Don't Let Patents Kill 3D Printing

from the it's-already-delayed-it-long-enough dept

One of the reasons why 3D printing is suddenly on the cusp of going mainstream is the expiration of some key patents that have held the technology back for decades. And yet, of course, with any area of the market that is getting hot, there is suddenly a rush to get more patents. In fact, we've already seen a few patent fights begin concerning the new generation of 3D printing companies. Recently, the EFF has decided to try to try to put a stop to a series of patent applications that, if granted, would have the potential to again hold back the 3D printing market even further.
As of today, we've now challenged six pending patent applications that you helped us identify as applications that, if granted, would particularly threaten the growing field of 3D printing technology. Harvard's Cyberlaw Clinic hand delivered the first two submissions to the Patent Office earlier this year, and we've since sent in four more.

The prior art we’ve submitted so far thanks to your submissions ranges from patents and blog posts to research papers and symposium proceedings. Each prior art document gives the Patent Office tools to reject patent claims for obviousness. That in turn helps protect the diverse, exciting uses of 3D printing that are gaining in popularity each day, from small hobbyist printers to large-scale, high-quality commercial fabrication using materials ranging from titanium to chocolate.
Hopefully, they'll be able to hold off the worst, and we can see a new industry develop cleanly, without too many patent fights, or too many such issues holding back further development in the space.

It really is quite incredible to see such a clear case of patents hindering key innovations. The market is developing today not because of patents, but because people see the demand in the market and the opportunities to provide something. We have a competitive market, where different providers seek to out-innovate each other, not because of the ability to get patents, but because of the nature of competition and the desire to provide for an emerging and compelling market. Hopefully that spirit of innovation won't get stamped out due to bad patents.


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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    IP is theft and ought to be abolished

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 11:33pm

      Re:

      Just stop it. This is no different than the "copying is theft" nonsense.

      Both are invalid comparasons

       

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      M, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:42am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

      I wouldn't totally agree. If someone (or a company) put a ton of work into something, I think they should be able to profit from it without worrying about a competitor copying their work and benefitting without doing any of the work/research it took to get there.

      Ex: Derringer pistols were actually invented by a guy named Deringer but his competitors just reverse engineered his stuff, added an "r" to the name (though some just completely ripped him off, including using his name), and, well... The fact that the knock-off's spelling is what is better remembered should be enough to say how that ended. I believe he actually won at least one major case - after he died.

      But yeah, it's the "user interface to power off system" patents that bother me.

       

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        Corwin (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 10:29am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

        That derringer case is interesting : the Deringer guy was incompetent in the market, otherwise h'd b the better-remembered guy.

        What matters is that a product can be bought by the greatest count of people, nothing else.

        I have a personal example. My mom innovated a revolutionary technique in chocolates, and some bigger industry tried to copy it, we sued and won and they stopped.

        The market had to wait for six years for the patent to expire, before someone actually competent in marketing products got to actually sell volumes of that product.

        The original ones were better, but the knockoffs had the advantage of existing on the market, being there to buy.

        My point is that, ideas are free. It's not even "obviousness", it's "existence".

        Humans have a moral duty to use and apply every idea that exists. The one who deserves money from an idea is the one to manages to get the result to the most people. End.

        It's all about who can make it cheapest and quickest and keep supplying the demand. THAT. IS. ALL.

        If I invent something that can change the world, all I want is that everyone gets to use it. Of course I'd love to get st up for life for one good idea, but that's not going to happen in a just and fair world.

        In a just and fair world, those who get money for products are those who actually sell the product to the most people. That is reality. That is business.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

        "If someone (or a company) put a ton of work into something, I think they should be able to profit from it without worrying about a competitor copying their work and benefitting without doing any of the work/research it took to get there."

        I don't. If a company can do something that can easily be copied then that thing can just as likely be relatively easily produced without being copied and the company deserves to get 'copied' or have competitors independently come up with the same idea. Chances are if company A doesn't do it without patents then company B will.

        The company is not entitled to have the government limiting competition no matter how much R&D it allegedly does. Also, read my posts regarding the difference between a tax and IP. IP is theft as distinguished from a tax exactly because it's an undemocratic transfer of wealth whereby there is no public oversight regulating and monitoring how those resources are used and ensuring that they are efficiently and effectively used for innovation and the public benefit. There is no requirement that the company prove the R&D costs it spent on something. There is no transparency. That's theft. Wealth is being transferred into the hands of a private entity to do what it wants with it. It's no different than me taking your car against your will under the pretext that I will use it to innovate. No oversight, no nothing. It's not a tax, it's theft.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

