Nortel Patents Sold For $4.5 Billion To Apple, EMC, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson & Sony

from the this-won't-end-well dept

Well, it wasn't too difficult to see this one coming. A year ago, all that was left of Nortel was a giant patent portfolio that everyone knew would result in a bidding war. At the time, people predicted the portfolio was worth an astounding $1.1 billion. Back in April, Google made news by placing a $900 million "stalking horse" bid for the patents, which had many people shaking their heads at the size of the bid. Google had made it pretty clear that it was seeking to buy the patents to keep them from being used by others to sue and block Google. Of course, Microsoft whined and complained to the government about how unfair it would be if Google won the patents. The government was apparently unconcerned.

So, Microsoft apparently got together with Apple, EMC, Ericsson, RIM and Sony... and coughed up an insane $4.5 billion. It's kind of brilliant in a nefarious way. With six companies together, they could each spend less than the $900 million initially pitched by Google... and then just all agree not to sue each other, but leave open the option to sue anyone else. And, given just how aggressive these companies have been with patents lately, you can rest assured that "license" demands will be made and there will almost certainly be lawsuits. Progress via the courtroom, apparently.


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  1.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:24am

    Well, when RIM goes out of business Google will have another shot at a portion of the portfolio.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 2:52am

    This is why economies are in the crapper: companies spend billions in A FUCKING RECIPE! No not an actual product, infrastructure or natural resources, it's a piece of paper which might or might not be useful. It's insane, especially if you consider that some countries (which are kicking our tiny little asses) basically ignore those patents.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:00am

    Patent Abolition FTW

    The patent system becomes more menacing by the day. Now, with a crazy "investment" of $4.5 billion to "protect", an orgy of patent infringement lawsuits is guaranteed. There is precisely one group that is going to do well out of that, the patent bar. The patent system is a conspiracy against the rest of us by the patent bar. The conspiracy appears to be doing very nicely, thank you.

    Unfortunately for all these foolish western companies, who are wasting such vast amounts of their shareholders' funds, there are other parts of the world where the patent system is not allowed to wreak economic havoc. Companies there (think China) now have a wonderful opportunity to increase their market share, while their foolish competitors are distracted. Americans, it is going to be rather galling for you, as your fiscal deficit and unemployment figures stay stubbornly high, while China goes from strength to strength.

     

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  4.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:12am

    I've been looking for proof of an racketeering Oligarchy for years now.

    This is plain as day. Combine that with the revolving door to any governmental seat.

    When are people going to wake the fuck up?

     

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  5.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:24am

    Consider The Virus

    A virus has no metabolism of its own. Compared to most normal living things, which produce stuff that others feed on, a virus produces nothing. All it consists of is instructions for making copies of itself, wrapped up in a protein coat. It is a pure idea, if you like: 100% “intellectual property”, boiled down to its genetic essence. And the only way it can reproduce is to parasitize off living things that actually have a metabolism.

    A patent is like that. It produces nothing; its only value is to parasitize value from those who actually produce something. And, somewhat like viruses, that “value” becomes a justification for making up more patents to parasitize more value off actual productive people and companies.

    When a virus takes over a cell, it becomes an undead zombie, no longer capable of doing anything other than producing more viruses until it explodes, spilling them out.

    When a company or person becomes possessed by patents, it loses the ability to produce anything useful. We saw this with the Wright Brothers, and now we see the infection slowly taking over Microsoft and Apple.

     

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  6.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 3:46am

    Unlike copyright, the patent system (outside of the pharmaceutical industry) is relatively sane. You get 20 years to capitalize off an invention and then it goes to everyone else. If you violate a patent, you must pay a penalty relative to what you gained by using the patent.

    It should be easier to invalidate a bad patent, but inventors really should be able to market their new products without having to compete with the first guy willing to rip them off.

    I, for one, would welcome a 20 year copyright term for the content of public performances.

     

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  7.  
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    John Doe, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:12am

    I have an idea

    When a company goes out of business, the patents become public domain.

     

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  8.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:32am

    Re: Consider The Virus

    Do they have stacks of Corruption: Accelerated, then?

     

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  9.  
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    Donnicton, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re: Consider The Virus

    /groan - That was sooooo last tier.

