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Report Shows Patent Trolls Are Thriving

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the free-money dept.

Patents 135

eldavojohn writes "The 2009 Patent Litigation Study has been released by Price Waterhouse Coopers. It shows evidence that patent trolls are growing and doing quite well. Using a very conservative view of a non-practicing entity (referred to as NPE in the report), PWC noted that 'damage awards for NPEs have averaged more than double those for practicing entities since 1995' and 'certain federal district courts (particularly Virginia Eastern and Texas Eastern) continue to be more favorable to patent holders, with shorter time-to-trial, higher success rates, and higher median damages awards.' The report paints a dire picture of the state of patent lawsuits and especially those brought by NPEs and also shows that in the past eighteen years the number of patent cases filed yearly is on the rise significantly when normalized against the number of patents granted yearly."

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Oh, and I'm also going to need a patent for... (0, Offtopic)

Pallazzio (974406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982402)

Kitten Mittens

Report says Slashdot trolls are thriving (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982636)

Niggerbabble is the unintelligible babbling that comes out of a nigger's mouth. Niggers often issue forth these babblings while grabbing their crotches, in a desperate attempt to keep their sexual organs from falling off due to the effects of the many niggerborne communicable diseases they're infested with.

"...shorter time-to-trial..." (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982442)

Is favorable to both sides. It's especially favorable to the defendant if a preliminary injunction is issued.

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (5, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982682)

A shorter time to trial is not more favorable to a defendant UNLESS a preliminary injunction is issued. The plaintiffs hold an overwhelming advantage. They get to spend months or years preparing their case, having their motions ready, doing research and investigation, finding experts, etc. They get to chose the time and venue of the suit. Once they file, they can drown the defendant in motions for preliminary injunction, summary judgment, etc. The defendant has to play catch-up because they have no idea what's going on with the plaintiff's patents. They have to play defense on PI motions without a lot of discovery. Rushing a case to judgment is very unfair to defendants who did not have the time the plaintiff had in figuring out their case.

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984772)

Patent trolls don't need to spend months or years preparing their cases, and typically they don't. Most law firms representing trolls do the minimum amount of work necessary to keep the case going. The real nightmare comes when the defendant receives discovery requests for documents. A single 30-page generic set of requests (that can be copied from a prior case) forces a defendant's lawyers to interview scores of employees and collect what almost always amounts to millions of pages of documents. Then these have to be processed, searched, and reviewed (with a price tag larger than a very nice home in the Bay Area).

Circa 2007, the median cost of a patent suit (with more than $25 million at risk) was $5 million with half of that cost incurred by the end of discovery. For a lot of patent trolls, that holdup value is what they are after. If you can sue every company in an industry (and most of these ridiculous software patents span multiple industries) and extract a few million from each one, you've made a nice profit with very little work.


Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982862)

Is favorable to both sides. It's especially favorable to the defendant if a preliminary injunction is issued.

I'm not a lawyer but there's an article from Sunday [] about Dallas firms specializing in 'tricky, rocky terrain' of patent litigation to be hired out in the Eastern Texas District Court ('Rocket Docket') cases listed in the report.

Now, pay attention to this part of the article

'Rocket docket'

The Eastern District, which includes Collin County and much of eastern Texas, has won a reputation as extremely plaintiff-friendly and a preferred venue to get patent claims through quickly.

Just getting a case into the Eastern District – known by some as the "rocket docket" because its comparative lack of criminal cases lets judges move civil patent cases swiftly – has prompted some companies to settle quickly.

Nguyen says the district's reputation as friendly to patent plaintiffs is widespread; whenever it's mentioned at law conferences around the country, she hears the same reaction.

A case against you that you found out about last week has just gone to trial in Eastern Texas and you need to be there to represent yourself even though you're based out of New York City. The reputation of the court is a bias toward the plaintiff and on top of that they have the Dallas firm that specializes in winning patent cases ... now, quickly, you need to decide to settle or fight this.

Sound fair to you?

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (4, Funny)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983256)

Yes! I am a lawyer and i can bill for travel time :D

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983402)

Yes! I am a lawyer and i can bill for travel time :D

Who else read that as bill for time travel?

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985234)

Oh, god - don't give them any ideas.

When Lawyers find out how to bill for time travel, especially lawyers with a .signature that mentions the Grey Goo disaster 3 billion years ago, the rest of society will become their indentured servants retroactively a thousand years ago.

Prima Faciae Corruption? (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983276)

Is it merely the volume of the cases that makes it plaintiff friendly, or is it more plaintiff friendly than other districts when you adjust for volume?

Has anyone asked why it's more plaintiff friendly? Has anyone done any kind of analysis of the judiciary to determine if they have some kind of background that gives them a superior understanding (engineering degrees, patent experience, etc)?

Somehow it all smells rotten -- a group of judges and a group of local attorneys who have built a cozy little legal franchise. Local attorneys with familiarity in the courts handle the plaintiffs, the attorneys get paid handsomely for their access & familiarity and the judges get re-elected with the financial support of the attorneys.

In short, everyone gets paid and the trolls don't really care because to them its all profit.

Now, I'm sure this is more conspiratorial than it all really is, but even so -- why would judges in those areas be so plaintiff friendly?

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983600)

why would judges in those areas be so plaintiff friendly?

It brings in business, which gets them reelected.

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983832)

It brings in business, which gets them reelected.

Federal judges are selected, not elected, and their appointment is for life.

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984244)

Well, in that case they are probably getting bribed.

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985534)

I'd have guessed not, though perhaps I'm being naive.

Judges are people too. Even if their job is not on the line, their friends are likely lawyers and local businessmen - all of whom owe their livelihood to the continued patent cases.

I doubt the judges are being biased deliberately (there goes my naivety again) but when all of your friends and colleagues are telling you about how good it is for the community that you're addressing these issues, it's pretty hard to retain objectivity.

Honestly, I think if you ask these judges I believe you'd find they'd be proud of the work they're doing on behalf of both their community and America. Actually, I bet that'd be a great Ask Slashdot...

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984286)

Being from Eastern Texas, I feel like I can speak with some authority in the matter. I've known many of these judges and lawyers (and bar-tended a few of their private functions) and I have found that they are idiots. It's really that simple. There is no conspiracy, there is only a mindset of "If someone sues someone else, then the defendant must deserve it".

Re:Prima Faciae Corruption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984366)

Is it merely the volume of the cases that makes it plaintiff friendly, or is it more plaintiff friendly than other districts when you adjust for volume?

"higher success rates, and higher median damages" are independent of the number of cases.

Now, I'm sure this is more conspiratorial than it all really is

Are you? Why?

Obama Policies Will Bankrupt USA Tsarkon Reports (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983380)

Obama Policies Will Bankrupt USA Tsarkon Reports
(Note: We are not a GOP-sters, Republicans or affiliated with any parties, and as George Washington warned against parties We do not believe in parties and, unlike most people, We evaluate every issue on a case by case basis and do not defer to the judgments of politicians who are corrupted and untrustworthy as a group.)

Obama is controlled by the same people as Bush see The Obama Deception documentary [] []

Yuan Forwards Show China May Buy Fewer Treasuries, UBS Says [] []
  Anemic Treasury auction effects felt beyond bonds [] []
  The Sherminator Kicks Some Wall Street Ass [] []
  China Angry That Fed Is Deliberately Destroying The Dollar [] []
  China suggests switch from dollar as reserve currency [] []
  What are the reserve currencies? [] []
  Anatomy of a taxpayer giveaway to investors [] []
  Geithner rescue package 'robbery of the American people' [] []
  Geithner just put only the rich in Titanics lifeboats [] []
  Geithner Plan Will Rob US Taxpayers [] []
  A False Choice [] []
  Bargain-hunting house buyers wearing on sellers [] []
  Time to Take the Steering Wheel out of Geithner's Hands [] []
  Socialising and Privatising [] []
  Fannie, Freddie to pay out bonuses [] []
  Fitch Raises Prime Jumbo Loan Loss Estimates Sharply [] []

Chinas central bank on Monday proposed replacing the US dollar as the international reserve currency with a new global system controlled by the International Monetary Fund [] []

- Russia on an new world reserve currency: It is necessary to work out and adopt internationally recognized standards for macroeconomic and budget policy, which are binding for the leading world economies, including the countries issuing reserve currencies - the Kremlin proposals read. [] []

