Myhrvold's Myth: Invention Capital

from the cute-phrase,-dumb-idea dept

Nathan Myhrvold may have a way with words, but it doesn't mean that what he's doing with Intellectual Ventures makes any sense. At the D: conference yesterday, Myrhvold tried to position his company as being in the "invention capital" business, talking about how he's creating a model to fund inventions, and even comparing himself to Thomas Edison (while dancing around several questions that tried to get him to point out what the company has actually done other than hoard patents). This is a modification on the easily debunked claim he made a couple weeks ago about how owning a patent and not using it to build a product was the same as investing in a company and not working there.

But, the real problem goes right back to the core issue that was brought out in Malcolm Gladwell's profile of Myhrvold. Ideas are popping up everywhere. It's the execution that matters. Lots of folks are having similar ideas at about the same time, but those ideas are meaningless without the corresponding execution (at which point many people often realize the original idea wasn't that interesting in the first place). So, with ideas being plentiful and execution being scarce, it doesn't make sense to "invest" in ideas separate from the execution. The only way that it would make sense is if you then were taking those ideas and artificially trying to limit their usefulness -- which is exactly what Myhrvold is doing with IV. He's artificially trying to limit the use of ideas, and make it more expensive for anyone to execute on those ideas. The very concept of what he's doing is to hold back innovation and progress. That's the exact opposite of what the patent system was intended to do.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    steve, May 29th, 2008 @ 3:52pm

    > hold back innovation and progress

    Of course Nathan Myhrvold is trying to put the Microsoft playbook ( he learned these lessons when MSFT was kingpin ) into play at Intellectual Ventures and thinks everyone else is inferior, deaf, or dumb and cannot see through his lame ass ruse.

    Did I mention he comes across as a very arrogant asshat ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Not Applicable, May 29th, 2008 @ 4:06pm

    LOL

    Slightly off-topic:
    I mis-read that second line... thought you typed "Intellectual Vultures"

    What does IV do, anyway? IS it an incubator? Or one of those, "let us patent your ideas for you" places?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 29th, 2008 @ 4:36pm

    Re: LOL

    What does IV do, anyway? IS it an incubator? Or one of those, "let us patent your ideas for you" places?

    IV does two things so far:

    1. Buys thousands of patents a year that are out there to build its portfolio.

    2. Gets together "inventors" in a room, has them chat for a while, and that has its lawyers write up patents based on those chats. Some of those inventors are "employed" by IV, but the patents are owned by IV.

    So far that's it. Then it claims it will start licensing out these patents, though it hasn't done much there yet. As for whether or not it will also start suing for infringement... we all wait and see.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Le Blue Dude, May 29th, 2008 @ 5:04pm

    More reason

    More reason to ask Congress to push the "Working prototype" Rule for patents

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 29th, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: LOL

    I take it you do not approve of IV's business model. Is your apparent disapproval based in part upon the fact that patents are involved, or is there some other reason?

    By the way, what leads you to conclude that "execution" of product development and introduction into the market is unlikely to happen?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 29th, 2008 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOL

    I take it you do not approve of IV's business model. Is your apparent disapproval based in part upon the fact that patents are involved, or is there some other reason?

    Weird. MLS, didn't we already have a long discussion on this:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080507/0114581051.shtml

    I do not approve of IV's business model because it's based on fundamentally limiting the resources of companies out there by restricting what they can do.

    This is the second time in the last day that you've asked me a question that we had clearly answered in an earlier discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Little Punk, May 29th, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    If it looks like a patent troll, walks like a patent troll and talks like a patent troll then it must be a patent troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 29th, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Perhaps you may not recognize when someone is trying to cut you some slack by asking questions rather than challenging your prior comments.

    Pray tell, and without armwaving please, just what specific resources are being fundamentally limited? I have not seen IV acting (like some might say) "troll-ish", hence I have no information leading me to believe one way or the other that IV is somehow stifling others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 29th, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Perhaps you may not recognize when someone is trying to cut you some slack by asking questions rather than challenging your prior comments.

    It does not appear like cutting slack. It appears like someone who chooses not to read -- or chooses to purposely ignore what he's read. I've made it quite clear why I think IV's business model is dangerous. For you to ask whether or not I approve of the model isn't cutting me some slack, it's basically suggesting that you can't remember what I said a week ago.

    Pray tell, and without armwaving please, just what specific resources are being fundamentally limited? I have not seen IV acting (like some might say) "troll-ish", hence I have no information leading me to believe one way or the other that IV is somehow stifling others.

    The very act of patenting an idea is, by definition, limiting the right of others to make that idea into something useful. That idea is a resource. And it is being fundamentally limited by giving one person or one party "ownership" of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 29th, 2008 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Am I to assume I would be wasting my breath to once more point out that "ideas" per se can neither be patented nor copyrighted? In copyright parlance this is known as the "idea-expression" dichotomy. In patent parlance it reflects that the law does not even come into play until such time as a "conception" has occurred, and "conception" is well down the road from a mere "idea".

