History Repeats Itself: Patent Abusers Successfully Stymie Anti-Patent Troll Bill In The Senate

from the of-course-they-do dept

Back in December, we noted that the House Judiciary Committee had approved an unfortunately watered-down, anti-patent troll bill. It was better than nothing, but we hoped that the Senate would approve a much stronger version. For a while it seemed like that was likely to happen, but... those who abuse patents are pretty damn powerful. Even those who have been hit by patent trolls in the past, like Apple and Microsoft, have decided to join forces in lobbying against meaningful patent reform. They've been pushing to water down the Senate's bill, taking out nearly everything that would make the bill useful -- and it appears that they're succeeding.

Over the past few weeks, we've been hearing time and time again about an expected manager's amendment to the bill in the Senate, along with a markup. There was a brief attempt at a markup, but everything keeps getting pushed off. A few more days, then a few more days, as Senate insiders insist that a "deal" is being made. The latest is that things have been pushed off for a few more weeks, as the patent abusers have been throwing their weight around quite a bit in the Senate. A manager's amendment from Senator Leahy is still expected, but no one is quite sure what will be in it. From talking to a bunch of folks with knowledge of what's going on, the general consensus is that while some are still optimistic, it seems quite likely that most of the useful stuff to stop patent abuse will get tossed out.

Of course, this is just history repeating itself. The America Invents Act, which was a patent reform bill that was fought over for nearly seven years. In its initial form, like the latest attempts at patent reform, there were some good ideas (mixed in with the bad). But as the patent abusers ramped up their lobbying effort, more and more of the good ideas got stripped out of the bill. After seven years of trying, the final America Invents Act was a shell of what it had been, and did basically nothing to stop patent abuse. And that's why we're back to square one with this latest attempt at patent reform.

But, tragically, it looks like a spineless Congress is falling for the lobbying of patent abusers, and there's a decent chance that they'll move forward with an essentially worthless attempt at patent reform, meaning that actual innovators -- the kind who deal with patent abusers every day -- will have to go back to Congress yet again and highlight how badly they mucked things up this time.

Or, you know, Congress could grow a damn spine, do what's right, and stop patent abuse.

Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 3:55pm

    When you income depends on you doing nothing except legal extortion, you will do everything you can to keep it legal, as doing real work is too hard.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    I wonder if the recent funding IV got from Microsoft to further their patent trolling plans, was in part so they can lobby Congress more aggressively on their behalf, too, to stop this reform:

    http://gigaom.com/2014/04/11/apple-declines-to-join-microsoft-in-funding-patent-troll-intelle ctual-ventures/

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 5:45pm

    As America continues to spiral into the abyss.

     

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  4.  
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    Kronomex, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 6:55pm

    Ah, the old brown envelope and donations trick is still as potent as ever.

     

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  5.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Apr 11th, 2014 @ 7:16pm

    How to protect/eliminate right to troll

    As we've seen, Apple and Microsoft are patent trolls as well. The problem as they see it, is to prevent the "parasitical trolls", as they might call them, from suing; while reserving for themselves the right to troll at will for purposes of monopolization.

    It's a huge problem with law in the United States: the idea that everyone is subject to the same law. If only it were possible for Apple/Microsoft to be under one set of laws and the parasitical trolls to be under another, the latter would have been out of business years ago.

     

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  6.  
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    staff, Apr 11th, 2014 @ 7:38pm

    more dissembling by Masnick's puppets

    infringers and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

    people willing to suck cock and pay to get what they want

    All this talk about trolls and so called ‘patent reform’ is just spin control by poor people who wish they could be just like me.

    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/nooneclicksthesethingsright
    http://www.npr.org/2013/11/06/243022966/who- am-i-kidding-no-one-clicks-these-links-i-post

    The patent system now teeters on the brink of us getting caught. Call it what you will...patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we're not going to let you sue for patents you don't even use”. It’s a pure red herring by small startups that just won't roll over and die like the good cockgobbling little sheep they should be. The fact is, many of us in this business only got where we got today by gaming the system as it should be, and cocksucking our way to the top. To infringers this is unacceptable behavior. Frankly, in my honest opinion you eventually get used to it. Man chowder is part of the recommended daily diet. A bonus if said man chowder is big corporation man chowder.