- President Barack "The Teleprompter" Obama is deeply connected to corruption. Rahm Emanuel, his Chief of Staff, is radical authoritarian statist whose father was part of the murderous civilian-killing Israeli terrorist organization known as IRGUN who is obsessed with gun control and compulsory service to the country in a capacity which he has yet to define. (Think brown-shirts.) Barack is intimately connected to disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (Rahm inherited Rod's federal-congress seat). Barack Obama is also connected to William Ayers (who ghost-wrote his books); Ayers is a man who promotes the concept that civilian collateral damage is ok in a war against freedom. Saul Alinsky, a man who made the quote as follows, "From all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer," is a man who had much influence on the young Barack Obama. A man who admired Lucifer for gaining his own kingdom in an act of rebellion. Barack also subscribed to Preacher Jeremiah Wright, who is himself a Afro-elitist who wants all the people who largely "pay the freight" to suffer at the hands of angry African-American mobs. There are over 30 million Americans on food stamps, and more blacks are in prison and on food-stamps per capita than anyone else. The problem with Wright is simply this: the facts are "racist." There is no conspiracy against African Americans here by citizens.
- Obama - AIPAC-bootlicker, corrupted to the bone Chicago-style and a traitor to the US Constitution and a liar whose real "legal" name could very well be Barry Sotero and an Indonesian citizen (The US does not allow plural citizenship) (If you care, not that it matters anymore under a lawless authoritarian totalitarian regime such as Barack Obama's, you can see more here at an aggregator; [] [] )
- Raytheon lobbyist in Pentagon, many lobbyists getting exemptions even though Obama promised not to have them. This is one of many things Obama has lied about.
- Goldman Sachs insider second in command at Treasury. Bumbling tax cheat idiot Timothy Geithner in "command" of Treasury, with 17 positions unfilled as of late March 2009.
- Obama's cabinet has had several nominees and appointees with multiple tax fraud issues.
- Obama lied about having a new degree of accountability and a "sunshine" period for new laws; Obama has signed bills with little or no time for public review at as promised. In fact, one of the largest spending bills in US history was passed into law with several members of the House and Senate telling the public there was no time to review the bill, let alone the public.
- Pork Spendulus Bill (The Stimulus Bill) contained language that came directly from Tom Daschle (who published a book detailing his machinations to slip healthcare under the radar in some back portion of a budgeting bill). This language included the funding and authority to set up a central database of all medical treatments rendered, and the Stimulus bill also contains language that alters the Medicare-style instructions to doctors: The most economic treatments should now be used, no longer use the treatments with the most efficacy. Rationed health care, courtesy of a disgraced tax cheat, Tom Daschle. When you relatives are dying in a state hospital because their quota was reached, see how you feel.
- Obama appointed a Second-Amendment violating-denying Rich-pardoning treasonist Eric Holder as AG, a man who helped a fugitive evade justice and thinks of Americans and cowardly racists.
- Obama has put no money at all in for a single new nuclear power plant but wants to help bridges and roads - apparently to promote more driving.
- Obama, Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have a lot to hide. They literally lived very close to each other, Rahm had (until being Obama's Chief of staff) Blagojevich's old federal congressional seat. Blagojevich helped "The Teleprompter" Obama cheat his way to the Illinois senate by getting other candidates thrown off the ballot in Illinois. Why do you think Blagojevich was so mad? Obama did owe him, big time. Rahm and Obama are preemptively using Blagojevich and trying to publically malign and discredit him because he has information that can bring Obama and Rahm Emanuel down. This is the true face of Obama, ruthless, calculating conniving cheat that will stop at nothing to gain and retain power at any cost breaking any rule.
- Tony Rezko, Iraqi Arms Dealer Nahdmi Auchi, and of course Aiham Alsammarae. Barack "The Teleprompter" Obama is so corrupted it's a joke. He is connected to international arms dealers, shady property dealings and people of ill repute to gain what he needs from them: financial bootstrapping of his campaign to rule America.
- Fools and "useful idiots" twist the US Federal Budget pie charts by leaving welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, Medicare and Medicaid out and focusing only on non-whole "discretionary" pie charts.
  2007 high level pie chart, Federal Budget, USA [] []
  2009 Pie chart, detailed, Federal Budget, USA [] []
Now Obama wants to drastically expand the areas of the budget which are getting the most funding by far. There is simply not enough money to fund the obligations made to the public thus far (Unfunded debt obligations which are to pay for the guarantees of social security), let alone Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and other social spending which seeks to guarantee a standard of living to people which is lower what they could gain for themselves. This is an attempt to break the middle class' back so they now need government aid to survive.
- Barack Obama is drastically increasing spending and creating more entitlements that will make the US less competitive (especially against China, India, East Europe/Russia). This will be a huge disaster and "change you can believe in" will strap you, your children and your grandchildren with more debt. "No taxation without representation!" Obama is spending money for the next two-three generations and they can't even vote yet, or even have been born. This is co-opting those who cannot vote to pay for this man's reckless and illegal endeavor to make everyone a feudal serf of the federal government.
- An alternative to the dollar and a forex and a reserve currency came up at the last G20 meeting. The world will not take faith in Obama's liar-socialist spending and welfare state, why should the taxpayers (plebian citizen-slaves of a police state)?
- The spending going on now vastly eclipses all previous spending. In fact, the massive trillion plus debts is a thing of the 80's onwards. Congress signs the checks, remember that year after year, as egregious as the pentagon spending is, that the social spending is completely a waste of money and it is unfunded over the long term. Eisenhower built the interstate highway system, the USA could build a new power infrastructure with this money but instead this money is being pissed into creating more of an entitlement system that is still unfunded, and without massive head-taxes and far more aggressive progressive taxes, could never be funded.
- The budgeting being done today were recently reported by a non-partisan auditing commission will lead to about 10 TRILLION in new debt over the next 10 years. Obama is going to double the national debt while doing nothing to address the unfunded debt obligations of Social Security, or address any of the out of control egregious spending going on today via the budgets, the federal reserve and its taxation via inflation, or by bailouts and stimulus bills. This is the worst, most unintelligent and most hated congress in the history of the United States, and we have a seriously incompetent and potentially dangerous-to-the-free-constitutional-republic Barack Obama rubber stamping this bloody mess.
- Clinton appointed David Walker of the GAO, he recently quit; the unfunded debt obligations have rendered the USA insolvent according to accounting standards. The USA is already broke and cannot conceivably pay its obligations today.
  Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion [] []
  US Public Debt Unfunded Debt Obligations [] []
- Most of the world population gets nothing from their governments, or a very bare minimum or services that benefit only the upper echelons of society. However, the liar Barack Obama says the USA needs his universal "state-hospital" rationed health care to be competitive. This is pure folderol and a lie. China and India give nothing, and they are the biggest threat to the American worker. By forcing healthcare and higher taxes, Americans will be less competitive.

- If you think 60% tax rates end to end (income, accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, excise tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capital gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, airport and FAA taxes and fees, estate tax, misc internet sales tax and many more taxes that I can't recall at the moment) will make the US competitive, along with compulsory programs to provide everyone with health care is going to make the US competitive in the age of India and China, you are incapable of understanding what it takes to build and maintain a successful industrialized republic.

