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Intellectual Ventures' Patent Protection Racket

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the know-people-who-know-people dept.

Businesses 152

David Gerard writes "Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents, because that would be patent trolling! No, instead they just threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. So that's all right then. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'"

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152 comments

All talk... (5, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358449)

When is something going to actually be done about this??? It's been a topic of discussion for years, it impacts major companies in a net negative way and still nothing gets done. I don't understand it...

Re:All talk... (4, Informative)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359647)

The order of importance:

Government workers > Lawyers > corporations > citizens

Re:All talk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360437)

Actually, there are nasty people and cooperative, contributive people in any profession.

Two not so nice people put their names on a book together: Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold [amazon.com] wrote "The Road Ahead". The book sold a lot of copies because people expected it to have interesting information. It didn't. Maybe it was actually written by the third person listed as author. Maybe Bill Gates' only contribution was to read the rough draft and remove anything that could be helpful to someone else.

Re:All talk... (0, Troll)

lenehey (920580) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359745)

Never, because all the "discussion" is being done in a gigantic echo chamber that makes it get louder and louder, with no dissenting voices (this posting being a prime example as I am sure it will not be modded up due to my contrarian attitude on patents). Once the discussion does escape the "tech echo chamber" people realize how ludicrous the idea that patents are bad for society is. Patents are proven to be beneficial to society. Its in the Constitution for a reason. Read about it.

Re:All talk... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360349)

Maybe if you backed up your contrarian attitude with an argument, people would listen to you.

Re:All talk... (2, Funny)

ysth (1368415) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360577)

I'm sorry, but this is abuse. You want room 12A, just along the corridor. (Stupit git.)

Re:All talk... (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360879)

Maybe if you backed up your contrarian attitude with an argument, people would listen to you.

I've posted in this discussion so I can't mod you up. But I would if I could...

Re:All talk... (3, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360765)

Never, because all the "discussion" is being done in a gigantic echo chamber that makes it get louder and louder, with no dissenting voices

Plenty of dissenting voices. But since they've either got to defend ridiculous patents by claiming they're not ridiculous (often by insulting anyone who claims the patents are obvious extensions of existing technology), or claim the ridiculous ones are an aberration (which flies in the face of the evidence), they don't have much credibility.

Patents were never meant to cover the raw output of brainstorming sessions. Just about any patent obtained that way is going to be non-novel, obvious, non-disclosive, or some combination of the three. But since the patent office approves them anyway, they form a barrier to getting things accomplished.

This is exactly the sort of thing Justice Bradley was referring to when he wrote:

"It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and unknown
liabilities lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made in good faith." (Atlantic Works v. Brady, 1017 U.S. 192, 200 (1882)).

Re:All talk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360223)

The ones benefiting from this situation are lawyers... and politicians are.... -> Lawyers!

Re:All talk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360339)

What, do you expect Superman to save you?

Myhrvold is a loser (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358453)

He sure made money off MS, but he couldn't cut it as a researcher in particle physics. And he knows it.

FIST SPORT (0, Flamebait)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358465)

And this is what happens when you give Jews the reins of business.

Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358467)

Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents, because that would be patent trolling! No, instead they just threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. So that's all right then. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

Please, summarize without injecting your childish sarcasm; save those for a comment reply. For example:

In order to avoid blatant patent trolling, Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents; they instead threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

I much prefer the latter summary to the former, and I doubt I'm alone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (4, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358607)

Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents, because that would be patent trolling! No, instead they just threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. So that's all right then. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

Please, summarize without injecting your childish sarcasm; save those for a comment reply. For example:

In order to avoid blatant patent trolling, Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents; they instead threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

I much prefer the latter summary to the former, and I doubt I'm alone.

And, I don't really care, so long as the linked article is interesting and informative, and I doubt I'm alone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (4, Funny)

Trikki Nikki! (1516301) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358785)

And, I don't really care, so long as the linked article is interesting and informative, and I doubt I'm alone.

Yes, ever since I was old enough to make up my own mind all I need is a link to the source and I'm golden. I do sometimes need people to tell me if my dress makes me look fat, but I think that is a different story entirely.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359447)

I do sometimes need people to tell me if my dress makes me look fat, but I think that is a different story entirely.

That's easy enough. Are you fat? If not, you won't look fat in the dress. If so, you will look fat in the dress. Simple. Believe me, if you are an attractive woman, even a burka won't prevent men from noticing. Likewise if you are a fatty, wearing stripes or dark clothes or platform shoes isn't going to fool anyone though your girlfriends might think it's cute that you try. Besides, if you really are overweight, isn't it better to take control of your health than to cover up the results of your failure to do so?

"Do I look fat in this dress" is really just a shallow attempt to validate your self-esteem. Secure people have no need for this. By going along with this, a man is sending you the message that how you feel about yourself should come from other people. No one would encourage you to depend on them for something so important unless he wanted to have control over you. If a man really cares about you, he'll encourage you to find that kind of security within yourself instead.

The real problem here is a pretty terrible one. Almost no women are ever really loved by a man. This is the failure of most men, and fully explains why so many women are superficial manipulative bitches who are full of drama and/or need to be the center of attention at all times. They are lusted after, needed, worshipped, pursued, related to, used, or taken for granted, but few are ever really loved. It's hard to appreciate that until you realize that sufficiently advanced lust combined with mutual need can look a lot like real love to the majority of the population who don't know any better. Many marriages are built on that lust-need duo. Coincidentally, many marriages fail.

