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Foreign governments getting into profitable US 'patent troll' business

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
So-called "patent trolls" can earn millions of dollars by being a costly thorn in the side of companies like Apple. Now, the governments of countries including South Korea and France have shown interest in getting into that business to protect domestic firms, and also potentially make money.

Patent suits


South Korea's Intellectual Discovery and French firm France Brevets are companies similar to U.S. companies that acquire patents and secure licensing deals for those inventions without actually selling any products. But a key difference revealed by Reuters on Wednesday is the new companies were launched by their respective country's own governments.

Neither company has yet to file any lawsuits, but there are also signs that the governments of China and Japan are also interested in getting in the mix. The Innovation Network Corp of Japan launched as a public-private venture in 2010, while China plans to set up about 20 "investment service platforms," according to the country's intellectual property office.

While China and Japan wouldn't comment on their plans, South Korea portrayed its venture as in an "incubating stage." The government-backed company has purchased more than 200 U.S. patents, and has said it plans to use those patents to protect other South Korean companies that might be targeted by a lawsuit.

Such intellectual property firms are derided by some as "patent trolls," because they siphon money from large corporations like Apple that sell products and services. An intellectual property firm can accuse such companies of violating the patents they own, and can secure licensing deals or even file patent infringement lawsuits to obtain cash.

Apple is routinely hit with "patent troll" lawsuits ? so much so that one report from last year found that the iPhone maker faces more patent lawsuits from non-practicing entities than any other technology company in the world.

The group PatentFreedom has continued to keep a running tally, and Apple remains the most-targeted, facing 165 patent lawsuits from non-practicing entities since 2008. In 2012 alone, Apple was hit with 44 additional lawsuits, also the most of any company.

Some believe those non-practicing entities are taking advantage of intellectual property laws in the U.S. for financial gain. That's prompted some, such as Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., to fight back.

DeFazio has co-sponsored the SHIELD act, which he hopes will discourage patent infringement lawsuits by non-practicing entities by requiring them to pay their opponents' legal fees if they lose.
post #2 of 43
Is this "the other shoe dropping", "blowback", or something else? I've long worried that; kudzu would replace all plants in the South East, a Bush family member would be elected President again, and that other countries would adopt the copyright and patent model of the US. I mean, it probably seemed like a good idea at the time; create nothing and patent everything and then make royalties more valuable and protected, unlike jobs and wages and edible paint on children's toys. Oh yeah, this is the "Chickens coming home to roost." We should enjoy our Just Desserts and eat our crow -- the Dutch Boy can't plug this leak with a fat finger and the cat is out of the bag of donuts.
post #3 of 43
I understand the need for the original owner of a patent to protect their ideas even if they don't have a working product but I draw the line when they "sell" their patent to a troll who's only job is to try and attempt to get whatever money they can. These patent trolls are like ambulance chasing lawyers who could care less about the law and only about potential income for themselves. Add to this the ridiculous nature of patent law around the world and you have a totally corrupt and inoperable mechanism for trying to protect the real originators of an idea. For those truly unique and revolutionary ideas I can see protecting them with a patent but for the other 90%, cancel them all and let the market decide. Apple is trying to protect both its patents and its use of ideas and processes supposedly patented by others. As this article states, others are taking the quick road to making money by not developing anything, instead just suing to get money. Get a life and a real job trolls!
post #4 of 43
The US government probably wont be alarmed until North Korea and Iran get in the game.
post #5 of 43
I'm pretty sure I mentioned this once here a few weeks back, but China already pays subsidies to Chinese firms for successful US and other foreign patents applications, both utility and design. In fact a Chinese applicant can receive 10 times as much subsidy money from the Chinese government for being awarded a US patent than a domestic one.

http://chinaipr.com/2012/06/12/china-to-provide-financial-incentives-for-filing-patent-applications-abroad/
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post #6 of 43
Quote:
So-called "patent trolls" can earn millions of dollars by being a costly thorn in the side of companies like Apple.

 

"earn"?

post #7 of 43
I dont know about the South Korea one but France Brevets is not a patent troll in the sense they dont acquire patents in order to sue.

It is the patent holders (IOW praticing entities and/or inventors) that ask the fund so that licensing revenues can be drawn from their holdings, and also be protected. The fund acts as an intermediate true, but this allows small companies which, on their own, would not have the means (expertise and money) to sue, to be on an equal foot with bigger competitors. More, the main assets of the fund are actually the patents which are the results of publicly funded research, which is a lot more important in France than in the USA proportionnally.

This article is complete hogwash, a 5 mn check would have found this.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I understand the need for the original owner of a patent to protect their ideas even if they don't have a working product but I draw the line when they "sell" their patent to a troll who's only job is to try and attempt to get whatever money they can. 