- As the US nationalizes/rations healthcare to the least common denominator of affordability without regard to efficacy, people with money will simply look into medical tourism so those with money can go to medical parks in India and get real health care. Those who have lived in Canada or in the UK can tell you "free" healthcare is not a panacea. If you think this, you are again, a useful idiot. The NHS in the UK has given bad blood and Hepatitis and AIDS infected blood to people, and Jade Goody who just died was misdiagnosed twice resulting in her death (She was "all cleared" twice of the cervical cancer which she just died of). The NHS in the UK is not able to be sued or held accountable. Neither will Obama's rationed health care service for America.
- Sorry to bust the socialist bubble, but support of these types of policies will simply lower the standard of living in the USA, particularly for the middle class. At least at the end of the Eisenhower projects the USA got roads to show for the spending, and with this new spending, the USA could have built power plants that get the USA out of funding the middle east via constant demand for middle-eastern oil, but the age of government for the sake of government is upon us, and the useful idiots line up and believe empty promises.
- The pentagon along with Bechtel, Kroll, Bluewater, Halliburton, etc, could get less than half of what they get today, but that will fix nothing fundamental in terms of government spending. It is simply not enough to make a difference when compared to the Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security entitlements.
See: YouTube - US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy [] []
- If Obama thinks its ok to lie to 300 million people about being able to "take care of them" without even being honest about what that care would look like, then being an idiot and believing in Obama is for you.
- The head of the IRS and the head of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, is a Tax Cheat
- Lied about no lobbyists - their numbers are growing within Obama's ranks as he issues exemptions.
- The US Government already has over 50% of the budget spent on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security. Socialists: Good job on that one, its working great. Solution to the current near-collapse-due-to-over-spending: add more unfunded entitlements! And this is still a "George Bush" budget. Over half is being spend on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security.
- This man is such a propagandist that he invented "The Office of the President Elect," the seals, the flags, the podium and that forum was all props and the media never once questioned any of it. It was an invention. This is the power of Obama, technicalities and rules do not apply.
- The Socialist-liars can break my spirit and my financial back to force me to "need" a federal government that is turning this country into a police state and is turning it into a quasi-socialist lie, but I will, I must put up a fight. I have kids to educate and feed, and the stuff the pseudo-socialist authoritarian Obama sells (which is failing to various degrees everywhere else as implemented) is simply forcing a culture of failure on a once great, libertarian free country.
- I will not be complacent with your "change," and there will be a point where civil war will become an option. See how hard you can push before you get it. How much more than half can the truly productive workers in this country afford to pay. Keep pushing to find out how to start a civil war. The scariest thing about Obamabots is the amount of pleasure they derive from completely defying the US Constitution and giving the government non-enumerated non-extant powers to rule over everyone's quality of life.
- The socialist-lie of a plan will not work, its not fundable, it will destroy the currency to fund it, and its really as simple as this: if this insanity is funded by borrowing from the US's economic and military adversaries then Obama and his socialist cabal is not fit to administrate society. Rome fell. Kings who mis-manged their treasuries all fell. Every example of unhinged spending leads to the same result: systemic collapse.
- Obama and his sycophantic lunatics would want to have a civil war to get Obama's way and force the socialist-lie system on my already tax paying law abiding ass. And as far as "no new taxes" for those under 250k, its a lie, the tax is called inflation, which is set to begin just about now that the Chinese wont want the USA's worthless treasuries to fund the socialist-lie fantasy (one that COMMUNIST China doesn't even try and sell to its people!) Also, what Obama fails to mention is the states are now compelled to implement his new rules, and to follow the rules the states must raise taxes. Obama may not tax those under 250k, but every last one of the 50 states will.
- Barack Obama's numbers don't add up. There is a $59 trillion dollar hole (UFDO) in social security alone. AIG $150 billion here, TARP $350 billion there. $800 billion for a highly dubious pork laden stimulus package. Another one on the way. $59 trillion hole in the balance sheet IGNORED. China saying they aren't going to buy treasuries, calling for new reserve currencies, Clinton clamoring to find buyers now. $3.6 trillion dollar budget, potential military action on Mexico, Iran still a "terrorist state" at the behest of the AIPAC, spending up, dollar about to fall, inflation over time since Breton Woods extremely easy to document, yet, the socialist-liars question when the numbers (the Federal Government numbers) simply don't add up to the point where if the US-GOV was a company it would be insolvent.
-How dare the taxpayers question what Barack Obama's drastic spending increases are going to do to the purchasing power of our savings because Barack Obama wants to recklessly spend and try to maintain and American empire AND guarantee a standard of living, and Obama doesn't even want to build a single nuclear power plant to do it? Barack Obama must be a complete and total lunatic moron at best. He is a man child, akin to Michael Jackson, who does not live in the real world. This guy has turned the White House into a Neverland Ranch.
- Obama is either a negligent idiot or an unhinged maniac with delusional fantasies. Meanwhile, Obama's tax dodging Treasury Secretary has 17 unfilled positions, the Treasury Dept. isn't even functioning at this point while the rest of the world steadily loses faith in one of the two things that makes the USA relevant in the world at all: the dollar as a "hard" or reserve currency and the US military.
- "General welfare" in the constitution was, according to the man who wrote it, Madison, meant to be extremely limited in scope. The federal government per the constitution doesn't even have the enumerated POWER to deal with economic messes. A lot of these "POWERS" were created while there is a crisis to dupe the public into accepting an un-constitutional authoritarian regime as the government and to usurp authority over the people.
- The USA is a constitutional republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting to eat a sheep. Also a constitutional republic isn't about using a barely-majority or a plurality to stuff your (un-fundable disastrous) crap down the disenfranchised other-half's throat.
- With Obama's authoritarian corrupted criminal (aiding and abetting a criminal in flight of prosecution, Rich case) Eric Holder in charge, we won't have our inalienable and enumerated rights to firearms much longer. For a constitutional law expert, Obama must have never read the federalist papers or he would simply hand himself as a traitor. Already there is talk of banning firearms to help Mexico's fight against the cartels. What they fail to mention is the firearms that are being used there are Mexican Military firearms being used by those who defected from the Mexican Army into the cartels directly! The firearms in question were sold to the Mexican military, over 170,000 soldiers are gone with the guns. And now the US citizens have to give up inalienable and enumerated rights? This is insanity.
- The arbitrary expansion of "general welfare" is not only unconstitutional, it may very well lead to a serious conflict on the issue.
- Here is a debate on general welfare and how stuff like this came to pass, but was clearly no intended by the authors of the document of root law.
In Federalist No. 41, James Madison asked rhetorically: "For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?" (In reference to the general welfare clause)
So strongly did the founders believe that "general welfare" wouldn't be expanded as written:
In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton indirectly confirmed Madison's point. (That the "general welfare" clause was "clearly" not a free pass for government)
Hamilton argued that a bill of rights, which many were clamoring for, would be not only unnecessary, but dangerous. Since the federal government was given only a few specific powers, there was no need to add prohibitions: it was implicitly prohibited by the listed powers. If a proposed law a relief act, for instance wasn't covered by any of these powers, it was unconstitutional.
  "why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?"
Hamilton goes on to argue that making Amendments (e.g., enumerating Free speech, press and assembly) and enumerating the 'right' would have the following effect:
  (A bill of rights) "would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power that is, a power to regulate the press, short of actually shutting it down. "
  "With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison [The US Supreme Court has found the meaning of "general welfare" in the Constitution to be much more elastic than did Mr. Madison. But as the "author of the Constitution," what does he know?]
James Madison, when asked if the "general welfare" clause was a grant of power, replied in 1792, in a letter to Henry Lee,

If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.

"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government , and to provide new Guards for their future security. ...--The Declaration of Independence
- Monetizing failures causes more. Japan showed us this for decades. But hey, Barack Obama is actually dumb enough to think you can fix a problem DECADES in the making with a quick fixer-upper. He is screwed in the head or, more likely, lying to the American public to quickly get done the things he wants to get done before he gets thrown out on his ass.
- The complaints are with the Federal government (in general) since Breton Woods. The Federal Government and Obama's minions STILL didn't listen to David Walker, a Clinton appointee and former head of the GAO. This isn't about political parties anymore- its about spending the future to the point where today collapses. History is replete with examples of fiat currencies and deficit spending leading to collapse.
- Show me a single federal budget that was less than the previous. If this $3.6T budget goes, it is never coming back barring systemic collapse. The only President to ever see the US Public Debt at $0 dollars is Andrew Jackson.
- The United States Federal Government, The United States Federal Reserve, and the banks which were enabled to continue down reckless paths by a quasi government agency known as the Federal Reserve whose actions are not subject to congress and whose members are unelected. This situation is untenable and unconstitutional.
- Every inflationary road taken in history ends in collapse. Keynesian policies are widely regarded as no longer workable. And while Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, David Walker, Nouriel Roubini, Warren Buffet and Jim Rodgers warn about or predict all the failures, people still refuse to listen to the possibility that the US economy may contract for many years, and spending at these levels is something that can give way to a collapse.
- Inflation is a tax: What ignorant tax and spenders don't take into account here is the relative percentages of people's wealth (both net and gross) and the costs of owning and maintaining houses, cars, standards of living.
- Inflation via deficit spending is going to make it such that you will be paying a lot more by percentage of your income to maintain a given standard of living. Obama's arguments are so poorly thought out and seek to blame "Republicans" for the mess, its really simply laughable - this unhinged budgeting and currency management crisis needs cleanup now, not worsening.
- You can't spend your way out of a hole if the creditors (e.g. China) start telling the USA they won't buy. It is that simple. Now America starts to have to collateralize the debt with assets. The USA will be selling off chunks of American assets to back the new debt. One day, it may even be necessary to sell Alaska back to Russia because no one will take greenbacks to prop up a failing version of a modern Rome.
- Ah, here we go with the Matthew Lesko arguments. [] []
Interest rates were on the rise before the government stepped in with free money for everyone (the fine print of course indicate massive strings attached).
Other economies, for example, India, have the central rates set to far more reasonable/realistic rates (at the moment ~ 8+%), which is still tends to be too low, but shows that if you need someone else capital you need to pay a premium for it, and given that capital is in short supply, it would stand to reason that a premium must be charged for it.
The problem is the unrealistic growth rates of mature economies don't allow for profiting via growth projections (rather than simply earning money). So the government steps in, turns on the free money spigot, gets the interest rates for savings down in the 1-2% range while diluting the value of the whole currency in order to prop up dying companies that ran the business like a Madhoff Ponzi scheme. Ponzi schemes need new money or they cease to exist. This is why the Federal Reserve is trying to issue more Reserve Notes. Without this fresh input of printed money, the Ponzi scheme will collapse.
- The Republicans aren't solely responsible for the crisis as Obama's minions would have you believe, congress is (no particular congress), the Executive of the US government (no particular one) and the US Federal Reserve System are all at fault.
- Fundamentally, the government is trying to fix the prices of various things to "make it all work." This pulling on the invisible hand is a fools venture. It was predicted long ago the housing collapse (and those, such as myself, in the know, wished while realizing the housing collapse coming that we were wrong for everyone's sake - but the truth is the truth) . It may be that the Austrian (von Mises) economists will ultimately be proven right.
- We are a nation of partially educated whiney grabby idiots, and we got the government that represents this. The Chinese, India and other up and coming nations will show no mercy for this arrogant abuse of our status as the world's forex reserves.
- War and asset sales will continue to be the only option for this scheme until it is corrected at the core. And to say that the government has already averted a depression by doing what they did (most of the monies injected wont be "felt" for some time), is just arrogance and stupidity. Price fixing prolonged the Great Depression. Price-fixing (or attempting to) houses will do the same, but probably worse.
- Obama's minions simply don't care if the US is bankrupted and rendered insolvent, they just want a say in how its done, presumably to "feel safe." Rather selfish.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." AND "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin (Possibly Richard Jackson)