Posted anonymously because few people are honest enough with themselves to appreciate the truth of what I am saying, preferring instead to shoot the messenger.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359529)

-1 Bitter Sexist faux-nice guy blaming own self esteem issues on popular caricatures of women.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358837)

I'm pretty sure, "ignored the summary and read TFA" is actually the reverse of standard Slashdot practice!

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (4, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359347)

You're both Slashdotters, so of course you're alone. So very alone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359605)

I'm not wearing any pants, and I doubt I'm alone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (5, Funny)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359761)

And, I don't really care, so long as the linked article is interesting and informative, and I doubt I'm alone.

If you click on the link and read the article, you are alone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358935)

Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents, because that would be patent trolling! No, instead they just threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. So that's all right then. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

Please, summarize without injecting your childish sarcasm; save those for a comment reply. For example:

In order to avoid blatant patent trolling, Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures doesn't sue people over patents; they instead threaten to sell the patent to a known litigious patent troll. Timothy Lee details how using patents to crush profitable innovation works in practice, and concludes: 'In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.'

I much prefer the latter summary to the former, and I doubt I'm alone.

I don't believe this happens in isolation. I think it's directly caused by the frustration of seeing repeated instances of abusive behavior. That this abusive behavior is legal means that there is currently very little that anyone can do about it. No decent person enjoys seeing injustice with no remedy. That this might be revealed in the way a summary is worded is not really surprising. You certainly can successfully argue that it is less than professional, but I think that's much more useful when it's balanced by an appreciation of the cause and effect that explains why it happens.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (4, Insightful)

mckinnsb (984522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359165)

Exactly. We are all pretty steamed about this and I would not qualify this behavior as childish sarcasm; I would qualify it as sarcasm generally held by a community reflected through the medium delivered to the community. I think it is pretty safe to say that 80-90% of people here on ./ would like to see some serious Software patent reform and we are pretty exasperated about that reform not happening. I am willing to submit that certainly, that is not every ./ reader. However, the fact that new businesses are being established which further exploit the broken system could easily anger the ./ reader whom is exasperated(I would like to clarify that I don't think that is the intent here). While sarcasm in journalism is generally not called for or necessarily professional (there has been far too much of it lately, I will agree with you there), sometimes it is admissible because it reflects the elevation of tension in the community, and that is really what the reporter's job is - to tell everybody else whats going on on the ground.

It is important to realize that /. is not a pure news site, being in the transient twilit realm of new media. It mostly links 'real' (old media) news, and the rest of its independently generated content mostly consist of reviews, journal entries, and interviews. However, I am not surprised that people expect ./ to follow some journalistic standards.

kdawson does lay it on a little thick sometimes, and I wish he would have more discretion in using that particular journalistic device, but I will give him a personal 'pass' on this one.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359203)

I wrote that text and it was passed unaltered, so blame me for the pissed-off tone.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (0, Offtopic)

mckinnsb (984522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359523)

Ah, I'm sorry kdawson. Apologies to you as well, David. I wouldn't blame you for your tone, however.
I should have remembered that aspect of the Slashdot system.

Re:Please leave sarcasm out of summaries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360683)

We are all pretty steamed about this.

Speak for yourself, please. I, for one, welcome our new, filthy rich, non-suing, extortionistic patent overlords.

Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (3, Insightful)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358485)

  Despite his considerable intellect, he didn't accomplish much of note at M$ and now has sunk even lower. He should stick to cooking
and taking photos.

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (3, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358873)

Despite his considerable intellect, he didn't accomplish much of note at M$ and now has sunk even lower. He should stick to cooking and taking photos.

I call arriving as a poor slob and leaving with several hundred million dollars quite an accomplishment. If that's sinking low, gimme a lead weight baby!

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (4, Insightful)

dfetter (2035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359235)

Acquiring a fortune isn't the same thing as actually accomplishing something. Frequently, it's a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Come to think of it, I know of no fortune that would be possible without that essential bit of luck.

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359409)

Acquiring a fortune isn't the same thing as actually accomplishing something. Frequently, it's a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Come to think of it, I know of no fortune that would be possible without that essential bit of luck.

True... but when the moment is there, you have to seize it. Bill Gates and MS did that, a couple of times. And I know of a few good but failed ideas that might have been great had they been launched 5 years earlier or later. I knew a guy, not rich but a regular Joe, who had a knack to always position himself to allow him to reap praise for projects already on the track to success, and get out of failing projects in time. He got plenty of promotions without really accomplishing something, but his success did require that special knack.

Of course, sometimes just being there is enough. Joining a startup that grows into a success despite your best efforts, and suddenly that crappy stock you got in lieu of a decent salary is worth 8 figures...

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (0, Offtopic)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359927)

yeh, money may not but happiness, but it buys a reasonable fascimilie.

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358881)

Did you mean Nathan's Myhrvold? -- Google

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359247)

But do remember, this is the guy that thought that Microsoft should (by virtue of being Microsoft evidently) take a cut of every internet transaction. Evidently now he thinks that "intellectual ventures" should do the same. Looks to me like just another intellectual property leach who wants a cut of pretty much everything just because he thinks he's so smart he deserves it.

Re:Nathan's Myhrvold's a waste of space (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360329)

My apologies for the typo in the subject line; I was rushing to head for home.