    On previous occasions you have taken umbrage with any comment even remotely suggesting you may misapprehend some aspects of patent and copyright law. Why do I feel an "umbrage" coming on?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 29th, 2008 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Am I to assume I would be wasting my breath to once more point out that "ideas" per se can neither be patented nor copyrighted? In copyright parlance this is known as the "idea-expression" dichotomy. In patent parlance it reflects that the law does not even come into play until such time as a "conception" has occurred, and "conception" is well down the road from a mere "idea".

    You are dealing in semantics here. The fact that RIM had to pay over half a billion dollars for doing the obvious thing of making email wireless. You don't see that as limiting an idea? The fact that websites are being sued for having an image. You don't see that as limiting an idea? The fact that ISPs were sued for allowing people to hyperlink. You don't see that as limiting an idea?

    I do.

    Every patent, by its very nature, LIMITS someone else's ability to implement. Whether you call it an idea, a concept, a process or a methodology doesn't change the fact that others are limited.

    If I'm taking "umbrage" to what you are saying, it's because you seem so focused on the definitions to have totally missed what's actually happening. And, any time we point it out, you suddenly stop responding until the next post, where you play dumb again.

    I'm not sure if that's convincing with your clients, but it's not going over well here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Kiba, May 29th, 2008 @ 8:43pm

    An Angry Rant

    Can we please just produce wealth and not have patent monopolies?

    You know....just making new stuff, getting stuff to market, executing your business model, and hope for the best?

    I don't want some inventor or some patent troll dude blocking my way just because they have some damn patent.

    Fuck them for their monopolies. Fuck them for just being annoying to real entrepreneurs, who are actually taking a risk trying to bring new innovative stuff to the market. Fuck them for making everything more expensive. Fuck them for feeling entitled to things that does not belong to them.

    I don't care if it take years for some inventor to come up with some stuff or how much time he spent on the invention. They don't deserve any sort of monopolies.

    I just want to make cool and innovative stuff and make some money at the same time.

    I don't care if there are a 1000 competitors competing to do the same stuff that I do. Heck, I don't care if someone copy my technologies(making them better is an added bonus).

    I just care if someone is preventing me from competing, from using technology, or whatever limitation they want to put on me.


    So patent trolls and anybody(Pharmaceutical companies, I am looking at YOU) who force people to pay patent royalties...just fuck off and let people just produce wealth. K?

    And let the free market decide.


    I am done venting my anger. Rant over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    angry dude, May 29th, 2008 @ 9:26pm

    Re: An Angry Rant

    How old are you, punk ?

    When you finally grow up you will learn the hard way the harsh realities of capitalism and why the Founding Fathers included the patent and copyright clause in the US Constitution..

    Until then just shut up and GFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    angry dude, May 29th, 2008 @ 9:32pm

    WTF

    "The very concept of what he's doing is to hold back innovation and progress. "

    Huh ?

    The only one trying to hold back innovation and progress is you, Mikey

    Denigrating legitimate inventors with valid patents on new groundbreaking technologies of tomorrow doesn't exactly promote progress, you know...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 29th, 2008 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Hyperbole can be very effective as a communications tool as long as it is recognized as such...an exaggeration for effect. What stikes me about your comments is that you apparently do not see them as such.

    A long time ago I learned that it is impossible to engage in an intellectually honest debate on a subject with a person who does not know what he/she is talking about and who does not know that he/she does not know. I make no pretense about being an expert in economics because it is not my area of professional expertise. On matters of economic principles/theory I pay heed to what those well-heeled in the subject have to say because to do otherwise would be foolish. It seems clear that on matters of legal principles/theory you do not feel similarly constrained, and in this regard you are missing an educational opportunity; not that you have to agree, but that at least you are better informed when subsequently presenting your arguments.

    A few weeks ago I happened to mention to a colleague about one of the articles you posted, an article I believed was quite thought provoking. At first interested, he quickly changed his stance when I named this site as its source. When I asked why I was told it was known for rhetoric and intolerance for opposing views. In view of your above comment I finally understand why he said this to me.

    I constantly reconsider my opinions as new information is presented lest I get "drunk on my own wine". It is one of the most valuable lessons taught to me by my mentor. Hopefully you will one day have the opportunity for a mentor who can likewise provide you with a similar lesson.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    dorpass, May 29th, 2008 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Re: An Angry Rant

    Durak.

