Why Patent Injunctions Are Even Worse For Open Source

from the yes,-hard-to-believe dept

The damage that software patents cause to innovation in the computer world is a constant theme here on Techdirt. But as a fascinating new paper by James Boyle explains, the threat to open source, particularly from patent injunctions, is even greater because of the special characteristics of that software development methodology:

If open source innovation has great social benefits in fostering competition and innovation, it also has particular vulnerabilities. First, precisely because open source development takes place in a network and allows both small and large players to participate by building on a common technology, it is particularly susceptible to attack and disruption. A proprietary monopolist fully internalizes both the costs and benefits of policing its technology and its intellectual property. Members of an open innovation network, however, do not. Individual members can be "picked off," forced to abandon promising lines of technological development, or to pay ruinous "stacked" royalties because the costs of litigation are too burdensome for any one member of the network to bear. It is in this context that the threat of injunctions is particularly worrisome. In fast-moving technology markets, the dead stop forced by an injunction can be enough to doom a product. An entire network of innovation could be shut down by an injunction obtained against a single small participant who lacks the resources necessary to challenge the patent or defend against the injunction.

Second, most of these markets are characterized by strongly cumulative innovation. A finished product may "read on" literally thousands of potential patents.
Boyle explores these great points at length in his paper, which is well-worth reading. He also offers some suggestions for ways in which the threat of patent injunctions against open source can be reduced thanks to a ruling by the Supreme Court, eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C, and the four-part test it introduced:
the Court held that permanent injunctions in patent law are governed by the same equitable four-part test as injunctions in other areas of law.
A plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
Boyle writes:
this Article argues the Supreme Court’s test in eBay, properly understood, offers some constructive ways to respond to both the benefits of open source innovation and the threats posed to it by injunctions. In particular, the third and fourth factors -- the "balance of hardships" component and the "public interest" component -- are ideally suited to allow recognition of the unique vulnerabilities and the unique competitive and innovative value of open source production.
As open source becomes more widely deployed, so the potential damage that software patents can cause to it grows. Boyle's paper is a timely reminder that judges need to take into account the special nature of open source when considering whether to grant patent injunctions if society as a whole is to benefit, and not just the patent holders.

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  1.  
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    Markus Hopkins (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    "Boyle's paper is a timely reminder that judges need to take into account the special nature of open source when considering whether to grant patent injunctions"

    Seems to me that it's the lawyers on both sides who need to take this into account more than the judges. As we've seen with a lot of IP related suits, a defense attorney's failure to understand how new systems, technologies, and ways of doing things work often lead to a failure to bring up arguments that judges never become aware of. Even worse, when the attorney really thinks they "get it" they some times fail at the basic law (I'm looking at you here, Nesson).

    My point is that an evaluation based on an understanding of the disruptive change in creative pursuits of all sorts requires lawyers who either are, or are willing to learn from, competent technologists and other experts. It's really up to them to educate the judges.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2012 @ 9:53pm

    patents are not for peoples benefit, they are for the benefit of those who create

     

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  3.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 10:16pm

    There's one important point left out in the article even though the ruling seems to cover it. It does effect the ITC's knee jerk injunction response to complaints of patent infringement.

    It's not just that open source development of product from software to hardware and complete devices is an American or North American network of inputs. In fact it's trans-national or a supra-national set of developers. The code or, hardware, the propose could be patent free where they are from but covered by patents in North America. Then what they write about kicks in as project leaders do not have the time or resources to check up on this situation and while the contribution may be minor but vital in some sense which isn't that uncommon in large projects like the Linux kernel or Apache.

    Keep in mind as well that the open source community in the broad sense and the FOSS community in a specific sense gathered together to oppose SCO, backed the case, fed information to the defense attorneys and, where it counted, defeated SCO where many thought that would be impossible.

    There are good defense lawyers who are familiar with open source, technology and who know who to call as expert witnesses in the world of open source to make their case to a judge.