This. It's one thing to sell your patent to someone who can manufacture a product, but it's another to sell it to a patent holding firm. Why did you invent the thing you patented in the first place? The point of the patent system is to foster innovation. How is inventing something only to sue people fostering innovation? It's the exact opposite.

 

If I was King of the World™, any patent used in a lawsuit would become invalidated if the plaintiff could not show proof of it being used in actual products available on the market. After all, there's no stifling of innovation or damages if the patent holder doesn't actually use it to make anything.

post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gustav View Post

This. It's one thing to sell your patent to someone who can manufacture a product, but it's another to sell it to a patent holding firm. Why did you invent the thing you patented in the first place? The point of the patent system is to foster innovation. How is inventing something only to sue people fostering innovation? It's the exact opposite.

If I was King of the World™, any patent used in a lawsuit would become invalidated if the plaintiff could not show proof of it being used in actual products available on the market. After all, there's no stifling of innovation or damages if the patent holder doesn't actually use it to make anything.

That is total, unadulterated nonsense.

The patent system gives an inventor rights to that invention - a special type of property rights. Just like any other rights, the inventor can choose what to do with them.

What if I invent a way to make nuclear power plants safer or more efficient? Do I have to start building nuclear power plants (at a cost of billions of dollars each) in order to use my invention - or can I sell it to someone who builds nuclear power plants. Or, let's say that I invent a way to make an internal combustion engine more efficient. Must I spend billions of dollars building a car manufacturer to compete with GM and Toyota and the rest or can I license it to someone else?

The owner of a patent has specific property rights. It is entirely up to them to decide whether to practice the invention, sell the patent, license the patent, or do nothing. The only thing the patent does is keep others from using his invention. It's not up to you or anyone else to tell him that he can't sell it. In fact, doing so would greatly limit the amount of effort put into innovation by small inventors. Why bother if you can't sell the patent?

The closest analogy involves physical property. Let's say that you inherit a widget factory from your parents. You don't want to make widgets, so you close the factory. You have the right to sell the factory or rent it out to someone who wants to make widgets - and no one would object. Or, if the real estate market is slow, you might simply hold onto your closed factory for a while until the price is higher. Or maybe you don't want to make widgets, but don't want to sell the factory for sentimental reasons. It doesn't matter - you have the right not to sell the factory.

If someone moved into the factory and started making widgets without your permission, no one in their right mind would defend them on the basis of "but you're not using it".

Patents work the same way. If you have a patent to make widgets, you can choose to use it, sell it, license (i.e., rent) it, or do nothing with it. If you choose to do nothing with it, someone else isn't allowed to use that as grounds for their infringing your patent.
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post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The closest analogy involves physical property. Let's say that you inherit a widget factory from your parents. You don't want to make widgets, so you close the factory. You have the right to sell the factory or rent it out to someone who wants to make widgets - and no one would object. Or, if the real estate market is slow, you might simply hold onto your closed factory for a while until the price is higher. Or maybe you don't want to make widgets, but don't want to sell the factory for sentimental reasons. It doesn't matter - you have the right not to sell the factory.

If someone moved into the factory and started making widgets without your permission, no one in their right mind would defend them on the basis of "but you're not using it".

Patents work the same way. If you have a patent to make widgets, you can choose to use it, sell it, license (i.e., rent) it, or do nothing with it. If you choose to do nothing with it, someone else isn't allowed to use that as grounds for their infringing your patent.

 

You're analogy is severely flawed. No one is using the "factory" but the patents are giving that factory owner the rights to produce those widgets in the town (USA). So no one else can make the widgets in that town regardless. So if I truly make something revolutionary and I know it's a death pool of patents that would kill my idea and possibly end up stealing it (I put the hard work into making an ACTUAL product... software patents can die), now I have to base my company out of a country that has a patent available for me and is clear of trolls to sell out of and restricting sales to only "friendly" countries.

 

As stated before, patent system is completely pointless at this day in age... in the state that it is currently in. It cannot accommodate the needs that we have in the 21st century. It needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from ground up, period.

post #11 of 43
no bueno!

They can cause a lot of harm if they get away with this. I'm probably gonna get a lot of flack for this statement, but perhaps they shouldn't be able to sue unless they were actively making a product that used the patent they were suing about. It would prevent most patent trolls from making a case as the majority of them have no means nor the intention of making products at all.

That said there are congressman in the united states that are coming up with ways to battle companies like these. See the SHIELD act here: http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/why-you-should-support-the-shield-act-214071
post #12 of 43
Originally Posted by drewyboy View Post
(I put the hard work into making an ACTUAL product... software patents can die)

 

I sure hope none of your relatives write software for a living. They wouldn't be happy to know that you don't consider their jobs to be real.