        If you want patents, a government transfer of wealth in your direction, I want oversight. I want you to open all of your finances, I want every receipt, records, independent auditors. I want to monitor every dollar spent by you to ensure that all of the money is being efficiently and effectively used for innovation and the public benefit and that you aren't abusing your monopoly privileges to overcharge your customers. But to simply grant you a private monopoly is simply a wealth transfer into the hands of an unelected private entity to manage it how they please. There is no transparency and assurance that the wealth transfer resulting from your patents is optimally being used to benefit the public. Only your unsubstantiated claims. The wealth transfer resulting from IP law is straight theft. It's not a tax, it's theft.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

          Without the public oversight required to monitor the use of the wealth transfer in your direction that results from IP law what you are engaging in is theft. Not a tax, but theft. No different than me stealing your car under the pretext that I'm donating it to Sony so that they can simply promote the progress and innovate new products. No one elected you to tax us and use that money for the public benefit with no oversight and so a transfer of money in your direction without the democratic transparency and public accountability (ie: from voters) associated with it is nothing less than theft.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    That would really suck to kill 3D printing.

     

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    Corwin (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 3:53pm

    Sell the printers on SilkRoad already, problem solved

    FTFY

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:25pm

    now all you have to hope for is that 'obviousness' be considered in regard to patent applications, it's not now.

    It never has been..

    plus the fact that MOST things are obvious once someone has shown it to you.

    what would be the 'obvious' component of "Support Structure Generation".

    Or 'curable modelling material'.

    Just because something seems 'obvious' after you have seen it and seen how it functions, does not mean you could have come up with it yourself.

    Clearly you could not otherwise you would have invented it.

    James watt in patenting a variation of the steam engine, got his patent because he though "what if I move the water condenser box away from the fire box".. pretty obvious, it's easier to cool steam back to water away from a heat source..

    Obvious yes, did anyone think of it ?? no, did anyone except watt patent it ?? no.

    There is a massive difference between seeing something as obvious once you know about it, and actually inventing something that will later appear obvious.

    The courts and the patent office do understand this, if that is the best argument that can be put forward against these patents I don't expect too many people to listen to you or care when you think is 'obvious' after you have been shown how it works.

    Patent US 30120231232 A1
    Abstract
    In one aspect, build materials operable for use in 3D printing systems are described herein. In some embodiments, a build material comprises an oligomeric curable material, a reactive component that is solid at 25° C., and at least one diluent, wherein the reactive component comprises at least one chemical moiety that is polymerizable with a chemical moiety contained in the oligomeric curable material and/or the at least one diluent.

    oh yea, fucking obvious..

    so if you see a 3d printer at work, the average joe would say "oh that's obvious, it's just a oligomeric curable material, wherein the reactive component comprises at least one chemical mopiety that is polymerizable with a chemical moiety contained in the oligomeric curable material.... obvious !!!..

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      You're clearly not an engineer or in a position to determine obviousness or even in a position to really tell me anything. Your English clearly sucks and I imagine it's your only language.

      This is a tech blog, most people here are orders of magnitude more tech savy than you. What is non-obvious to you is mostly obvious to many who need a solution to something.

      You're just a dumb lawyer leeching off of the innovation of others because you are too stupid too innovate. Everything is non-obvious to you. We get it.

       

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      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

        Re: Re:

        "You're clearly not an engineer"

        actually I am..

        "or in a position to determine obviousness "

        That's obvious !! oh wait !!!!

        " or even in a position to really tell me anything."

        actually I could tell you a great deal, I think you are not in a position to understand it though.

        "This is a tech blog, most people here are orders of magnitude more tech savy than you."

        This is a copyright, patent, IP hate site, Authors cannot even create an interactive crossword here !!!

        A patent is A METHOD OF ACHIEVING A GOAL, it is not THE method, nor is it the ONLY method.

        You don't patent the 'engine' you patent a specific method to achieve the goal of motive power. I might be specifically a type of steam engine, or a jet engine, or a specific method to achieve a result.

        Nothing there to stop you developing your own method, and competing with this person, or this patent, it happens all the time.

        it's called progress, we are not all still using steam engines because someone patented it, nor did we have to wait for the patents on the steam engine to develop other engines powered by steam.

        We developed all sorts of engines and can and DO compete with steam engines and it's patents.

        We have electric and petrol engines, diesel engines, jet engines, steam turbines all using innovation, and created with all the patent restrictions you think is going to 'hold back' 3D printing ??

        Most tech dirt writers are not 'tech savvy' and seem to not have a clue what a patent even is.

        What a patent is, is obvious, it is A METHOD, it is NOT THE METHOD, or the ONLY method, or the best method.

        But if you are unable to invent or create, then we would all be using copies of someone else's invention and we would all be using condensing steam engines.

        In the real world, it is quite clear that patents DO NOT stifle innovation, but PROMOTE IT.

        Masnick is just pissed because if he cant create anything himself he wants the rights to steal things other are able to create.

