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Patent Troll Bill Clears House With Huge Majority

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the with-what-riders-attached dept.

Government 138

snydeq writes "The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Innovation Act, dealing trolls a severe blow despite opposition from universities looking to protect patents, InfoWorld's Simon Phipps reports. The act cleared the House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority of 325 to 91 despite opposition from the organizations most likely to feed new patents to the trolls. 'So bravo to the Innovation Act. It's far from perfect, as the EFF documents and as I commented before the holiday. But it's a step in the right direction, and the tidal surge of support it's seeing suggests legislators' appetite for proper patent reform is finally growing strong enough for them to contemplate substantial change.'"

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Mandela has died (-1, Offtopic)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 10 months ago | (#45613857)

Who cares about this, lawyer enriching, shite?

Re:Mandela has died (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613897)

Who the fk cares about Mandela...

Re:Mandela has died (0)

amalcolm (1838434) | about 10 months ago | (#45617435)

I though Slashdotters were all about freedom. Mandela did more than anyone in recent history to promote freedom for his people and others around the world. You need to get out more.

Re:Mandela has died (1, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 10 months ago | (#45613931)

Mandela advocated strongly for patent reform in his final years. Before he passed, he also stated a preference for the PS4 over the Xbone.

Re:Mandela has died (0, Offtopic)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#45614097)

Before he passed, he also stated a preference for the PS4 over the Xbone.

I distinctly remember a bad ass sniper on the Battlefield 3 servers with the gamer tag, "M4ND1BA69". You don't think...

Re:Mandela has died (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613959)

The semicolon in your signature does not belong where you placed it. Semicolons are used either to separate independent clauses or as list separators when the list elements contain internal commas, which would otherwise be confusing. The text following your semicolon is not an independent clause. The semicolon could replace the comma between "Fanny Bottom" and "then". Alternatively, you could forego the semicolon completely and just use a period in the same location.

I can't tell whether it is the misplaced semicolon or the general inanity of your signature that I find more annoying.

Ta-ta for now!

Re:Mandela has died (-1, Offtopic)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about 10 months ago | (#45614101)

"Fanny Bottom" and "then".

Don't you love it when someone tries to be the Grammar Nazi and makes a grammatical error of their own?

Especially when they are an AC!

Punctuation is applied within the quotation marks, so this should be written as "then." This is about as trivial an error as the semicolon misuse that you cite in the original post -- but you seem to care!

Re:Mandela has died (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614181)

Your usage of "this" is rather ambiguous. ... ... I fee like a MySQL error.

Re:Mandela has died (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#45614567)

At least you don't fee like an Oracle error.

Re:Mandela has died (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 10 months ago | (#45615599)

At least you don't fee like an Oracle error.

That's still better than being a Windows error because they don't even know who they are.

Re:Mandela has died (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about 10 months ago | (#45616771)

Ah, the famous: "An error has occurred because: an error has occurred"

Re:Mandela has died (0, Offtopic)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 10 months ago | (#45614197)

"Fanny Bottom" and "then".

Don't you love it when someone tries to be the Grammar Nazi and makes a grammatical error of their own?

Especially when they are an AC!

Punctuation is applied within the quotation marks, so this should be written as "then." This is about as trivial an error as the semicolon misuse that you cite in the original post -- but you seem to care!

Actually, punctuation is applied within quotation marks except when the quotation marks are used to highlight a lexical object, such as a single letter or number. In that case, they go outside.

BUT... this is just as far as AP and Chicago style guides go; if you leave the US, the rest of the English-writing world does the logical thing and places the period (or comma) as they would a question mark or exclamation point -- inside if it's being quoted, outside if it isn't.

An interesting thing about the English language is that you can usually find a use case/region for any "obvious" grammatical exception or faux pas. Of course, most of the world either follows Oxford or Chicago's lead.

Re:Mandela has died (1, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 10 months ago | (#45615413)

English-writing world does the logical thing

That's because they don't speak English in the US, they speak American.

Re:Mandela has died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614581)

Unless being an AC impacts either the authenticity, or renders the grammar less correct, then this has nothing to do with it, except perhaps providing you with a sense of pride, insofar as you managed to figure out how to type your name into the computermachine and get an account on here.

Re:Mandela has died (2)

righteousness (3421867) | about 10 months ago | (#45615535)

The use of the term "Ta-ta" should have clued you in that the poster was likely non-American and using the British convention of writing. Therefore, the use of the full stop (that's the British term for period) inside quotations is correct as per British convention.

Re:Mandela has died (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 10 months ago | (#45614369)

"Fanny Bottom" is the name of my (fictional) Ass, rather like "Anonymous Coward" is yours....

Re:Mandela has died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614625)

As a fix for the grammatical errors mentioned by the other AC, you could always make your sig the following:

If I had an ass, I'd call it Fanny Bottom. Then I could slap my ass, Fanny Bottom, on the arse.

Then again, I never really noticed the problems until someone else mentioned it. So....your call.

Re:Mandela has died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45617293)

That much is clear ;)

However, you might consider altering your sig slightly to avoid this discussion inevitably coming up again. Try this:

If I had an ass, I'd call it Fanny Bottom; then I could slap my ass, Fanny Bottom, on the arse.

Re:Mandela has died (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614107)

I though Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas [huffingtonpost.com] back in 2007...

there's got to be a catch (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about 10 months ago | (#45613869)

who were the corporate sponsors of this bill I wonder?

Does anyone know if this would have any effect on the arsenals of patents encumbering smartphone or apis (ie Oracle vs Google)?

-I'm just sayin'

Re:there's got to be a catch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613887)

Oracle vs Google is copyright, so no. Apple, Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia, Motoroogle, etc aren't patent trolls, so no.

Re:there's got to be a catch (3, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 10 months ago | (#45614065)

The bill actually does touch on the style of patent litigation used by big tech companies:

But a number of voices, most with vested interests, have been scrambling to protect the trolls even with the concerns of the big trolls taken into account with the reduction of the bill's impact on "covered business methods." This part of patent law is used more by large corporate patent holders and thus opposed by the likes of IBM, Microsoft, General Electric, and Adobe.

(detail [infoworld.com] )

Re:there's got to be a catch (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45613989)

No, it will just harm people who don't have money to quickly get their patent into the market. It's another FU to small inventor, just like the last patent reform.

Of course, no one has actually made any good reasoning why getting licensing for someone to use a patent is some how bad.

Re:there's got to be a catch (4, Insightful)

suutar (1860506) | about 10 months ago | (#45614027)

Hi, your dishwasher's design infringes on my patent, and you're using it, so you personally are in violation. Give me 5 thousand dollars.

