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Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Calls For Governments To End Patent Wars

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-that-amazon-ever-patented-anything dept.

Businesses 135

concealment writes with news that Amazon's Jeff Bezos has called for new legislation from governments to end abuse of the patent system. He said, 'Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the patent system and see if those laws need to be modified because I don't think some of these battles are healthy for society.' His comments are from an interview with the UK's Metro. Bezos was also optimistic about the future of the private space industry: "If private companies can start to generate profits from this kind of activity then you’ll start to see the flywheel spin more rapidly and we’ll make more progress, because I really do think we want to live in a civilization where millions of people are living and working in space."

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Obviously (0, Troll)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41684355)

Bezos has run out of ideas and wants to start using other peoples for free.

Re:Obviously (5, Funny)

lewscroo (695355) | about 2 years ago | (#41684445)

I guess Amazon is just a One Click Pony.

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684655)

Or perhaps 'one click' was intended to discredit the whole system.
You know increase misery so as to precipitate revolution.

Re:Obviously (1)

AikonMGB (1013995) | about 2 years ago | (#41684939)

I would get it, but I don't believe it.

Re:Obviously (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#41686105)

Really? He's licensed it to Apple, and sued Barnes and Noble over it. Definitely working as he intended.

Re:Obviously (1)

epSos-de (2741969) | about 2 years ago | (#41686423)

Could not find a living Pony on Amazon. Where did you see it ?

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684463)

Bezos has run out of ideas and wants to start using other peoples for free.

Or maybe because he sort of failed? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684765)

I did not know Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, AT&T, Google, Microsoft etc were part of the Government. Did Amazon get out of the Government? Is that why he wants Government to stop Patent Wars?

Re:Obviously (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41685961)

He could show he means business by putting the "One-click" patent in the public domain and refunding everybody he's sued over it.

Yes, and no. (2, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41684387)

I agree with him on patent reform.

However, I suspect that it's impossible to write a set of laws that leeches can't find a way to exploit, for their own benefit at the detriment of the greater good.

Re:Yes, and no. (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41684455)

I may agree with Bezos, but I still feel a little like it's Satan complaining about forest fires in Hell.

Re:Yes, and no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684793)

I always compare him to Lex Luthor, myself.

Re:Yes, and no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684889)

Not quite. Satan owns Hell. It's within his property rights to complain if his forests are immolated without his consent. He can send his sons - the lawyers - to seek compensation.

Bezos is more like the mortal complaining how other people could make deals with the devil, just like he did. He suddenly realized that Satan's sons worked for Satan, and not him.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

gtall (79522) | about 2 years ago | (#41686207)

More like a snake at a dinner party who acts surprised when a guest is missing and there's that suspicious lump slowing sliding down its snake belly.

We need a patent system based on freedom (3, Interesting)

qbitslayer (2567421) | about 2 years ago | (#41684641)

The current patent system is harmful to society because it tramples on freedom and gives unfair powers to patent holders. The purpose of patents is to provide an incentive for innovation and compensate inventors for their hard work. However, it should not infringe on the freedom of others. That would be counter to its purpose. Above all, the system must never serve as a carte blanche for a few to bully others out of the market. What we need is something like this:

1. A special independent fund must be set aside to compensate inventors for their inventions and reward innovation.
2. A retroactive formula must be adopted to calculate the amount of the compensation.
3. The formula must be adjustable so as to establish the best return for society at large in terms of innovations.
4. Last but not least, whatever the formula chosen, it must never infringe on the right of the individual to copy and use any invention for any ethical purpose.

Inventors should register and publish their findings as soon as they can because their compensation will depend on how much society like and use their ideas. Of course, we still need a Patent bureau and a system to manage claims and the proper registrations of inventions. The system should be able to determine the usefulness and popularity of an invention and how much work went into researching and creating the invention. It should also be as automated as possible.

Re:We need a patent system based on freedom (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#41686001)

The current patent system is harmful to society because it tramples on freedom and gives unfair powers to patent holders.

