Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Oct 2010 21:30 UTC
Legal And we have another interesting development in the ongoing and ever-expanding idiocy that is the War of the High-Fiving Lawyers Mobile Patent World War. Motorola, now a central player in this worldwide conflict that is hurting consumers' wallets and clogging legal systems all over the world, has come to HTC's rescue by seeking to invalidate the patents Apple sued HTC with earlier this year.
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Messy, messy business, this...
by hankheathen on Mon 18th Oct 2010 03:02 UTC
Member since:

... I'm not really sure how it's been "hurting consumer's wallets" though...

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:

... I'm not really sure how it's been "hurting consumer's wallets" though...

Situation: every one of a dozen manufacturers or providers has an armful of patents that apply to a technology area, such as smartphones.

Consequence: every one of a dozen manufacturers or providers has to pay out to eleven other manufacturers in order to make their own smartphone. Coming up with a different way to implement similar features is not enough, because you are going to get sued anyway, even if your implementation doesn't actually infringe any patents.

Result: every smartphone includes eleven armfuls of small costs that it shouldn't need to. No-one is employed to make a new implementation of a given feature, because it costs far less in litigation costs to license it a couple of times from certain of the other players than to design your own new implementation. The paying public just has to pay the extra, for absolutely no benefit to those who are paying.

Smartphones end up costing everyone twice as much as they should. There are no new innovative startup companies entering the market. New features become rarer, because it becomes ever harder and harder to implement something new without becoming a target for dozens of patent trolls. Fewer and fewer people are employed in the area of new engineering design.

The only winners are the lawyers and the top 1% or so of big business executives. The rest of the population just sees ever-increasing costs in order to support the luxury of non-producing lawyers and executives.

Once software is written, it is written. Software should be a reducing cost to society, not an ever-increasing one. Software should drive new innovation and investment, not prevent it.

Edited 2010-10-18 03:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

hankheathen Member since:

Ah... I see.

So it's like the costs of the constituent hardware components, software development and marketing of a particular product.

We don't definitively know how much these patent disputes actually costs each consumer, just that they're "hurting consumer's wallets".

Reply Parent Score: 1

spiderman Member since:

I don't think this has any impact on consumer wallets this way. Cost of production has no direct link with consumer wallet. It only affects the profit margin for the shareholders. At the end of the day, the product is sold for a price that is as high as they think they can sell it to maximize the profit margin. The selling price is not related to the cost of production. They don't calculate the cost of production, say they will make 30% profit on it and sell it for cost+30%. It does not work that way. They calculate how much they can sell it, then how much it cost and the difference is their profit.

I think it does still affect consumer wallet but not the way you say it does. I think consumer wallet is affected because of the monopoly effect. Corporations that do not license their patents but use them to stop competitors from competiting. Being the only producer allowed to produce, you can set a price much higher and increase your profit margin by that amount.

I think it does affect more than consumer wallet. It also affects consumer life style. Consumer is spoiled from better products because the patents create dead ends in technology. Whole fields of derivative technologies are not allowed to exist to the detriment of the consumer and the human race in general. Progress is castrated by the patents.

Reply Parent Score: 3