Re:there's got to be a catch (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614183)

"Of course, no one has actually made any good reasoning why requiring patents is somehow good."

FTFY.

Most patent justifications only make sense in the context of a patent regime. They're not independently supportable.

1) Patents force inventors to publish their invention so it can be copied.
- The real function of publication is to reduce duplicative patents, and to put potential infringers on notice. Most inventions are discovered simultaneously or nearly so, based on the natural progression of science and the technical arts.

2) Patents provide incentive for large capital expenditure burdened by the free rider problem.
- It's been shown time-and-time again with empirical studies that patents are unnecessary. Just like monopoly concessions are unnecessary in almost every other facet of our free market economy. Do you need a monopoly concession to open a restaurant, to prevent competitors? No. To create Twitter? No. SpaceX? No.

3) By packaging "ideas" into transferable property, you incentive investments because the product concept can be collateralized.
- Patents are often desired by investors, but what investor wouldn't you want to make use of regulatory property, regardless of whether it makes sense for the larger economy. Every investor wants you to maximize opportunities at your disposal.
- More important to a company than inventions are their employees, who create those inventions. And yet, places like Silicon Valley have been shown to be more innovative than others (e.g. Boston/Cambridge), with a healthier startup and investment community, despite the fact that California out-right rejects non-compete clauses in regular employment contracts, unlike almost every other state (including Massachusetts).

Re:there's got to be a catch (1)

non-e-moose (994576) | about 10 months ago | (#45614845)

>Most inventions are discovered simultaneously or nearly so, based on the natural progression of science and the technical arts. False. There is also a factor pertaining to the VOLUME of people involved. If the field in question has 7 people working in it, it is far less likely that any invention will be "discovered simultaneously" than if there are 1E6 people in the field. 1.00001^(population) as an example. > Every investor wants you to maximize opportunities at your disposal False. Wall street wants to capitalize on your balance sheet. Ideas/Intellectual property seldom enters the equation. Witness Nikolai Tesla. >More important to a company than inventions are their employees, who create those inventions False. As someone working at a startup in search of funding, patents help, but Angel/VC investing is about what the investors believe the risk vs. potential return is. A 1% return at huge risk will NEVER get funded. Yes, it is important for key employees to have a strong track record of delivering, but the big issue is risk/return.

Re:there's got to be a catch (4, Interesting)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about 10 months ago | (#45615159)

From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54564-2005Feb25.html [washingtonpost.com]

At long last, Robert Kearns's battles with the world's automotive giants have come to an end. Kearns, who died Feb. 9, devoted decades of his life to fighting Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Corp. and other carmakers in court, trying to gain the credit he thought he deserved as the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper.

From a basement in Detroit, where he devised his invention, to Gaithersburg, where he moved in the 1970s, Kearns carried his lonely fight all the way to the Supreme Court, one man against the might of the industrial world and a patent system he believed had let him down.

Robert Kearns fought for years to be credited as inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper. (The Washington Post)
By the time he died at 77 at Copper Ridge nursing home in Sykesville, Md., of brain cancer complicated by Alzheimer's disease, Kearns had gained some vindication in the form of $30 million in settlements from Ford and Chrysler, but he never got what he had sought from the beginning.

"I need the money, but that's not what this is about," he told Regardie's magazine in 1990. "I've spent a lifetime on this. This case isn't just a trial. It's about the meaning of Bob Kearns's life."

All he wanted, he often said, was the chance to run a factory with his six children and build his wiper motors, along with a later invention for a windshield wiper that was activated automatically by rainfall. In the end, his courtroom battles cost him his job, his marriage and, at times, his mental health.

Kearns, who had a doctorate in engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and had taught engineering for 11 years at Wayne State University in Detroit, was no weekend tinkerer. A native of Gary, Ind., he grew up near the giant Ford plant in River Rouge, Mich., and always thought of the auto company as a place that welcomed someone with ingenuity.

He got his idea on his wedding night in 1953, when a champagne cork struck him in the left eye, which eventually became blind. The blinking of his eye led him to wonder if he could make windshield wipers that worked the same way -- that would move at intervals instead of in a constant back-and-forth motion.

After years of experiments at home and on his cars -- "If it ever rained," his former wife, Phyllis Hall, recalled yesterday, "I had to drop everything and go out with him in the car" -- Kearns believed his invention was ready.

He applied for patents, mounted his wipers on his 1962 Ford Galaxie and drove to Ford's headquarters. Engineers swarmed over his car, at one point sending him out of the workroom, convinced he was activating the wipers with a button in his pocket.

Ford's engineers had been experimenting with vacuum-operated wipers, but Kearns was the first to invent an intermittent wiper with an electric motor. After a while, however, Ford stopped answering his calls, and Kearns was left on his own.

In 1967, he received the first of more than 30 patents for his wipers. In 1969, Ford came out with the first intermittent wiper system in the United States, followed within a few years by the other major manufacturers.

After working as Detroit's commissioner of buildings and safety engineering, Kearns moved to Gaithersburg in 1971 to become principal investigator for highway skid resistance at the old National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

In 1976, Kearns's son bought an electric circuit for a Mercedes-Benz intermittent wiper, which Kearns took apart, only to discover it was almost identical to what he'd invented. He had a nervous breakdown soon after.

He boarded a bus, with delusions of riding to Australia and being commissioned by former President Richard M. Nixon to build an electric car. Police picked him up in Tennessee, and his family checked him into the psychiatric ward at Montgomery General Hospital. When he came out after a few weeks, his red hair had turned white.

Earlier in life, Kearns had been a high school cross-country star, an outstanding violinist and a teenage intelligence officer in World War II. But from 1976, his sole focus in life was to battle the auto giants and reclaim his invention.

Kearns filed suit against Ford for patent infringement in 1978, seeking $141 million in damages (a figure eventually raised to $325 million). In all, he filed lawsuits against 26 car manufacturers and other companies.

Kearns supported himself with disability pay after his breakdown and by trading in foreign currencies.

By the early 1980s, his wife had had enough.

"It had become an obsession," recalled Hall, who lives in Arizona. "I told him, 'I can't stand this life.' He said, 'This is my life.' "

When their divorce was granted in 1989, Kearns was in the midst of his court case against Ford.

After 12 years of litigation, Ford finally offered to pay Kearns millions of dollars to settle the case. His attorney at the time, William Durkee of Houston, estimated Kearns could have received at least $50 million from Ford and comparable amounts from other carmakers.

Kearns refused the offer.

"He wanted to be a manufacturer and supply that system to the automotive industry," said Richard L. Aitken, a Washington patent lawyer who had worked with Kearns since the 1960s. "That was the most important thing to him."

