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Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the which-is-good-because-being-broken-is-patented dept.
New submitter TurinX writes "Unsurprisingly, IBM's Chief Patent Counsel, Manny Schecter, thinks the patent system isn't broken. He says, 'Patent disputes like [the Apple-Samsung case] are a natural characteristic of a vigorously competitive industry. And they're nothing new: Similar skirmishes have historically occurred in areas as diverse as sewing machines, winged flight, agriculture, and telegraph technology. Each marked the emergence of incredible technological advances, and each generated similar outcries about the patent system. We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average.'" Regarding software patents, he argues, "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world." His recommendation is that we should be patient and "let the system work." Schecter's editorial at Wired is one of a series of expert opinions on the patent system; we've already discussed Richard Stallman's contribution.
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Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel

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  • Well.... really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:07PM (#41936389)

    The title is all you need to know...

    Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel

    Of course he will say that, his job depends on there being patents to work and litigate with.

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Agreed.
      I mean I understand the reasoning behind the patent system and the arguments for it, but it in essence creates a sanctioned Monopoly, which actually stifles innovation instead of enhancing it.
      It is a complex issue to be sure.
      • It is a complex issue to be sure.

        Not really. Software patents used to be illegal, then they were legal. That was a simple boner.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly as much as opponents' relevance depends on the opposite conclusion. It's not really a helpful argument for or against something to say that people invested in one side or the other benefit from that investment if their view prevails.

      This guy would not be unemployable even with massive patent reforms. In fact, his experience in the old system would be tremendously valuable during the transition to the new system. So it's not really all that meaningful. His points have merit independent of whether h

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eparker05 (1738842)

      Of course he will say that, his job depends on there being patents to work and litigate with.

      Yes, let's just ignore his decades of experience in patent law and years of studying patent history that comes with the territory because he has a vested interest. On the other hand, he makes some fairly good points. If we all but abolish the patent system for technology companies they would easily be overtaken by whomever has the largest manufacturing capacity. Ever wonder why Foxcon didn't just grab android and make an iPhone clone? Why be subject to Apple if there are no IP restrictions at all? People be

      • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:24PM (#41936637) Homepage Journal

        You're strawmanning the argument. Only the people on the far extreme want patents abolished. Even Stallman doesn't want that. There are a lot of us that want the system reformed and the rules on WHAT is pattentable scaled back.

        Even if patents were totally elimnated on software the idea that all of a sudden that industries would disappear is hogwash. Software is still covered by copyright and that is how it should be. However the idea that you can patent rounded corners or little details of software programs (some of which are ideas that date back to the early days) needs to go.

        • by Carnildo (712617)

          However the idea that you can patent rounded corners...

          Rounded corners are (or at least, should be) a design patent [wikipedia.org], which protects the purely ornamental elements of a product's design. If those elements turn out to have practical utility, the design patent is invalidated. The classic example of a design patent is the one on the shape of the Coca-Cola bottle.

          • by Ichoran (106539)

            Rounded corners have practical utility: you don't hurt yourself on them, and they slide into pockets and covers more easily. It is obvious and there is prior art, but it is not merely aesthetic.

        • by MrSteveSD (801820)

          You're strawmanning the argument. Only the people on the far extreme want patents abolished.

          Europe generally does not support software patents. So being in favour of abolishing software patents is hardly extreme. I think Stallman and the EFF have given up too quickly on this issue. The patent office will never do a proper job of rejecting ridiculous software patents so it seems unlikely that reforms will make much difference. Abolition is a sensible way forward. Copyright is all that is necessary for software because the code itself specifies the solution exactly.

        • by Kirth (183)

          Only the people on the far extreme want patents abolished.

          No. Only people on the far extreme want a patent system.

          "The granting [of] patents ‘inflames cupidity', excites fraud, stimulates men to run after schemes that may enable them to levy a tax on the public, begets disputes and quarrels betwixt inventors, provokes endless lawsuits...The principle of the law from which such consequences flow cannot be just." -- The Economist, 1851

          Wanting the government to grant monopolies on inventions (actually: much more, in the case of software even on mathematics) is

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:27PM (#41936655) Homepage

        You are trying to create a false dichotomy. Of course that is bogus. We could simply reform the system. A lot of it would be nothing more than rolling back recent changes. It's like what you do when your production server starts to run amok.

