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Patents IBM

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

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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  • 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.


  • 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.

  • Re:Well.... really? (Score:3, Informative)

    by simcop2387 ( 703011 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:28PM (#41937245) Homepage Journal

    Decade? I think you mean century. IBM for a long time has been one of the largest patent holders around. They've just been far less litigious (AFAIK) about it.

  • Re:Well.... really? (Score:1, Informative)

    by JimCanuck ( 2474366 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @02:19AM (#41940205)
    It is the biggest recipient of patents by a WIDE margin every year for the last forever plus a day.
  • Re:Well.... really? (Score:0, Informative)

    by udachny ( 2454394 ) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @05:52AM (#41940969) Journal

    It is broken for the 1%.

    Financial system may not be broken for those specific people that get the Fed and the Congress to give them money, but that's not 1%, that's maybe 1% of 1%, but the financial system is broken for 99.99% of people because it prevents the economy from working, it destroys the economy and nobody wins in a destroyed economy (what I mean is, everybody's quality of life suffers).

    It's much better to have an actual working economy, but that's something that the population doesn't understand, a working economy can only exist if the government is not allowed to mess with it and people are absolutely hell bent against that idea.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain