Comparing The Mortgage Bubble To The Patent Bubble

from the a-sign-of-things-to-come? dept

Bessen and Meurer have a brief, but interesting post noting at least some similarities between the "mortgage bubble" that resulted in the current financial crisis with the ongoing "patent bubble." In both cases, as they note, you're dealing with products where its not clear at all what the "rights" actually cover:
What happens when you give out lots of property rights, but nobody exactly knows what those rights cover? Yes, that might describe software/business-method patents and the result is costly litigation, disputes and a net disincentive for innovation.

But that also describes recent markets in collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. And with these markets, as anyone who has read a newspaper (some people still do that) during the last month knows, the result is a bit more ominous.
I'm not convinced the analogy holds, but it's something to think about in terms of recognizing how we've been seeing an ongoing patent bubble inflating pretty rapidly over the past few years. It's certainly nowhere near as big as the mortgage bubble, but it's still a pretty decent sized bubble, at this point.


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  1.  
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    Shaun Wilson, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 5:34pm

    Well if the analogy does hold then maybe the best thing for everyone would be a "patent meltdown" - or perhaps an all out patent world war to clear out the system. Better a quick purging fire than a slow death by strangelation.

    Then again from what you have said about the responce to the current financial crisis it might just result in huge monetry handouts to the favourite businesses of politicians to replace the patents of today - like some proposals for the pharma industry for an "inovation prize" to replace patents. Even so this might end up being better than curently where we do have patents except that it is likely that after things cool down that some form of patents would be reinstated on top of the handouts - politicians simply cannot survive without the approval - and more importantly the funding - of busineses.

     

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    sounds good, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 5:56pm

    Review all patents ?

    Instead of bursting the patent bubble or waiting for it to happen, maybe it would be better to put in place a moratorium on new patents until all existing patents have been reviewed. This review should include the elimination of all software and business process patents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2008 @ 6:06pm

    I believe the so-called "patent bubble" is meant to refer to the acquisition of paper by IV, as for which it is impossible to calculate/ascertain/guess/WAG/etc. value.

    Yes, IV is an ever expanding enterprise and the analogy may be apt.

     

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    Chris Allen, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 4:59am

    Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    I am currently waiting on my patent application to be approved. Without the ability to defend MY idea with this patent for a specific web based application which is not currently being used in the market I would never have a chance to escape my current financial situation and be able to provide a better life for my family.

    Maybe I’m just stupid but to me if you eliminate the ability to receive a patent on a business model, formula or a process whether its software or whatever its just one more dig by you spoiled rich know it all’s at the little guy who beat you to the idea.

    I can only hope our legislators can see through this scheme and protect us little guys from the power and abuse of this overgrown greed bubble that is plaguing this country.

     

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  5.  
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    Brad Eleven, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Apologies to Chris Allen

    I am currently waiting on my mortgage application to be approved. Without the ability to defend MY rights to this property for a specific family based dwelling which is not currently being used by anyone else, I would never have a chance to escape my current financial situation [e.g., renting] and be able to provide a better life for my family [and to deduct the loan interest, use the equity as capital, etc].

    Maybe I’m just stupid but to me if you eliminate the ability to occupy the dwelling on property owned by the loaning institution, it's just one more dig by you spoiled rich know it all’s at the little guy who is willing to pay the prevailing interest rate and the real estate and "ownership" taxes on the property.

    I only wish our legislators had seen through this [disguising insurance as credit default swaps in order to avoid keeping money in escrow to pay for defaults] scheme and protected us little guys [really, everyone] from the power and abuse of this overgrown greed bubble that is plaguing this country.

    P.S. The problem with the "America is all about innovation and invention" meme is that it isn't restricted to inventions and schemes designed to make things better for all. It's open to--and is increasingly focused on--self-interest. Adam Smith would likely find a way to show that ultimately, this self-interest would eventually serve all. IMHO, it would take too long and use too many resources, e.g., the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and, you know, all of the institutions that are failing or have already failed.