Almost.

It gives power to the people with the most attorneys (and the people who interact least with those attorneys, they just order the attorneys to get on with it then go and play golf).

Re:We need a patent system based on freedom (2)

FrangoAssado (561740) | about 2 years ago | (#41686229)

Of course, we still need a Patent bureau and a system to manage claims and the proper registrations of inventions. The system should be able to determine the usefulness and popularity of an invention and how much work went into researching and creating the invention. It should also be as automated as possible.

It seems to me that this system would have exactly the same problem we have today: that is, to determine whether if a particular device uses a particular invention. Except that, in your proposal, this information would be used to determine how much compensation the inventor receives. So, it doesn't solve the problem of patent trolls at all, it just changes who feeds the patent trolls (in your system, it would be whoever gives money to the independent fund, i.e., everyone).

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41684737)

You can start by making sure the law applies to everybody, equally.

This guy only wants an end to the bad PR that is coming out of these wars. He wants the 'five families' to make peace before their political support abandons them.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#41685373)

You can start by making sure the law applies to everybody, equally.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
--- Anatole France

It's nearly impossible to make a law that applies equally to everyone, because we're all different, in different situations. Companies, even more so. There's no way the same law can apply to a 100,000 person corporation and a mom/pop shop. (Mostly mom&pop are exempt, but not always)

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 2 years ago | (#41685537)

It's nearly impossible to make a law that applies equally to everyone, because we're all different, in different situations. Companies, even more s

You say this, but you provide zero evidence that it is so. I'm not sure if you're making a distinction between the law or the corrupt system under which it is implemented, because those are two different problems.

On the topic of could we stop patent abuse, sure we could. Hire more and better patent clerks, pay them a proper wage and encourage them to spend time researching so that they are patenting things that are actually innovative, not just different

Make the process of getting a patent for a real innovation trivial in cost, and the expense of making a bogus patent claim uncompromisingly huge.

I think that would about cover it, though the devil is in the details. Laws are not like computer programs. When written in clear language they do not require complex debugging.

Oh, the final ingredient in this mix is to write the law clearly.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41685667)

More likely the 100,000 person corporation buys exemptions to rules that are applied to mom & pop. And the bailouts have proven that the rich have license to steal. So, let's at least a apply a facsimile of equality here.

Re:Yes, and no. (3, Insightful)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 2 years ago | (#41684907)

That's because laws are fixed. In any scenario, if you stare at fixed defenses long enough, you can find some way to get around them. What you need is a vigilant and trustworthy justice system that punishes attempts to get around the law.

It can happen, it's just that it comes closer to fascism than most people are comfortable with. If you want to punish abuses of the law, you have to say, "Even if the law would let you get away with it, I won't." That's not how most people view a free and open society, although arguably it is necessary to maintain one.

Re:Yes, and no. (2)

AuMatar (183847) | about 2 years ago | (#41685313)

The way to game that is to get to be the man making those decisions. Sometimes, there's just no way to win. You pick the least bad route.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41685991)

Sometimes, there's just no way to win. You pick the least bad route.

Quite so. There's no ideal world, and putting more people in prison won't achieve one.

The physicians have a good saying: "first, do no harm."

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41685949)

"Even if the law would let you get away with it, I won't." That's not how most people view a free and open society, although arguably it is necessary to maintain one.

That society would be neither free nor open.

Free and open societies may allow some injustices to occur. But the notion that totalitarian (not fascist [econlib.org] ) societies don't is just totalitarian propaganda. So, the actual choices available are freedom or (soft) slavery.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | about 2 years ago | (#41686101)

Free and open societies may allow some injustices to occur. But the notion that totalitarian (not fascist [econlib.org] ) societies don't is just totalitarian propaganda.

