Want More Jobs? Get Rid Of The Patent Trolls

from the let-innovation-run-free dept

Last fall, after years and years of bickering and fighting, Congress and the President finally got together to pass what they called a "patent reform" bill. While the bill made a few changes to how the patent system works, it almost completely ignored the issue of patent trolling or just how destructive patents are to innovation. Even more ridiculous is that the President insisted that the new bill would create jobs. Perhaps for patent lawyers, but not for many others. Vivek Wadhwa has written up a great piece in the Washington Post noting that if we want job growth, we need to deal with the patent trolls, and most specifically the software patent trolls:
The President is mistaken—at least when it comes to the patent system as it relates to software patents. These patents—and the patent system—aren’t creating innovation, they are inhibiting it and, by extension, job creation. Why? Because the breakthroughs aren’t in the patents, they are in the way ideas are commercialized and marketed. Because of flaws in the patent system and government leaders’ misunderstandings, there is an arms race of sorts happening in the tech industry that is sapping billions out of the economy and crushing technology startups. This system is enriching patent trolls—companies that buy patents in order to extort money from innovators. These trolls are like a modern day mafia. Given this, I argue software patents need to be eliminated or curtailed.
Indeed. But we'll never fix the patent system if the government continues to think that patents themselves are the key to innovation, despite the evidence showing that patents simply don't correlate to actual innovation.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:13pm

    "the new bill would create jobs. Perhaps for patent lawyers"

    Exactly. So if you abolish patent trolls they won't have jobs and then there would be fewer jobs. No, the solution is to have more patents so that everyone can become a patent troll and the unemployment rate would disappear.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:33pm

    If the number of new patents is how you measure innovation (as the government does) then naturally

    more patents=more innovation

    and so we get todays problem

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:51pm

    It's just more of a symptom of an economy in decline. When you don't see reality, you can imagine anything. Protectionist motivations towards market forces always delay the inevitable. Everything will right itself. Reality will always win.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 21st, 2012 @ 10:52pm

    From whitehouse.gov:

    ..."(Current president Barack Obama) went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation"...

    According to the subject techdirt.com blurb:

    Current president Barack Obama (the guy with the law degree), "insisted that the new bill would create jobs". The blurb went on to opine that it only created jobs for lawyers.

    What's so hard to understand? Hire fucking lawyers, get fucking legislation that creates fucking jobs for fucking lawyers.

    At least it wasn't G(utless) W(onder) Bush. All the evil donkeys are already fully employed.

     

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  5.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 12:37am

    Re:

    Heh. The funny thing is, with patents, the only people who genuinely profit from them are legal-types. Without them, everyone could benefit.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 1:19am

    even better, get rid of patents!!

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 1:21am

    Re: Re:

    > Without them, everyone else could benefit.

    FTFY. It's hard to see how patent lawyers get benefit from less patents.

    Btw, who cares for them.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:05am

    What you call patent trolls are really just a sideshow of the litigious US system. You need true tort reform to deal with many of these issues - fixing them at this level would be like fixing leaking plumbing with sticky tape.

     

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  9.  
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    Jeremy Collake, May 22nd, 2012 @ 2:59am

    Patents and TechDirt

    Ok, this is getting absurd. Now, for the record, I *hate* software patents. In fact, I think most patents are absurd, and patents should only be issued in extraordinary cases, not handed out like candy to the highest bidder. So, that's where I stand. I'll never own a patent, *even if that means I'll never be rich*. Why? I have principles, something others would say is crazy. Wha!?? you wouldn't just take the money!?! LOL

    Anyway, then we get the pro-patent people *always* coming to the immediate defense of patents on *every* article, or at least all I've bothered to look at. Are they monitoring you, making sure they get their 'side of the story' out, or is this a means to drive debates?

    Here's the crux of patents: selfishness. It used to be maybe a man wanted to invent something to help mankind, and would give that invention away - and he'd surely have a job, or good income from his invention, if nothing other than his increased stature and reputation.

    Now, its all about money, just like everything. Of course, this is nothing new. Our entire civilization throughout the last few thousand years has struggled with greed vs giving oneself to the world.

    While it is easy to blame the world, and say that's the way things are, so I gotta play by those rules .. and it is easy to blame other people .. as they act immorally, so I have to in order to stay afloat.. its just not true.

    The rebellion can start with you. The true shame is that our selfish society has done something truly evil ... Now having the capacity to feed, clothe, and give basic health care to every human on the planet, we DO NOT. Why? There's no money in it. The limited programs out there do the best they can, but they don't cover everyone. Why help those 'freeloaders'? Because they aren't all freeloaders for one, and secondly, providing for their basic human needs should be something anyone with a heart would do for anyone, regardless of how you feel about them. Also, nobody *wants* to live in poverty, on the charity of others.. they aren't living the 'good life' on welfare. Why do I say this is evil? Because of the disparity we see on the opposite side of the spectrum. Those who have more money than they would or could ever need, while others starve. Yet while they call the poor feeling entitled, it is them who feel entitled to living a superior life to the 'poor', which they assume are poor for reasons that are their own fault.

    Call me crazy, I know some of you will ;)

     

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  10.  
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    jcollake (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 3:14am

    Re: Patents and TechDirt

    In addendum, I'd just like to also say to all the children taught how special they are, and that they are the BEST in the universe at whatever ... NO. You are NOT. You are not a shining star, so special in and of yourself that you are the center of the universe. Religions teach humility because at the heart of most evil is vanity. This is perhaps where we, as a society, went wrong. In order to encourage and empower our young, we went a little too far.