In July 1990, a federal jury ruled that Ford had unintentionally infringed on Kearns's patent and awarded him $10.2 million.

Back in Montgomery County, Kearns was fighting a different kind of court battle, this time with his former wife. On July 25, 1990, he was sentenced to 120 days in jail for nonpayment of $700 in alimony and for refusing to vacate his Gaithersburg house. He served 35 days before paying up and leaving the house -- and agreeing to pay his wife 10 percent of anything he might win from the automakers.

After the Ford settlement, Kearns turned his sights on Chrysler. In December 1991, a federal jury ruled that Chrysler had infringed unfairly on his patent. Firing his law firm a week before the damage phase of the trial, Kearns argued his case and was awarded more than $20 million.

Chrysler appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Kearns was entitled to the money but rejected his argument that Chrysler should be prohibited from using his design.

Having gone through five law firms, an exhausted Kearns was unable to manage his multiple lawsuits on his own. When he missed deadlines for filing papers in his cases against General Motors Corp. and German and Japanese auto companies, U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn, who presided over all of Kearns's trials in Detroit, dismissed the remaining cases.

By then, Kearns's patents had expired, having passed the 17-year window of ownership then in effect. He bought a house on the Wye River, near Queenstown on the Eastern Shore, and entered an uneasy retirement. From time to time, he would call his children and his attorney and talk about reclaiming his patents.

Survivors include six children, Dennis Kearns of Keego Harbor, Mich., Timothy Kearns of Oxford, Md., Patrick Kearns of Ypsilanti, Mich., Kathleen Corsetty of Rockville, Maureen Kearns of Detroit and Bob Kearns of Germantown; a brother; and seven grandchildren.

In his final years, he drove around in two aging vehicles: a 1978 Ford pickup and a 1965 Chrysler. Neither had intermittent wipers.

Re:there's got to be a catch (4, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 10 months ago | (#45614965)

It's another FU to small inventor, just like the last patent reform.

The small inventor, and the little guy in general, has been FU-ed out of the game for a long time now. Patents are now all about legal fights and trolling, not innovation or rewarding it. It's time for them to die.

Re:there's got to be a catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615473)

The devil is always in the details!

Re:there's got to be a catch (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#45614273)

Who were the corporate sponsors of this bill?

The big push was from Google. Google, along with Facebook and Twitter (but not Apple) sponsors the Application Developers Alliance [appdevelop...liance.org] , which is a lobbying group against "patent trolls".

To understand why this matters to Google, look at where Google's products came from. Google, despite their reputation for innovation, has obtained most of their technology through acquisitions of smaller companies. Google has acquired 131 smaller companies over the years. [wikipedia.org] Since the original search engine, almost all successful Google products came from the outside. YouTube, AdSense (DoubleClick), Google Earth (Keyhole), Blogger (Genius Labs), Android, Google Docs (Upstartle), Google Analytics (Urchin), Google Talk (Grand Central) etc. all came from acquisitions. In house, Google developed Google Wave and Google Buzz.

As a net buyer of IP, it's in Google's interest to keep the value of patents down. They don't want a small company to be able to say no to Google.

Re:there's got to be a catch (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | about 10 months ago | (#45614895)

Google Talk (Grand Central)

Actually, that's Google Voice, not Google Talk.

In house, Google developed Google Wave and Google Buzz.

And Chrome V8, Gmail, Google+ (including Google+ video Hangouts), Google Wallet, Google Offers, Google News, Google Books, Google Music, Google Now, Google Keep, Google Art, Google Cloud Print, Google Image Search, Google Video Search, Google Music Search, Google App Engine, Google Compute Engine, Google Flights, Picasa, Google Translate, Google Knowledge Graph, Google Shopper, Google Currents, etc., etc., etc. (I got tired of copying entries from the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] ). And of course there's now all of the hardware -- various tablets and phones, Chromecast, Chromebooks, Google Glass, self-driving cars, and more. Oh, and Google Fiber. Plus a bunch of other Google X projects, most of which not even Google employees know anything about.

In addition, nearly all of the properties that began as acquisitions have been substantially, if not totally, rewritten to provide more features and to enable them to scale to massive volumes. For example, Google Maps was acquired when it was a standalone program written by two guys. It's unlikely that there is a single line of code remaining from that original app in the modern multi-platform, massively scaled system that incorporates many different data layers, including all of the StreetView imagery (another purely Google-originated endeavor).

Actually, even if Google had simply acquired everything, it would still take a lot of innovation to rearchitect it all so it can scale for a billion users. There's a lot of purely internal innovation that is required to make all of this stuff work, like Bigtable (and now Spanner), Borg, MapReduce (and now Flume), plus all of the libraries/dev tools -- including many which have been open sourced like Guava, protobuf, Gson, Gerrit, Keyczar, and many, many more.

"Google doesn't actually invent anything" is a popular /. meme, but it's completely untrue.

As for why this patent legislation matters to Google, Google has always hated the patent arms race; it costs software companies money and agility, and gives them basically nothing in return.

Google is a company of software engineers, right to the very top, and nearly all software engineers hate the ridiculousness of software patents, and the way patent trolls stifle extract cash from the people who are actually doing cool stuff to give it to worthless do-nothings. For a long time Google simply refused to play the patent game at all, until it got seriously burned. So then Google began lobbying hard for patent reform, spending millions per year, and this is just one piece of that large, multi-pronged effort. At the same time, Google realized that it had to get into the patent game itself to survive, and so purchased Motorola and some other large piles of patents, and began rewarding engineers for writing patents. But Google would really prefer to fix the system.

(Disclaimer: I'm a Google engineer.)

Re:there's got to be a catch (3, Informative)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 10 months ago | (#45615355)

Anything with Chrome gets a "half truth" from me. Chrome is based on WebKit, and as such had a lot of stuff that was copied from Apple. I would say collaborated on, but Google put an end to that, so I'll use the word copied, even though it was a legally allowed copy.

V8 is Google's original contribution to WebKit, yes, but it was very similar to WebKit's JavaScript engine (which leapfrogged V8 within public release in months, so V8 didn't really even bring anything unique to the table), and if you'll notice from the V8 license...

https://code.google.com/p/v8/source/browse/trunk/LICENSE [google.com]

"Strongtalk assembler, the basis of the files assembler-arm-inl.h,
        assembler-arm.cc, assembler-arm.h, assembler-ia32-inl.h,
        assembler-ia32.cc, assembler-ia32.h, assembler-x64-inl.h,
        assembler-x64.cc, assembler-x64.h, assembler-mips-inl.h,
        assembler-mips.cc, assembler-mips.h, assembler.cc and assembler.h.
        This code is copyrighted by Sun Microsystems Inc. and released
        under a 3-clause BSD license."

