Medium length article in the Economist saying that Obama is cracking down on patent trolls. But is he really? They mention the "America Invents Act" passed back in 2011. Now the Economist says new anti troll policies will allow courts to zap the filers of "frivolous" patent suits, demand that the name of the real owner of the patent be revealed in court, and to demand more documentation from plaintiffs upon filing suit.
Obama can do some of this by executive order, but he will need some acts of Congress (which he doesn't have) to impliment most of it.
Plus, this isn't going to work. The patent problem is caused by a patent office that allows incredible numbers of things that should never be eligible for a patent to obtain one. They allow patents upon "business methods" which has created a massive lawsuit over "one-click or two-click". They allowed someone to patent the idea of putting a web purchase into a web shopping cart with a single mouse click. Which is ridiculous. It is an obvious idea that will come immediately to the mind of anyone "skilled in the art". They allow patents on software, which they didn't use to do. They allow patents on arbitrary arrangements of information, such as the QWERTY keyboard layout, and the ASCII code. Yesterday's patent fight between Apple and Samsung revolved around patents upon arbitrary codes and protocols used in wireless networking. In order for devices to talk to each other, there has to be some agreement about codes, languages and protocols, Without such agreement, the devices won't understand each other . Right now we allow trolls to rip off companies for using the agreed upon codes, languages and protocols.
Right now the patent troll situation is so bad that companies assume they will be sued by a troll as soon as they make enough money to be worth suing. They estimate the legal costs in right along with research and development costs and marketing costs. This tax upon the creative by the lawyers slows the pace of innovation and only makes the lawyers rich. It doesn't help inventors. It punishes startups and favors the big companies.
We need to make it harder to get patents. Before granting a patent there should be a comment period where anyone can submit objections to granting it. There ought to be a review board that can toss out BS patents. We should no longer allow business methods patents or software patents, and we should invalidate all such patents currently standing. Patents should only be granted to individuals, never companies.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Monday, December 22, 2008
Earlier I posted about real political issues and "hot button" issues. Since then it came to me that there is a third class of political issues, the "don't talk about it in public" issues. Second Amendment rights, decriminalization of marijuana, repeal of the Digital Millennial Copyright Act, reform of patent and copyright law, net neutrality, and tort reform, come to mind. There are probably others. These are real issues, that effect citizens directly. But for some reason, fear of offending the interest groups that support them, or journalists too clueless to understand them, or something, you never hear a candidate speak out on these issues at all. There are plenty of voters who care about these issues. Maybe the Republican party should take a public stand on some of them.