    Harsh realities of capitalism? Since when does true capitalism require government support? I thought a Russian would know better than to spout propaganda of 1970s.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 30th, 2008 @ 12:42am

    Re: WTF

    angry dude deliberately used negative framing in a statement as follows:

    Denigrating legitimate inventors with valid patents on new groundbreaking technologies of tomorrow doesn't exactly promote progress, you know...

    Says who?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 1:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Hyperbole can be very effective as a communications tool as long as it is recognized as such...an exaggeration for effect. What stikes me about your comments is that you apparently do not see them as such.

    Can you point out what statement was hyperbole?

    A long time ago I learned that it is impossible to engage in an intellectually honest debate on a subject with a person who does not know what he/she is talking about and who does not know that he/she does not know.

    Indeed. I agree. Though, I find it amusing that just yesterday you basically were caught insisting that two well-respected economists were "nutty" and their work was "a joke." And then you were caught by the fact that you clearly knew nothing about them or their work. But did you change your mind or apologize? Nope. So you can accuse me of whatever you want, but you might want to check yourself first.

    I make no pretense about being an expert in economics because it is not my area of professional expertise. On matters of economic principles/theory I pay heed to what those well-heeled in the subject have to say because to do otherwise would be foolish. It seems clear that on matters of legal principles/theory you do not feel similarly constrained, and in this regard you are missing an educational opportunity; not that you have to agree, but that at least you are better informed when subsequently presenting your arguments.

    MLS, I have made it quite clear that I am talking about this from an economic, not a legal, perspective. So I'm not sure why you keep complaining about my legal understanding.

    And, as for claiming that you defer to those well-heeled in economics, you clearly do not, for you have repeatedly made fun of those well-heeled in economics.

    A few weeks ago I happened to mention to a colleague about one of the articles you posted, an article I believed was quite thought provoking. At first interested, he quickly changed his stance when I named this site as its source. When I asked why I was told it was known for rhetoric and intolerance for opposing views. In view of your above comment I finally understand why he said this to me.

    Interesting. Well, it's great to know that your friends don't bother reading the content and learning for themselves if they dislike me or the site personally.

    As for an "intolerance for opposing views," that's a surprise to me. We leave our comments wide open, unlike most sites. We do not censor comments (other than outright spam). We engage with commenters trying to understand their point of view and explain ours. I'm not sure how that's considered an intolerance. You have every opportunity to have your say and convince people that you are right. Over the years commenters on this site have often convinced me that I was wrong and pushed me in new directions. That's what's useful about this site and the community here.

    However, if by intolerance of opposing views you mean that we don't suddenly change our minds when you fail to present any compelling evidence... then, you should check your definition of intolerance.

    Other than that, can you please explain how this site might be considered intolerant?

    I constantly reconsider my opinions as new information is presented lest I get "drunk on my own wine"

    Indeed. I as well. Why you assume otherwise, I have no idea. I can only assume it's because you simply don't agree with me, and therefore have decided that I must be uninformed.

    However, that learning process is what brought me to my current position on this topic. I was, like many, a believer in intellectual property for a while. And then became exposed to its problems. So I spent quite a bit of time researching the issue, talking to experts and learning. And I moved towards a reformist stance, and began exploring various ideas for reform. However, as more and more evidence was presented to me, I realized how each plan for reform was problematic -- and eventually saw enough evidence to convince me how little IP law does what it's intended to do and how often it does the reverse.

    If you had actual evidence to present that challenged my views, I'd certainly like to see it. But, to date, you have not done so.

    That's not intolerance, and it's not hyperbole and it's not stubbornly clinging to my own ideas -- as you claim. It's a studied position learned over many years and backed up with theory, research and empirical evidence (both macro and micro).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Wesley Parish, May 30th, 2008 @ 4:49am

    implementation of ideas akak The misty Mister Wisty's pibs, of course

    Implementation details and all, may I recommend you visit this site and download and listen to this, much to your delectation and edification:
    http://stabbers.truth.posiweb.net/stabbers/audio/disco/Peter_Cook_+_Peter_Cook_Present s_The_Misty_Mr_Wisty_+_10_The_Plib_+_wwwDOTstabbersDOTorg.mp3

    Yes, it is hard being an inventor. Take a plib and relax!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    angry dude, May 30th, 2008 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: An Angry Rant

    Mudak

    capitalism doesn't require government support but it sure does require government intervention (courts) to secure property rights, including patent rights since patents are property
    No property rights = no capitalism

    You should know it by now, little punk

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    angry dude, May 30th, 2008 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Another LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG piece of horseshit from the Master of Demagogy - Mike Masnick

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    "but those ideas are meaningless without the corresponding execution"

    You could have the best marketer, but without a product/idea to market, they too are meaningless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2008 @ 6:56am

    "The fact that RIM had to pay over half a billion dollars for doing the obvious thing of making email wireless."