        You don't shoot it, you undo recent changes.

        It's recent changes that have made our patent system mock worthy. It's not the concept in general. We just need a less permissive approach. We need to stop treating the toxic waste that is a 20 year long monopoly as if it were in fact candy.

        20 year monopoly.

        Contemplate what a 20 year technology rollback means to you personally. That's basically what you're advocating for our collective future.

        A patent lawyer defending the current patent system is much like a wannabe patent troll fighting for Apple against Samsung.

      • Yeah, the rounded corners patent is what prevented Foxconn from simply selling iPhone clones. The rounded corners also helped the smart phone market become better, as no one before or after thought of using rounded corner without Apple telling them the world about it using their patents. Yeah, the patent system is not broken at all.

      • I once asked an IP & technology patent lawyer who was speaking at seminar what he though of software 'click through' agreements in light of all the problems that they have as a legitimate contract, and I go a half assed response about how they were legally sound because, 'everybody was using them'.

        Just because someone is an expert in a field doesn't mean that they have any useful opinions or ideas about the field.
      • I believe the overarching goal should be to serve the consumer through continuous, rapid innovation in both technology and affordability. Patents provide benefit to established businesses, not start-ups, and definitely not consumers. It has been demonstrated time, and again that businesses favor competition in the court room over competition in product offerings. There is little incentive to invest in R&D. Why innovate when you can block your competition from entering the market through legal maneuv
      • Foxconn has no marketing expertise and no software expertise and no customer support.

      • Ever wonder why Foxcon didn't just grab android and make an iPhone clone?

        because they're not idiots and they know there's more to creating a successful product than doing a superficial copy of the iphone? because they know they'll make more money as apple's manufacturing partner than producing one more crappy iphone knockoff?

        Why be subject to Apple if there are no IP restrictions at all?

        i think you are confused about the issue. there's a difference between developing a product from scratch that has similarities to another product, and stealing IP. i think folks are upset with patents largely because of things like Apple vs. Samsung. samsun

      • by TheLink (130905)

        Ever wonder why Foxcon didn't just grab android and make an iPhone clone?

        Because if Foxconn did that, their whole business as a company that makes stuff for other companies is gone. Nobody will get them to make stuff for them.

        By the way there are plenty of companies in China making iphone clones: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/10-iphone-clones-you-never-see-before/ [hongkiat.com]

        They aren't as successful as Foxconn. And even if you abolish patent law, I doubt they will be as successful either - since Copyright law would remain and they won't be able to use Apple's IOS in USA with impunity.

    • by dcollins117 (1267462) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:45PM (#41936867)

      Well, it's not broken for IBM.

      In other news, The financial system is not broken for the 1%.

    • So, IBM is bad this year? I thought they were a good guy because of the whole SCO fiasco. Geeez.

      • IBM is a big stupid grizzly bear. Sometimes friendly, sometimes even dances. But still has big teeth and claws and may still bite your head off, even if it does like Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "[Big] U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

  • by Laxori666 (748529) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:11PM (#41936443) Homepage

    "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

    This is not an argument at all. It's possible they stifle innovation as it is now, so they would be even better off without the patent system.

    Or, another possibility: Perhaps the patent system is not stifling software companies as much as other businesses as of yet. Do you want it to become as difficult to create a new software company as it currently is to create a new company in any other industry?

    • Yep. It's not like other countries are much better with their patents, and patents in the US hold no force outside unless other countries decide to recognize them. There's no comparison.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:38PM (#41936805) Journal

      This is not an argument at all.

      I agree with this wholeheartedly.
      Remember when Google went on a patent buying spree? They bought Motorola to help them support Android.
      /. covered the news that Google was buying IBM patents for Android's protection from Apple & Microsoft [slashdot.org]

      It's not because Google needed the IP, it was to create a patent army to be use in future battles with tech giants.
      That sounds awfully broken to me.

    • by tsotha (720379)

      This is not an argument at all. It's possible they stifle innovation as it is now, so they would be even better off without the patent system.

      Not only that, with a few exceptions large, successful software companies in the US became large and successful in the period before the patent system started collectively taking drugs.

    • "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

      "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world, in the field of patent litigation."

      Sounds right, to me.

