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Businesses Patents The Almighty Buck

When Patents Attack — the NPR Version 87

fermion writes "This American Life is running a story this week on Intellectual Ventures, a firm some consider the leader of the patent trolls. The story delves into the origins of the term patent troll and the rise of the patent troll industry. Much time is spent presenting Intellectual Ventures both as a patent troll firm and a legitimate business that allows helpless inventors to monetize patents. It is stipulated that Intellectual Ventures does not in fact sue anyone. It is also alleged that Intellectual Ventures creates many shell companies, presumably to hide such activity. Intellectual Ventures is compared to a Mafia protection racket that may never actually burn down a business that does not pay the dues, but does encourage such burning to occur."
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When Patents Attack — the NPR Version

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  • by grahamsaa ( 1287732 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @02:47PM (#36858226)
    While much of the slashdot community is aware of the insanity the way software patents work, this show does a pretty good job of explaining the process for the uninitiated. I tried to explain the problems associated with software patents to my girlfriend last week and she could barely believe how screwed software patents are. Thanks to NPR, I can send her to a more clear and thorough explanation than I was able to give.

    Hopefully this helps to convince non-technical Americans that patents should rarely, if ever be awarded for software.
  • by Anthony Mouse ( 1927662 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:13PM (#36859258)

    No, because the public will never be able to spend as much on bribery/lobbying as most large corporations.

    In the case of software patents the lobby in favor of them isn't really the corporations. It's the lawyers.

    Think about it: If software patents went away tomorrow, Microsoft et al wouldn't be able to collect patent license fees anymore, but neither would they have to pay them out. For most companies it comes out as a wash, give or take. And if software patents went away, none of those companies would have to continue paying their armies of patent lawyers, which would save them each millions of dollars.

    But that would put all of those software patent lawyers out of business, so it is the lawyers who supply the driving force behind the status quo. What confuses people is that they frequently hear corporate lawyers advocating software patents and assume that they take that position in the interest of their employer rather than their occupation.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!