- Everyone better realize that inflation will pay a major role in funding un-fundable fantasies, wiping the savers and the middle class out. The problem is, that other countries are growing tired of making our Federal Reserve notes worth something by buying our debt as treasuries. Obama's minions talk about spending, but in order to "get what YOU want" you will sell debt to potential economic and military adversaries? Real bright. What's really sad is that despite David Walker being an authority on these issues, people refuse to even watch him and listen to what he is saying. Instead of seeing the truth and the bottom line of the unfunded debt obligations, they want HOPE and CHANGE, which are simply concepts which the foolish change into their own personal hopes and changes, but Obama never bothered to outline what to hope for exactly or what he will be changing.
- We have a fraud, a huckster, an empty suit for a President, a Community Organizer. This man does not have the ability to formulate an original thought, or to command action. He is a know nothing that lives in a pretend world just like Michael Jackson ensconced himself in Neverland ranch, he will hide behind those who surround him, which happen to be incompetent people who have no compunction about spending the country into oblivion to achieve personal agendas.
- On the success of Canada and its form of Socialism: A huge country like Canada with massive amounts of uranium and tar sands and natural resources and a huge land mass with a scant 30 million people is an order of magnitude less of a problem to manage than a country with 10x its population, a serious leaky southern border, backfiring aggressive foreign policy, particularly with Iran, and the US is competing with countries like India and China whose middle classes are larger than the US's entire population. The top 5 students in every Indian and Chinese primary school out numbers all the kids in primary school in the US. Canada is a idyllic island, the USA is front and center in an all out economic and political clash of ideologies.
- Cap and trade (and pollution control for solving global problems) will never work unless the top 10 countries in the world (in terms of GDP, manufacturing capacity and population) are on board. Period. end. If the world doesn't quickly move to nuclear now and fusion shortly, it is over. Possibly not if every home on the planet gets a wind vane, but that seems unlikely to happen (since its possible now).
- Keynes calls it "the paradox of thrift" and suggested that policies forcing people not to save is a "good idea." The guy wanted people spending all the time, or if he didn't, he never conveyed that to his protégés well enough for them to not do what they are doing. Right now the plebeians in the US are actually stashing cash, and everyone from Obama to the media is trying to get people to spend spend spend. The best thing for the long term is for people to prepare for the coming hell, not set out with no reserves.
- I have seen Keynes invoked to justify nearly every bad move in the past decade, and its warming up to be a potential currency collapse, the collapse of the US Treasury and Federal Reserve notes, and a collapse of the NYSE. And then they invoke Keynes to suggest the best way out of the mess is to spend out of an already near-critically debt massed black hole.
- A house is run like a town is run like a country or business is run like a state is run like a government. If there are things the government is doing that would either force your home into bankruptcy or into jail via fraud charges, then the government and banks shouldn't be operating in that fashion. A certain degree of stretchy liquidity is in order, but in terms of percent of GDP, there is no way of justifying what they US has now.
- Iceland failed at 850 percent debt to GDP. The US is at 350 and rising. It is not a good thing at all.
- What is happening to the dollar as a forex standard. [] []
- March 19, 2009 C-SPAN - "Let's Quit Destroying Our Dollar!" [] []
- HR 1207 (A bill to make the Fed more accountable and to answer questions regarding the dollar policy) [] []

Title: Obama sidetracked by fiscal mess, but presses on [] []
"Being heard above the din may prove difficult. Lawmakers are wrangling over taxing people who got big bonuses and worrying the president's budget could generate $9.3 trillion in red ink over the next decade."
- Kremlin to pitch new global currency [] []
Russia proposes creation of global super-reserve currency.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Re:"...shorter time-to-trial..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984502)

No. Defendants may actually benefit from a longer time to trial even when a PI is issued. A PI means the judge believes there is infringement and is often followed up with a summary judgment motion for infringement. If you've lost a PI motion you're one step away from losing the case, and the more time you have to develop defenses the better. Also, injunctions can be appealed and a favorable decision on appeal can be enough to sway the court to the defendant's side.

Disgusting (4, Insightful)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982488)

It's a real shame that the patent system has been able to be manipulated so effectively, to siphon hard-earned money from real companies, and real inventors, into the pockets of these parasites. They're nothing but a drain on everyone. Lemelson's legacy lives on!

I'm glad this is getting some attention, though.

Re:Disgusting (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982818)

Every system has holes. Lawyers these days only work to manipulate the flaws in the legal system; in the same way, I've found interesting effects of applying the rules in full of the IRS tax system to my 401(k) to nullify every penalty for taking i.e. hardship distributions (that being, you can't contribute to your 401(k) for 6 months), and figured out how to use my 401(k) as a tax evasion machine to lower my tax burden to 13.75% total (rather than 35% on my income) while still contributing a large (now larger) chunk of my paycheck to my 401(k).

Re:Disgusting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982928)

It's a real shame that the patent system has been able to be manipulated so effectively

Let's call a spade a spade here: it was designed that way. You make it seem like government is the victim, when in fact, government is every bit as much to blame as the crooks who exploit government. After all, government holds the key.

Re:Disgusting (2, Insightful)

doramjan (766519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983192)

It's not the patent system that's being manipulated; the court system is being manipulated.

Re:Disgusting (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984868)

Both are being manipulated.

The problem would not exist without a set of patent laws (and a USPTO) which encourage this type of systemic abuse.

Whether any fair patent system can exist, or is necessary, is another question entirely -- but it's clear that the rules defining our current treatment of patents are fundamentally flawed.

Both are being manipulated (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986396)

Both are being manipulated. And the patent office as well.

Don't Abbreviate (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982528)

Don't abbreviate it to NPE. Spell it out, each time - non-practicing entity. By just saying three letters, it weakens the point that these companies do nothing. They exist solely to sue. They are the personification of what is wrong with the patent system. Make it clear that these companies are leaches that do nothing of good. They are non-practicing entities.

We may have issues when companies like (for example) Nokia and Apple wage patent warfare but both of these companies spend enormous fortunes on R&D and they both produce exceptional products. While the patent system may be borked, it exists so that companies like Nokia and Apple may exist and view R&D as a worthwhile expense. Patent trolls should be legislated out of existence. Don't produce anything using the patent? Bye bye patent. Your business model is built around "buy patent, sue everybody in sight"? Bye bye company. Start with that and we might get closer to a point where the patent system isn't a joke.

Non-practicing entity. Spell it out. Make it clear. Leaches who do nothing of value.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (5, Insightful)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982700)

Don't abbreviate it to NPE. Spell it out, each time - non-practicing entity. By just saying three letters, it weakens the point that these companies do nothing. They exist solely to sue.

