How Landmark Technology's Terrible Patent Has Survived

from the stupid-patent-of-the-decades dept

Stupid Patent of the Month

There’s an increasing insistence from the highest echelons of the patent world that patent abuse just isn’t a thing anymore. The Director of the U.S. Patent Office, Andre Iancu, has called patent trolls—a term for companies that do nothing but collect patents and sue others—mere “monster stories,” and suggested in a recent oversight hearing that it was simply name-calling. 

But whatever you call them—trolls, non-practicing entities, or patent assertion entities—their business model, which involves stockpiling patents to sue productive companies rather than making goods or services, continues to thrive. It’s not hard to find examples of abusive patent litigation that make clear the threat posed by wrongly-issued patents is very real.

Take, for instance, the patents that Lawrence Lockwood owns. These patents have been used to sue companies, large and small, for nearly 20 years now. Through his company Landmark Technologies and his earlier company PanIP, more than 100 lawsuits have been filed against businesses—candy companies, an educational toy maker, and an organic farm, to name a few. Because these companies engage in “sales and distribution via electronic transactions,” or use an automated system “for processing business and financial transactions,” Landmark says they infringe one of its patents.

Those lawsuits don’t account for the other companies that have received licensing demands, but have not been sued in court. The numerous threats made with Lockwood’s patents are made clear both by news accounts of Lockwood’s activity, as well as the several small business owners that have reached out to EFF after being targeted by Lockwood’s patents. 

Patent Office records show Lockwood first applied for a patent in 1984, but his litigation ramped up after he acquired U.S. Patent No. 6,289,319 back in September 2001. The document describes an “automatic business and financial transaction processing system,” which Lockwood has interpreted to give him rights to demand licensing fees from just about any web-based business. Upon receiving that patent, Lockwood promptly sent 100 letters to various e-commerce businesses, demanding $10,000 apiece. When that didn’t work, he started filing lawsuits.

For more than 15 years now, some companies have been paying thousands of dollars to license Lockwood’s patents rather than pay the legal fees required to defend themselves. Hiring attorneys to fight the patents would have cost far more, and Lockwood was keenly aware of this leverage.

“Do they really want to spend $1 million and two years of their life to invalidate a patent they can license for a couple thousand dollars?” Lockwood said in 2003, speaking to a Los Angeles Times reporter about his lawsuits. “People get divorced over this stuff. They have strokes over this.”

Sixteen years and more than 100 lawsuits later, stress and the expenses continue to mount for Lockwood’s targets. Through Landmark, Lockwood continues to demand money from businesses that provide basic e-commerce, although his price has gone up. Companies targeted by Landmark Technology patents in recent years have shown demand letters [PDF, PDF] indicating the company now demands around $65,000 to avoid a lawsuit. 

Not a single court has ever weighed in on the merits of Lockwood’s patent claim, according to court papers [PDF] filed in 2017 by one of his targets. 

Despite some court rulings that have helped cut back patent trolling over the years, nothing has slowed down Lockwood’s broad assault on Internet commerce. This year, through a newly created company called “Landmark Technology A,” Lockwood’s patent no. 7,010,508—related to the ‘319 patent that came before it—has been used to sue two more companies: a specialty bottle-maker in south Seattle, and an Ohio company that sells safety equipment

Based on Landmark’s history, it’s unlikely these two lawsuits will be the last. 

Continuations and Consequences

How did this happen, and how does it continue? Lockwood applied for his first solely-owned patent in 1984, getting it two years later. It describes a network of “information and sales terminals” that could “dispens[e] voice and video information, printed documents, and goods,” accepting credit card payments. There’s no evidence Lockwood developed any such network or even had the ability to do so. In fact, Lockwood, a former travel agent, reportedly admitted during a deposition that he had never used a personal computer “for any length of time,” according to the 2003 Los Angeles Times profile.  

In the mid-90s, Lockwood sued American Airlines for patent infringement, seeking to collect royalties on its SABRE flight reservation system, which he claimed infringed three of his patents. He lost that case when, in 1997, an appeals court agreed with the district court that his patent claims were not infringed and were invalid.

That wasn’t the end of Lockwood’s efforts to make money through patent litigation, though. He continued to get more patents, acquiring Patent No. 6,289,319 in 2001, and 7,010,508 in 2006. Both patents have been used in more than 85 lawsuits, according to the LexMachina legal database. He was able to get those patents despite the fact that they were based on a patent that had been found invalid. Even better for Lockwood, he was allowed to use the “priority date” of the earlier patent. That means the only prior art that could be used to invalidate the patent would have to be from earlier than that priority date—May 24, 1984. 

Led by a family-owned chocolate shop, a group of small businesses banded together to share legal costs and fight Lockwood’s PanIP. When they put up a website about PanIP’s abuse of the system, Lockwood sued the owner of the chocolate shop for defamation and trademark infringement.

The ‘319 patent, which is richly deserving of our “Stupid Patent of the Month” award, was issued because of a problem we’ve spoken about before—abuse of the continuation process.

The Patent Office allows applicants to file “continuation” applications with new claims, as long as they’re based on what was disclosed in previously-filed applications. This creates opportunities for applicants to game the system and get patents on advances they could not have developed. For example, even though Lockwood applied for the ‘319 patent in 1994, it’s a continuation of the original 1984 application—which means that only prior art from 1984 or earlier can be used to invalidate it. 

Landmark’s complaints demand money from operating businesses, claiming that because their systems process “business and financial transactions between entities from remote sites,” they infringe the ‘319 patent. Their recent complaint [PDF] against Illinois-based Learning Resources, Inc. includes a claim chart [PDF] explaining the alleged infringement, which is a 42-page detailed chart that describes using a computer to order a toy on the defendant’s website. 

