Project Troglodyte: Trying To Pre-Defuse Possible Patent Trolls In Important Areas

from the interesting-idea dept

Three guys from Finland who have been inspired by the EFF's patent busting project have recently launched a new effort, called Project Troglodyte, which is designed to pre-vet certain patents that they fear have a high likelihood of blocking innovation thanks to trolls.

We want to take the EFF’s idea one step further: we scan for patents that have not YET caused problems, but have potential to do so in the future. We have chosen a few basic criteria:
1. Technologies that will be crucial in the near future.
2. Technologies that are potentially vulnerable to single patents.
3. Technologies that we understand at least somewhat.
4. Sometimes technologies we are just interested in.

We are doing this because we feel strongly about the issue of patent misuse, and want to see innovation that enables a better future. Between us we have quite a lot of experience in creating inventions, protecting them and analyzing patents. We feel that this project is a way to put that experience to good use.

They've already tackled three patents, a cleantech patent (7,739,378), a driverless vehicle one (which is actually just an application, rather than a granted patent) and another driverless vehicle patent (which, bizarrely, is also just an application).

I like the general goal of the effort, but going after applications seems a bit premature based on the goal of the program. Perhaps it will help with some of the new pre-grant review stuff that is making its way into our patent system, but the actual patents will most likely change a lot before they become patents, if they become patents.

Besides, if any patent application is fair game, these guys are barely going to scratch the surface of the problems with the system. At least the EFF focused on patents that actually are a problem. On top of that, part of the real problem with patent trolls is that they take broad patents that no one thinks has anything to do with anything, and suddenly claim that they're being infringed upon in a totally different field. So it's often quite difficult to accurately predict which patents are likely to be troll problems down the road.

While it's great that they want to try to prevent trolling, I'm not sure this will be a particularly effective means of doing so.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2012 @ 4:01pm

    Techdirt Trying To Pre-Defuse Possible Patent Trolls


    How dare you try to impede Patent Trolling! It is America's biggest growth industry, dammit!

    You posted a link to a how-to! I’m gonna DMCA your mouth shut! I'm gonna get Google to lower your rankings! I'm gonna get New Zealand’s Keystone Cops to bust your ass Rambo-style and break all kinds of laws doing it! I'm gonna get your web-site taken down forever by the L.P.Q. and the K.U.F..! I'm gonna get your ass sued out of existence!

    Failing that, I’m gonna get you nuked! You have not heard the end of this!

    This means war!

    So there!


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

  • icon
    Ima Fish (profile), 13 Aug 2012 @ 4:52pm

    But, but, but.... mosquitoes!

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 13 Aug 2012 @ 5:15pm

    "At least the EFF focused on patents that actually are a problem."

    I'd file this one under "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2012 @ 7:59pm

    Junk Patent Problem

    The junk patent problem is way too big for Project Troglodyte to have any significant impact. Read through any random selection of recently granted patents and you will realize that they are nearly all junk. There are millions and millions of them. Every one of them is a time bomb just waiting for a troll to litigate over it.

    The patent system is irretrievably broken. Abolition is the answer. How come "abolish the patent system" is not one of the ideas for promoting an innovation economy?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2012 @ 9:08pm

    I await the day that somebody patents the air we breathe. in that case we either all pay for damages or die! :(

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 14 Aug 2012 @ 4:32am

    Actually, it sounds to be a complement to EFF efforts. I think both projects should run in parallel to keep current systemic damage to a minimum while other fronts work to change the patent system on its core. Interesting initiative.

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

  • identicon
    staff, 14 Aug 2012 @ 7:22am

    more dissembling by Masnick

    Masnick and his monkeys have an unreported conflict of interest-

    They sell blog filler and "insights" to major corporations including MS, HP, IBM etc. who just happen to be some of the world’s most frequent patent suit defendants. Obviously, he has failed to report his conflicts as any reputable reporter would. But then Masnick and his monkeys are not reporters. They are patent system saboteurs receiving funding from huge corporate infringers. They cannot be trusted and have no credibility. All they know about patents is they don’t have any.

    “Patent troll”

    Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to pay or stop”. This is just dissembling by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. It is purely about legalizing theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so.

    It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy and high unemployment.

    Prior to eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the Supreme Court decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now some of those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back in the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all inventors, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2012 @ 5:36am

      Re: more dissembling by Masnick

      We are all quite aware of the Insight community, here, thank you. That does not mean we cannot participate in an opinion/discussion blog. I think if you spent time here you would find we're all rather opinionated and don't just parrot Mike.

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

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.