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The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the he-should-literally-hit-patent-trolls-with-a-chair dept.
l2718 writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced today a large donation by Mark Cuban and Markus 'Notch' Persson to the EFF Patent Project. Notably, part of Cuban's donation is for the creation of the 'Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents' (the first holder is current staff attorney Julie Samuels). Time will tell if the new title will help her advocacy work. Cuban said, 'The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful," said Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That's bad for consumers and bad for business. It's time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help.' Notch added, 'New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better – an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. '"
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The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...I totally read "Parents" at first, and was confused as to why the EFF cared.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    that half million would have gone farther last year as political donations

  • $500,000? Doesn't IBM spend more on patent applications in a single month than that?

  • Guy is no dummy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337)

    Mark Cuban is a self made billionaire.

    • And the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, says Shark Tank
    • Re:Guy is no dummy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:01PM (#42343841)

      Those two statements may both be true, but they aren't strongly related. He's a billionaire because he sold a shitty website to Yahoo!, at the height of the dot-com bubble, for $6 billion. Yes, Yahoo paid him six billion dollars for a website. Not even a website that was making much money, either. They subsequently, unsurprisingly, took a huge write-down on broadcast.com's value, which collapsed to near nothing. So, Cuban got lucky in riding the bubble and cashing out before it burst.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by l0kl1n (1670272)
        Yeah, fair enough, but he was one of the very few people who sold his shitty company at the peak of the dot.com bubble who was able to think ahead enough to actually keep his fortune.
        • Is it better to be lucky than good? Do smart people make their own luck? Or are they just smart enough to open the door when opportunity knocks? Tangling out smarts and luck is hard.

          I think Cuban is smarter than he is lucky. I also think smarts and luck form a positive feedback loop. The more smart risks you take the more big wins you make – allowing you to take more smart risks.

      • Re:Guy is no dummy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by oursland (1898514) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:09AM (#42345373)
        Actually, that sounds pretty smart to me.
        • by renoX (11677)

          Only if you consider that you need to be smart to see that the Internet bubble would burst, I don't.

      • by Bigby (659157)

        luck? or he was smart enough to know the bubble was going to burst?

        • by Rob Y. (110975)

          Since he and his site were significant parts of the hype in creating the bubble in the first place, It's not surprising he knew it was going to burst...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lipanitech (2620815)
      He hates stupid patents there was a guy on Shark Tank who had the patent for running Apple product speaker wires threw clothing. Mark flipped and said I will run blue tooth with pairing just so you don't get any money. lol He was been open as well that patents stand in the way of innovation.
  • Now a fan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:04PM (#42343009)
    Never was a fan of Mr. Cuban; now I am a huge fan. Thanks.

    One of the qualifications of a patent is that it is non-obvious to a professional in that industry. That is pretty well ignored when most patents that I see litigated are 100% obvious to people well outside that area. Keyboards on a cell phone for texting. Wow that must have take a room full of geniuses working since Edison to work out that combo. Sweeping gestures on a touch surface; I bet only one person in history would have ever come up with that one. Backup sensors, never would have thought about people wondering if they would crash into something while backing up; that one is nearly as ingenious as putting rear view mirrors into cars.

    Then you get the best ones where everybody on both sides agree the patent is total shit, but do you want to risk a jury not agreeing, so let's settle. RIM settled for a zillion dollars on a patent that then got thrown out.

    So if I were to modify the patent system I would suggest, No software patents, you build software or you don't, only two people can hold a patent, the inventor or a company that actually builds significant quantities of the patented product. No patent holding companies. Change the patent lawsuit process. First is you name a company in a claim. Then the company has 1 year to to get your patent tossed. The patent people must complete a full review within that year and if they don't the patent is tossed. An appeal of the patent itself can be brought before a jury but in this case a jury of peers must be at least half people in that industry. Patent awards must be severely tempered by actual gains. And lastly patents need to have way shorter lives. This life must be partially based upon active product sales. So a patent would give you say 5 years to get to market. But once sales start you have another 5 years of protection. Then its out. So if apple comes up with a cool new antenna and immediately puts it into their phones they can't deny the consumer that innovation in other products until 2032 just 2017.