    • by devent (1627873)

      Do you want it to become as difficult to create a new software company as it currently is to create a new company in any other industry?

      Short answer: Yes. Google, Amazon, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, etc. are holding on on patents for only this reason: to make sure they hold a big chunk of the market and rise the bar to entry as high as possible.

      Why does anybody listen to "Company XXX's Chief Patent Counsel"? He or she will only say in public what benefits his or her company. The government should not listen to any company to implement politics.

    • "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

      This is not an argument at all. It's possible they stifle innovation as it is now, so they would be even better off without the patent system.

      No, it's an argument, but it disproves their point, you see: If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system DIDN'T stifle innovation, U.S. software companies would not be among the most profitable companies in the world.

      It's not that US software giants wouldn't be profitable without a patent system, it's just that guys like me would be able to create new OSs, Languages, Virtual Machine tech, etc. and release them to the public without fear of any patent concerns (all examples I have actually made f

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:13PM (#41936475)

    Hen house "perfectly secure", proclaims fox.

  • Fluff patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave (969942) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:16PM (#41936521) Journal
    I'm sorry, but when you can patent swinging side to side (US6368227) or teasing your cat with a laser pointer (US5443036), and the infamous rounded corners; it just proves that the system is broken. Whether it is broken beyond repair, needs a serious overhaul, or just needs a bit of tweaking, is up in the air.
    • by freeze128 (544774)
      yeah, I don't think rounded corners on the icons counts as an "incredible technological advance".
    • US6368227 [google.com]

      What.
      The.
      Fuck.

      • Re:Fluff patents (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday November 09, 2012 @08:18PM (#41937793)
        I remember this one. There's actually a bit of an interesting story to it. Steve Olsen (the inventor) was actually a 5 year old at the time. His father Peter Olsen, a patent attorney, wanted to teach his son about the patent system. I can't find the original (local) article but the NYT [nytimes.com] had a short write up as well.
      • That's nothing. In Australia, someone has patented the wheel!
        • That's nothing. In Australia, someone has patented the wheel!

          And despite this OBVIOUS STUPIDITY (which, I might add, is why said patent was applied for) Mr Expert-from-IBM says "everything is fine, no problems at all".

    • I think a reasonable counterpoint is that you'll have abuses both ways no matter what. A few ridiculous abuses don't prove the whole system is broken. You have counterexamples that would suggest it's not strong enough: look at the iphone clones from china, or any app store being full of ripoffs of popular games.

      Looking at the shitty minecraft clones cashing on on the app store, I almost would cheer Notch on if he had patented "a program where blocks can be moved around to build structures" or somethi
      • A few ridiculous abuses don't prove the whole system is broken.

        No, the whole system being broken and acting as a brake on technogical evolution proves the whole system is broken.

      • look at the iphone clones from china

        well here in the US where apple lives, i've never seen an iphone clone. or maybe we should look at apple's financial troubles to see how those clones are hurting them ... oh wait.

        Looking at the shitty minecraft clones cashing on on the app store, I almost would cheer Notch on if he had patented "a program where blocks can be moved around to build structures" or something similar.

        you are making the terribly naive assumption that the best implementation will own the patent. how would you like it if one of those shitty minecraft clones owned the patent, and kept you from having a copy of the real minecraft?

        that's the crux of the problem. minecraft doesn't win by having the patent for block-building games. the

    • wow, there are a few. it is not just.moving a laser pointer, it's for potentially creating a device that moves a laser pointer. I personally think not controlling it by hand is potentially dangerous:

      Referenced by Citing PatentFiling dateIssue dateOriginal AssigneeTitleUS6505576Mar 15, 2001Jan 14, 2003Barbara NathansonPet toyUS6557495Jul 5, 2001May 6, 2003Laser pet toyUS6651591Dec 9, 2002Nov 25, 2003Automatic laser pet toy and exerciserUS6701872Oct 30, 2002Mar 9, 2004Method and apparatus for automaticall
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:16PM (#41936523)

    Of course there are fewer suits per patent, because there are literally 5 times the number of patent applications as there were 30 years ago. That means nothing. Deceitful bastard of a lawyer... but I repeat myself.

