Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Oct 2013 11:25 UTC

So, there's a new patent reform bill in the US that is supposed to put an end to "patent trolls".

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), has introduced a bill [PDF] that directly attacks the business model of "patent trolls." The bill has a real chance at passing, with wide backing from leadership in both parties.

Don't believe all the cheers online - this bill is a disaster. What it essentially does is make it very hard for smaller companies to file patent lawsuits. While this does, indeed, make it harder for small patent trolls to operate, it has the side effect of shifting the balance of power even more in favour of the larger companies. Additional costs and legal legwork are a huge hindrance for small companies, but entirely inconsequential for large companies which employ the same patent trolling tactics as actual patent trolls, such as Apple's software and design patent abuse or Microsoft's mafia practices regarding Android.

With this bill, it will become a lot harder for a small, innovative startup with a great idea to protect itself against the big players. I would call that an unintended side effect, were it not that I am a huge cynic and know perfectly fine that this is anything but 'unintended'.

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RE: Comment by Nelson
by ilovebeer on Thu 24th Oct 2013 19:14 UTC in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Member since:

Microsoft merely licenses out its R&D, much like ARM does. Be glad they do that and don't seek injunctions or we'd only see Samsung's phones in a galaxy far, far, away.

Microsoft buys out companies that have already done r&d and have working products. They also do a lot of their own r&d. That being the case, I'm not sure where your comment is coming from.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 24th Oct 2013 19:36 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:

Its contesting the label of patent troll attributed to a company which licenses out its IP and comparing it to ARM which does something similar but isn't demonized for it.

I also point out that things could be much worse, they could be (and would be within their rights to) seek injunctive relief as a remedy.

Reply Parent Score: 3