araybold’s Techdirt Profile

araybold

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  • Oct 10th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Reason to Patent

    I agree with just about everything Mike says here, but there may be a
    reason to acquire a patent you don't intend to enforce: to preempt a
    competitor or troll from doing so. Given the USPTO's irrational
    interpretation of the concepts of obviousness and prior art, having a
    patent may help in fending off subsequent attempts at patenting the same
    thing.

    That said, AmEx's amicus brief to the CAFC still makes no sense, because
    no such defense would be necessary in the absence of business-process
    patents, and their absence would be the best possible reassurance that
    they could not be used to derail standards.

    For the USPTO, this is a wonderful business model: they do a crappy
    job, and thereby drum up more business!

  • Oct 10th, 2013 @ 6:03am

    Not so Hard

    "I've been having some interesting discussions about privacy lately, because it's a topic that is a bit more complex than a lot of people are willing to admit."

    It is actually simpler than you make it seem; the complication exists only in your discussion of it, which appears to be a tortuous attempt to reconcile it with your political dogma.

    "The real problem tends to come in when the privacy violations are done in ways that were not a part of the bargain."

    That's a simple, reasonable position. So, if I send email to you, what bargain exists between me and Google with regard to information about me in that email?

    I can't choose what email service the people I need or want to communicate with use. I can't enter in to a bargain with the provider of that service.

    It is simple, if you are not trying to create a spurious distinction between government and corporate snooping.

  • Oct 10th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    Hyperbole

    This is the sort of hyperbole that you quite rightly ridicule elsewhere. Nobody is going to take your gmail away.

  • Oct 7th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Time is of the Essence

    Mike, you chide your opponents (real or imagined) for not giving time its due, but you are yourself lax in this regard.

    The price of goods are generally pushed towards the marginal cost, but rarely do they immediately reach that value, and it is in the area under the curve that 'monopolistic competition' works. It is an unstated assumption in your own description of the concept, with its 'fleeting competitive advantage'.

    Furthermore, you are right to point out that it is this way in every competitive market. It is this way for Honda and Toyota, and that is a good thing for society.

    These are competitive enterprises by your own definition, but if there were some circumstance that forced their prices to immediately fall to the marginal cost for anything they did (every now and then, some misguided government enacts a law with this effect in some market segment), then in practice, they couldn't even operate, making the question of whether they could compete moot.

    Time and rates of change are relevant factors, and so there are circumstances involving prices at marginal cost where companies that are otherwise competitive could not compete. Consequently, the premise stated in the title of this article is false.

    This doesn't settle the broader issues of competitiveness and public policy, but it takes this particular argument out of play.

  • Oct 6th, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    re: Mixed up

    Mike writes:
    "The point is that there is still demand to get across the river, right? Therefore, it is in someone's best interest to build that bridge -- but they need to realize that they won't profit directly from the bridge, but from additional services. And, even if others can take a lane for free and copy, the originator can still do quite well just by being the first and having the associated brand."

    Then a bunch of well-armed guys show up and take over the operation, taking all the revenue for themselves. Then another bunch sets up a roadblock at the other end and impose a toll of their own, and the span of the bridge turns into a free-fire zone and the situation becomes indistinguishable from Somalia. What's to stop this? Don't say the law, imposing an artificial concept of ownership on the situation...