Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Aug 2010 22:11 UTC, submitted by lfeagan
Legal Most of us here are not particularly big fans of the concept of patents. Most of us are aware of the significance of patents, we just believe the system has gone out of control and needs a serious kick in the butt. Well, it turns out not even the richest people on this earth are immune to the call of the patent troll. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed a massive patent lawsuit, using broad and vague patents to sue just about any big name in the business - from Apple to Google.
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Patents Wars
by Praxis on Fri 27th Aug 2010 22:28 UTC
Praxis
Member since:
2009-09-17

Is it just me or are we seeing more software patent suits than ever these days? Its been a common saying that everybody is violating everybody elses patents, the patent office will grant pretty much anything that uses words they don't understand. But for a while at least it seemed that everybody was locked into a patent cold war where the patents are the nukes and if everybody actually enforced everything they had a claim to the result would be MAD. But now that has changed and everybody is suing everybody. The is going to get very ugly before people come to their senses and fix the damn patent problem.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Patents Wars
by darknexus on Fri 27th Aug 2010 22:32 in reply to "Patents Wars"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

The is going to get very ugly before people come to their senses and fix the damn patent problem.


Good! Let them sue each other and let them kill each other off. Sometimes a fire has to run rampent to clear the way for new growth to spring up, and it's about time most of the big tech companies burned.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Patents Wars - burn like the banks
by jabbotts on Sat 28th Aug 2010 00:16 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

A cleansing controlled brush fire may help but that's assuming the Gov won't step in and extinguish it with torrents of money.. sort of like the Banks that should have burned themselves out. (did any of the bank executives not get there bonus even though they'd run the industry into the ground?)

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Patents Wars
by RichterKuato on Fri 27th Aug 2010 23:27 in reply to "Patents Wars"
RichterKuato Member since:
2010-05-14

Am I the only one who believe there will be no fixing of the patent problem? Even after the eventual Patent War what guarantee is there that things will get fixed?

I don't want to cynical but I mean Patents (and Copyright) have been around a long time and it seems that despite the lack of any evidence (proof, data) of them actually promoting the progress of science and useful arts, even after centuries of their existence, we still have them. You'd think in a free country that by now the laws would be abolished in favor of citizen rights. In fact their scope and terms have only increased.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by reez on Sat 28th Aug 2010 00:06 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
reez Member since:
2006-06-28

Am I the only one who believe there will be no fixing of the patent problem? Even after the eventual Patent War what guarantee is there that things will get fixed?

I don't want to cynical but I mean Patents (and Copyright) have been around a long time and it seems that despite the lack of any evidence (proof, data) of them actually promoting the progress of science and useful arts, even after centuries of their existence, we still have them. You'd think in a free country that by now the laws would be abolished in favor of citizen rights. In fact their scope and terms have only increased.

As much as I hope you are wrong, I think you are right.

The only way I see is that it becomes a really big topic in media and stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by somebody on Sat 28th Aug 2010 00:10 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

the only sure solution that comes to my mind is if 2012 prediction would come true.

although, still someone might sue nature that total world catastrophe is in his intellectual portfolio

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by Tuishimi on Sat 28th Aug 2010 02:09 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

No you are not the only one. There just does not seem to be a spark under the pants of the gov't to take a look at this and see what can be done.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by ARUmar on Sat 28th Aug 2010 04:53 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
ARUmar Member since:
2009-10-08

foreshadowing ? http://j.mp/b20oCU

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by Neolander on Sat 28th Aug 2010 08:36 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Am I the only one who believe there will be no fixing of the patent problem? Even after the eventual Patent War what guarantee is there that things will get fixed?

I don't want to cynical but I mean Patents (and Copyright) have been around a long time and it seems that despite the lack of any evidence (proof, data) of them actually promoting the progress of science and useful arts, even after centuries of their existence, we still have them. You'd think in a free country that by now the laws would be abolished in favor of citizen rights. In fact their scope and terms have only increased.

If I had to defend the patent system, I'd say that while it's easy to show when it doesn't work, it's hard to show when it actually works. That because patents are supposed to act as a motivation, a hardly measurable data. First for researchers and engineers (because they may get financially rewarded for their work). Second, what's more important, for the executives above them (R&D is a risky investment, patents make it potentially more profitable).

If we got rid of patents altogether, chances are that companies would spend even less money in R&D that they currently do. So maybe just fixing the patent system would be a better idea.

There are many problems in the patent system, and I bet several can be easily fixed.
* People at patent offices have ridiculously short delays to make a decision. A relative who works at the European Patent Office told me that they've got... two days !!! Try to make some serious work in those conditions ;) Obvious fix : longer delays (I think one month is the bare minimum)
* Patents last too long. 20 years was okay for slowly-evolving technology, but several piece of techs today can have an interval of less than 2 years between two releases, and hence 10 generations of products before a patent expires sounds too long. Obvious fix : reduce this to 5 years.
* We award too vague patents. With things like Apple recently patenting a rounded parallelepiped and Allen patenting "browser use for navigating through information", there's clearly something wrong. Sadly, this one sounds difficult to fix, because the concept of "vague" can hardly be translated in legalese, so I don't think we can do anything about it.
* Patents are transferable. This is probably one of the biggest mistake ever made in industry laws. It does nothing to help innovation, and it's the direct source of existence of patent trolls. If a company wants a patent, it should have to hire all the alive inventors of the patented device first ;) Obvious fix : remove this clause from the law.

Edited 2010-08-28 08:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Patents Wars
by SteveNordquist on Sun 29th Aug 2010 03:48 in reply to "RE: Patents Wars"
SteveNordquist Member since:
2007-05-04

Of course not; every day the new structuralists working on hammering bills into readability (and often enough, back out) in the capitals get discouraged that way. But then they work against it a bit.

As it is we have no consistent set of laws; but we try to enforce one and encourage people to make decisions they can be happy with. What Paul Allen's doing endorsing an attorney to enforce '90s ebullience (undo my stock un-backdating!) I don't know. All that's missing is the GigaOM pic of Allen saying COMMON SENSE. I OWNZ IT.

Reply Parent Score: 1