    Aside from the fact that you incorrectly summarize the patent as just "making email wireless", even if this were true, patents for obvious things that should not have been granted are extremely rare. For example, when was the last time you read a positive news story regarding a patent such as "a man's new invention made him millions and by saving manufactures billions of dollars each year..."

    You don't because in those cases the patent system is doing what it was intended to do, so it's not news when it accomplishes what it was designed for. You only new the negative aspects of the patent system that make the news.

    So, even if there were a bad "patent" story a day for a whole year, that's 365 bad patents compared to the 10k's of good patents issued each year.

    Everyone's computers crash on them every so often, should we just throw away all computers because of this? Of course not.

    If a system works properly most of the time, then for the most part it's doing it's job - it just may need a little tweaking if the system faults reach a certain level.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 30th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    "MLS, I have made it quite clear that I am talking about this from an economic, not a legal, perspective. So I'm not sure why you keep complaining about my legal understanding."

    You are constantly making statements about the law that are plainly erroneous, and in doing so you fan anti-law sentiment among many who review and comment upon your articles. When these errors are noted your immediate response is to disagree and defend your statements, even though the errors have been pointed by me and others who are "well-heeled" in the law's history, theory, policy underpinnings, and scope.

    For whatever assurances it may provide, my sole purpose in addressing what I know to be clear error is to try and interject information that may prove helpful to those who read your articles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Re:

    Aside from the fact that you incorrectly summarize the patent as just "making email wireless", even if this were true, patents for obvious things that should not have been granted are extremely rare.

    If only that were true. While the patent in question was more limited, NTP *used* it as if it were for all wireless email. And that's what we're seeing over and over again. The use of patents in such a broad manner as to seriously limit what anyone else can do.

    You don't because in those cases the patent system is doing what it was intended to do, so it's not news when it accomplishes what it was designed for. You only new the negative aspects of the patent system that make the news.

    Not quite. We've also reported on studies looking at the overall patent system as a whole, as well as studies that have noted the large percentage of patents that are shown to have mistakenly granted certain claims on review.

    In other words, it's not a small problem, there's clear evidence that there are problems across the entire system.

    The fact that there are stories that show specifically bad patents, just helps to highlight that with additional evidence. But just because we show some of those bad patents, it doesn't mean that we haven't shown how problematic the entire system was.

    If a system works properly most of the time, then for the most part it's doing it's job - it just may need a little tweaking if the system faults reach a certain level.

    Except that the system isn't working. As the economic evidence has shown, the impact of the patent system is NOT positive on innovation.

    So, until you show evidence as to why all of that evidence is incorrect, you cannot credibly claim that "the system is working."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    You are constantly making statements about the law that are plainly erroneous, and in doing so you fan anti-law sentiment among many who review and comment upon your articles. When these errors are noted your immediate response is to disagree and defend your statements, even though the errors have been pointed by me and others who are "well-heeled" in the law's history, theory, policy underpinnings, and scope.

    Can you point to such an error?

    For whatever assurances it may provide, my sole purpose in addressing what I know to be clear error is to try and interject information that may prove helpful to those who read your articles.

    And, yet, repeatedly, your own statements have been shown to be in error.

    And, I note, once again, that when I direct questions at you or answer your charges, you suddenly clam up and don't respond.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Michael F. Martin, May 30th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    A simple proof that inventors are required for innovation

    If it were true that execution was what mattered in developing new technology, then it should be possible, in principle, to build a Turing machine capable of innovation. No such Turing machine exists. Therefore, an inventor is required for innovation.

    http://brokensymmetry.typepad.com/broken_symmetry/2008/05/a-simple-proof.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2008 @ 12:22pm

    "large percentage of patents that are shown to have mistakenly granted certain claims on review.
    .... So, until you show evidence as to why all of that evidence is incorrect, you cannot credibly claim that "the system is working."

    Your lack of providing what this "large percentage" numerical figure actually is or it's source is all the evidence I need to prove that you consistently take a few limited issues and inflate them to claim they represent "most of the time, often, a large percentage, etc" just to suite your point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 30th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    "Can you point to such an error?"

    Yes. Generalized assertions/suggestions about what patents cover without noting that the scope of a patent is limited to what is actually claimed, a much, much narrower scope. Assertions that the disclosures in patents are typically inadequate to covey to others how to practice the inventions, when in fact all applications must meet the requirements of an enabling disclosure and best mode. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit CAFC) is in large measure responsible for many of the perceived ills of the current system, including, by way of example, broadening the scope of patentable subject matter to embrace computer software and business methods. The Patent Act of 1952 expanded substantive patent law. The CAFC is primarily comprised of patent lawyers unduly influence its decisions. The proposed patent reforms before Congress will address many of the problems associated with the current system. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 was the subject of much debate before it was inserted into the US Constitution. The suggestion that academics are generally in agreement that neither patents nor copyrights are property. The conflation of the right to exclude conferred by patents with the right to practice conferred by copyright. That while patents are problematic as an economic matter, trade secrets are generally not a problem. Etc., etc. That patent and copyright law per se enable the holders of such rights to control post sale uses of associated goods. Both patent and copyright law have strayed far, much too far, from their constitutional roots. Please note that the foregoing are merely exemplary, and in no manner intended to be a comprehensive list.