As stated before, patent system is completely pointless at this day in age... in the state that it is currently in. It cannot accommodate the needs that we have in the 21st century. It needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from ground up, period.

 

Abject nonsense. You may have stated it before, but that's meaningless.

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post #13 of 43
Quote:

Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I understand the need for the original owner of a patent to protect their ideas even if they don't have a working product but I draw the line when they "sell" their patent to a troll who's only job is to try and attempt to get whatever money they can.

 

Originally Posted by Gustav View Post
 

This. It's one thing to sell your patent to someone who can manufacture a product, but it's another to sell it to a patent holding firm. Why did you invent the thing you patented in the first place? The point of the patent system is to foster innovation. How is inventing something only to sue people fostering innovation? It's the exact opposite.

 

If I was King of the World™, any patent used in a lawsuit would become invalidated if the plaintiff could not show proof of it being used in actual products available on the market. After all, there's no stifling of innovation or damages if the patent holder doesn't actually use it to make anything.

Gustav, I think you misunderstood the second half of my sentence. I agree with your second to last sentence in the first paragraph. What you said is what I was saying. I believe patented ideas should be in products and not just "ideas" stuck in someones cabinet.

post #14 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


That is total, unadulterated nonsense.

The patent system gives an inventor rights to that invention - a special type of property rights. Just like any other rights, the inventor can choose what to do with them. ...

The owner of a patent has specific property rights. It is entirely up to them to decide whether to practice the invention, sell the patent, license the patent, or do nothing. ...
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewyboy View Post

 

You're analogy is severely flawed. ...

 

As stated before, patent system is completely pointless at this day in age... in the state that it is currently in. It cannot accommodate the needs that we have in the 21st century. It needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from ground up, period.

 

You're both wrong. The analogy and argument is flawed, but the patent system isn't pointless and in need of scrapping.

 

The significant point that jragosta always leaves out of his patent troll denials is that, while patent law gives an inventor "rights", it does so for a very specific purpose:

 

Quote:
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

 

The Congress isn't given the power to issue copyrights and patents, it's given the power, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." What we call Patents and Copyrights are merely the tools to achieve this end. (It is interesting to note that, while Congress is given this power, they are in no way required to exercise it -- i.e., there is no Constitutional requirement for the issuance of patents or copyrights, it's at Congress's discretion.)

 

The goal here is, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." The goal is not to protect intellectual property, and certainly not to do so at all costs. So, the rights of the intellectual property holder are in no way inalienable. They are not even as fundamental as ownership rights to physical property. (Which is why the analogy is fundamentally flawed.) The "exclusive Right" referred to here is in fact a privilege, putting it much on the same level as we consider the "right" to take a deduction on your income tax calculation or operating a motor vehicle on the roads.

 

The patent system is in need of reform, but it isn't pointless, or so hopelessly flawed that it needs to be scrapped. It needs to be reformed in such a way as to serve its purpose and, more importantly, so that it is not so easily gamed by leaches whose actions are contrary to its purpose. Companies whose primary goal is to collect patents solely for the purpose of suing "practicing entities" are engaged in activities contrary to the purpose of patent law. Quite simply, the law needs to, must be, changed to stamp out this sort of activity that does not in any way contribute to, "the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

post #15 of 43
Maybe this the catalyst the US needs to reform the patent system.

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post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by fsad32 View Post

To jragosta & others:
The problem is not in the patents system understanding and that someone are not making the real product. The problem is in USPTO itself - in fact the first stage of it - very low quality expertise of any new application for a patent. Everyday they get thousands of applications for new patents - study such amount of data carefully is just impossible. That's why we have a registered patents with very questionable content.

I would agree with that - the patent office doesn't really have the expertise to evaluate technology patents properly.

But that has nothing to do with this patent troll nonsense.
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post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I would agree with that - the patent office doesn't really have the expertise to evaluate technology patents properly.

But that has nothing to do with this patent troll nonsense.

 

It's not entirely unrelated. This lack of expertise has allowed a "cottage industry" of, not inventors, but patent writers to spring up. People who do nothing but write vague technology patents for patent troll companies, or to sell to them. Again, this obviously subverts the Constitutional intent and needs to be stamped out. Intellectual property is not a Right, it's a privilege, and those who abuse the privilege ought to lose that privilege, just as we suspend and revoke drivers licenses from those who have shown themselves to be unsafe drivers.

post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

You're both wrong. The analogy and argument is flawed, but the patent system isn't pointless and in need of scrapping.

The significant point that jragosta always leaves out of his patent troll denials is that, while patent law gives an inventor "rights", it does so for a very specific purpose:


The Congress isn't given the power to issue copyrights and patents, it's given the power, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." What we call Patents and Copyrights are merely the tools to achieve this end. (It is interesting to note that, while Congress is given this power, they are in no way required to exercise it -- i.e., there is no Constitutional requirement for the issuance of patents or copyrights, it's at Congress's discretion.)

