I find it interesting to see the debate framed in terms of huge companies battling over inventions — but to me, the much bigger concern is when giant firms rip off the smaller inventor, who often cannot afford to prosecute their claims.

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Patent Wars
Via: Business Insurance Site

Hat tip IP Metrics

Category: Intellectual Property, Legal, Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

15 Responses to “Patent Wars?”

  1. Michael M says:

    My concern is that the payoff from a lot of R&D is just not that great anymore in our super fast and connected copycat world.

    Three or four decades ago a US company could expect to get a major leg up on the domestic competition for a few years from a new idea or invention and much longer when rolling it out globally (and nobody knew how to do global rollouts like US firms). But isn’t the global lead now often counted in just months?

    Surely the market opportunity is often bigger today and in some areas patents are of enormous value. R&D is clearly alive. But is the new competitive landscape the reason that it isn’t doing that well?

  2. Long term says:

    And coming next…huge countries battling over patents.

  3. leeward says:

    The world can certainly use another powerful successor to penicillin but are all innovations in coding really something that deserves the full weight of the same protection? I can appreciate how a lot of tech based patents are remarkable innovation but how many of the fights choking our courts are only marginal forms of intellectual innovation? Everyone involved is going to scream murder so how can you really tell? In an era of innovation where everyday millions of people planet-wide are turning over new thoughts that are bound to be found (by more than one person) are the standards plain and current enough so that the system benefits the people (be encouraging innovative investment)? 17,000 patents to put Android on a firmer footing?!(in the chart above)

  4. WaltFrench says:

    @leeward, what evidence shows that these “wars” are “choking our courts” ?

    The higher level of claims to restrict intellectual property seem perfectly consistent with (a) the incredible rush of technology (certainly smartphones are dramatically different than 10 years ago) and (b) our society’s emphasis on private ownership of property.

    We could have fewer patent wars if we were happy to let everybody enjoy the fruits of inventors’ labors, or if those labors never took place. All else equal, I’d say the biggest problem is that the US PTO and courts are letting us down by not putting MORE resources into the challenge. Costs are supposed to be borne by the participants, BTW, so it’s not as if the society at large is subsidizing these contentions.

  5. SANETT says:

    The overwhelming majority of patents out there aren’t “landscape” (NA for pharma), i.e. the kind that lock up markets. This is especially true for those owned by offshore companies. Get a room full of bright people together and they can figure out workarounds for anything doesn’t reach that level. The latest “patent reform” is a yawn except for implementing a first to file rule (rather than first to invent)….especially problematic for startups pitching to established companies with big legal budgets. Yeah, there’s some recourse for them but they’re going to be outgunned and outbudgeted — and ripped off in droves. Would have been nice if Congress cleaned up the business method case (Bilski) but then again it would break a lot of law firms’ rice bowls, especially their litigation depts.

  6. RW says:

    Apparently patent ‘green mail’ is becoming big business; e.g., http://tinyurl.com/3t5roz5

    Intellectual Ventures, the patent-acquisition firm founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, is one of the more egregious examples.

    The ancient Greek moral dictum (attributed to Apollo) — “nothing too much” — comes to mind more and more these days; an era of extremes cannot end well.

  7. Mike in Nola says:

    Thought it was interesting that both Steve Jobs and Microsoft feel that Android was constructed with tech from them and from open source. Typical Google, the company that just tried to copy facebook.

    Actually, Google programmers doing Android were so cavalier they didn’t even bother removing the comments showing that much of their software was open source software that they simply copied wholesale. .

    Interestingly, more than half of the Android phones sold now are sold under licenses from Microsoft. Don’t think that would be happening if there weren’t pretty good cases to be made. Some of these companies, like Samsung and HTC are not exactly little guys who can’t afford to defend themselves.

  8. ToNYC says:

    At the end of the day, without the carrot of the IP patent protection for only an individual can be granted a patent, the stick is useless beating dead horses while the fleet of foot travel to where they are more respected.

  9. Mike in Nola says:

    After posting, ran across this nice graphic showing patents suits and licenses in the mobile wars.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2011/10/23/microsoft-s-new-patent-agreement-with-compal-a-new-milestone-for-our-android-licensing-program.aspx

    I suspect that Apple hasn’t struck deals like MSFT has because Jobs felt betrayed by Google and started total war to destroy Android. MSFT, like the Mafia, realizes it’s just business.

  10. 4whatitsworth says:

    Yes, this is a big issue. One of the best ways to fight a patent lawsuit is show “prior art” Fortunately the internet has a way gathering data in an undisputable way. One of my favorite web sites is http://www.archive.org this site backs up the internet. This is going to reduce the value of all those ill-gotten patents.

    Check it out ritholtz.com from 1997 http://web.archive.org/web/20070104011943/http://ritholtz.com/

  11. formerlawyer says:

    Broadly drafted “process patents” are a black mark on the U.S. Patent Office. The rest of the world has had to change their stricter requirements just to keep in the game. The recent (to a lawyer) addition of a patent court has flipped the litigation on patents from most being disallowed to most being allowed. for more see:
    http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/intelpropertycomments/quillenattachments/patentstandardsinnovation.pdf

  12. VRWC says:

    No mention of Acacia Research…. symbol ACTG…. they are basically a law firm that helps small patent owners press their claims against the big guys.

    Stock is up 1400% from the March ’09 bottom….

  13. BoulderPatentGuy says:

    Gratefully, the U.S. still has laws that it enforces. Therefore, even if a company chooses to steal someone’s idea and sell/import it here, they will be held accountable. In China, on the other hand, whether you have any rights is really dependent upon whether you can afford to pay off the proper government employee.

  14. ToNYC says:

    Individual Rights, like being granted a patent by USPTO, makes citizens Kings.