They didn't even write the assembler, it's Suns.

So their contribution to V8 was to bring a lot of things together, but it wouldn't have been possible with, again, outside companies and acquisitions.

I don't have much sympathy for Google in the patents arms race. Google was aware what the rules of the game were, they were aware Apple had patented the wazoo out of the iPhone ("And BOY have we patented it!" - Steve Jobs, iPhone Introduction), and yet they copied anyway. You can complain about the rules, but Google can't say they were ignorant about the rules, and boy, these patents were unexpected. They very directly released something in conflict of patents, that's on them. I don't have much sympathy for companies that go out of their way to incur legal wraith and then complain they get sued. There is no "not playing the patent game." That's like playing soccer but saying you're "not playing the no hands on the ball game." It is what is it. Ignorance isn't a legal defense, nor is it a sound corporate strategy.

Re:there's got to be a catch (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 10 months ago | (#45615485)

So their contribution to V8 was to bring a lot of things together, but it wouldn't have been possible with, again, outside companies and acquisitions.

Which is precisely what Apple did with the iPhone.

Apple had patented the wazoo out of the iPhone ("And BOY have we patented it!" - Steve Jobs, iPhone Introduction), and yet they copied anyway.

Which is bullshit because the context of the quote was that they "invented" this thing called "multitouch", and you are a fool if you believe that to be true. Apple tried to scare other companies off by claiming this but those other companies called their bluff in knowing Jobs was a liar and that they did not invent multitouch.

Re:there's got to be a catch (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 10 months ago | (#45615881)

The entire post is a load of crap. WebKit was started as the KDE HTML layout engine, and Google and other wrote a lot of code for it. Apple started to be dickish with accepting others changes lately, so Google forked it and most others are following their branch (even including Opera). If Google copied the iPhone with Android, then Apple copied Windows Mobile with the iPhone.

Damn right Google is putting a lot of weight behind these anti-patent bills. Go check how many patent lawsuits Google has filed (and don't bother counting those from Motorola before Google bought them). Apple isn't bind these bills (I'm guessing Microsoft isn't either) as they're using very questionable, overly broad patents as weapons to try to stifle competition. Have a look at "Rockstar".

Patents have become nothing but weapons to be wielded by wealthy companies that can no longer compete on their products own merits.

Re:there's got to be a catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616115)

Patents have become nothing but weapons to be wielded by wealthy companies that can no longer compete on their products own merits.

so if apple cannot compete on their own merit then what feature(s) of apple's products are protected by patents that, if the patents were eliminated, would allow companies like google to take apple's marketshare?

Re:there's got to be a catch (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#45615483)

Picasa acquired by Google [nytimes.com] - New York Times, 2004. "'They came to the conclusion that it would be easier to buy this business than to build it themselves. It's the type of acquisition you can expect Google to do more of in the future.'' The self-driving car technology was acquired from Stanford, along with Sebastian Thrun. Google did do a lot with language translation in-house; that's probably the most innovative area. Most of Google's big-name products, though, came from elsewhere.

Google is good at scaling, and yes, many of the acquired products had to be rewritten to scale up. Still, Google Earth today looks a lot like the Keyhole Earth Viewer I had in 2003.

Re:there's got to be a catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616935)

Apart from Chrome and Gmail, do any of the in-house Google products you list have any traction at all? I hadn't heard of most of them.

Re:there's got to be a catch (1)

fatphil (181876) | about 10 months ago | (#45617207)

Google Flights? Wasn't that just Google buying ITA?
Picasa? Wasn't that just Google buying Picasa (there seems to be a clue pointing in that direction in the name)
Google Wallet? So Google didn't acquire TxVia, and E-Micro's patents, they developed everything in-house?

There are probably more...

Liberal Bedwetters Unite! Piss your beds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613905)

HOW TO BE A WORTHLESS, VILE, AMERICAN YARD-APE!!!!

  • Slink around, shuffling your feet and bobbing your neck like the lazy retard you are.
  • Walk down the middle of the street because you don't know what a sidewalk is for.
  • Hang out at carwashes and mini-marts because everybody knows these are the best places to be a dope, I mean dope.
  • If you're a nigger bitch, shit three nigger babies into the world before 17 years of age. This assures that welfare money will support you, so
    your nigger men have more time to commit crimes.
  • And give REAL honest black people a bad name.
  • Oh yes, make sure each nigger baby has a different father.
  • Bastardize the English language in the name of nigger culture.
  • Make sure that several terms have multiple meanings and others have ambiguous meanings and that only 50% of nigger words are even complete
    words. Real niggers will know what you're trying to say.
  • As a culture, make sure there are always more blacks in prison than in college at any given time.
  • Hang out in packs of 10 to 15 and make sure everyone acts as annoying as possible. This helps to promote nigger individuality.
  • Always talk loud enough so everyone in the 'hood can fucking hear you, and if they are niggers, they will know what your saying, bro.
  • Wear clothes that are 10 sizes too big, making sure the pants hang off your ass.
  • Park at least 5 junk cars in your yard while being careful not to use the driveway. It's OK to abandon them in the street as long as it's
    in front of someone else's crib.
  • Exaggerate every motion, every tonal inflection and grab your dick a lot.
  • Do drugs, sell drugs, make drugs. Okay, don't REALLY do this, but it IS what niggers do.
  • Turn your backyard into a junk yard. If you don't have a backyard, turn your mother's into a junk yard.
  • Travel around leaching off relatives, friends, salvation armies.
  • Drink cheap wine and malt liquor every day, forgetting that "malt liquor" is just fortified cheap beer.
  • If you're a nigger buck: fuck anything that moves, no matter how ugly she is. After two 40oz, even the ugliest, fattest nigger bitch will look
    good.
  • Be charitable and covet fat, ugly white chicks. After all, they're niggers too. They can't help being so undesirable to white men that they have
    to fraternize with black dudes on a 20/20 trip. And white ho's are a special trophy too, especially the not so ugly ones.
  • Spray paint everything in sight with scribbles that mean nothing to white people but mean things to fellow niggers (except niggers from another
    hood who will probably go after you for tresspassing on their turf).
  • Use the term "motherfucker" in every sentence. It's one of the most versatile words in the nigger language, being a noun, verb, adjective
    and complete mini-sentence in event you run out of thoughts.
  • Stop in the middle of the street, blocking all traffic to converse with fellow niggers and have complete disregard for everyone else.
  • Overcharge customers at Taco Bell and pocket the difference.
  • Drive your car while slouched so low that you can barely see over the wheel (gangsta drivin').
  • Get a job under affirmative action. Then sit around all day pretending that you earned the position and that the other co-workers respect you.
    Whenever you fuck up, scream "racism!" & hope you get enough Generation X liberals in the jury.
  • Never, I mean NEVER, take any responsibility for your actions. Always blame others including Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, and especially
    Whites for your sorry ass stupid lives.
  • Be sure to get a dog, tie it up in the cold and mud and neglect it until it dies. Then start all over again. Cash must be used because you long
    ago fucked up your credit and checking account.
  • Cram 5 generations into a two room government apartment and still be able to neglect your kids.