The goal here is, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." The goal is not to protect intellectual property, and certainly not to do so at all costs. So, the rights of the intellectual property holder are in no way inalienable. They are not even as fundamental as ownership rights to physical property. (Which is why the analogy is fundamentally flawed.) The "exclusive Right" referred to here is in fact a privilege, putting it much on the same level as we consider the "right" to take a deduction on your income tax calculation or operating a motor vehicle on the roads.

The patent system is in need of reform, but it isn't pointless, or so hopelessly flawed that it needs to be scrapped. It needs to be reformed in such a way as to serve its purpose and, more importantly, so that it is not so easily gamed by leaches whose actions are contrary to its purpose. Companies whose primary goal is to collect patents solely for the purpose of suing "practicing entities" are engaged in activities contrary to the purpose of patent law. Quite simply, the law needs to, must be, changed to stamp out this sort of activity that does not in any way contribute to, "the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

Nonsense.

First, patents have a limited time. Even if someone NEVER practices a patent and only sues people with it, the patent must become public. So, after some time, anyone can practice the patent. THAT is the purpose of the patent system - to get patents into the public rather than everything being a trade secret.

Even more importantly, people can build on patented technology. The fact that patents are published means that people can see what others are doing - and improve upon it or find alternative ways of doing that. That promotes the arts and sciences - even if the original inventor never practices his invention.

Finally, it is the very fact that patents can be sold that allows small inventors to participate on a level playing field with the big guys. Without the ability to sell patents to a holding company, there would be no point in inventing something in a market that requires lots of capital to practice the invention.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with patent ownership rights - and your complaints that some people abuse the system doesn't justify stripping patent rights from their legal owners. Scenario: Small inventor invents something that will be massively useful in improving automobiles. They don't have the capital to do so, so they sell the patent to a holding company which is going to look for licensees. GM sees the patent and sees that it's now owned by a non-practicity entity (nee 'patent troll') and under your system would be absolutely free to infringe all they want - because you want to invalidate patents that are owned by someone who doesn't practice the invention. How does that help the small inventor? How does that help innovation? All it does is reward theft.

Now, if you want to argue that 'loser pays' should be the practice in our court systems, I'd wholeheartedly agree. Or if you want to argue that the patent office needs to find a way to examine patents more thoroughly (using people who are familiar with the subject), I'd also agree. But simply stripping patent rights from legal owners makes absolutely no sense at all.
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post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It's not entirely unrelated. This lack of expertise has allowed a "cottage industry" of, not inventors, but patent writers to spring up. People who do nothing but write vague technology patents for patent troll companies, or to sell to them. Again, this obviously subverts the Constitutional intent and needs to be stamped out. Intellectual property is not a Right, it's a privilege, and those who abuse the privilege ought to lose that privilege, just as we suspend and revoke drivers licenses from those who have shown themselves to be unsafe drivers.

So now you're saying that all these inventions were known to be bogus and were filed with the sole intention of suing others? Your evidence?
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post #20 of 43

I am not sure if many people here know this, the US is listed on many patents in the US, and probably should be listed on many more and they are not. The reason the US is listed on patents is the fact that when researchers and such take money from the government for research grant they are required to list the US as one of the patent holders. Also most all the research which comes out of the many US funded research labs around the coutry has the US as the Patent holder.

 

The problem is many time the researcher fail to list the US as a patent holder, but in they are even though they were not listed. The same holds true to University they are named on all patents which students and professors come up with.

 

So the US today can go after anyone they like since they are listed on more patent than any other entity in the world. If France came after a use company the US could go after them.


Edited by Maestro64 - 3/20/13 at 1:26pm
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


So now you're saying that all these inventions were known to be bogus and were filed with the sole intention of suing others? Your evidence?

 

You're saying that none of them are? Your evidence?

 

You see how that works?

 

But no, I'm not saying that, "all these inventions were known to be bogus and were filed with the sole intention of suing others." However, there are more NPEs in technology than any other field, and there are more bought/sold patents from "small inventors" in technology than any other field. What percentage of these "small inventors" (i.e., patent writers) have done anything but write patents and sell them to holding companies? I think it's a very small number of the total. I think a not insignificant number of them were written, or are being held, for no other purpose than to sue. Clearly there are companies that do nothing else. Clearly they buy patents and encourage patent writers to produce them for no other purpose but to sue. Denying that is denying reality and adds nothing meaningful to the discussion.

post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

I am not if many people here know this, the US is listed on many patents in the US, and probably should be listed on many more and they are not. The reason the US is listed on patents is the fact that when researched and such take money for the government for research grant they are required to list the US as one of the patent holders. Also most all the research which comes out of the many US funded research labs around the count has the US as the Patent holder.

