Tech Companies Team Up To Buy Up Patents To Keep Them Away From Others

from the this-won't-help dept

Google, Verizon, HP, Cisco and some others are apparently teaming up to put money towards buying patents to keep them out of the hands of patent hoarders who would turn around and sue them. This isn't a new concept, and has been tried before -- and it didn't help much. The problem is that many of the worst patent suits aren't from "known" patents, but someone claiming a patent on some minor feature that everyone thought was obvious. Also, this type of action only encourages more bad patent activities by adding another buyer to the market. Now, questionable patent holders will recognize that they can also just sell to this patent pool, rather than selling to some patent hoarding firm. This is one of those ideas that sounds good on paper, but will have little to no effect on slowing down or stopping bad patent lawsuits, and may actually encourage more of that activity.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    LTDLP, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:01pm

    If you can't bet them, join them

    This is not a good idea. It will only encourage the bad behavior.
    I do not think that patents should be considered a commodity to be traded, bought and sold. What's next, a futures market ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Paul, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:24pm

    Solutions are Tough

    We want people to invent new stuff and share it, and so we want an incentive to encourage these activities.

    We want people (inventors, others) to build new stuff and sell it.

    Inventors need income. Producers need predictable costs.

    Would it make sense to cap royalties due to unperfected patents (those where the inventor hasn't actually marketed the stuff he invents)?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Solutions are Tough

    "Would it make sense to cap royalties due to unperfected patents (those where the inventor hasn't actually marketed the stuff he invents)?"

    Dude, you should realize that it is next to impossible to collect ANY money from those big serial infringers like Cisco, MShit, Intel, RIM etc.
    (A conservative estimate is 5 million bucks and 5 years in litigation)

    The other thing you should realize is that everything, I mean EVERY fucking thing is phisically Made in China nowadays
    (just go to the nearest Walmart and check for yourself)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 30th, 2008 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re: Solutions are Tough

    Man. Angry dude doesn't even try any more. Why even post crap that's easily proven false? Because rather than responding with facts, he'll just insult.

    The other thing you should realize is that everything, I mean EVERY fucking thing is phisically Made in China nowadays

    Yup. Except all the stuff that's not: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_9745521?source=rss

    But in angry dude's world, as we've learned, facts don't matter at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    stevenadam, Jun 30th, 2008 @ 11:16pm

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    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 5:09am

    What?

    Wrong thread ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Solutions are Tough

    Proudly I have never bought anything at Walmart and will never buy some thing from there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Solutions are Tough

    Is it just me or does anybody else here get an impression that Mikey is just a robot - an android programmed by one of those large Coalition for Patent "Fairness" corporate members ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    stv, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:54am

    stop shilling!!!

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your patent and we’re not going to pay.

    When corporate America agrees to not use our inventions without consent, American inventors and small entities will agree to stop suing them.

    stop shilling!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 1st, 2008 @ 10:21am

    Re: stop shilling!!!

    stv, you're hilarious. When I say something about patent reform, you insist I'm "shilling." Yet, here I am, taking the view completely opposite of those big companies that are in favor of patent reform, and you still accuse me of shilling.

    I guess, according to you, disagreeing with you is "shilling."

    Since you're wrong, I'd ask you to apologize and take back your false assertion. Somehow I don't think you will.

    When corporate America agrees to not use our inventions without consent, American inventors and small entities will agree to stop suing them.

    Have you really missed the point of what I am saying. This is not about corporate america vs. inventors. It's about the patent system as a whole -- which both sides abuse to no end. It's not about small entities vs. large ones. As we've pointed out the big players abuse the patent system just as much as the small ones.

    The issue isn't appropriation of ideas, but how the patent system is limiting our economy.

    Rather than calling me a shill over and over again, could you at least address the points raised? Or is that too difficult?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Tony, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Solutions are Tough

    It's you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Abdul, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Good For Web Innovation!!!