    The really interesting part will be the justifications for saving some and letting others sink. Don't we already have that--haven't we had that for more than a century now? See also A.G.Bell and Elisha Gray.

     

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  6.  
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    angry dude, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 9:24am

    Come on, punks

    Don't you have more pressing issues to worry about ?
    Mikey, how's your 401K doing ?
    Ah, you don't need one, you are on CPF and BSA payroll...

     

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  7.  
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    Mike (profile), Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    I am currently waiting on my patent application to be approved.

    Congratulations.

    Without the ability to defend MY idea with this patent for a specific web based application which is not currently being used in the market I would never have a chance to escape my current financial situation and be able to provide a better life for my family.

    So let me ask you this. If someone else came up with the same idea independently, are you okay with the fact that your patent would potentially prevent them from having a chance to escape their current financial situation and provide a better life for their family?

    What if 10 people came up with the idea independently. Are you okay with stopping all of them?

    What if someone else came up with it a month before you did, and they're also waiting for their patent, which will stop yours from being approved? Are you okay with them providing a better life for their family?

    Do you see the problem?

    Also, I don't see why you need the patent to provide a better life for your family. If your invention is so great, I would imagine that selling it on the market is a great way to improve your financial situation and provide for your family.

    What does a patent have to do with anything? No one's stopping you from building a business.

     

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    Angry Doodie to the rescue, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Come on, punks

    I'm sure that if the patent system had been operating properly this current financial meltdown would not have happened. It is the therefore the fault of those who would destroy this fine American institution.

     

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    dumpdadump, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    You are sadly mistaken if you think a patent will have any value other than being a continual source of frustration and disappointment. Unless you have very deep pockets, you cannot afford the several million dollars it will cost to defend your patent rights against a large corporate infringer. And if your patent has any commercial validity whatever, an infringer will start by filing for reexamination and tie up its prosecution for at least a decade. I know from where I write, I've been there, done that.

    Except for corporations with deep pockets who can afford to sue for infringement, owning a patent is a waste of time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    It should be noted that the claims of a patent are what define a patentee's rights. Unless the claims are being infringed either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents (which is now a tough sell), there is nothing because of the patent that is preventing others from creating their own businesses as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    "t should be noted that the claims of a patent are what define a patentee's rights. "

    Silly me, I thought their rights had something to do with a government document.

     

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    Frustrated, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 5:10am

    Obtaining Patents

    Only those with very deep pockets,can even hope to obtain any kind of patent. There are countless numbers of great ideas floating around in this country,but very few can afford to bring them full circle.
    One can do the research themselves,but then must use a patent attorney to even file. That alone cuts out those whose pockets aren't very deep.
    I have been there. I did the countless hours of research and patent searches. Only to discover that filing and Patent Attorneys fees were way beyond my financial reach.
    So here I sit, Frustrated. I can build the prototype, but not get it to the general public without someone copying it.

     

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    angry dude, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:31am

    Re: Obtaining Patents

    Dude,

    The biggest frustration with patents is not the pain in the ass obtaining them and associated costs

    It is the enforcement part - the reason behind patent existence: to prevent others from free riding on your creativity
    I should tell you that after jumping through all the hoops and spending a small fortune on patent attorney and PTO fees (20k - a rather large sum of money for me, but I lost much more money in the stock market) I feel like shit nowadays being absolutaly unable to do anything with the damn patent
    I'll tell you what: if you are a small fish just forget about patents and go with trade secrets
    Secrets pay better
    And to hell with "promoting progress"
    If damn fools in US Congress really want to "promote the progress" in this fucked up country, they'd better put in place some real mechanisms for protecting inventors, not some filthy rich and crooked CEOs of multinational corps

     

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    Frustrated, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    Trade secrets? As in selling the idea to someone?
    When profit is involved, most companies would say "sorry but we can't use anything like that in our present operations". Then before the door is even all the way closed, they take the idea and run with it,and make out like it was their own. While the inventor is left with just lint in his pockets, while somebody else is making a fortune on his idea.
    This is why the prototype has not been assembled.

