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Patents Government

FTC Chairwoman Speaks On Growing US Patent Problem 87

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ftc-to-the-rescue dept.
ectoman writes "In a recent policy speech, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez indicated that the FTC might be preparing to seriously address patent abuse in the United States. Mark Bohannon, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy at Red Hat, has reviewed Ramirez's remarks, calling them 'some of the most direct and specific to date from a senior U.S. Government official regarding "harmful PAE [patent assertion entities] activities."' Bohannon writes that the FTC's proposed roadmap for patent reform 'is both ambitious and doable,' and he discusses how the agency could make its potential contributions to reforms most effective. The piece arrives one week after Bohannon analyzed other patent reform efforts currently ongoing in Washington—in a piece Slashdot readers have been discussing."
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FTC Chairwoman Speaks On Growing US Patent Problem

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @09:12PM (#44161383)

    Patents are more and more being used as weapons to stop any and all progress of any derivative idea that results from the base idea being patented. The system has been corrupted to stop many inventions that could save lives, and overall better happiness of mankind for the sake of the patent holders keeping their money-making works owned by their masters... FOREVER.

    How can the patent process be used to give influence to create new ideas, works. There is none! no new antibiotics, no cures for illnesses, no new chemicals no nothing as long as the patent process is corrupted the way it is!

    Case .. Mickey mouse... Q. E D

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:27PM (#44161817)

      Mickey Mouse is protected by copyright, not patent.

      Copyright relates to works regarding mostly publication and display.
      Trademarks relate to logos, names, slogans, and such.
      Patents relate to inventions. You make a good point, but your example is inadequate.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EzInKy (115248)

      Yes, that is the nature of patents, but you have to admit that they are far better than copyrights. Patents only deny humankind of advances for 20 years or so, copyrights prevent others from building upon previous work for lifetimes plus more.

      • by t4ng* (1092951)

        The music industry is a good example of that. With a single song you have a copyright for the owner of the musical score and a copyright for the owner of the lyrics (not necessarily the creators of the music and lyrics or the same owner for both). If anyone performs the song, you would need to pay a license fee to the owners for 75 years beyond the death of the author in some cases (often the owner had nothing to do with creating the music and none of the licensing fees go to the real artists or their fam

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A more clear example would be "happy birthday".

  • only $0.00.005 pre use*

    * each payment must be at least $1.00 and payment must be made weekly.

  • Due to Slashdot's "lameness filter" you can read what I was intended to post here over on reddit [reddit.com].

  • Let's put a band-aid on it instead of addressing the underlying causes of the problem, and kick the can down the road!
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Let's put a band-aid on it instead of addressing the underlying causes of the problem, and kick the can down the road!

      That is Governments answer to everything. Short term crap to please people and let someone else worry about the long term problems.

      • As the FTC noted, patent trolls have become a serious problem IN RECENT YEARS. The patent system worked rather well for a few hundred years. Just recently there have been problems big enough, often enough, to offset the benefits.

        What that tells me is that some things need to be fixed.
        Throwing out a system that worked so well for so long would be dumb. That would be like trying to reduce the cost of medical care by getting rid of doctors.
        • by Arker (91948)

          " The patent system worked rather well for a few hundred years."

          Eh, even back in the days of the steam engine and the cotton gin and before it was hardly a clear cut benefit to the general welfare. It's just become more and more destructive as the pace of technological advance has increased, that's all.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Throwing out a system that worked so well for so long would be dumb"

          This is the standard assumption, but totally unfounded. I suggest the book "Against Intellectual Monopoly", which looks at hard economic analyses of the effects of patents. The theory that patents are necessary to incentivize capitalization is not supported by the empirical evidence. The only area where empirical evidence tends to show patents are necessary is to recoup development costs of pharmaceuticals. But drugs patents are only neces

          • by pepty (1976012)

            The only area where empirical evidence tends to show patents are necessary is to recoup development costs of pharmaceuticals. But drugs patents are only necessary to cover the marginal cost of adhering to strict government protocols; arguably we'd have a net social health benefit by relaxing the protocols, relaxing patents, and allowing more and cheaper drugs to reach the market.

            I don't know about that. More drugs doesn't necessarily mean better drugs. Successfully navigating the government protocols also frees a drug maker of significant liability. Would or should drug makers still enjoy that freedom from liability if they haven't gone through the FDA approval process?

            Personally, I think any relaxation in phase III clinical trials should be accompanied by strict requirements to run post-approval trials for efficacy and safety.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          And the no-patent system worked fine for the thousands of years before patent was invented.
          • Think about that for a second. You want to trade the pace of progress in the sciences and useful arts that we've had for the last 300 years for the rate of progress for two thousand years before that? Really?

            Three hundred years ago, 1713, life was much the same as it was in 300 BC. Our quality of life has improved so much more in the last few hundred years than it improved in the thousands of years before. Are you really wanting to go back to the days when everyone just worried about feeding themselves,
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              How much of that progress is really because of the patent system?

              Some people think a lot of that progress is because of tea:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_in_the_United_Kingdom#Industrial_Revolution [wikipedia.org]
              Others think it is because of the potato: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/How-the-Potato-Changed-the-World.html [smithsonianmag.com]

              With the potato more people could stop worrying about feeding themselves. When one farmer can feed more people it means those people can do other things.