    But if I could have any two rule changes it would be that only inventors and genuine producers can hold patents and no software patents.
    • Re:Now a fan (Score:5, Interesting)

      by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:14PM (#42343925)

      Patents should be granted based (in addition to the current prior art and novel conditions) on having a working device originating from the applicant exhibiting the behavior to be patented, and some ability to purchase a product that exhibits this behavior (they don't necessarily have to be the same). The patent then covers products (which can be a component) that exhibits this behavior.

      This way, software running on a general purpose CPU cannot be patented, because the behavior runs on somebody else's product (i.e. fails prior art test). Likewise, genetic modifications cannot be patented, as the organism would be a product of its parent(s), and not of the applicant. However, a novel way to insert genes is patentable (the product being the device actually performing the gene insertion). If, however, the method is actually some kind of natural process, again, it fails the prior art test.

      The patent pending process would be used for patent applications that have passed all other tests but does not have a working device and/or a method of sale for said device. There would be a window between these, which could be as you suggested, five years. In fact, applications that are in this state can be transferred from entity to entity, so that the inventor has the ability to sell the patent within this window without needing to incur the cost of making a product and selling it.

      Then, patents should be up for renewal after some time, at which time the only condition for granting the renewal is again, having a product exhibiting the patented behavior for sale.

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        and some ability to purchase a product that exhibits this behavior (they don't necessarily have to be the same).

        No, no, no, no, no.
        You should NOT need a working product to get a patent, and most definitely should not need one that you can sale. This would pretty much eliminate any "little guy" from ever getting a patent.
        While I think software patents are nonsense, I'm not sure how your "runs on someone else's product" should eliminate it. Basically you are saying, you shouldn't try to improve someone else's invention.

        • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:48AM (#42346455)

          You should NOT need a working product to get a patent, and most definitely should not need one that you can sale. This would pretty much eliminate any "little guy" from ever getting a patent.

          If you cannot get the invention to work then there is no way to know if the idea works in the real world. If it can't be proven then it isn't real and is not worthy of a patent. Just having an idea first is not a sufficient standard. Building a prototype will not keep "the little guy" out any more than it does already. A prototype or early model doesn't have to be a final perfected version - just something that works. Someone with the resources to create something useful isn't going to have a hard time getting funding to build a working model. I don't think the sale requirement adds anything to the argument but I definitely think the requirement to build a tangible working model is a useful idea. Patents worthy of the a government sponsored monopoly have to be more than just someones random idea's written down.

          While I think software patents are nonsense, I'm not sure how your "runs on someone else's product" should eliminate it.

          I think he is saying that you have to provide a tangible product that YOU created. If your product is merely operating instructions to someone else's invention then you haven't invented a tangible product. Problem with his logic is that it doesn't work for vertically integrated companies like IBM or HP which are capable of manufacturing entire computers (or purchasing the suppliers who do) and thus circumventing his plan. Much easier to just say that machine instructions, mathematics, language, meta-data, business methods and intangible products and ideas can not be patented.

          • Firstly, not everyone that has a great idea has the resources to build a working prototype, this could be a huge hit to "the little guy".
            Second; so what if it ends up being unfeasible then the patent simply has no value, so long as it isn't so broad that it stops an actual working innovation. There should be no rule against having a patent on a useless devise, because no one is going to want to build it anyway (though it is a waste of time for the patent office).
            • Firstly, not everyone that has a great idea has the resources to build a working prototype, this could be a huge hit to "the little guy".

              If you don't have the resources for a prototype you sure as heck don't have the resources to go into production. If you have no plans to go into production then you really don't need a patent. The ONLY party that benefits from having patents on things they don't build are patent trolls.

              Second; so what if it ends up being unfeasible then the patent simply has no value, so long as it isn't so broad that it stops an actual working innovation.

              You can build a physical prototype of a useless device. Don't know why you would but you can do it. However if it cannot be built then there shouldn't be a patent.

              • Patents aren't meant to granted in return for manufacturing a product. They're meant to granted in return for releasing descriptions of how novel , non-obvious things work.

                It might even be the case that the inventor doesn't have the right to manufacture his invention due to his invention being covered by another's patent. His contribution is then his nonobvious idea-- and the way that he is compensated is by that he's granted a monopoly on his improvement, so that someone who already manufactures the uni
                • It might even be the case that the inventor doesn't have the right to manufacture his invention due to his invention being covered by another's patent.