     

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  10.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Microsoft being Microsoft

    Microsoft complained that Google buying the patents with the idea of not using them was anti-competitive. Yet somehow it's perfectly fine for Apple, EMC, Microsoft (Shit Apple and Microsoft? That can't be good), RIM, Ericsson, and Sony to collude to out bid Google. We already know that there is bad blood between Google and Microsoft/Apple/RIM; I'll give you one guess who's the first to be sued.

     

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  11.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 4:59am

    Re:

    If the "first guy" can easily "rip them off", then perhaps the 'invention' shouldn't have been granted a patent in the first place.

    And the patent system isn't "relatively sane". There are major issues with software and business process patents, among other things. 20 years is a very long time in the technology sector.

     

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  12.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Re: Patent Abolition FTW

    Ever get the feeling that the US economy is nothing by smoke and mirrors? These companies paid $4.5 billion for something that has absolutely no value other than to sue other people with. When did racketeering become legal?

     

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    Brent Ashley (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:23am

    Finally! Apple, EMC, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson & Sony have been languishing too long without any impetus to innovate. These patents will at last enable them once and for all to promote the heck out of the progress of Science and useful Arts. Huzzah!

     

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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re:

    "If the "first guy" can easily "rip them off", then perhaps the 'invention' shouldn't have been granted a patent in the first place."

    That's ridiculous. All you need is a few bucks and a guy to take your invention apart, or to steal your design documents. Anything can be copied with no R&D efforts by the second party.

    "There are major issues with software and business process patents, among other things. "

    That is why it is relatively sane, but not perfect. Biotech, pharma, software, and business process patents all have problems. However, someone has to invest in progress and they deserve to be compensated, for a limited amount of time, when they are able to bring a new product to market.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quote:
    That is why it is relatively sane, but not perfect. Biotech, pharma, software, and business process patents all have problems. However, someone has to invest in progress and they deserve to be compensated, for a limited amount of time, when they are able to bring a new product to market.


    Explain why countries without strong IP laws do better than countries that have strong IP laws please.

    Explain why countries without strong IP laws see strong growth and innovation.

    All those patents systems are hindering progress, creating a pocket that only a few have access to it and rewarding the lazy and corrupt not the real producers and workers.

    Is like diverting an entire river to supply water to only one farm and leave everybody else out, that is not going to work ever.

     

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  16.  
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    Nicedoggy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Quote:
    That's ridiculous. All you need is a few bucks and a guy to take your invention apart, or to steal your design documents. Anything can be copied with no R&D efforts by the second party.


    You see not everything, people can't copy your reputation ask Apple about that, even though Android is killing the iPhone on the market share those Apple heads just believe anything old Steve will tell them.

    But even that is a non issue apparently as one can see in the fashion industry that have no protections and still make millionaires, it may limit growth but that may be just a good thing you distribute the wealth to many people instead of concentrating in the hands of a few, it also may serve a great purpose of not creating things like "to big to fail", since it creates a lot of little enterprises that can go out without killing the market entirely with the collapse of one or two giants, even the navy realized that they don't need really big ships they need the small ones a lot of small ones.

     

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  17.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    The people involved have woken up. They decided to participate in the corruption while the getting is good.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    History has shown that the first mover always has an enormous advantage. Copiers usually copy badly, with "cargo cult" copying. When a first mover performs competently, they do well. When a first mover gets overhauled by one of their "copiers" that is because the copier did not just copy, but made improvements. That is the essence of commercial competition, which is beneficial to consumers and the economy. Competition should be encouraged. The first mover can also copy the improvements and maybe get back their leading position. Who is "ripping off" whom, then?

    Having government-granted monopoly privileges out there (that is, patents) is poison to competition. Many businesses get tired of competition, so they want a nice little monopoly earner. When the government gives in to such wishes, they are serving the tired business, but betraying consumers. The "rip off" problem has been greatly exaggerated. So-called "rip-offs" are a trifling disadvantage to consumers. The monopolies problem has been greatly underestimated. Monopolies are greatly harmful to consumers, causing enormous increases in price, reductions in quality and stifling development.

    Politicians are supposed to be serving consumers, not tired businesses.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:55am

    I'm starting to like the Chinese approach to patents more and more...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 6:58am

    I don't understand how patents can be transferred after a company goes bankrupt. Patents are only to promote the progress of the science and the arts, not to help companies pay debt. Companies do not invest in patents because, one day, if they go bankrupt, it will help them pay of ten percent of what they owe in opposed to five. They're going out of business anyways, it doesn't matter.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    pay off *

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:42am

    And in the corner...