That chart makes clear that Landmark’s patent doesn’t claim any particular technological advance—just the basic idea of transmitting data between networked computer terminals.  

This patent should be invalid under Section 101 of the patent laws for failing to claim an actual invention. At best, it describes basic computer technology—like an “on-line means for transmitting said information, inquiries, and orders”— to exchange information, and respond to orders. That is a ubiquitous and essential part of e-commerce, not a patent-eligible invention.

Right now, lobbyists are pushing for a wholesale re-write of Section 101, which is the best chance of stopping patents like this one early enough in a case to avoid spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and expert witnesses. Drastic alterations to Section 101 could leave targets of Landmark in an even worse position—in order to get out of a multi-million dollar lawsuit, they’ll have to find published, pre-1984 prior art describing the precise, nearly indefinable contours of Lockwood’s “invention,” and invest huge sums on prior art investigations as well as expert witness reports. 

Before lawmakers distort Section 101 so that it’s nearly useless, they should consider campaigns like Landmark’s. It involves an “inventor” who’s long been focused on litigating patents, not creating new innovations—and who admits to leveraging the high cost of litigation defense against small businesses. Lowering the bar for patent-eligibility even further will do far more to threaten innovation than encourage it.

Reposted from EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month series.

Filed Under: lawrence lockwood, patent trolls, patents, websites
Companies: landmark technology, panip


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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 1:54pm

    "patent abuse isn’t a thing anymore"

    There’s an increasing insistence from the highest echelons of the patent world that patent abuse just isn’t a thing anymore.

    I take this is comes from an Ajit Pai clone who's parked in a regulatory agency and serving his time before he gets a sweet, sweet cushy job as a corporate lobbyist?

    Because it's about as absurd as any of Pai's claims.

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 1:57pm

      Re: "patent abuse isn’t a thing anymore"

      No it's true - absolutely no one would be doing eCommerce if it wasn't for this patent.
      110% legit.
      People wouldn't invent, or create, or write if they couldn't [protect their ideas for two lifetimes. :)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:12pm

    Isn't there a "use it or lose it" doctrine?

    We should restrict patent protection to those who actually use the patents. Copyrights should expire X years after they leave the market as well ("orphaned works"), or whoever owns these things should lose the right to sue for infringement while it's inactive, thus allowing them to maintain ownership without trolling.

    We could alter patent law so that only injunctive relief and costs (without attorney fees) are available as nominal damages when a "patent troll" (by whichever standard) sues.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:39pm

      Re:

      in fact, how are these patents not expired yet?

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

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:44pm

        Re: Re:

        A good chunk of the article was dedicated to how - by being unscrupulous the owner is able to claim a continuation, that he innovated on the original patent. Because the patent system is screwed up, they can't check developments in the last 25 years as 'prior art' when examining the new patent.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And as it also states: the patent abusers price the licenses to be cheaper than lawsuits. So, while a court might take issue with the continuation abuse—maybe they'd say of course something from 1990 counts as prior art—they're never given the chance to review it.

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 2:50pm

      Re:

      The goal of Patents is to encourage the public release of innovations by inventors. The issue with your comments are that, broadly speaking, inventors are not largely effective at marketing or sales. The capacity for an inventor to licence their patents to a broad audience is beneficial. The willingness of the VHS patent holders to licence the core tech to a variety of manufacturers lead to a highly competitive and innovative market in VHS devices, which played a part in the success of VHS over Betamax.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:03am

      Re:

      Isn't there a "use it or lose it" doctrine?

      Yes -- in trademark law.

      We're talking about patents.

      Copyrights should expire X years after they leave the market as well ("orphaned works"), or whoever owns these things should lose the right to sue for infringement while it's inactive, thus allowing them to maintain ownership without trolling.

      I think I could get behind that. It would encourage copyright holders to keep works in print, but wouldn't encourage them to engage in the type of frivolous litigation that (some) trademark holders do on the pretext of having to sue everybody all the time or risk losing their marks.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 4:58pm

    A mechanical licensing system might work.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 5:03pm

    I thought the supreme court already declared that patents on mundane processes but done "on a computer" were automatically invalid. I hope someone pushes back and this guy ends up dirt broke in a gutter begging with a sign that reads "Will invent for food".

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:05am

      Re:

      I thought the supreme court already declared that patents on mundane processes but done "on a computer" were automatically invalid.

      They did, but that doesn't trigger an automatic review of already-existing patents. Anybody who filed for a patent before Alice still has that patent, and can continue to enforce it until somebody sues and a court rules it invalid.

      If you think this indicates a broken system, you're right.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 6:42pm

    Is this real or just bullshit?

    Maybe you could outline your case more clearly. I think you are saying that (a) the patents have not been invalidated and instead are active and enforceable and totally legal but (b) the entity asserting the patents does not display new inventions, according to your personal standards. So, because he is not performing the work that you think he should perform, his valid, legal, enforceable patents should not be available to him. Do you have a clear standard about what he would have to be doing in order to legitimately assert his own patents? Or is this just a bullshit argument?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 7:04pm

      Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

      Reading is hard.

      "This patent should be invalid under Section 101 of the patent laws for failing to claim an actual invention. At best, it describes basic computer technology—like an “on-line means for transmitting said information, inquiries, and orders”— to exchange information, and respond to orders. That is a ubiquitous and essential part of e-commerce, not a patent-eligible invention."

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 7:14pm

        Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

        OK, so you don’t want to respond concerning when a patent owner can legitimately assert valid patents. No problem, but thanks for confirming that the argument itself is bullshit. That’s progress. Maybe the inventor had a health problem, maybe he had financial problems, maybe he is developing a new product but has not introduced it yet. The argument about the patent owner doing or not doing something else has always been bullshit.