                  If they don't have the right to manufacture their invention then it isn't worthy of being granted a patent. Without making even a proof of concept product there is no way to be certain that it will work as designed. If it cannot proven to work then there is no way the patent office should be permitted to grant a monopoly on the idea. Granting a monopoly to someone who cannot possibly take advantage of that monopoly is a pointless endeavor and a waste of money, brains and time for everyone involved.

                  • If they don't have the right to manufacture their invention then it isn't worthy of being granted a patent.

                    Why would this be true? Whether someone doesn't have the right to manufacture something doesn't really have anything to do with the merit of his improvement, or with its novelty.

                    Granting a monopoly to someone who cannot possibly take advantage of that monopoly is a pointless endeavor and a waste of money, brains and time for everyone involved.

                    This is untrue as well, although less obviously so. Take the Einstein-Szilard refrigerator. At the time that it was invented there was still twelve years left on the patent for Baltazar von Platen's and Carl Munter's improvement of the gas absorption refrigerator which was manufactured by Electrolux at the time. While their idea had

                    • by sjbe (173966)

                      Why would this be true?

                      Because a patent is temporary monopoly on the right to produce an invention in exchange for details on how it works. If you have no right to produce said invention then there is no point in granting the monopoly. No one would bother to go through the expense of getting a patent if they could not profit from it in some way.

                      Einstein and Szilard probably never intended to start manufacturing refrigerators. However, not wanting some competitor to start manufacturing refrigerators, Electrolux bought Einstein and Szilards patents.

                      What you are describing is essentially outsourced R&D. They invented something useful and sold it to someone with the resources to actually make the product. Obviously they did int

              • by mattack2 (1165421)

                The ONLY party that benefits from having patents on things they don't build are patent trolls.

                ARM doesn't build their own processors. Should they be able to have patents?

                • by sjbe (173966)

                  ARM doesn't build their own processors. Should they be able to have patents?/quote

                  They don't actually have to do the manufacturing themselves to get a prototype. They are perfectly capable of contracting with a foundry to have one made and that is fine. The point isn't who actually did the manufacturing, it's that there is a tangible prototype made of some original design. Software largely doesn't meet this standard because no tangible product is being made - it is merely instructions to a device created by someone else. If you don't have the resources to make even a prototype, there really is no point in issuing a patent to you because you certainly aren't going to product the item.

          • Building a prototype will not keep "the little guy" out any more than it does already. [...] Someone with the resources to create something useful isn't going to have a hard time getting funding to build a working model.

            On the first point, here's how that works: Little guy has big idea. Little guy pitches idea to venture boys to secure necessary funding to build prototype. Venture boys, knowing patents aren't awarded without prototype tell little guy they'll think about it. Venture boys sell idea to one of their golf buddies who already own a fab lab. Little guy gets fuck all.

            On the second point: that is the point. If you have the resources to build a prototype you won't have a hard time getting the resources to build a p

    • by TheLink (130905)
      The problem with patents is the people approving a patent have little incentive to disapprove it and it's not always easy for them to know whether one broad vague claim made in legalese is an obvious patent or not.

      I personally would be happy if utility patents were abolished (not drug)- broad ideas are easy, it's the hundreds or even thousands of teensy weensy details that are hard. So is getting the buy-in and marketing right. Most modern patents are so broad they don't actually significantly reduce the wo
      • Awarding inovative ideas and patents won't do anything to reduce the sheer montains of simple broad patents that are screwing up the industries.
    • by CuteSteveJobs (1343851) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @01:03AM (#42344883)
      > One of the qualifications of a patent is that it is non-obvious to a professional in that industry. That is pretty well ignored when most patents that I see litigated are 100% obvious to people well outside that area. Keyboards on a cell phone for texting. Wow that must have take a room full of geniuses working since Edison to work out that combo.