    "And, yet, repeatedly, your own statements have been shown to be in error."

    Note my reference to "error" pertained to stated errors of law, and to nothing else. Perhaps you may be aware of a specific circumstance, but I am not aware of having made any misstatements of law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Re: A simple proof that inventors are required for innovation

    If it were true that execution was what mattered in developing new technology, then it should be possible, in principle, to build a Turing machine capable of innovation. No such Turing machine exists. Therefore, an inventor is required for innovation.

    As I responded to you on your blog post, this logic makes no sense.

    First off, no one has said that no inventors are required (not sure where you got that one from). Secondly, even if that were the case, what would the fact that no Turing machine yet exists for innovation prove about it? Nothing.

    That's not a proof. That's pure handwaving.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Yes. Generalized assertions/suggestions about what patents cover without noting that the scope of a patent is limited to what is actually claimed, a much, much narrower scope.

    In theory, not in practice.

    Assertions that the disclosures in patents are typically inadequate to covey to others how to practice the inventions, when in fact all applications must meet the requirements of an enabling disclosure and best mode.

    Again, in theory, not in practice.

    . The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit CAFC) is in large measure responsible for many of the perceived ills of the current system, including, by way of example, broadening the scope of patentable subject matter to embrace computer software and business methods. The Patent Act of 1952 expanded substantive patent law. The CAFC is primarily comprised of patent lawyers unduly influence its decisions.

    Can you please explain why any of those statements are false? All are pretty well established fact.

    The proposed patent reforms before Congress will address many of the problems associated with the current system.

    Actually, I've said the opposite. I've said, multiple times -- even directly to you -- that I think it will make the problem worse.

    But, even if I did think that the law would solve many of the ills, that's an opinion. How can an opinion be factually incorrect -- since you claim you are only here to correct my factually incorrect statements of law.

    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 was the subject of much debate before it was inserted into the US Constitution.

    Again, this is established historical fact.

    The conflation of the right to exclude conferred by patents with the right to practice conferred by copyright.

    When have I done this?

    . That while patents are problematic as an economic matter, trade secrets are generally not a problem.

    I thought you were only here to deal with legal, rather than economic issues?

    Both patent and copyright law have strayed far, much too far, from their constitutional roots.

    Again, this is opinion. How can opinion be factually wrong?

    Besides, I find it hard to believe you could argue against that opinion in any credible way.

    MLS, you act as if you're some sort of objective clarifier of truth, when the evidence suggests otherwise.

    Note my reference to "error" pertained to stated errors of law, and to nothing else

    Clearly, that is not the case, as stated above.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 30th, 2008 @ 7:00pm

    Re:

    Your lack of providing what this "large percentage" numerical figure actually is or it's source is all the evidence I need to prove that you consistently take a few limited issues and inflate them to claim they represent "most of the time, often, a large percentage, etc" just to suite your point.

    Um. Or, I was busy and didn't have the time to go do your work for you. I've pointed to them in the past, there's a search engine, you can use it.

    In the meantime: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080313/021643530.shtml

    Just because I don't cite every single thing I say, especially when it's the 100th time I've brought it up, doesn't mean that I'm lying. I assume that you're smart enough to use a search engine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2008 @ 7:51am

    "Just because I don't cite every single thing I say, especially when it's the 100th time I've brought it up, doesn't mean that I'm lying..."

    As I suspected, you don't have a published figure source to back your "large percentage" claim. But, lets say you did mention 100 "bad" patents in previous posts, how does 100 bad patents compared to the over 7 million issued patents support your claim of a "large percentage"? It seems more like 0.00001%!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Mike,

    If you had to put a numerical figure on your claim of "large percentage", what would that percentage figure be?

    (Your failure to answer this question will just confirm that you falsely inflate figures to suit your needs)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 31st, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Re scope of the 1952 Act vis a vis prior statutory and case law:

    http://www.ipmall.info/hosted_resources/lipa/patents/patentact.asp

    Suggest you read it.


    Re CAFC, its history and membership (including bios for each member):

    http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/

    Suggest you read this as well.


    Re the relationship between patent law and trade secret law, and where the two may conflict; e.g.the use of trade secret law to protect certain subject matter excluded under the patent law:

    http://www.harvardlawreview.org/issues/119/jan06/miller.pdf
    http://law.bepress.com/cgi/view content.cgi?article=4680&context=expresso

    Suggest you add these two articles to your reading list.