        It's also the goal that is generally obvious, (a wheel is round, normally) but that is not obvious is using the sap from a tree, and applying very specific processes (the method) to create a tyre that goes on your car.

        you say sure, a car tyre is obvious, it is, what is not obvious is the process and method to product that goal of a steal belted radial, grooved car tyre with inner tube.

        so when you learn a thing to two Mr "orders of magnitude" come back and try again, you might have some more luck.

        Take your time..

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:13pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Nothing there to stop you developing your own method, and competing with this person, or this patent, it happens all the time."

          So people must intentionally develop an alternative, inferior, method because some idiot simply got a patent on the most obvious method. So, how many examples of good modern patents can you come up with? Read the standards below.

          "it's called progress"

          No, it's called dictatorship and telling me what I can and can't do with my property. It's called stealing.

          "We have electric and petrol engines, diesel engines, jet engines, steam turbines all using innovation, and created with all the patent restrictions you think is going to 'hold back' 3D printing ??"

          You clearly do not know the history of patents and how they suppressed the advancements of many of these engines in the U.S. and how other countries at one time were surpassing us because of this until eventually the government had to change things a bit (ie: the Wright brothers and their patents).

          Much of our early advancement happened because the U.S. was very lenient on patents compared to other countries in its early days, the founding fathers were very skeptical of them. The argument isn't that advancement doesn't happen with patents, the argument (as is supported by plenty of evidence) is that patents hinder advancement.

          If you want patents the burden is on you to justify their existence. I have yet to see you provide any evidence supporting the argument that certain advancements would not have occurred otherwise and there is plenty of evidence suggesting the opposite.

          http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/against.htm

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sure, you're an engineer. What most people would think is that you're not a good one. "Pure it into a mould"? Really? How the fuck do people understand your instructions if this is the level of your communication skills?

           

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          Ed the Engineer, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 7:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Speaking as a practicing design engineer for 30+ years, most patents are incredibly vague and relatively obvious.
          A patent on: Mix chemical A with chemical B in machine C, to produce thing D may well be deserved. It is specific, it contains enough details to be duplicated, and I assume, it is unique.
          A patent on: Mix some chemical, with another chemical to make something is ridiculously broad. But it might still get a patent, and stifle innovation.
          Slide to unlock is a great example of an obvious patent. Its a computer simulation of a deadbolt. Give me a break. Just because you computerize it, does not mean suddenly you have automatically created something NEW.
          I have a 3d printer. Mine is just a cnc machine hooked up to a hot glue gun. At least that is how I describe it to people. Oh I could make it SOUND very technical, very impressive. But when it comes down to it, that's all it is.
          If you were the FIRST person to see that, maybe. But now, forget it. I have seen several OTHER techniques for 3D printing. A hot glue gun printer patent shouldn't effect a
          laser/liquid system, or a powder/binder system, or for that matter a plain CNC machine, using tools to carve a block into an object. But if you write that hot glue gun patent correctly, you could shutdown the whole market for years.
          The patent system is useful, even necessary. But it needs to go back to its roots. It needs to be: Here is exactly how I solved this specific problem, that no one has solved before. I get exclusive rights (for this specific, unique solution) in exchange for showing the world how I did it. That was the original deal.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 8:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "What a patent is, is obvious, it is A METHOD, it is NOT THE METHOD, or the ONLY method, or the best method."

          Actually, a patent is for an IMPLEMENTATION of a method.
          If someone else has a different IMPLEMENTATION that achieves the same result thru different means, that's another, separate, patent.

          And you're an engineer?
          You're as much an "engineer" as Choo-Choo Charlie with a box of Good 'N Plenty.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExSlyoVTX3I

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Quote:
          Nothing there to stop you developing your own method, and competing with this person, or this patent, it happens all the time.


          Yah right that is why everybody can build and create their own cellphones right?

          Oh wait you can't, there are thousands of patents for that, that in fact exclude anybody who has not 8 figures to spend from being able to enter the market.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:53pm

        Re: Re:

        "This is a tech blog..."

        Perhaps it would be beneficial for this site to return to its roots and eschew discussion of law that in far too many instances are inaccurate.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Perhaps it would be beneficial if you could at least make an attempt to defend your position instead of just trolling and looking like a retard.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The facts associated with the Watt patent have been presented here in the past. Of course, they have been largely ignored, likely because they do not fit the narrative here that Watt absolutely prevented the development and deployment of steam engines in the UK for decades.

             

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      Natai (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:04pm

      Re:

      The issue of obviousness is not really about if you yourself could have created it, though you could certainly argue it should be. This is because a lot of patents these days focus on a general concept or at best a vague description of a process, and it is these sort of vague patents that seem to pop up in these circumstances most often.

      To use your building materials analogy, a patent for a "mixed slurry that can be poured into a form and allowed to harden in order to form a structure" is very different from a patent that specifically describes the detailed mixture used as well as the specifics of the process. While the latter patent is unlikely to pose a threat to innovation, an unscrupulous patent-holder could use the former example to go after all sort of things - glue, for example.

