Alternative View: Will Google's Prior Art Finder Become An 'Infringement Finder' For Trolls?
from the technology-is-neutral dept
So, we were just talking about Google’s new prior art finder tool, which can help people find prior art associated with a patent with a single click. As we noted, it tries to find elements associated with the patent and then restrict the search results to items published prior to the priority date on the patent.
Take, for example, Amazon’s infamous “one click” patent, 5,960,411. Pop that into the prior art finder and you get a bunch of results with an end date of 9/12/1997:
Patrick (jokingly?) suggests that Google’s intention here is to actually help the trolls. As he notes:
Google’s motivation to create this new feature are not entirely clear, but they have provided what should be a useful advancement in patent analysis. By speeding up access to information that may lead to evidence of infringement, Google puts more power back into the hands of inventors and patent owners. Perhaps they hope to gain a little positive patent karma after taking ownership of a large patent portfolio from the former Motorola.
Of course as has been noted dozens if not hundreds of times, technology is “neutral” and can be used for both good and bad purposes (which is good and which is bad may depend on whether or not you view shaking down innovators for cash “good” or “bad”). That said, I actually think that the tool is probably not quite as useful for finding infringement as Patrick seems to think it will be. That’s because most of the results are things that tend to be useful in showing prior art, but less so in showing what’s being used in the actual market. That is, it shows things like scholarly articles and previous patents — which is what patent examiners tend to like to see. While that also limits some of the usage as a true “prior art” finder, it does focus on the types of things that tend to be compelling for prior art… but not so useful for infringement.
Filed Under: infringement, patent trolls, patents, prior art, prior art finder
Comments on “Alternative View: Will Google's Prior Art Finder Become An 'Infringement Finder' For Trolls?”
Can it be also be used as a troll finder, because that would be awesome.
Well there could be a silver lining in all of this.
Do everything you can to enable the patent trolls to clog up the system with lawsuits so that someone in power gets a clue and fixes the system.
You beat me to it. I give you an Insightful.
The best way to get rid of a bad law is to enforce it.
Sounds like a “Patents That Shouldn’t Have Been Issued” finder.
If I go get all the permits my business needs and later it turns out that the City Effed up big time and none of the permits were valid, it seems like my culpability should be vastly different. I tried to follow the rules and they failed me, not the other way around.
Or, maybe patent warfare will be taken to the next level where company A will register “honey pot” patents that infringe on prior patents. Then when the trolls come to feed, Company A whips out their real patent from 13 years ago that predates all the others. BAM! Double trolled.
tongue in cheek, but only slightly
Jokingly? Sure, a little. I doubt very seriously that anyone at Google had, as lawyers call it, specific intent to aid patent enforcers.
“I actually think that the tool is probably not quite as useful for finding infringement as Patrick seems to think it will be.”
Here’s where the tongue-in-cheek part comes in … whether you’re looking for prior art or infringement, the base mission is the same: find something that meets each and every element of the claims. The primary difference being which direction you turn once you leave home base.
Thus, I think Google’s new tool will be about as effective at finding infringement as it is at finding prior art. It is a starting point (for some) and nothing more…
Re: tongue in cheek, but only slightly
“I doubt very seriously that anyone at Google had, as lawyers call it, specific intent to aid patent enforcers.”
I think you’re a verb there…