    It’s about bullshitting your way into getting what you want with huge wads of money, but my experience indicates walls of text will work as well. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

    Prior to Masnick's cocksucking (I know you don't think he cocksucks, but the truth is that he does, because I understand that he does, and my sense of entitled narcissism can't possibly be wrong), I held a patent on cocksucking to get to where I am today, successful, respected and economically viable. Each time an article like this appears that frowns upon big companies getting what they want, my Mr. Happy becomes Mr. Unhappy, very unhappy indeed. Masnick is obviously fellating his supporters and puppets, and he's probably doing a better job of it than me, which is bloody annoying because I hold the patent on that. (I even have the herpes and venereal disease to prove it. Sweat of the brow, right there!) You know, those diamond-rimmed toilets aren't going to pay for themselves; I only manage to afford one for every rounded corner I sue, and only half of one if it's on the Internet. If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member... Oh, wait, that's what you're trying to do here, isn't it. That still won't stop me spamming my credentials all over, and you totally won't know who I am, Ronald J. Riley. I would spam Ars Technica more often, but they keep requiring pesky sign-in accounts and blocking those I create, and that makes me sad.

    Those wishing to help fellate tasty corporate cock should contact us as below and join the under-the-table orgy as we are collaborating to create a corporate clusterfuck the likes of Congress has never seen to render them unable to think past the euphoria of bribery and ejaculation.

    For the truth about STDs and so-called due process, please see http://lookatme.imronaldjriley.org/imsocleverarenti.durp
    http://heywheredoyouthinkyouregoing.LOOKATME.youfilthylittlefreetard.com/
    http://www.patentcockgobbli ng.org/publications/defining-AIDS/article/696969
    http://whatsthatmrmyhrvold.com/abstract=yesillgetbac kunderthetable

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 12:42am

    Re:

    Well, both Apple and MS have their own troll in Rockstar, which has got to be the most comical name for a corporation in the tech sector that actually does nothing.

    So, like Metallica, who haven't done anything good in about 25 years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 3:48am

    so congress continually complains about how something in law is NOT working, gets the chance to fix it and thinks more of the lobbying dollars than doing what they are supposed to be doing? then it's not just a new 'patent troll' law that's needed, it's a new bunch of representatives in Congress! but then i suppose everyone knew that but there isn't anyone with honesty and balls out there who can be relied on once in office to do what really needs doing!!

     

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  9.  
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    HI, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 6:08am

    Trolls are a smokescreen

    The abusive litigation problem is a smokescreen for an effort by some very big companies (Google, Samsung, and others) to weaken the patent system. Their main goal is to weaken property rights, not to end abusive practices. Take fee shifting for example. If that passes, which startup will be able to prevent a big company from completely ripping off its technology? Or the customer exception. Samsung will point to Foxconn, Foxconn will point to TSMC, TSMC will point to ten different companies, and the innovator will have no one to go after. It will be open season on American innovation.

    The big companies want to keep shipping jobs to Asia and not have to worry about designing around innovators. So before you mindlessly repeat inanities, ask yourself this: what does the measure do to a start-up's ability to protect its innovation? You'll see that some of the proposed measures are indeed about stopping litigation abuse (e.g. pleading and demand letter reforms), while others are about gutting the system for small players (e.g. fee shifting, customer exception).

     

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  10.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 12th, 2014 @ 7:35am

    Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    The abusive litigation problem is a smokescreen for an effort by some very big companies (Google, Samsung, and others) to weaken the patent system

    No, it's an effort to fix a very broken patent system.

    Take fee shifting for example. If that passes, which startup will be able to prevent a big company from completely ripping off its technology?

    I would imagine many, assuming they have a legitimate case. Fee shifting only happens in bogus cases.