      In my opinion, patents like the first example should not be allowed and should be declared invalid, but these are the types of patents causing issues. When a company can file a patent for a 'capacitive touch screen' years after cell phones with touch screens have become common place, there is a serious problem.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:08pm

        Re: Re:

        "mixed slurry that can be poured into a form and allowed to harden in order to form a structure"

        that would not be patentable, it is way too general. A patent is a SPECIFIC METHOD to achieve a goal.

        mixed slurry allowed to harden to form a structure could not be patented, it could be anything from concrete, to glue or even just water and popcorn.

        you could patent a method of using water and popcorn in a specific method to allow it to harden and form a structure.

        (pure it into a mould and freeze it).

        or you could patent a process of using concrete, gravel, sand, water and other chemicals to create a slurry that would harden by a chemical reaction to form cement with a strength suitable for the construction of large structures.

        that's why you would not patent a 'capacitive touch screen', but you could patent A Method of achieving a touch sensitive display using capacitance detection.

        Not THE method, or THE ONLY method, but simply A METHOD.

        people are saying 'patents' are 'obvious' or 'generalised' but when you actually read the patents the first thing you are hit with is HOW specific these patents are and HAVE to be.

        Nothing is stopping you from developing your own methods for 3D printing, you might even be able to come up with better methods.

        Why not develop a method of 3D printing Silicon so you can 3D print working electronics, or 3D printing wire or metals.

        But if your happy with just having rough 3D prints using plastics with require a lot of work before they are usable at all (they have to be worked on after 3D printing) and putting up with having everything you want made from a weak plastic ??

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "that would not be patentable, it is way too general. A patent is a SPECIFIC METHOD to achieve a goal."

          Techdirt has documented many examples of bad patents.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-ipad-design-patent-2012-11?op=1

          I can go on and on listing all the bad patents out there. How many good patents can you list? The fact is that our current patent system is not only worthless, it's harmful.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            (well, I can't list all the bad patents out there being that most of the patents out there are bad patents and there are way too many patents to list, but the point is that I can go on for a very long time listing bad patents).

             

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          TheLastCzarnian (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dude, I have 3 words for you: HEATED. BUILD. CHAMBER.

          Fuck you and your "Non-obvious" patents.

          Asshole.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      All patents that never make it to product are bad patents and most patents never make it to product and so most patents are bad just by that measurement.

      http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/intellectual-property-law-patent/15258080-1.html

      Patents are just a means of stopping competition. Most patents are vague and ambiguous and don't really tell anyone what product they are attached to or how to build any of the products that a company sells. Most product specifications are trade secret, which defeats the whole purpose of patents. Where is the patent that tells me how to build my monitor, my computer mouse, etc... Patents are supposed to be about giving the public transparency into product design but they in fact do the opposite. Companies are afraid of publishing product specifications because then patent trolls could read those specifications in search for infringement and use this info to sue. So companies would rather keep that information a secret. Where is the patent that tells me how to build my car? My cell phone? My calculator, computer, etc... These companies have many patents but they do not disclose any design information. Microsoft Windows, Office, and products are closed source despite the many patents Microsoft owns. No transparency.

      How many modern examples of good patents can you find me? In order to be a good patent it needs the following requirements.

      A: It must be clear, non-general, non-vague, and unambiguous.

      B: It must be tied to a specific product that's being sold and it must tell me how to build that product and how the product is designed. It must tell me something useful.

      C: It must be non-obvious

      D: There should be no prior art.

      E: You should provide some evidence that such would not have been invented without patents.

      I can only really think of one example.

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100318/1240568623.shtml

      That seems to meet the specifications. The overwhelming majority of patents are bad.

      Also see


      " 99.9% fail - 1 out of 5000 inventions have successful product launches. “[E]xperts estimate that 1 out of 5,000 inventions have gone on to successful product launches." Invention success rate. Percent of inventions that fail. (Williams-Harold, Bevolyn, “You've got it made! (developing invention ideas),” Black Enterprise, June 1, 1999)

      99.9% fail. Only 2 products are launched out of every 3,000 ideas. “Out of 3,000 ideas, for instance, only about two products are ever actually launched — and only one of those succeeds, says Greg Stevens, president of WinOvations, a new product research and consulting firm in Midland, Mich.” What percent of inventions become commercially successful? (Jeannie Mandelker, Reporter Associate: Anne Ashby Gilbert, Marketing, Your Company, pp. 54+, October 1, 1997)