     

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    patent entitlements ?, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    "put in place some real mechanisms for protecting inventors"

    Yeah, we need a patent czar in the whitehouse. Someone to ensure that patent holders are getting the $$ they have rightfully earned. I'm certain the taxpayers would not mind this modest expense added to their debt.

     

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    Frustrated, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    There already is one in the Whitehouse, but they are not doing their job correctly. That is why it is so hard and costly to even try and protect an individuals idea, or item.

    Hence the title name FRUSTRATED.

     

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    Frustrated, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    I wish that a signed, sworn, statement with pictures, in front of a notary would be enough proof as to who and when something was invented.
    But that is not the way it is.

    So, despite the vast numbers of people who would be helped, I guess it must remain on the shelf.Even though laws have been passed, requiring help for those people.

     

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    I flunked civics, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    "There already is one in the Whitehouse"

    who ?
    and what is it they are suppose to be dong ?

     

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  19.  
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    Kiba, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    I don't know about you but companies like RedHat do just fine with others copying their ideas.

    Maybe you need to stop worrying about the competition copying your ideas and goes to work on figuring out how to get your inventions to the market place.


    That is...if you can avoid patent sharks.

     

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    angry dude, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    Hey, punky

    companies like RedHat (and IBM too, to a certain extent) thrive on the backs of thousands upon thousands of software coolies all over the world cranking up code for free in their spare time
    You need a reality check, dude

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    "thousands upon thousands of software coolies"

    From what I understand, these "coolies" to which you refer (willingly) write better code than their highly paid counterparts in Corporationville.

    What was your point again ?

     

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    angry dude, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Obtaining Patents

    Well, some of those coolies have natural talent for writing good code. No doubt about it

    The point was to highlight the fact the companies like Red Hat gain more from freeloading on other people's work than they lose from "sharing " their stuff

    Thus, their anti-patent stance (Mark Webbink of Red Hat is one of most vocal anti-swpatent activists, check his stock options BTW...)

     

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  23.  
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    Bunny, Oct 12th, 2008 @ 11:48pm

    Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    I am currently waiting on my patent application to be approved.

    What? Only one application for one country? How about all of the other countries? Are you going to let big the players copy and use your invention in other countries without getting paid? See, now you need to file patents in all countries where you think it will be used. Don't have the money to do that? Then I guess it sucks being the little guy as far as the existing patent system is concerned.

    You also seem to think that a patent automatically affords you free "protection" from someone. In reality, you have to actively seek out who is infringing on your patent and use lawyers to get them to either stop or to send you royalty payments. Hiring such lawyers is a big expense for a little guy, and when (not *if*) it comes to litigation, then that drives up the costs even higher, to the point that it might not be financially feasible for a little guy even if you have truly come up with something novel. That doesn't even count the suits against you, if others doing the same thing as you decide that your implementation looks like it is using their patents.

    You will likely find out that patents weren't meant for the little guy, and end up trying to sell it to someone who has the resources to defend it, at a fraction of the value you hoped to get out of it. So, in the end you will conclude that you are just helping ensure that this huge pool of patents in the hands of the richest amongst us only gets larger, while deriving no net benefit yourself.

    The little guy is much better off in a world without patents, because at least he can implement his ideas without so many legal costs (or, ignoring those, financial risks)... yet this would be the tip of the iceberg as far as the benefits of patent-free are concerned, because products would also cost less without royalties, and a lot of products that are simply made impossible by the red tape of patents could become a reality and benefit people, thus advancing progress.

    For similar reasons, patents are no good even for the big guys -- it leads them to be overweight, uncompetitive, and litigious. It forces them to try to operate in an environment of stagnant economic growth, and there is even a possibility of a future where patents cause a horrid financial gridlock.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    I think I'll patent a little code snippet

    perl -e 'print "Hello Worldn";'

    Prepare to be sued

     

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    dinnerbell, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    stop the shilling!!!

