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
    Vic Kley, 27 Jul 2011 @ 6:34pm

    Moore's Warriors Not Innovation?

    Are you all only talking about minor variations of program structures and Software Patents? If so say so otherwise your ridiculous point appears to be the top of your heads. I would still disagree but there is a place for debate concerning pre-existing software inventions.

    The progress of smaller, faster, cheaper as applied to computing power and storage however is an area where the truly new invention is not open to debate. New solutions are necessary for fairly small markets (the actual methods and equipment for semiconductor manufacture) in which there must be protection or no investment will take place.

    Each year there are new obstacles to the progress of electronics which powers must of the innovation your readers use and anticipate. New obstacles to Moore's Law.

    Each year there are a few people, Moore's Warriors, who provide solutions which must be protected. Solutions work and Moore's Law marches forward, marches forward as it always has on the backs of myriad small but critical inventions.

    These inventions enable the products which in turn are perceived as "innovations" successful products.

    Google, Apple, GE, GM, Lenovo, Siemens, Toyota and IBM, all depend on inventions and a patent system of which they may be entirely unaware.

    Attack the patent system, and its inventors blindly and the inevitable result will be the companies who owe their success to Moore's Law may well defeat the inventors - Moore's Warriors.

    An act of suicide. Blind suicide that takes our country and our children's future down with it.

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