Foreign governments getting into profitable US 'patent troll' business

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  • Reply 21 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    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.

  • Reply 22 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    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.

  • Reply 23 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    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.

  • Reply 24 of 43
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member

    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.

  • Reply 25 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    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.

  • Reply 26 of 43
    muppetrymuppetry Posts: 3,331member

    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.

  • Reply 27 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    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.

  • Reply 28 of 43
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    anonymouse wrote: »
    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
  • Reply 29 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 30 of 43
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    anonymouse wrote: »
    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'.
  • Reply 31 of 43
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 32 of 43
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    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.


    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. 

  • Reply 33 of 43
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    Quote:

    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.  

  • Reply 34 of 43
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,252member
    ash471 wrote: »
    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
  • Reply 35 of 43
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    ash471 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 36 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 37 of 43
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,656member

    Quote:

    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.

  • Reply 38 of 43
    umrk_labumrk_lab Posts: 550member
    ash471 wrote: »
    .  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 ?
  • Reply 39 of 43
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    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."  

  • Reply 40 of 43
    ash471ash471 Posts: 705member

    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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