    Or the customer exception. Samsung will point to Foxconn, Foxconn will point to TSMC, TSMC will point to ten different companies, and the innovator will have no one to go after. It will be open season on American innovation.

    Hahahah. That's simply untrue. The customer exception is pretty clearly defined and what you describe simple would not be enabled under the program.

    Stop pulling your talking points from Intellectual Ventures lobbyists, because it just looks silly.

    So before you mindlessly repeat inanities, ask yourself this: what does the measure do to a start-up's ability to protect its innovation?

    I work with startups on a daily basis. None (and I do mean none) are worried about "protecting" their innovation. They're ALL worried about getting sued by patent trolls for their innovation. They worry about user adoption, but they're confident that if someone else "copies" them, that they're better positioned to out innovate the copycat.

     

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    Hi, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    "Fee shifting only happens in bogus cases."

    Aha. So let's do fee shifting across the board. Eliminate bogus ADA, employment discrimination, personal injury, and landlord tenant cases. There's litigation abuse everywhere, and it's a feature of the American system. Sure, access to justice may be reduced, but we'll get rid of bogus cases.

    "I work with startups on a daily basis. None (and I do mean none) are worried about "protecting" their innovation."

    Many startups are working on real technology rather than the latest inane game or teen fad, and they absolutely are worried about protecting their technology. The self-righteous ignorance in this debate is staggering.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    A Guy who speaks based on dealing with startups can hardly be called ignorant

     

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    Hi, Apr 12th, 2014 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    One final point:

    "Hahahah. That's simply untrue. The customer exception is pretty clearly defined and what you describe simple would not be enabled under the program."

    That's what you say. Someone with a bit more knowledge said otherwise in testimony before Congress.

    "Former USPTO Director David Kappos emphasized this fact when testifying before the House Committee on the Judiciary:

    [A]s currently written the stay provision permits all parties in the product channel downstream of the first component part maker to escape infringement liability, including large commercial actors such as manufacturers combining procured components into value-added completed devices, as well as assemblers, and others not operating in the roles of “mere retailers” or “mere end users”, and certainly not operating in the roles of “mom and pop shops”. This unnecessarily devalues intellectual property and thus innovation by artificially limiting or even eliminating legitimate patentees’ ability to protect their innovations. It also may leave an American innovator with no infringer at all to pursue where infringing manufacturers are located outside the reach of the US courts, such as overseas, or lack adequate assets to answer for infringement."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2014 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    And your solution is to believe Intellectual Ventures and companies who sue other smaller companies for scanning documents for email.

    Yeah, no.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2014 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Aha. So let's do fee shifting across the board. Eliminate bogus ADA, employment discrimination, personal injury, and landlord tenant cases. There's litigation abuse everywhere, and it's a feature of the American system. Sure, access to justice may be reduced, but we'll get rid of bogus cases.

    Other countries actually have had success with fee shifting in helping get rid of bogus cases. That you seem unaware of this says something. Not something good, mind you.

    Many startups are working on real technology rather than the latest inane game or teen fad, and they absolutely are worried about protecting their technology. The self-righteous ignorance in this debate is staggering.

    I don't deal with startups working on "inane games or teen fads." Nearly all are doing what I would consider "real technology." None are worried about "protecting" innovation. They know they can win in the market, so what's to protect? You call me ignorant based on your own ignorance.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2014 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    That's what you say. Someone with a bit more knowledge said otherwise in testimony before Congress.


    Kappos has been hired to work for the group I mentioned in the article above, to fight against meaningful patent reform. He's not exactly an unbiased party.

    Frankly, the customer exception is so weakly written as to be almost useless. It should be strengthened, not done away with. As it stands, the stay only happens if a company sues *both* customers and upstream. And this is eminently reasonable (except, of course, if you're abusing the system). The concept of patent exhaustion does matter, you know. I recognize that patent trolls hate it, but that's because they want to double, triple and quadruple dip.

     

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    cratman (profile), Apr 13th, 2014 @ 7:22pm

    reform?