Then you too can be a true nigger, and anyone who finds any fault with anything you do is automatically a racist. They don't dislike what you do
and wish you would do something better with your life, nor do they wish you would realize that other people exist and should be treated with
respect. No, they're just racists who hate you because of the color of your skin, and everything bad in your life is their fault. You nigger.

One of the few times (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45613927)

The House has got it spot on. Now for the Senate and President.

Re:One of the few times (5, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 10 months ago | (#45613957)

The House has got it spot on. Now for the Senate and President.

It's pretty much a fact that the Dems (of which I have been a lifelong member) both own the Senate, and are owned by many of the people (universities, high tech, and so on) that value patents.

The Senate will not pass this, and what a shame.

Re:One of the few times (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#45614115)

The House has got it spot on. Now for the Senate and President.

It's pretty much a fact that the Dems (of which I have been a lifelong member) both own the Senate, and are owned by many of the people (universities, high tech, and so on) that value patents.

The Senate will not pass this, and what a shame.

With a 325 - 91 margin it's got to make more than a few feel a bit uncomfortable about opposing it. It's also not the Apple vs Samsung sort of patent trolling, it's the scum who keep filling those courthouses in Eastern Texas.

Re:One of the few times (3, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 10 months ago | (#45614555)

House of representatives: 231 Republicans; 200 Democrats. If 91 voted against it, and assuming they're all Democrats (I don't know what the actual breakdown is)... I'd say it has a decent chance of passing the Senate and President. To see THAT much support for something is pretty amazing, ESPECIALLY out of the House of Reps.

Also, at this point, ANY bill that makes it through all the way is a victory. :D I think it'll get signed.

Re:One of the few times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615019)

look to the amendments that didnt get passed and who tried to add them in.

Re:One of the few times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614705)

Stop trolling. Of course the Senate will pass it - the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has stated they look forward to it (though they will probably make some changes). The President has already endorsed it and it has widespread bipartisan support in general.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/113/saphr3309r_20131203.pdf [whitehouse.gov]

Re:One of the few times (3, Informative)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 10 months ago | (#45615077)

1) One of the big drivers behind patent reform was the National Association of Realtors [realtor.org] . The reason why is in the link.

2) They are the 5th largest all time donor to federal politicians [opensecrets.org] . They pay both political parties nearly equally.

3) They are the part of the Finance-Insurance-Real Estate (FIRE) sector [opensecrets.org] , which as a group, "is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties" per the link.

Hence the overwhelming numbers. I'd be curious to see what other goodies are buried in that bill.

Re:One of the few times (1)

non-e-moose (994576) | about 10 months ago | (#45615197)

Time to change "lifelong" party affiliations then.

Re:One of the few times (2)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 10 months ago | (#45615415)

The House has got it spot on. Now for the Senate and President.

It's pretty much a fact that the Dems (of which I have been a lifelong member) both own the Senate, and are owned by many of the people (universities, high tech, and so on) that value patents.

The Senate will not pass this, and what a shame.

The White House supports, and 130 Dems voted for the bill. True, more Dems voted against than Republicans, but 27 Republicans voted against and 64 Dems voted against.

My guess is that voting against this is going to be more aligned with who's getting the most money in the Senate, regardless of party lines. I could imagine both corporations and education throwing money at this, which means Republicans and Democrats will support and oppose in nearly equal measure.

Re:One of the few times (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#45614087)

Actually they didn't go far enough. There are provisions in this bill to protect business process patents because of lobbying by IBM, Microsoft et al.

Hopefully the Senate will fix this up.

As Obama has said he supports this bill and it has broad bipartisan support it's likely to pass the Senate easily.

Re:One of the few times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614359)

BEEP BEEP. You are standing in the way of progress. Get out of the way.

You will never get what you want if you hold out for the whole pie, so take what you can get agreement on today, and then try to get it fixed NEXT SESSION.
Besides, if someone's getting screwed they'll sue under the new law and the courts may fix it for you (aka "legislating from the bench").

Re:One of the few times (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 10 months ago | (#45614595)

You will never get what you want if you hold out ...

Well, this law provides protections from big companies from small companies, but doesn't actually protect small companies from large patent arsenals used to prevent innovation, and you call this is progre-- Wait a second.

BEEP BEEP. You are standing in the way of progress. Get out of the way.

Ah, of course. I had always suspected, but had no proof until today, that a contingent of A.C.s were actually Vogons.

Re:One of the few times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614515)

As Obama has said he supports this bill and it has broad bipartisan support it's likely to pass the Senate easily.

Obama has said a lot of things and then done the opposite. I'm not holding my breath on this one.

Re:One of the few times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614105)

Senate run by DNC, out to destroy middle class. They will not take this up. However, Harry Reid did just give his staff an exemption to the ACA two days ago, so they are busy doing stuff to help themselves out.

Re:One of the few times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614255)

Senate run by DNC, out to destroy middle class.

Perhaps you could enumerate the policy decisions you disagree with, instead of committing the Fundamental Attribution Error [wikipedia.org] ?

However, Harry Reid did just give his staff an exemption to the ACA two days ago, so they are busy doing stuff to help themselves out.

The PPACA [wikipedia.org] is 906 pages long. Could you be a little more specific than "an exemption"?

The Do Nothing Congress Did Something? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613951)

If this actually passes the Senate and Pres, I'll be shocked, shocked I say, that legislating was being done in the legislature.

need more representatives actually representing (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45613969)

Now is a good time to call, write, and email your senators to let them know that you want to see this bill passed AS IS.

Re:need more representatives actually representing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614007)

Now is a good time to call, write, and email your senators to let them know that you want to see this bill passed AS IS.

Do you actually believe that writing senators will make any difference ?

How naive.

Unless you are going to include a large donation along with your letter,
it is a complete waste of time.

The US government exists to serve itself, period.