      99.8% fail. Only 3,000 patents out of 1.5 million patents are commercially viable. “In truth, odds are stacked astronomically against inventors, and no marketing outfit can change them. ‘There are around 1.5 million patents in effect and in force in this country, and of those, maybe 3,000 are commercially viable,’ [Richard Maulsby, director of the Office of Public Affairs for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office], says. ‘It's a very small percentage of patents that actually turn into products that make money for people. On top of all that, to get ripped off for tens of thousands of dollars adds insult to injury.” What percent of patents make money? How many patents become products? Percent of patents commercialized. Percent of patents that get approved. (Richard Maulsby, director of public affairs for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, quoted in Karen E. Klein, Smart Answers, “Avoiding the Inventor's Lament,” Business Week, November 10, 2005) "


      http://www.inventionstatistics.com/Innovation_Risk_Taking_Inventors.html

      http://www.techdi rt.com/articles/20110819/14021115603/so-how-do-we-fix-patent-system.shtml#c994

      Patents should at least have a use it or lose it clause. If you don't use the patent in a product within a year you lose the patent and everyone is free to infringe.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:21pm

      Re:

      "Just because something seems 'obvious' after you have seen it and seen how it functions, does not mean you could have come up with it yourself."

      History is plagued with independent inventions and scientific advancements. Advancement has occurred and will continue to occur without patents. Even if one person without a patent doesn't come up with something due to his lack of a patent today chances are someone else will independently come up with something very similar tomorrow if there is a market for it. Certainly long before twenty years.

       

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      Karl (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:29pm

      Re:

      James watt in patenting a variation of the steam engine, got his patent because he though "what if I move the water condenser box away from the fire box".. pretty obvious, it's easier to cool steam back to water away from a heat source..

      Funny you should mention James Watt, patent bully and monopolist, as an example of a "successful" patent holder. The patents on his steam engine held back English steam power for years.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:37pm

        Re: Re:

        He's probably new to this site. The organization that hired all the other shills got fed up with their incompetence, fired them, and hired this guy hoping for some improvement. He actually doesn't seem that dumb compared to all the other shills but he's just still ignorant. He will soon learn that the position he is hired to defend is indefensible and even the smartest genius can't defend an obviously indefensible and wrong position even against an average person.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 8:58pm

        Re: Re:

        Stick with copyright issues, a subject you have obviously devoted substantial effort. Your comment re the Watt patent is more appropriately offered at Against Monopoly, a site whose rants against Watt have been thoroughly debunked.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "a site whose rants against Watt have been thoroughly debunked."

          [citation needed]

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            One that quickly comes to mind is a publication by two economics professors who analyzed M. Boldrin and D. Levine's, and then proceeded to demonstrate that their recitation of facts was beyond even the most extreme examples of poetic license playing fast and loose with facts from the historical record. I leave it to you to use a search engine to find it as I did.

            BTW, even when contrary facts were directed to Boldrin and Levine, they chose to ignore such facts by doubling down and disingenuously "wordsmithing" their publication.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So basically you have nothing.

               

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 10:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "BTW, even when contrary facts were directed to Boldrin and Levine, they chose to ignore such facts by doubling down and disingenuously "wordsmithing" their publication."

              [citation needed]

               

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:43am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So let me get this straight. IP extremists attempt to come up with examples of how patents are good. It is then shown how these examples are in fact examples of how patents are actually bad. IP extremists then do nothing to defend their position and expect us to believe that they are somehow capable of doing so but just don't want to.

          These were 'your' (plural) examples, when challenged on them the burden is then on you to defend your position with them. You should at least have the decency of defending your position and examples when you bring it/them up if you expect others to take you seriously.

           

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      identicon
      Not an Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 1:46am

      Re:

      You're an idiot and not well informed about patent law or 3D printing. If you were, you would know that the term "obviousness" only really relates to a PERSON HAVING ORDINARY SKILL IN THE ART

       

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        Jared Mimms, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:25am

        Re: Re:

        Guys, all inventions seem obvious after they are invented unless the invention is contrived. This is basic human psychology. Someone could tell you the details of an invention and reduce the invention to practice and you might think to yourself "that is obvious" when in reality, the concepts behind the invention are not obvious at all and it's reduction to practice is even less obvious.

        The reality is that it takes years of work and very gifted people to make these connections for the first time on the forefront of technology. Do not delude yourselves into believing the socialist lies and do not fall victim to psychological fallacies pertaining to invention. Invention is real, invention is an investment, and invention should be rewarded.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "all inventions seem obvious after they are invented unless the invention is contrived."

          Not all inventions should be subject to patent protection. Almost all of these inventions are, in fact, obvious before they are invented and can be independently invented by more than one person and will be regardless.

          and just because you don't think something is obvious doesn't make it not so. Almost all inventions are mostly independently producible by many people different people facing the same situation. No one person is special that only that one person is so much smarter than the rest of everyone else that only they can come up with an invention and hence only they deserve a patent. No, people invent to solve a problem and necessity and problems that people encounter are the impetus to inventions, certainly not patents. Innovation will occur without patents.

          Just because nothing is obvious to you doesn't make it non-obvious to others who face similar problems.