    IBM whistles in the corner quietly making more patents than all these companies combined.

     

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  23.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you want to live in a country without any IP laws, go try one out. See how their food, water, medical care, and other amenities stack up. IP laws come as a result of progress. If the population is more concerned with feeding themselves that creating a new tablet or putting on a concert, they won't mind if you copy their new mud hut prototype.

     

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  24.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    I was just trying to find some info on this. Japan's economy has been dead since about '87, and their IP laws are even more insane than the US. The US has been in the crapper since before 9/11/2001 (the icing on the cake), and we had new IP laws go into effect in '98. The Indian legislature recently began putting stronger IP laws into effect as well, and I haven't heard anything good about the economic outcome there, either. I would really love to see a graph of IP legislation vs GNP growth for all countries over the last 50 years or so.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:02am

    Here's the best part. If one of these big players gets an amount "awarded" from another huge player, they just might go after the customers of that huge player for using an unlicensed product.

    They send a notice to the company in question demanding a license fee or the potential for legal action.

    yes, it does happen. RIAA tactic at its finest.

    And it's complete BS.

     

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  26.  
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    Pixelation, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:03am

    Perhaps Google can use this to push harder for patent reform.

     

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  27.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fashion industry has protections and the reason that knockoffs are usually low quality is because it doesn't make financial sense to spend a great deal of money reverse engineering a product. If the protections were weakened too much, high quality knock-offs would become financially feasible.

    A completely unregulated "free" market can only work if everyone participates. It's like anarchism or communism, great on paper, but it doesn't work in practice.

     

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  28.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    I'll repeat myself:

    The reason that knockoffs are usually low quality is because it doesn't make financial sense to spend a great deal of money reverse engineering a product. If the protections were weakened too much, high quality knock-offs would become financially feasible.

    Competition should be fostered between companies. In the US case, that comes in the form of anti-trust legislation and forced licensing.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    In the US case ... anti-trust legislation" is abused against Google for doing nothing wrong, yet Microsoft and all of these companies can conspire to buy all these patents without the government even noticing. Yeah, competition is fostered all right.

    "forced licensing."

    Where is this forced licensing you speak of? There maybe a very few cases involving copy'right' laws and streaming audio, and fees still have to be paid, but other than the very few exceptions, I think you're just making things up here.

     

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  30.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    No, the reason that knockoffs are sometimes low quality is because the producer is out to maximize profits, and don't have a reputation to uphold. IP doesn't enter in to the picture.

    And if someone can reverse engineer your product, and make another product which sells better than yours, you shouldn't be in business. Or, you can sell your ideas to other companies who can actually market their products. If your whole deal is to live off of the fruits of one or two ideas for the rest of your life, you don't deserve anything. America used to have a work ethic. If you're not working, you don't deserve anything.

    Patents are an artificial means to stifle competition at the expense of consumers, period. Software patents are the worst, both because they have no physical component and because they are not remotely legislated correctly. Software patents should be source code, if you are even going to entertain the thought of them. The reviewers are totally unfamiliar with technology, so they cannot tell a novel implementation from a textbook snippet 20 years old.

    No, there is no upside to patents for humanity. They are just for lazy people.

     

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  31.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    Two words - News Corp.

     

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  32.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    OR they can sue for collusion in anti-competitive marketing practices.


    ...OH, God, I've gone over to the Dark Side of patents...

     

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  33.  
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    A non-mouse, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Bankruptcy 101

    "I don't understand how patents can be transferred after a company goes bankrupt."

    I'm guessing you don't understand how bankruptcy works in general. Going bankrupt is not a singular event, it's a process. Selling off assets (anything of value) to pay off debts is part of that process. Patents are assets, in that they have monetary value, so they get sold off along with everything else.

    "They're going out of business anyways, it doesn't matter."

    4.5 BILLION of Nortel's debt just went from unpaid/uncollectable to paid in full. I'd say that matters a lot.

     

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  34.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    I have not talked about copyright law at all in this thread other than to say it is not as sane as patent law.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_license

    Read the TRIPS part if you are curious.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:06am

    Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "Patents are assets, in that they have monetary value, so they get sold off along with everything else."

    But their purpose isn't in their monetary value, it's to promote the progress of the science and the arts. That's their only purpose. The point here is that this does nothing to promote the progress of the science and the arts.