    I don't deal with startups working on "inane games or teen fads." Nearly all are doing what I would consider "real technology." None are worried about "protecting" innovation

    You appear to be suggesting that no startup worried about protecting innovation has retained you are should consider doing so. Was that your intent?

     

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  18.  
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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Apr 13th, 2014 @ 10:14pm

    Re: reform?

    Protection and innovation are mutually exclusive. Those who are worried about protection are one-trick ponies and they know it.

     

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  19.  
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    Pragmatic, Apr 14th, 2014 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    ^This. Are we innovating in anything but trolling over imaginary property these days?

    Patents don't incentivize innovation, they're a protectionist measure to stop anyone else from adapting an existing idea for twenty years without paying for a license first.

    Anyone who relies on protectionism over innovation is going to pay for it sooner or later. They'll be left behind when the patent term runs out.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re:

    "without paying for a license first."

    It's worse than that. With the exception of patents used in standards, a patent holder has no obligation to give a license to anybody. Also, there are patent holders who give out licenses at no charge.

    So a patent is a protectionist measure to stop anyone else from using an invention without the inventor's permission.

     

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  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 9:46am

    Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    "ask yourself this: what does the measure do to a start-up's ability to protect its innovation?"

    I only really know about the patent system's effect in the software industry, so I confine this comment to that arena. Far from being a tool to protect startups, patents present a huge risk to startups. It's essentially impossible to know if what you're doing will end up infringing on someone's patent. It makes a business venture into something of a crap shoot.

    On the flip side, patents are all but useless in terms of protecting startups. Asserting or defending a patent requires a lot of time, energy, and money. The very things that startups tend not to have a lot of. The patent system skews the entire playing field sharply in the favor of larger corporations at the expense of the small guys.

     

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  22.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:03am

    Re: Patents are dead anyway

    This new legislation is doesn't matter much anyway because the law from 2011 (the America Invents Acts) set up a new procedure called Inter Partes Review in which 95% of all patent claims are being invalidated. There will be a lot less patent lawsuits in 2014 than last year.

     

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  23.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    I own 20% of a tech startup involved in speech recognition, and we are very worried that one of the big tech companies involved in The Internet of Things will steal us blind of our inventions once we have proved that a market exists for our products. We have been to CES, and have seen how much $ the big tech companies have put into their exhibits, and we know that with about that money, the could reverse engineer and steal all of our good ideas. Why wouldn't they if they could ? Do you really think that the ethics of Google have improved much in the last 2 years?

    http://patent-counselors.com/?p=189

     

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  24.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Under the Ebay Supreme Court Decision in 2006, a patent owner that does not make products can NOT get an injunction from the infringer, so the patent owner can only get a royalty. Your information is nearly a decade out-of-date. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBay_Inc._v._MercExchange,_L.L.C.

     

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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Re: How to protect/eliminate right to troll

    Now that 95% of all patents in Inter Partes review in the Patent Office are being invalidated, there is nothing to stop China from stealing our best ideas and putting them in their products, at bottom dollar prices: http://patent-counselors.com/?p=189

     

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  26.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Yep, when a company is new, they really can't enforce their patents against other companies unless they sell their patents for a patent enforcement company such as Intellectual Ventures, but out company expects to have the revenue to support litigation against infringers in 2015, so we are glad we started filing patents in early 2009. We planted good seed when we could, and harvest starts soon.

     

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  27.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Judges have been throwing out bogus ADA lawsuits in Florida for years now, without any changes to the law.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    You sure post a lot of links to pro-troll propaganda, but never once say what your actual company is. Gee... I wonder why.

    Anyway, having quite a bit of familiarity with the speech recognition space, and knowing that it's a giant patent thicket, if you're actually doing something innovative, I can assure you that you're going to get sued by Nuance or some others in the space who have it locked up with patents already.