    Insight into how the concepts of patent and copyright law were treated under english and early colonial law:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=924226
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/paper s.cfm?abstract_id=491466

    Two papers from a single author, but quite thought provoking and useful to obtain an better informed position of why both patents and copyrights may be viewed as property. These are nice additions to any reading list.


    Admittedly, reading the above articles is a laborious undertaking. In addition to them I have read them, many other journal articles, expansive legal treatises, merit briefs, relevant state and federal court decisions, international treaties, etc. I can be a daunting task, but when spread over a long career in law it is quite manageable.


    Importantly, I have never intended to question your acumen in the area of economic theory, and on many occasions your comments have been very useful. Nor have I ever asked you (or so I believe) to cite your sources as others seem want to do. Because of my observation that many of your opinions and articles depend heavily of an understanding of what the law actually says, and not what it is believed to say, I believe it is helpful to comment to assist in clearing up some statements about the law that are not altogether accurate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 31st, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    How could I forget?

    "Yes. Generalized assertions/suggestions about what patents cover without noting that the scope of a patent is limited to what is actually claimed, a much, much narrower scope.

    In theory, not in practice.

    Assertions that the disclosures in patents are typically inadequate to covey to others how to practice the inventions, when in fact all applications must meet the requirements of an enabling disclosure and best mode.

    Again, in theory, not in practice."

    Here some specific instances would be helpful to make your point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 31st, 2008 @ 3:42pm

    Re:

    As I suspected, you don't have a published figure source to back your "large percentage" claim.

    Um. That link had numbers. As I said, a large percentage of patents on review are found to have incorrectly approved claims.

    But, lets say you did mention 100 "bad" patents in previous posts, how does 100 bad patents compared to the over 7 million issued patents support your claim of a "large percentage"? It seems more like 0.00001%!

    You're comparing apples and oranges. We used the numbers linked above to explain the overall thing. The bad patents we mention on the site aren't meant to be a comprehensive accounting, but to just fill in details since people want to know some specifics.

    I would have thought that was obvious.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 31st, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    Re:

    If you had to put a numerical figure on your claim of "large percentage", what would that percentage figure be?

    As the link noted, approximately 3 out of every 4 patents reviewed have had claims removed on review.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 31st, 2008 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Re scope of the 1952 Act vis a vis prior statutory and case law:

    I meant in practical terms. You really are showing yourself as a lawyer. Focusing on the specific text rather than what actually happened as a result of the law...

    Re CAFC, its history and membership (including bios for each member):

    Again, the point (as I have made clear, though you choose to ignore it...) wasn't in the numbers of former patent attorneys but the power those former patent attorneys have had over the CAFC. I made that clear. You ignored it because it doesn't fit your thesis.

    Re the relationship between patent law and trade secret law, and where the two may conflict; e.g.the use of trade secret law to protect certain subject matter excluded under the patent law:

    You seem to have ascribed to me positions I have not taken. When have I discussed this particular topic?

    Insight into how the concepts of patent and copyright law were treated under english and early colonial law:

    Both about legal rulings, having nothing at all to do with the economic issues we're discussing. But why let little things like that bother you?

    My position was based on the fact that IP has no reason to be property from an economic standpoint -- while also noting that if one does consider it as property from a legal standpoint, how that leads to problems (many of which we highlight here). Your response is to point to legal rulings saying that IP is property? That's meaningless.

    Admittedly, reading the above articles is a laborious undertaking. In addition to them I have read them, many other journal articles, expansive legal treatises, merit briefs, relevant state and federal court decisions, international treaties, etc. I can be a daunting task, but when spread over a long career in law it is quite manageable.

    Do you want a gold star? ;) MLS, no one doubts that you are a distinguished IP lawyer somewhere. What I have a problem with is your repeated stance that you are merely correcting false things I have said, when time and time again it is shown that you are not.

    I note, for example, that you don't respond to any of the points where you claimed my opinion was false above.

    Because of my observation that many of your opinions and articles depend heavily of an understanding of what the law actually says, and not what it is believed to say, I believe it is helpful to comment to assist in clearing up some statements about the law that are not altogether accurate.

    My statements when it comes to the law tend to be based on what the actual impact of the law is, no matter what it says.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), May 31st, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Here some specific instances would be helpful to make your point.

    We're going around in circles. I have already pointed to examples, in THIS THREAD alone.

    This is where it gets frustrating. I point to theory and people say "well show an example." I point to an example and people say "well that's just one example, that proves nothing." And so we go around and around and around, and many otherwise productive hours disappear.

    If you don't think people are getting sued all the time for incredibly broad and vague patents that block entire concepts, then you aren't paying attention. If you don't think that many broadly written patents today do not in any way actually reveal anything useful in terms of how to put the patent into practice, again, you are not paying attention.

