SHIELD Act Targeting Patent Trolls Re-Introduced; It's A Step In The Right Direction, But Just A Small One

from the need-more dept

As expected, the SHIELD Act, which would allow those sued by patent trolls over bogus patents to seek legal fees, has been reintroduced in Congress. As I said when the bill was originally introduced, I think it’s a good thing, though just a very, very small step towards dealing with the larger problems of the patent system. I signed onto a letter from EFF and Engine Advocacy in support of the bill, but really wish we could go much further in reforming the system. Unfortunately, the story coming out of Congress is that while there may be some interest in this bill (and it’s not clear if it’s enough to pass), there is zero appetite for any additional changes. That’s unfortunate.

The patent system today is a massive economic sinkhole. It is not contributing to innovation. It is not encouraging innovation. It is actively hindering it. Yes, it is making some patent lawyers very, very wealthy, and they don’t want that to stop. But it is doing nothing to help the broader economy. That we can’t even seem to take a serious look at what the patent system is doing to the innovation economy is really unfortunate.

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Comments on “SHIELD Act Targeting Patent Trolls Re-Introduced; It's A Step In The Right Direction, But Just A Small One”

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18 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

You're just playing whack-a-mole on part of HUGE problem,

which is the Thieving Rich and their devious ways of getting unearned income. You do point out that this is only making some thieves rich, but you stop short of the obvious, easy, and popular solution: TAX THE HELL OUT OF THE RICH.

Since the ways of stealing are so varied, it’s a waste of time to try and block each one; however, it’s easy to spot unearned income and confiscate it. — That used to be the purpose of the “income tax”, it was precisely and ONLY on UNEARNED INCOME, not wages. Of course, The Rich soon found ways to extend it to everyone so that general revenues from taxpayers flow into their pockets, not to the common good. — We can’t avoid whack-a-mole to keep up with their tricks, but must ALWAYS bear in mind that The Rich are thieves.

The Rich are those who excel at LACK of conscience with just enough smarts to “innovate” new methods of re-distributing wealth to themselves.

(YET there’s a huge difference between those who GET rich by trading and those who steal — meaning get unearned income — and even worse are those Born Rich. I’m not against people becoming reasonably rich by fair trading, but soon as you admit that traders are a tiny portion of The Rich you’ll see the problem with anyone inheriting huge “fortunes” of paper: it’s nearly feudal entitlement.)

special-interesting (profile) says:

Thanks Mike for your supporting letter to the heroes at EFF. I think a key phrase is ?massive economic sinkhole? as in what portion of our GDP is lost to such nonsense. Greatness is never achieved through (monopolistic?) stagnation.

Whack-a-mole is one of my favorite games IRL. Its normal for problems to just pop up requiring the occasional whack. However how does one recognize the manufactured artificial problem? More importantly how do we deal with such a problem?

At the moment the patent system is (only) corrupt and does not even approach the corruption that the copyright system (which I think should be abolished) has attained. The shild-act would be the small step in the right direction you suggest.

Anonymous Coward says:

it would actually clear up many of the problems with the legal system in the US if you switched to a “loser pays” system, where the loser in a court case has to pay the (reasonable) legal fees of both sides in addition to any damages awarded. (reasonable fees being defined as the cost of hiring a lawyer of competence proportional to the case ( aka, no hiring an expensive lawyer simply as a deterrent to people filing suit. if you do, then the loser pays the reasonable part of the fee, you have to pay the rest. Obviously, this IS somewhat subjective, but it has the advantage of discouraging frivolous lawsuits, as well as encouraging people to actually fight frivolous lawsuits. ( the main non-SLAPP advanatge of frivolous lawsuits is they are often settled. If beating a frivolous lawsuit meant you didn’t need to pay the legal fees, there is less incentive to settle.

Josh says:

Re: Re:

Australia does use a looser pays system and there does not seem to be patent trolls here. Otherwise patent and copyright laws in Australia are very similar to the USA due to the “free” trade agreement between Australia and the USA. It is possible the lack of patent trolls is purely to do with the size of the economy though.

staff (profile) says:

more dissembling by Masnick

Lies and damned lies! These are mere dissemblings by huge multinational thieves and their paid puppets -some in Congress, in the White House and elsewhere in the federal government. Their intent is to pervert or weaken the patent system so it can only be used by them and no one else. Then they can rob at will and destroy their small competitors.

For the truth, please see http://www.truereform.piausa.org/
https://www.facebook.com/pi.ausa.5
http://piausa.wordpress.com/

Vic Kley says:

Your comments are entirely unsupported (as usual)

Masnick your site is now thoroughly littered with ads which exceed the size of your subject matter.

We are asked by you, a man with NO DEEP KNOWLEDGE of the inventive process, with noting more then the complaints of some of your drinking buddies in the valley, behind your whine to believe your utterances should influence the law of the land.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Assuming it isn’t crushed before it hits the floor for voting, it’ll be interesting to see who exactly votes against this, as that’ll be a nice and easy way to spot those that:

a) Have no idea how much damage patent trolls are causing the economy, and so are unfit for their positions for failing to become knowledgeable on such an important topic.

or

b) Don’t care how much damage is being caused due to self-interest, and so are also unfit for their positions.

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