      The law is an ass, especially the Adversarial system of law practiced in the US where lawyers dispute everything, no matter how obvious. They say "In my opinion, my client's patent is most certainly not obvious and my client has a strong case." Rules forbid lawyers from bringing weak cases "without merit", but the lawyer simply insist they believe their case is strong and the judge (also a lawyer) will agree the only way to sort it out is in court, at great expense. You can't rely on "truth" winning in the end. Court room proceedings aren't debates like you have in highschool: All you have to do is convince an ignorant jury to go with your side. Look at the Koh Samsung debacle. It's very hard to get a wrong decision reversed since Judges don't like looking stupid or making other judge's look stupid. There are some very dirty and entirely legal tactics that lawyers use to bring the juries over to their side. I can't list them here because I would be howled down. This is why it's in your interests to settle with a troll, no matter how crazy their claim. Don't expect the judge to save you: There are some very one-eyed judges out there in patent troll county.

      Litigating a patent, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant costs $3M-$5M. Lawyers get paid no matter what. Even if you win, it's very unlikely the other side will be ordered to pay your full costs. You have to treat that money as a write off. You won't see it again. Some lawyers work on contingency for patent trolls, but this makes it worse for the victim because neither the plaintiff or their lawyers need to give a s*** about costs and refuse to settle. If they can fool a stupid jury they can end up owning your business, so why settle for a modest and mutually agreeable fee?

      The system is so bad that the smartest thing a software developer can do is take the money and run at the first chance before someone sues you, because you can't write a program these days without infringing a hundred 'obvious' patents. As soon as you get the whiff of money around you, the trolls will come. Expect submarine patents and out right bogus ones too. Writing software is like being an OB-GYN... too risky. Find something safer.

      Lawyers are opportunists, and I blame the USPTO and Congress for giving them the opportunity. Instead of looking at stupid patents, they need to go after the root cause.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I can assure you Apple won't come up with a cool new antenna. Apples innovations are more in the "rounded corners" "more bling bling" category. Note that those aren't important selling points. They seem to be more important than working antennas, for example. So Apple is doing it right financially.

  • Patents = Usury (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jtnix (173853) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:06PM (#42343029) Homepage

    There was a time, long ago, when usury was punishable by death.

    In layman's terms usury = making profit by charging interest on a loan of property, including land, tools, money, etc. while the owner sits on their Fat Ass.

    Sometime in the 13th or 14th century, European 'business men' convinced a Pope to remove that punishment from the religious 'judicial system' so they could 'legitimately' start the banking system we have today.

    And here we are, 21st century, with the 1% owning or restricting practically every aspect of the 99%'s lives through interest and patents.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Desler (1608317)

      Because wealth wasn't concentrated into a small segment of the population during the medieval times. No, that didn't happen at all...

    • That was a MUCH better time. And he could order you killed for no reason. Good times! What was the King back then - the 0.000001%??
    • by operagost (62405)

      In layman's terms usury = making profit by charging interest on a loan of property, including land

      Sounds like rent to me.

      tools,

      Yup, that's rent too.

      money

      That's usury.

    • One legacy of the past our businesses still suffer from is feudalism. We elect national leaders, but we still use the old systems of inheritance and absolute rule to select corporate leaders. Then, it was a near universally accepted fact that a domain's first obligation was to the ruler. The idea that a leader is a public servant, and that the interests of the people counted for anything, was unthinkable. To bolster this, domains had propaganda machines that constantly reminded everyone that the ruler w

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How does the chair eliminate stupid patents?

    Also, a chair that eliminates stupid patents might actually be worthy of a patent.

    • by Leuf (918654)
      I believe it involves Steve Ballmer and hunting down every patent attorney in the world, but I'm a little fuzzy on the details.
    • How does the chair eliminate stupid patents?

      You throw the chair on people who file stupid patents.

  • It really doesn't matter what system you put in place people are always going to game it and therefore abuse it.

    You can get the best and the brightest to create it but they'll always be unable to think of the myriad of ways others will come up with to game it.

    In short we're all doomed and there's nothing to be done about it.

    However I do understand we have to do something with our oversized brains so go ahead - knock yourselves out bantering about how to fix these unfixable problems.

    Enjoy!

    • by AaronLS (1804210) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:03PM (#42343509)

      If you have the same attitude, you tell all of your repair men and doctors to give up so easily. Sounds like the only thing doomed is you dooming yourself.

      • My doctor won't be able to save my life if his life depended on it and I am not the cause of entropy which means yes - no matter what I think we're all doomed.

