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Taking the Battle Against Patent Trolls To the Public 107

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-think-grandma? dept.
First time accepted submitter presspass writes "A group of technology and retail groups is beginning a national ad campaign targeting so-called patent trolls. The Internet Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and Food Marketing Institute Patent trolls — a term known more among geeks than the general public — are about to be the target of a national ad campaign. Beginning Friday, a group of retail trade organizations is launching a radio and print campaign in 17 states. They want to raise awareness of a problem they say is draining resources from business and raising prices for consumers."
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Taking the Battle Against Patent Trolls To the Public

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  • "Williams notes that from the Government Accountability Office found that only 20 percent of patent litigation was brought by so-called trolls."

    That frankly surprises me, I would've thought it was higher.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      20% is more than high enough when it comes to parasites.

      And patent trolling doesn't just cost resources. It reduces options and choices the public get.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      The other 80% was Apple.

    • "Trolls" has a narrow definition and to be quite honest, I'm not entirely convinced there's any principled reform that eliminates so-called "trolls" while allowing manufacturers to sue the pants off each other, still less one that would be effective.

      A better question though is whether patents are actually necessary, or rather, whether a monopoly is the best way to encourage publication of inventions.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The summary makes it sound like those groups are the trolls, rather than the associations beginning the campaign against trolls.
  • Patent infringement on their patent on ad campaigns against patent trolls!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 01, 2013 @01:22PM (#44731629)

    If you accept that mathematics is not patentable then
    you must accept that computer programs are not patentable.
    Regardless of what lawyers would like to believe; computers are machines
    that read and utter mathematical expressions.

    This particular patent problem is just another denial of scientific fact!

    You should be able to patent a process that contains a computer
    program but the program itself is out of bounds.

    so there!

    • by sanchom (1681398)

      You are correct, and that is exactly how software is patented. The algorithm itself not patentable.

      The only things that are patentable are processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter.

      People patent processes. People patent machines that run those processes. People patent manufactures that consist of computer-readable storage media containing instructions to run those processes.

      See http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/images/stories/opinions-orders/11-1301.Opinion.5-8-2013.1.PDF [uscourts.gov] for a good revi

    • > If you accept that mathematics is not patentable then you must accept that computer programs are not patentable.

      Ok. But since UK and USA courts have upheld patents on math, this mantra doesn't get us as far as people think.

      * http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Software_is_math#Some_judges_say_math_is_patentable [swpat.org]

      We need laws to exclude software from patentability. Like what New Zealand did last week (but with a bit of work we can write a better text).

      Here's a page I'm in the process of writing:

      * http://en.swpat.o [swpat.org]

      • by Carewolf (581105)

        Both the US and the UK have laws that prohibits software patent. In the US the special court setup to deal with patents suits just decided it didn't agree with the law and has chosen to ignore it, the US patent office has since started accepting more and more software patents. The supreme court has indicated they would overturn the lower patent court's decision to ignore the ban on software patents, but so far no software patent case has gone all the way to supreme court.

        • If there's a law, and you interpret it as saying X, and the courts that are trying people interpret it as saying Y, then in all senses that matter, Y is the law.

          I mean, I agree that the law prohibits software patents. But my opinion doesn't stop software developers from receiving fines and injunctions.

          Until the US Supreme Court takes a software patent and throws it out the window, software patents are real and we need a law. It's also not certain that the Supreme Court would do what we hope. They could r

    • Speech is simply patterns of sound waves, which are mathematical wave equations. Speech can be modeled mathematically just as easily as any computer program.

      Also, a programming language is, as its name implies, a language, which is also what we call those sound waves we make.

      Since we mostly agree that we should be able to copyright particularly creative things we say or write down in a spoken language, one could well argue that we should be able to do the same for particularly creative things we write in

  • America: Corrupt and Inefficient in the 21st Century

    Can you say DCMA? Can you say takedown? I knew you could.

    • by slick7 (1703596)

      America: Corrupt and Inefficient in the 21st Century

      Can you say DCMA? Can you say takedown? I knew you could.