     

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  11.  
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    Don, May 22nd, 2012 @ 4:29am

    Expire

    Software patents should be made to expires after less than 2 years. If the company that owns a patent has no product to support the patent then the patent should become in valid.

     

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  12.  
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    abc gum, May 22nd, 2012 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    lol - reminds me of something michele bachmann said:

    "Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level."

     

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  13.  
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    abc gum, May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    "true tort reform" - lol

    http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/2011.htm


    "fixing them at this level would be like fixing leaking plumbing with sticky tape."

    Bad analogy. Fact is that many problems can be, and are, successfully fixed by a piecemeal approach. Attempts at launching the all encompassing fix addressing all issues is a fools endeavor.

     

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  14.  
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    Dr Evil, May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:17am

    think about the children

    I mean, think about the patent lawyers children!

     

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  15.  
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    shawnhcorey (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:25am

    Want More Jobs...

    Get rid of patents. And get rid of copyright while you're at it.

    Both patents and copyright create artificial monopolies and stifle any improvements. The sooner we are rid of them, the better off we'll all be.

     

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  16.  
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    Bob V (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:41am

    A few years back was working for a company that was involved in a legal fight of another company using one of its key patents. The legal fight was drawn out for a for years costing the company lots of money in legal fees. Eventually the owner was vindicated and won the case. A couple months later a large percentage of the production workforce was laid off. Saying what if is silly but a lot of money was thrown at lawyers over the course of that patent dispute.

     

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  17.  
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    Patent guy, May 22nd, 2012 @ 5:50am

    Rubes

    Yeah, get rid of patents, copyrights, and everything else in the constitution! Lol..rubes. Learn to play the game, otherwise stop bitching about the unfairness of life. Just because you hippies aren't sophisticated enought to master business in this country doesn't mean the system that has been in place for hundreds of years is broke. Now, back to work code monkeys.

     

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  18.  
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    iambinarymind (profile), May 22nd, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Want More Jobs...?

    Then stop allowing people who call themselves "government" from stealing from individuals ("taxation") as well as stop allowing government people from make arbitrary rules ("regulations"/"license"/"patents"/"copyright") backed by coercion, force, and the threat of being put in a cage (jail).

    The use of force or fraud to take from others without voluntary consent is wrong no matter if it's done by one person acting alone or if it's done by so called "officials" in fine hats.

    Wants more jobs....FREEDOM is the ANSWER. [see The Philosophy of Liberty]

     

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  19.  
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    Ed C., May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re:

    Sending the US economy on that fast train to China would be every capitalist wet dream.

     

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  20.  
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    Ed C., May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Re: Rubes

    Yeah, get rid of patents, copyrights, and everything else in the constitution!

    If any body of law has become so perverse from its constitutional mandate that do longer works as it was intended and has been degenerated into a mere "game"--a legal slot machine in the case of patents--then, yes, it should be scraped.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re:

    No, it's more like this

    More anti-competitive laws = more campaign contributions

    More anti-competitive laws = more revolving door favors

    and so this government has turned into a plutocracy that prohibits competition.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Afraid to compete

    The US (especially the people with the money) is afraid to compete. I've seen this numerous times in industry.

    Some guy gets put in a spot where he has to learn everything about the new technology that is running the plant. Over the years, he becomes proficient at what he does. Eventually, the "new" technology becomes obsolete, and a new project is proposed. Many times, the "expert" doesn't like the new "new" technology, becaue he is afraid that he won't be able to deliver again. After all, he's older, he's secure in his position, he doesn't see the point in all this "wasted" effort to start up some unproven new "new" technology.

    So he becomes the dog in the manger, stuck where he is because he doesn't have confidence in his ability to hit a home run again. He refuses to share information or effort. Everybody loses.

    So management is stuck with a dilemna. Although the "expert" is the best at what he does, it is obvious that he isn't going to be doing his best at the new "new" project. But anyone else is unproven. He has management backed against the wall. Do they take less than the best from their "expert" or do they gamble on a new guy? I can tell you from personal experience that none of the options are anything but painful.

    The current situation is that the people with the past success don't have just the experience, they also have the money, and the ear of the legislators who can pass protective laws to keep any upstarts from threatening their secure positions. Things will get REALLY bad before they start to get better.

    Open up the bullpen and let the young kids out to play. There will be chaos for a while, but we'll all win in the end. I do believe that the US can compete on the world market. We just might have to give up some toys to join in, but we can do it.

     

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  23.  
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    jade, May 22nd, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: Want More Jobs...?

    The only problem with that is I kind of like having industries that can easily give off toxic pollution or blow up or otherwise harm the environment be regulated so they don't spew off lead particles into the air or let sugar dust saturate the air and blow up. I also kinda like my minimum wage so companies can't just say, "Oh, you're doing an 'easy' job, you get $1 an hour." If one company does it, many more will follow. It might not happen in jobs where there's more demand than supply, but it'll surely happen to low end jobs.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 22nd, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Rubes

    The constitution doesn't mandate IP, it only gives congress the power to grant it. Hence abolishing IP is not unconstitutional.

     

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  25.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 5:52am

    Re: think about the children

    The fact that some of the patent lawyers may have reproduced is alarming in and of itself. What is necessary is for the patent lawyers DNA to be eradicated from the global gene pool. In a perfect world, admitting that you are a patent lawyer would result in summary execution. On the spot. No appeal. But, we live in a very imperfect world, and this type of parasite is allowed to propagate unchecked. Sad for the rest of us. Very sad.

     

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  26.  
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    patent litigation, May 28th, 2012 @ 11:58am

    AIA

    Actually, I have heard that the new "dis-joinder" rules in the patent reform bill -- provisions limiting the number of permissible defendants in a given suit -- have made some difference in the activity of patent trolls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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