           

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 3:12am

      Re:

      Lets for the sake of it, break this down:

      In one aspect, build materials operable for use in 3D printing systems are described herein. In some embodiments, a build material comprises an oligomeric curable material, a reactive component that is solid at 25° C., and at least one diluent, wherein the reactive component comprises at least one chemical moiety that is polymerizable with a chemical moiety contained in the oligomeric curable material and/or the at least one diluent.

      Just translating it:
      "In one aspect, build materials operable for use in 3D printing systems are described herein."

      The patent is basically on everything that can be used for 3D printing.

      "In some embodiments,"

      Rubber-term to broaden the application of the patent!

      "a build material comprises an oligomeric curable material,"

      The material has to be short-chained and able to harden, which is pretty broad.

      "a reactive component that is solid at 25° C"

      Something that is solid at 25 degrees celcius which narrows it down... If only it weren't for the rubber-term in the beginning...

      "and at least one diluent"
      diluent is what is making it fluid at the beginning.

      "wherein the reactive component comprises at least one chemical moiety that is polymerizable with a chemical moiety contained in the oligomeric curable material and/or the at least one diluent."

      The mix has to contain at least one chemical that can be polymerized (made into a long chain) by reaction with another chemical in the mix (most likely catalyzed but not even that is specified).

      Now, basically that is a description of a polymerization process which is very non-specific and has been known since 1835. It contains absolutely no specifics as to what makes it different from other plastic-materials.

      Specifically what you quote is an overly broad patent on an only slightly specified polymerization that is nowhere near new. It is obvious from the point of any chemical engineer, which is what you have to measure obviousness against!

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      "plus the fact that MOST things are obvious once someone has shown it to you."

      Because some people are so special and only they can come up with an idea that no one else is capable of inventing and so they need a patent to do so. This is a nonsense lie. No, I want their patent taken away. I do not want them to 'show me' anything, or to dictate to me what I can and can't do with my property. I'll either figure it out on my own, work with someone else to figure it out with patents, or benefit from someone else who came across the same problem and came up with a solution without patents. I don't need the IP holder.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 7:53am

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:25pm

      Fuck you. You devils advocate. Yes,advance the status quo!!! It's more important!!!

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Quote:
      what would be the 'obvious' component of "Support Structure Generation".

      Not sure what you want to say there, but the obvious component of any support structure is the support structure itself and where it is located, you don't need to be an engineer to know that.

      If you are talking about programs that calculate mass and can see where structures will need temporary supports to hold them in place, every 3D software out there for CAM has "invented" that in some form or another.

      Curing materials have many variables the most important is temperature specially for plastic, so people would have recognized the need for temperature controls for the bedding or medium, temperature sensors to sense the variations in temperature inside the printer so it can adjust the speed and so forth.

      I even saw the other day guys tinkering with chemical polishment(for lack of a better term), which basically is gasifying a solvent and letting it smooth the edges of a polymer. Now in the vox populi, get a glass jar, put acetone inside together with the plastic piece you want to polish and heat the acetone gently by heating the jar with a flame or water. Acetone is used to polish other plastics in the industry too, ever wonder how screw drivers are made? the handle pass through a bath of acetone to remove milling residuals and smooth it out so it shines. Surprisingly this obvious method in 3D printing is patented although prior art for it exists by the bucket.

      But I digress, are you saying with your rant that nobody could have come up with temporary removable supports for 3D printing using wax(oligomeric polymer)?

      You do understand that wax was used for centuries to build support structures for smelting right?

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:31pm

        Re: Re:

        Naked flames and acetone are a bad combination, as acetone is a flammable liquid, with a low flash point. Heating by electric heater is relatively safe.

         

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

    "One of the reasons why 3D printing is suddenly on the cusp of going mainstream is the expiration of some key patents that have held the technology back for decades." -- You are entirely wrong. Patents have NEVER held back anything of high use.

    "3D printing" can only make plastic toys, slowly and expensively. Might be useful for small spare parts (that don't need much mechanical strength) instead of warehousing, but you could get and keep a binful of injection-molded parts far cheaper. It's definitely NOT the "next big thing" you kids imagine it to be.


    @AC: "oligomeric curable material" -- People have been using the same technique to make mud huts for quite some time, and before that, at the least, ignoring sea creatures, were wasps colloquially called mub-daubers.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:18pm

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      You forget injection molding requires tooling to make the mold. I'm sure you've not had the pleasure of retooling a machine for a production run. They can get pricey. With a 3d printer no mold required. But 3d printer can also make the casting for a mold for any other material from plastic to steel.
      I'd like to hear your thoughts on wire edm, that's slow as all can be but extremely accurate. Should we go back to broaches and machine filers because it was cheaper 50 years ago?