    And of course I don't need to address the "if it wasn't a good idea, we wouldn't be succeeding", around here, do I? So damned fallacious. It's like saying being fat isn't bad for you because people now live longer than they did 100 years ago. A does not follow from B.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Of course there are fewer suits per patent, because there are literally 5 times the number of patent applications as there were 30 years ago. That means nothing. Deceitful bastard of a lawyer... but I repeat myself.

      Don't forget that we have 5x the patents but almost no increase in patent examiners.

      You can pick almost any regulatory body in the US Government and make a strong argument that they do not have the resources to fulfill their mandate.

    • by fatp (1171151)
      That doesn't mean nothing. That means the quality of patents are decreasing, i.e., more and more rubbish patents were issued.
    • by eddeye (85134)

      And of course I don't need to address the "if it wasn't a good idea, we wouldn't be succeeding", around here, do I? So damned fallacious.

      Yes, that argument is fallacious. However what he should have said is "If software patents are such a terrible drain, why do we still have the most valuable, innovative software industry in the world?". Proof by example can't show you have the best system, but it can show you have a functioning system. And that's a much harder question to answer.

  • by crakbone (860662) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:21PM (#41936595)
    "We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average." And we have more people settling out of court so they don't have the expense because is actually cheaper to "license" the patent that to try to fight it for 8 years against a patent troll. Or the fact we now have tens of million patents each year for stuff as inane as a square with rounded corners. And that if we actually tried to fight in court would have the courts stuffed for the next 300 years for just this years patents.
    • And that if we actually tried to fight in court would have the courts stuffed for the next 300 years for just this years patents.

      Exactly why it should be fought. Every. Single. Time.

      Same goes for traffic tickets, bullshit criminal charges, et. al. Fill the courts with so many people fighting stupid laws they can't get anything else done, and reform will have to happen.

      • Same goes for traffic tickets

        you had me until this. sure municipalities use traffic tickets to boost income, but traffic laws are there for a reason and for the most part aren't bullshit and keep people safe (speed limit, come to full stop at stop sign, use your signal, ...). municipalities are preying on your inability to follow simple rules. here's the secret to beating them: follow the rules.

        • When traffic laws are evenly enforced (which is to include the rich people, cops, and various government employees who get away with breaking traffic laws), I'll buy that.
          • ah, so you think it makes sense to let individuals decide which laws to follow and which to break? maybe you'll tell me that only smart people like you should get to decide?

            what you wrote is a rationalization to break any law you want whenever you want.

            • ah, so you think it makes sense to let individuals decide which laws to follow and which to break? maybe you'll tell me that only smart people like you should get to decide?

              what you wrote is a rationalization to break any law you want whenever you want.

              Huh?

              What part of "all laws should be applied to all persons equally" implies that I believe individuals have a right to decide which laws are worth following?

              Your post is proof of the old adage, "hearing is not the same thing as listening."

  • No way! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nedlohs (1335013) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:22PM (#41936607)

    Next you'll be telling that accountants don't think the tax system needs simplifying.

    • by 3seas (184403)

      There was a reason why the Hindu-Arabic Decimal System With its Islamic zero place holder took 300 years to overcome the Roman Numeral system accountants.

    • Such people are crazy if they think that legislation will actually make accountants or lawyers obsolete.
  • Winged flight? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carnildo (712617) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:24PM (#41936625) Homepage Journal

    ...a natural characteristic of a vigorously competitive industry. And they're nothing new: Similar skirmishes have historically occurred in areas as diverse as...winged flight,

    You mean the skirmishes that left Europe doing all the innovating in winged flight for 20 years [wikipedia.org]? The ones that resulted in the US entering World War I with airplanes that weren't much better than the Flyer III?

    • by alen (225700)

      And we still have patent pools for almost everything that is made today

      In most cases a patent pool is created before the product

    • by evilviper (135110)

      You mean the skirmishes that left Europe doing all the innovating in winged flight for 20 years? The ones that resulted in the US entering World War I with airplanes that weren't much better than the Flyer III?

      No, I imagine he means the skirmishes that lead to the development of ailerons (which we use today) to circumvent the patents on "wing warping" (which would be completely impractical for modern jets).

    • by Kirth (183)

      Like James Watt stalling the development of the steam engine for 20 years with his patents? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watt#Patent_trials [wikipedia.org]

  • for your health. More at 11.