    We have highlighted many such things. There's a search engine above and Google does a fantastic job as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2008 @ 5:18pm

    "I point to theory and people say "well show an example." I point to an example and people say "well that's just one example, that proves nothing". And so we go around and around and around"

    Mike, actually you are trying to make it go round and round. We understand your ONE or TWO examples. But, we don't respect using those few examples as a basis for making "Most of the time", "Often", "Large percentage" claims.

    Either give us enough examples to prove your "many/most/majority of the time" claims, or simply stop making such claims. It's a very simply concept.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2008 @ 5:26pm

    "If you don't think people are getting sued all the time for incredibly broad and vague patents that block entire concepts"

    Give me a number - Roughly how many patents are issued each year that you think are too broad?

    I bet that number isn't even .0001% of the issued patents for a year.

    So, how can you take such a small number of patents and claim it represents a significant percentage of issued patents?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2008 @ 5:39pm

    "We've also reported on studies looking at the overall patent system as a whole, as well as studies that have noted the large percentage of patents that are shown to have mistakenly granted certain claims on review."

    Mike, actually you are the one comparing apples and oranges. You are trying to take the result of "reviewed" patents and claim that percentage of bad reviewed patents equates to "issued" patents.

    It is extremely rare that a patent gets reviewed, so what does that tell you? If your theory that a significant number of issued patents are bad (because the reviewed patents are usually found bad), then why doesn't EVERY patent that goes to litigation get reviewed? Maybe it's because most patents are good and there is no grounds for a review?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    MLS, May 31st, 2008 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    "My statements when it comes to the law tend to be based on what the actual impact of the law is, no matter what it says."

    I have always understood this to be the case. However, many of your references to patent law tend to lay significant blame at the feet of the judiciary when it should be laid at the feet of Congress. Yes, Diehr (the precursor to "software" patents), Chakrabarty (genetic engineering, but especially the oft quoted phrase "everything under the sun"), and State Street (business methods) are judicial decisions that have brought very important issues to the forefront, but this is only because Congress has seen fit to do nothing but leave the law as is and let the courts try and sort things out. For example, in defining what is patentable subject matter, Congress has done basically nothing to change the state of affairs since it enacted the first patent act in 1790.

    If the system is "broken" as you and others say, then it seems appropriate to stop blaming the courts and start blaming Congress who created the system in the first place. It holds the remedial key and has thus far chosen not to use it. In the case of patent law it has used its remedial key quite sparingly. In the case of copyright law it seems to have forgotten where it placed the key.

    My comment concerning patents versus trade secrets was prompted by a statement you made a few weeks ago suggesting that you did not view trade secrets as problematic (not your actual words, but words to that effect). My point is that even if both patent and copyright law is scaled back as you advocate (in fact, even if they were eliminated entirely), there would still remain a whole host of alternate avenues under law by which "control" of intellectual work product could be achieved, in which case no measureable progress towards your asserted goal would be achieved. In some instances it could even be set back significantly.

    I think it fair to say "there are a million ways [for lawyers] to skin a cat", with patent and copyright law being only two of them. Even if they were to disappear tomorrow, you would still be no closer to your goal.

    It seems to me that more effective arguments can be presented by attempting to address the notion of how to eliminate "control" as a necessary/important part of business models in general.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:29am

    Re:

    Mike, actually you are trying to make it go round and round. We understand your ONE or TWO examples. But, we don't respect using those few examples as a basis for making "Most of the time", "Often", "Large percentage" claims.

    Round and round we go. I didn't point to one or two examples as the basis of my claim. I pointed to the actual numbers on re-examed patents. The examples were just to show a couple of examples of what that meant.


    Either give us enough examples to prove your "many/most/majority of the time" claims, or simply stop making such claims. It's a very simply concept.


    I did. Give this up. You're wasting everyone's time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    Give me a number - Roughly how many patents are issued each year that you think are too broad?

    I bet that number isn't even .0001% of the issued patents for a year.

    So, how can you take such a small number of patents and claim it represents a significant percentage of issued patents?


    My statement wasn't based on the total number of issued patents. It was based on the numbers I POINTED YOU TO about how many re-examed patents end up getting changed.

    The fact that almost any time a re-exam is instituted, a patent gets changed should be seen as a huge problem. Most patents don't get re-examed because there's simply no reason to re-exam those patents. But when patents *are* looked at, *most* of the time they get changed.

    That indicates a serious problem with the way patents are granted.

    Besides, that's merely one part of the problem. Patents are granted way too broadly.

    The second part of the problem is the fact that patents don't promote the progress -- even if "properly" granted. But that's a separate issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re:


    Mike, actually you are the one comparing apples and oranges. You are trying to take the result of "reviewed" patents and claim that percentage of bad reviewed patents equates to "issued" patents.


