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[News] Patent System's Problems Highlighted: How Taxpayers Punish Themselves

  • Subject: [News] Patent System's Problems Highlighted: How Taxpayers Punish Themselves
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 07 May 2010 18:29:34 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
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Why Does The US Gov't Get To Patent Research Paid For By Public Tax Dollars?

,----[ Quote ]
| An anonymous reader links us to a report 
| from The National Institute of Standards and 
| Technology (NIST), which came out earlier 
| this year, that highlights how, in 2008, the 
| US government brought in $170 million (pdf) 
| by licensing federally (i.e., taxpayer-
| funded) technology and patents to private 
| companies.


Will Cloud Computing Lead To Patent Liability For End Users?

,----[ Quote ]
| With so much focus on "cloud computing" 
| these days, companies looking to leap into 
| the cloud and to embrace the agility and 
| flexibility it provides are being warned 
| that there may be a looming problem on the 
| horizon: patent litigation. Seriously. As 
| with pretty much any hot area of technology 
| these days, there's a pretty big patent 
| thicket around cloud computing -- even if 
| the basic technology really isn't all that 
| different than what's been around for ages. 
| But, of course, that won't stop 
| opportunistic companies from claiming their 
| patents cover new cloud services (or of 
| having some players in the field attack 
| competitors with patents).


Brief video commentary on âwritten descriptionâ patent requirement case

,----[ Quote ]
| The court stated, âThe â516 patent discloses 
| no working or even prophetic examples of 
| methods that reduce NF-kB activity, and no 
| completed synthesis of any of the molecules 
| prophesized to be capable of reducing NF-kB 
| activityâ



Software patents: Stifling innovation with threats and bluster

,----[ Quote ]
| Software patents and blackmail
| From a very practical perspective, it is
| next to impossible to determine whether a
| given piece of software violates patents. A
| typical program consists of dozens if not
| hundreds of ideas. Any of them could be
| patented. In practice, making sure youâre
| not infringing a patent simply takes too
| long, and is too expensive. So nobody does
| it.
| And I do mean nobody. Even the largest
| corporations canât stay clear of each
| othersâ software patents - over the past
| few months alone, we have seen lawsuits
| between Apple and HTC , Red Hat vs. IP
| Innovation LLC (now thatâs a name for a
| patent troll. Well, they went home with a
| ringing defeat. Congratulations to Michael
| Cunningham, Rob Tiller and the rest of the
| Red Hat legal team!), and the Apple vs
| Nokia sue-fest.
| But corporations sue other corporations
| only as a last resort. Jonathan Schwartz,
| Sunâs former CEO, illustrated quite
| pointedly how large corporations normally
| deal with this problem: They simply
| threaten each other with their different
| patents until both agree that itâs better
| to stay quiet.
| Bill Gates was quite right when he said in
| 1991:
| âIf people had understood how patents would
| be granted when most of todayâs ideas were
| invented and had taken out patents, the
| industry would be at a complete stand-still
| today. [...] A future start-up with no
| patents of its own will be forced to pay
| whatever price the giants choose to impose.
| That price might be high: Established
| companies have an interest in excluding
| future competitors.â
| [Internal Microsoft Memo (1991), quoted in
| Fred Warshofsky, The Patent Wars (1994)]
| For a company like IBM, Apple or Microsoft,
| patent lawsuits are a huge problem. For any
| organisation smaller than that, theyâre an
| existential threat.
| All this turns spreading fear, uncertainty
| and doubt about software patents into a
| marketing strategy. As Jobs has done, you
| simply have to say âwe know your stuff is
| infringing patents, but weâre not telling
| you which onesâ. This is a callous strategy
| to make your targetâs customers and users
| think they are under some sort of legal
| threat.
| Thereâs a word for that. Itâs called
| blackmail.

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