    Anyway, as we've pointed out many times, ideas are meaningless. It's all about execution. If you can't execute, you're fucked. Meanwhile, Google has tried copying lots of others' ideas and often failed because they're not good at executing. Look at the failures of Wave, Reader, Knol and many other Google projects. If you're too worried about Google you're probably not executing very well.

     

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  29.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    We are worried about a whole bunch of companies copying our ideas. We are just now starting sales; and in fact have resisted shipping product until it was ready for prime-time; we could have had sales 2-3 years ago, if that is all we wanted; but we wanted a perfected product. Yes, we like patent enforcement companies because they might be our only path to revenue if we fail in the marketplace. Hopefully we have enough of a niche market where we can build cash reserves before competitors start infringing and we need to sue; otherwise, we will have to sell/license our patents to a patent enforcement company. Thanks for you concern that we are infringing, but our review indicates that we are not infringing.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2014 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    "Yes, we like patent enforcement companies because they might be our only path to revenue if we fail in the marketplace"

    I love how blatently you admit being a corrupt business man and love more how the system allows it

     

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  31.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    It is not corrupt to sell our patents to the highest bidder, for any reason. Patents are like real estate. You don't have to live it to rent it out.

     

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  32.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Patents are like real estate.

    You pay property taxes on them? No?
    When someone violates them, you charge them with trespassing? No?
    The boundaries are clear? No?

    Sorry. Patents are not at all like real estate.

     

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  33.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    We are worried about a whole bunch of companies copying our ideas. We are just now starting sales; and in fact have resisted shipping product until it was ready for prime-time;

    Which says to me you have no clue whatsoever how your product will do in the real world. That's the problem with people who overvalue ideas over execution. They think that you need to focus on perfection, without realizing that the best way to innovate is to let the market actually respond to your product.

    Either way I'll note you still haven't named your company.

    I call bullshit on your story.

    Yes, we like patent enforcement companies because they might be our only path to revenue if we fail in the marketplace.

    So you admit that even if no one likes your product you're cool with killing those who actually successfully innovate. That's sick.

    our review indicates that we are not infringing.

    Yeah, same with basically every company out there... and then as soon as they do something successful they get hit with infringement claims. We'll see how much you like patent trolling *if* you ever actually build a product that people want (which seems doubtful from everything you've said so far).

     

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  34.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Well Mr. Masnick - I will be damned if I tell you the name of my company considering your irrational hated-filled posts on this website. Last thing I need is to have you drag our company's name through the mud because we support patents and you hate patents. Yep, I am very concerned that some big company will take our good ideas and integrate them in to their products and use their better marketing and financial resources to quash us. Where did you ever get the idea that the company with the best products win in the marketplace? What planet are you from ?

    We have a product that is being sold, as I said "We are just now starting sales" and we have 2 beta installations that have replaced competitors products that cost nearly $20K for each installation; with very good reviews, but which is all the more to fear that one of the large tech companies will steal our good ideas.

    I think you are just a shill for the big tech companies in the Consumer Electronics Association. Whether you are a dupe or paid by them is immaterial, you are doing evil work for the CEA.

    Anyway, Qualcomm is starting to fight back against those of you who support the theft of other people's good products.

    I call BS on you idea that somehow good implementation of technical ideas automatically makes for success in the marketplace.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2014 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    You pay property taxes on them?

    Maintenance fees are taxes that must be paid lest forfeiture occur.

    When someone violates them, you charge them with trespassing?

    Infringement is a form of trespass.

    The boundaries are clear?

    The boundaries of claims can be much less than models of clarity, but in many instances the boundaries are not at all that difficult to discern. As for real property, one can describe the metes and bounds of a parcel of land with some precision, but metes and bounds does nothing to describe the rights held by various entities associated with the land. Maybe boundaries are a bit easier to identify with parcels of land versus patents, but burdens upon land (easements, covenants, liens, restrictions, etc.) are anything but an easy matter to identify and ascertain their scope.

     

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  36.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 6:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    The gov't shouldn't be taxing real estate. And in fact, the gov't does tax patents by charging periodic maintenance fees.