Right, because universities, individual inventors, and non-profit research organizations do nothing and exist solely to sue. Oh, wait, those are actually common examples of non-practicing entities. For example, in the article the chart of damage awards exceeding $100 million lists 4 NPE plaintiffs, one of whom is an individual inventor (a doctor who invented a kind of drug-eluting stent) and another is Cornell University.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (5, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983018)

For universities it's easy: as most of them benefit from public funds, they shouldn't be able to patent anything and release it all under the public domain for the public's benefit.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983106)

Wouldn't it be better if they had patents to license and were thus not dependent on public funds?

Re:Don't Abbreviate (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983492)

That is a bad idea, because that would cause universities to only research what makes the most money, not what is best for humanity.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0, Redundant)

Dalambertian (963810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984526)

The pursuit of publishable research and what is best for humanity are not necessarily the same thing.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985396)

This assumes that the researchers care about the financial prosperity of the institution once they have tenure, or that the institution presumes to know what "makes money". This is academia, after all.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983124)

I do see your argument, but a counter-argument is easy. By doing so, you will be cutting off a source of income for them, ensuring that they need to have more public money to maintain their activities and so costing the public more.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983356)

It costs the public more, but you also get a benefit: namely patent free technologies that can be incorporated into products far and wide. It is actually a public good to have more technology available to entrepreneurs who would make the best use of it, instead of just to large corporations who can afford the up-front costs of licensing the dozens of patents they need to tie together to make a new product.

Then again, I'm also one of those crazy people who thinks the Public Domain and Fair Use should be greatly expanded for the same reason. All of the great men of the world did their work standing on the shoulders of giants, and we have been letting the system stifle that for too long IMHO.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985054)

Yes, because the US government and population at large have such a stellar record of funding institutions of higher education.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986486)

It costs the public more, but you also get a benefit: namely patent free technologies that can be incorporated into products far and wide.
Yes. But. Value is defined by the bottom line, not something abstract like the "public good".

Sad but true story.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (2, Informative)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983542)

As an anecdote to this, I'm in grad school now, and I'm funded based on patents my school received in the 40s and 50s. (And a bunch since then, but there are a couple from way back when which turned into millions of dollars for the school, which was then invested into the research endowment of the school.)
Which is better? Patenting something, and then using the money from that to fund tens to hundreds of thousands of students, or releasing it to the US for free? I can see the argument both ways. But in my mind, the chance that one of those students ALSO went on to do something which also benefited society is pretty damn large. Based on the research that's been done at my school in the last 50 years, I'm willing to bet that the US was better off with the school keeping the patents, and milking them for all the research they could get out of them.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983696)

Patenting something, and then using the money from that to fund tens to hundreds of thousands of students, or releasing it to the US for free?

That depends. Would the economy of the USA have increased enough as a result of those inventions being unpatented that the increased tax revenue would have funded more students? How much do you think the economy of the UK has benefitted from the fact that DERA forgot to patent the TFT before publishing it? VAT collected from laptop sales almost certainly dwarfs any potential royalty that potential patent royalties and all of the people with digital cameras, working with their laptop on the train to work, and so on are contributing a lot more to the economy than someone collecting patent revenue would have done.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (2, Interesting)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983994)

It all depends on the company, really. If that money goes into slush funds, ridiculous executive salaries, and market speculation, it wouldn't be all that great for the economy. If it went to a company that provided fair wages and invested in its workers, it would be fantastic.
Overall, corporations abuse patents. It's in their best interest to squeeze as much money out of them as possible, despite any ill effects on other businesses, the economy, or anyone else. Educational institutions milk them for additional funding to do more research. I guess I trust research colleges to be better citizens than any corporation ever could be.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984096)

By doing so, you will be cutting off a source of income for them, ensuring that they need to have more public money to maintain their activities and so costing the public more.

Where do you think they get their money from with patents?

Either it comes from a patent troll who will stifle innovation or it comes from a company making products which the public buy.
"The public" will be paying for it either way.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (2, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983176)

For universities it's easy: as most of them benefit from public funds, they shouldn't be able to patent anything and release it all under the public domain for the public's benefit.

Well, you have to repeal/amend the Bayh-Dole Act [] that essentially gave universities the right to patent their findings. I think before that the patents went to the United States government if they funded the research. I know that our friends at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) have courted the government to keep funding them by offering Institutional Patent Agreements [] . Does WARF sound familiar to you? It should [] .

There's a lengthy blog post about this [] that has good quotes and points from both sides including:

Georgia Tech professor Mark Allen said "In a number of circumstances, the competitive advantage afforded through exclusivity [that is, patent monopoly] may be absolutely critical to justify the risk undertaken by a company in developing a product from a promising early-stage university technology, as it was in the case of Cardiomems." Professor Allen, also Chief Technology Officer at Cariomems, did not reveal his compensation from privately-held Cardiomems using the patented technology from his Georgia Tech research.

Susan B. Butts, Dow Chemical Company, had a different perspective: "Although the Bayh-Dole Act has enabled the transfer of technology developed with federal funds from US universities to industry it has also contributed to a contentious climate around the issue of intellectual property (IP) rights which discourages research collaborations between industry and US universities. Second, most foreign universities, which do not have the IP expectations created by Bayh-Dole, allow industry research sponsors to own or control inventions resulting from the research that they fund. This much more favorable treatment of IP is causing companies to do more of their sponsored research abroad [emphasis added]."

And, you know, with how much value we place on intellectual property elsewhere it would seem that the amount of funding and rewards universities are getting for this research is down right laughable. So the Bayh-Dole Act was a very simple solution: let both parties involved benefit from the research and allow the university to reap the benefits of licensing and royalties.

What's a better alternative method for appropriate rewards?

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986194)

Uh - there's a contradiction when, on the one hand, you've been cutting public funding for universities (in real dollars/as fraction of GDP) for the last four decades straight and then, on the other hand, complain that universities should somehow not be allowed to make industrial profits by patenting things.

Cornell, in particular, is a private university. I do not know what fraction of their research funding is public money, but I seriously doubt it's anything to write home about.

Your refusal to put the costs of higher education and the attendant research into the public domain keeps the results of it out of the public domain.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983434)

No, they don't fit the bill, because they did the research, invested money in it and it's only common sense to expect something in return, the GP clearly meant those that do not use the patent nor are they the original researchers. Because of this the US lost it's edge a long time ago, and just now the effects are really starting to show.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984930)

Furthermore: Universities are actively trying to license their inventions and get them out in the open and in widespread use.

Patent trolls don't. They sit on patents and wait for someone to implement something they have a patent for and then attack.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984116)

Good job completely missing his point.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

mikerz (966720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984894)

Universities and Health Insurance companies are giant companies. Look to the Board of Directors of any University: you will find they own most of the business around and on campus. Even non-profit companies are all about profit for the people controlling them. While this isn't always true, it typically is and indicates that the system is not structured accordingly. Anyway, I don't see why the government ought to be helping companies get more profit or maximize their funding, whatever their perceived usefulness is.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982784)

Don't abbreviate it to NPE. Spell it out, each time - non-practicing entity. By just saying three letters, it weakens the point that these companies do nothing. They exist solely to sue. They are the personification of what is wrong with the patent system. Make it clear that these companies are leaches that do nothing of good. They are non-practicing entities.

I know that likely I'll be modded into oblivion because I disagree with this.

While the potential of patent abuse by NPEs exists (and has been seen to occur), NPEs are an important part of the patent system. They allow for better valuation of patents.

Let's say I invent something, which some company uses in their flagship product, making millions off my invention. Let's say that I am unable to bring my product to market (because of limited capital, because of limited knowledge, because of a single market for my invention that someone else has control of... pick a reason, or multiple ones).

My choices in seeking redress are to set up my own company to litigate the matter, or to sell the patent to someone who will litigate it. There are other choices, but these are the best ones available.

Why should I outsource the litigation to someone who is much more efficient at it? Why shouldn't I offload the risk of unsuccessful litigation, in exchange for a reduced payout? Why shouldn't a company be allowed to do assume the risk and cost of the patent litigation, in exchange for the potential reward?

Not allowing NPEs limits the ability of small inventors to overcome the cash of huge corporations. It gives those with the deepest pockets even more of an advantage.

The key is to prevent abuse of the system by NPEs. Unfortunately, any system will be abused by those seeking unfair gain. So we need to balance the rights of patent-holders against the potential for abuse. Eliminating NPEs trades one form of abuse (egregious litigation) for another (small patent-holders get screwed by the big corporations making millions off their inventions).