    That said, the US Supreme Court Ruling makes it crystal clear just what has to be taken into account when a lower court or entity is coming to a decision, without exception. The ruling leaves no wiggle room that I could read.

    the Court held that permanent injunctions in patent law are governed by the same equitable four-part test as injunctions in other areas of law.

    A plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) that it has suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction.
    .

    It's only at point 4 where the judge needs a full and complete "education" in open source development and even there it's at what the public interest is poorly served by a permanent injunction if the allegation of infringement passes the previous three tests.

     

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  4.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), May 9th, 2012 @ 10:20pm

    Re:

    You may want to go back to the reasons the concept of patent law, as with copyright, came into existence. While you are partially right the over-riding concern was for the "people" and the economy for patents and the spread of education and information with copyright.

    Neither was created for the benefit on non-producing agencies, patent and copyright trolls or to create permanent walled gardens.

     

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  5.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 10th, 2012 @ 12:15am

    Strengthen Vulnerable Parts Of The Chain

    Patent injunctions can stop companies distributing products built on Open Source, but they cannot stop the distribution of the software itself. Patents donít seem to apply to source code, otherwise the mere distribution of the sources of x264, FFmpeg, VLC etc would be infringing.

    What if the devices didnít ship with prebuilt binaries that would be subject to patent restrictions, but booted a Gentoo-style toolchain that automatically downloaded the source and built it the first time you switched the device on?

    That might have sounded ridiculous a few years ago, but at least some modern embedded devices, e.g. those running Android, have plenty of horsepower, both hardware and software, to do exactly this.

     

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  6.  
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    A Guy (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 1:17am

    Re:

    Patents are supposed "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" for "We the People of the United States." Go reread the preamble of the Constitution.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2012 @ 3:06am

    in other words, if a small company or an individual has a better idea than is being marketed by a big company and that big company wants to keep it's market share, it can stop the 'small fry' from releasing anything to the market, let alone allowing progression, simply by filing a court action, even though it would probably be baseless. as the 'small fry' couldn't defend itself against the more wealthy 'big company', 'small fry' has to quit. now that's what's called 'INNOVATION'!!

     

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  8.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 4:48am

    Hardliners

    Problem is that modern legal theory says the Preamble is meaningless, and the court is not in a position to decide what constitutes these "vague" terms like "the public trust". Law to these people is a deductive science void of any moral underpinnings. Basically, the court is an entity for the purpose of following law verbatim. Problem, of course, is that law is written (as has been written for many years in the past) with specific purposes. These purposes are affected by things like precedents, but formalists won't accept this. I've been getting in arguments with an aquaintence of mine who is graduating from Law School next term.

    It's really a mess, but apparently this formalist trend has infected the court and threatens to usurp 200-year precedents. It's bewildering.

    It seems as though there is an opinion that if I write a preface that provides intent and purpose the court will ignore this, even when that purpose is for the law itself. A.k.a. the Constitution's Preamble is for politicians vs judges. Meh... what utter nonsense.

     

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  9.  
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    abc gum, May 10th, 2012 @ 4:52am

    Re:

    "patents are not for peoples benefit, they are for the benefit of those who create"

    Ergo - creators are not people.

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 5:19am

    Re:

    patents are not for peoples benefit, they are for the benefit of those who create

    If you could convince the entire population that this is true - then patents would be abolished in the blinking of an eye.

     

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  11.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re: ...Wha...?

    I hope this is sarcasm. The constitution clearly specifies what patents are to be used for in America (irrespective of past common law precedent). Patents are for the benefit of the public trust--to promote the arts and sciences, the general welfare, and not the patent holder. Whether a particular patent meets this description is for the court to decide.

    It is up to the court to determine whether it is even possible for patents to be issued that equally affect all parties while equally distributing the purpose cited in the copyright and patent section of the US Constitution.

    Moreover, it is not necessary that the government issue them. It is freely up to the PEOPLE whether this is to be done--the people and the courts. Kinda like the inherent contradictions of "seperate, but equal", a.k.a. "seperate and unequal". ;)

     

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  12.  
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    Richard (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 5:29am

    Re: Hardliners

    Judges that claim that it is for congress to decide what the constitution means are effectively abandoning the role that the constitution assigned to them.