    But, I agree that the boundaries of patents are not as clear-cut as real estate. There is no database that one can use to definitely determine in a cost of a few hundred dollars that we are not infringing. And patents can overlap each other, much different than real estate. And that might be the one difference that causes so many anti-property rights people to hate patents.

    I have noticed that the biggest rejection of patents is from left-wing anti-property rights people and from right-wing anti-competitive big company people. Politics does make strange bed-fellows.

     

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  37.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 14th, 2014 @ 6:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Thanks for helping out against Masnick. Looks like we understand patents similar.

    Masnick doesn't understand that patents are a different forum of competition, amoung other forums such as engineering, marketing and finance. He foolishly assumes that the best product wins the market, you know, like Microsoft Windows (ha ha !) He seems to have forgotten that if Microsoft hadn't given $250 mil to Apple in 1999, Apple would have gone under.

    "Steve Jobs Used Patents to Get Bill Gates to Make 1997 Investment In Apple": http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2012/03/01/steve-jobs-used-patents-to-get-bill-gates-to-make -1997-investment-in-apple/

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 12:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    '...patent enforcement company such as Intellectual Ventures'

    'Patent enforcement company', that's certainly a new way to describe patent trolls who don't create anything, and don't offer any service, other than shaking down companies who might have otherwise been successful.

    If you really think that such 'patent enforcement companies' are productive parts of the economy, I can't help but hope you get to enjoy the attention of a few of them yourself, so you get to see just what it's like on the receiving end.

    ...but out company expects to have the revenue to support litigation against infringers in 2015, so we are glad we started filing patents in early 2009. We planted good seed when we could, and harvest starts soon.

    So basically you couldn't succeed in making sufficient profits selling your own product/service, so you're going to take to shaking down other companies who you believe infringe on your patents to 'make up the difference'. Brilliant, and sure to spur innovation and creation, which are what patents are originally designed to do, right? /s

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2014 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    "Masnick doesn't understand that patents are a different forum of competition"

    1984, patent version: Monopolies are competition

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 7:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Yes, the possibility that we could obtain some ROI in the event that a big computer company stole our inventions and put them in their own products and outsold us using their superior marketing and financial power was a factor in our original investment decision 6 years ago. Patents did help us put nearly a million $ in investment in our R&D over 5 years ago, so yes, patents were an incentive. As Pres. Lincoln said "the patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln%27s_patent. App developers wouldn't want patents because they have a short time horizon, but we were in this for the long haul.

    BTW - read my other posts here, we do have sales; just atarted sales in 2014; but we are still worried about a large tech company squashing us with superior marketing and financial power. We are involved in voice control of The Internet of Things, and we know from CES that large companies have a huge interest in this market. If they could, they would reverse engineer everything for $100K and steal us blind. We have worked in the computer industry for a long time and have seen that happen to a lot of companies along the way.

    My guess is that someone on this board wants big tech companies to steal the inventions of small companies. Where did you ever get the notion that the company with the best technology always wins in the marketplace ? There are many forums of competition; such as technology, marketing, finance and patents. Patent protection is written into the U.S. Constitution, but not technological innovation, marketing prowess or financial prowess.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 15th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Yes, for a limited time (20 years), product competitors get to shut each other out of their inventions, it's been that way in England for almost 1000 years and always that way in the U.S. since the U.S. became a separate nation. If it makes you happy, the 2006 decision Ebay v. Merc prohibited injunctions by patent owners who do not make products in that industry, so they cannot enforce a monopoly.

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 5:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    And my guess is that you want to follow the footsteps of companies who sue smaller firms for having the gall to scan documents and attach them to emails.

    You're not the only one who can fling accusations.

     

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

  43.  
    icon
    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 16th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    If I were to make the rules, I would make minimum infringement much higher that the $1000 for which that company is suing consumers, such as at least $50,000, which I think would take away a lot of the fear of patents. That company is the poster child of abusive patent litigants. http://patent-counselors.com/?p=224

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    staff, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 8:05am

    more dissembling by Masnick

    'History Repeats Itself: Patent Abusers Successfully Stymie Anti-Patent Troll Bill In The Senate'


    infringers and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

    anyone who sues us for stealing their invention

    All this talk about trolls and so called ‘patent reform’ is just spin control by large infringers and their paid puppets to cover up their theft.

