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Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent "Arms Control Pact"

samzenpus posted about three weeks ago | from the working-together dept.

Google 73

jfruh writes Patent trolling is a serious irritant and financial drain on many big tech companies — but those same companies can't guarantee that their own future management won't sell the patents they own to a 'non-practicing entity', especially in the case of sale or bankruptcy. That's why a number of tech giants, including Google and Dropbox, have formed the 'License or Transfer Network,' in which a patent will automatically be licensed to everyone else in the network in the event that it's sold to a third party.

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Time to abolish patents (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429633)

A "patent defense pool" of tech giants will benefit, well, the tech giants, namely the incumbents.

The idea of patents was to foster innovation. Anything that tilts the tables against newcomers and favors the established players is working against that. It's not the established players that are dependent on the law in order to benefit from their inventions: they have all the means to exploit them themselves and benefit via first-to-market and the marketing power of their reputation.

Time to abolish patents (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429667)

This protects against patent trolls, not newcomers

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429695)

Just come out and say it. This is defense against Microsoft and Apple.

Re:Time to abolish patents (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429769)

This protects tech giants, not newcomers, against patent trolls. So it is tilting the tables against newcomers and favors the established players.

The patent trolls are not players. They are table grenades, and tilting the table will roll them to the newcomers.

Re:Time to abolish patents (2)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about three weeks ago | (#47429899)

I wonder how hard it would be to get in that "pact" if your company manages to go beyond the start-up designation.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about three weeks ago | (#47431327)

It looks like you could join, even as a startup. The form is available online. My concern is actually how it handles transfers within the network - they're unencumbered by the license granting provisions, which seems to indicate that if this becomes widespread, it could become a tool used against startups later on, or be useless against patent trolls if they're too accepting of new companies. It doesn't seem like it's bad for startups now, given the ease of joining.

Does your company have patents? (1)

tepples (727027) | about three weeks ago | (#47431403)

I believe you'd have to bring some of your own valuable and relevant patents to the table, just as in any other patent pool.

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430079)

Nonsense, nothing protects against patent grubbers, UNLESS, I could expand my current business of protecting the rich and famous from paparazzi w/skinheads and bikers. Nothing says "drop the suit" like a couple skinheads over your bed at 3 a.m. beating you to pulp w/softball bats. I'm guessing my prices would be well within their budgets even with travel costs. Justice IS for sale, along with privacy and security. Gotta love it! Even if arrested, they have a no-snitch code. You know what happens to snitches!

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about three weeks ago | (#47430523)

Keep telling yourself that...

They will only do good with their new ultimate power! Nobody in history has ever abused their power...

Re:Time to abolish patents (4, Interesting)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about three weeks ago | (#47429681)

Agreed - as the situation is right now it seems that everyone except lawyers would gain from abolishing patents. The large patent holders just seem to be passing (and passing through lawyers) penalties to each other. There seem to be no net gain for the parties on either side. Abolish patents and it's almost business as usual except for the lawyers.

I know this is an exaggerated assessment but from an outside observer, it's not that far from the reality I see.

Re:Time to abolish patents (3, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | about three weeks ago | (#47429871)

But let's say you had a patent on something which earned you a couple of thousand dollars a month.
Would you then still think the same?

(Just playing devil's advocate here.)

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429897)

You wouldn't have the legal money to back that patent up so it's moot.

Re:Time to abolish patents (3, Insightful)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about three weeks ago | (#47429955)

This is a fair question, and perhaps I would think differently in this position. I'm not in this position so my view is not tainted by my greed.

So my view is based on what I see as the better situation for the greater good of all, and I'm giving little to no consideration to any individual (be it a person or other entity).

I could also counter with the converse argument - consider I had an idea that could yield me a couple of thousand dollars a month but I can't due to a patent issue then ....

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about three weeks ago | (#47430335)

The problem with your "for the greater good" thinking is simple there is a financial disincentive to develop an invention. It will take a year tops before your competitors can start selling your invention, you have about one to two years to recoup your costs. Many ideas will go uninvented because the inventor has no reward incentive to risk their capital in bringing their idea to market.

