Legal Reality: Growth By Patent Exploitation
from the but-isn't-that-bad-for-innovation? dept
A somewhat painful-to-read editorial has shown up over at News.com where an intellectual property lawyer who’s trying to drum up more business talks about this wonderful trend of companies that hoard patents, but don’t do anything with them, suing the companies that actually innovate. To him, it’s all about the money. He describes it as a game, where the patent holders don’t need to worry about whether or not the lawsuits they’re filing make sense – just whether or not they can convince some companies to pay enough so that they can sue more companies. He, of course, expects this to continue, and seems to think it’s good that these “Davids” are taking on the “Goliaths”. While I have no problem with such cases where there’s clear patent infringement on a non-obvious idea – I do have serious problems with the way most of these cases actually work. They’re not about patent infringement. They’re about multiple companies coming up with the same obvious idea, and the one that just happens to file the first broadly worded patent gets to sit back and sue the companies who actually innovate. To this lawyer, it may be a great trend because it increases the wealth in his bank account – but for most real technology companies, it increases the cost of doing business and slows down innovation.