----

Re:need more representatives actually representing (5, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 10 months ago | (#45614167)

I rather think writing to my senator did help make a difference on the PROTECT IP ACT (PIPA). One of my senators, Cornyn, sponsored PIPA. When Wikipedia went dark, I emailed his office, blaming the outage squarely on SOPA and PIPA. I was surprised and pleased when I heard he backed away, saying it needed more study. Apparently so many people wrote about the issue that he felt it was safer to disappoint his backers than tempt the wrath of that many people.

Checking on this, it seems he even tried to rewrite history, suggesting that he opposed PIPA all along. At any rate, on the Wikipedia entry about SOPA and PIPA, he's listed as "opposed" and his former position in support is not mentioned. There's something ironic about that.

Re:need more representatives actually representing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614263)

The system works!

Re:need more representatives actually representing (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 10 months ago | (#45615259)

One of my senators, Cornyn, sponsored PIPA. (...) Checking on this, it seems he even tried to rewrite history, suggesting that he opposed PIPA all along.

Sadly you get very little credit for changing your mind as a politician, either you're labeled a flip-flop who can't make up their mind, a populist who'll shift with every breeze in the popular opinion or at worst a turncoat who'll back a proposal until it gets tough and then change sides. At best you backed down because off the potential fallout, not because the initial information you based your position on was misleading or you gained any greater insight in the issue and realized your previous position was wrong. Voters tend to vote for people who pretend they are right, always have been right and continue to be right even if defeated. Having a mindset carved in stone is often mistaken for being principled.

Re:need more representatives actually representing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616983)

This is a point that I admire in Angela Merkel: she not only does change her mind quite often when circustances change, but even adopts ideas from the opposition when they turn out to be popular.

I do despise her for the damage she's doing to europe, bit that's another story.

Writing (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 10 months ago | (#45616275)

It seems that ACTA was defeated, primarily because so many millions wrote or called their representatives.

What is the alternative to writing? Lie down, and whimper like a whipped dog? If that appeals to you, then go for it.

Re:need more representatives actually representing (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 10 months ago | (#45614235)

Now is a good time to call, write, and email your senators to let them know that you want to see this bill passed AS IS.

Have you read the entire bill, including current riders, prior to making that statement?

I can't help but think there's something else in this bill other than the legislation we're discussing, and that it's likely something that would leave a foul taste in our collective mouths.

Re:need more representatives actually representing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614721)

Except I don't want it to be passed AS IS. Some of the changes they have proposed are actually to increase transparency of patent infringement complaints by the owners, and potentially remove the silly exceptions that IBM, etc lobbied to put in. If they can pass a bill with those modifications and get the House to agree, it's even better.

Hurrey for Republican Congress!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614001)

I knew that deep inside the libertarian roots of the Republican party are not dead yet and just waiting to come out.

yeah right (4, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 10 months ago | (#45614175)

"Among those apologists was the EVP of the Association of American Universities, whose press briefing Tuesday took the stance that patents are good for research."
Holy crap I don't even know where to start with that one. First of all, I remember when universities were for teaching. They seem to be under the impression that they're product manufacturers or R&D branches of some non-existent company. I wonder if they have a sign outside the door to the labs at these universities that say "forget teaching students, we need money! Welcome to the R&D Dept."

Oh and here's an idea. If you're doing research and want the final product or some related technology protected, don't let anyone know about it. In other words, don't file a patent. WD40 is not patented. The reason the company stated for that is so it's harder to reverse engineer the formula because if it had a patent, the recipe be out there for everyone to see. Nobody has, to this day, ever successfully figured out how to make a knock off of WD40.

Now the article states that this reduces the ability for 2 different universities to coordinate for fear of ripping the ideas off from each other. How about they either have professors teach students things like for example if they were some sort of university OR they become secret-protecting, profit-driven R&D company that only cares about making a profit off newly developed products. Just pick either one or the other and go with it instead of pretending to be both. Patents + universities don't mix because universities are acting like regular companies when they're not. THAT is the part that doesn't work, not the patent laws themselves.

Re:yeah right (2)

ewieling (90662) | about 10 months ago | (#45614461)

Couldn't a mass spectrometer be used today to figure out the formula of WD-40? It seems to me you are simply advocating security through obscurity.

Re:yeah right (3, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 10 months ago | (#45614497)

Well I would think you'd get Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen or whatever since it's a hydrocarbon chain but building chains of oil type chemicals is the hard part.

Re:yeah right (3, Informative)

ewieling (90662) | about 10 months ago | (#45614621)

I should have looked before I posted. <URL:http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/st_whatsinside>. Looks to me they could come very close to the formula.

Re:yeah right (1)

ppanon (16583) | about 10 months ago | (#45614593)

WD-40 is probably composed of a fair number of organic and inorganic molecules. So while a mass spectrometer might tell you the proportion of component atoms in the lubricant, that's a long way from knowing the composition of all its molecular components. I mean mass spectrometers are cheaper now, but they've been available for almost a century (longer than WD-40) so if that was all that was needed somebody would surely have done it by now. Perhaps you might be able to distill/separate the various components with a distilling tower and then analyze them with X-Ray crystallography? That would get you closer but would still be a ways from reproducing the process to make it, one which has probably been adjusted and refined in the last 60 years..

Re: yeah right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614741)

In all probability you'd use a gas chromatograph to separate the components and then some combination of mass spec, NMR and infrared spectroscopy. If people can figure out DNA sequences, they sure can figure out some low MW mixtures.

Re:yeah right (2, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | about 10 months ago | (#45615073)

Every single "Trade Secret" is an attempt to get Security through Obscurity - yet some of the most massive companies still seem to love them. The original goals of having patents includes stopping people from using trade secrets instead, as the holder can't keep anything secret as part of getting a patent (it's called "failure to disclose"). Back when any patent had to have a working drawing, they were automatically rejected if there was any 'black box' element in the drawings, where some part of the operation was supposed to be a trade secret.

So I guess i don't see why you are pointing out that security through obscurity is one of the alternatives here, as though it was stupid to suggest using it. It's not a rare option - there are, for example, thousands of commercial foods that rely on it, including formulas theoretically worth billions, as in Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Lawyers who get paid $500,000 a year or more by their business clients, have built their whole reputations on advising some companies to rely on this form of security through obscurity. It's a huge part of how the current system works, even though many of these trade secrets are no longer secret at all and some of them have been cracked for a hundred years or more. (There are people who can brew up a basement batch of imitation Coca-cola to any version of the formula from the time it still included oil of lavender to "new Coke", and routinely make a hundred gallons at a time of whichever they want, and even sell it - so much for security through obscurity - but they still can't advertise that they know for sure the exact original formula, for fear they might have to explain how they got it if Coca-cola took them to court). There are world class CEOs who think patents are generally stupid, simply because they expire so quickly, and prefer trade secrets as a matter of course. Publicly traded companies frequently brag in their prospecti about how their trade secrets won't expire, as patents will, in trying to influence the sale value of their stock, and there is a whole branch of tax law involving about 2,000 IRS court decisions and nearly 100 pages of regulations and non-binding opinions just covering the tax consequences of them.