Propaganda for a type of government is silly; the people actually in charge can and will make all the difference. The larger problem is that forms of government last across generations, and what might be right for one generation (a dictatorship with a benevolent king) can be terrible the next (the benevolent king's evil son). This is equally true with democracies, republics, federations, and all other forms of government; even anarchy might do alright for a generation or two before devolving into depravity and evil.

Part of the question of what government is best is about planning for this multi-generational span, and the modern answer (constitutional republics, especially with the legislative/judicial/executive breakdown) seem to do alright. However, especially now that the world's changing, we are getting a good look at some of the flaws, and I fear a little bit for the future. Given the complexity of the system, I wonder how it could possibly be fixed without someone using nearly dictatorial powers to overcome it.

And, naturally, the people involved may have different definitions of what a "fixed" system looks like, which is part of what makes it so dangerous to involve dictatorship...

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41686233)

Given the complexity of the system, I wonder how it could possibly be fixed without someone using nearly dictatorial powers to overcome it.

It'll be OK. We'll have some rough patches to get through, but really a Constitutional Republic was itself a reflection of the technology of the time. As our race progresses, we discard old systems and move on to ones that make more sense - big thinkers categorize "the State" as such an artifact. Granted, the in-between periods are the ugliest.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#41684951)

Unfortunately, his One Click (tm) model does not work for patent reform.

Re:Yes, and no. (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41685197)

However, I suspect that it's impossible to write a set of laws that leeches can't find a way to exploit, for their own benefit at the detriment of the greater good.

Well, you can, it just requires putting more faith in juries and the judiciary than we are currently comfortable with. For example, a good legal code can be summed up in the four words "Do Not Harm Others" if you trust your police, judges, and juries to apply that code fairly (but we don't, and we shouldn't).

Think about it from a software testing perspective, where do you encounter the most errors when testing software? The edge cases right? But with law, every time you try to close a loopholes you create more edge cases. Only with a wholesale re-write can those edges be removed, and there are very, very few laws that have gone through such a re-write in recent history. I would argue that any complex law code is going to have loopholes that the unethical will take advantage of, the more complex the code the more loopholes there will be to abuse.

Re:Yes, and no. (1)

Znork (31774) | about 2 years ago | (#41685693)

While it may be difficult to create a system without leeches attempting to exploit it, it's possible to create systems where the various forces balance eachother.

The fundamental problem with all IPR systems is that all the parties involved in the system gain from having it extended. The government offices managing them, lawyers, holders, they all gain. The paying party, consumers and the aggregate economy, has no representation. The total cost to the economy isn't even calculated and certainly not accounted for.

Imagine a different system, for example if patents didn't grant monopoly rights but instead a renumeration right where the patent office paid out a certain amount out of a fixed budget as patents got used in products. In such a system, granting more patents or increasing the duration of them would mean everyone got smaller payments. Further, as there would be an actual visible budget it would compete with other priorities such as defense or health care, creating an incentive for politicians to keep a certain balance.

You'd still have the leeches, but there would be a built in systemic resistance, as for someone to get more it would be apparent that everyone else got less.

Make patents more expensive (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41684395)

We need to make it much harder for big companies to just mass patent everything they can.

It should cost much more for Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc to file a patent vs an individual tinkerer in his home.

Base each patent cost on the entities' current revenue, heavily penalize them after a certain threshold.

Re:Make patents more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684469)

then they will just have their employees file for the patent and then sell it to them.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41684483)

Well when they transfer the patent, tax the fuck out of the transaction (to match what it would have cost if they'd just patented it outright).

Re:Make patents more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684615)

Which would stifle innovation coming from individual tinkerers, since companies would not licence patents from them because it would be cheaper to patent something similar and use lawyers to fend off complainers (with the added bonus of controlling the patent)...

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41684695)

Yeah so it kills off patent trolls.

Win win.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41685099)

Which would stifle innovation coming from individual tinkerers, since companies would not licence patents from them because it would be cheaper to patent something similar and use lawyers to fend off complainers (with the added bonus of controlling the patent)...