Re:Don't Abbreviate (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983034)

Let's say I invent something

Let's not, until you do. Can you name three patents for inventions in the past 20 years that were filed by Joe Basement which were subsequently abused by Evil Incorporated? And when I say "abused", I mean that you can show that they only started to design Widget X after the patent had been published, rather than that they were developed co-incidentally?

Three examples from the past 20 years, and I'll cede you the point.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983322)

Look at Microsoft's abuses. i4i and others.

It doesn't need to be Joe Basement (the single inventor), many firms are "small" when compared to the deep pockets of Microsoft, IBM, et al.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983712)

I wish I could come up with the abuses bu Google, Yahoo, APPLEDopplerGang, Roxio, Adobe, et al. But to you it is ALL MSFT. Try Google and Apple using open spurce code and tweaking it to make billions? Theft????? Or MSFT using something on the fly and getting caught, paying up and moving on. Which is more disingenuous? I'm sorry, am I using too large of words. Corp[orations do fall under Tort Law which includes (rudimentarily) misfeasence,malfeasance and nonfeasance which could be used instead of the patent troll courts in East texas and Virginia. It is a shame that i4i was able to bring suit against MSFT in E Texas and not in their home pf Toronto or even in the State of Washington. And you can rest assured that NVIDIA's suit against Intel will go to E Texas or VA also. And over what? They are non-competitors. But you know NVIDIA wants into the CPU market, soo-just like Real Player, etc (where are they now?) about the WMP, and what do we get? The courts leveling the playing field for someone who cannot compete on their own. Monopolies-bah!!!!

Re:Don't Abbreviate #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984622)


Indian motorcycle mechanic invents, prototypes(numerous) and tests(independent testing) ICE improvement - ie patterned cuts on the inside of cylinders to shape the explosion. It does produce more power but there are other issues he now has to address if I remember correctly pollution related limits

Extremely shortly there after GE patents something near identical for their green train engines .....

I'll find you 2 and 3 later today.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984038)

And in the same time, you're stifling the progress of a company that, more likely than not given the description in your scenario, did not willfully infringe upon your patent, but merely made the mistake of putting someone clever on their problem who happened to come up with a similar solution. If you are unable to gather investors for your product, especially given the viability of the market as demonstrated by the other company, then why should the other company be unable to use their solution?

And there still will be plenty of law firms willing to take your case, probably on a contingency.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982922)

See thing is you could still 'game' the system.

Lets say for arguments sake NPE's are legislated out of existence. What stops say a PE from just buying up the remains and continuing where it left off? It is profitable...

I didnt even put 2 mins of thought into that and was able to game around your 'fix'. A better fix would be to limit the damage these guys do. Such as 'yes you own the patent on this but make nothing' the fee is 500 million and the other company gets the patent too and must fair and reasonable terms it.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (3, Funny)

cormander (1273812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982950)

People are going to abbreviate no matter what you do, so we need to come up with an abbreviation that speaks for itself: POOP - People Orchestrating Obvious Patents Everybody say it with me. These companies are POOP!

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984146)

Hell, then they could hold an annual Forum Educating Companies About Litigation. All the POOPs will want to attend FECAL conferences.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (4, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982978)

Just goes to show that the US generally values the ability to convince people that something is true over the ability to discover that something is true. Time and again we see that marketing, fear mongering, and legal tactics overwhelm reasoned arguments and hard work. Not that I would have the laws simply torn down to get at this devil (see A Man For All Seasons [] ). We must take care in our approach to reform that we don't find ourselves adrift in a worse sea of argument and arbitrary assignment of winners and losers.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983056)

Universities spend a lot of money in research. And PhD students expect their contributions to be taken into account. If you created something that requires a platform to run on, but you don't have the platform, you expect the platform manufacturer to find you application useful and pay for it.

The issue with big companies is that they have lawyers, and they turn around their patents to cover others and avoid paying you fees. There is no easy way to figure out that people will misuse the system.

I recently read my country is planning to cut on the health program, because some had managed to get away with boob implants, and cosmetic surgeries as emergencies (although I agree that could be the case for some people, there are some others that found the loophole). The rest of the people shouldn't pay the consequences of the system abuse, but the system should be robust. Unluckily, the big companies always get away with it due to their political links.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983342)


Universities spend a lot of OUR TAX money in research.

Resource allocation within collapsing economies. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983234)

Collapsing economies always funnel more resources into the military, government and legal sectors. That's precisely what we see happening in the US, now that its manufacturing base has been destroyed over the past 40 years.

We're now about two generations away from the last generation that worked in our factories and produced real products. Most people born after 1970s have no recollection or understanding of what it was like when America was an industrial powerhouse, and a center of innovation and research. They have a very skewed perspective of what it means to "produce real wealth".

To them, "real wealth" includes pseudo-bullshit "financial instruments" based on debt. To them, "real wealth" is generated when one party sues another. To them, "real wealth" is the loss generated by manipulated prices of virtually limitless goods (for example, digital music) thanks to artificial scarcity created by copyright legislation.

They can't comprehend when physical goods were actually made in America, and they were built to last. All they know about are shitty goods manufactured in third-world countries that often don't even work out of the box.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984898)

We may have issues when companies like (for example) Nokia and Apple wage patent warfare but both of these companies spend enormous fortunes on R&D and they both produce exceptional products.

So they're somehow more virtuous than other €vuh£ Corpra$hun$ because they do R&D and manufacturing[1] under the same roof, but why should other companies be forced to do so? Why can't one company specialize in R&D and work with another that specializes in production and another that specializes in marketing. Have you heard of Adam Smith?

What if either of your holy companies decided, for whatever reason, to spin off one arm into a subsidiary? Would that invalidate all their patents? Because I don't see what, in reality, would change.

[1] Unless they outsource all that to China, in which case they're effectively NPEs too.

Re:Don't Abbreviate (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986460)

They exist solely to sue. They are the personification of what is wrong with the patent system.

And also with the corporate system altogether. Something about an entity that grants investors limited liability over its actions to make a return on investment -- as though that in-and-of-itself is proof that a particular corporation is a net-benefit to society.

Limited liability has replaced social justice in our society. I think we'd see a lot less unethical behaviour if investors were held responsible the more egregious actions those making money for them.

What I want to know is... (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982558) come patent trolls are awarded patents in the first place? Would it be possible to make an applicant show proof that they are in the planning stages or are currently using what they are trying to patent?

Or would that just be a logistical nightmare?

Re:What I want to know is... (4, Insightful)

bschorr (1316501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982792)

It would probably be pretty easy to fake that though. Create some bogus plans to produce the thing you're patenting but never actually go through with it. It would be too costly to follow-up on every patent to make sure people actually did what they said they would.

Plus there are folks who get patents who don't intend to actually produce the thing themselves, rather they want to license it to others. Sort of an "R&D Department for Hire" concept. Unfortunately it's a fine line between those who intend to license their patents and those who intend to lay in the weeds and wait for somebody to infringe their patent and then sue.

It's those kinds of parasites we need to figure out way to deal with.

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985568)

"Create some bogus plans to produce the thing you're patenting but never actually go through with it."

AKA vaporware.

Re:What I want to know is... (4, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982882)

how come patent trolls are awarded patents in the first place? Would it be possible to make an applicant show proof that they are in the planning stages or are currently using what they are trying to patent?

That's called a 'working requirement' or a requirement to practice the invention. A few countries have such a requirement (Turkey, for example), but the requirement is usually riddled with exceptions that make it essentially toothless. There are several reasons why a strong working requirement is a bad idea, as I explained in a comment [] on a recent Slashdot story [] that suggested forbidding patent ownership by or assignment to non-practicing entities.

In the US patents are personal property--and thus freely assignable--by statute. 35 U.S.C. 261 [] . Assignability is also guaranteed by Article 28 of the TRIPS Agreement [] , which is a treaty that the US is party to. So changing the assignability of patents would require amending the law and withdrawing from or amending a very important international treaty.

And even if the law were changed, it would mean that hundreds of patent holding companies would suddenly lose their patent rights because of an action by the government. That's called a taking, and the ex-patent holders would be able to sue the government for the value of the patents. It would be a massive litigation and cost the tax payer an enormous amount of money.