Re:Time to abolish patents (3, Interesting)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about three weeks ago | (#47430423)

Is that really reality though? I'm not convinced that reality would play out this way. The inventor has the advantage of being first to market, this gives a significant advantage and allows them to establish a market for their brand. Brand etc all has value, and being first to marked and establishing a brand continues to give the inventor an advantage over the competition. This also encourages the inventor to continue to innovate to remain ahead of their competitors - which is a natural motivator for innovation.

People will invent and will innovate regardless of if a patent system is in place or not - I think that the concept of "recoup your costs" is probably better described as "making an absolute disproportionate shit load", and this is half the problem with our world right now - organisations don't want to recoup costs, they want it all, every dollar, every person has and the patent system is just one more tool that is being wielded to achieve that goal.

Sure there will be cases where this doesn't fit well, but there are also many cases where the current patent system doesn't fit well. It's not simple choosing which way is best.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about three weeks ago | (#47430769)

Being first to market is rarely the determining factor of success of a product, if someone can offer the exact same product cheaper or can out market the inventor it will matter little who was first. Remember how late iPods were to the market yet they dominated.

Some people will invent regardless if a system is in place but there will be fewer people bringing those inventions to market. I doubt you have ever been through the prototype and testing phase of a product, it can be very expensive as multiple iterations are needed to get the product ready to go to market, then you have tooling costs where you can go through multiple iterations too. These are iterations that your competitors won't have to go through and can offer the same product for a significantly lower cost. They can charge the same amount and spend the extra cash on marketing or keep it as profits, a luxury the inventor doesn't have.

A patent system is needed to protect inventors, they deserve a chance to make their money back. Unfortunately many companies take full advantage of these protections and use them as market barriers. The best example I know of is due to the greenhouse gass ban on CFC's inhalers, the new propellent used was HFAs and a patent wall was put around them, my son's inhaler went from $15 a month to $150 a month. I'm all for shorting the term to 3-5 years but inventors need to be protected.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47430831)

I could also counter with the converse argument - consider I had an idea that could yield me a couple of thousand dollars a month but I can't due to a patent issue then ....

You patent your improvement on the existing patent, and then cross-license with the other patent owner. Or you go ahead with your idea, and pay a couple hundred a month to the patent owner. Either way, net win for you.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

mysidia (191772) | about three weeks ago | (#47431159)

This is a fair question, and perhaps I would think differently in this position. I'm not in this position so my view is not tainted by my greed.

The patent holders often view the public as greedy. These other companies want to capitalize on their invention and not compensate the patent holder their 'fair share' for creating their 'invention'!

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430123)

But let's say you had a patent on something which earned you a couple of thousand dollars a month.
Would you then still think the same?

(Just playing devil's advocate here.)

Since we live in a democracy and the vast majority of people will never be in that position the point is moot. What we have with patents is a single person/company benefiting at the expense of hundreds of millions of people; blocked from using whatever it is the patent purportedly "protects". A patent would have to be hugely beneficial to society to offset that huge cost and that's rare. That's something patent proponents never talk about - they claim that patents are mostly harmless even if they don't promote innovation. They're wrong. And that's ignoring all the other problems with patents like independent re-invention and hand waving about idea boundaries and what it means to be a new idea.

Employees of patent holders (1)

tepples (727027) | about three weeks ago | (#47431423)

Since we live in a democracy and the vast majority of people will never be in that position the point is moot.

How many people are employed by companies deriving revenue from their patents?

Employees of patent holders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47431927)

Why should they be allowed to derive revenue from patents? They are just leaching off of other people's work.

Re:Employees of patent holders (1)

tepples (727027) | about three weeks ago | (#47432215)

Why should [companies] be allowed to derive revenue from patents?

As part of an economic bargain established "to promote the progress of science and useful arts", as one country's constitution puts it.

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430141)

Tough luck. The government-sponsored income is gone. You were lucky to get something out of it while it lasted.

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430383)

> But let's say you had a patent on something which earned you a couple of thousand dollars a month.
> Would you then still think the same?

Stupid question.
Turkey's will never vote for Thanksgiving.

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47431195)

But let's say you had a patent on something which earned you a couple of thousand dollars a month.
Would you then still think the same?