        About section 101, I believe you are asserting a legal opinion. Unfortunately for you, a US Patent agent does not share your opinion. If your opinion is so legitimate, just write it down and give it to the USPTO, I think you can do this FOR FREE and it will be added to the patent file.

        About what the article misstates concerning continuations, consider this: At the time of the first disclosure of the original patent, it is almost always impossible to claim every part of the invention. There are limits to the number of claims on a single patent (without paying additional fees). So, the inventor always files a subset of the POSSIBLE claims that are CLEARLY described in the patent body. Should he decide to file NEW CLAIMS that are FULLY SUPPORTED by the patent body later, that’s totally fair and within the rights of the original inventor. No problem. Have at it.

        Patents are good for America and American Society. But then I’m guessing that either (a) you are not American or (b) you take taking money for your bullshit opinions.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 7:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

          So you're unable to read. Got it.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

            I am able to read well enough to understand that the article is based on weak ideas that cannot stand up to scrutiny. I can read well enough to understand that your argument is trivial and unsupported by the facts. And I can see from your response that you are embarrassed and running away like a weak little girl because you have nothing to say of worth listening to.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 8:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

              Ah, you're the sort of person who thinks that Personal Audio LLC had standing to sue podcasters.

              That trial didn't work out so well for them now, did it Hamilton? Or perhaps you'd like to accuse the judge presiding over that case for treason?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 9:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                I have no idea who Personal Audio LLC is. Nor do I care (because I know nothing about them).

                What many people who oppose patents seem to miss is the intended (and actual demonstrated) benefit to society by motivating individuals to FILE patents and ENFORCE patents. For example, consider some military vet who learned something about compressors in the military, and then became an air conditioner repairman (good money). He works every day, fixes broken things again and again, and says to himself “Man! I could design something that would last longer than this shit!”. Good idea. We want him to design something better, and write it down. We want to motivate him to better all the air conditioners in America so they need less service. We want him to invest in his idea and reap the rewards of his investment.

                We want children to see people like him succeed, and imagine inventing things that better the world themselves. Me, for example, I really admired Edison when I was young. He was famously rich and successful and intelligent and brought a lot of wonderful things to the world. (Albeit I was troubled later with the stories about him electrocuting elephants).

                It’s the ideal that gets lost in all the discussion about “Patent Trolls”. We want people to invent, we want them to write everything down, and we want better things to happen, we want advancement in everything. In today’s society, some of the inventions are extraordinarily valuable, and a lot of money is concentrated in a few hands. We want to redistribute some of that wealth away from corporations and into the hands of legitimate inventors. We want that. So, that makes for a market for patents, and people buy them and sell them. That’s normal, usual, and we want that too.

                Imagine a world defined by every patent ever having been filed being NOT FILED. Not protected. THe status quo would rule everything, like China. Inventors would be powerless, unmotivated and unprotected from exploitation by companies with money.

                This is America! We Love American Inventors! They are Heroes to us all!

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Apr 2019 @ 10:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                  And entities like the ones you support do not invent anything, but accumulate patents to harass and sue those who actually invent instead of producing anything themselves.

                  But then you've already been briefed about this. Instead you chose, of your own volition, to support those who sue companies for the crime of using printers that have the "Scan to PDF" function.

                  I suppose in your ideal world, diagonal seat belts would also not exist since the inventor released it without a patent. Thanks for supporting more deaths by vehicular collision, Hamilton, what a stand-up guy you are.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:22am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                    What you don’t seem to recognize is that once you establish the incentive for inventors to invent, and patent their inventions, a “side effect” of this is that there is a market for patents, and they are bought and sold. So what? That’s a good thing. Good for Inventors. Good for America!

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:37am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshi

                      The "so what" happens when inventors are too busy defending themselves from patent trolls to continue invent anything, and the large corporations you claim to hate so much are thus incentivized to make money off litigation, not inventions.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:59am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bul

                        Hmm.. Why would a “patent troll” sue an inventor? Because the inventor is infringing on a patent from another inventor? What are you saying? Is this doublespeak? Did you see the funniest thing in the world this week? I mean the Mueller report containing a redacted section about Clinton having phone sex with Lewinski, and the Russians having a copy! Wow. The Russians had something on Clinton, not Trump! That’s just too funny, isn’t it? Patent trolls suing inventors? Are you Russian, or do you take money from Russians? Tell the truth.

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

                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 1:28am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just

                          https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180515/10265939837/over-podcast-patent-trolls-patent-is-official ly-completely-dead.shtml

                          Regarding humor, I think I'll stick to the real Indian getting scalped by the fake Indian instead of you getting obsessed about a sex video, thanks.

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 1:44am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or

                            Here, I'll do you one better.

                            https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170808/00402737953/appeals-court-agrees-awful-patent-use d-to-shake-down-podcasters-is-invalid.shtml

                            Hamilton demonstrated his love affair for Personal Audio two years ago. He literally thinks litigation for a patent that was never used in the manufacture or creation of any product, beyond expensive lawsuits targeting podcasters, is the ideal utopia he'd like to live in.

                            Naturally he's lying that he's never heard of Personal Audio, but give the guy a break. Shiva Ayyadurai's loss tore a gaping hole in the rubbish tip he calls a heart.

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:24am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real

                              I don't think any rational reader believes for a second Hamilton had no vested interest in Personal Audio LLC, but thanks.

                              I think I'll do a deep dive of 2017 and revisit all the times Hamilton fervently, passionately believed that all his fantasies of a Melania Trump/Shiva Ayyadurai presidency would come into fruition after Techdirt was nuked off the Internet. None of which happened, of course, despite his urgent pleas for the judge to take his posts as honest-to-God testimony.

