The Aftermath Of RIM-NTP: Other Patent Hoarders Emboldened

from the story?--we-need-a-story? dept

Now that the RIM-NTP case is over and the lawyers are counting the loot from a bunch of patents that are very likely to be rejected, it appears that (1) plenty of other patent hoarding firms can't wait to step into the limelight as the "next NTP" and (2) reporters who have been covering this case need to move onto some new patent hoarding company. Well, step right up Forgent, you're the next contestant on "Just How Screwed Up Is Our Patent System?!" The AP has an article all about Forgent's attempts to be the next patent hoarding company to get all the attention. There's absolutely nothing new in this story. We've covered Forgent extensively in the past. The company has done nothing to help innovation in the imaging space. They had some patents collecting dust that they retroactively decided could cover jpg compression technology, and went on a licensing kick, scoring millions of dollars. Of course, now, people are finally digging up some prior art -- but either way it highlights the problem of the patent system. This company did nothing to promote innovation. It did everything to hinder it. And the comments from the company about how this is "the American way" are ridiculous. Holding back others from innovating and improving the market is the American way? Unfortunately, this is the legacy of the RIM-NTP decision. More companies feel emboldened to not innovate, but simply patent and wait for others to innovate.

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  1. identicon
    Joe Smith, 18 Mar 2006 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re-invention

    You started by using the example of the idea of public key in general and not the specific example of RSA.

    The benefits of publication and the likelihood of independent invention go to the heart of the usefulness of a patent system.

    You do not promote progress if you hand out exclusive monopolies to people for ideas whose time has come and which would be inevitably conceived by someone else within a short period of time. Telephones, jet engines, radar, and transistors are all major inventions which were arrived at independently by two or more inventors.

    You also do not promote progress if patents are written or published in a way which is inaccessible. How many people browse the published patents looking for inspirations for new products or solutions to problems? If published patents are not a major source of solutions or inspiration then there may be little or no benefit from the patent system.

    Patent policy is important to the technological success of the US but it appears that unfortunately this is an example of a situation where the special interests (patent holders and patent attorneys) are completely dominating the discussion.

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