 

The problem is many time the researcher fail to list the US as a patent holder, but in they are even though they were not listed. The same holds true to University they are named on all patents which students and professors come up with.

 

So the US today can go after anyone they like since they are listed on more patent than any other entity in the world. If France came after a use company the US could go after them.

 

I think we'll need to see at least an example of that and the relevant law. I for one would be surprised if it's correct. The government is forbidden from holding copyrights and trademarks, I'd be very surprised if they are allowed to hold patents.

post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

There is absolutely nothing wrong with patent ownership rights - and your complaints that some people abuse the system doesn't justify stripping patent rights from their legal owners. 

 

Actually, yes it does. Anything contrary to promoting the, "Progress of Science and useful Arts," justifies stripping patent privileges from those they were granted to. Again, they aren't Rights like free speech, or even property ownership, intellectual property ownership is a privilege that gives the owner the "right" to control that covered under the grant of privilege. If they abuse that privilege, they should lose it.

post #24 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


I would agree with that - the patent office doesn't really have the expertise to evaluate technology patents properly.

But that has nothing to do with this patent troll nonsense.

 

It's not entirely unrelated. This lack of expertise has allowed a "cottage industry" of, not inventors, but patent writers to spring up. People who do nothing but write vague technology patents for patent troll companies, or to sell to them. Again, this obviously subverts the Constitutional intent and needs to be stamped out. Intellectual property is not a Right, it's a privilege, and those who abuse the privilege ought to lose that privilege, just as we suspend and revoke drivers licenses from those who have shown themselves to be unsafe drivers.

 

I have to agree with jragosta, at least with respect to the fundamental principle that the patent system in general is to protect intellectual property of value. Whatever wording describes the role of Congress in this matter, that is the basic principle of patent protection worldwide. And if one accepts that purpose, then one option for the inventor must be to monetize the invention by selling it, and it would be unreasonable then to reduce the value of the property to the buyer by restricting its subsequent use. 

 

Where I would draw the line is in the manner in which the patent is wielded, and in particular the tactic of not challenging infringement until the infringer has built up a lucrative market for the infringing product, and then ambushing with a lawsuit - the troll hiding under the bridge image. I would prefer to see a quite strict requirement to defend within a short time of infringement.

 

And, of course, I think it is clear that the process of vetting and granting of patents could do with some improvements, especially in respect of clarifying some of the basic criteria for a patent to succeed.

post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

 

I have to agree with jragosta, at least with respect to the fundamental principle that the patent system in general is to protect intellectual property of value. Whatever wording describes the role of Congress in this matter, that is the basic principle of patent protection worldwide. And if one accepts that purpose, then one option for the inventor must be to monetize the invention by selling it, and it would be unreasonable then to reduce the value of the property to the buyer by restricting its subsequent use. ...

 

Congress doesn't have the authority to grant intellectual property privileges for any purpose other than that established in the Constitution. So, no, we cannot accept as it's purpose "world opinion" or some other whimsical or arbitrary standard. So, no, it's not unreasonable to take those privileges away from those who abuse them. It's unreasonable not to do so.

 

And, even though you say you agree with jragosta, you're also saying that those who abuse the privilige should lose it. Despite your preamble, I think you agree more with what I'm saying that with what he is.

post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

 

I have to agree with jragosta, at least with respect to the fundamental principle that the patent system in general is to protect intellectual property of value. Whatever wording describes the role of Congress in this matter, that is the basic principle of patent protection worldwide. And if one accepts that purpose, then one option for the inventor must be to monetize the invention by selling it, and it would be unreasonable then to reduce the value of the property to the buyer by restricting its subsequent use. ...

 

Congress doesn't have the authority to grant intellectual property privileges for any purpose other than that established in the Constitution. So, no, we cannot accept as it's purpose "world opinion" or some other whimsical or arbitrary standard. So, no, it's not unreasonable to take those privileges away from those who abuse them. It's unreasonable not to do so.

 

And, even though you say you agree with jragosta, you're also saying that those who abuse the privilige should lose it. Despite your preamble, I think you agree more with what I'm saying that with what he is.

 

You are correct that I think abuse exists, and should be dealt with.  But does the constitution actually restrict intellectual property rights?  I guess I've never delved into that area of it.  In other words, are you arguing that there is no legal mechanism to grant intellectual property rights, or are you just taking issue with the intent behind the granting of those rights?  Because the intent of the wording that you quoted could surely be argued as open to interpretation, in that "promoting the progress of science and useful arts" does not preclude the interpretation that the protection of intellectual property rights, if exercised reasonably, contributes to that goal.

post #27 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by muppetry View Post

 

You are correct that I think abuse exists, and should be dealt with.  But does the constitution actually restrict intellectual property rights?  I guess I've never delved into that area of it.  In other words, are you arguing that there is no legal mechanism to grant intellectual property rights, or are you just taking issue with the intent behind the granting of those rights?  Because the intent of the wording that you quoted could surely be argued as open to interpretation, in that "promoting the progress of science and useful arts" does not preclude the interpretation that the protection of intellectual property rights, if exercised reasonably, contributes to that goal.