I grant you, it does sound absurd, put that way. It's just that sounding surprised that anyone would say anything that even might encourage it is sort of like if you said you were surprised to hear that anyone advocated using helecopters in warfare instead of horses. There are, in total, literally trillions of dollars of financial pressure pushing people towards not always seeking patents, and "very important" industry insiders who think security through obscurity is the right choice, however absurd that sounds.

Re:yeah right (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 10 months ago | (#45615553)

A thoughtful response, but you used his phrase and shouldn't have. It's not "security through obscurity." It's "competitive advantage through obscurity." They're rather different. Different enough that I think his application of the phrase is misleading. The industry insiders are manifestly correct. They are in fact achieving a competitive advantage through obscurity. Though in the case of things like Coca-Cola and KFC (they officially changed their name, by the way, like SGI did), the obscure formula is only worth as much as it is specifically in conjunction with the trademarked brand. Those people who can brew up any version of Coke they like aren't going to be able to sell billions of dollars worth at $3.50 per 12 pack without investing an enormous amount of money in establishing a brand to rival Coke. (Or RC Cola would do better than they have been.) Likewise if Chick-fil-A started using KFC's spice mix and selling fried chicken, not only would people not notice, but if confronted with the possibility, they would vociferously deny that the two brands taste the same. People are funny like that.

Trade secrets really aren't all that terrible as a means of competing. If the resulting product really is that awesome, someone else can and will figure out how to make it, possibly duplicating the secret or possibly not. Then it comes down to customer service and quality, all without involving the lawyers. Sounds like a step up, if you ask me.

Security by obscurity can work very well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616013)

Every single "Trade Secret" is an attempt to get Security through Obscurity - yet some of the most massive companies still seem to love them.

Security by obscurity can work very well in chemical processing. Spoken like someone who has not had to deal with the millions of possible combinations of different elements when trying to develop a new alloy, the presence of which chemical leads to the early degradation of a given battery chemistry, or which temperature and catalysts to use when processing a given hydrocarbon. If one goes for a patent, someone in China can read the patent, and just copy it. Elon Musk is not patenting innovations in how to manufacture his rockets for that very reason.

Grants.. Grants...Grants.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 10 months ago | (#45614511)

While the student debt machine pumps out a great amount of money, the icing is in Grants, and Universities who can and do research work with associated patents get crazy grant money for important things..you know..like golden bulls and stuff..

Re:yeah right (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 10 months ago | (#45615121)

I agree with everything until you said "THAT is the part that doesn't work, not the patent laws themselves.". That is absolutely wrong, because of the whole concept of "idea" patents, which are currently legal (and have been since the first Bush).

The Patent laws have not been working correctly since then. The same arguments we have against those types of patents today date back to the 1700s. The difference between now and then is that people passed these horrible laws which allow not just the monopoly on an invention, but the monopoly on an idea.

While it's nice that some of the issues are being addressed, the underlying principle is still a failure. Our economy (or lack thereof) should make it painfully obvious to anyone that does even minimal research how bad "Idea" patents are. Our economy won't be fixed because of this law, which basically allows you to retrieve damage from a patent troll if the plaintiff loses. The "Why?" of that is very simple. Not very many of these cases get overturned.

The current patent system is still designed to allow monopolization of ideas, and wealth distribution among the people that already have patents on ideas. I don't care how smart you are as an inventor. When you come out with a product like NEST and get sued into oblivion because someone had the idea patented long ago and never used it, you can't possibly develop new products as an entrepreneur. When you have companies like Microsoft and IBM with think-tanks that do nothing but submit idea patents to the tune of hundreds of thousands of individual patents each year, your grand idea is already taken.

Umm, universities have always been for research (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 10 months ago | (#45615239)

They teach too, but research has always been a part of it. Now if you don't want them getting patents and such on research that's fine, but then you need to increase funding. Part of the issue is that states have continually cut funding to universities. If that money isn't being paid in by the state, it needs to come from other sources, either higher tuition, or more research dollars.

Re:yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615903)

JB80 - http://www.justicebrothers.com/jb80.html - this has been around for at least 30 years.

Re:yeah right (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 10 months ago | (#45615953)

> I wonder if they have a sign outside the door to the labs at these universities that say "forget teaching students, we need money! Welcome to the R&D Dept."

Not sure about the sign, but they do have staffers whose primary function is to snarf grant money for said university. :)

One of my friends years ago made his living doing that very thing.

Re:yeah right (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 10 months ago | (#45616809)

Doh - Weazel Piss a.k.a. releasing oil, is fairly common and goes by many names, for example R60 and Castrol Flick.

What about copyright trolls? (3, Interesting)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 10 months ago | (#45614313)

Not much seems to be done about these draconian copyright laws we have.

Re:What about copyright trolls? (4, Insightful)

suutar (1860506) | about 10 months ago | (#45614445)

copyright hasn't hindered anyone with deep enough pockets yet, in part because copyright (unlike patents) doesn't prevent you from writing your own thing that does X.

Re:What about copyright trolls? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615297)

It keeps a lot of things out of the public domain which should be. Happy Birthday is an example that comes to mind.

no need to prevent trolling, just make it unprofit (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 10 months ago | (#45614425)

Once I found out that about 4-8 companies file half of all patent suits (and 90% of the troll ones), I figured it shouldn't be THAT hard to make it unprofitable for those companies to continue. Some say this bill isn't perfect, but if it manages to take enough profit our of trolling to stop those few big trolls, that largely solves the problem.

Did anyone check... (1)

jacobsm (661831) | about 10 months ago | (#45614427)

I'm wondering what's the temperature in the Phlegethon.

who are the bad 91? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614491)

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/113-2013/h629

Inventors are being targeted by a hate campaign. (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#45614643)

This isn't an anti-patent troll bill. It's an anti-small inventor bill. It's designed to make it more expensive to enforce patents. That won't affect Google vs Apple vs Microsoft, etc. It just makes it harder for a little company to enforce a patent against a big one. That was the intention. (The Leahy bill in the Senate isn't that bad, but the Goodlatte bill that just passed the House is awful.)