Shorter lifetime? (4, Interesting)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358491)


Why not shorten the standard lifetime of patents from 20 years(I think its 20, anyways), to say, for example 5?

In this way, the owner of the patent will have motivation not to sit on it, maximize profit and then move on to the next innovation.
Seems like this wouldn't be a bad idea, although, I will be the first to admit, I only understand the very basics of the patent problem.

Thoughts?

Re:Shorter lifetime? (4, Interesting)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358563)

make it the lesser of three, 20 years. or 5 years from the first licensed product containing the patent being available for sale, or 7 years from the first infringing product being available for sale.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (4, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358757)

make it the lesser of three, 20 years. or 5 years from the first licensed product containing the patent being available for sale, or 7 years from the first infringing product being available for sale.

The only thing I can see there it wouldn't worth it for the inventor is if he invented something that can't be priced to recoup the investment in R&D , let alone make a profit, in that time frame.

Then there are inventions that are ahead of their time and there aren't too many profitable applications for a while - the LASER comes to mind. The Laser was invented in 1958 at Bell Labs, bit it didn't see widespread use until what, the 1980s? So, what will happen in a time from of 7 years or less would be that the inventor has spent all that time and money on R&D and would be unable to reap the benefits.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358871)

Many (like myself) will point out that the difference between the time of invention and the expiration of the patent correspond with the time it took for the invention to become popular.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359127)

Isn't it too curious that widespread use started AFTER the patent expired? (1958+20=1978, widespread use in the 80s) It seems to me that after the patent expired, when everyone could start experimenting with lasers, then several uses nor foreseen by Bell Labs where found out for lasers.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359489)

Patents before 1995 expired 17 years after issuance, not 20 years from filing as is the current model, so your math is off. Depending on the patent, Bell could have had laser patents with terms well into the 80s and beyond using Lemelson's submarine technique (which is why patent term-basis were adjusted)

Re:Shorter lifetime? (4, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359167)

AT&T had more than enough monopoly money, so Bell Labs didn't patent their research. And we (everyone other than AT&T) are collectively better off for it.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359483)

AT&T had more than enough monopoly money, so Bell Labs didn't patent their research. And we (everyone other than AT&T) are collectively better off for it.

That's beside the point. My point was that it can take quite a while for an invention to recover any of its associated R&D costs; if at all.

That's all I meant.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (4, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359753)

Which is still a poor point, as per your own example, 22+ years expired between the creation and the popularization of the invention. Even under modern patent law with a 20 year monopoly, the patent STILL would have expired before the could recoup the R&D costs.

The purpose of IP isn't to secure the long term viability of corporations, it is to give a short term market advantage to invetors in exchange for the knowledge to become part of the public domain. The goal at the end of the day is to increase the size of the public domain, not the pocket book.

-Rick

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359885)

"My point was that it can take quite a while for an invention to recover any of its associated R&D costs; if at all."

Ask yourself what patents are meant for. Start with this: if you need hugh R&D capitals we are already not talking about "protect genious against tycoons"

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359511)

The only thing I can see there it wouldn't worth it for the inventor is if he invented something that can't be priced to recoup the investment in R&D , let alone make a profit, in that time frame. it's not like everyone will stop buying from the inventor after the patent expires, and 5 years should be enough of a head start marketing to ensure continued sales after competitors.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359555)

Considering that corporations today are seriously allergic to anything long term and often barely manage to see beyond the next quarter, it's doubtful that anything that couldn't fully recoup development costs and turn a nice profit in 5 years TOTAL would be pursued at all. Even Bell Labs has turned away from the sort of basic research that gained it it's reputation these days to focus on shorter term profit.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (based on company size) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360797)

How about a system where patents acquired by companies are given a lifetime based on company size or net profits.

For example, split companies into three sizes:

1. 0 - 1 million dollars yearly profit
2. 1 million - 10 million dollars yearly profit
3. 10 million dollars or more yearly profit

Then respectively give them patents that last:
1. 20 years
2. 10 years
3. 5 years

This gives the little guys a bit of an advantage with their innovations,
and could help stop large patent trolls.

Plus, due to the fact that a large company should be able to mobilize a project and turn a profit fairly quickly,
even a small time frame should give them more than enough advantage to grab the monopoly their all after.

Obviously there would be other problems with this, like companies "splitting" themselves into multiple
smaller companies so they can get longer patents and troll more. But hey, it's an idea...

Re:Shorter lifetime? (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358573)

Ripley (talking about Aliens): You know, Burke, I don't know which species is worse. You don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (5, Interesting)

Ragingguppy (464321) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358621)

For any of you who know patent lawyers that think that software patents and patents on business processes are a good idea show them this patent. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=ZUUNAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q=&f=false [google.com]

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359365)

I wonder if I could get a patent on the business process of retaining a lawyer. That way, when I sue someone, the mere fact that they retain an attorney is cause for another lawsuit.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359639)

I'm afraid the constitutional right to assistance of counsel would preempt you.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359955)

Not if you were granted a patent for "Method of hiring an attorney for financial compensation". Remember the US must provide legal counsel, but there's nothing requiring you to hire one yourself. They'd be forced to get a crappy state attorney instead of a high calibre lawyer.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359997)

Actually, considering that PD's get the brunt of work for the poor, they'd almost certainly be overworked and raking in huge piles of XP, so presumably, their lawyer level would be on the high side.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359917)

For any of you who know patent lawyers that think that software patents and patents on business processes are a good idea show them this patent. Here is the link.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=ZUUNAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q=&f=false [google.com]

I looked up the patent on PAIR and what's interesting is that this particular application was never rejected - it was allowed on the first try. I suspect that there were no real reasons given - it's a fundamentally silly application that would never stand up to an infringement suit or even a reexamination, kind of like the famed "method of swinging on a swing" application or the one about an interstellar warp drive that uses zero point energy.