 

I think it's pretty clear from the wording that Congress is granted the power to promote progress, and that they are given the tool of granting the privilege of an "exclusive right" to an invention or work to inventors and authors. There is no grant of an absolute right to intellectual property. The grant of privilege is not the equivalent of even physical property rights, let alone rights like those guaranteed by the 1st Amendment. So no one, at least not me, is saying that protection of "intellectual property" generally doesn't contribute to the goal of progress. What I'm saying is that when the privilege is abused to subvert the goal, the privilege ought to be revoked, just as the privileges of unsafe drivers are revoked.

post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

I think it's pretty clear from the wording that Congress is granted the power to promote progress, and that they are given the tool of granting the privilege of an "exclusive right" to an invention or work to inventors and authors.

Right. And you are the exclusive decision maker as to what constitutes progress.

The heck with Congress. The heck with the Supreme Court - and all the lower courts. They have no right to decide whether the current system is Constitutional because you've made an arbitrary decision to ignore all the ways that it DOES facilitate progress (as I already showed).

Just think of how much money we'll save when we disband the entire US court system and Congress and let you make all the decisions. /s
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #29 of 43
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Right. And you are the exclusive decision maker as to what constitutes progress.

The heck with Congress. The heck with the Supreme Court - and all the lower courts. They have no right to decide whether the current system is Constitutional because you've made an arbitrary decision to ignore all the ways that it DOES facilitate progress (as I already showed).

Just think of how much money we'll save when we disband the entire US court system and Congress and let you make all the decisions. /s

 

That's just a dumb counterargument.

 

It's very clear that the activities of patent trolls -- i.e., NPEs with no intent to practice, whose only intent is to sue PEs -- do not contribute one iota to any sort of progress. No one needs to decide that, it's self-evident. And no one said a word about the current system being "unconstitutional". What was said is that the current system is open to gaming by those who aren't contributing anything in exchange for the statutory privileges they received, that they have no fundamental right to those privileges, that, for the good of our nation, Congress would be wise to reevaluate patent law in light of the intent of the founders and reform it so that those who are only gaming the system aren't allowed to do so, to reset the course of the law so that it contributes to its intended purpose.

post #30 of 43
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

That's just a dumb counterargument.

It's very clear that the activities of patent trolls -- i.e., NPEs with no intent to practice, whose only intent is to sue PEs -- do not contribute one iota to any sort of progress. No one needs to decide that, it's self-evident.

No, it's not. The very fact that someone is willing to buy patents encourages inventors to invent things and file for patents.

Please don't pretend that the whole world has to follow your silly convoluted 'logic'.
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post #31 of 43
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Originally Posted by lukefrench View Post

I dont know about the South Korea one but France Brevets is not a patent troll in the sense they dont acquire patents in order to sue.

It is the patent holders (IOW praticing entities and/or inventors) that ask the fund so that licensing revenues can be drawn from their holdings, and also be protected. The fund acts as an intermediate true, but this allows small companies which, on their own, would not have the means (expertise and money) to sue, to be on an equal foot with bigger competitors. More, the main assets of the fund are actually the patents which are the results of publicly funded research, which is a lot more important in France than in the USA proportionnally.

This article is complete hogwash, a 5 mn check would have found this.


It's actually a matter of an American failing to understand that non-American countries can actually have differeing principles, that are just as morally valid. Particularly true when the case concerns publicly funded research against corporate funded research...

 

 

Then again, in "War of the Worlds", a "very good" movie, the enemies of America include "Europe". Whatever.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #32 of 43
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Originally Posted by fsad32 View Post

To jragosta & others:

The problem is not in the patents system understanding and that someone are not making the real product. The problem is in USPTO itself - in fact the first stage of it - very low quality expertise of any new application for a patent. Everyday they get thousands of applications for new patents - study such amount of data carefully is just impossible. That's why we have a registered patents with very questionable content.

Even the last suit case of THX against Apple - THX in it's patent registered the "narrow" position of the speaker and the nature's principle how soundwaves are moving in the dense space - that's just the real nonsense. How such silly patent was even registered in first place - that's the main question? And USPTO have millions of same patents which are protected now. The Apple is playing in this dirty game too - numerous patents in their collection about user interfaces/algorithms (this two things are prohibited to patent in many other countries, but not in the USA) and other things which can't be patented in normal country and society.