              Back then patents in the USA w

              • Agreed, in 1850, people were using thousand year old technology for the most part , so a twenty year lead was reasonable.
                  These days, 3 years might give a roughly equivalent advantage. The only problem is, since the patent office is government bureaucracy, it takes three years for them to approve it.
            • You seriously contribute *everything* humanity has ever done in the last 300 years to patents? Are you serious? Patents are a tool, nothing else. And more recently they've been a tool of choice for abuse, encouraging stagnation by being used as a weapon against everyone else even for the most obvious ideas. And fucking math, for that matter. They are less needed than ever before, especially in software--they just never really worked well for software. But certainly software is not the only area that needs a

              • > You seriously contribute *everything* humanity has ever done in the last 300 years to patents? Are you serious?

                No, the person I replied to attributed the fast paced progress a thousand years ago to the LACK of patents.
                I pointed that progress has accelerated greatly since patents began to be commonly used, so he was wrong
                to say that the creation of patents a few hundred years ago caused progress to stop.

                Additionally, in places where patents were strong, such as the US, those were exactly the places doin
                • No, the person I replied to attributed the fast paced progress a thousand years ago to the LACK of patents.
                  I pointed that progress has accelerated greatly since patents began to be commonly used, so he was wrong
                  to say that the creation of patents a few hundred years ago caused progress to stop.

                  Ah, I see. It must have been a slight misunderstanding.

                  Additionally, in places where patents were strong, such as the US, those were exactly the places doing most of the
                  invention in the last 300 years. (Of course the US lead in innovation had begun to wither in the last 25 years or so.)

                  I think this is nothing more than a coincidence. I wouldn't attribute it to patents.

                  Which is my point. Recently, in the last 5-10 years or so, certain people have started abusing them in a specific way.

                  I think it's been going on for much longer than the last 5-10 years. It's just that in that time, the abuse has just increased heavily, to downright ridiculous proportions. But it is most definitely not something that started, or even started to get bad, just ten years ago. It was already being abused pretty badly before that--just not on the scale that it is now.

                • by AK Marc (707885)

                  Additionally, in places where patents were strong, such as the US, those were exactly the places doing most of the invention in the last 300 years. (Of course the US lead in innovation had begun to wither in the last 25 years or so.)

                  And I thought it the opposite. The US patent system was weak in the 1800s. The US didn't recognize foreign patents, so people would "discover" something in the US that was already discovered elsewhere. Hollywoodland was in the west, far from the patent and copyright enforcers. China has weak patents and has caught up to the US and others quickly, and is starting to pass us in many things. Abolishing patents now will bring a renaissance of innovation and progress. Within a few years of Velcro, a "bette

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Let's put a band-aid on it instead of addressing the underlying causes of the problem, and kick the can down the road!

      And let's not read TFA, but instead repeat the same tired old rants that have been posted several times a week on this site for the past 15 years.

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      That is standard Democrat ploy, Not to fix the problem and just put it off for someone else. That or throw a ton of money at the problem with no idea were the money is gonna come from to pay for it.
      • What's the competing plan? I'd like more info on alternatives.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The court in Marshall Texas is acting like an organized-crime operation, plain and simple.

  • Good Start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Monday July 01, 2013 @10:10PM (#44161731)

    Getting rid of software patents would go a long way towards correcting the problem. That's where the biggest abuse is.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      And abandon patents and copyright on mathematics and natural phenomenon. Monsanto can patent a manner of injecting bacterial DNA into corn, but not the sequence of either component or the result, nor copyright it and prosecute people who "find" it later.
  • Okay, apparently you can spell TROLL without LOL...

  • I can't figure out why the powers that be seem to care about patent trolls now. Big corps used to love them because it kept upstarts like google from upending whole industries. Investors didn't seem to mind them since like bookies they make their money either way so long as the market stays reasonable stable. The only ppl I know that get the short end are little guys like me.
    • by Neppy (673459)
      Two things happened. 1. The patent trolls are no longer in just the tech industry. Major retailers etc. that can make a lot of noise are now under attack. These are companies that themselves hold no/few patents and thus have no interest in holding the status quo the way major tech companies do. 2. The situation has gotten so wildly out of control at this point that even mega corps are no longer benefiting from it.
    • by peragrin (659227)

      There is a third point the other commentator missed.

      Right now even big companies are spending tens and hundreds of millions of dollars fighting these trolls. Patent Trolling is a multi billion dollar industry.billions that are costing even big companies like microsoft enough money to show up on upper management's radar.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The corporations with lots of money and lots of patents are making lots of money. The lawyers are making lots and lots of money. Fuck inventors! So what's the problem? Oh, and if you actually look at fixing things, know that patents on software should have remained illegal, patents must actually do something non-obvious, and while you are at it, copyrights are more fucked than patents: 20 years (1 generation) should be the term limit, and if its sold, the time should be cut in half.

  • by litehacksaur111 (2895607) on Monday July 01, 2013 @11:26PM (#44162055)
    Compaines are filing patents and then forming subsidiaries in tax haven countires. The companies licence the patent to the subsidiary and book all the profits in that low tax country. The companies then just show operating losses in the US.
  • ... what the single most import reason was for starting up such property rights,

  • It appears that Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez discovered this uncomfortable reality when she violated an Google patent for speaking up in public.

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan

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