      With the ability to eradicate dissent with the NDAA and comercially (i.e. Halliburton) operated drones.
      FTFY

  • Just a thought (Score:4, Interesting)

    by coolsnowmen (695297) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @01:41PM (#44731707)

    Any thoughts on how the following rule would help the patent system?:
    Make patents non transferable.

    Now if you are working for a company, or with someone, patenet ownership can be split how ever initially agreed on (I'm a 5% owner of a patent from a pervious job), but this stops a single company, with no product, history, or karma backing it, from buying up bunched of patents and suing major companies trying to sell their product.

    • Re:Just a thought (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sanchom (1681398) on Sunday September 01, 2013 @01:49PM (#44731739)

      Then, how do I, as a poor inventor without the means to implement my invention, how would I be rewarded for revealing my invention to the world?

      I would normally just sell the patent to an entity with the resources to actually develop the patent. If I can't transfer the patent, then I hold an exclusive right that I don't even have the resources to protect. I'll never cash in. I'd probably just keep the invention secret and not tell anyone.

      However, if patents are transferable, like they are right now, I would have incentive to publish my invention in a patent in exchange for the exclusive right to make, sell, or use it. Then, I'd sell that right to somebody else who could bring it to market or have the legal resources to run a proper licencing scheme. I'd get rewarded for my invention. The public would get the knowledge of the invention. And the invention may be more likely to reach market.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You'll hear this mantra a lot -- especially in software, but it's true everywhere: Ideas are worthless. Implementation is what matters.

        Patents are a monopoly on an idea. Patent trolls use them to extort money from others who have done the hard work.

        IMHO, you do not deserve compensation for coming up with an idea unless you also spend years building a worthwhile implementation. Patent filings should require a working implementation, and patents should only last 3-5 years (about twice as long as it takes to d

        • by sanchom (1681398)

          IMHO, you do not deserve compensation for coming up with an idea unless you also spend years building a worthwhile implementation.

          Patents don't reward the coming-up-with of an idea. They reward the disclosure of that idea.

          and patents should only last 3-5 years (about twice as long as it takes to develop a competing implementation).

          This is not universally true. It might take 10-12 years to clear the regulatory hurdles in the pharmaceutical industry.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Then, how do I, as a poor inventor without the means to implement my invention, how would I be rewarded for revealing my invention to the world?

        If you're poor you have no means of patenting your invention. Patents are damned expensive.

        • by sanchom (1681398)
          The USPTO introduced a micro-entity status that lowers the filing fee for a patent application to $70, $180 for the examination, and $445 for issuance. Just because I can pay $700 doesn't mean I have the means to implement my invention.
      • by spasm (79260)

        "Then, how do I, as a poor inventor without the means to implement my invention, how would I be rewarded for revealing my invention to the world?"

        You license the right to use the protected invention. My father patented an improvement to a piece of mining equipment in the 1970s in Australia; I remember my mother doing the drawings for the patent application on the kitchen table. A couple of years later a large Japanese firm who made said equipment contacted him about it, and their lawyers and a lawyer my f

      • I thought about this-
            You'd do what a lot of startups do- take your patent, and solitic investor money for your startup company. I mean, you do care about your invention don't you? Do you want to actually try to bring it to market? So that means you need venture capital. Or in old school terms, you go to a bank, and pitch them your idea, and get a small business loan.

        Disclosure, I don't really know how difficult this is to do these days; I work for a medium sized company.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Any thoughts on how the following rule would help the patent system?:
      Make patents non transferable.

      The problem is, they currently ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE.

      They are issued to the inventor(s) and are completely owned by the inventor(s). The people named on the patents (who cannot be companies) own the patent permanently.

      Instead, what happens is the inventor, as part of their employment contract, agrees to license the the company full exclusive use of the patent. Which means the company (that sponsored the patent)

  • I hold the patent trolling patent, so I'm going to sue the ass of every last patent troll.
  • Examine harder. The US has absurdly low thresholds for utility and prior use.

  • Seems to me there's an easy fix. In order to hold a patent, you must demonstrably make, sell, support or otherwise profit from whatever the patent is for*. That incentivizes patent owners to use them for more than bargaining chips, and discourages people from hoovering up patents with only the intent to troll.

    * 'Profit' does not include litigation.

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