                              Massachusetts tiger fairies... boy, what a fucking moron!

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:27am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this

                                Wow, even you remember the imaginary picture of Malania with Shiva - that’s funny!

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

                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:47am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is t

                                  Yeah, imagine that - people tend to remember you if you spout your fantasies on articles for over a year, gloating about the victory you counted before your chickens started to hatch. Who knew?

                                  And all that effort just to get a judge to tell you that he can't prove Shiva Ayyadurai invented email. All that time, effort and money and all you got was half a consolation prize. SAD!

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

                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:25am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real

                              Because I don’t remember someone from a story that I don’t remember even reading it means ...? Techdirt is not memorable? You are not memorable? Strange argument, no doubt.

                              I see UTube is showing me new conservative videos. I see Bernstein is now asking the same question the NYT is asking - did the Russians work with Hillary to concoct/promote the Steele dossier? It’s all collapsing around the feet Obama’s administration, which I heard (today) also had a copy of Hillary’s deleted EMails!

                              Wow. It just goes to show “if you wait long enough by the river, eventually you will see the bodies of your enemies float by”.

                              Some days I am reminded of why I love to be alive.

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:51am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this

                                Techdirt is not memorable? You are not memorable? Strange argument, no doubt.

                                Which is why that was a driving point of your argument in claiming nobody would ever support such an unmemorable site when sued by Shiva. And yet, despite the site being so unremarkable, it somehow does enough damage to murder thousands of inventors.

                                Turned out being batshit insane doesn't earn you a lot of sympathy from the judge, Hamilton. Neither do your fantasies of Shiva taking the presidency!

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

                • icon
                  Uriel-238 (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:28am

                  "We want children to see people like him succeed"

                  I grew up learning about people like Charles Goodyear who benefited very little, if at all. And then academics like Fermi or Feynman who sold their patents for a dollar as a formality.

                  In fact, we seem to get quite a few inventions without an incentive of a temporary monopoly. Rather intellectual property has turned into a rent-seeking racket by companies who, left to their own devices will sell medications at absurd, affordable prices because they know people will choose to pay rather than die.

                  So no, what good may have come from the patent system has been already brought to ruin. We'd be better without it at all than with the system we have.

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

            • identicon
              Rocky, 24 Apr 2019 @ 11:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

              If you have a process that can be done by a person, exchanging "by a person" with "by a computer" does not constitute an invention which is why this patent should be invalidated.

              Also, what you fail to address is what the company in the article does, they go after small businesses and organisations since they KNOW it's cheaper for those to just pay up instead of go to court.

              If the patent(s) in the article was unique and valuable, why doesn't Landmark et al go after the big commerce sites? Hmm?

              The tactics they employ are typical of patent trolls, anyone arguing differently is either benefiting from the situation or don't think it's a problem that small companies and organisations are shaken down.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                You are making a legal argument (at the beginning). If you are right, then why not just submit your argument to the USPTO?

                “Patent trolls” are simply buyers of patents, which is good for Inventors. Inventors want a market for their patents. The public wants the patents. Everybody wins. Except the big corporations, of course. Is that who you are advocating for?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 2:48am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                  The big corporations are the ones holding onto the patents right now, you corporate shill.

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

                • identicon
                  Rocky, 25 Apr 2019 @ 3:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                  Perhaps you missed the point that the first patent was invalidated and Lockwood still uses that patent as a basis for new patents he uses to shake down people with. The USPTO doesn't seem to give a shit, since they have a monetary incentive to keep rubber stamping any patent application that look somewhat reasonable.

                  Calling "patent trolls" simple buyers of patents is disingenuous at best. A "patent troll" is an entity that on the whole has a negative impact on the economy.

                  The public doesn't care about patents unless it directly impacts them - like for example a "patent troll" suing a service they are using so the cost increases or the service has to shutter.

                  How you can say "everybody wins" escapes my mind, unless you think "everyone" is a synonym for "patent troll".

                  And I'm not advocating for the big corporations, it's you who are advocating for patent troll assholes that is a detriment to society - especially in light of your "simple buyer of patents" comment.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                    Ok, so I will say it again in advance, because it is true, I have a bias towards patent holders.

                    (1) just because one patent was invalidated (meaning that the claims are no longer enforceable) does not require that another patent, with different claims, also be invalidated. You have to consider each claim on it’s own merits. That’s the law.

                    (2) I think you would concur that even what you call a “patent troll” has to buy his patents from inventors. From that simple basis, they have already contributed to the well being of inventors, and by the inference that inventors are to be encouraged, to society. Do not underestimate the value of inventiveness, it is what sustains a society and provides greater and greater riches for all.

                    (3) What the “public” thinks is not something that you have any credibility to assert. WTF are you? “The public”. I am I not “the public”?

                    (4) Everybody wins because (a) inventors are encouraged by receiving money for their patents and (b) the WHOLE SOCIETY is encouraged to be creative, inventive, helpful, clever, serious and hard working for the benefit of others. Do you get that? Say I invent something that makes air conditions require half the service - and in return, I get 1% of the money that everyone has saved. Everyone wins, and I am rich. Get it? Can you comprehend the idea? The value of invention.

                    (5) I am advocating for legitimate inventors. Why do you want to advocate against them?

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

                    • identicon
                      Rocky, 25 Apr 2019 @ 6:27am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshi

                      (1) Some of the newer patents are just an iteration of a prior invalidated patent and the only reason they where approved is because USPTO allowed the priority date of the first patent even though the latter patents included elements that where common knowledge. So the new claims where never really examined on their own merits. As I said earlier, the USPTO has a monetary interest in rubber stamping patent applications.

