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  • May 18th, 2010 @ 11:54pm

    First to File a terrible mistake

    John, you post on a lot of sites about this, and I realize you are a very accomplished inventor. I certainly respect that as a person creating my own products as well.

    However, your view point for first-to-file is typical of people who file large amounts of patents, and spend the majority of their time beyond their invention testing in the documentation of their work. The other groups of people who strongly support your view point are, of course, patent attorneys, who are all the more happy for large amounts of patents to be filed.

    All patents, to society at large, are 100% useless to the progress of technology unless actually implemented. And in fact, many patents which are filed are detrimental to innovation b/c folks similar to you (but not accusing you of this) sit on dozens of patents but do not have the business expertise to actually implement them. People who actually can implement them are afraid to due to licensing costs and law suits. Basically people who file patents but never implement them, hold ideas (which they believe they were the first to think of, but were almost never truly first) hostage, while they attempt to gather revenue from their paperwork.

    I have worked for multiple startups, and have owned a few. The inventions are easy. The hard part is actually making products, selling them, and keeping companies a float. The 10k it costs for a startup to create one patent is very detrimental. Of course its not just one patent, you need dozens. You dont need them to sue people, or to try to license your ideas, but instead to simply protect yourself from the Fortune 500s who file hundreds a day, or the patent squatters waiting to jump on you when you actually are worth something after you have implemented your (their??) idea.

    This is not to say your work is not valuable and/or critical to society. Its great that true inventors are out there looking for new ideas. But its just that most folks who actually implement new technology and bring it to market are terribly hurt by the patent system - and even more so by first-to-file, due to the heavy costs involved in any kind of participation.

    So if you have to choose between lots of cool ideas on paper, or one idea actually implemented - which is really best for all of society?