    "4.5 BILLION of Nortel's debt just went from unpaid/uncollectable to paid in full."

    Please stop demonstrating your reading comprehension retardation. Notice how I said that the purpose of patents isn't to pay off debt, but to promote the progress of the science and the arts.

    "I'd say that matters a lot."

    It doesn't matter with regards to promoting the progress of the science and the arts, which is the purpose of patents. If anything, this hinders the progress of the science and the arts.

    Please make an effort to overcome your reading comprehension shortcomings by not taking things out of context.

     

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  36.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    There have also been instances of forced licensing in anti-trust cases but specific examples escape me at the moment.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    I just don't understand how anyone can take the opinions of IP maximists seriously when these people aren't even competent enough to demonstrate a minimal amount of reading comprehension capabilities.

    This isn't difficult. Learn to read, and learn to read things in context. Don't expect people to take you seriously when when you demonstrate such reading comprehension illiteracy.

     

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  38.  
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    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    Have you noticed that everything Rupert Murdoch touches turns to shit. I'm not saying he doesn't make money, he's just an asshole...

    Anyway, what about News Corps?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    You talked about forced licensing. At least read the link that you linked to.

    Much of it talks about copy'right' law, and even most of it involves countries other than the U.S.

    There is one narrow exception involving International law, but that doesn't apply intranationally, only internationally, so it would do little to grant a license to someone in the U.S. if the license issuer is also in the U.S. and even those international exceptions are very narrow in scope and they are hardly ever applicable, they are the rare exception and not the rule.

    So I'm not sure what you're talking about when you say, "In the US case, that comes in the form of anti-trust legislation and forced licensing." because most of what you speak of either has to do with other countries or has to do with International licenses and involves U.S. compulsory licensing as little as possible, if at all.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Rip Off

    "Read the TRIPS part if you are curious."

    Yeah, I read it, and that's International licensing between different countries and its scope is very very narrow in nature. So it's not "In the US case". Please, try to make your responses relevant.

    The U.S. hardly ever grants compulsory licenses. Oh, I'm sure the U.S. will be more than happy to accept a compulsory license from other countries (it is better for the U.S. to receive than to give), but for it to grant one would be unheard of. If one were to be granted against the U.S., an International body would be the one to grant it against the will of the U.S., but again, this is an extremely rare exception we are speaking of and its possible not because the U.S. wants it to be possible. The U.S. is very in favor of government imposed monopolies and does everything it can to grant them in as much as it can. Any exceptions occur against the will of the U.S. govt.

     

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  41.  
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    A non-mouse, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "But their purpose isn't in their monetary value, it's to promote the progress of the science and the arts. That's their only purpose."

    Their only purpose? Bullshit. If that were true then you wouldn't need a patent in the first place. Invent something & put it out there. Boom, you've just promoted the progress of the science and the arts. Their purpose is to give the inventor a limited window of opportunity to capitalize on their invention. The "promoting the progress of science and the arts" part comes AFTER the patent expires, when everyone is free to build upon that invention.

    I won't waste my time responding to the rest of you senseless drivel, since you are simply ignoring the fact that, until they expire, patents do have a monetary value.

     

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  42.  
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    A non-mouse, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    I am no "IP maximist" by any stretch of the imagination. I believe in the patent system the way it was originally intended, not the train wreck it has turned into. Give the inventor a limited window of opportunity to earn a buck before the invention goes public domain. Plain & simple.

    BTW - Did you mean "maximalist"? I'm not that either. Reading comprehension FTW!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "Their purpose is to give the inventor a limited window of opportunity to capitalize on their invention."

    The founding fathers disagree.

    The constitution disagrees.

    Govt imposed monopolies are not the only way to capitalize on an invention. It's possible to capitalize on it without such a monopoly.

    To the extent that the above is their purpose, they should be abolished. No one is entitled to a govt imposed monopoly, these things should only exist to the extent that they serve the overall good. The alleged promotion of the progress of the science and the arts is allegedly what that social good is. Giving an inventor an opportunity to capitalize on an invention should only be merely a means of promoting the progress of the science and the arts.

    Paying off ten percent debt in opposed to paying off five percent debt when going bankrupt does nothing to promote the progress of the science and the arts. Companies do not get patents in hopes that they can pay off ten percent of their debt in opposed to paying off five in the event that they go bankrupt. It doesn't matter to the company that is going bankrupt, the anticipation of paying off ten percent of your debt in opposed to five in the event of a bankruptcy provides no incentive for a company to innovate.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "If that were true then you wouldn't need a patent in the first place."