    I don't care the argument someone make on behalf of these patent trollers, getting rid of them will surely help in increasing innovation. They should also be call 'patent speculators' similar to those 'oil speculators' who are currently driving us mad. Their services will bring no didvident to the internet besides raking litigation dollars for them: Trolling For Dollars With Internet patents( http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=562&doc_id=150187&F_src=flftwo)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Actual Inventor, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    Mike...to separate the "corporate america vs. inventors" piece from the general issues regarding the patent office is like removing the heart from the body. Perhaps corporate america is too general a designation...its really anyone or any company that uses other peoples' inventions as their own. Even though the patent system has not stopped this, it at least attempts to and gives some recourse to the inventors. This does not limit the economy...and it does not limit innovation. Ironically, the serial infringers move any new invention to the market just about as soon as they can get their hands on them. Then years down the road...maybe the real inventors could...just maybe recover some of the money made...unfortunately in a court room.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 1st, 2008 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    "Actual Inventor"

    I will note, yet again, that you have yet to answer the questions I asked you. I'm beginning to wonder why that is.

    From the post that you ignored, I'll ask again:

    Please tell us why we should believe someone as biased as you, having a stake in making sure the system remains as it is? Wouldn't you RATHER trust an impartial body who can study the issue through non-biased eyes?

    And, can you let us know what economics training you have, since you seem to think that experience matters -- I'm curious as to what yours is in the point that matters: economics (not inventing).

    to separate the "corporate america vs. inventors" piece from the general issues regarding the patent office is like removing the heart from the body.

    Not at all. The patent system is designed to do one thing and one thing only: promote the progress of science and the useful arts.

    It says nothing at all about big companies or inventors.

    Even though the patent system has not stopped this, it at least attempts to and gives some recourse to the inventors. This does not limit the economy...and it does not limit innovation.

    Actually there's a rather large stack of evidence suggesting exactly the opposite. Of course, that evidence looks at the actual economics of the matter -- which again, you seem to deem irrelevant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    angry dude, Jul 1st, 2008 @ 8:32pm

    F grade for Mikey

    Mikey wrote:
    "Not at all. The patent system is designed to do one thing and one thing only: promote the progress of science and the useful arts."
    "Of course, that evidence looks at the actual economics of the matter -- which again, you seem to deem irrelevant."

    In Mikey's world "progress of science and the useful arts" equates the ability of a company to flood the market with cheap China-made ipods or junk like that

    To any reasonable person "progress of science and the useful arts" means acquiring and preserving new knowlewdge which can be used by other people down the road - it has nothing to do with economy

    Mikey gets an F grade

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Actual Inventor, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    "Actual Inventor"

    "I will note, yet again, that you have yet to answer the questions I asked you. I'm beginning to wonder why that is.

    From the post that you ignored, I'll ask again:

    Please tell us why we should believe someone as biased as you, having a stake in making sure the system remains as it is? Wouldn't you RATHER trust an impartial body who can study the issue through non-biased eyes?"

    Maybe better put, naive and inexperienced eyes.

    "And, can you let us know what economics training you have, since you seem to think that experience matters -- I'm curious as to what yours is in the point that matters: economics (not inventing)."

    Career entreprenuer, founded 14 companies, one company "voted Best New Company at Internet World in 2000). Oh yeah...and I took a lot of econ in college. Is that what is important to you?

    "to separate the "corporate america vs. inventors" piece from the general issues regarding the patent office is like removing the heart from the body."

    "Not at all. The patent system is designed to do one thing and one thing only: promote the progress of science and the useful arts."

    "It says nothing at all about big companies or inventors. But in the real world they have become the players and adversaries."

    Even though the patent system has not stopped this, it at least attempts to and gives some recourse to the inventors. This does not limit the economy...and it does not limit innovation.

    "Actually there's a rather large stack of evidence suggesting exactly the opposite. Of course, that evidence looks at the actual economics of the matter -- which again, you seem to deem irrelevant."

    I love economics...but it didn't help the financial industry avoid its current crisis. The "dark science" as it has been called is just another platform for speculation, prognostication, and endless expert hindsight. I actually love it though...but sorry, I do not have a PHD in economics which seems to be your argument against anyone with practical experience and knowledge.

