Originally Posted by johnqh
Most of the companies who are involved in the patent lawsuites are the original creators of the patents. Sorry, at least for the past several patent lawsuits covered by AppleInsider (and so many people crying "patent trolls"), that's the case.
That's not true. Sometimes you find someone who did invent something suing these big technology companies, but mostly that's not the case.
Interestingly enough, often when it is true, the patent is found to be invalid for some reason, or the company being sued is found to not have violated it. This happened to MS recently.
So, are you saying the patent trolls are only the ones who buy up defunct patents? If someone files a patent, he is not a troll? What is your definition?
Not defunct patents, those are worthless. A patent troll is an entity that has patents for the sole purpose of holding them until someone markets something that MAY violate that patent.
One troublr with patents these days, is that there are so many of them, and that they can be so complex. When a patent search is done, it may not turn up relevant patents.
The secondary part of what makes a patent troll is that they wait years, sometimes over a decade before suing, when something well known is well established.
But, I already said that.
I am not talking about "lawsuits that have been filed in the past five years or so". I am talking about how the AppleInsider community react to patents - if it is from Apple, people cheers; if it is from someone else, it is a troll.
Read other web sites. You will find the PC community just as upset when MS is sued. The technology sector as a whole, as well as some prominant people in the patent area, such a college professors who teach patent law have weighed in on this as well.
I have personally filed six patents over the years for different jobs. I am not making any assumptions.
Just going by what you said.
Yes, Apple does. USPTO shows over 2000 patents assigned to Apple
You lumped Apple together with IBM. IBM has one of the largest patent portfolios around in any industry, while Apple has relatively few for a large technology company that's been around for over 30 years. I don't think of 2 thousand patents as being "thousands", that means 5 or possibly 10 thousand—even more, since you compared them to IBM.
OK, so if a company succeeds in the market, then its patents are innovation. But if a company defunct, then its patents are useless and should be considered patent troll?
Again, you are confusing the issue. Actually, most patents are worthless, as you yourself pointed out. But, that's besides the point. These companies have money, they could try to get the patents developed in conjunction with other companies—if they wanted to. That would constitute a proper business. But that's not what they want to do. Oh, and if a company is defunct? Well, it's no longer around, right?
Well, so everything NeXT did (remember NeXT? The technology which saved Apple?) was useless.
I'm not sure what connection you find here. Next wasn't doing too well, that's true. But, they invented their technology, and spent over $100 million developing it. Apple bought the company after looking for a new OS. How do you equate that to what we're talking about? After all, Next was ulitmately successful.
How about Be? It essentially went out of business and Palm bought its IP portfolio (including patents) How about DEC? How about SyQuest?
Again, you make no sense. What do these cases have to do with the topic? Were these companies patent trolls? No, they weren't.
I can give you an endless list of companies which we will all agree to be real innovators, who failed in the market place, got bought up by either a successful company and resurfaced (in the case of NeXT), or pretty much disappeared.
Again, what does this have to do with patent trolling?
All it does is to prove my point that something is often done when a technology is validated in one way or the other.
Of course, the case of SyQuest was a sad one. They had the superior technology, and Iomega, which itself almost went out of business, only bought Syquest to stop the competition. Then they discontinued the products.
My point is, you cannot judge whether a patent is valid or not just because it is from this or that company. Apple or IBM has some good patents, but they have some "obvious" nonsense too. A small business which nobody heard of may have some good patents too. It is NOT ABOUT who hold the patent, it is about whether the patent has some real good innovation.
I wasn't talking about valid patents in the way you think. I meant that some of those patents have been found to be invalid, as in not being a properly issued patent that was found to be invalid. Also, bringing up the point that some patents are of no, or little value.
If the market decides that a process or device isn't important enough to be successful, then some of the base patents have little value as well. Sometimes someting may be invented, but can't be given away. What is the value of that patent? sometimes some of the patents are of value, and will often be bought by compaies that develop them.
What are the Be patents, copyrights, and trademarks worth? I don't know, but I would have to say, "Not much".
But, what happens sometimes is that something else is invented that does have value, and that seems close enough to the patent to these trolls that they are willing to take the chance.
What is also interesting is that most of these cases disappear if the companies being threatened simply say no. Sometimes scare tactics don't work.
Now, after all this, I'm not saying that every time a company sues another over patent disputes it's because of a patent troll. But, many of the cases rwcently are just that.