The other side of the problem was perfectly seen in American history - when someone makes an interesting discovery but the bunches of greedy-people knowing about it and immediately running in USPTO to get the patent for it. Famous Edison in fact with his patents for cinematography equipment and 35mm film are litterally may destroy the young Hollywood which in his early days are running from him and court marshals to not paying him for using cameras and film to create the art - that's why the Hollywood was founded near the mexican border - to use the discovery (cinema was invented by many inventors in that time - not by only the Edison) for the society and to satisfy it's needs, by contrast - Edison was motivated only by pure greediness, not to benefit the society (the same is with the bulb and power plant - edison wants to get money from every house, but the bulb invention was so big so during the process it transforms and benefit the society-not without the help from the other inventor Nikola Tesla and his work with AC current - Edison's bulb and plant was very primitive by using only DC) .

The number of patents is not the problem.  The problem is hiring and keeping quality people.  The patent office doesn't pay enough to compete with private industry.  Most the good examiners go to law school and make twice as much in private practice.  I'm not saying there are no good examiners.  There are many.  But even if you have 20-30% bad examiners, you get crappy patents.  And more often than not those stupid examiners that allow bad patents are the same ones that won't allow good patents.  They're just stupid people.  Having prosecuted patents in the chemical, mechanical and software arts, I'd have to say that the worst patent examiners are in software......BY FAR.

If you want better examination, pay more.  It wouldn't be hard.  Congress actually diverts millions of dollars of fees from the patent office for pet projects. That's right, the US Patent Office is used as a piggy bank for other projects.  I don't understand why you all aren't up in arms over fee diversion.  Leave the money in the patent office and hire talented people....Problem solved. 

post #33 of 43
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Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Actually, yes it does. Anything contrary to promoting the, "Progress of Science and useful Arts," justifies stripping patent privileges from those they were granted to. Again, they aren't Rights like free speech, or even property ownership, intellectual property ownership is a privilege that gives the owner the "right" to control that covered under the grant of privilege. If they abuse that privilege, they should lose it.

You are correct that Congress could take away the patent system.  However......

Everyone that says patent trolls are abusing the patent system are DEAD WRONG.  Do you know why patent trolls exist?  They exist because big companies like Blackberry and Google use the cost of litigation to prevent legitimate patent owners from licensing or selling their patents to an infringer.  Companies will spend million fighting a lawsuit to not pay hundreds of thousands in royalty.  They use litigation as a tool to weed out patents that they don't know are valid or infringed.  Do you think Apple wants to go through all the patents that exist?  No, they just make their products and worry about infringement later.  If someone puts up millions of dollars in litigation they will pay attention.  If you don't sue them, they ignore you.  Why? Because it is the most convenient and cheapest way to figure out which patents they should pay for.  

 

In some other cases, the infringing company is just an ass hole.  Take Blackberry for instance.  The inventors of push email tried to license their technology to Blackberry for a song and Blackberry told them to go "f" themselves.  So the inventors sold the patents to a litigation firm who sued Blackberry and tried to settle the litigation for 20 million.  Blackberry told the litigation firm to go "f" themselves and threw twenty million dollars in litigation at the problem.  Blackberry lost a 500 million dollar judgment and then went on a childish bitching tirade about how trolls are so horrible. So you tell me, whose at fault?  The litigation firm or Blackberry?  The technology was worth 500 million (as determined by a court of law) and Blackberry wouldn't pay 1/100th of that when it was offered.  

post #34 of 43
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Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

You are correct that Congress could take away the patent system.  However......
Everyone that says patent trolls are abusing the patent system are DEAD WRONG.  Do you know why patent trolls exist?  They exist because big companies like Blackberry and Google use the cost of litigation to prevent legitimate patent owners from licensing or selling their patents to an infringer.  Companies will spend million fighting a lawsuit to not pay hundreds of thousands in royalty.  They use litigation as a tool to weed out patents that they don't know are valid or infringed.  Do you think Apple wants to go through all the patents that exist?  No, they just make their products and worry about infringement later.  If someone puts up millions of dollars in litigation they will pay attention.  If you don't sue them, they ignore you.  Why? Because it is the most convenient and cheapest way to figure out which patents they should pay for.  