    You are heading rapidly toward the situation that pertains in the UK where theoretically there is a separation of powers (between Crown, Lords and Commons) but in practice the Crown does what the Prime Minister tells it to do and the Lords can be ignored if the right magic words ("budget") are uttered.

    Now in the UK this happened with good reason (the Crown and the Lords having no democratic legitimacy) - but in the US that is not so - and so there is no good reason for the supreme court NOT to stamp on Congress from time to time.

     

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  13.  
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    Bengie, May 10th, 2012 @ 5:34am

    Need a law

    We need a law to protect Opensource. Suing Opensource should mean you are not allowed to use anything that uses or is derived from Opensource, which includes the network stacks of all modern OS's. And this should cover commercial and private use. So suing opensource effectively means you can no longer use any internet capable devices.

    Violating this causes all of your assets to be seized, liquidated, and the proceeds forwarded to Opensource projects.

    I think this is completely fair.

     

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  14.  
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    DB, May 10th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    (1) I know a lot of you don't like patents at all, and I know there are patents that go way too far. But the rationale for the patent power is that "the people" are helped by (a) the disclosure of technology publicly, instead of keeping trade secrets and (b) encouraging that disclosure by permitting a limited monopoly over the invention after which time it is dedicated to the public. The problem isn't the grant of patents, it's the particular patents and the pace of the system. If you want to attack the validity of a patent application filed in 1996, all you have to do is come up with evidence that the thing was done in 1995. Not so easy to find if it's a patent that issued in 2005 and is asserted in 2012.
    (2) On 'open source', I'm a fan of open source generally, and have a Linux box, but I haven't looked into the particular rules used for managing the contributors. It seems to me that there should be some rules, just like a more formal Standard Setting Organization has, that require that if you participate and take advantage of the collective contributions, you must promise to not assert patents. That was a big part of Qualcomm v Broadcom.

     

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  15.  
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    staff, May 10th, 2012 @ 6:03am

    more dissembling

    "The damage that software patents cause to innovation in the computer world is a constant theme here on Techdirt"

    Spoken like a true paid puppet of large repeat infringers.

    Itís about property rights. Theyíre not only for the rich and powerful. Weak property rights underlie weak economies.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you donít like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

     

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  16.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re: Hardliners

    I think this just goes to show we are failing in America at producing fine lawyers. We think Law school is everything, abandoned reading the law, and worst, obliterated our liberal arts education and intellectual society for a posr-intellectual mess. Now, look what it has given us--lawyers incapable of comprehending the subtleties of law, and a complete ignorance and abandonment of a common law system. I wonder if these judges have even read half of the court's previous opinions, let alone the greater body of their peers work (i.e. those that came before on the court and leading scholars of our time)?

    For some reason, I find it doubtful.

     

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  17.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: more dissembling

    But, small and inovative businesses are generally not using their patents to bludgeon preemptively any and all "competition", even if open-source. The examples previously given are cases were businesses should look at the open-source project in question and try to resolve things peacefully first.

    It seems, however, the vast majority of suits and injunctions that are causing all the trouble originate from either large multinational corporations attempting to exact monopolistic practices onto an unsuspecting market thereby obliterating any and all future competition, or patent farms seeking to purchase broadly defined patents (which the courts need to redefine less broadly and more clearly) and use them to syphen off businesses the world around. This is where we need some limit on patents--either use them, or lose them, or make up some kind of compromise that will prevent patent farming.

    Meh... such a complex mess.

     

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  18.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: more dissembling

    Edit ...where* businesses should look...

     

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  19.  
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    Mike42 (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Software patents

    What we are seeing right now is actually the second wave of the anti-software patent movement in the US. The first was the infamous Unisys gif compression patent, which was small and disorganized. (I had a really hard time getting my fellow coders to care. They seemed to be more interested in cashing in on the patent lottery.) Now we have a much broader and deeper awareness, but I don't think it will change the patent system.
    I think we'll have to wait for the third wave.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    LoL

    Troll that was funny.