    It is not surprising that for Mr. Bessen “its not clear at all what the rights actually cover” as based on his bio it appears he is not a patent attorney nor has ever prosecuted, litigated, or licensed patents. He is (was) a systems analyst.

    please see http://www.piausa.org/ for a different/opposing view on patent reform

     

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    Chris Allen, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Mike,


    In a word YES!

    You know if anyone has beaten me to this idea I can’t say I would be happy about that but it’s something I would have to accept. Hats off and good for them. I’m not going to go so far as to try to figure out a way to beat them out of it. What is happening to people today? When did we lose the sense of right & wrong?

    I mean no disrespect but I’m afraid you see the problem one way, I see it another. Let’s look at your analogy from a different perspective. What if 10 people think up the same idea independently and they all get their companies started. Now let’s say Microsoft, Google or whoever sees’s this concept taking off. Without the ability to protect the idea these giants can swoop in, make their own and blow all 10 off the face of the earth and no one can do anything about it. Who wins? The people with the cash will win every time and it will continue to separate the classes. Mercy folks, this isn’t China it’s America!

    Here is my situation, I live in Kentucky, OKAY,,, Kentucky is a beautiful place to live and raise children but it’s not exactly Silicon Valley. Opportunities to get ahead here come far and few between. Down here you learn very quickly about survival and leverage. There is always someone out there bigger who is ready and more than willing to TAKE what you have if they can. If you don’t have a stick (a patent) to beat these scavengers off with they will pick you clean.

    Your right no one is stopping me from building my company. However I am not a wealthy man, Yet. I live paycheck to paycheck. Without this patent to protect the concept it would be impossible for me to reassure investors to take a chance on me. Without investors it will be impossible for me to attract the talent I need to build this site. So from my perspective Sir a patent serves a critically important purpose. But that just my opinion…

    Sincerest regards…

     

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  27.  
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    angry dude, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:19am

    Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Right, dude

    But you missed the main purpose of a patent system:
    "To promote the progress"

    Promoting the progress means sharing ideas with others as opposed to keeeping them as trade secrets

    This is the ONLY purpose of patents

    IN a short term this can generate al the negative things like higher product costs, litigation expenses etc. etc.
    In the longer term it will advance the progress of humanity much faster

    The Founding Fathers weren't stupid after all...

     

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  28.  
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    Willton, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Bunny,

    If all you say is true, and patents are no good for the "little guy," then why do so many "little guys" get patents for their inventions? Obtaining a patent is an elective activity; nobody if forcing these little guys to obtain patent protection for their invention. And yet many small entities, as they are defined by the PTO, file for patent protection for their inventions all the time. Just have a look at the number of patents granted to small entities sometime.

    Then there's the fact that large groups of "little guys," such as independent inventor advocate groups like Professional Inventors Alliance, actually push for greater patent protection and stronger patent laws. That seems like a very curious thing to do if patents are so bad for such groups.

    So, given the vast number of patent applications filed by small entities and advocacy groups that encourage such behavior, in spite of your assertions that patents are bad for "little guys," are you saying that "little guys" are stupid? You make it sound like "little guys" have no idea what is good for them, despite the wealth of information available to them.

     

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    angry dude, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Keep in mind though that viability of a patent protection is highly dependent on a field of study
    In some fields it makes financial sense to file for patents, in other fields it's like a big stakes gamble...
    (e.g. in telecom)

     

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    Willton, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Keep in mind though that viability of a patent protection is highly dependent on a field of study
    In some fields it makes financial sense to file for patents, in other fields it's like a big stakes gamble...
    (e.g. in telecom)


    Certainly, which is what is taken into account when the decisions to acquire patent protection presents itself. Some people choose to apply for patent protection while others don't, and they make that decision based upon a myriad of reasons.