    So then you admit that patents aren't needed for the progress of the sciences and the arts to be promoted. They will be promoted just as well without them. I say we abolish patents. They don't serve any social good whatsoever to anyone other than the monopolist who aren't even entitled to a monopoly.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "BTW - Did you mean "maximalist"? I'm not that either."

    If you don't know the meaning of a word, please at least look it up before you use it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximalism

    No, I obviously did not mean maximalist.

    Maximist is a coined word, people coin words all the time. Words are simply combinations of sounds/characters that we ascribe meaning to. I used the word maximist to ascribe the meaning, 'someone who believes in 95+ year copy protection lengths and other absurdly excessive IP laws.' It doesn't necessarily mean someone who believes in the existence of IP, just someone who believes in excessive IP laws.

    Our ability to ascribe meanings to sound and letter combinations diminishes not our reading comprehension capabilities.

     

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  46.  
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    A non-mouse, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "The founding fathers disagree. The constitution disagrees."

    Citation needed.

    Never mind, you won't find one. So here's mine, the very first paragraph on the subject at Wikipedia:

    "The Patent Act of 1790 was the first patent statute passed by the federal government of the United States. It was enacted on April 10, 1790, about one year after the constitution was ratified and a new government was organized. The law was concise, defining the subject matter of a U.S. patent as “any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement thereon not before known or used.”[1] It granted the applicant the "sole and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using and vending to others to be used" of his invention."

    Please make special note of that word "vending". That's the "earn a buck" part I was talking about.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    You are confusing purpose with function. Its function is to grant a monopoly, it's purpose is to promote the progress of the sciences and the arts.

    "Citation needed.

    Never mind, you won't find one."

    It's right there in the constitution, the very constitution written by the founding fathers themselves.

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by"

    It's purpose is to promote the progress of the science and useful arts. How it allegedly does it is 'by' granting a monopoly.

    What it does (its function) is to grant a monopoly. What it's intended to do (its purpose) is to promote the progress of the science and the useful arts.

    But it may only grant such monopolies, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". It does not say that it may grant them "to compensate inventors for their inventions". That's simply the proposed mechanism of promoting the progress. It may only grant them to the extent that they promote the progress of the sciences and the arts.

    Want more citations? Read

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html

    Madison was also very skeptical of patents just as well and pretty much felt the same way.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080220/020252302.shtml

    Now can you provide any sources to any of your opinions, and by sources I am not referring to your poorly interpreted opinions of sources that say the opposite.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    and Benjamen Franklin also seems to have shown some skepticism over patents just as well.

    http://techrights.org/2010/03/03/lesser-known-truths-about-patents/

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    A non-mouse, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    Nice try, but quoting less than half a sentence is the very definition of taking something out of context. Not to mention, we're discussing patents here but you're (selectively) quoting from the "Copyright Clause". I do agree that the principles are the same (or at least should be) so I won't argue that point. Anyway, here's the WHOLE sentence:

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    So, to paraphrase, for a limited time the inventors get an exclusive right (call it a monopoly if you prefer) to their inventions. But an exclusive right to do what? Pretty much anything they want, including "make a buck".

    But wait a minute, how's does granting them a monopoly "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"? Because it's an exchange. They get the time-limited monopoly in exchange for public disclosure. The details of their invention are right there in the patent application for all the world to see.

     

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  50.  
    icon
    BeeAitch (profile), Jul 1st, 2011 @ 11:38am

    I love this one.

    "Progress via the courtroom, apparently."

    A very succinct way of putting it. I'll be watching to see if this phrase catches on. I know I'll be using the hell out of it (with attribution, of course ;) ).

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    "Nice try, but quoting less than half a sentence is the very definition of taking something out of context."

    Then you have a poor definition of taking something out of context. Taking something out of context is quoting too little so as to distort the intended message. What was done above is not quoting out of context.

    "we're discussing patents here but you're (selectively) quoting from the "Copyright Clause"."

    What's the "Copyright Clause" that you speak of? The sentence refers to both patents and copy protections.

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors"

    Authors = Copy protections
    Inventors = patents

    These legal rights may only be granted "To promote the progress ..." not "to compensate authors and inventors".
    That's merely the proposed mechanism of promoting the progress. To the extent that these monopolies do not promote the progress they should not be granted.