I think all this shows really that the USPTO is overworked and understaffed, so they rubber stamp stuff like this knowing that it will never come up again except Slashdot and Patentlysilly and the like.

or (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358705)

just make the patent "prior art" if after 5 years they haven't used it to make money, put it in the public domain.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (2, Interesting)

labnet (457441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358957)

Why not shorten the standard lifetime of patents from 20 years(I think its 20, anyways), to say, for example 5?

Because for most technology, it takes at least 5 years to ramp up, and you often havn't recovered your engineering by then. (I'm talking about real physical products here, not the stupid stuff you often see discussed here like business methods and software patents which should not be allowed) As a development engineer, I can say that the 'invention' part is only a small part of the pain. The real pain is ironing out the bugs, testing, building relationships with customers and distribution networks, supporting the product and improving the product. Part of the answer is to say the invention must be in 'active good faith use'. The courts need to determine good faith on a case by case basis. Those who sit on patents loose them, those actively developing and marketing their patented IP get to do so for at least 15 years.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359577)

We need a metric that doesn't involve a court trying to determine if some fuzzy thing is true. Part of the damage from patents now is the extreme cost of patent litigation.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (3, Insightful)

deblau (68023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359195)

Big pharma would cry bloody murder, since it costs about a billion dollars to bring a single drug to market through theoretical research, synthesis, isolation, pharmacology, clinical trials, more clinical trials, and final FDA marketing approval.

Also, we signed an international agreement [wikipedia.org] saying we wouldn't.

Re:Shorter lifetime? (2, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359573)

signed agreements?

that's just paper. paper means nothing anymore. see: constitution, if you still believe that paper has any weight anymore ($1 = 1g, but that's about all the weight it carries).

governments break agreements all the time. so do companies. so do people.

ethics are just 'in the way'. this is the new century, afterall!

Re:Shorter lifetime? (1, Troll)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359617)

that agreement is null and void, as far as I'm concerned:

Copyright terms must extend to 50 years after the death of the author, although films and photographs are only required to have fixed 50 and to be at least 25 year terms, respectively.(Art. 7(2),(4))

I don't follow unethical laws. this is one of them.

fuck this law. don't obey it. (I know, you already are a few pages ahead of me on this).

give me one GOOD reason why copyright should extend BEYOND the author's death. one good reason is all I'd like to hear. and no, 'children of the author' don't enter into this. let them write their own bloody prose if they want to earn a living off words.

you wonder why 'imaginary property' is given the name it has? THIS is one reason. unfair laws that got passed by the aristocracy.

DO NOT FOLLOW BAD LAWS. its ok to ignore them. lots of precedent. follow your own notion of right and wrong and don't buy into the 'rich white men' ideas that continue to keep the ruling class in power (and push everyone else down).

Re:Shorter lifetime? (5, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359877)

give me one GOOD reason why copyright should extend BEYOND the author's death.

To discourage big media companies from ordering hits ON, rather than FOR their stars.

A better idea is use it or lose it (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359469)

The problem with really short patent times, is many products, especially higher tech ones, can take years to develop to the point they are ready for wide spread sale. Well it'd suck to get a patent on your new expensive R&D and then have it run out before the product is on sale.

A better idea would be a "use it or lose it" clause. Basically what it would amount to is that you'd have a limited amount of time, like 6-12 months maybe, from when a product that uses your patent is introduced to contact them about licensing. If you don't, the patent goes away since you failed to use it. So if you have a patent and you are serious about it, then when someone rolls out a product that uses it you contact them and say "Hey, we want royalties for that." However you have to do it while the product is new to the market. You can't wait 10 years until it is a very successful widely used technology, and then try to hold them ransom.

In this way, it is fair to all parties. The patent holders get compensated for their work if people use it. People bringing a product to market learn about patent issues early and can decide if the cost is worth it.

Also part of that would probably be a clause like yours, in that someone, you or anyone else, has to bring it to market within 5 years or the patent goes away.

So something like: When you get a patent, it is valid for 20 years, however if no product is brought to market within 5 using it, the patent goes away. If a product is brought to market using it, you have 6 months to contact the company about royalties, or the patent goes away.

I think such a system would be pretty fair to all parties and work to ensure that people actually make use of their patents, rather than trying to hoard them and extort others.

Malcom Gladwell thinks it's swell (5, Interesting)

DaveInAustin (549058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358539)

In this gushing article [newyorker.com] Malcom Gladwell [wikipedia.org] implies that this sort of patent trollism is some great innovation on it's own.
Bill Gates, whose company, Microsoft, is one of the major investors in Intellectual Ventures, says, âoeI can give you fifty examples of ideas theyâ(TM)ve had where, if you take just one of them, youâ(TM)d have a startup company right there.â

Re:Malcom Gladwell thinks it's swell (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358755)

I can give you fifty examples of ideas they've had where, if you take just one of them, you'd have a startup company right there.