    Read my sentence again. I clearly stated that it was about the number of patents on review.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 1st, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: LOL

    I have always understood this to be the case. However, many of your references to patent law tend to lay significant blame at the feet of the judiciary when it should be laid at the feet of Congress. Yes, Diehr (the precursor to "software" patents), Chakrabarty (genetic engineering, but especially the oft quoted phrase "everything under the sun"), and State Street (business methods) are judicial decisions that have brought very important issues to the forefront, but this is only because Congress has seen fit to do nothing but leave the law as is and let the courts try and sort things out. For example, in defining what is patentable subject matter, Congress has done basically nothing to change the state of affairs since it enacted the first patent act in 1790.

    Well, that's a rather generous interpretation of history. I agree that the root of the problem is with Congress -- and I believe I've made that clear. But you have to be kidding me if you don't think that there's been quite a bit of "judicial activism" in making this happen.

    If the system is "broken" as you and others say, then it seems appropriate to stop blaming the courts and start blaming Congress who created the system in the first place. It holds the remedial key and has thus far chosen not to use it. In the case of patent law it has used its remedial key quite sparingly. In the case of copyright law it seems to have forgotten where it placed the key.

    Indeed. But considering how much impact the judicial decisions have, isn't it worth pointing them out. How *else* do you think we go about convincing Congress there's a problem.

    I love it when people complain about me talking about stuff here because "if it's a big problem, you wouldn't be talking about it, you'd be agitating to get stuff done."

    How do you think enough people get convinced there's a problem?

    My comment concerning patents versus trade secrets was prompted by a statement you made a few weeks ago suggesting that you did not view trade secrets as problematic (not your actual words, but words to that effect). My point is that even if both patent and copyright law is scaled back as you advocate (in fact, even if they were eliminated entirely), there would still remain a whole host of alternate avenues under law by which "control" of intellectual work product could be achieved, in which case no measureable progress towards your asserted goal would be achieved. In some instances it could even be set back significantly.

    Historically, that hasn't been shown to be the case, so I find it hard to believe it would be a significant problem this go around. Would there be trade secrets? Sure. Would people reverse engineer those trade secrets? Absolutely. Would businesses that are built on more openness eventually thrive? You bet.

    Problem solved.

    I think it fair to say "there are a million ways [for lawyers] to skin a cat", with patent and copyright law being only two of them. Even if they were to disappear tomorrow, you would still be no closer to your goal.

    Wait, so now you admit that it is the lawyers who are the problem?

    Anyway, if the lawyers are skinning the cat in such manners that hold back innovation then again, that's a Congressional issue, right? Lawyers abusing the system isn't a reason to not go with the best system.

    It seems to me that more effective arguments can be presented by attempting to address the notion of how to eliminate "control" as a necessary/important part of business models in general.

    Indeed. And, in fact, that's most of what we do around here. But in doing so, you do have to point to the more ridiculous uses of the existing system. It's a holistic picture we're painting here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    dorpass, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: An Angry Rant

    angry dude, how dumb can you be? Read Marx, a pinko commie like you should know better than to claim that a government is necessary to secure property rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 2nd, 2008 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: An Angry Rant

    blya nu ty mudak

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 1:13am

    lol

    a bit late but........LOL @ ASSHAT!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Adam Fisk, Jun 3rd, 2008 @ 7:07pm

    right on mike

    The mildly attacking nature of the original post has diverted this whole thread away from the central point: execution is harder than ideas. I couldn't agree with you more, Mike.

    In fact, I think Myhrvold & co. illustrate that point most vividly: ideas are easy. The number of patents these guys file is not an illustration of how brilliant they are, it's an illustration of how much easier ideas are than executing anything at all. I know many, many people I could throw in a room and create patentable ideas with quickly. I know very few who could turn those ideas into products people actually use.

    Your point is vital to keep hammering away at, Mike. Don't let the hurt egos of the patent trolls sway you.

    -Adam Fisk

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Michael Avaspour, Sep 26th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    -> 02 Technology Inventions and they are already for Comapnies

    Goodafter noon !
    Honorable, Capital on Inventors in United Statesand This is Inventor ,Michael Avaspour ,by 02 Technology Inventions :
    [ U.S.Protect healty neck ] & [ U.S.International plumber ]
    and I am requesting from you to helping me out from this a bad econonmy please...and I am a Chagring by my Technologies Invetion to open a Ocean Gold on Your a Business and please. to accept my a Technology power for all World and yes. we do it
    Sincerely !

    Michael Avaspour
    Inventor of Technology to requesting to get a Invensting on my Technologies please
    T,(818)887-9295 -appreciated on it
    MaiL ; 5550 Owensmouth Ave,# C 112 Woodland Hills ,CA
    91367

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This