                      (2) You are arguing that it doesn't matter what the buyer of the patent does as longs as it benefits the inventor. The thing is, it's not about the inventor - it's about how "patent trolls" are a detriment to society. We don't say that arsonists are a benefit to society because they buy petrol which generate taxes and jobs.

                      (3) It was you that asserted that the public wants patents - I asserted that the public doesn't care about patents if it doesn't impact them directly, so you saying that I can't use my argument because I'm not the public renders your own argument null and void including your own credibility.

                      (4) "Everybody wins" is a statement that is provable false - otherwise we wouldn't have "patent trolls" litigating shitty patents that should never have been approved in the first place. From 1990 to 2010 for example, the actions of "patent trolls" resulted in a accumulated loss of $500 billion to inventors (companies and individuals) - see https://money.cnn.com/2011/09/21/technology/patent_troll_cost/index.htm.

                      (5) Please point to ONE instance where I have advocated against legitimate inventors. On the other hand, you have advocated that "patent trolls" are good for society because they are good for inventors which doesn't hold water (see above).

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 7:24am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bul

                        “The only reason they were approved is because the USPTO allowed the priority date ....” - what? Patents are approved because the claim is backed up by the body, and no prior art was found.

                        Contrary to what you say, new claims are ALWAYS examined on their own merits.

                        The legal system manages any disputes regarding patents, regardless of whether it is the original inventor asserting them or a later buyer. The patent does not change it’s nature depending upon who asserts it.

                        I said the public wants inventions, and patents incentivize inventors to invent and profit from their inventions, whether they sell to other or directly enforce their patents.

                        “Litigating shitty patents” - really - that’s an argument. Shit is an argument? You’re kidding, right?

                        You cite some bullshit number. Cite the accumulated value of all the inventions in the same period. It’s a hundred fold or more. You want that to stop, or you want to slow it down?

                        You are advocating against legitimate inventors when you focus your attention on your imaginary “patent trolls”. Bringing shit or trolls or black hearts into a debate is a weak strategy and not deserved of a direct response. Leave the shit and the religion out of the discussion, please.

                        What you are endorsing is to restrict the market for patents, and to restrict the income of inventors. That’s causing real damage to our society in the form of dis-incentivizing invention by inventors.

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

                        • identicon
                          Rocky, 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:43am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just

                          “The only reason they were approved is because the USPTO allowed the priority date ....” - what? Patents are approved because the claim is backed up by the body, and no prior art was found.

                          Contrary to what you say, new claims are ALWAYS examined on their own merits.

                          Are they? As I've repeatedly said, the USPTO has a monetary incentive to rubber stamp patents with only cursory examination. Why would we else see so many patents getting invalidated? See https://www.bilskiblog.com/2016/06/two-years-after-alice-a-survey-of-the-impact-of-a-minor-case/ for example.

                          I said the public wants inventions, and patents incentivize inventors to invent and profit from their inventions, whether they sell to other or directly enforce their patents.

                          Actually, you said patents. Which the public doesn't give a shit about, inventions on the other hand - that's a different thing. Many patents filed or bought today is for the express purpose to have a portfolio which can be used defensively. The majority of new patents are essentially manufactured, very few patents comes from private inventors. Very little of this is for the benefit of the public.

                          “Litigating shitty patents” - really - that’s an argument. Shit is an argument? You’re kidding, right?

                          So, no real counter argument then...

                          You cite some bullshit number. Cite the accumulated value of all the inventions in the same period. It’s a hundred fold or more. You want that to stop, or you want to slow it down?

                          No, I proved your argument was false by citing a number including references - if you want to call that bullshit YOU need to prove it's bullshit. And you can't suddenly move the goal post because your argument isn't true (everybody wins).

                          You are advocating against legitimate inventors when you focus your attention on your imaginary “patent trolls”. Bringing shit or trolls or black hearts into a debate is a weak strategy and not deserved of a direct response. Leave the shit and the religion out of the discussion, please.

                          Please cite ANY instance of where I've advocated against legitimate inventors! I choose to focus on "patent trolls" because what they do actually harms society. And "patent trolls" are hardly imaginary - I would guess that if you happen to be an litigation-happy NPE you would loathe that term because it reflects poorly on what you do.

                          And I will call something shitty when it's shitty in my opinion and provable shitty in general. I could exchange "shitty" for "worthless" but that wouldn't change my opinion about some patents - because they would still be shitty.

                          What you are endorsing is to restrict the market for patents, and to restrict the income of inventors. That’s causing real damage to our society in the form of dis-incentivizing invention by inventors.

                          Not at all. What I'm arguing for is that the USPTO would employ a higher standard for what level of originality is needed for a patent to be approved but also that they actually go and look for prior art - because what they are doing today at best, is putting the cost of research on defendants of patent litigation, at worse it never goes to litigation because the accused party can't afford to defend themselves in court and instead choose to pay the "troll fee".

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

                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 7:57pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or

                            Patents can be invalidated when the law changes. Duh. “Monetary incentives to rubber stamp patents”? Ridiculous and stupid. You can say shit all you want, it fits you. The patent office should “actually go and look for prior art” - they do, idiot. And they accept everything from anyone that would care to comment, and they consider it.

                            You have nothing to say. The truth is that the patent system is fabulously successful, with benefits you enjoy every day. You are advocating on behalf of large corporations to disproportionately focus on the less than 1% at the expense of the 99%. You seem to know nothing about the actual patent system, how it works, who it helps, or how to improve it. Instead, you just reiterate the same gibberish spouted by idiots like Mike.