By which Gates means, "a start-up company that pays monopoly rent to myself and other IV shareholders". If software patents had existed back in the day, there'd be no Microsoft. IIRC, Bill Gates has admitted as much... the guy's a moron.

Re:Malcom Gladwell thinks it's swell (3, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360469)

Good ideas are a dime a dozen. The hard part is making a business out of them.

Apple, for example, has hardly ever come up with any original ideas, but they have done an excellent job turning other people's good ideas into successful products.

Fractional pools (5, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358613)

Consider the following replacement patent system, let's call it the fractional pool system.

Let's say ACME Inc invents a new wonder drug at an approximate cost of $1 million. Let's also state that I is the "innovation incentive", a quasi-fixed constant specified by the government - sort of like the central banks base rate. I is expressed as a multiplier. For simplicity let's say I is 1.2

Multiply the cost of development by I to arrive at $1.2 million. ACME Inc applies for a patent on their wonder drug, and it is deemed novel thus granted. A new pool is created with a value of $1.2 million. Anybody who wishes to license this patent (and anybody can - there is no exclusivity in the fractional pools system) must enter the pool by paying enough into it to split it evenly.

For example, if MegaCorp wishes to compete with ACME Inc, they'd need to pay $600,000 into the pool, which is transferred to ACME Incs bank account. Now both companies are down $600k each. ZCorp sees that the wonder drug is popular and wants to enter the market too, so ZCorp pays $400k into the pool, which is split evenly between ACME Inc and MegaCorp. Thus all three participants in the pool are now down $400k.

This continues until the cost of entering the pool reaches some minimal floor at which point the pool is cancelled and the invention becomes public property. There is no particular time limit on this. It happens whenever it happens. You can see that ACME Inc will eventually make back their $1 million plus an additional profit of nearly (but not quite) $200k.

This scheme has some big advantages:

  • Pro - there is no exclusivity. Thus companies cannot blackmail other companies or cause widespread economic disruption by suspending the distribution of a popular product. Nor can a company sit on an invention for decades without using it.
  • Pro - the size of the pool is determined by the audited cost of development. Thus you cannot make millions off something trivial or obvious.
  • Pro - there is no arbitrary time limit on an invention, which will never be right for every industry.

Of course there are some disadvantages too:

  • Con - It can be difficult to judge exactly how much a particular invention cost - where do you draw the line between costs specific to that invention and general shared costs?
  • Con - The "innovation incentive" is a fixed constant under political control. I used 1.2x in my example but perhaps a more realistic value is a lot higher, like 20x. Thus governments of the day can adjust it up or down - up likely means more inventions but higher costs to the eventual consumer, lower means cheaper toys but less R&D. Whilst the value could be adjusted per industry or even per invention, it will never be quite right for everything.
  • Con - The second entrant to the pool has the advantage of not needing to do the R&D yet can immediately benefit from the invention. First mover advantage might not be enough to offset this. Perhaps could be solved by throttling the entry rate to the pool.

Despite these problems I think fractional pools are a more robust and flexible way to promote R&D than the existing patent system, which not only has arbitrary fixed constants but also gaping loopholes of the type we witness in this article. Discuss.

Re:Fractional pools (2, Insightful)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358995)

Thus governments of the day can adjust it up or down - up likely means more inventions but higher costs to the eventual consumer, lower means cheaper toys but less R&D.

You make it sound so neat and easy. It's Government your talking about.

Re:Fractional pools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359461)

No. It's economics he's talking about.

Re:Fractional pools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359381)

The problem is that it relies too much on theoretical values. How much does it cost to produce a song? what is it's value if it is popular/unpopular? Do artists charge more and guarantee a flop or go cheap and make little? Do we depend on what they say it is? Even in drug companies they use "hollywood" accounting in R&D to make sure it sounds reasonable to extend their exclusivity. And does it sit around until they have made x money off it? We would still need public domain time limits.

All in all I just see every company claiming it costs billions to make a paper clip. If they can make movies like Forrest Gump fail financially...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

Re:Fractional pools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359443)

The problem is that it relies too much on theoretical values. How much does it cost to produce a song? what is it's value if it is popular/unpopular? Do artists charge more and guarantee a flop or go cheap and make little? Do we depend on what they say it is? Even in drug companies they use "hollywood" accounting in R&D to make sure it sounds reasonable to extend their exclusivity. And does it sit around until they have made x money off it? We would still need public domain time limits.

All in all I just see every company claiming it costs billions to make a paper clip. If they can make movies like Forrest Gump fail financially...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting

I am pretty sure you are confusing patents with copyright. You can't really patent a song... or a movie.

Re:Fractional pools (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359661)

I think this idea would cause a rift between R&D and companies that hawk the crap. Which I think is actually a Pro. There are a lot of factors not being taken into account of course so I don't know how such a system would turn out. That I didn't see any obvious reasons why it'd blow up in your face is pretty nice.

Re:Fractional pools (4, Insightful)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360271)

Multiply the cost of development by I to arrive at $1.2 million. ACME Inc applies for a patent on their wonder drug, and it is deemed novel thus granted. A new pool is created with a value of $1.2 million.

I question whether using the actual cost of development is viable. In the case of drugs, a company may have to pay to develop 20 drugs before they get one that actually works and is profitable - that area research has a very high failure rate (drugs that don't work, have too many undesirable side effects, etc). Using actual cost of development could kill areas of research where it's expected that a small number of successes will offset the expenses of the large number of failures.

