Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×
Patents Education Electronic Frontier Foundation Government

Maryland Legislator Wants To Keep State University Patents Away From Trolls (eff.org) 52

The EFF's "Reclaim Invention" campaign provided the template for a patent troll-fighting bill recently introduced in the Maryland legislature to guide public universities. An anonymous reader writes: The bill would "void any agreement by the university to license or transfer a patent to a patent assertion entity (or patent troll)," according to the EFF, requiring universities to manage their patent portfolios in the public interest. James Love, the director of the nonprofit Knowledge Ecology International, argues this would prevent assigning patents to "organizations who are just suing people for infringement," which is especially important for publicly-funded colleges. "You don't want public sector patents to be used in a way that's a weapon against the public." Yarden Katz, a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet amd Society, says the Maryland legislation would "set an example for other states by adopting a framework for academic research that puts public interests front and center."
The EFF has created a web page where you can encourage your own legislators to pass similar bills, and to urge universities to pledge "not to knowingly license or sell the rights of inventions, research, or innovation...to patent assertion entities, or patent trolls."

Maryland Legislator Wants To Keep State University Patents Away From Trolls

Comments Filter:
  • wait for California.
    • by gatkinso ( 15975 )

      It sets a legal precedent.

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        It sets a legal precedent.

        Under the law, you can sell your patent to whomever you want. This proposed legislation in Maryland just prevents their state universities (which are effectively controlled/directed by a board chartered by the state) from directly selling University patents to trolls. It doesn't set legal precedence, it just directs the policy of an entity that is nominally under state government control.

        This law doesn't (and can't) prevent non-state universities in Maryland from doing so, or anyone else in the state for

        • > Now that would some accidental unintended consequence of this bill wouldn't it?

          A for-profit licencing "arm" of the state university, set up primarily for the hand-picked members of said licensing firm to benefit handsomely off of the work of the state supported university. Hmmm, yes, that would be awful to see. /s

  • The EFF has created a web page where you can encourage your own legislators to pass similar bills, and to urge universities to pledge "not to knowingly license or sell the rights of inventions, research, or innovation...to patent assertion entities, or patent trolls."

    How about publicly funded research simply end up in the public domain?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How about publicly funded research simply end up in the public domain?

      Because in the US, Congress and the courts [arstechnica.com] have a habit of allowing rights holders to take works out of the public domain and place them back under copyright.

      The public domain doesn't exist in the US, only an uncertainty as to whether or not you can use a work without being sued for copyright violation.

      As such, any law that puts something into the public domain is a pointless gesture in the US. At least until the law is fixed, so that put

    • How about publicly funded research simply end up in the public domain?

      How about naming "The People" on the patent when "The People" paid for part of the development of the technology? That would give "The People" the right to exploit the patent. Presumably this isn't permitted under current patent application processes, but this seems like something which could be fixed. Under, you know, some other administration.

      • Actually, most of "The People" didn't pay a dime for the development of the technology.

        In any case, placing this in the public domain would basically accomplish that.

  • From the bill:

    THE ASSIGNMENT OF A PATENT BY A PUBLIC SENIOR HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION TO A PATENT ASSERTION ENTITY SHALL BE CONSIDERED VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE.

    So a middleman buys the patents, then turns around and assigns them to an assertion entity. This is often how the larger players do it anyway (so the original patent owner doesn't understand who it really is and thus jack up the price).

  • by reemul ( 1554 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @11:05PM (#54071161)

    I strongly oppose patent trolls, but retroactively breaking valid contracts and nullifying sales of patents because you don't like who the patent was sold to is a truly horrible idea. If you don't want patent trolls to have university patents, don't sell them to them. And fire everyone at the university involved if they do sell them. Letting the university enter into a contract and then back out with no consequence because the purchaser is engaged in a vile but legal practice does damage to our legal system that far outweighs any possible benefit. This is just a bad idea generally. The EFF should spend their time trying to get patent trolling itself banned, not damaging the sanctity of contracts generally with cheap stunts because they like some of the short term outcomes.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      The problem is that the trolls don't tell you they're trolls when they buy the patent. They're good at hiding that until the deed is done. Being able to nullify after the fact is just compensating for the deceptive practice.

  • Because anything they produce is a WORK FORE HIRE paid for by the TAXPAYERS.

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann

Working...