      Tell you what, you keep your out-dated ip thoughts to youself and I'll make sure those pesky kids keep their do-hickies and other thing-a-majigs from out of your yard

       

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      icon
      silverscarcat (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      You think so?

      You think it has no practical purposes?

      I can point out that you're lying right here, right now with a single link!

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2304637/Surgeon-uses-3D-printing-technology-make- cancer-patient-new-face.html

      http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/photoshop/6/2/8/178628.jpg

      I'll give you two links since I'm so nice.

      Dr. Cox, will you tell this fool what he is?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrjwaqZfjIY

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:14am

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      ... We're using it to make inertial microfluidics and acid proof working mechanical parts. Not exactly toys

       

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      Jeff (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 7:51am

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      OOTB - you are completely uniformed and so clueless it is laughable. 3D printing will save your sorry ass by printing you a new pair of ears when they get ripped off by an angry mob.

      To bad we can't 3D print you a new brain...

       

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      identicon
      Kiteman, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:09am

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      Bottom-end 3D printers work in weak plastics, true, but other materials are much more durable.

      I have seen items printed in a variety of metals, ceramics, highly-durable resins, stone-analogues, chocolate, and even entire buildings 3D printed in concrete.

      It is slow, yes, expensive, yes, but it is getting faster and cheaper all the time, and they will always be capable of producing items that are impossible by any other means.

      Carriage builders dismissed cars on the same grounds, then along came Henry Ford.

       

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      identicon
      Lord of the Files, May 1st, 2013 @ 9:08am

      Re: No, Mike, it's just not very useful. -- Else would have been licensed.

      Even if you weren't lying about how "3D printing can only make plastic toys" and that truly was all it could do, that would still be enough to make affordable 3D printers a smashing success for the exact same reason inexpensive photo printers were. There is a legion of 3D artists out there right now who wouldn't think twice about buying one if, besides being affordable, it did a decent job (no banding for instance).

      Don't believe me? Hop onto any CG forum which has a reasonably large user base and ask for yourself. I predict 3D printers will be every bit as successful as photo printers were and follow the same general path; i.e. dirt cheap to buy with the real profits coming from selling the "ink" for them.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    Average internet user: "Copyright? What copyright? I'm just sharing stuff with my friends. Everyone knows that's not illegal."

    10 years later.

    Average 3D printer user: "Patents? What patents? I'm just printing stuff I found on the internet; everyone knows that's not illegal. ...What do mean my printer infringes 3D System's patents? I tell you, I printed this printer myself from a design *I* found online!!"

     

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    •  
      identicon
      nri, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:29am

      Re:

      Thaaatss right... Maybe you'd be more comfortable sitting in your horse and buggy waiting to die. You can write letters on parchment to yourself about how important copyright law is while you wait.

       

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  •  
    icon
    printing724 (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    Hat's off to EFF...

    ...for doing this. A quick read of two of the patent applications in question comes down to...

    (The first) In a 3D printer, use a computer to generate support structure geometry for an unstable part.

    (The second) In a 3d printer, mix two or more things together so a chemical reaction occurs and the material cures.

    If either of these applications fly, I'll be preparing my patent application for ice cream...

    Claim 1) A method of combining edible ingredients so that the result has a more pleasing taste than any of the individual constituent ingredients comprising:

    An opaque white fluid secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young;

    A sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants;

    At least one element that when combined with the above results in a distinctive quality as perceived by the taste buds,

    wherein the components when combined and subjected to a predetermined amount of mechanical agitation result in a confectionary with a melting point of approximately 0 degrees Celsius.

    Claim 2) The method of claim 1 where the confectionary is enhanced by the addition of pieces of the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed,

    Claim 3) The method of claim 1 wherein the confectionary is enhanced by the addition of pieces of the sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed that must first be extracted from a hard kernel...

    ...which makes at least as much sense as either of the applications targeted by EFF.

     

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    printing724 (profile), Apr 29th, 2013 @ 5:52pm

    Whoops, forgot...

    ...to insert the magic words "using a computer" in several places.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2013 @ 9:03pm

    "...some key patents that have held the technology back for decades."

    If you insist on making claims such as the above, then it seems to me it behooves you to substantiate it with verifiable and reliable data.

    Moreover, since the general understanding here is that so-called "innovators" never read patents or pay attention to them anyway, how patents could "hold them back for decades" does seem to me to be a weak argument.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 2:01am

      Re:

      Moreover, since the general understanding here is that so-called "innovators" never read patents or pay attention to them

      On reason for ignoring patents is that it could take many years to read and decode the patents that might apply in any field, and by the time you have done that, there will be many more patents to read. Also, any litigation involving the patent needs to be consulted, as this may clarify what areas the patent covers.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    CA, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 12:21am

     

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    identicon
    Jared Mimms, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 12:45am

    Pay Up

    Pay the royalties. Those inventions took years of people's lives. By monetizing the inventions of others, you are stealing their lives.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Anonymous Howard (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:36am

      Re: Pay Up

      The the owners of the patents in question did not invent anything. They just called dibs on general technologies with broad, vague and generic patents, so no, they do not deserve royalties.