Pro - the size of the pool is determined by the audited cost of development. Thus you cannot make millions off something trivial or obvious.

I would consider this on a Con, rather than a Pro. You're basically setting up a system which will only benefit "big" inventions (meaning those funded by wealthy individuals or corporations). Consider the following scenario - working in my garage, I come up with some invention for a trivial amount, but which has massive utility (let's use the "better mousetrap" as an example). I only spend a few hundred dollars working on it, so the pool would be very small. MegaSuperEverything Corporation then jumps in, and for a trivial amount of money obtains the rights, and proceeds to sell many millions of them thanks to their existing marketing/distribution channels, while I can only sell a handful because of the competition. Knowing that this is likely to happen, what incentive do I have to patent the invention?

Con - The second entrant to the pool has the advantage of not needing to do the R&D yet can immediately benefit from the invention. First mover advantage might not be enough to offset this. Perhaps could be solved by throttling the entry rate to the pool.

Just have a decaying rate. For instance, in year one, the pool would be cost of development times 100 (or higher). In year 2, it drops to 75x. Year three down to 50x. Have a floor, so that after 10 years, it's at 1.5x, and remains there until the patent expires. This would tend to preserve the first mover advantage, without compromising the concept (provided the decay rate is reasonable).

Re:Fractional pools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360891)

You should patent it!

Intrinsic failure of the system (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358663)

The problem isn't that businesses litigate over patent disputes. The problem isn't even so-called "patent trolls". It's the legal framework that creates it; The deeper judicial and legal principles. Patents were meant to cover an applied technological advancement; Not a theoretical one, or to intangibles like a process. But the patent system has been expanded to cover these, and it was done in a haphazard fashion by people who didn't fully understand the implications of doing so.

The net result is that the patent system is being used to protect intangibles -- markets, processes, and "intellectual property". This was never the intend of the patent system. Even worse, the time limit of 7 to 14 years was needed due to slow business processes of the pre-computer era when it would take years to develop something and bring it to market. Now, development to market time can be weeks or months. While this was originally designed so that the inventor (an individual) could profit from his invention while safely making available details of how it worked to the public (thus advancing the state of the art), it nowadays functions as an impetiment to invention because of the long life of the patent and the nearly endless variations that are possible to keep basic inventions protected in perpetuity.

What's needed is a radical rethink of business process and economics, and the removal of the extreme reliance upon the legal system to protect it.

Re:Intrinsic failure of the system (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359269)

The problem isn't that businesses litigate over patent disputes. The problem isn't even so-called "patent trolls".

For dealing with the patent trolls, I have an idea. Why not make patents work like trademarks, in the sense that you must actively defend them or else you will lose them?

Not just patents, but the whole intellectual property idea in general is not really working anymore because it no longer provides a good balance between incentive to produce and the benefit to society of having these things eventually become public domain. It needs reform very badly. Restoring copyright to its original duration of twelve years, limiting patents to ten years, and requiring that patents be actively defended would go a long way towards fixing it. It would also help if "fair use" were more clearly spelled out in copyright law, so that meeting its criteria would prevent someone from being able to bring a lawsuit (as in, it could be immediately dismissed if they tried). This would be an improvement on its current status as a legal defense only after a suit is brought. Perhaps we could also use a law which states that any abuse of the copyright or patent systems by any corporation will result in the IP in question immediately becoming public domain**.

I am not a lawyer and therefore I admit that I may be ignorant concerning the full implications of my suggestions. I'd really appreciate feedback telling me either why you think these ideas would work or why you believe they would do more harm than good.

** It's off-topic I know, but I always felt like forcing the entirety of the Windows source code to be public domain would have been the best punishment for Microsoft after they were convicted of abusing their monopoly. What better punishment for an abusive monopolist than to give anyone and everyone the ability to directly compete with them on their own turf? It's certainly a neater solution than meaningless fines or any of the proposals to split them up into multiple companies.

Re:Intrinsic failure of the system (2, Informative)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359397)

** It's off-topic I know, but I always felt like forcing the entirety of the Windows source code to be public domain would have been the best punishment for Microsoft after they were convicted of abusing their monopoly. What better punishment for an abusive monopolist than to give anyone and everyone the ability to directly compete with them on their own turf? It's certainly a neater solution than meaningless fines or any of the proposals to split them up into multiple companies.

It's actually relatively on-topic. Anyway, what you're suggesting would almost certainly violate the Berne Convention. And I'm pretty sure your government is legally obliged to adhere to international treaties.

Abrogating one more Swiss convention... (2, Insightful)

dfetter (2035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359453)

I'll worry about the Berne Convention when they start enforcing everything in the Geneva Convention, all they way to the top.

Re:Intrinsic failure of the system (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360729)

** It's off-topic I know, but I always felt like forcing the entirety of the Windows source code to be public domain would have been the best punishment for Microsoft after they were convicted of abusing their monopoly. What better punishment for an abusive monopolist than to give anyone and everyone the ability to directly compete with them on their own turf? It's certainly a neater solution than meaningless fines or any of the proposals to split them up into multiple companies.

It's actually relatively on-topic. Anyway, what you're suggesting would almost certainly violate the Berne Convention. And I'm pretty sure your government is legally obliged to adhere to international treaties.

My answer to that, is that if a treaty interferes with doing the right and just thing, it is not the right and just thing which needs to be abandoned.