    What a crock of shit. Of couse a man who gets paid $1000/hr doesn't think the system is flawed.
  • The navigation on IBM.com violates US patent #7353460 "Web site navigation under a hierarchical menu structure" as well as US patent # 5251294 "Accessing, assembling, and using bodies of information"

    • by jonwil (467024)

      IBM probably has a license for those patents. And if they dont, they could easily crush or out-lawyer the holders of both patents.

  • Yes it is broken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:28PM (#41936673)
    When patent trolls lay in wait for a successful business and then litigate them into submission, the system is broken. When companies amass patents simply for use as leverage and profit from other companies, the system is broken. When it is necessary to pay thousands of dollars to lawyers, researchers and fees thereby removing the system from the average garage inventor, the system is broken. And finally, when patents become so universal to every breath, every step, every device, and every thought we may have now or in the future, the freaking system is broken. In fact, it is hard to think of ways the system is actually not broken, come to think of it.
  • "Patent disputes like [the Apple-Samsung case] are a natural characteristic of a vigorously competitive industry."

    And that only companies on a scale like Apple, Samsung, and... IBM can be competitive in any patent-portfolio showdown, is not.

    Though, he seems to like using terms that can't actually fail to be the case, given how he uses them. Yes, there is "industry". Yes, it is "competitive"--increasingly within an oligopoly.

    The next one is better, though.

    "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent sys

  • I'm sorry. But no. All of these "on a computer" and "over the internet" patents have got to go. And making a product design so simple that its design is completely utilitarian does not a design patent make.

    Companies suing each other into oblivion is no way for competition to reign. It's supposed to be about marketing, customer service and product quality... isn't it?

  • Broken (Score:4, Insightful)

    by robmv (855035) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:31PM (#41936717)

    US patent system is broken because only big companies can afford that kind of litigation. Small companies only have the option to be bought by someone big enough before they are attacked by patent trolls or competitors that don't want a new actor in their area. But it is understandable that Big IBM want the current state because it is in favor of them, that doesn't means the system is right

  • by iive (721743) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:33PM (#41936737)

    "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

    He is right. Patent litigation doesn't stifle innovation, it stifles competition.
    And IBM know that because they've stomped enough businesses back in the days when they were the big evil monopoly.

    Innovation happens as byproduct on working on a given problem. It will happen despite somebody having patented portion or the whole of it. However the patent may prevent the innovative company from selling its product or increase the cost. The innovation then could be bought or outright stolen. Then the big and successful patent holders would become bigger and even more successful.

  • We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average.

    Yeah, you may want to go ahead check the totals on that one instead of the marginal rate, since that's where the costs come from.

  • by Githaron (2462596) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:34PM (#41936763)

    Each marked the emergence of incredible technological advances, and each generated similar outcries about the patent system.

    So he is arguing that because the system has been around a long time it must good? Why can't the same statement be used to claim that the patent system as been broken for a long time and we just haven't gotten around to fixing it?

    • by oxdas (2447598) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:27PM (#41937235)

      Except that the system hasn't been around for a long time. The USPTO only began widely issuing "software patents" since 1993 and the appointment of Bruce Lehman (an IP lobbyist) to head the USPTO. Before that, the stance of the USPTO was that software was not patentable and fought very hard against such patents in the courts. The change in leadership and direction at the USPTO, along with the Supremes taking a 20 year hiatus from hearing software patent cases, allowed the Federal Circuit to make software patents legal and the concept of what is patentable has expanded greatly ever since.

  • "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world."

    That doesn't make any sense to me. It doesn't consider that many other factors may be involved. It doesn't even consider the fact that a 'better' patent system may allow for more innovation. The fact that U.S. software companies are supposedly the most successful in the world doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement.