This bill has been pushed through by a hate campaign against inventors. It's a well-funded campaign, and it's suckered in many people. The money is coming from Google and Facebook, who are hiding behind front organizations such as the Application Developers Association and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF's effort is funded by Google and Facebook, with $2 million laundered through a clever legal trick. [cnn.com]

There are very few real "patent trolls". The EFF has tried to identify every one they can, and they only found 15. [trollingeffects.org] They started a campaign to attack "trolled patents" in court and at the USPTO, and and they only found one. [eff.org] There are a few other broad patents being enforced aggressively, notably Ultramercial. That's about it.

Using that thin basis, the "patent troll" problem has been hyped as a major threat. There are hate sites aimed at inventors:

  • "Trolling Effects" (EFF) [trollingeffects.org] "Trolling Effects is a resource for those who have been targeted by patent trolls. Here you can learn more about these bad actors."
  • The American Association of Advertising Agencies [aaaa.org] : "These are not companies in the traditional sense that employ workers or create, market and distribute products or services; rather, they are legal entities whose sole purpose is to threaten with patent claims and then secure expedient - and lucrative - settlements based on these claims."
  • Application Developers Alliance [appdevelop...liance.org] : "Even the worst and least-expensive old patents are used like extortionist sledge hammers."

I used to respect the EFF, but once they took Google's money, they, too, turned to the dark side.

Re:Inventors are being targeted by a hate campaign (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45614943)

No, inventors are not the target of this legislation. I am an entrepreneur, multi-startup founder, product creator of products that have shipped hundreds of thousands of units and products that have failed (always important to add). I hold over a dozen patents or patents pending. I have also had my startups threatened by patent litigation from trolls. A lot of things about creating companies and products are difficult but being assaulted by patent trolls is one of the worst because there is nothing the entrepreneur can do except pay off a thug or pay off lawyers to defend against the thug. Either way, the small inventor loses crucial capital, focus and energy.

I've read the current language of the bill and there is nothing there that harms small inventors. Everything there makes large-scale patent trolling less attractive as a business model. As a small inventor I have no problem disclosing my ownership in my patents. I have no problem specifying what product I believe infringes one of my patents and in what way. I have no problem with a judge being able to shift court costs to the losing party, if the judge determines that party was not acting in good faith in bringing the suit. I wouldn't bring a suit in bad faith, nor abuse the discovery process or otherwise try to egregiously abuse legal tactics to run up costs. That's what trolls do. Not legitimate inventors. All of these provisions PROTECT me as a small inventor. Trolls generally go after small companies because they are the ones that must settle because they can't afford a costly defense.

Re:Inventors are being targeted by a hate campaign (2)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#45615327)

I've read the current language of the bill and there is nothing there that harms small inventors. Everything there makes large-scale patent trolling less attractive as a business model.

The worst part is the remnant of the "loser pays" provision. If you try to enforce a patent against a big company, if you lose you have a good chance of being hit with the big guy's legal bills. There's no cap on that. That provision was amended, which made it "slightly less awful", as one congressman put it. After the amendment, the new language now means you get to litigate over the legal fees. Statistically, the patent holder wins about 40% of the time, and even with a good case, it's easy to make a mistake and lose.

The Leahy bill is better. It's more narrowly directed towards bulk-type patent enforcement operations, doesn't have a loser-pays provision, and proposes a small claims court for smaller patent cases.

Re:Inventors are being targeted by a hate campaign (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616027)

That means 60% of the time patent's holders are wasting the resources of those they are suing. Can't really see anything wrong with discouraging such waste.

plaintiff pays only if filed IN BAD FAITH (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 10 months ago | (#45616127)

It's my understanding, and the GP who read the whole thing states, that the plaintiff pays the defendant's fees only if the sued IN BAD FAITH. The little guy can freely sue the big company if they have "a good faith belief" that the big company is infringing. It's pretty tough to prove bad faith, that the plaintiff didn't think they had a case. That comes into play when a plaintiff pulls crap like lying to the court about who their client is, and forging an inventor's signature - the crap the worst patent trolls do.

Re:plaintiff pays only if filed IN BAD FAITH (1)

Animats (122034) | about 10 months ago | (#45616779)

It's my understanding, and the GP who read the whole thing states, that the plaintiff pays the defendant's fees only if the sued IN BAD FAITH.

Close, but not quite. "Bad faith" has a specific meaning in law. [thefreedictionary.com] It requires malicious intent. The burden of proof is on the party claiming bad faith, and it's hard to prove intent.

That language was fought over and amended. Originally, it was loser pays almost all the time. Here's what passed the House:

(a) Award- The court shall award, to a prevailing party, reasonable fees and other expenses incurred by that party in connection with a civil action in which any party asserts a claim for relief arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents, unless the court finds that the position and conduct of the nonprevailing party or parties were reasonably justified in law and fact or that special circumstances (such as severe economic hardship to a named inventor) make an award unjust.

That's a presumption that the loser pays, but the loser can try to convince the judge that their position was "reasonably justified in law and fact". The burden of proof is on the loser. and there's no requirement of bad intent. It's quite possible to start an infringement case and find out during litigation that the position taken was not "reasonably justified in fact".

The effect is to place inventors at risk of losing several milion dollars should they try to assert patent rights against a big company. It's all about making inventors afraid.

Re:Inventors are being targeted by a hate campaign (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 10 months ago | (#45614981)

This isn't an anti-patent troll bill. It's an anti-small inventor bill.

If so, good then; the sooner the myth of patents being for the small inventor dies the sooner everyone will finally be rid of the impediment of patents forever.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615829)

As soon as I see comments like, "I'm trying to move Seattle...", I think of rain tans and politicians as smart as Bobo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7qDNEhSlcM [youtube.com]

Long time coming (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45615847)

While I do in fact feel some empathy for people who create new material in terms of copyright / patents, this is a long time coming. We can't have a functioning system when everybody and their brother can clog up the works with useless patents describing a method (but which would be completely worthless as instructions to actually do it), and without proving that they've in fact done it and it works, and without even making it available to the public in terms of continuing to sell the product.

Also, the whole point of the patent system was to encourage people to create while also keeping the value of the works around after the rights expired. Half of that equation is rendered moot when the lifetime of a patent keeps extending. So what we'll have instead is a dying and increasingly useless system bogged down by patent trolls gouging creators for money while they don't provide any value whatsoever to society.

Unpossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45616137)

What is SOPA hidden inside this? There is no way politicians would side with the little guys, since they dont pay for their political shenanigans.

Just sayin' (0)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 10 months ago | (#45616575)

70% of the representatives that voted against the bill were Democrats.

Managed to pass the stupidest House in generations (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 10 months ago | (#45616703)

Now I'm kind of worried what is wrong with it. This is the chamber that wanted to bankrupt the country in order to block healthcare reform.

Of course, maybe it just had a rider that killed ACORN another few hundred times.

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