    (reply to this comment) (link to this comment)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    Maybe better put, naive and inexperienced eyes.

    So anyone who ISN'T profiting from a bad system is inexperienced? That's the most corrupt concept I've ever heard.

    Career entreprenuer, founded 14 companies

    14 Companies? Career entrepreneur often sounds similar to "serial failure" to me. A successful entrepreneur turns a startup into a big company.

    one company "voted Best New Company at Internet World in 2000).

    There are so many things in that sentence that don't seem worth bragging over. Internet World was a joke of a show. 2000 was the height of the bubble. And getting an award as best new company combining both of those things isn't exactly something to be proud about.

    But in the real world they have become the players and adversaries.

    This is what some would like you to believe, but it's not true at all. Both small and big companies abuse the system. Focusing on one or the other will not fix the system, it will just make the whole thing worse.

    Even though the patent system has not stopped this, it at least attempts to and gives some recourse to the inventors. This does not limit the economy...and it does not limit innovation.

    The evidence (stacks and stacks of it) suggest otherwise. I can't see how you can make that claim credibly. Read Lerner & Jaffe, Bessen & Meurer or Levine & Boldrin for rather detailed evidence as to how it has very much limited the economy and innovation.

    I love economics...but it didn't help the financial industry avoid its current crisis.

    Um. That had nothing to do with economics.

    The "dark science" as it has been called is just another platform for speculation, prognostication, and endless expert hindsight.

    Proving you have no clue what economics is.

    The above statement basically proves that you have no credibility on the subject we are discussing. It would be like me saying "patents are bad because anyone can get a patent on anything." It's a gross generalization that shows you don't know what you're talking about.

    I do not have a PHD in economics which seems to be your argument against anyone with practical experience and knowledge.

    No, that was not my point at all. I don't think you need a PhD in economics at all. My POINT was to show you how silly it is for you to claim that only those who are profiting from a broken system can discuss it. My POINT is that it's EQUALLY silly to demand someone have a PhD in economics.

    Yet, for some reason you seem to think that one of those is okay and one is silly.

    It's amazing how a biased person rationalizes the system that gives them an advantage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Actual Inventor, Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    "14 Companies? Career entrepreneur often sounds similar to "serial failure" to me. A successful entrepreneur turns a startup into a big company."

    Mike...you are amazing. I actually let you lure me into a pissing contest where the next logical thing I would do is show you my bank account as proof that I am not a "serial failure", which would be sophomoric and boorish.

    Remember, you are the one who makes such black and white statements regarding other folks opinions and thinking. The idea that an inventor who has experience with the patent process is "biased" and "must know nothing about economics" is pure hogwash and borders on yellow journalism. Please try to avoid becoming the Bill O'Reilly of technical journalism, because I think you are much smarter than that. I know that it is somehow good for readership that you take these outlandish view points and castigate anyone who disagrees, (I am still a fan) but I would argue it is not necessary for your continued success.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jul 2nd, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: stop shilling!!!

    The idea that an inventor who has experience with the patent process is "biased" and "must know nothing about economics" is pure hogwash and borders on yellow journalism

    I didn't say they must know nothing about economics. Again, you seem to be missing my point. YOU were the one who claimed that only those who had experience with the patent system could credibly criticize it. My point was to show you how bogus that statement was... and yet, you still seem to be missing the point.

    It's not yellow journalism. I'm not saying that we shouldn't listen to those who have experience with the patent system or only listen to those with experience in economics. I'm making the point that you were wrong to claim that only those with experience in the patent system can criticize it. That you still don't seem to get this point is odd.

    You were the one who pulled out the credibility card, and I simply pointed out why that was silly.

    I know that it is somehow good for readership that you take these outlandish view points and castigate anyone who disagrees

    Hmm? I'd actually argue that would be bad for readership, as it would upset people. I'm not trying to castigate anyone. I'm trying to make sure that these things are properly thought through. But if someone comes in high and mighty claiming that those who don't have a patent can't credibly critique the patent system, I'm going to make a point of why that's silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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