App Developers Dropping Out Of US Out Of Fears Over Patent Lawsuits

from the innovation! dept

A whole bunch of you have been submitting this story about how mobile app developers around the globe have begun pulling their apps from the US Apple iOS and Android Market stores because they're afraid of getting hit by patent lawsuits in the US. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Plenty of folks in the tech industry have been warning for well over a decade about the problems with our patent system and how it's basically being used to extract money from innovators, rather than to encourage innovation. The article quotes a bunch of developers, some of whom say that they're "concerned about my future as a software developer due to these patent issues."

At what point will people finally admit that the system is broken? Totally and completely broken?

And yet, what did Congress do? It took them five or six years, but they passed a totally toothless bit of patent reform that won't address a single one of the problems we all know are facing the system. But how can people deny that the patent system is a problem when it's clearly keeping innovation out of the US market?
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Filed Under: android, innovation, ios, patents, trolls, us

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  1. icon
    Paul (profile), 18 Jul 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Patents: They don't enable you to build a product

    The problem here is that just because you have a patent doesn't mean you have all the patents you need. If you want to build your better "mouse trap", you can't unless your patent also covers the "bait" you use, the "spring" you need, your "platform", your "latch", your "framing", your "animal disposal method", etc. etc.

    The fact is most products are *more* than a single patent. And the existing cloud of patents around your product means that your inventor can't bring his product to market on the basis of his patent. All he can do is either 1) force other products off the market, or 2) prevent products with his invention from entering the market, or 3) force products using his invention to pay him, or 4) get bought by some big corporation.

    The option generally excluded by patents is the one where the inventor puts a product into the market and excludes other companies from making that product, and makes money by being productive. This option is excluded because Big Business will have plenty of patents to keep him out of the market, and if they choose to compete, then they will use their patents to force a cross licensing agreement (likely in their favor, not the inventor's).

    But in no case recently that I can recall has the small inventor created a product, and used their patent(s) to make money by being productive and to keep the big corporations out of their way, and made loads of money.

    Patents make things stop. They can't make things happen.

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