      If they want to monetize their invention, then produce affordable 3D printers and sell them, not try to prevent others from doing this.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Jared Mimms, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:39am

    Bull

    clear case of patents hindering key innovations


    This is bull. The patents themselves are the innovations or are representative of the innovations and as such build on each other just as papers build on each other in academia. Patents differ from academic publications in that they represent a reduction to practice of something new, an applied innovation, which requires time and money, investment of human capital and capital.

     

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    •  
      icon
      Anonymous Howard (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:50am

      Re: Bull

      So let's say I "invent" and patent an obscure, vague and general method that roughly translate to "making stuff".

      Then when you try to invent a new production technology, say "3D printing", I come in and ask for exorbitant royalties, since you're infringing on my patent. Or just refuse to grant you a license, because I don't want you to disrupt my business.

      Is this productive?
      No.

      Exaggerated?
      Definitely. But the point stands.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 6:17am

      Re: Bull

      You don't necessarily need to reduce to practice to have a patent granted. Because of the amount of time between disclosure and a functioning prototype (often years for technical hardware) that is often impractical.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: Bull

        If you have not produced a functioning prototype, then the patent is speculative, fails in full disclosure and can probably be used to attack the person who finally produces a working prototype. That is prior to a working prototype it an idea, not a solution, that is being patented.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Jared Mimms, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:48am

    Hate to Say It

    I hate to say it this way but people who are critical of patents and wish to copy the work of others, to thieve, are incapable of invention themselves. If a patent stands in your way build on it. If you are a socialist and wish to copy an invention, ask yourself, "How is copying something that already exists good for humanity and good for society?" Copying is thievery. People quote Steve Jobs all the time "Good artists copy, Great Artists Steal." Jobs never copied, and when he stole, he COMPENSATED the inventors. Xerox held Apple stock - that inside look was an equity deal. Anyone who came up with something good Jobs wanted, he hired or COMPENSATED. Stop the greed, envy, and jealously. Stop stealing the leadership and faces of others.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 5:46am

    "Hopefully that spirit of innovation won't get stamped out due to bad patents."
    Not completely, big fat companies with millions of dollars available to fight in court will be able to do something, probably. Start-ups though, forget about it.

     

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    mmrtnt (profile), Apr 30th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Workaround

    Each prior art document gives the Patent Office tools to reject patent claims for obviousness.

    Looks like it's time for me to finally apply for that patent on my covert patent application process.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 30th, 2013 @ 3:37pm

    3D printing will change the world!

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Lord of the Files, May 1st, 2013 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      I completely agree. Not only with 3D printers become just as ubiquitous as regular inkjet/laser printers, they'll follow in the footsteps of their 2D counterparts too. I've already mentioned how they'll eventually become dirt cheap with the real profits coming from selling the consumables for them. Eventually you'll see 3D printer/scanner/fax combos for sale at reasonable prices too. You'll be able to place an object inside it's scanning chamber and it will effectively "Xerox" that 3D object for you. You'll also be able to transmit your scan to other 3D printers no matter where they're located in the world. Expect this to piss off a LOT of businesses and not just the patent/copyright/trademark oriented ones.

       

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    identicon
    Ron - Chmer EDM's, May 10th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Ridiculous

    I find it terrible that anyone would purposely try to delay such progress. It's inevitable that this tech will emerge in one way or another, it just seems like a waste to do something like this from their side. I agree with Lord as well. Thanks for the post/read!

     

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    identicon
    DavidSG, May 17th, 2013 @ 6:48pm

    A fix for a broken system?

    It seems to me that an awful lot of what's wrong with patents could be fixed by fairly simple remedies. The patent holders' rights can be protected within reason, without stifling competition.

    Simple fix: Reduce the protection period to about 3-5 years.

    The patent laws were written in an age when things moved slowly. Today the whole life cycle of a new product can be measured as a very few years. A shorter protection term will still give the inventor, in a modern world, time to establish a product and a strong market position.

    I am actually thinking of two levels of protection: Total exclusivity for 3 years, then for the next 5 (say) years, protection but a compulsion to grant licenses, much like patents that underlie technical standards.

    After that, open slather.

    With such a system inventors would be rewarded, but there would still be opportunities for new innovation.

    As for patent trolls: Apply the same "use it or lose it" rules that apply to trade marks. "Use it" means that the actual company that owns the patent is actually producing a product and can be challenge in court is only paying lip service to that requirement.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    anantha, Mar 5th, 2014 @ 4:42am

    nice

    Nice news and thanks for sharing this here to let me know this updates,please know the recent updates by visiting this link also…because I had gain some info from here also: SAP Jobs at UK

     

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


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