No - licensing and transferring ownership are 2 completely different animals.

Re:Make patents more expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684789)

hey nimrod, the corporations write the laws.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41684581)

So a subsidiary company with next to zero revenue will own the patents and license them to the real company (for cheap to keep that revenue down). They might even pay the real company to represent them in patent enforcement actions.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41685395)

So a subsidiary company with next to zero revenue will own the patents and license them to the real company (for cheap to keep that revenue down). They might even pay the real company to represent them in patent enforcement actions.

Come on, if that were to happen then Microsoft would base all its IP in Ireland and ...

oh.

wait.

never mind.

Re:Make patents more expensive (3, Insightful)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 2 years ago | (#41684665)

Actually they'll do what Hollywood and the others, such as patent trolling firms and that new entity created to house NorTel's patents, just spin off a LLC or LLP which has no real assets to speak of, houses just one, or a few, patent[s], and which can sue everyone in sight. Whatever you can think of, the lawyers and those politicians beholden to the corporate interests will circumvent either using loopholes embodied in the new law or via court cases that gut the new law on point. We have the best politicians money can buy. And honest because they generally stay bought.

Hell, you can't even limit patents just to individuals or small groups of individuals since corporations are people too, in the eyes of the law. I used to be both a realist about "the system" since I grew up knowing the warts as well as the good and the good kept me somewhat optimistic. Now I can't see much good, if any, left. Thank Bastet that I don't have any kids.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 2 years ago | (#41684821)

I don't like the idea of increaseing the price of the patent. You want joe schmuk to be able to patent things as well. What about setting the price of the patent as an exponential of the number of patent you already hold?

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41685259)

yeah, hence:

Base each patent cost on the entities' current revenue, heavily penalize them after a certain threshold.

Re:Make patents more expensive (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41684953)

It should cost much more for Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc to file a patent vs an individual tinkerer in his home.

Bad idea. The deep pocketed corps will just buy the tinkerer and nothing will change. The cleanest, fastest, most effective fix is simply banning software patents. In other words, just put things back the way they were before this sorry chapter in American business history.

Re:Make patents more expensive (2)

DickBreath (207180) | about 2 years ago | (#41685209)

> It should cost much more for Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc to file a patent vs an individual tinkerer in his home.

Let me suggest a different idea. Let's change the incentives.

File a patent. If patent is rejected, it costs the filer a lot*. If patent is granted, it costs you very little.

Overnight, the patent office now has incentive to do real prior art research and reject patents for prior art, or for obviousness. Only if the patent withstands real scrutiny is it granted.

Overnight, Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc are not going to file a patent unless they think it will withstand the scrutiny the USPTO will give it.

If the little guy has a truly patentable idea, it should be affordable to get it patented. It might even be possible for the little guy to get an underwriter (like insurance) so that the underwriter will take the risk of the cost of rejection. If the underwriter thinks it is truly patentable, they would be willing to take the risk for some cut of the potential value.

Similarly, weight the re-examination costs of a patent so that bogus patents are very expensive to the patent holder. If a patent is granted, and then later rejected under re-examination, then the patent holder pays greatly as if the patent had been originally rejected. That way, even if the patent holder believes it is a bogus patent, yet it is granted, they still risk it being re-examined later.

Software patents should be rejected automatically, even if disguised to appear not to be a software patent. Or alternately, make patents not enforceable against software. Only against tangible products, but not the software part of such products.

Another change I would make: You cannot license or litigate a patent unless you practice the patent yourself. That is, if you don't commercially exploit doing the thing the patent describes, then you shouldn't have patent protection. Patent protection is supposed to be a monopoly to allow you to exclusively do the thing that the patent describes. If you sell your patent rights, fine -- but the buyer better actually practice the patent in order to have any enforceable rights. This eliminates not only patent trolls who don't practice, but patent trolls who make a feeble pretense of practicing some of their patents. It also means you won't be hoarding patents not related to your business. If Apple comes up with a patented new way of applying bakers icing to cakes, they can't hoard that patent. Either start using the patent in your own cakes, or sell the patent to someone who will use it. No more holding a patent just so you can sue over it. (And even round cakes with circular shape aren't just any circles -- but are circles with Apple's patented rounded corners.)