    What I object to is the sweeping generalization that patent protection is a bad option for the "little guy." If it were, "little guys" would not be submitting patent applications in the great numbers that they do.

     

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    Frustrated, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Then WHY did the founding fathers institute the patent process? If not to reward and PROTECT those that help and advance progress beyond what it at that point. Whatever point in time it may be.

     

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    angry dude, Oct 13th, 2008 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    The Founding Fathers did not exactly institute the patent process.
    They wrote the original US Constitution which, among many things, authorizes US Congress to institute whatever legislation they deem necessary to protect original creators from copycats and freeloaders
    Today we are witnessing a massive sell-off of constitutional values to the highest (corporate) bidders

     

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  33.  
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    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 3:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?


    You know if anyone has beaten me to this idea I can’t say I would be happy about that but it’s something I would have to accept. Hats off and good for them. I’m not going to go so far as to try to figure out a way to beat them out of it. What is happening to people today? When did we lose the sense of right & wrong?


    Really? Because someone happens to come up with an idea independently of you and gets the patent before you do, you'd be okay with giving up? I might ask you when YOU lost your sense of right and wrong.

    If you honestly believe that whoever gets the idea first deserves a total monopoly on the business, then you're unlikely to succeed in business anyway.

    Do you think that there should only be McDonalds? They came up with the fast food burger joint idea first. According to your sense of "right and wrong" Burger King shouldn't exist. But we LIKE the fact that Burger King exists, because it creates competition, and forces McDonalds and others to keep getting better.

    Yet, in your world, this is wrong? I don't get it.

    What if 10 people think up the same idea independently and they all get their companies started. Now let’s say Microsoft, Google or whoever sees’s this concept taking off. Without the ability to protect the idea these giants can swoop in, make their own and blow all 10 off the face of the earth and no one can do anything about it.

    Except that's not what actually happens.

    I find it interesting that you chose Microsoft and Google as your examples of "big companies" that would swoop in and steal ideas, as both are examples of exactly the opposite.

    When Microsoft started as a small company, it competed with IBM -- a big company. It didn't use patents to protect its software, and by your theory, IBM should have swept in and destroyed the small company Microsoft.

    Didn't happen.

    Why? Because IBM was a big bureaucratic company. Even thought it had a ton of money, that was nothing compared to the nimble Microsoft (at the time). Microsoft simply ran circles around IBM, and had such a huge start in the market, IBM couldn't catch up. It tried, but it failed miserably, despite having a lot more money.

    That sorta disproves your point.

    Google? Google just had its 10 year birthday. A few years ago, very few people had heard of it. It was a tiny company that was entering a hugely crowded market with tons of bigger companies with a LOT more cash on hand and a well established track record.

    Yet Google succeeded, but not because it "protected" its business model, but because it competed. And did those competitors with much more cash on hand (including Microsoft) simply copy the small scrappy startup and destroy it?

    Nope. Because those competitors had legacy issues. They were big, lumbering, bureaucratic monstrosities that didn't recognize what was happening until it was too late. And they've been trying to catch up ever since.

    So your thesis is wrong. No, the small company doesn't always win, but it does win quite often. The idea that a big company with money ALWAYS wins is simply false.

    Again, if you believe that then you're probably not cut out for running a business.

    Mercy folks, this isn’t China it’s America!

    Then why do you want to treat it like China, where one company gets a monopoly, and competition is illegal? What's wrong with treating it like America, where competition is a good thing. It's called capitalism.

    Here is my situation, I live in Kentucky, OKAY,,, Kentucky is a beautiful place to live and raise children but it’s not exactly Silicon Valley. Opportunities to get ahead here come far and few between. Down here you learn very quickly about survival and leverage. There is always someone out there bigger who is ready and more than willing to TAKE what you have if they can. If you don’t have a stick (a patent) to beat these scavengers off with they will pick you clean.

    What's wrong with using the "stick" of competition. Are you really unable to compete in the marketplace? If so, then, again, I have to suggest that you don't deserve to be in business.