     

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  21.  
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    Chris Maresca, May 10th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    In theory, maybe.

    In practice, not so much.

    Open source is not as affected by patents as most people seem to think. There are a few reasons for this:

    1. Large open source dedicated patent pools
    2. History of patent assertions against open source failing
    3. Newer licenses invalidate usage if user litigates
    4. Contributor agreements grant patent rights
    5. Newer licenses contain patent grants
    6. Generally better vetting than closed software
    7. Defense funds for key pieces of open source

    None of these are perfect, but they have worked well so far. I suspect that if a specific threat arose against widely used open source, the opposition against said threat would be rather formidable. A lot of this is a result of the SCO fiasco, which made the open source community hyper-aware of IP issues. Since then, they have done their best to mitigate any issues, far more than most corporations would do for their closed code.

    I would venture to guess that, if you are worried about patent risk, then using a piece of widely used open source is far safer than a closed source equivalent as the open source code is more likely to have been throughly vetted than any commercial software. And with commercial software, the only assurance you have is the vendor, there is no transparency, no public audit.

    BTW, open source usage is VERY widespread - from banking ATMs to running equity exchanges to the phone system to military command & control. As I said in another thread, it's just that open source doesn't have a PR dept, so no one ever knows about it's usage, but almost everyone uses it every day.

    Chances are, if you use any piece of technology, some part of it is reliant on open source at some level (even Windows).

    Chris.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Re: Strengthen Vulnerable Parts Of The Chain

    Right. This is a bit like how FOSS handles the Content Scrambling System issue. You get the CSS decryptor separately from the application from a source where it is not illegal. The method has evolved since then. In the early days, you got this as source code that had to be built on your system. Nowadays, prebuilt packages are used.

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 11:24am

    Re: more dissembling

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions.



    Except that we're talking about software patents, not patents in general. In the boom days of software, software patents were rare and generally considered to be an abuse of the patent system. Patents were completely unnecessary to have a viable chance at commercializing the work.

    Now that software patents are a Big Thing, they have reduced the ability for small entities to produce software, as it's nearly impossible to write a nontrivial application of any sort without unknowingly violating many patents.

    Even in the old days, patents were no a panacea. A patent is only as good as your ability to enforce it, and your ability to enforce it depends entirely on the size of your bank account.

    I am not by any stretch anti-patent, by the way, but software patents are an abuse of the concept and they are having a clearly adverse, corrosive effect on the industry. That isn't even a controversial assertion in the industry. It's the common, mainstream opinion even among the major players.

     

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  24.  
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    ColinCowpat (profile), May 10th, 2012 @ 12:41pm

    Massing all around us...

    Worrying thing is that networks of trolls are even buying up US Military and University patents. Patent DDOS's anyone?

    http://stlr.stanford.edu/pdf/feldman-giants-among-us.pdf

     

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  25.  
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    Miratus (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 1:38am

    Re:

    That is not how they are primarily (macro-economically and legally) intended, obviously. It is about drawing investment money and business to your country by offering incentives in the form of limited monopolies to your target audience.

    Look at this: http://www.copyrighthistory.org/cgi-bin/kleioc/0010/exec/showTranslation/%22i_1474%22/start/%22yes%2 2 ... in my view the best and certainly shortest patent act ever: still relevant and a whole lot clearer than most modern ones!

    The pitch is obvious: our State needs more clever men and tech for profit and advantage. Therefore we will lend the State's power to these men if they come to us with new tech.

    I love using this statute to teach students what the system was intended to do and then showing the various big IP jurisdictions and seeing if they pass the test.

    IP law: promoting innovation (for national profit) by protecting investment through exclusive, state enforced rights since 1474. :-)

     

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  26.  
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    Miratus (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 1:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Hardliners

    A sad truth, indeed. In fact, through US media and entertainment, the very negative perception of lawyers is spreading throughout the world, changing the nature of law and its practice.