        But you're free to continue pretending otherwise.

  • Stupid Parents (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ThePeices (635180)

    OK, How many of you misread the title as Stupid Parents?

    It wasn't until I read the line "...patent litigation..." that I clicked.

    Strangely, it seemed a fantastic idea when read both ways.

    • OK, How many of you misread the title as Stupid Parents?

      Bows head in shame... Seriously though, it sounded plausible enough at the moment.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @08:52PM (#42343431) Homepage

    Why does EFF never oppose software patents as a concept?

    They always want to eliminate the 10 worst software patents, but they have enough educated/informed people to know that the world isn't plagued by 10 lousy software patents. It's thickets like the 346 US patents exploited by MPEG LA.

    Or the thousands of patents held by Intellectual Ventures, Apple, and Microsoft.

    C'mon EFF. You have the cash and the lawyers. Give us a hand [endsoftpatents.org] fixing the problem (legislation, court briefs) and stop trying to wipe out malaria by swatting mosquitoes [gnu.org]! You know that doesn't work.

    • by retchdog (1319261)

      maybe it's because they want to actually have some measurable return on their money.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Jpeg and mpeg compression are non obvious, involved base research and experimentation and have and/or had fully legitmate patents, and their invention and subsequent take up drove the internet forward, and drove the subsequent development of patent skirting formats.

      The problem I think is finding a method of assessing patents for their obviousness that is both fair and not subject to regulatory capture.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      EFF sold out to corporate interests when Mitch Kapor lost interest (he was hoping for a Cabinet spot in the Clinton administration), and when Jerry Berman took over and moved them to Washington DC, where he promptly sold all their credibility for whatever money and resume fodder he could scrounge and got them to sign off on the "TeleCommunications (utter lack of ) Privacy Act".

      They've never completely recovered from that.

      • That would be around 1992, right?

        So EFF was good for two years and then sold out? If that's correct, how have they managed to maintain a high profile and good reputation?

        There patent work always disappoints me, but I assumed they were valuable in some other area, but I know very little about their work.

  • Step 1.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:20PM (#42343603) Homepage

    Invalidate and reject ALL software patents.

    ALL of them. Computers are math, you cant patent math, therefore you cant freaking patent anything that is software.

    Until they do that, they are just spinning their wheels.

    • Step zero: abolish ALL patents. It's good for business. The Netherlands had no patents around 1900 for more than a decade. That was the time when a few companies were founded (Philips, for example), that are big and doing fine even today. Patents are only a way to make business competition impossible.
  • by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:22PM (#42343615)

    I think that patents do not increase technological advance but only change how they are released. If patents did not exist there would always be pressure to make a better product. This would happen in smaller but quicker steps. Patents don't increase the rate of innovation. What people do is hold back releasing products until the advances are enough to get a patent. This results in larger but less frequent advances. In the modern world there is no reason for any patents. If your technological advance is sufficiently large you will gain a natural monopoly as the competition tries to catch up.

  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @09:22PM (#42343619)

    I hear law firms are doing great out of the current situation

  • Mark Cuban is wealthy because he conned a sell out of a business that was all smoke and mirrors. He now has billions to throw around into already well-established industries and people are calling him prescient? Please.
    • Hey, Mark Cuban doesn't do what Mark Cuban does for Mark Cuban. Mark Cuban does what Mark Cuban does because he IS Mark Cuban.
  • by dweller_below (136040) on Wednesday December 19, 2012 @10:44PM (#42344131)
    The process of reforming the US Patent Office appears to be fairly straight forward. Unfortunately, it requires political commitment.

    The heart of the US Patent problems are both conceptual and economic. But the problems are easy to understand.

    First, we have adopted the idea that more patents are better than fewer patents. This idea has been proven false. We believed that US Patents were a license to create. But, this is not true. US Patents are nothing more than a license to hire lawyers and sue a competitor. They don't guarantee creation or progress. They only guarantee legal action. A little legal action is necessary, but a lot destroys economies.

    Since we believed that more Patents were better, in the last couple decades we have 'reformed' the US patent process to maximize the creation of patents.

    We need to a admit we are wrong. Once we have managed to do that, reform is fairly easy. Reform should address:

    • 1) Running the US Patent Office as a cost-recovery operation is a mistake.