                            Wait - are you Mike?

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

                            • identicon
                              Rocky, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:06am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real

                              I have nothing to say?

                              That's funny coming from someone who can't back his statements up with facts even if his life dependent on it.

                              If the patent system is so fabulously successful why is about 70% of approved patents invalidated upon re-examination?

                              Funny that... I point out the flaws and because of that you claim I'm shilling for corporations. It's almost like you are allergic to facts...which would mean you are shilling for patent trolls...

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

                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 2:18am

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this

                                You mean even if my life depended on it? Did you mean to say that 70% of approved patents are invalidated (they are not). I doubt you even have a clear definition of “patent troll”, let alone a command of the English language. Who is NOT a patent troll that asserts a patent? Can you explain that? WHO IS NOT A PATENT TROLL THAT ASSERTS A PATENT? Simple question. Hello! Any actual definitions behind your rhetoric? Or are you just a lemming following the socialist crowd over a cliff of ignorance and dishonesty?

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

                                • identicon
                                  Rocky, 26 Apr 2019 @ 3:35am

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is t

                                  Oh, nitpicking on spelling errors! You must be getting desperate.

                                  And, for some reason you haven't yet supplied one verifiable fact.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 5:31am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

                    Ok, so I will say it again in advance, because it is true, I have a bias towards patent holders.

                    (1) just because one patent was invalidated (meaning that the claims are no longer enforceable) does not require that another patent, with different claims, also be invalidated. You have to consider each claim on it’s own merits. That’s the law.

                    (2) I think you would concur that even what you call a “patent troll” has to buy his patents from inventors. From that simple basis, they have already contributed to the well being of inventors, and by the inference that inventors are to be encouraged, to society. Do not underestimate the value of inventiveness, it is what sustains a society and provides greater and greater riches for all.

                    (3) What the “public” thinks is not something that you have any credibility to assert. WTF are you? “The public”. I am I not “the public”?

                    (4) Everybody wins because (a) inventors are encouraged by receiving money for their patents and (b) the WHOLE SOCIETY is encouraged to be creative, inventive, helpful, clever, serious and hard working for the benefit of others. Do you get that? Say I invent something that makes air conditions require half the service - and in return, I get 1% of the money that everyone has saved. Everyone wins, and I am rich. Get it? Can you comprehend the idea? The value of invention.

                    (5) I am advocating for legitimate inventors. Why do you want to advocate against them?

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 5:51pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshi

                      Nobody is advocating against inventors. Shiva didn't invent email, therefore he's not getting advocated. Cry me a river.

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

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 6:10am

      Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

      Obviously, what he's doing is legal.

      The argument is really that he's gaming the patent system.

      If I used enough obfuscatory language in a patent application and it landed on the right clerk, I could get a patent for the concept of "chair".

      That should obviously be vacated the first time I try to enforce it.

      So I don't enforce it. I wait a few years then file for satellite patents based on my existing chair patent to cover chairs with arms, extra wide chairs, backless chairs, etc.

      Now I've got a huge array of legal patents I can use to file suit against everyone who makes chairs. Or takes a picture that has a chair in it.

      Yes, this should lead to wholesale invalidation of my patent cluster.

      But a Court has to decide that, and if I'm charging you ten grand a year (less than a minimum wage worker) to License use, it's at least a hundred times cheaper than taking it to court and fighting it.

      So, do you pay the ten grand, or do you think it's worth a million to fight it?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

        I challenge your assertion regarding a patent for a chair. You are talking out of your ass. Your example is completely contrived and unconvincing. You are advocating against inventors by trivializing the patent system in way that is both incorrect and insincere.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

        Obviously, what he's doing is legal.

        That's not obvious to me. Nor has it been shown to be obvious to a court, because the abusers have managed to avoid courts.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 8:14am

      Re: Is this real or just bullshit?

      How many hours a day do you spend writing drivel like this in the comments of a website you don't like, Ham?

      Pretty sad.

      I can see why John prefers plagiarizing other people's work; he can post his walls of text much more quickly and efficiently.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Apr 2019 @ 6:18am

    But their lobbyists, as they handed us generous donations, told us this would never happen & that anyone saying it was a bad thing was just uninformed!

    It is a pity that the lessons of history are lost on our leaders, but then the shiny shiny donations to their warchests blind them to downside for citizens.

    Patents, Trademarks, Copyright all grant these magical one sided powers to protect the holders from any scrutiny, while shifting all of the burdens to society that was meant to benefit but get barren plains as a reward. The battle cry of IP is our greatest asset, perhaps we should look at the quality of that IP & see if its actually worthy or just bolting 'on the internet' onto things to allow those who add nothing to extra rent from real innovators.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 12:18pm

    I don't think ideas are inventions. Anyone can have an idea, but what makes someone an inventor is the ability to conceive of a real device that makes the idea happen. Unfortunately, it seems like many modern patents are just ideas... they seem to describe a theoretical device that can do whatever it is they claim it can do, without any actual descriptions of how the device does it, and they slap an "embodiments may differ" statement at the end so that the patent can cover other versions of the same idea.

    As an example, it seems to me that I could patent the idea of a mouse trap by describing a device that can capture and/or restrain a mouse, without describing how the device actually does it. Then I say "embodiments may differ" and now my patent can cover both glue-style mouse traps and spring-style mouse traps... and all without me actually inventing anything. And when someone does figure out how to actually create a mouse trap, I get to sue them for patent infringement.