     

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  27.  
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    Miratus (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 1:45am

    Re:

    I could not agree more: I work in the patent field as an IP litigator and teacher (to burn off my karmic debt?: and there are way too many 'I do not need more tech than my blackberry and my fountain pen' lawyers, who assume the (technical) facts of the case really matter very little and so do not care. IP law is VERY factual, especially in the patent field. That is why I love teaching engineers about IP law and using it in alternative ways, such as open source.

     

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  28.  
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    Ken Ryan, May 11th, 2012 @ 3:37am

    Re:

    > patents are not for peoples benefit

    Yes they are supposed to be, at least in the US.

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts..."
    not
    "To promote the Purse of the 1%..."

     

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  29.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 3:39am

    Re: Re:

    I'm always surprised at the number of patent lawyers who post on these techdirt discussions. Just goes to show that progress in these fields happens in surprising places :)

    I've learned more about law here than any place else. ;)

    Thanks all!

     

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  30.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Patents, physics, and nerds, OH MY!

    This probably explains why Einstein worked in a patent office for some years. It was a wonderful place to keep up with tech. Fewer patents get introduced each year. I've wondered if the tech is just that much more complex, or if it really is a result of our system? Same goes with copyright.

    It's the great legal balancing act--purpose as opposed to method. When you forget the purpose, it's really easy to get lost creating convoluted methods--rabbit holes that lead nowhere, or at least that lead to a place determined by someone like the lawyers for big patent mills. You let the Congress publish laws that do not represent the intents given in the Constitution, and people who are meant to be sure law is consistent (law A is in keeping with internal consistency of purpose) i.e judges, and you wind up with laws and enforcement built to support large isolated companies who don't care about inovation, but sustained profits. They don't have to produce anything for them, and since our society is so entrenched in this money game as Hedges and Lessig write about, we end up just letting it happen.

    Meh... the real problem is people are taught to believe law is some esoteric subject they cannot understand. 200-years ago, people read up on this stuff all the time. -shakez head-

    Post-Intellectual society, welcome.

     

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  31.  
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    guest, May 11th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    Re: patents are not for peoples benefit, they are for the benefit of those who create

    Hmmm,
    Patents are supposed to be a tool to support creativity to benefit the community as the whole.
    It is the community (represented by the government) who created such a tool. If it does not play it's role any more, the community should remove or replace it.

     

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  32.  
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    Christopher M. Vanderwall-Brown (profile), May 11th, 2012 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hardliners

    A friend of mine and professor of physics (he's and elderly Englishman who came to the US in the early 1960's) gave me an interesting notion that the great philosophers in America were laywers (like my 7th great grandfather James Wilson). They were often country laywers like Lincoln. Educated on their own or through small farming schools or land grant universities. Students' education was not free, but subsidizrd by the community.

    Professors made substantially less, but they were professors as a civic duty. Much like teachers. It was also a stable job. A guarenteed job in many ways.

    We also would talk about an American professor on media ecology named Neil Postman. Founder of the NYU school of media ecology. Postman took off where Korzybski, McLuhan, and many others took off, in education, technology (of which he was a skeptic to some extent, but for good reason), and a variety of other subjects.

    Postman's arguably greatest achievement was analyzing the American social narrative and producing tools to said us as a society described our social narratives and determine what problems exist in our society, and how best to deal withthem. Narratives are building blocks which explain to us our purpose and outlook on the world.

    I've been slowly laying out a paper on the topic. It would probably be of great value to the legal world (Postman's theories--not necessarily anything I create), by allowing us to better understand that within any institution there exists narrative--stories--gods to which we serve, and when those meaning making devices break down or are no longer fuctioning satisfactorily, the institution breaks down. People claw onto whatever they can find, or find solace in total disillusionment.

    Postman writes about looking to the 18th and early 19th century to find components and narrative elements to which we can fasten ourselves to, and thereby use to propel ourselves into the 21st century.

    The bridge we are constructing--what are we to take with us?

    What we have brought with us obviously does not serve us.

