Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
×
Patents Businesses Electronic Frontier Foundation The Courts

Patent Trolls On the Run But Not Vanquished Yet 56

snydeq writes Strong legislation that will weaken the ability of the trolls to shake down innovators is likely to pass Congress, but more should be done, writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. "The Innovation Act isn't an ideal fix for the program patent system. But provisions in the proposed law, like one that will make trolls pay legal costs if their claims are rejected, will remove a good deal of the risk that smaller companies face when they decide to resist a spurious lawsuit," Snyder writes. That said, "You'd have to be wildly optimistic to think that software patents will be abolished. Although the EFF's proposals call for the idea to be studied, [EFF attorney Daniel] Nazer doesn't expect it to happen; he instead advocates several reforms not contained in the Innovation Act."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Patent Trolls On the Run But Not Vanquished Yet

Comments Filter:
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Friday February 27, 2015 @01:36AM (#49144761)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I... [wikipedia.org]

    Also I would be very careful what you wish for here. Anybody who doesn't have the capital or desire to become a participating entity could be screwed over royally here.

    It would be far better to take patent trials away from juries. Picking people at random and then pointing them at highly technical patents isn't something that even sounds like it might work.

    • Shopping around for juries and judges in rural areas is a big problem that should be addressed

      • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Friday February 27, 2015 @01:59AM (#49144817)

        Shopping around for juries and judges in rural areas is a big problem that should be addressed

        If it were that simple, the small player would have an equal chance.

        The problem is there are some courts where the jury pool is populated by patent friendly people, some of which are not above going to great lengths to hide these facts during Voir dire. The Eastern District of Texas [arstechnica.com]

        • Are you suggesting the Marshall Texas, population 23,523, where the federal courthouse is located that is mentioned in your linked article is NOT a rural area?

          Or perhaps having a mail-drop 'office' adjacent to the court house is not 'shopping' for a jury and judge...

          • Having just driven through Marshall yesterday I can attest that it's not some small city. I think that everybody expects that Wilmington, Delaware is the best venue? There's a reason that the Doubletree (closest to the Federal Courts) in Wilmington can charge an arm and a leg for rooms because just two blocks away is one of the the most dangerous areas of the city where every drug addict and homeless person within a 20 mile radius congregates daily. Given that or Marshall, I'll take Marshall.

            • The population of Wilmington is 70,851, and New Castle has 538,479 people total, including Wilmington. Harrison County has 65,631 people including Marshall. Wilmington has more people than the entire Harrison County. Yeah, Marshall is a very small city in a rural area. Maybe it's not Oklahoma rural, but compared to the east coast in general, it's pretty damn rural.
              • You mean like Baltimore Big? Shit 1/2 of Baltimore is a burned out wreck. I'll take Texas any day even in itty bitty Marshall. Oh and about 20 miles away is Longview, over 80,000 people there. We're not in the sticks but we do have elbow room.

          • by slick7 ( 1703596 )
            Hey! I have a patent on running patent trolls. Cease and desist or my running patent trolls attorney will have you running along side the running patent trolls.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Shopping around for juries and judges in rural areas is a big problem that should be addressed

          If it were that simple, the small player would have an equal chance.

          The problem is there are some courts where the jury pool is populated by patent friendly people, some of which are not above going to great lengths to hide these facts during Voir dire. The Eastern District of Texas [arstechnica.com]

          It isn't entirely that the juries are patent friendly. While you are far more likely to get a juror that actually holds (and understands the value of) intangible property in East Texas due to the widespread distribution of severed mineral and royalty rights, most East Texans don't care one way or another about patents. If you don't count general collegiality, there are three reasons the Eastern District is chosen for cases (not just patent cases, remember EDTEX was also the center for asbestos litigation)

          • So, you are claiming that a Kangaroo Court, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org], that ignores judicial standards and rushes cases at the expense of the defendant is a good thing?

            WTF, no wonder the patent trolls flock to it, Marshall Texas Kangaroo Courts have even been the subject of local hymnals, https://archive.org/details/IB... [archive.org]

    • You know what would be far better?

      Making the patent office liable for passing overly-broad patents, which aren't actually innovations, and which simply fall into "a system and methodology for going something we've been doing in the real world for decades, but with a computer ".

      Put some actual onus on the patent office to not simply be chimps who rubber stamp inventions and collect fees, and legal liability on patent applicants who basically play a shell game to essentially patent an idea and not an inventio

      • by tao ( 10867 )

        Just use a variant of the Donald Knuth reward check method. The first patent that gets invalidated will incur a 1 cent cut from the patent office budget. The second one a 2 cent cut, etc. After a few weeks the USPTA would have no option except shut down.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Friday February 27, 2015 @12:15PM (#49147357)

      My dad patented an oil field tool that relied on the magnetic properties of the drill pipe to perform its function.

      Someone copied it and started selling it. My Dad sued.

      During jury selection an officer of the Navy who specialized in detection and masking of submarines through magnetic means was dismissed from the pool by the defendants.

      He knew too much about the key technology involved in the trial.