    Case in point, I found a patent application for a Faster-than-light engine. Yep, that's right, someone is trying to patent warp drive. Yet, all they do is describe one possible theory on how warp drive might work, and then say "here's a magic box that can do what I just described. Embodiments may differ." And yet, if this guy had invented warp drive, he'd be (legitimately) famous. Instead, he'll be able to sue the person who actually pulls it off. I have a problem with that.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2019 @ 6:06pm

      Re:

      You are right patents are not ideas. They have to describe something that can be built, in one form or another, and they must be novel, not already existing, and the patent body must describe in sufficient detail for one “skilled in the art” to actually build it.

      Your mouse trap will not be granted the way you describe it.

      About crazy patents, yes, there are many. Inventors sometimes “reach for the stars” with patents, and we want them to do this. It’s great and interesting and useful, and the inventor finances the whole process. I read one about an error correcting code that applies to DNA - wow, that’s something, isn’t it? Not granted, and doesn’t work, but really interesting ideas.

      The POINT I am trying to make is that encouraging people to IMAGINE, DOCUMENT and FILE patents is good for ALL SOCIETY. You are focusing on the less than one percent of bad actors but punishing all current and future generations of legitimate inventors. By demonizing “patent trolls”, you are (as a side effect) demonizing all inventors with patents. That’s just wrong. We WANT PEOPLE TO INVENT and we want people to PROFIT!

      That’s what you idiots don’t seem to grasp. Hundreds of years of the most inventive society that has ever been, and you want to damage the process that made it possible.

      You should be ashamed.

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

      • identicon
        Rocky, 26 Apr 2019 @ 1:22am

        Re: Re:

        The POINT I am trying to make is that encouraging people to IMAGINE, DOCUMENT and FILE patents is good for ALL SOCIETY. You are focusing on the less than one percent of bad actors but punishing all current and future generations of legitimate inventors. By demonizing “patent trolls”, you are (as a side effect) demonizing all inventors with patents. That’s just wrong. We WANT PEOPLE TO INVENT and we want people to PROFIT!

        So, are we just going to ignore patent troll assholes and their blight on society? Turn a blind eye to it?

        Because that seems to be what you are arguing. When we are talking about bad actors that fucks up life for others, either you are with them or you are against them - there are no sidelines.

        That’s what you idiots don’t seem to grasp. Hundreds of years of the most inventive society that has ever been, and you want to damage the process that made it possible.

        The only idiot here seems to be you. The process has already been damaged and it needs to be fixed.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 2:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are we just going to ignore people lawfully asserting patents? Yes. In fact, we are going to ENCOURAGE them to WRITE PATENTS and ASSERT PATENTS for a LONG TIME to come.

          What has been DAMAGED is the ENGLISH LANGUAGE by you leftist idiots. Define “Patent troll” as distinguished from Patent Owner. WHAT ARE YOUR STANDARDS? Oh wait, you’re a product of the “modern” education system where history was optional, right? Or are you the one that did not realize that the patent system benefits the whole society? Or did you ignore all the inventions that benefit YOU PERSONALLY that were patented? Do you think we are BETTER OFF without the PATENT SYSETM? Would you abandon it, along with ICE? Are you in prison or a mental institution? I hear Techdirt has quite a following in Both - Chelsea Manning, for example.

          Here’s a question - would you encourage your own children to write and assert patents? Or do you think that would make them EVIL?

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

          • identicon
            Rocky, 26 Apr 2019 @ 3:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You aren't very smart it seems. Either that, or you are a patent troll since you are so intent on defending them. But considering your rhetoric I'll go with "no very smart with spittle on the screen".

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 6:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Ok,quick review of our conversation: I assert that the patent system is of huge benefit to society, because it incentivizes inventors to invent. I point out that in such a system, it is totally reasonable and fair that inventors can sell their patents, and other inventors, or non-inventors, can buy those patents, because that’s a “win” for everyone.

              Your point is that because some tiny fraction of unscrupulous attorneys practice law badly, and an even smaller fraction do so in the field of patents, then patents should be outlawed. Or at least put through a much more rigorous process, because you now how to review them better than anyone else. Everyone else is stupid, your arguments are incredibly true and insightful, and all the lawyers that actually do this for a living a wasting their time, they should just listen to you.

              But when it comes to actual ideas of what you would reform, or change, or update, you haven’t a clue. You don’t understand what a patent is, how it is structured, how it is reviewed, or enforced, at all. You’re deluded but incredibly sure of yourself.

              Does that about sum it up?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 9:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                patent body must describe in sufficient detail for one “skilled in the art” to actually build it.

                As far as I'm concerned, that's not good enough. The inventor needs to be able to build it, or they haven't actually invented anything. They just came up with an idea, not an invention. In other words, it's not invented until it actually exists.

                Your mouse trap will not be granted the way you describe it.

                Of course not, because I didn't actually try to write patent claims. My point was that, for example, patent 6,289,319 mentioned in the article as one of the patents being asserted, claims as part of its invention a "means for manually entering information." That's pretty vague. That can cover voice recognition, a keyboard, a touch screen, scanning with OCR... which is it? It shouldn't be all of them. And if that's acceptable, why isn't "means for restraining rodent movement" which could cover glue, spring, box with trap door...

                Inventors sometimes “reach for the stars” with patents, and we want them to do this.

                No we don't. We want them to "reach for the stars" with their ideas, try to bring them to life, and then patent the ones that actually work. We don't want them to have an idea, fail to create it for whatever reason, and then be able to sue the person that was actually able to make it work (the real inventor).

                I read one about an error correcting code that applies to DNA - wow, that’s something, isn’t it? Not granted, and doesn’t work, but really interesting ideas.

                And it's good that it wasn't granted, because that person should have never applied for a patent for an idea.

                you want to damage the process that made it possible.

                No, I want to reform the process so that the "less than one percent of bad actors" can't do what they're doing. I'm perfectly fine with someone making money off of their invention, if they've actually invented something.

