Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 4th Jun 2013 12:45 UTC
Legal Ah, patents - the never-ending scourge of the technology industry. Whether wielded by companies who don't actually make any products, or large corporations who abuse them because they can't compete in the market place or because they're simply jerks, they do the industry a huge disservice and are simply plain dangerous. According to The Wall Street Journal (circumvention link), president Obama is about to take several executive actions to address patent trolls - which may seem like a good idea, but I am very worried that all this will do is strengthen the positions of notorious patent system abusers such as Apple and Microsoft.
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RE[5]: Wait, what???
by Alfman on Wed 5th Jun 2013 14:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Wait, what???"
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"Independently of the original inventor? I guess it would give them a pat on the back and wish them good luck in negotiating a license."

Yes, but this flies in the face of the justification for patents in the first place, which is the (wrong) assumption that without patents nobody would bother to develop the idea into something tangible. It's possibly true for things like medical drugs, but it's never been the case for software.

"You can drop the quotations around invention. There are legitimate patent holders who have invested billions of dollars in research and development and deserve compensation for it. Others should not be able to free load off of the work of others for the sake of compatibility."

Frankly patents are becoming less and less about inventing and more and more about developing corporate arsenals, ergo the quotation marks.

Also, regarding software compatibility, being compatible doesn't imply freeloading in any sense of the word. If anything being compatible with complex software systems can be more difficult than not being compatible. Consumers expect software to be compatible with defacto standards for interoperability, like DVDs or word processing software. Software which is incompatible due to patent infringement would force users to live on a digital island, isolated from everyone else. I predict your attitude will be "too bad, pay the royalties", which is your prerogative, however when patents are used this way, it's intentionally anti-competitive and does nothing to promote innovation. Ie, all the harms of patents with non of the benefits.

"In fact, if you truly care about this, you should have deep concern for Google's actions which negatively impacts the previously amicable situation around FRAND. They've done an incredible amount of damage by going after injunctions on the basis of essential IP included in a widely implemented standard."

I'm no fan of google, so I find your comment ironic. My rational is driven by behaviour and not identity. Why can't I be critical of all companies who participate in patent abuse?

"Judges have shown to be pretty good about tossing out the more absurd patents. I smile every time I see a patent troll getting taken to task by a Judge."

I find there's not much consistency in rulings, and having a patent system in which one honestly cannot know whether one will be found to infringe or not is extremely bad. I'm linking this case because I think you'll disagree with the ruling as well, the repercussions of which went well beyond microsoft.

Courtroom judges shouldn't even be part of the patent process. Having to go to court is the result of a broken patent system in the first place. The courtroom itself is becoming a viable weapon against those who cannot afford to see the trial through and have no choice but to settle or go bust.

Edited 2013-06-05 14:59 UTC

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