Google Finally Speaking Up About Problems With Patent System

from the good-for-them dept

Back when Google first put forth its stalking horse bid for Nortel's patents, the company explained its position by basically dancing around the issue of just how ridiculous patents had become. It made it clear that it was looking to buy the patents for defensive purposes, but couldn't bring itself to really condemn the problems of the patent system. Some patent system supporters have tried to claim that this was actually Google realizing the value of patents.

Of course, to many of us, it demonstrated the exact opposite. Google was demonstrating the ridiculousness of the patent system by showing that it was ready to pay billions not for the "innovation," but to avoid wasteful lawsuits. Of course, in the end, the patents went to a coalition of companies that didn't include Google, and it seems likely that we'll start seeing them in litigation pretty quickly. Even then Google was pretty quiet about its opinion on patents.

That seems to be changing. The company's General Counsel spoke with TechCrunch's MG Siegler and finally seemed willing to say what's widely known in Silicon Valley: that patents do the opposite of encouraging innovation and they represent a tremendous tax on innovation:
"A patent isn't innovation. It's the right to block someone else from innovating... Patents are government-granted monopolies... We have them to reward innovation, but thatís not happening here."
Nothing exactly earth shattering, but it's nice to see Google finally willing to come out and state the obvious, rather than holding back. Now, if only our elected officials would listen.

Filed Under: patents, problems
Companies: google

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  1. icon
    Rick Martin, Patent Attorney (profile), 26 Jul 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Is Intellectual Ventures A Crook?

    Visit the public PAIRS system at USPTO and check patent application serial number 11/173,990 and the Third Party Submission 37 CFR 1.99 dated 9/18/2007.That was me. Nathan had filed 35 patents on a nine year old idea of offering free printed photos in exchange for printing ads on the photos. Sort of print "Alpo" on your tie, then Alpo pays for your printed photo for the privilege of keeping their name in your family photo album forever.How was it that IV could not find half a dozen killer references but little me did? Was Nathan trying to monopolize an entire advertising method with 35 fraudulently obtained patents? The USPTO Finally Rejected this case after six years.Big Money with Bad Patents are Bad for America. NPR should rewind their reporters to describe why these smelly tactics are not cause to tear down the patent system.

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