I can turn that around and rephrase that question as, "Would you give up $24k/yr of patent income to have unfettered access to all the technologies currently denied to you by patent protection?" and my answer would be "Hell, yes!"

F- rentiers. I write free software precisely so I don't become one.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

wasteoid (1897370) | about three weeks ago | (#47431317)

After lawyers' fees, there isn't much left, so it's a wash.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

DriveDog (822962) | about three weeks ago | (#47432637)

If patents were only assigned to citizens and could not be transferred to but other than another citizen. Only licensing to corporations for time periods of a year at a time would be allowed.

Double edge sword. (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about three weeks ago | (#47429957)

A patent cartel is a double edged sword that can smite trolls, competitors, or both. All depends of who's holding the blunt end.

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped. However just because patents are currently too powerful and have spread into areas where they don't belong does not mean the concept is fundamentally flawed.

The fundamental flaw is greed, the fact that 1000 individuals have obtained an income that is more than 3X that of 1,000,000,000 individuals combined is simply too much of a temptation to all but the strongest moral compass. OTOH, if everyone gets the same income who in their right mind would not just sit back and let "somebody else" worry about silly things such as a job?

The sweet spot lays somewhere in between, most economists put the ideal income ratio between richest and poorest at 10:1 and point to Norway's position at the top of almost every economic and social metric known to man as prima-facie evidence. Norway was smart enough to realise the North Sea oil boom would come to an end one day so they taxed the hell out of oil companies during the boom and invested it in both industrial and social infrastructure. Many economists now argue it is the social infrastructure that has seen the highest ROI.

Here in Australia we have done the opposite with our mining boom, there were some good reforms and we built lots of roads and railways that lead to giant holes in the middle of nowhere but mostly we squandered it on tax cuts and corporate welfare. In the meantime China has been buying our coal and iron ore and for quite some time has been building up their infrastructure at a phenomenal rate. Ironically they now have one of the highest inequity ratings of any nation. This is because of the discrepancy between the rural areas and the "economic zones". China is now in the process of building up the infrastructure in these rural areas but the pace has slowed because of the financial mess in the US and EU. They are now officially in deflation meaning production has overshot demand. Consequently our 25yr mining boom has come to a sudden halt and we have two fifths of fuck all to show for it. Sure our economy is still in much better shape than the EU and US, but I'm old enough to remember when life was good in both Norway and Argentina.

Disclaimer: I plead guilty to OT ranting, but I put it to the reader that a spliff and an end of the working week rant is far more humane than kicking the cat.

Re:Double edge sword. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430805)

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped.

I agree with your ends, but not your means. They're not permanent enough. There are too many ways around this argument, not the least of which is that it's not illegal or even frowned-upon for something to be both patented and copyrighted at the same time.

The real way to show that software isn't patentable is to point out that software is a collection of instructions for an already-patented (or patentable, or perhaps something covered by an expired patent and thus now-unpatentable) hardware device. The device was always capable of performing those instructions in that order when it was first invented and (perhaps) patented. Thus most software patents are trying to double-patent part of that hardware device, which is not allowed.

If you want to patent a process (and, hence, software), describe it in fine detail as a hardware-agnostic algorithm that can be used as an implementation specification on any hardware capable of doing all of the operations necessary to perform it. You've just destroyed all of the "+ on a computer" patents, while preserving the ones that are actually "inventions" that happen to be done in an algorithmic way.

Re:Double edge sword. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47431659)

There are too many ways around this argument, not the least of which is that it's not illegal or even frowned-upon for something to be both patented and copyrighted at the same time.

That raises an interesting point; perhaps they should be mutually exclusive, e.g. if you want a patent for something you can't also get copyright or trademark coverage. That way, you naturally pick the one that best fits whatever you're trying to create.

Re:Double edge sword. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47430927)

Software patents are absurd and a form of double dipping since software is already protected by copyright they should indeed be scrapped.

First, since when is double-dipping an issue? A design can be protected by both trade dress and design patents. A copyrighted character can also be a trademark (see, e.g., Mr. M. Mouse). The two protections are not coextensive, so what's wrong with having both?

