Companies Feeling Obligated To File For Useless Patents

from the great... dept

Eolas responded today about the W3C’s request for their patent to be invalidated. That’s not very surprising or particularly interesting. However, this article about the response includes the quote from a software developer saying that they were so shocked that Eolas won such a patent with so much prior art that they now feel obligated to file for their own ridiculous patents – just as a defensive measure against the next silly patent claim that might cover something that they do. This isn’t how the system is supposed to work. This isn’t encouraging innovation. This is slowing down innovation, and encouraging litigation.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Companies Feeling Obligated To File For Useless Patents”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

yep, but the courts are seeing more litigation regarding patents than at any time in the history of the system. I would imagine the court costs alone would total in the billions of dollars. Not to mention lawyers fees, processing fees, discovery, expert testomony fees, and so on. There is so much money coming from these useless patents right now that it is absolutely insane! Why would they want to change it? They’re making a ton of dough.

Ed (not Yourdon) says:

Publishing prior art

That’s not how the system is supposed to work. If you come up with some technology and don’t think it’s worth the expense to patent it, you can just publish a description somewhere. That doesn’t give you any patent rights, but it establishes prior art should anyone else come along and patent something in the same area. That’s why for years IBM published a Technical Disclosure Bulletin. They stopped in 1998, for reasons that I don’t know.

Anonymous Coward says:

preventive patenting

The company in your article is going to waste a ton of money. As your the last poster said, if you want to establish prior art all you have to do is publish it. I would add that the best way to publish it is in prominent journals and conference proceedings covering your field, in order to get knowlege of it disseminated as widely as possible among professionals working in that field. If appropriate, you might even give it a snazzy name and tout it in your advertising.
I believe that most of the useless patents covering stuff that’s been around forever result from two causes:
One is honest mistakes by engineers who come up with ideas that are new to them, but who are too new to their field to know it’s been done before, or are in too much of a hurry, too overworked, or too inexperienced do a proper patent and literature search. Case in point: all of the ridiculous stuff that has come out of the dot coms.
The other cause is the attitude of many companies that they should dispense with the patent and literature searches, which cost time and money, and just let the patent office do it for them. Little do they know that the people at the patent office have less time for that sort of thing than they do, as well as less expertise in the field.
The more widely your material is published, the more likely that people will know about it and not bother trying to patent it.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...