    Your right no one is stopping me from building my company. However I am not a wealthy man,

    So find investors.

    Without this patent to protect the concept it would be impossible for me to reassure investors to take a chance on me.

    Simply untrue. For years we've pointed out that it's a myth that investors need patents to invest. There are tons of investors who feel, as we do, that patents are a waste of time.

     

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    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 3:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    If all you say is true, and patents are no good for the "little guy," then why do so many "little guys" get patents for their inventions? Obtaining a patent is an elective activity; nobody if forcing these little guys to obtain patent protection for their invention. And yet many small entities, as they are defined by the PTO, file for patent protection for their inventions all the time.

    In large part, the reason is that folks like yourself convince them, against their better interests, that a patent is an important step in building their business.

    It's the myth of owning a patent, that's perpetuated by folks like you who profit from the system.

     

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  35.  
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    Willton, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    In large part, the reason is that folks like yourself convince them, against their better interests, that a patent is an important step in building their business.

    It's the myth of owning a patent, that's perpetuated by folks like you who profit from the system.


    Oh please, give it a rest. First, I don't do patent prosecution; I do patent litigation, which often means I'm defending (or helping defend) clients from infringement suits. Second, if I were to counsel a client to procure a patent for a certain invention, I would do so because I think that the client's financial interest would be best served by procuring such a patent.

    You act like it is in the best interests of a lawyer to counsel against the client's own best interests. That's a good way to lose a client. Stop spewing nonsense.

    And furthermore, stop making these ad hominem accusations of bias. You've got it backwards: I don't think patent law is good because I make a living in the practice of patent law. I make a living in the practice of patent law because I think patent law is good. You're putting the cart before the horse.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    "You're putting the cart before the horse."

    Logic is not one of Mikey's strengths
    Demagogy is

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Oh please, give it a rest. First, I don't do patent prosecution; I do patent litigation, which often means I'm defending (or helping defend) clients from infringement suits. Second, if I were to counsel a client to procure a patent for a certain invention, I would do so because I think that the client's financial interest would be best served by procuring such a patent.

    I didn't say that you didn't believe it. I'm sure you do believe it. But that doesn't mean you're correct.

    You act like it is in the best interests of a lawyer to counsel against the client's own best interests. That's a good way to lose a client. Stop spewing nonsense.

    Not at all. I think that you just THINK that it's in the best interest of a client when it may not be in reality. I find it odd to think that someone who's salary is based on more patents being out there can be an unbiased judge on this particular topic.

    And furthermore, stop making these ad hominem accusations of bias. You've got it backwards: I don't think patent law is good because I make a living in the practice of patent law. I make a living in the practice of patent law because I think patent law is good. You're putting the cart before the horse.

    Again, I don't deny that you think that it's right, but the fact that you make money from the system as it is, puts you at a disadvantage in terms of accurately weighing the evidence concerning the harm that the system does.

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." -- Upton Sinclair

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." -- Upton Sinclair


    Ha-ha-Ha

    it is difficult to get techdirt Mikey to understand the purpose of a patent system when his (CPF and BSA) paycheck depends on not understanding it...

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Willton, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    I didn't say that you didn't believe it. I'm sure you do believe it. But that doesn't mean you're correct.

    No, I suppose that my belief, by itself, would not necessarily mean that my counsel is correct. But if the client thanks me for my services, pays my bills, and continues to employ my firm in IP matters, that would indicate to me that my work is, in fact, in my client's best interests. So, unless you think my client does not know what's best for him/her/it, the client telling me that I am correct should reasonably lead me to believe that I am in fact correct.

    Not at all. I think that you just THINK that it's in the best interest of a client when it may not be in reality. I find it odd to think that someone who's salary is based on more patents being out there can be an unbiased judge on this particular topic.

    Well, if my counsel is not in my client's best interests in reality, then I suppose the client would fire me and my firm, and I'd learn from that experience. But if the client knows of its own interests and continues to employ me and my firm to further those interests, then I should learn from that experience too, no?

