Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 17th Apr 2012 21:57 UTC, submitted by Drake
Legal Say what you want about Twitter - pointless, annoying, noise, useless - at least the company has its heart in the right place. Twitter just announced the Innovator's Patent Agreement, a promise not use their or their employees' patents offensively. In a world where yesterday's innovators are today's patent trolls - Apple, Microsoft, Oracle - this is a big deal.
Order by: Score:
They might change their tune
by WorknMan on Wed 18th Apr 2012 01:21 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The companies that are currently being 'sue happy' with their patents might change their tune if they get seriously p0wned by a patent lawsuit or two. If they end up having to pay millions for violating somebody's finger gesture patent (or something equally a stupid), perhaps they'll come to the realization that the patent profit margin isn't worth all of the bullshit.

Reply Score: 4

RE: They might change their tune
by cyrilleberger on Wed 18th Apr 2012 07:19 UTC in reply to "They might change their tune"
cyrilleberger Member since:
2006-02-01

You mean, like Microsoft:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/10/microsoft-canada-i... (290milions$)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eolas (~30milions$)
...

Those are considered collateral damages, the big companies still gain more from patents than the occasional loss, either by licensing or by locking the market.

Reply Score: 4

All things Twitter
by kwan_e on Wed 18th Apr 2012 04:04 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

Of course, with all things Twitter, it will later be revealed that this promise was made while drunk late at noon. #TUI

Reply Score: 2

Break promises like IBM?
by Kebabbert on Wed 18th Apr 2012 07:19 UTC
Kebabbert
Member since:
2007-07-27

I hope they dont break their promises, just as IBM does:
http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/04/ibm-breaks-oss-pate...

IBM first released 511 patents to open source, but what happened? Read the article.

Reply Score: 3

Patent troll?
by majipoor on Wed 18th Apr 2012 07:45 UTC
majipoor
Member since:
2009-01-22

" In a world where yesterday's innovators are today's patent trolls - Apple, Microsoft, Oracle -"

I would be interested to know what definition of "patent troll" you use to consider any of these companies as one of them.

Edited 2012-04-18 07:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Patent troll?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Apr 2012 07:56 UTC in reply to "Patent troll?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

" In a world where yesterday's innovators are today's patent trolls - Apple, Microsoft, Oracle -"

I would be interested to know what definition of "patent troll" you use to consider any of these companies as one of them.



"Patent troll is a pejorative term used for a person or company who buys and enforces patents against one or more alleged infringers in a manner considered by the target or observers as unduly aggressive or opportunistic, often with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention."

Wikipedia.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Patent troll?
by majipoor on Wed 18th Apr 2012 08:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Patent troll?"
majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

Indeed.

It seems you forgot the key point which make the difference between an actual patent troll and a company such as the one you mentioned:

"with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention"

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Patent troll?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Apr 2012 08:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Patent troll?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Indeed.

It seems you forgot the key point which make the difference between an actual patent troll and a company such as the one you mentioned:

"with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention"


And you miss the key word:

"often with no intention".

It fascinates me how hard some people try not to have to accept reality. Quite entertaining.

Edited 2012-04-18 08:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Patent troll?
by kwan_e on Wed 18th Apr 2012 08:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Patent troll?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Does it matter how often the intention is, though? Patent troll is hardly a legal term with precise legal definitions. It's more like a meme and those aren't well defined.

I think the more important feature of genuine patent trolls is their core business model. Apple et al's core business model isn't patent litigation. They may be "evil" companies, evil meaning "anticompetitive", but patent troll is a very specific subset of anticompetitive.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Patent troll?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Apr 2012 08:31 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Patent troll?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That's definitely true, but there's no denying that once you use patents JUST to stifle competition (like these companies are doing), the term troll applies just fine.

You wouldn't hear me if Apple was, say, suing makers of the Aeppl yPhone, those 1:1 copies that run some Flash-based OS with the same icons and all that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Patent troll?
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Apr 2012 08:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Patent troll?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Still, "often" means often.