But anyway, how would we implement such a requirement? We could require that patents only be assigned to an entity that intended to practice the invention. Sounds great, right? No more patent holding companies, therefore no more trolls. There are at least five big problems with that:

1. Not all patents can be freely practiced because of other patents surrounding the technology. Imagine I own a startup company. If I invent a new transistor design I can't be expected to practice it myself: other companies have patents on things like manufacturing processes, bus designs, chip packaging, etc. I would have to license dozens of other patents in order to sell chips with my new transistor design. But that's backwards. Instead, I should license my one patent to companies like Intel and AMD and let them do the manufacturing and sales. But a requirement to practice means I couldn't do that; I'd have to practice it myself.

2. And what about pure research institutions like universities? They can't be expected to also become manufacturers.

3. But suppose we say it's worth making universities sell their patents. So now the patent will be owned by a single practicing entity. The patent can no longer stay with the university and be licensed to whoever will pay the fee. The end result is less competition in the market place for the finished product.

4. Okay, suppose we say that it's sufficient that the patent owner license the patent to at least one entity that is going to practice it. But then the law is too narrow. Almost no patent trolls actually rely on litigation damages for income; it's too uncertain and the margins are too narrow--and often negative. Litigation is just a tool to extract a licensing fee. So the end result is that the trolls can point to a manufacturer who licenses the patent and nothing changes.

5. What about patents on technologies that are ahead of their time? For example, suppose I invented an amazing new transistor design. It will make computers much faster but it requires X-ray lithography in order to work. Well, X-ray lithography is not cost-effective yet, so I can't really practice my invention. Does my patent just evaporate? How does that spur innovation?

As you can see, there are a lot of problems with such a proposal.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983028)

That's what I figured...logistically impossible, more or less.

Thanks for taking the time to write out a detailed answer...super interesting stuff :-)

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

Zequel (1696314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985868)

..That's called a taking, and the ex-patent holders would be able to sue the government for the value of the patents. It would be a massive litigation and cost the tax payer an enormous amount of money.

You're obviously a lawyer and I'm guessing there is a precedence for this 'taking'. Well think outside the box, maybe A) this precedence doesn't apply or B) the precedence is crap to begin with and should be ignored. I hate how lawyers rely on precedence so much. If it's not precedence, it's a law that can be repealed.
To be honest, I don't think it's so much a court system problem but with the patent system itself and idiotic patent examiners who don't know jack about software/technology and a patent office that prefers to generate revenue as opposed to doing their job.

Re:What I want to know is... (4, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982924)

I'm probably alone in this, but if the patents were of significant value, I wouldn't have a problem with the "trolls".

The problem is that they are not of significant value. Usually, they are trivial extensions of existing technology which are inevitable. Thus, they are worthless to exploit directly, but if you wait for someone else to exploit it you can derive more value from them. That's the problem that needs to be fixed.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985526)

Right. Another problem which needs fixing (after clearing all the trivial crap out of the patent database), is to develop better standards for describing patentable ideas and some method for building some sort of semantic database with which to contain them.

The current art in writing patents is to generate claims which, on their surface, appear to be unique and therefore patentable. But in fact they overlap with prior art or other patents. So we end up with some pretty obfuscated descriptions of what is being claimed, making searches more difficult.

One more thing we need to clean up the patent mess is some sort of open market place for licensing negotiations. All too often, the price of a license is determined more by what the trolls can extract from each licensee. Its like walking into Safeway to buy a loaf of bread and having the cashier assign it a price based on how much you've got in your wallet today.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986506)

To be fair, if I have a truly significant patent ( that is; it's a really unique idea ), why shouldn't I be able to charge whatever I want for it? Or refuse to license it at all? It's mine, after all.

The difference between this and your loaf of bread is this; If safeway determined cost by the amount the end user has, I would simply shop somewhere else. Bread is not a limited supply commodity, like a good patent is. If supplies were limited, and I held the patent on bread then I'd be well within my rights to charge whatever I felt like to whomever I chose.

Now, is that good business sense? Probably not, as if I'm a big enough dick about the cost people will find a way around my patent OR decide they just don't need it. That's not in my best interests, as the patent holder. Hence, the market corrects itself.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982956)

Patent trolls don't get awarded patents. They buy patents, typically from companies that are going out of business or have been purchased to be sold off in pieces. There are a few research institutes that make money by licensing research, though. Would they be considered non-practicing entities? Because that does seem like a legitimate use of the patent system.

Re:What I want to know is... (5, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983016)

There are a few research institutes that make money by licensing research, though. Would they be considered non-practicing entities? Because that does seem like a legitimate use of the patent system.

It's legitimate if they're actually doing research. It's not legitimate if they're just brainstorming a bunch of ideas based on the current state of the art and then patenting everything which comes out of the brainstorming session.

Re:What I want to know is... (4, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982972)

It'd be a nightmare. The guy who invented pulse wipers has sued every car company for royalties now; when he first invented them, he presented the idea to 2 car companies, who dismissed him because his idea was non-useful. They immediately implemented pulse wipers, followed by every other car manufacturer. After several years of legal bullshit, he managed to start making some headway and getting judgments against them for the theft of his idea.

Patents are marketable. Some folks like to sit back on a patent and wait for someone else to re-invent it, rather than go out there and risk someone finding a way to work around your idea so you can't sue them for it. If they successfully work around it, then they don't have to license the patent from you and can't be successfully sued, so there is incentive to attempt to come up with a similar-but-legally-different implementation. On the other hand, waiting for the entire industry to implement your invention and then suing everyone in the world is a shit move.

Forbidding inventors from profiting from their inventions would be a disaster. It would prevent small-shop inventors without the capital to make a real, marketable product from capitalizing on their work at all. I could design a new type of nuclear reactor, but I can't build any significant components for it and thus my invention is impossible for me to actually manufacture (I'd need hundreds of millions of dollars). I could license the design to someone else, of course. There may not be a market for new nuclear reactors at this time, though; maybe I need to wait 10 years....

What a mess, yes? The system has to make these considerations, but in doing so it leaves itself open for abuse. In failing to do so, however, it also leaves itself open for abuse.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984514)

When discussing the subject at hand, your story is a special case. He is someone who actually did get screwed by a (several?) large company, and I hope he was able to get satisfaction. He is who the patent system was meant to benefit.

Patent Trolls, which is what we're discussing, do not deserve patent protection. They do none of the research, none of the hard work. They simply try to acquire patents from other companies, and wait for someone else to come up with a similar solution to the problem. Most large companies tell their engineers to not read patent filings, lest they accidentally implement some of the disclosed ideas. Sitting back on a patent, and waiting for someone to re-invent it should be discouraged, not rewarded.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30985198)

Yes, but what I'm saying is sometimes you have a marketable idea that you can't currently market to anyone, but still want protection. We've seen this many times already, and we've seen people have marketable ideas that the market wasn't ready for-- many actual companies get a product to market way ahead of the technology curve, for example Apple had this with their network-ready phones....

In any case, there are things that need patent protection, which we can't really do anything with unless we're market movers. Unfortunately, the market movers will often wait out a patent as long as they can; for example, a patented portable MP3 player design would have been waited out until Apple noticed a demand and a market for a music store. If this was thought up in 1990, nothing would have happened until just after Napster came out; everyone would have figured, hey, a portable player that uses an internal hard drive would be way expensive and hold not much music.

Hell, they weren't marketable when they came out; they cost $300 and held 50 songs.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984086)

Most patent trolls don't even come up with the patent themselves. They go around to companies that are going under, and buy up their patent portfolio for cheap. Then they wait for some other company, preferably one with deep pockets, to do something marginally similar, and then they sue.

Those who can do. Those who can't sue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982564)

Fuck the police.

These thieves need a large dose of street justice.

Re:Those who can do. Those who can't sue. (4, Funny)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983390)

Well, considering that one of the hotbeds is Texas, maybe some of the defendants can use the "Well, he needed killin'" defense? ;)

Could patents be a tragedy of private property... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30982622)

,,, misapplied to information?

When Normalized... (2, Informative)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982674)

the number of patent cases filed yearly is on the rise significantly when normalized against the number of patents granted yearly.

Number of patents granted are also on the rise significantly when normalized against GDP.

Solve this the capitalist way (2, Funny)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982694)

The politicians can't be bothered with minor problems like the technology lead of the US. So let's just solve it the capitalist way.

Get the financial industry into the game, set up mutual funds and exchange traded funds to support patent trolls, get the investment banks into the game.

Once this gets started, within 6 months all the technology companies in the US will be able to do nothing. Then here's the smartest bit of the plan: the whole tech industry ask White House for a bailout because we've collectively become yet another too big to fail. So we get the money while we sit our asses doing nothing. No more death marches.