Abandoning a treaty may have negative consequences, such as losing the reciprocal treatment you enjoyed while honoring it. To that, I say that the main reason why there are so many abusive practices in the world is because we care far too much about convenience.

Re:Intrinsic failure of the system (0, Redundant)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360293)

The problem isn't that businesses litigate over patent disputes. The problem isn't even so-called "patent trolls". It's the legal framework that creates it; The deeper judicial and legal principles. Patents were meant to cover an applied technological advancement; Not a theoretical one, or to intangibles like a process. But the patent system has been expanded to cover these, and it was done in a haphazard fashion by people who didn't fully understand the implications of doing so.

The net result is that the patent system is being used to protect intangibles -- markets, processes, and "intellectual property". This was never the intend of the patent system. Even worse, the time limit of 7 to 14 years was needed due to slow business processes of the pre-computer era when it would take years to develop something and bring it to market. Now, development to market time can be weeks or months. While this was originally designed so that the inventor (an individual) could profit from his invention while safely making available details of how it worked to the public (thus advancing the state of the art), it nowadays functions as an impetiment to invention because of the long life of the patent and the nearly endless variations that are possible to keep basic inventions protected in perpetuity.

What's needed is a radical rethink of business process and economics, and the removal of the extreme reliance upon the legal system to protect it.

I agree with you in general. However, in this day and age of computers, there are quite a few industries where development to market is still in the order of years. Boeing's filed many patents on their upcoming 787. It's been in development for years. New classes of drugs take years to get approval, even drugs within the same family (although not as long as the first instance). As for cars, the average time to market for a new car is about 5 years.

Shorter Lifetime? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358677)

Why not just shorten the patent trolls lifetime?

Holding back progress for all of human civilization. That's gotta be worth the death penalty.

If that isnt. What is?

Re:Shorter Lifetime? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360643)

Why not just shorten the patent trolls lifetime?

You mean just shoot them? Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Someone else just picks up their portfolio and continues where they left off, only with better bodyguards.

Myhrvold is evil (3, Insightful)

the_povinator (936048) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358771)

Some time ago I was having a conversation with some people about whether extrajudicial killing can ever be justified, and Nathan Myhrvold was the one person who we agreed there was really no good argument against it.

Re:Myhrvold is evil (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359055)

Some time ago I was having a conversation with some people about whether extrajudicial killing can ever be justified, and Nathan Myhrvold was the one person who we agreed there was really no good argument against it.

Really? Because someone is doing something you find immoral/unethical? Stealing is wrong, do you condone extrajudicial killing for thieves?

Mr. Lee told me to come here... (2, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358803)

So like I was telling Mr. Lee, the extraordinarily not-Caucasian Chinese man who runs the Chinese Laundromat that's only open one or two days a month, my company has been threatened by Intellectual Ventures' Patent Protection Racket - but I guess Mr. Lee didn't know what he was talking about. I was looking for the A-Team, but all I found was this guy in a fake beard, overacting a ridiculous stereotype...

Patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29358817)

All patent reform needs to do is the following:

1) Ban software patents, use copyrights to protect software.
2) Ban business patents, most are silly anyways.
3) Just moving something from the real world to the on-line world is not patentable.
4) A company or individual cannot just sit on a patent and wait until it is in wide spread use. If a company or individual sues after a patent is in widespread use, then said company's patent is transferred to company or companies that developed a product using the patent in question without paying the original patent holder.
5) An individual or company cannot threaten companies or individuals with a patent lawsuit without telling what the patent is, and giving those companies or individuals time to rectify the situation. You also cannot just sue, you must allow any patent violator some time to work around said patent.

That should eliminate most patent problems we have

Re:Patent reform (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359301)

"4) A company or individual cannot just sit on a patent and wait until it is in wide spread use. If a company or individual sues after a patent is in widespread use, then said company's patent is transferred to company or companies that developed a product using the patent in question without paying the original patent holder."

Terrible idea. The patent is transferred into the public domain instead. It does no harm to the company actually making the product in question, but doesn't give them an undeserved advantage either. Much better that way.

Myhrvold, sigh (4, Interesting)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358825)

Myhrvold's enterprise stunk to high heaven since the day it was conceived. Especially the part about paying scientists to come over to an exciting "tell us what's on your mind" conference and start brainstorming together, which was obviously done so that Myhrvold could collect, patent, and monetize those ideas.

Reminds me of reading Dick Feynman's book about the U.S. government doing the same thing, asking scientists to come up with all sorts of uses for atomic energy that they could patent. Except, that's the government, and presumably they're accountable to someone. At least they ended up giving Feynman a dollar per patent so he could go buy some cookies. I've worked with companies who abuse scientists in similar ways, and to be honest I think our system trains scientists to be scientifically smart and realistically dumb - if you could explain to these guys that they don't have to sell out in order to make money, maybe we'd have MUCH better products and services today.

What's a patent troll (2, Informative)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29358921)

I suppose to my mind, a patent troll is a person/company that acquires broad or general patents with the intent to extort money from companies, or who creates patents to sit on them in case they become applicable to something widespread and popular. Seems to fit the summary nicely.

USE IT OR LOSE IT (2, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359043)

The obvious solution (imho)

kinda like trademarks, --with trademarks you have to defend them or lose them.
Patents- you get say one year- if you can't show it is in use-- it's released.....