    "So, to paraphrase, for a limited time the inventors get an exclusive right (call it a monopoly if you prefer) to their inventions. But an exclusive right to do what? Pretty much anything they want, including "make a buck"."

    Again, that's the proposed mechanism of promoting the progress of the science and the arts. These monopolies may only exist "To promote the progress ..." and nothing else. The proposed methods of promoting the progressed, namely granting a monopoly, could only be used to the extent that they promote the progress.

    "But wait a minute, how's does granting them a monopoly "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"? Because it's an exchange. "

    Please, at least try to make some effort to keep track of the conversation.

    The question is

    How does allowing a company the ability to sell off its patents when it's going bankrupt anyways promote the progress. It does not.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bankruptcy 101

    The constitution says that Congress may grant these legal monopolies "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". It does not give Congress authority to grant monopolies "To compensate authors". The compensation of authors is merely an alleged mechanism of promoting the progress, it's not a valid reason that Congress may use to grant these monopolies. The only valid reason that Congress may use to grant these monopolies is to promote the progress of the sciences and useful arts. If that results in compensating authors and inventors, that's fine with the constitution, so long as Congress does it to promote the progress of the Science and Useful Arts. If Congress does it for any other reason, it's unconstitutional.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Really simple. It's easy to copy, but difficult to invent!

    These countries you mentioned don't invent ANYTHING ( cough China) and they can grow unfettered by following the path laid out by Western innovation

    Understand?

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "These countries you mentioned don't invent ANYTHING ( cough China)"

    [citation needed]

    You are seriously making things up now.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Larry Blumen, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: I have an idea

    John, I like your idea.

     

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

  56.  
    identicon
    Larry Blumen, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: I have an idea

    Of course, the shareholders of the defunct company may not like it as much as I do.

     

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

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Really simple. It's easy to copy, but difficult to invent!"

    No, invention is easy, anyone can sit around and think up ideas all day. Innovation - successfully implementing an idea - is hard. Easier said than done.

    Many things have been independently invented by more than one person in the past. Independent invention is common. If someone who insists on having patents doesn't invent something, someone else likely will. Many things in the past have been invented without IP and innovation will continue to occur without IP.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: I have an idea

    The shareholders of the companies that are owed money may not like it, but patents don't exist to pay off shareholders. They exist to promote the progress

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "See how their food, water, medical care, and other amenities stack up."

    What does water quality and medical care have to do with IP laws?

    "IP laws come as a result of progress."

    [citation needed]

    Countries without IP laws have often been more inventive and innovative than those with them.

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

    There is little to no evidence suggesting that IP laws do anything to promote the progress. Even the founding fathers recognized this, which is why they were very skeptical of IP laws and sought to strictly limit them. and it was their skepticism that helped spur a lot of America's early innovation. Early on, America ignored IP from other countries and sought to ensure that IP laws were very limited in nature.

    "In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices."

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Now, aside from government funded R&D, America is not very innovative. Instead, we copy from other countries that innovate. For example, if you look at most of the innovations brought forth on Techdirt (by posted Michael Ho) most of them are being developed in Japan, China, etc... A lot of medical technology (ie: 360 degree camera Pills by Japan) is being developed in other countries now. When I see new inventions discussed on Slashdot or Techdirt, hardly any of them are being developed in the U.S., or if they are it's by a taxpayer funded entity (like a University), after which patents are often sold off to private entities.

    The U.S. pharmaceutical industry is one of the least, if not the least, innovative industry around and it's largely because patents have been long engraved in the industries business model for many years (some techdirt articles have suggested that even politicians are beginning to recognize this). Much of it also has to do with FDA over-regulation as well. Keep up buddy, the U.S. is not very innovative lately, innovation is coming from elsewhere (or it's being tax funded). This is a tech blog, the people here are tech savvy, we read about all the latest innovations and the articles discussing them discuss where they are being developed, and let me give you a hint. They're not coming from the U.S.

    U.S. tech has traditionally been more innovative because they have traditionally ignored patents (things like Copy and Paste were made without patents, among many other inventions), but as they start to clamp down on patents more and more their level of innovation will invariably diminish and already is diminishing.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    posted by Michael Ho *

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    A Guy, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I stand by my statement. IP laws come as a result of progress.