  • I submitted a story and it was yanked, so I'll post in stories instead. Slashdot is once again broken. The top sentence of text in the majority of comments is clipped off so only about half the text is visible. The bottom sentence is spliced with the bottom links so you can't read those either. Buttons are almost all broken. Some buttons are not buttons at all, just text. Other buttons have the same text coloring as the button with maybe white shading?

    How this could have ever gotten past QA is astoun

    • Update (Score:4, Informative)

      by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday February 27, 2015 @01:48AM (#49144791)

      I saw a message from Soulskill that they will work on the bugs tomorrow. Until then, an idea would be to pad your top and bottom lines with a line-break. It may help people to read your whole comment.. then again I don't know if they strip breaks on either end under certain conditions.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I don't really mind the design myself but... is it really that hard to make a website that works and is visually consistent? Especially in this day and age...
        • by Cenan ( 1892902 )

          Yeah, but /. already had a visually consistent website. They now broke it, in the most amateur way ever (well, again really). I've got people's signatures scrawled on top of the "Reply to This etc." links. I've list the sidebar on the front page.

      • All I want to know for now is: How do I get to more stories? Because at the moment I can't get to the "next" page at all. Don't even know where to look.

        Maybe related: tags are invisible for me, so maybe the buttons are too (FF36).

        • by Soulskill ( 1459 ) Works for Slashdot

          The Older/Newer buttons broke with our code push yesterday (tags went into hiding, too). Hope to have them fixed soon. My apologies!

          Until it's fixed, you can use this link as a workaround if you'd like: http://slashdot.org/?page=1 [slashdot.org]

          If you increment the page number, you can see successive pages.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by icebike ( 68054 )

      There is always http://soylentnews.org/ [soylentnews.org] Formed by people sick of the nonsense that goes on here.

    • I'm just wondering where the let sidebar is. When you have a fluid-width site, you generally want to have a sidebar on the left for readability.
  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Friday February 27, 2015 @01:38AM (#49144769)

    It will just change some of the risk profiles taken on by the trolls. In the end they are staffed by lawyers where as their targets have to retain a lawyer, so their targets have to fund their defence right from the beginning and hope to win to get their money back. What you will see is an increase in out of court settlements ie. we will stop litigating you if you agree to settle this now for no money out of court. This would be very very tempting option if you saw the likely hood of thousands and thousands of dollars of legal costs ahead.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand why they can't just make trolling illegal. If a company wants to launch a lawsuit against another company for infringing a software patent, they should be required to have a current implementation of the patent in use by customers.

    Software patent trolls seem so bad because they really are. Saying "I have an idea, I don't use it or won't ever use it, but noone else can use it" is illogical and it should be laughed out of court rooms.

    • The problem is in defining what "trolling" is. The court rules already permit a court to award attorneys fees where a claim is brought frivolously: the difficulty is in showing that a claim was brought or prosecuted in bad faith. The court can't read minds, and one can't usually show what the intent was when a patent infringement suit is brought.
    • This doesn't work. The reason you get a patent in the first place is so you can market your product without fearing that it will be instantly ripped off. Let's say for example, I develop software that would say help manage data over transoceanic cables. I myself don't own any of these cables, so I would have to convince some company that did to license my software. Except that in your example they won't, since they know that if nobody licenses it then they can just replicate it themselves without fear,
  • "provisions in the proposed law, like one that will make trolls pay legal costs if their claims are rejected"

    Do you mean to say that they are not required to pay their costs now ???!!! Thta's absolutely barmy. Who does pay?
  • The term Trolling is overly broad and implies that if you're a non-practicing entity (NPE) with a portfolio of patents that makes you a troll. With the advent of software patents this has brought more focus onto NPEs but they've been around for a very long time. [slate.com] The problem is that a lot of these patents are very, very vague or as has previously been pointed out, crafted by skilled lawyers to make something appear as "innovative" when it really is obvious. There in lies the crux of the matter, we have la

    • 1) How? That's what the law says we're supposed to do now.

      4) Juries should hear patent case appeals. But they should be qualified juries of peers, not J. Random Assholes.

      5) You're calling for an end to capitalism. Me too! But realize that's what you're doing.

      Most problems with patents could be solved by severely reducing their duration, especially software patents. The same is true of copyrights.

      • 1) How? That's what the law says we're supposed to do now.

        4) Juries should hear patent case appeals. But they should be qualified juries of peers, not J. Random Assholes.

        5) You're calling for an end to capitalism. Me too! But realize that's what you're doing.

        Most problems with patents could be solved by severely reducing their duration, especially software patents. The same is true of copyrights.

        Yeah that needs to be changed. Legislation needs to be introduced to correct these problems. That's a tough political choice but inevitably capitalism succeeds by weeding out stupid patents more quickly or preventing them from being issued in the first place. Copyrights are another mess and the Sonny Bono legislation needs to be repealed. Considering how much Disney makes on their shit they need no protection.

  • Patents are racket. Human knowledge doubles every 12 months [industrytap.com], soon to be even shorter. So for every patent, on average the idea would be replicated independently in the first year. IF we needs patents, they should be valid at most for one cycle, and only if the requester can document that their development required several cycles, or a substantial monetary investment. One cycle should be ample time to recoup your investment, then make way for other innovators.

  • Still not good enough. </troll>

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

Working...