When applying for a patent, the applicant has a built-in time limit to "perfect the invention" before the final decision is made by the examiner as to whether or not the invention is patentable at all. If the invention is "incomplete" or doesn't quite work yet when the application time limit runs out, the application is rejected.
So, do the same thing at the other end: treat the invention as "probational" even after the patent is issued - say, for two years. The examiner watches the newly issued patent as though carrying out the implementation of the invention is part of the original "proof of concept" portion during the application process. If the new patent holder fails to do anything with the new invention after two years, the patent is automatically "challenged" by the examiner, and the patent holder has to demonstrate why they failed to implement the invention. If they cannot defend their patent, it reverts into the public domain -- which allows anyone else access to it use -- but they cannot re-patent it -- they must "improve" upon it in order to apply for their own version.
These patent troll cases sound a lot like extortion schemes, which would put them under the definition of racketeering. And since when is an "idea" patentable - it used to require a specific embodiment as an application of that idea, and then the patent would only protect that specific embodiment - what is this "broad coverage" thing all about? Sounds like the kind of "deregulation" that got Wall Street into trouble. As usual, it is the lawyers that stand to make a killing off this corruption of the patent system.
Is there a discussion here? If increasing the quantity of new patent publications does not directly relate to innovation -- then these two topics must be separate issues -- apples and oranges.
If an increased number of flawed patents are injected into the marketplace -- then what are the consequences? Well, for one, this assures more continued business for the law firms litigating these instruments of extortion. If there were a way to assure that these new patents were not the flawed product of a dysfunctional system, then perhaps they would be able to contribute to the process of innovation. But one of the principal reasons for patents at all is their ability to "teach" and stimulate innovation. What lesson can be learned from reading a flawed patent? This is where the element of "innovation" breaks down. Patent applications are based on the citation of prior art -- if that chain of citations is flawed, then any subsequent citation will probably be tainted.
I've been inventing various things since I was thirteen years old -- dozen of things -- and each effort was an attempt to solve a problem. Sometimes these problems were born out of personal "need" -- but more often than not, they were the result of an "observation" that led to a "personal challenge" to solve a difficult problem that others had not been able to do. Many years later, my inventions began to slam into the harsh realities of trying to do business in today's marketplace. Patents are a necessity - like having to "anty in" to sit down and join a poker game. It has little to do with solving problems nor innovation. It's more like having to pay taxes in order to stay in business. And because the patent development process is so time consuming and tedious, I'd rather not have to bother with it -- but I must -- because these business organizations rely on patents to create equity and to protect their investments.
What is amazing to think about is "why isn't there more than one Wikileak-type website already?" The moment Wikileaks goes down there will be an outbreak of competition to replace them - there are many sites just waiting in the wings to take center-stage once a vacuum has been created. People want this information - all sorts of it - and the provider will achieve instant status as a "heroic legend" - even if as an outlaw that must hide behind anonymity. Information is unstoppable, and as long as there are whistle blowers out there - there will be a need to publish these documents online.
The discussion on 'third-party ownership' of someone else's intellectual property (whether copyrighted or patented) is still incomplete. Some of the discussions here over the past couple years have appeared "promising" toward forwarding a better understanding of this issue, but the fundamental basis for this "ownership" is still unresolved. Can someone "own" the creative IP of someone else - or merely license its use for commercial exploitation? What is a "copyright owner" - wouldn't it be far better to define these "recording studios" as the "current IP licensee" and acting on behalf of the original "IP creative talent" in collecting revenue?
Attention may in fact be a constant here, but that only tells half the story. The other half is the comprehension and mental processing of the information we are presented. The human mind is like our muscles - it is a "use it or loose it" proposition. The mind must be 'exercised' and 'expanded' in order to be ready to utilize all of the information we are exposed to everyday. If a mind is allowed to become 'semi-comatose' from inactivity or 'low-value' information processing, it can atrophy and end up incapable of comprehending important information when it arises. For example, exposing the mind to excessive television entertainment, or relying too heavily on 'sound-bites' instead of detailed news reports.
I agree with this reasoning -- this discussion is bordering on the principle of 'mob rule' wins in any democracy. This is why we adhere to 'rule of law' over 'mob rule' -- why we have a 'republic' instead of a democracy in this country...
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