Re:USE IT OR LOSE IT (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359411)

Which means that only rich inventors are able to accomplish something. Great!

Re:USE IT OR LOSE IT (2, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359415)

Patents- you get say one year- if you can't show it is in use-- it's released.....

Yeah, because it never takes more than 1 year to get from invention to full-scale production on a product.

Re:USE IT OR LOSE IT (2, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359657)

The obvious solution (imho)

kinda like trademarks, --with trademarks you have to defend them or lose them. Patents- you get say one year- if you can't show it is in use-- it's released.....

Pharmaceuticals may require as many as 7-10 years of testing before the FDA approves them. Does that count as "in use", even though the manufacturer isn't making a single dollar from them?

Re:USE IT OR LOSE IT (2, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29360157)

I'd say more like 3 - 5 years, because it can take 3 years of R&D to take an idea and actually make a functioning product, let alone figure out how to mass produce said product. We have something like that we developed 3 years ago as a prototype. It's taken that long to build a functional unit at the size we wanted that was throughly tested and we're confident that it will work as advertised. That includes going down a couple paths that turned out not to work in practice.

double-take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359173)

I am the only one who read "intellectual vultures"??

Article text in case of /.ing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359181)

Last year I wrote [techliberation.com] that Intellectual Ventures is a kind of reductio ad absurdum of our flawed patent system. Itâ(TM)s a firm that literally does nothing useful, its only business is the acquisition and licensing of patents. Not only does it have no intention of commercializing the technologies it âoeinvents,â its business model is based on minimizing the amount of research performed per patent obtained. In Malcolm Gladwellâ(TM)s brilliant (if inadvertent) exposé of IV [newyorker.com] , he describes how IV hires smart people to participate in brainstorming sessions and then has patent lawyers immediately file patent applications for every idea that comes up during the discussion, without bothering to actually implement any of them, or even devoting much effort to verifying that they actually work. IV then approaches firms that are doing the hard work of implementing âoetheirâ ideas and demands a cut of their profits.

Myhrvoldâ(TM)s firm illustrates in a way that no law review article could the extent to which the patent system punishes firms that actually produce useful products. Firms whose business models involve actual innovation have to show restraint in exploiting their patent portfolios. If they donâ(TM)t, thereâ(TM)s a high probability that some of their adversaries will countersue and both firms will be dragged into a legal quagmire. But if litigation is your only business, then youâ(TM)re not vulnerable to retaliatory infringement lawsuits, so you can exploit your patent portfolio much more aggressively. Many small âoepatent trollâ firms have exploited [arstechnica.com] this flaw in the past, but Myhrvold is the first person to recognize that it can be exploited in a systematic, large-scale fashion.

Until recently, one of the few points Myhrvold could make in his own favor is that he hadnâ(TM)t started suing firms that declined to license his patent portfolio. I say âoeuntil recentlyâ because weâ(TM)re now learning that the lawsuits have started. [law.com] IV has begun selling off chunks of its patent portfolio to people like Raymond Niro with well-deserved reputations for being âoepatent trolls.â Threatening to sell patents to a third party who will sue you is more subtle than threatening to sue you directly, but the threat is just as potent. Myhrvoldâ(TM)s âoesales pitchâ to prospective licensees just got a lot more convincing.

The fundamental question we should be asking about this business strategy is how it benefits anyone other than Myhrvold and the patent bar. Remember that the standard policy argument for patents is that they incentivize beneficial research and development. Yet IVâ(TM)s business model is based on the opposite premise: produce no innovative products, spend minimal amounts on research and development, and make a profit by compelling firms that are producing products and investing in R&D to pay up. Not only does this enrich Myhrvold at everyone elseâ(TM)s expense, but it also reduces the incentive to innovate, because anyone who produces an innovative product is forced to share his profits with Intellectual Ventures. Patents are supposed to make innovation more profitable. Myhrvold is using the patent system in a way that does just the opposite. In thinking about how to reform the patent system, a good yardstick would be to look for policy changes that would tend to put Myhrvold and his firm out of business.

Re:Article text in case of /.ing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29360061)

"Itâ(TM)s a firm that literally does nothing useful, its only business is the acquisition and licensing of patents."

You just described each and every bussiness based on speculation (i.e. stocks broker). And though I won't say they are the best thing after buttered bread they still make something useful: make money run.

Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359323)

Three major reforms are needed:

* Use it or lose it. Sitting on a patent, hoping that an actual entrepreneur will use it, so that you can squeeze them is wrong, and should be outlawed.

* Reasonable limits. Fifteen years is too long. Five is more than generous. The world moves too fast for the state to spend fifteen years protecting someone's artificial monopoly.

* No software patents. Patenting software is like patenting math. Innovation is greatly harmed when software engineers have to worry about patent infringement while they weave together all of the various algorithms that constitute an application.

Brilliant! (1, Funny)

TermV (49182) | more than 4 years ago | (#29359463)

Holy crap, that's brilliant. Seriously. You guys are just pissed off you didn't think of it first.

Against Intellectual Property (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359587)

In âoeAgainst Intellectual Property,â author Brian Martin does a good job of demolishing the whole idea that ideas even should be owned, much as Tom Paine, in âoeCommon Sense,â once demolished the idea that heredity was a good way to choose leaders:

http://deoxy.org/aip.htm

fuc4 a nigga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29359895)

completely before and sold in the irc.secsup.org or Out how to 8ake the OS I do, because Surveys show that
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