Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Jun 2014 08:32 UTC
Microsoft

A list of hundreds of patents that Microsoft believes entitle it to royalties over Android phones, and perhaps smartphones in general, has been published on a Chinese language website.

The patents Microsoft plans to wield against Android describe a range of technologies. They include lots of technologies developed at Microsoft, as well as patents that Microsoft acquired by participating in the Rockstar Consortium, which spent $4.5 billion on patents that were auctioned off after the Nortel bankruptcy.

These are the secret patents Microsoft's patent mafia uses as a club to beat other companies into paying protection money.

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RE[3]: Well...
by pgeorgi on Mon 16th Jun 2014 12:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Well..."
pgeorgi
Member since:
2010-02-18

Disclaimer: There are tons of assumptions in the below, and I'm too lazy to spell them all out. It's possible to see the world differently, go wild!

That said,

If there is no patent system at all, then the small-time inventors would have no incentive to invent

There's still intrinsic motivation (laymen's term: "scratch your own itch").

Besides the bullshit patents to improve bonuses at big corps that try to inflate their patent count, scratching your own itch is probably the most common reason something gets invented.

since there wouldn't be a system in place to protect them from corporations stealing their hard work.

The current system allows corporations to steal inventions from small-time inventors (ie. employees, which is the most common income model), disenfranchising them more than a patent-free system ever could: try reusing your own ideas after moving to a new employer, now try the same with "your" patents that are assigned to your prior employer.

Let's hear a better alternative.

Either corporations scale up production, allowing inventors to buy an implementation of their idea for cheaper than they could ever build it themselves. And it will even be compliant to the forest of regulations that make any meaningful small-business commercialization hard these days.

Or corporations don't, in which case the inventor has a niche to live off (if other people are interested in that invention).

The only small-time inventor that's worse off without a patent system is the serial inventor who wants to live off describing ideas, then selling them off to someone else to build them. They're sometimes called "idea guys" and considered laughing stock in some circles.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[4]: Well...
by CapEnt on Mon 16th Jun 2014 13:08 in reply to "RE[3]: Well..."
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

The current system allows corporations to steal inventions from small-time inventors (ie. employees, which is the most common income model), disenfranchising them more than a patent-free system ever could: try reusing your own ideas after moving to a new employer, now try the same with "your" patents that are assigned to your prior employer.


I found your ideas interesting, but this part i cannot agree. If a employee was paid to work with research and development, developed his idea in his work time as a integral part of his job, that patent must belong to the corporation.

After all, it was his job using the company infrastructure/labs in his work time.

Doing what you said would revert the entire R&D system current in place to what we had before the patent system: people and companies afraid to share inventions at all, usually with the said inventions dying with the developer who held the "production secret" up to his cove.

If it is to replace the patent system with something new, we must do with a system that stimulate the sharing of ideas and inventions, not the otherwise.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Well...
by pgeorgi on Mon 16th Jun 2014 14:07 in reply to "RE[4]: Well..."
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

I found your ideas interesting, but this part i cannot agree. If a employee was paid to work with research and development, developed his idea in his work time as a integral part of his job, that patent must belong to the corporation.

I understand that reasoning for patents, but in a patent-free environment, the original employer gets to keep the idea (and a head-start at using it), it's just no exclusive.

As is, you have an idea at company X, years later move to company Y and even if that idea is now well-known (which is the purpose of patents), you have to work around your own work. That's just stupid.

After all, it was his job using the company infrastructure/labs in his work time.

Not necessarily. There are enough legal frameworks where patents go to the employer, no matter when the idea sprang into existence. While the work environment certainly fosters those ideas, few people live _only_ at work.

Even with sane laws it's hard to prove that the employer has nothing to do with an invention.

Which is exactly why I claim that employees get the shaft in the current patent regime.

If it is to replace the patent system with something new, we must do with a system that stimulate the sharing of ideas and inventions, not the otherwise.

This isn't the 1830s anymore, we have better means to reverse engineer developments.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[5]: Well...
by ConceptJunkie on Tue 17th Jun 2014 12:44 in reply to "RE[4]: Well..."
ConceptJunkie Member since:
2012-05-18

I find it hard to believe a world without software patents could be worse than what we have now, where anyone who writes anything more complicated than a for loop is violating a patent.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Well...
by Morgan on Mon 16th Jun 2014 13:10 in reply to "RE[3]: Well..."
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Thank you. This is the kind of discussion I was seeking. I do still believe that we should have some sort of patent protection for the little guy, as he is most in need of protection. Corporations should focus on creating and implementing their own ideas, instead of litigating and stealing others' ideas. But that's a a dream for a perfect world that we'll never attain.

As for companies who exist solely as patent holders and don't create anything, I think they should be outright illegal. But that would involve throwing out the entire patent system as it stands and rewriting it from scratch. As we've learned through the years, the U.S. government will never do something that makes that much sense. I look with envy at the patent reform slowly happening in other parts of the world.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: Well...
by pgeorgi on Mon 16th Jun 2014 14:08 in reply to "RE[4]: Well..."
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

Corporations should focus on creating and implementing their own ideas, instead of litigating and stealing others' ideas.

Litigation would be less of a problem without patents.

Reply Parent Score: 3