    Again, I don't deny that you think that it's right, but the fact that you make money from the system as it is, puts you at a disadvantage in terms of accurately weighing the evidence concerning the harm that the system does.

    On the contrary: my intimate knowledge of the system should give me the ability to accurately weigh the evidence concerning the good and harm that the system does to a particular client or series of clients. If anything, I would think that your lack of an intimate knowledge of the system would put you at the disadvantage of which you speak.

    Discrediting my opinion because I make money within the patent system is like discrediting a financial expert's opinion with regard to the financial crisis because he makes money within the finance system. I don't claim to be on par with Warren Buffett or anyone like him in my field, but I would think that the opinion of a practitioner would be valuable when evaluating the pros and cons of a field of law. Are we to discredit the opinions of all experts in all areas of law because they make the relevant field their profession?

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?


    it is difficult to get techdirt Mikey to understand the purpose of a patent system when his (CPF and BSA) paycheck depends on not understanding it...


    Angry dude, you keep repeating this, but I don't even know who CPF is, and every article I've written about BSA has been about how they're a bunch of liars.

    If you're going to accuse me of shilling, at the very least, could you make it realistic?

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Well, if my counsel is not in my client's best interests in reality, then I suppose the client would fire me and my firm, and I'd learn from that experience.

    Sure. IF they realized it. But the problem is that too many firms really do think patents are in their best interest. Considering how deeply that myth is ingrained, it's not going to disappear overnight.

    On the contrary: my intimate knowledge of the system should give me the ability to accurately weigh the evidence concerning the good and harm that the system does to a particular client or series of clients. If anything, I would think that your lack of an intimate knowledge of the system would put you at the disadvantage of which you speak.

    Really? And what is your intimate knowledge with economics and actual innovation in the marketplace?

    The legal side of it isn't nearly as important as the actual impact on the market.


    Discrediting my opinion because I make money within the patent system is like discrediting a financial expert's opinion with regard to the financial crisis because he makes money within the finance system. I don't claim to be on par with Warren Buffett or anyone like him in my field, but I would think that the opinion of a practitioner would be valuable when evaluating the pros and cons of a field of law.


    But we're NOT evaluating the pros and cons of the impact on the LAW. We're debating the pros and cons on the impact on BUSINESS and the MARKET.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Willton, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    Sure. IF they realized it. But the problem is that too many firms really do think patents are in their best interest. Considering how deeply that myth is ingrained, it's not going to disappear overnight.

    I see. So basically what you're saying is that businesses that engage in IP prosecution do not know what is good for them. That's pretty arrogant of you.

    The legal side of it isn't nearly as important as the actual impact on the market.

    Bullshit. The legal side of it determines it's actual impact on the market. One cannot know how a law impacts a market without knowing what the law says, what the law does, and how the law works.

    But we're NOT evaluating the pros and cons of the impact on the LAW. We're debating the pros and cons on the impact on BUSINESS and the MARKET.

    And you think that one who engages in the patent system on a daily basis has no idea what impact patent law has on business and the market and cannot objectively evaluate the pros and cons thereof? How arrogant of you.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 14th, 2008 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?


    I see. So basically what you're saying is that businesses that engage in IP prosecution do not know what is good for them. That's pretty arrogant of you.


    It's not arrogant. I'm merely pointing out what the research shows. If you have research that shows the opposite, I'd like to see it. But I trust the economic evidence I've seen.

    Bullshit. The legal side of it determines it's actual impact on the market. One cannot know how a law impacts a market without knowing what the law says, what the law does, and how the law works.

    Fascinating theory. Wrong, but fascinating. You are implying that one cannot understand the law without being a practitioner. Talk about arrogant.

    Again, I'll ask what your training and experience is in business and economics.

    And you think that one who engages in the patent system on a daily basis has no idea what impact patent law has on business and the market and cannot objectively evaluate the pros and cons thereof? How arrogant of you.

