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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2011 @ 4:28am

    Re: 1 - 5 years max on patents

    How many people are still using 20 year technology besides the music biz and their cd's?

    The C language. The C++ language. FORTRAN. Unix. And many many more; these were just the ones I came up with in a few seconds.

    Just because you cannot recall any examples does not mean that they do not exist, nor that they are not important.

    Of course, these examples were never patented (and AFAIK software patents did not exist back then).

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