    We need to look back at what has come before and find new narratives from which to serve, and to serve us. Presently, we have very few if any gods to serve--narratives. Often people get stuck in dogmatism and fundamentalism, because they have no competing narratives to serve.

    In the legal profession, this seemily great tidal wave of formalism may be a direct response to our loss of narrative that was solidified in the 1950's and 1960's with the racial equality movements and the anti-war protest movements where people learned to distrust their society and government. We have to so great an extent given up on living as a society where as a community we can intellegently solve any problem that comes before us, instead replacing this society of idealist lawyers, farmers, and dreamers who took the impossible and made it real (the American dream) with a culture of clans and culture wars--group tribal mentality. We have in so many ways regressed as a society in this pos-intellectual age. People can no longer put their faith and trust in social narratives and institutions which they had at one time confidently confided their fears, hopes and dreams. The social order fell apart. I don't think it was broken for a bad reason, but the after effects have been catastrophic, as no one has come in to set things right--no narratives exist--outside, perhaps, a few good movies or those developed through social movements like Occupy or other left-libertarian movements--that can fill the gaps left by the great American social purge.

    Overall, no meaningful narratives present themselves outside of the occasional film, book, or television show that tell us about ourselves and what our world should look like, or what it does look like, but these stories are like the nightly news--they do not represent themselves inside meaningful order or context. They are merely entertainment as opposed to something the the Greek epics in Ancient Greece, which existed as a platform for human experience and expression. Young Greecians would run about reciting Homer. The society used these stories for many years to fill in the context of life until Olato changed that, replacing it with his Academy, which served for nearly a thousand years as the center for meaningful human endevors. Today, our stories, which could provide us some valuable context for our world are tossed about ineptly in our society. Monty Python has phrase well suited to the world in which we live, "And now for something completely different."

    We live in a time where meaningful context is a near impossibility.

    To endeavor to improve our world, improve our laws, improve our system of government, we need first a meaningful context and social narrative in which to serve, and which may in turn serve us. One that will guide us forward, providing some meaningful order to the world in which we find ourselves. Once these are in place, as it has in past times, society will fall into step behind our new narratives--provided the narratives are functional and mean ngful for the times--but far too often we allow our narratives to stagnate and die, or do not even know they exist. It has come time in our development that we become cognizant of our narratives and seek to improve them or replace them when times and change necessitates it--we must not lose track of who we are or where we have come, lest we will become lost--as we now find ourselves

    We fight, live and die for our narratives, without even knowing they exist.

    The Constitution is no different. We have quite clear purposes and narratives listed in the documents, but our people (judges, lawyers, political leaders) serving other gods--the gods of fundamentalism, social opportunism, and formalism (toname but a few) are conspiring to overwhelm us, because they provide to these men and women the meaningful context for their age. They have no other eak out a life for themselves or hope to move effortlessly through the vast and complex multitudes of change that occur in our world everyday, and they see latching onto these narratives (plugging themselves into the Borg Hive Mind as it were) as a meanigful solution to their woes.

    We who think differently, obviously have fashioned our own narratives of sorts--obviously built out of the culture of the geek-centric world. I don't know what that constitutes, but it's some sort of ready-made patchwork of ideas and past narratives that allows us to survive and provide meaning for our world.

    For the rest of humanity--or at least American humanity (whether life without meaning is even life at all, I cannot say)--no such escape is near. They latch onto whatever they can in the hopes of survival.

    I suspect our problems in patent law are just one superficial example of this fundamental problem with our world.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 11th, 2012 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re:

    Sadly, he is correct. Patents weren't supposed to be for the creators, however, in reality, that's what they have been perverted to.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Jeff Blake, May 17th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    Legal Challanges to OI

    e-Zassi's system for Open Innovation idea management uses software to capture only the traits and attributes of the technology, not IP in order to securely assess the value of the idea prior to confidential disclosure. The system is designed to provide business analytics and bilateral IP security for both the innovator and receiving company. More details are provided in a recent white paper

    http://www.ideaconnection.com/innovation-articles/legal-challanges-to-open-innovation-in-th e-patent-ce-00317.html

     

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


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