                Define “Patent troll” as distinguished from Patent Owner.

                I'm just spitballing here - this definition could probably stand to be refined, but how's this:

                Patent Troll - A party that owns one or more patents of questionable validity, does not engage in commerce with respect to the manufacture and sale of the devices over which a patent is claimed, and whose business model is mostly, if not completely, dedicated to the securing of revenue through settlement of patent infringement claims against other parties.

                Here’s a question - would you encourage your own children to write and assert patents?

                Sure, if they actually invented something. Although, if they invent something, I might advise great caution out of worry that they be victim of a frivolous infringement claim.

                Your point is that because some tiny fraction of unscrupulous attorneys practice law badly, and an even smaller fraction do so in the field of patents, then patents should be outlawed.

                I never said that, and I don't see where Rocky said that either.

                Or at least put through a much more rigorous process, because you now how to review them better than anyone else.

                I might not know how to fix a problem, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize that a problem exists.

                But when it comes to actual ideas of what you would reform, or change, or update

                Here's a few ideas - some might be better than others:

                1. Ensure that patent examiners are not evaluated based on the number of patents approved.
                2. If a large number of approved, but later invalidated, patents were all approved by one examiner, said examiner's performance should be reviewed.
                3. Require that a patentable device must have actually been fabricated before a patent can be approved.
                4. Require more specific language so that a vague claim can't apply to different implementations.
                5. Implement a "use-it-or-lose-it" provision to patents.
                6. If an infringement lawsuit is brought by a patent holder, the validity of the patent is called into question by the defendant (and their points have merit according to the judge), and then the patent holder drops the case, the judge can decide to have the patent re-evaluated anyway at the patent holder's expense, and the judge can also order the patent holder to pay the defendant's legal fees. (If you bring a case, argue it, and lose, that's one thing. It's something else to threaten a lawsuit as leverage and then drop the case and run away when your bluff is called.)

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 6:33pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I have some respect for the time you put into your response, but there is not much I agree with. Here is an overview:

                  Firstly, the patent much “teach” one “skilled in the art” how to build an invention. If you never actually built it, it would be difficult to teach someone else to build it. However, if you DO teach someone else how to build it, that should suffice.

                  Your point about reaching for the stars being ideas and not inventions is hard to grasp. The process of inventing should be incentivized, and that is done (mainly) through patents, and patents much provide instructions for how to build the invention. Your distinction between the idea and the patent seems trivial in this case. The patent is not the idea, it is actual instructions about how to build the invention.

                  Regarding your suggested changes to the process, I would suggest you consider this: the people that are damaged by the patent system the most are large corporations, because their infringement can be so massive. Large corporations, by definition, have access to a lot of capital. In most cases, inventors, especially new inventors, do not have access to large amounts of capital.

                  So the way the corporations are trying to change the playing field is to make it too expensive for small inventors to assert their patents. It’s no problem for big companies, but a huge problem for small inventors. So, every change to the patent system should take this into account. I’m all for good examiners and such, but make the system less expensive, not more expensive. Do not penalize the inventor if he does not have access to large capital, do not require him invest in an entire manufacturing business, and do not punish him unduly. Let him invent and buy and sell patents, as inventors have done for centuries.

                  Lower the financial burden to inventors to invent. That would be GREAT. Personally, I think your “patent troll” concept does real damage and prevents real inventions from coming to market. If you have legitimate concerns, and if I have legitimate concerns, we should work together to better the system, not call each other names.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 8:04pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Personally, I think your “patent troll” concept does real damage and prevents real inventions from coming to market

                    No, Hamilton, you don't. You really don't.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 26 Apr 2019 @ 10:42pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Just one final comment that I think even you would agree with. The patent system is too expensive. You cite that expense as the basis for the “extortion” by “patent trolls”. I cite the expense as favoring large corporations over legitimate and important new small inventors. We agree the system is too expensive, right? Lower the costs for everyone would be a good thing, right? Why don’t we co-promote ideas to lower the cost of patent litigation. We could work together towards a common objective that serves both our goals.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2019 @ 11:59am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The process of inventing should be incentivized,

                    Often, if the solution is within the reach of individuals, then having a problem is incentive enough. Free software does well without patents, or the usual restrictions on copying code that come from copyright. Also, 3d printing has had an explosion of innovation since the original patents expired, and individuals have been able to share ideas.

                    Patents, and copyright where relevant, restrict innovation, rather than fostering it, by stopping people from building upon the ideas of others.

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

                    • icon
                      Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Apr 2019 @ 12:34pm

                      Home manufacturing

                      Yeah, it makes me wonder what would happen if graphic design elements were restricted by patent. I know Helvetica proper (the font) requires a license, however there are now dozens of nearly identical fonts available for cheap or even free use, and the huge swaths of clip art available make it easy to circumvent design litigation. On the other hand, we see designers litigating over design styles and judges confusing ideas with content.

                      We have a ton of design now that home publishing is a available to the public, and as 3D printers become available we're going to have a lot of folk running into places their home-design runs into IP law.

                      We're now seeing this with home-made movies, such as Prelude to Axanar a fan film that CBS and Paramount stomped into submission, despite that the Axanar dev crew got permission from them first.

                      I suspect that once we get to where the typical housewife has the capacity to design and create a particular art form (whether or not she has the talent -- that comes with practice) then IP monopolies become an imposition to development rather than an incentive.

                      I suspect the point IP law ceases to drive innovation is long before that point, and long before there is a community workshop where enthusiasts can come in and build their thing with professional tools.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 26 Apr 2019 @ 3:23pm

      Re:

      -cough-Theranos-cough-

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


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