Second, why are you arguing for copyright - with a lifetime+90 year term - as opposed to patents - with a 20 year from filing term? Copyright tends to be much more abusive in that way.

And third, software isn't well protected by copyright. Copyright is useful when that specific article is the one you want: you want Picasso's Guernica, not Billy Bob's Smear of Paint on a Wall; you want "The Avengers" movie, not the Mockbuster "The Revengers"; you want to read about Harry Potter and his Half-assed Plot or whatever Rowling has cranked out, not Larry Kotter and the Temple of Doom. It's why the RIAA/MPAA love copyright so much. And it works for operating systems, since you do want Mac OS or Windows as opposed to Marc OS or Winbows.
But it doesn't work very well for, say, TinyTower- er, DreamHeights- er, SimTower- er, Theme Hotel. Or, say, any one of these 78 games like Minecraft [gameslikefinder.com] . Copyright doesn't protect against any rebuilding of the same game, provided different sprites and textures are used and the code is original, even if nearly identical. It doesn't prevent reverse engineering, and doesn't prevent the kind of copying Zynga specializes in.

Re:Double edge sword. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about three weeks ago | (#47431459)

TinyTower and DreamHeights are very different than Theme Hotel and SimTower. Two of these "games" (aka psychological manipulators) are designed to get you to buy inapp purchases, the other two are actual games. I do see your point with them though, since in each pair, one is a copy of the other AFAIK (I've never seen DreamHeights). Just don't group them.

Re:Double edge sword. (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47431955)

TinyTower and DreamHeights are very different than Theme Hotel and SimTower. Two of these "games" (aka psychological manipulators) are designed to get you to buy inapp purchases, the other two are actual games.

Oh, come on, that's a distinction without any teeth. I'd say the bigger difference is that the first two are one unit per level, while the latter two allow horizontal expansion. The fact that two have microtransactions and the other two don't is mostly irrelevant.

Re:Double edge sword. (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about three weeks ago | (#47438409)

That's a distinction with tons of teeth. It's not just microtransactions - everything about Zynga-style "games" is designed to make you play more while heavily incentivizing you to pay, while normal games provide a challenge. Zynga games don't contain nearly any challenges since that discourages players, they're button-pressing for the sake of button pressing. That's one reason why King is taking over Zynga's former spot as that upcoming new free game giant - they're providing games that are legitimately challenging, and adding the incentives for players to pay. Part of the reason for that is that the games they pick to add these psychological influences to already have a high degree of randomization that they use to their advantage, and they did mash up the formula on them by adding modified game modes, but that's going on a tangent. Back to your point about the way levels are designed, that's also part of the strategy to get people to pay - you can't see the forest for the (intentionally singular) tree.

Re:Double edge sword. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47431981)

Why should the law protect you against someone else copying your product and doing it better than you did?

Are you really asking the government to prevent the public from getting a better product so that you can make more money off of your inferior product?

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429969)

Not quite. Large players maintain a larger slice of the pie by stifling smaller players. Stomping on the opposition provides as much benefit as self-improvement. Also, BTW, patents do appear to foster innovation in the areas of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, if nowhere else.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430067)

Guess I should put up references. WIPO's own survey of patent research tacitly admits that other factors are generally more important for innovation than patents (see p. 21).
López, Andrés (2009) Innovation and appropriability, empirical evidence and research agenda. In WIPO (2009) The Economics of Intellectual Property.

But all the research they surveyed looks only at the benefits of patents, and there are also costs. Including the costs:
Bessen, James & Meurer, Michael J. (2008) Patent Failure. Princeton University Press.
Pharmaceutical and chemical patents patents provide a nett economic benefit. Other patents broke even at best until the introduction of software patents, when everything went to shit.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about three weeks ago | (#47429687)

All the same, it's hard for me to see Dropbox as a 'tech giant'

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about three weeks ago | (#47429737)

> The idea of patents was to foster innovation.
the idea they used to sell you the idea of patents was to foster innovation. De facto, patents are working as intended. I agree with you nonetheless.

How is this not anti-competitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429961)

The largest giants ensures special privileges and treatments for themselves. However, if small companies have a high bar to entry, the economy will tank as a result of lack of innovation. Catch 22.