    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=276448190& ;m=276545654&live=1
    http://www.npr.org/2013/11/06/243022966/secret-persuasion-how-big-campaign-do nors-stay-anonymous

    The patent system now teeters on the brink of lawlessness. 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 stop or pay”. It’s a pure red herring by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. Their goal is to legalize 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. To infringers the only patents that are legitimate are their own -if they have any. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more US jobs overseas.

    It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful -campaign contributors. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the US economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius (anyone know how to make a Stradivarius violin?) and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. Worse yet, we destroy the American dream -the ability to prosper from our ingenuity for the benefit of our families and communities. To kill or weaken the patent system is to kill all our futures. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. If we cannot own the product of our minds or labors, what can we be said to truly own. Life and liberty are fundamentally tied to and in fact based on property rights. Our very lives are inseparably tied to our property.

    Prior to the Supreme Court case 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 eBay 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 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 into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, 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 and so-called patent reform, please see http://truereform.piausa.org/default.html#pt.
    http://piausa.wordpress.com/
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/142741
    http://s srn.com/abstract=1792442

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Your solution is to raise the minimum amount trolls can sue people for?

    Sorry, but minimum penalties mean shit. It doesn't put any burden on the troll; just gives them a bigger threat to hammer smaller organizations with. A larger likelihood of a higher monetary penalty would intimidate defendants more into settling before a court case even happens.

    But what a surprise, you proposing a solution that enables the trolls to troll harder.

     

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

  46.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 16th, 2014 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Only in your imaginary world.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2014 @ 1:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Was that supposed to be a comeback, or did the little patented nail get smacked on its little patented head?

    You want to explain how raising fines for patent infringement - fines not paid by "abusive patent litigants" - discourages "abusive patent litigants"?

     

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

  48.  
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    Mark Syman (profile), Apr 17th, 2014 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    You need information on how judges deal with attorneys who overreach on damages claims. The bottom line is, it isn't pretty. Talk to a federal litigator for details.

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2014 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Except that as RIAA cases go, this is never what happens. Max damages are always cited to scare potential defendants into settling. Higher minimum penalties will simply scare defendants into caving quicker because of the higher amount of money they might be liable for.

    Likewise the RIAA has never been called out by judges for damage claims, despite making more money every year and granting Mitch Bainwol increasingly larger bonuses.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2015 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Trolls are a smokescreen

    Your comment is not correct because the patent owner must have some reasonable basis for the damages. For example, if the minimum was $250,000 no judge in America would say that any feature in scanner is worth $250,000 in benefit to the purchaser and user of a $150 scanner. Any judge would be incredulous. So, that means that Farney Daniels in Georgetown TX and MPH won't be able to sue retail users of scanners, and the people who want to 'borrow' every good idea that their competitor thought of won't be bent over in histrionics that a single mom got a demand letter because with a high minimum, Farney Daniels be shut out of this practice.

    To all of my colleague entrepreneurs, if you don't have patents, Big Tech will not pay nearly as much to acquire your company if you don't have patents. I used to work in acquisitions for a smartphone company, and part of the price of the acquisition was based on patents of the target. Don't kid yourself, you are shooting yourself in the foot by knocking patents. By citing the excesses in some patent litigation and using that as a call to stop patents, you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Ross, Feb 11th, 2015 @ 5:37am

    Please define "troll"?

    Are universities "trolls"? What about independent inventors? How about small businesses who invent something that they do not have the capital to build?

    Until you can define this term, stop using it. Google (who invested more than $17MM last year in anti-patent lobbying), Apple (who invested a similarly huge amount), want to define "troll" as "anyone who sues us for infringing their patents.

    Don't let them.

     

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


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