Ash, you've made some valid points, but what reasoning would you offer in support of companies like Apple, Nokia, Sony, Microsoft and a few others that transfer IP to NPE's for enforcement? Oft-times the patents aren't even truly relinquished as they're transferred with certain stipulations and the right to place them elsewhere if they're not met. Sometimes that IP even includes standard-essential patents.

http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/12/10/apple_accused_of_feeding_intellectual_property_to_patent_troll
http://www.dailytech.com/Nokia+Sells+500+Patents+for+22M+USD+Buyer+Plans+to+Start+Suing+Soon/article25379.htm
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post #35 of 43
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Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

You are correct that Congress could take away the patent system.  However......
Everyone that says patent trolls are abusing the patent system are DEAD WRONG.  Do you know why patent trolls exist?  They exist because big companies like Blackberry and Google use the cost of litigation to prevent legitimate patent owners from licensing or selling their patents to an infringer.  Companies will spend million fighting a lawsuit to not pay hundreds of thousands in royalty.  They use litigation as a tool to weed out patents that they don't know are valid or infringed.  Do you think Apple wants to go through all the patents that exist?  No, they just make their products and worry about infringement later.  If someone puts up millions of dollars in litigation they will pay attention.  If you don't sue them, they ignore you.  Why? Because it is the most convenient and cheapest way to figure out which patents they should pay for.  

In some other cases, the infringing company is just an ass hole.  Take Blackberry for instance.  The inventors of push email tried to license their technology to Blackberry for a song and Blackberry told them to go "f" themselves.  So the inventors sold the patents to a litigation firm who sued Blackberry and tried to settle the litigation for 20 million.  Blackberry told the litigation firm to go "f" themselves and threw twenty million dollars in litigation at the problem.  Blackberry lost a 500 million dollar judgment and then went on a childish bitching tirade about how trolls are so horrible. So you tell me, whose at fault?  The litigation firm or Blackberry?  The technology was worth 500 million (as determined by a court of law) and Blackberry wouldn't pay 1/100th of that when it was offered.  

Well said.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #36 of 43
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Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


No, it's not. The very fact that someone is willing to buy patents encourages inventors to invent things and file for patents.

Please don't pretend that the whole world has to follow your silly convoluted 'logic'.

 

The fact that someone is willing to buy patents encourages people to write and file them, nothing more. The fact that the PTO, as you yourself admit, isn't able to properly review technology patents, allows this to happen.

post #37 of 43
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Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

You are correct that Congress could take away the patent system.  However......

Everyone that says patent trolls are abusing the patent system are DEAD WRONG.  Do you know why patent trolls exist?  They exist because big companies like Blackberry and Google use the cost of litigation to prevent legitimate patent owners from licensing or selling their patents to an infringer.  ...

 

One counter-example does not an argument make.

post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post

.  Congress actually diverts millions of dollars of fees from the patent office for pet projects. That's right, the US Patent Office is used as a piggy bank for other projects.  I don't understand why you all aren't up in arms over fee diversion.  Leave the money in the patent office and hire talented people....Problem solved. 

a good hiring campaign ad could be : do you want to occupy a position which was once occupied by Albert Einstein ?
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

One counter-example does not an argument make.

WTF? You need to reevaluate your analytical skills.  I didn't use an example to make an argument.  I made an argument and supported it with an example.

My Blackberry example was not the argument.  I made the argument that companies use litigation as a tool to avoid paying for legitimate patents and that non-practicing entities are a natural consequence of that tactic.  I then supported my argument with one of the most notorious patent litigation cases of our time, the blackberry case. 

 

And by the way,  I've spoken with many many patent litigators and patent brokers who all say the same thing.  If you don't sue, they won't give you the time of day.  If you have a patent worth 5-10 million or more, they may offer you a few hundred thousand.  Patent brokers are sometimes successful at bidding up the price of those types of portfolios, but the rest of the patent owners are SOL.  

 

The best description one patent broker gave me was, "you have to kick them in the nuts and the harder you kick them, the more likely you will get a response."  


Edited by ash471 - 3/21/13 at 2:27pm
post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Ash, you've made some valid points, but what reasoning would you offer in support of companies like Apple, Nokia, Sony, Microsoft and a few others that transfer IP to NPE's for enforcement? Oft-times the patents aren't even truly relinquished as they're transferred with certain stipulations and the right to place them elsewhere if they're not met. Sometimes that IP even includes standard-essential patents.

http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/12/10/apple_accused_of_feeding_intellectual_property_to_patent_troll
http://www.dailytech.com/Nokia+Sells+500+Patents+for+22M+USD+Buyer+Plans+to+Start+Suing+Soon/article25379.htm

hmmm, good question.  I've never really given this much thought.  I assume you know that the reason these companies do this is to avoid direct counter claims for patent infringement (i.e, they are worried the defendant will have patents and fire back with a patent infringement suit).  

 

I personally think it is a legitimate legal strategy.  These big companies are trying to isolate the liability to their parent company using another entity.  This is the very purpose of a subsidiary and is done all the time in almost every other area of corporate law and governance (e.g., a land developer will put a plot of raw land in a separate company to isolate the parent company from something going wrong with the development). I see no legitimate reason why a large company should be disparaged or prohibited for taking a similar strategy when it comes to IP matters.  Although, as I mentioned, I haven't given it much thought.    

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