Patents

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
patent reform, patents, paul allen

Companies:
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Is Paul Allen's Patent Madness Really An Attempt To Show The Madness Of Patents?

from the seems-unlikely dept

Last week, in writing about Paul Allen's decision to sue (nearly) every big tech company south of Seattle (notably absent: Microsoft and Amazon), I had seen a few people suggest that maybe Allen was doing this to prove how ridiculous the patent system is. Larry Downes is now exploring that option in a blog post on his site:
Maybe Allen is not the world's most famous patent troll. Maybe he's out to become the world's most famous patent reformer. Maybe he doesn't want so much to win as to publicize how dangerous his patents are.

Perhaps in asserting these patents, with their potential to unsettle so much of what is taken as settled business practices in the digital economy, he hopes to force leading tech companies and Congress to acknowledge that the system is broken and fix it. If he wins, or even if he just wears down the other side, perhaps he'll demand not financial tribute but actual reform of a system that gives patent holders like him the power to disrupt digital life.
I don't buy it. There are, obviously, lots of ways to go about pushing for patent reform, but dragging a bunch of companies and yourself through the court system seems like one of the least effective ways to go about doing so. Even if it does call attention to ridiculous patents and how they're used to punish companies who actually innovate, the message is so likely to be lost that I would imagine the chance for any such strategy to succeed is outweighed by the far greater likelihood that the strategy will backfire and actually be seen as a reason to support patents.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2010 @ 9:34pm

    It could be not his intended goals, but unintentional results. One gotta remember that companies think with their pockets, and if there's enough money being poured down the lawyers to keep all this madness in control...

    Honestly, let the patent nuclear armageddon come. Maybe that will finally make everyone who says "patents = innovation" shut up.

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