* by "a lot" -- I don't necessarily disagree with your idea of tying it to corporate profits

MIGHT???? (1, Redundant)

Omega Hacker (6676) | about 2 years ago | (#41684401)

See subject.

Re:MIGHT???? (4, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#41684573)

Also, "start"??? I think the correct phrase at this point would be "Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're now in a world where they have already stifled innovation."

Or isn't Mr. Bezos keeping up with events in the courthouses of the Eastern District of Texas?

What about Amazon's One click patent? (5, Insightful)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 2 years ago | (#41684421)

Amazon has been licensing their http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click [wikipedia.org] to various companies like Apple. I guess Bezos just wants to use other people's patents for free but expects everyone to pay to use their patents.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (2)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41684457)

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#41684509)

When the player helped write the rules for the game I damn well WILL hate the player.

Or have you forgotten a little process known as lobbying?

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684631)

No one in the tech industry wrote the rules for the patent game.

You can look to pharma if you want someone to blame.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684515)

A player doesn't have to play the game.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about 2 years ago | (#41685469)

A strange game ... the only winning move is not to play ...

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684517)

To pay for licensing is the right way to go for patents. That is why they were created for...
Suing to hold monopoly of concepts and technology, especially broad ones, is the wrong (and current) way to enforce patents...

Monopoly versus Licensing (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41684597)

I think you've hit the nail on the head.

Patents are supposed to be licensed, especially if the patent holder has not widely distributed the invention. They are supposed to be licensed after the base patent period, not held as crown jewels and hoarded.

Re:Monopoly versus Licensing (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 2 years ago | (#41684851)

So you're saying licensing should be compulsory. Maybe a review board available if there is a terms dispute.

Sounds good to me.

Re:Monopoly versus Licensing (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41684947)

We do that at the UW with tech patents. The inventor assigns the patent to the University, and then has a First Right of Use. If they don't bring it to production in a set period, the license reverts and it can then be licensed from anyone.

Last time I checked there were more than 40 tech patents for solar, biofuel, wind, and other energy techs. Lots of other things like medical tech and so on.

The point of patenting is to encourage the development and advancement of science and the arts.

Re:Monopoly versus Licensing (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41684961)

meant licensed to anyone, not from anyone. my bad.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (1)

mbunch5 (548430) | about 2 years ago | (#41685069)

Amazon has been licensing their http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1-Click [wikipedia.org] to various companies like Apple. I guess Bezos just wants to use other people's patents for free but expects everyone to pay to use their patents.

Not necessarily. He's playing the game the way it has to be played now, according to the law. He'd like the law changed. That doesn't make him a hypocrite unless he honestly doesn't think the new law would apply to him. For patient laws to be changed some of the big players are going to have to make the move to change them, and it's hard to see how that's going to happen since it would invalidate patient chests that have cost, in some cases, billions of dollars to acquire. So if Bezos is serious about this, I'm going to have to buy some books from him again.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (4, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#41685145)

Okay, so he's part of the problem.

If you're looking for moral perfection before people can have an opinion, you're going to have to wait for a world full martyrs and saints. It's not going to happen.

Like it or not, if you're a tech company to say, you have to participate in the patent wars... or you won't be in business at all. This doesn't mean you don't want the whole system reformed.

I have many disagreements with the banking industry... but you know... I'd like to buy a house... and I'm probably going to get a mortgage from a bank and participate in the silly scheme. I have to live my life too.

Systemic change requires just that... systemic change. All the players operate in the current system under the current rules and you can't fault them for it.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686055)

Some players game/abuse the system. Much like those rat bankers that lent mortgages to people that couldn't afford it at unsustainable interest rates.