    I didn't say it fostered progress, innovation, or competition, though it can if it's implemented correctly. I said it was a result of progress. If you disagree with that point then I have nothing else to say.

    Why is it everyone who disagrees with one thing you believe automatically disagree with all things you believe (in your mind)?

    It makes arguing even the most obvious points tiresome. Maybe that is the point. Oh well.

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2011 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "IP laws come as a result of progress. "

    They come as a result of corruption, not progress.

    When progress happens, like in the Tech world, patent trolls and other IP maximists begin to see that there could be value in new technologies and so they begin to seek monopolization of that value so that they capture as much of its value as possible, at the expense of everyone else. Companies grow and those companies start to gain political influence and as a result they seek to establish government imposed monopolies.

    So, yeah, progress happens. Progress in tech happened as a result of a lack of IP. Then IP maximists saw the value of tech and sought to ensure that they capture as much of that value as possible by monopolizing it to the fullest extent. Then progress started slowing down.

    Progress happened. At one time the U.S. was ahead of the world in terms of things like Internet connection speeds, electricity delivery, etc... That was when these things were still developing and there wasn't big business to put laws in place that restricted competition. Once businesses grew in size and influence, they sought to use the government to abolish all competition and once the competition was eliminated, and incumbents had laws that prevented new competition from entering the market, the U.S. started falling behind the rest of the world. The rest of the world is now ahead of us in terms of Internet connectivity and innovation because they haven't established government imposed monopoly seeking big businesses in some of these newer industries as early as the U.S. has. They haven't had established, politically influential, ISP's as long as the U.S. because these things take time to develop. First you must establish ISP's and those ISP's must then grow before they can become politically influential enough obtain government established monopolies. Countries that don't yet have ISP's don't have politically influential ISP's that can establish such monopolies and so innovation can occur, at least for a while.

    If people don't sufficiently resist, other countries too will start forming big businesses with powerful political influence that will use the government to establish monopolies.

    The U.S. used to be innovative in the pharmaceutical industry as well. but over the years big pharma has had time to expand its size and develop and gain political influence and use that political influence to obtain government established monopolies. Now it's the other countries that are innovating, at least for now. They, too, very well might form big monopoly seeking companies that could end up using the government to stifle advancement.

    Isn't much of this taught in Econ 101 regarding company development cycles?

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    jimmyd, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 7:42am

    lol

    you guys are both knobs.

     

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

  64.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Nortel patents

    While I am an IP attorney (also naively referred to as "patent" attorney, thereby ignoring trademarks, etc.), I totally agree this is nefarious and should be combated.
    While I am quite sure there are valid reasons for IP, and that used wisely it does "promote the general welfare", this sort of thing needs to be stopped by whatever means are required!
    Good article, and I support any effort to stop this sort of abuse.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    vic Kley, Jul 2nd, 2011 @ 10:24pm

    why patents

    I invented the touch screen in 1976 including multitouch. 20 years is an illusion for new, it's only a boon for the establishment.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jul 3rd, 2011 @ 1:56am

    Re:

    >Implying the money is somehow *gone* when it's spent

    This means nothing for the economy. Some filthy rich people just gave some other filty rich people some money so they can turn around and sue som other filthy rich people.

     

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

  67.  
    identicon
    patent litigation, Jul 4th, 2011 @ 7:54pm

    Feigenbaum's constant

    Considering the company's bidding strategy on the Nortel patents, one has to wonder whether Google was ever very serious about its bid. If so, hopefully it learned its lesson: next time, instead of Pi, go with Feigenbaum's constant ($4,669,201,609).

     

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

  68.  
    identicon
    MAHAN MAJIDI, Oct 30th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    INVENTION

    Hello
    I am Mahan majidi from Iran and at this time I am studying in the computer at the university. With the advancement technology in the recent world, I have new idea after the enormous research in the electronic. In this way I have designed an electronic device that can do the banking affairs in a few seconds . Since the advanced countries are eager to have such innovations due to having security and saving time and energy, I have decided to introduce this device to you . If you have eager to buy I am ready to have negotiation to sell it.


    Thank you very much

     

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

  69.  
    icon
    alexischarlotte (profile), Apr 18th, 2014 @ 12:25am

    Patents right had made many electronic business to be in the top listed category.. This nortel patents made Apple, Ericsson, Sony and many other to have hike in their business... Nice Nortel technology
    Nortel manual

     

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


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