  • Put Up or Shut Up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tgeek (941867) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:46PM (#41936871)
    If Mr. Schechter really wants us to believe the patent system isn't broken, then why doesn't he step aside from IBM and maybe handle a few pro bono cases for small inventors. Then he can come back here and tell us all what a wonderful patent system we enjoy!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone actively attempting to game the system, having spent over a month working on something that would be called a patent troll, I can guarantee you the patent system is ridiculous and should be abolished entirely. The things I've seen just in research alone for my own attempt. Pages of the purest garbage language you've ever seen, descriptions of things take one sentence strung out by lawyers into PHD like thesis on how to do everything from give someone a gift via the internet to how the internet it

  • by BeanThere (28381) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:48PM (#41936887)

    He wouldn't see it as 'broken' because from his perspective it's 'working as designed' - to make sociopathic scumbag lawyers like him rich and to allow big companies to use patent cross-licensing and ring-fencing to destroy potential upstart competitors. A more important question would be if the patent system was immoral, and it is. It's effectively the initiation of violence against, and theft of property of, 'second inventors', for merely using their minds to create something. Those of who aren't lacking a conscience find the software patent system morally repugnant, and all software developers with a moral conscience should reject the software patent system as a matter of principle.

  • Lawyer argues court is better.
  • Did someone tell this guy that an asshat was the cure for baldness?

    We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average.

    With the number of patents issues and the escalating cost of justice, for this to not be true would pretty much double-down on the trillion dollar a year fiscal cliff.

    Sorry dude, we invaded Iraq. There just aren't enough litigation dollars free for the taking, so either the ALP (average litigation price) or the ALR (average litigation rate) has

  • "The Rich Are Getting Richer" argument is not semantically equivalent to "The System Is Working".

    Although it may be equivalent to "The System Is Working AS DESIGNED".
  • by some old guy (674482) on Friday November 09, 2012 @06:50PM (#41936907)

    In other words, "Software businesses should continue to pay people like me princely salaries year after year to litigate absurd claims, instead of being able to invest that money in research."

    It's not just the patent system that's broken. Software patent law is nothing more than binary ambulance chasing.

  • It's like a pedo saying sex with minors isn't a bad thing. Of course he'd say that.
  • by hugg (22953) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:16PM (#41937149)

    "Economists also tell us that 75 percent of a company’s value is attributable to its intellectual property (IP) — and that IP-intensive industries contribute $5 trillion per year to the U.S. economy. These industries account for about 35 percent of gross domestic product and 40 million jobs, including 28 percent of the jobs in the United States."

    The report linked in the article discusses copyright, trademark, and patent-intensive industries. Patent-intensive industries are the *lowest* employer of the three, around 4 million as opposed to the 40 million jobs cited. It's misleading to lump all three industries together.

    The same report lists another interesting metric, which is percentage of self-employed workers for each industry. Patent-intensive industries have the lowest number of self-employed workers, at 2.2% (vs 16% for copyright-intensive industries). This indicates to me that patent-intensive industries do not support capital-poor startups very well.

    Of course I would expect counsel for the top patent recipient in the U.S. for two decades running to have differing opinions from my own.

    Source: http://www.uspto.gov/news/publications/IP_Report_March_2012.pdf

    • +1 Informative
    • With numbers like that, he could be an accountant for the MAFIAA!

    • by eddeye (85134)

      Patent-intensive industries have the lowest number of self-employed workers, at 2.2% (vs 16% for copyright-intensive industries). This indicates to me that patent-intensive industries do not support capital-poor startups very well.

      Does not compute. Patent intensive industries are technologically complex fields like biotech, semiconductors, etc. Such sophisticated endeavors require teams of people working together. Progress is too difficult for one person to go it alone. Even a healthy startup ecosyste

  • Patents server large crony cartels like IBM and the lawyer class quite well - just the rest of us get screwed.

  • by sootman (158191) on Friday November 09, 2012 @08:06PM (#41937641) Homepage Journal

    "Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel"

    "Moore's Law Is Becoming Irrelevant, Says ARM's Boss"

    Can we have a checkbox to hide "Corporate head makes self-serving statement" stories? They're depressing as hell.

  • ...it's always been broken doesn't mean it's not broken now. If it is used to block competition that is not actually stealing real, non-trivial, IP, it's broken.

  • Pedophiles don't think there's a child molestation 'problem' in America either.

  • Crooks defending a broken system they themselves designed and lobbied hard for. News at 11. Thus these silly argument aren't even wrong. These arguments are corrupt and should be dismissed as such. Having said that, I see more and more corporate parrots repeating this crap as pressure on fixing this (broken) system mounts. Expect more of them joining this chorus of lies and deceptions and more corporate money thrown at Congress to make sure US broken patent system won't go away.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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