Because that's how capitalism works (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#41685451)

Amazon might not like the rules but they still have to accept them as they are today and play like all the others if they don't want to get sued to oblivion. Even Google had to learn that after they got hit by Microsoft pretty hard.

Re:What about Amazon's One click patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685979)

the situation is quiet simple:
bezos knows change takes time, so getting the ball rolling now, might result in the changes taking place just in time when THE amazon patent runs out in 2019

One Click (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | about 2 years ago | (#41684423)

Jeff's participated in too much patent warfare of his own, in my opinion.

Re:One Click (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41684741)

So he can't change his mind?

Re:One Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685103)

No. Otherwise, that might force US to change our minds about HIM, and we've got way too much bile and have done way too much frothing at the mouth to do THAT! This is the internet! Come on, already, you're a 5-digit ID, you should know better than that!

Re:One Click (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685709)

If he did, let him change his actions to prove it. He doesn't have to keep holding onto patents that could be considered trollish. Let him take the first step forward.

A timid way to express disagreement (2)

manicb (1633645) | about 2 years ago | (#41684437)

...we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the patent system...

Why has it become "good" writing to hedge everything you ever say? Out with it, man!

Re:A timid way to express disagreement (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41684535)

Why has it become "good" writing to hedge everything you ever say?

Because doing that makes the writer seem like less of an idiot when somebody demonstrates that the prediction or argument is flat wrong.

Re:A timid way to express disagreement (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about 2 years ago | (#41684827)

...we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation. Governments may need to look at the patent system...

Why has it become "good" writing to hedge everything you ever say? Out with it, man!

And it's not even "good English." This is what you get when the CEO-speak is run through legal first. The one "nice" thing about Larry Ellison is that not everything he says get screened first. It's pretty refreshing in a bull in a China shop kind of way.

Started to be? (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 2 years ago | (#41684439)

Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation.

Maybe we have always been in a world where patents do the opposite of what they are supposed to do.

Wait, what? (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#41684449)

'Patents are supposed to encourage innovation and we're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation.

"Might" start to stifle innovation? Has this person not been alive in the same country as the rest of us for the last two decades? From the Shopping Cart on web servers to Nest, the examples of innovation being stifled are extremely obvious and simple to find. I personally would not start up a business in this environment, and most of my friends are the same way. Think tanks dumping patents in to the system without an invention have ensured that even if you have a brilliant idea, someone has a patent already.

While I agree with his point that we must have patent reform, I wonder what planet he is coming from to have just noticed that it "might" be a problem. Most of us in technical jobs have been screaming for reform going on 20 years now. yeah, I'm also in a bit of a sarcastic mood...

Amazon One Click Anyone? (1)

ravenscar (1662985) | about 2 years ago | (#41684477)

Bezos? Seriously? It seems his company's patents helped take the patent war to its current extremes. I hate the patent war, but I smile a little when I think that it could come 'round to bite Amazon in the ass.

How did One Click get approved? The rage (5, Funny)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#41684491)

Isn't one click purchasing obvious? What I don't get though is: Why didn't they patent two click, three click, and so on? I think they could effectively crush any competition from the Internet if they patented up to a thousand click buying. No one is gonna wanna click a thousand times to buy anything.

Re:How did One Click get approved? The rage (5, Funny)

lordofthechia (598872) | about 2 years ago | (#41685257)

This could get exciting! Everyone would go to zero-click buying.

All storefronts would be rendered in flash and as soon as the page loads items would start crawling their way towards your shopping cart!

Your "shopping" experience would consist of *preventing* items from getting into your cart.

Just realized, this would work really well as a tower defense game.

Re:How did One Click get approved? The rage (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41685447)

Too late, I already filed the patent for zero click buying.

I use remote brain imaging sensors to read your thoughts.

Easy fix (4, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41684537)

all we need is for the Supreme Court to take up any one of the zillion patent suits and declare,

"Software, business methods, and computer algorithms are not patentable."