      Currently most of the revenue of the US Patent Office comes from GRANTING patents. See the USPTO FY 2013 President's Budget page 37: www.uspto.gov/about/stratplan/budget/fy13pbr.pdf "..More than half of all patent fee collections are from issue and maintenance fees, which essentially subsidize examination activities."

      Also, if you examine the fee structure in Public Law 112 - 29 - Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, you see that patent application fees are 1/3 or less that the Issue fee. See: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-112publ29/content-detail.html [gpo.gov]

      This means that, regardless of merit, about 1/3 of all patent applications must be granted in order to fund the US Patent Office. This economy creates unavoidable pressure to grant many patents that should not otherwise be considered. It also creates economic pressure that greatly decreases the time that can be devoted to examination.

      Reform could come in many forms, but the simplest and most reliable would be to eliminate and unify the Patent office fees into a single filing fee. This fee would provide no guarantee of receiving a patent, only a guarantee that your patent would be considered. This would free the Patent Office to be able to deny poor patents.

    • 2) Granting too many Patents is a mistake.

      Currently, we expand the number of patent examiners based on demand. See the USPTO FY 2013 President's Budget, page 60, Gap Assessment: "Meeting this commitment assumes efficiency improvements brought about by reengineering many USPTO management and operational processes (e.g., the patent examination process) and systems, and hiring about 3,000 patent examiners in the two-year period FY 2012 and FY 2013 (including examiners for Three-Track Examination)."

      Again, the assumption is, more patents are better, even if it means decreasing examination, and increasing the number of untrained examiners. Poor quality is an inevitable result of this patent process.

      The resulting flood of patents creates patent thickets. These thickets eliminate competition and stagnate markets.

      Reform would require somehow limiting the number of granted patents in a field. This could be accomplished several ways. The easiest would be to restrict the number of Patent examiners. If you eliminate the idea of cost recovery, then the natural process of limited congressional funding would probably suffice to limit the examination staff. Patent quotas would also work, but an PTO quota would be subject to regulatory capture. Patent Quotas would work best if they were set by Congressional Act.

    • 3) It is a mistake to grant all patents that meet minimum standards.

      A review of recent Patent Law will reveal that the minimum standard for granting a patent has consistently shifted downwards during the past few decades. We must abandon the idea that any patent that meets minimum standards is granted. Over time, the standard always de

    • I screwed up the first point of my argument. There is really 2 points there:
      • 1) Running the US Patent Office as a cost-recovery operation is a mistake.

        The US Patent Office is a very small, but critical component of the US economy. It's purpose is "..to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.." (US Constitution Article One, Section 8(8).) But, once the USPTO became cost recovery, the primary goal became overshadowed by the more pressing goal of securing funding via patent fees. The primary ef

  • Patent law demands the people to defy the laws of physics. It's obvious from the court cases that examining the true meaning, depth and breadth of a single patent can take months or years. On the other hand USPTO granted 247,713 patents in 2011 alone. Assuming a full-time job (240 working days and 8 hours a day) this equates to 129 patents per hour. It's physically impossible to even read the monopoly rights granted to patent holders. Even if that was possible it's still impossible to analyse and understan
  • by lazlo (15906) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:49AM (#42347491) Homepage

    "If I have not seen further, it is because the giants sued me when I tried to stand on their shoulders."
    -Modern day Isaac Newton

  • How is one supposed to decide if a patent is stupid or ingenious? The decision is quite subjective in most cases. I fear such a anti-stupid patent committee can be used by vested interests to reject valid/clever patents as stupid.
  • Mark Cuban is an accidental billionaire with a lot of attitude and an itchy twitter finger. His smarts are debatable, but his chutzpah is not. In this instance, however, I agree with him.

    Judge Posner who ruled on an Apple v Samsung case agrees with a lot of us here: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/10/judge-decries-excessive-copyright-and-software-patent-protections/ [arstechnica.com] . It's time the USPTO did something drastic about frivolous patents and patent trolling. The problem cannot go away with major syste
  • by AdamWill (604569)

    "Cuban said, 'The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful," said Cuban"

    I've invented a system for automatically removing double quotation attributions from news stories. Should I take out a patent, folks?

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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