    I didn't say that you had "no idea." That's ridiculous. Why would you say I said that. I said that you would be inherently biased to one side. I don't see how that's even debatable. But if the focus is on judging the economic impact or the impact on a market, I don't see how a lawyer would have a better analysis of it than those who actually understand the business, the market and economics.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Willton, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    It's not arrogant. I'm merely pointing out what the research shows. If you have research that shows the opposite, I'd like to see it. But I trust the economic evidence I've seen.

    The "economic evidence" of Bessen & Muerer and Boldrin & Levine is shaky at best. If that's what you're relying on, I suggest you step away from the ivory tower and actually speak to those in the business of technology (and not just those in Silicon Valley). If you're telling me that those people don't know their own market, then I'm surprised you're satisfied not running one of those companies.

    You want evidence? Go read "The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law" by William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner. http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Structure-Intellectual-Property-Law/dp/0674012046/ref=pd_sim_b_title_ 2

    Fascinating theory. Wrong, but fascinating. You are implying that one cannot understand the law without being a practitioner. Talk about arrogant.

    No, I am implying that one cannot know what the exact effects of patent law are on the market without a good understanding of the law and how it works. One can certainly acquire such an understanding without being a patent attorney, but I am not convinced that you have such an understanding.

    Again, I'll ask what your training and experience is in business and economics.

    I was a salesman for Bose Corp. prior to going to law school, and I focused my scholarship on intellectual property and antitrust issues in law school, both subjects being economic in nature. It's no MBA, but then I'm not sure how valuable such a degree is. Regardless, I know enough economics to understand the economics of intellectual property and how they affect the market.

    I didn't say that you had "no idea." That's ridiculous. Why would you say I said that. I said that you would be inherently biased to one side. I don't see how that's even debatable. But if the focus is on judging the economic impact or the impact on a market, I don't see how a lawyer would have a better analysis of it than those who actually understand the business, the market and economics.

    Are you suggesting that no lawyer actually understands business, the market, and economics? Because I can assure you that you are mistaken if so. Judge Posner and Justice Breyer would certainly object to such a sweeping generalization.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:33am

    Re: Patent Bubble or Greed Bubble ?

    And just exactly how do you propose to turn your idea into money? Not through building a product, that's for sure, since the creation of any product that's actually for sale in the market would necessarily infringe on multiples of other people's , er make that trolls, patents.

    The cost of litigating, either to defend against or to seek damages for infringement, has a floor of one million US and no known ceiling. From the sound of your post, you're looking to make a better life for your family; you probably don't have a million bucks per infringement laying around to defend any product you make against trolls.

    The facts are that the internet gives huge leverage to small companies- the cost of doing business against the giants went through the floor, but just ask any newspaper owner how they feel about the 14 full-time employees at Craigslist that are wiping them out.

    The only way for a small software developer to exist in a patent-mad economic regime is as a troll, backed by litigation-ready investors who will demand the vast majority of any "profits" from any successful trolling activity. You're not creating value in the form of a product, that's for sure.

    In fact, that is, in, you know, reality, software patents are nothing but a barrier to economic participation designed to deny small companies entry into the market. Meanwhile ATT and MS and IBM all the rest put through dozens of patents a day, which only increases their power to deny smaller companies their chance at competing through providing value.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:44am

    Re: stop the shilling!!!

    Who is Ronald J Riley? Ronald J Riley is associated with an organization called "PIAUSA" and often posts on IP related blogs. Who is Ronald J Riley and what is PIAUSA? here is a web page about Ronald J Riley and IAUSA

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    Re: stop the shilling!!!

    Who is Ronald J Riley? Ronald J Riley is not a patent attorney. Ronald J Riley is associated with an organization called "PIAUSA" and often posts on IP related blogs. Who is Ronald J Riley and what is PIAUSA? here is a web page about Ronald J Riley and IAUSA

     

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


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