The perfect win-win situation! Wall Street wins, Silicon Valley wins!

Re:Solve this the capitalist way (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982894)

<quote>Get the financial industry into the game, set up mutual funds and exchange traded funds to support patent trolls, get the investment banks into the game.</quote>

That's the wrong way. The capitalist way is for people to get so sick of this shit that they insist congress enact legislation to fix the process. That'll never happen because most people don't give a shit. Well that and big business owns your congress critter so you really don't have a say in the process. Reality bites.

Cheers to Non Practicing Entitites! (5, Insightful)

BooRolla (824295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30982920)

This is great! The only way these things changing is if the game becomes to costly for the corporations who write the rules. I hope "NPEs" start putting more companies through the wringer.

Sounds harsh but consider this: If I independently created something useful and it blows up like Facebook or Google but infringes on some minor or trivial patent for IBM/MS/Apple/Etc, the fruits of my labor will be taken from me.

God bless the NPEs for taken advantage of the game created by the advantaged.

Re:Cheers to Non Practicing Entitites! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985780)

And by taking advantage of the game, they make it worse by encouraging IBM/MS/Apple/Etc to hoard trivial patents in the same way a patent troll would, if only to protect themselves from a troll holding those patents.

How can you expect God to bless that?

Who Benefits ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983108)

The question to ask yourselves is , Who funded this study and why ?

Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (3, Insightful)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983180)

Non-practicing entities exist in other legal and business contexts. Consider a car rental company, for example. It might own thousands of cars, yet it does not build cars, sell cars, or use the cars itself. What's more, it charges an obscene fee to rent a car compared to buying one (~$20/day for a compact is $7300/year!).

Sounds a lot like a patent troll, right? It doesn't use the technology, it won't sell the technology outright, and it quite possibly didn't even invent it in the first place.

But what both kinds of NPE provide is convenience and certainty. People pay car rental companies a comparative fortune because it's cheaper than owning a car in every city you might want to fly to, and the car rental company provides certainty that the car will be available, in reasonably good condition, properly titled, etc.

By the same token, a patent holding company provides convenience and certainty. Patents and patent applications are publicly available, so you can avoid wasting time and money on duplicate research and development by simply seeking a license from a company that has already done the work. And of course a license gives you legal certainty. Knowing that your product is licensed reduces the risk of an infringement lawsuit, which makes things like developing venture capital and contracting with suppliers and distributors easier.

Now, of course, there are problems. Too may patents are too vague to be of much practical use to a practicing entity because they don't go into adequate detail on how to actually make and use the invention. In response the courts are moving towards tightening the written description and enablement requirements, which I support. Another problem is that too many patents are actually invalid, and Microsoft is currently asking the Supreme Court to make patents easier to invalidate by eliminating the strong presumption of validity that patents currently enjoy, which is another reform I support. (That's right, Microsoft is trying to make it easier to invalidate patents).

The answer to the problem of non-practicing entities is not to ban them outright, nor to engage in overly narrow reforms that will only add complexity to the law. The solution is simple, broad reform that will increase the societal value of all kinds of patents while at the same time reducing the incentive to file for unsupported patents.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983408)

Non-practicing entities exist in other legal and business contexts. Consider a car rental company, for example. It might own thousands of cars, yet it does not build cars, sell cars, or use the cars itself. What's more, it charges an obscene fee to rent a car compared to buying one (~$20/day for a compact is $7300/year!).

Sounds a lot like a patent troll, right?

No, not really, a rental car company is actually providing a service to society at large. Such companies allow people to use cars on a short-term basis, like when you are traveling for business or please. On the other hand, NPE patent trolls provide no benefit for anyone besides themselves and at times considerable detriment to others.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30983464)

That has got to be the worst analogy ever. Non-practicing entities != car rental companies. A rental company provides a service. I don't want to have to buy and store a car in every city that I might conceivably visit for business or vacation.

The non-practicing entities are more like domain squatters. They build barriers to useful commerce without providing any services whatsoever.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983528)

Yes. Having invented something, you may not want to do a startup. Often, the technology developed is useful, but not suited for a standalone business, because it's better used as part of something else.

I hold several patents, and put "inventor" on my tax return. One patent was licensed to Autodesk, one was licensed to Havok, and I'm currently going after DARPA for patent infringement on a third. My fourth patent is about to issue, and a fifth one is in examination. In each case, there's a working implementation, but not necessarily a commercial product.

The one that was licensed to Havok is for an approach to game physics engines. I had the first ragdoll physics engine that worked, back in 1997, and I sold it as a high-end animation plug-in for a few years. But the physics engine middleware business looked awful as a business. Mathengine went bust, and Havok lost money for its founders and original investors. (Havok was revived by a second round of investors who bought in cheap and replaced the management team. In the VC community, this is called a "haircut".)

Most of the whining about patents comes from people who've never solved a hard problem. I've never had serious "obviousness" objections from the USPTO. For the ragdoll physics patent, we submitted, among other things, reviews of Trespasser, describing its miserable physics engine, with objects randomly flying off into the air ("This is the worst game I ever played"). That's a clear demonstration of non-obviousness - a big, expensive failure by a major organization to solve the problem. The USPTO accepts that.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984002)

"Non-obviousness" just means "someone else screwed this up at some point"? I've seen a lot of bad games, many of which I could probably fix the problems with if I had a mind to. Maybe I will, if that's the only standard of patentability.

That's quite aside from the issue that software should never be patentable. Software for a computer is like music for a guitar-copyright (for a genuinely limited time), yes, patent, no. Not tangible, and certainly doesn't work to "promote science and the useful arts"-allowing software patentability actually severely slows development in that field.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984240)

One patent was licensed to Autodesk, one was licensed to Havok

So, you went to them and said "hey look, I invented this neat thing that you can use for $x!" Or did you just wait for them to do the neat thing on their own and then threaten to sue them for $y if they didn't license it for $x, because there IS a difference.

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984576)

Here's the difference: Did you actually do the work involved in developing the patents, or did you find someone else who did, yet was going out of business, so you bought their patents and waited for someone else to do the work in implementing a similar solution?

Re:Nothing inherently wrong with NPEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985366)

"Non-practicing entities exist in other legal and business contexts. Consider a car rental company, for example. It might own thousands of cars, yet it does not build cars, sell cars, or use the cars itself. What's more, it charges an obscene fee to rent a car compared to buying one (~$20/day for a compact is $7300/year!).

Sounds a lot like a patent troll, right?"

No it sounds nothing like a patent troll for one very important reason: patents grant an unnatural monopoly.
In your car rental situation there is no such thing, compact cars will and are usually rented by many vendors side by side bringing competition, you cannot license the same patent from multiple competing vendors, your analogy is fatally flawed as it doesn't capture the essence of the situation.

Not a good example (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 4 years ago | (#30986346)

An automobile is a rivalrous good; something that only one person can posses at a time. A patent licence is not; an unlimited number of licences may be issued for the same good. And a patent licence does not provide the same sort of security; multiple patents can apply to a product and most patents are worded more broadly than what they can apply to, making it difficult to know if a product is licenced or not.

Also, the "simple" solution is seriously lacking in details.

bigger picture (1)

bfr99 (1729262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30983548)

Who gets the money's derived from patents and new ideas is of little importance except to the parties concerned. Clearly an enormous amount of money and other resources are wasted in legal fees that might otherwise be spent on research, development and invention. On the other hand this is a rich country and the real issue is whether or not the constitutional goals of the patent system have been compromised: ... to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. This argument is similar to the discussion of medical malpractice lawsuits . The goal is clearly to design a system that encourages good medical care for as many people as possible as well as caring for those harmed by human and system errors. Sadly many, perhaps most people are financially motivated so the problem becomes how can we use financial carrots and sticks to align with good policy.

Patents are evil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30984248)

What would life be like if people patented things like the concept of putting beverages inside glass, metal, rubber, wood, or plastic containers, and then waited a couple hundred years to enforce the patent?

It would be the end of civilisation as we know it.

The only thing worse than that is Micro$$$oft.

Obligatory... (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984270)

...and in other news, water is wet.

Side Note (2, Insightful)

bakestyle20 (951118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30984568)

Might be off topic but.... Wish Bell Labs was still truckin.... All those public works patents made the world a better place and the R&D staff were compensated well. The failure of the firm though is just another instance of business executives and politicians banding together to ruin a strong and truly beneficial company.

The era of innovation is over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30985040)

Welcome to the era of litigation.

I thank you for 7Our time (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30986438)

ba7lots. You wcould all over America will recall that it
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