Patent laws date back hundreds of years and do not say whether software is patentable or not. It was the interpretation of one judge in the 1980's who said "Yes software is patentable" to open the floodgates and lead us to where we are now. Which the SCOTUS can easily reverse.

Just return to the original system (4, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41684559)

Outlaw and expire Business Process and Software patents.

Return to a basic 13 year and 17 year patent and copyright issuance.

And only allow the Person (not fictional Person such as a Corporation) to renew copyrights for a similar period until they die.

Re:Just return to the original system (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41684717)

But this doesn't work if a large group works together for a patent, when you have a lab with dozens of people developing and testing different setups and finally settle down to the design that makes the most sense.

I had a sight where you can donate to support him (5, Funny)

a2wflc (705508) | about 2 years ago | (#41684609)

But I used a one-click payment button so I had to take it down.

Re:I had a sight where you can donate to support h (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684913)

I'm surprised this wasn't modded insiteful.

what stifles innovation is the common practice (1)

gatesstillborg (2633899) | about 2 years ago | (#41684611)

of patenting the "what" as opposed to the "how". (One click purchasing is a good example of a "what".)

Furthermore, due to the inherent flexibility of the (software) medium, patents used validly are largely inapplicable, because there is always many ways something can be done. I think software companies need to find ways to try to live with that, rather than perverting the legal protection of patenting.

Oh, and this article looks like mainly a hook to hawk more gizmos.

Not unless we have a revolution (1, Insightful)

sohmc (595388) | about 2 years ago | (#41684685)

The USPTO generates the most income for the government, outside of the IRS. There is absolutely no incentive to Congress to get rid of a patent that requires absolutely no materiel, don't exist, but worth a lot of money. For congress, software patents and the like are cash cows.

The only way this will change is we have a revolution and write a new constitution. Technically, we need to get the right people into office; but in this case, we need to get 51% of people into office. And once they are in office, there is no guarantee that they will write the bill.

While I will hope that this changes without the watering the tree of liberty with blood, I'm not going to hold my breath.

Re:Not unless we have a revolution (1)

udachny (2454394) | about 2 years ago | (#41684929)

The USPTO generates the most income for the government, outside of the IRS

- no, that would be the Federal reserve. Of-course we can argue on the definition of 'income', but whatever the Congress gets its hands on is used as if it was 'income', so that's a technicality (and they never failed to raise the so called 'debt ceiling', so they clearly think this can go on forever).

You are right, the Constitution needs to be fixed but you are wrong, there is no such thing as 'right people', not in the long run. In the long run you will not have 'right people' (and I doubt that Americans are capable of figuring out as a society that the right people are those, who would protect the Constitution and not an individual or a business interest, the right people are not getting elected: Ron Paul, Gary Johnson).

You are right at the end, there will be blood. Look at Greece. Imagine Greece but with 315,000,000 population and guns. There will be blood.

Re:Not unless we have a revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685297)

The USPTO only brings in a only couple billion a year. Wanting to keep it around as opposed to taking on more debt is like trying to reduce the debt by cutting PBS!

Re:Not unless we have a revolution (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 years ago | (#41685311)

The only way this will change is we have a revolution and write a new constitution.

Okay, let's have a revolution and rewrite the Constitution; what would we change that would prevent the current political problems from naturally evolving under a new constitution?

As I've said previously... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 2 years ago | (#41684725)

Invalidate all current software patents, and count them as "prior art" for any new software patents. Same goes for "business process" patents.

Re:As I've said previously... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41684811)

Yeah, invalidating the R&D dollars of old patents is sure to spur innovation. Right. Nothing like having the football pulled from under you when you run up to kick it, right Charlie Brown?

Re:As I've said previously... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 2 years ago | (#41684915)

Yeah, invalidating the R&D dollars of old patents is sure to spur innovation. Right. Nothing like having the football pulled from under you when you run up to kick it, right Charlie Brown?

