Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 19th Jul 2011 17:09 UTC
Google For the first time, Google has opened its mouth against the patent trolling by Apple (and by proxy, Microsoft) against Android manufacturers. By way of Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman, the company took stand against the legal actions, and stated they aren't too worried. If need be, Google will ensure HTC doesn't lose the patent case against Apple.
Thread beginning with comment 481726
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Apple does Innovate
by Damnshock on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Apple does Innovate"
Damnshock
Member since:
2006-09-15


I take a difference stance from most on this - I want to see patent law reformed, I don't have a pet company. I don't take Apple or Microsoft or Google or whoever using patents as baseball bats a sign of bad behavior - it is a sign of a bad system. Blaming companies with power, money, and talent for taking advantage of the patent system is exactly like blaming people (rich or poor) for taking advantage of the tax system to save themselves money...


The thing is that something legal doesn't make it "right". At least morally/ethically.

There is no perfect system as there will always be ways to overcome or cheat it. Therefore the problem is not the system itself(because any system is,by definition, imperfect) but the society using it. Some might argue that society isn't perfect either but... isn't that the whole point? that us, as a society, become "better"?

Just my two cents...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Apple does Innovate
by galvanash on Wed 20th Jul 2011 12:26 in reply to "RE[3]: Apple does Innovate"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

The thing is that something legal doesn't make it "right". At least morally/ethically.


Definitely. I completely agree.

There is no perfect system as there will always be ways to overcome or cheat it.


That's the part that bothers me the most though. Not one is overcoming the patent system, or cheating it. It is structured to allow (actually encourage) all the things most people fall at odds with:

1. Patent Trolling: Completely supported by the system - in fact parts of patent law are more or less constructed to encourage the practice.

2. Iterative Patents: Patents that add a single (usually small) element to an existing one, offering nothing remotely innovative. Again, encouraged.

3. Using Patents to Stifle Competitors: If you read up on patent law, it becomes plainly obvious this is EXACTLY what patents are FOR - that is essentially their purpose. The benign use of patents for "defense" is mostly a modern phenomena that cropped up in response to the surge in lawsuits between big companies - the game of "who has the bigger patent portfolio" was certainly not a preconceived practice.

And on top of that, most of the "good" parts (i.e. disclosing novel ideas for the good of society) don't really apply to software patents at all - ideas are mostly worthless - it is implementations (code) that would be valuable to society.

If there were some kind of provision that said the code of patented software methods would revert to the public domain after the patent expired I might see some point to it - but that isn't how it works.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Apple does Innovate
by Not2Sure on Wed 20th Jul 2011 18:16 in reply to "RE[4]: Apple does Innovate"
Not2Sure Member since:
2009-12-07



That's the part that bothers me the most though. Not one is overcoming the patent system, or cheating it. It is structured to allow (actually encourage) all the things most people fall at odds with:

1. Patent Trolling: Completely supported by the system - in fact parts of patent law are more or less constructed to encourage the practice.

2. Iterative Patents: Patents that add a single (usually small) element to an existing one, offering nothing remotely innovative. Again, encouraged.

3. Using Patents to Stifle Competitors: If you read up on patent law, it becomes plainly obvious this is EXACTLY what patents are FOR - that is essentially their purpose. The benign use of patents for "defense" is mostly a modern phenomena that cropped up in response to the surge in lawsuits between big companies - the game of "who has the bigger patent portfolio" was certainly not a preconceived practice.


You are making alot of false statements here. "Patent trolling" is understood as purchasing patents with no intent to create products and exploiting a corrupt judiciary solely as a means to gain licensing revenue. This is a fairly new problem but is not widespread or even noteworthy. Reform the funding problem for the USPTO and this problem greatly diminishes in scope.

Iterative patents are not valid. Valid patent applications are required by definition to be non-trivial and non-obvious improvements in order to be valid grants. We may perhaps have a differing understanding of "rapid iterative advancement".

Your reading of the aims of patent law as expressly for the purpose to stifle competition is just not accurate. That is your interpretation and it may or may not be valid but it certainly is not historically accurate. It is true that aggregation of portfolios for defense, as well as for negotation is new but that is the way cvil law works in many areas. It is a living thing.

Still, arguing that the potential, immoral use of patent grants to stifle competition means that we should abolish them is akin to arguing for abolishing guns, nuclear weapons, etc because their use is predicated on harm. Really don't plan on discussing this line of argument with you, just pointing it out for your own consideration.

The reality in both cases in the US is that they are not going away. Now proper enforcement and regulation of both is in the public interest and can always be improved by reasoned debate and public policy.

If there were some kind of provision that said the code of patented software methods would revert to the public domain after the patent expired I might see some point to it - but that isn't how it works.


This has been proposed and is an interesting idea to me as well. However then the term of of the patent grant really becomes important and must be flexible to ensure return on investment, and there would be alot of headache involved in managing this. Some owners of grants will not exist (death/bankruptcy) when patents expire and source code is lost. Someone would have to be charged with collecting and making available this source. Penalties for noncompliance and adjudication, etc.

An escrow system of sorts seems like a good idea in my book but in my experience most developers hate it when they are forced into these situations by contractual obligations. They see it as onerous and burdonsome. And what do you do about software this is machine-specific, the depository requirements become extreme.

Would be cool to see such a giant database of source with metadata available for machine learning and an a great resource for advancement of our field.

Reply Parent Score: 1