suit in federal court in Boston, seeking a preliminary injunction against Wayport that would stop the company from offering many of its online services.

PowerOasis has just four employees: Tom Duff, the company president; his wife, Linda; Bill Joransen (chairman of the board of directors); and co-founder Chuck Schelberg, whose name is also on the patents. Business has not been good for PowerOasis, who recently had to tear down most of its non-wireless terminals as other vendors moved in with wireless connections.

Accordingly, PowerOasis turned to its patent portfolio to start going after competitors. Needless to say, some commentators are not happy with PowerOasis over its strategy.

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