I specifically stated software & business process patents, most of which are rubbish. 1-Click buying isn't obvious? I'm sure Amazon did a ton of R & D coming up with that one...

Re:As I've said previously... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41684847)

Patents must not prevent people from thinking about them. When the first sentient machine intelligence is granted human rights, all software patents will be invalid.

This is why we must either completely abolish software patents, or start preparing for the machine wars.

one click patent (1)

poonbanger (559449) | about 2 years ago | (#41684797)

Soon you will be able to buy patents from Amazon. With "One-Click"!

Time for some poetic justice. (1)

Faffin (2541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41684893)

Because of what they did with the one click patent, it would serve them right if Apple or Samsung sued them over something in the Kindle.

I expect this is all about how hard it would be for Amazon to launch a smartphone though.

"It's Obvious" Trifecta (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41685323)

First the CEO of Exxon admits AGW is happening, now one of the first software patent trolls admits software patents are causing harm. If we can get Karl Rove to admit that manipulating public perception is anathema to representative democracy, we'll have hit the "it's obvious to everyone but you" trifecta.

Re:"It's Obvious" Trifecta (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | about 2 years ago | (#41685429)

Funny, since one of with software patents is that the hurdle of "not obvious to a practitioner of the art" has been set way, way too low.

This is old news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685573)

Between the Wright Brothers proving that flight was possible and WWI. There were may who tried for to become World Domiant, by blocking others from using 'their' patients. True flight innovation was grounded, until the governments stepped in to fight a World War.

Jeff Bezos ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41685603)

... the Neville Chamberlain of the Internet.

One-Click Hypocrisy (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 2 years ago | (#41685691)

I will pay attention to Amazon's view on patents after they give up their one-click patent, one of the most intuitively obvious and abused patents ever issued.

Flywheels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686083)

While I wholeheartedly agree with his stance on space innovation, I don't think he knows how a flywheel actually works...

A new patent test (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41686471)

Patents are a deal between the public and the inventor: if you reveal your secret to me, I'll protect your temporary monopoly.

So let the patent applicant demonstrate the invention. If the patent examiner says, wow, that's amazing -- I have no idea how you accomplished that, he can buy the secret by granting a patent.

But if the patent examiner concludes, there's no magic -- I can do what you just did, he can deny the patent application and let the applicant keep the "secret."

****Now 3rd parties can help invalidate patents*** (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | about 2 years ago | (#41686547)

I have submitted this story twice and got rejected TWICE. Unbelievable. Google, the USTPO and stack exchange have gotten together and created patents.stackexchange.com - a chance to work with others (included those that are more familiar with patent law) [stackexchange.com] to search out current patents already filed or vet out new patents on the horizon.

My thread that i started [stackexchange.com] got some great feedback. It involves the patents revolves around Worlds Inc suing Blizzard. I was advised that I might want to focus on one of the four patents in questions and go with that then move on others, even though most all of the four patents are inter-related.(IMO). I need some help gathering information regarding any patent that you want to start on. send me an email/pm on stack exchange if you are interested.

I must be from a world in an alternate dimension (1)

brshock (1786254) | about 2 years ago | (#41686639)

"We're starting to be in a world where they might start to stifle innovation?"

On my planet -- which coincidentally we also call "Earth" -- patents have long since been stifling innovation, at least in software development. A small company opens its doors, finds a modicum of success, and suddenly a Non-Practicing Entity (what I believe you people call a "patent troll") shows up to claim infringement on an intentionally vague, clearly obvious patent that it managed to purchase. The small company may find it cheaper to pay off the NPE, or may simply go out of business. For giant corporations, this kind of thing is okay and perhaps even a beneficial means of eliminating disruptive upstart competition. But for the small guys (what the economists on your world call "the real job creators"), it's deadly.

Or more to the point: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121011/09581320679/dark-patent-troll-rises-now-40-all-patent-litigation.shtml [techdirt.com]

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