You can't claim Apple/Microsoft often don't want to do anything with their patents. When they sue it's always regarding patented stuff already in use. So in their cases it's "never".

We have been over this before. You regard anyone who sues over patents to be a troll, unless they're on your good guys list. You degrade the term offering no differences between for example a real company like Microsoft or a shady one that produces nothing and just buys patents to sue.

How would you qualify those? Mega trolls or trolls++?

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Patent troll?
by Savior on Wed 18th Apr 2012 09:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Patent troll?"
Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

You can't claim Apple/Microsoft often don't want to do anything with their patents.
...
You degrade the term offering no differences between for example a real company like Microsoft or a shady one that produces nothing and just buys patents to sue.


Because the way Microsoft gets royalties after Android phones sold by other companies is completely different from "produces nothing and just buys patents to sue", right?

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Patent troll?
by MOS6510 on Wed 18th Apr 2012 09:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Patent troll?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Microsoft hasn't sued those companies, they threaten to sue unless they license patented technology. These patents may be disputed, but most "targets" tend to license. Even so, these patents, valid or not, belong to Microsoft, are/were in use by Microsoft and Microsoft does a whole lot more than collecting patent money.

Compare this to companies that run from a small office and do nothing else but buying patents with the SOLE intent to sue. Their whole business is focussed on this, it's their only business, all employees, both of them, do nothing else but patent related stuff.

Besides, if Microsoft doesn't make those companies license their patents or sue they risk invalidating their patents.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Patent troll?
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 18th Apr 2012 09:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Patent troll?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Besides, if Microsoft doesn't make those companies license their patents or sue they risk invalidating their patents.


This only applies to trademarks, not patents or copyright.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Patent troll?
by kwan_e on Wed 18th Apr 2012 11:52 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Patent troll?"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Microsoft hasn't sued those companies, they threaten to sue unless they license patented technology. These patents may be disputed, but most "targets" tend to license.


The mafia hasn't broken my knee caps. They only threaten to break my knee caps if I don't pay them protection money. The fairness of the relationship may be disputed, but I tend to choose the "intact knee caps" option.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Patent troll?
by mango on Sat 21st Apr 2012 07:43 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Patent troll?"
mango Member since:
2006-12-15

Indeed.

It seems you forgot the key point which make the difference between an actual patent troll and a company such as the one you mentioned:

"with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention"


And you miss the key word:

"often with no intention".

It fascinates me how hard some people try not to have to accept reality. Quite entertaining.


I think you missed the key phrase

"who buys and enforces patents"

Most of the companies listed didn't buy the the patents they are enforcing. They were granted/given the patents.They are the original patent holders.

Tolls buy up other people's patents then enforce them.

Edited 2012-04-21 07:47 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Promise
by Carewolf on Wed 18th Apr 2012 09:21 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

I promise not to be offensive.

Faarrrrrrrrrrrrrtt....

I wonder if the real reason is that they don't have that many patents. Usually even software patents require some type of hardware; since the loophole is to patent "Do X in software on a machine".

Reply Score: 2

Not so simple...
by bowkota on Wed 18th Apr 2012 09:30 UTC
bowkota
Member since:
2011-10-12

While Twitter's efforts are welcome it seems like this IPA is pretty vague and some of the key elements are very open to interpretation.

This initiative gives Twitter some useful positive press but in reality it doesn't change much .

I also find your views of certain companies as "patent trolls", while leaving others out of the picture, pretty naive.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Wed 18th Apr 2012 15:10 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Since Windows 7 is such a vast success, I guess the Microsoft-bashers needed to come up with some other attempt to insult, enter "patent troll".

If some people aren't crying about Microsoft, they're not happy.

Reply Score: 3

Is this "promise" legally binding?
by MollyC on Fri 20th Apr 2012 00:27 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

If not, then who cares?

Reply Score: 2