Originally posted by Gee4orce
I personally think that patents should be a 'use it or loose it' kind of system, like trademarks; as I understand it, if you fail to defend a trademark, you loose the right to it. I'd like to see a similar ruling that if you fail to bring a product to market within a certain time period, the patent is nullified.
This would prevent the stifling of innovation, and 'inventors' who's business model is to retroactively patent things, and then sue the ass of anyone who's made something vaguely similar.
Of course, this probably wouldn't work because the small guy would loose the protection he has, and therefore the incentive to invent anything in the first place.
What you are saying doesn't correspond to what you really want to say.
Trademarks are defended in court. Even if they are being used on a daily basis, they must still be defended in court. Disney does this all the time. With patents, it is the same thing. You can own a patent, and be using it, but you must still defend it in court.
What happens, as it does all of the time, if I invent something, take out a patent, take it around to all of the parties who might be expected to be interested, but find that no one is? If I can't afford to develop it myself, I have no choice but to sit on it.
If someone then comes along and offers to buy my patent, I might be inclined to sell. If, ten or fifteen years later, other companies come up with the same idea and start using it, then the person, or company that bought it from me has the right to sue. If I never sold my patent, as we have see has also happened, then I can sue. What is wrong with that?
The only problem that I think has to be corrected is that the party owning the patent must be required to show that they sued within a certain time of the violation taking place. In other words, they can't sit in wait for five or ten years while the patent earns vast sums of money for the unsuspecting person or company that is in violation. That is what I consider to be the real patent troll.
I have no problem if they come out when the patent is first being violated, when the sums are small, and something can be easily worked out, or, worked around.