Project Troglodyte: Trying To Pre-Defuse Possible Patent Trolls In Important Areas
from the interesting-idea dept
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).
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.
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.