Captcha: networks

Re: How is this not anti-competitive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430247)

Exactlt! This is collusion.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | about three weeks ago | (#47430231)

Patents do foster innovation, they allow the inventor time to recoup their investment before they have to compete in the market. Without patent protection the little guy would be fucked and has zero financial incentive to develop their idea.

Re:Time to abolish patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430481)

The little guy cannot afford to develop any idea since everything and its dog is patented and so he'd be sued out of existence by companies wielding patent pools if he tried getting appropriately paid for his work rather than getting a lukewarm handshake.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47430813)

... benefit via first-to-market and the marketing power of their reputation.

Tell that to Nimblebit and everyone else Zynga has run over while being second-to-market.

Re:Time to abolish patents; WRONG (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about three weeks ago | (#47432197)

We need to re-define patents. It should remain for hardware, but not software. Basically, we need to drop that method patent.

Re:Time to abolish patents (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about three weeks ago | (#47432265)

While that's true, google seems to be fostering innovation by simply buying up any newcomer that does anything interesting and new. If patents were changed, google would obviously meddle quite a bit in how the laws were drafted, and we could see google start to copy innovative stuff people were doing in their garage rather than simply buying them.

I'm not convinced it's a reasonable enough worry to say "lets not overhaul patents" though.

Clear Cut Collusion (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about three weeks ago | (#47429663)

This is a clear cut instance of collusion.
They should be forced to continue to defend their patents or to release the patents to everyone on the same terms.
Patent groups, from this shit to MPEG to BluRay to whatever, destroy innovation more than any individual patents do.

Re:Clear Cut Collusion (2)

Etherwalk (681268) | about three weeks ago | (#47429771)

collusion, n., secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.

It is not secret.

Can you point to an illegality? I suppose you can argue that they are restraining trade. But I think most courts would be okay with it. (All contracts restrain trade on some level; the motives behind this one aren't colluding to prevent competition so much as agreeing not to engage in an unproductive patent war.)

The patent system has a lot of problems. But just because we disagree with parts of it or how it's used doesn't make the people who are using it criminals.

Re: Clear Cut Collusion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429869)

Patent abusers might not be criminals as such, but they are enemies of humanity.

Re:Clear Cut Collusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430489)

It's a cartel. Put together to ensure the companies in that cartel are safe from patents from one another, while they will continue to use them against companies not in their cartel.

At the very least, it's anti-competitive practices designed to keep competitors out of the game (despite your assertion to the contrary).

If this isn't illegal, it bloody well should be.

Re:Clear Cut Collusion (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about three weeks ago | (#47430527)

It's a cartel. Put together to ensure the companies in that cartel are safe from patents from one another, while they will continue to use them against companies not in their cartel.
[...]
If this isn't illegal, it bloody well should be.

OK. Tell that to MPEG-LA. By your definition it's a cartel plus extortion. Have fun with that.

Re:Clear Cut Collusion (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about three weeks ago | (#47433789)

They let their buddies into the group and exclude others.
Their buddies get free access to patents, everyone else has to pay.
Antitrust says anticompetitive shit like that is illegal.

Re:Clear Cut Collusion (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | about three weeks ago | (#47430947)

This is a clear cut instance of collusion. They should be forced to continue to defend their patents or to release the patents to everyone on the same terms. Patent groups, from this shit to MPEG to BluRay to whatever, destroy innovation more than any individual patents do.

Collusion isn't bad, in and of itself. Say you hire someone to paint your house - you're technically "colluding". The issue is when it becomes an anti-trust violation. And the DoJ has looked at patent pools and determined that they're not always automatically anti-trust violations. They certainly can be, but the mere fact that the participants are "colluding" doesn't make it any worse than any other contract. Instead, there has to be things like illegal patent extension or unfair licensing based on market share or some other feature.

Everyone (1)

jaeztheangel (2644535) | about three weeks ago | (#47429675)

Or just the "boys club"?

This would create an oligarchy, not a democracy.

Re:Everyone (1)

Mr0bvious (968303) | about three weeks ago | (#47429683)

Not disagreeing with you except, we already live in an oligarchy, our governments have very little resemblance of a democracy.

