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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Wait, what???
by leonalpha on Tue 4th Jun 2013 16:29 UTC
leonalpha
Member since:
2011-02-02

For instance, those sanctions can be imposed when a court deems a lawsuit to be abusive. Now, for whom will those fees be crippling, a small company with 10 employees barely able to keep their head above water, or Apple, which has 130 billion dollars stashed away safely in tax havens? On top of that, who has the resources to spend on a top-notch legal team to convince the judge that a lawsuit is frivolous?


The sanctions are said to be aimed at patent trolls. Patent trolls. Patent trolls. A "small company with 10 employees barely able to keep their head above water" is NOT a patent troll, at least not in my mind.

This is how you're seeing things:

Small Company: "Your honor, I'm a small company with only 10 employees barely able to keep my head above water. I only have this one single patent, which I used to protect THIS product which I invented. Apple, however, is using my patent in product X".

Judge/Court: "This lawsuit looks very abusive to me, and without a doubt you're a patent troll. You must pay $13.96 million in cash to proceed.

And since the poor small company can't shell out the cash, Apple wins.

WTF!?

That's the scenario you're painting.

But again, the sanctions are meant to be for patent trolls — companies with patents and no products who engage in suing just for the fun of it. A patent trolls is NOT small company with 10 employees barely to able to keep its head above water.

If the sanctions are applied to non-patent trolls, then that's a different scenario (one which you are prophesying will undeniably happen), but I'll refrain from judgement until then.

Geez, stop being so negative!

Reply Score: 6

RE: Wait, what???
by Alfman on Tue 4th Jun 2013 17:59 in reply to "Wait, what???"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

leonalpha,

"The sanctions are said to be aimed at patent trolls. Patent trolls. Patent trolls. A 'small company with 10 employees barely able to keep their head above water' is NOT a patent troll, at least not in my mind. "


Some people have some vague ideological image of what a "patent troll" is, but the distinction is arbitrary in terms of mitigating the harm caused by abusive lawsuits. This topic has been covered numerous times before, so I'll just link to a prior discussion:

http://www.osnews.com/thread?531375

There you've got a very real scenario where it's unclear whether to classify an entity as a "patent troll" or not. Personally I'd label every patent abuser a patent troll based on their offensive legal actions period. Otherwise by attempting to sanction just the "patent trolls", they'll obviously adopt and use their legal expertise to wriggle out from under the official patent troll classification by symbolic rather than substantive changes:

http://www.osnews.com/thread?531346

Now I'm as anxious as anyone to see what exactly the administration is going to come up with here, but as usual I expect the lawyers and big companies to benefit from additional complexity at the expense of everyone else.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Wait, what???
by Nelson on Tue 4th Jun 2013 18:25 in reply to "RE: Wait, what???"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The solution is to leave it up to the courts and have a Judge determine the true spirit of the law. If a patent holder is being genuinely abusive, then punitive action can be taken.

This is more or less how it works today with Judges doing a pretty good job of tossing out frivolous suits and applying scrutiny to patents.

Reply Parent Score: 2