Re:Everyone (1)

jaeztheangel (2644535) | about three weeks ago | (#47437129)

well, we've already taken the coinage back from them (bitcoin). Perhaps it's time we decentralised the courts?

Thats a good idea IF... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429709)

membership is not exclusive. That is to say that any company can join. If membership is closed off to companies it is nothing more than another patent cabal.

Re: Thats a good idea IF... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429789)

It looks like anyone can join if they sign the agreement. There is an administration fee that you need to pay as well. More details can be found here: http://www.lotnet.com/how-to-join-lotnet/index.cfm

Two way street.. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about three weeks ago | (#47429779)

Will this pact also prevent patent trolling by Google, Dropbox, and Others? Whoever others are but one would hope they include: Oracle? Microsoft? Samsung? Apple?

Probably not valid in case of bankruptcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429785)

They probably have invested a lot in lawyers for this, but I wouldn't be surprised if the agreement is void in case of a sale due to bankruptcy since the value of the patents would be lower...

Probably not valid in case of bankruptcy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430097)

Why should such a contract be void in the case of bankruptcy? Yes, the patents are worth less this way. They are worth less precisely because they are encumbered by a contract so they cannot be sold to patent trolls. At least not some troll that wants to take on members of this patent club. If Dropbox dies as people find out how easy home servers are - then their patents will be sold. But they are encumbered by contracts with Google which is not dead. The patents are co-owned or perpetually licenced. These patents can only be used for protecting "business use" of them, not also for club members trolling each other.

License ON transfer (1)

Wdi (142463) | about three weeks ago | (#47429801)

Has the editor actually understood the idea behind this?

That's like a patent cartel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429803)

How nice of them.

And Israel knocks on the roof ...then BLOWS IT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429809)

Top that!

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47429931)

This will definately improve the quality of patents, because everyone knows that patents are good quality, until they're sold to non-practicising entities, at which point they become bad quality, despite being exactly the same.

In 3... 2... 1... (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about three weeks ago | (#47430117)

... cue the antitrust suit.

it is really that bad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430193)

It is kinda collusion. But not with a evil intent...

You know the US is in a sad state, if company's have to resort to this....

Anti Trust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430277)

Not that I oppose this move, but it sounds like an antitrust violation to me. Perhaps its time to abolish antitrust law along with software patents?

This is horrible (1)

McDrewbie (530348) | about three weeks ago | (#47430353)

"Google, Dropbox, and Others Forge Patent 'Arms Control Pact' " How dare they fake a patent in order to control who gets to make treaties concerning armaments!! I feel like any nation-state or people should have a right to make such agreements when ever they choose to, with whomever they wish. This is just another grab by greedy corporations. Or are they seriously announcing the presence in international warfarehttp://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/07/11/0138219/google-dropbox-and-others-forge-patent-arms-control-pact# and politics?

Bankruptcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47430411)

Not a lawyer but I believe that this is not enforceable in bankruptcy. A bankruptcy judge is going to void any agreement that limits the value of a patent. The judge is going to try to recoup as much money as possible for creditors.

just like any other contact, such as a lease (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about three weeks ago | (#47431379)

Suppose you lease a car from Toyota. You pay for five years up front. You now have the right to drive that car for five years.

Toyota goes bankrupt. They own the car, subject to the l lease to you, which reduces it's value to the company. Do you think the bankruptcy court is going order all leased Toyota's to be repossessed? Of course not. Toyota's ownership interest in the car is subject to the lease.

Same here. As soon as the deal is signed, that creates a restriction on the ownership of the patents, lowering their value. The value is reduced today, when the restriction is added. Five years from now, a bankruptcy judge isn't reverse time and undo the contract. On the other hand, if the company tried to join the association AFTER they filed bankruptcy, the judge would have to approve the new restriction on the assets and they may well block that.

If you can't beat em... (1)

Kookus (653170) | about three weeks ago | (#47430533)

Join em.

Antitrust? (2)

adharma (607872) | about three weeks ago | (#47430661)

How is this not considered a trust, cartel or collusion? I mean, there was specifically a "United States v. Motion Picture Patents Co" [justia.com] Supreme Court case.
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