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Good business for the lawyers I suppose? I often wonder if this is good for business or as I suspect discourages start-ups?


Any <first we hang all the lawyers> mouse


http://sync.sympatico.ca/news/patent_lawsuits_now_dominated_...

Patent lawsuits now dominated by "trolls": study

Sarah McBride
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - For the first time, individuals and companies that do not themselves make anything - commonly known as "patent trolls" - are bringing the majority of U.S. patent lawsuits, according to a study by a California law professor.


The sharp increase in this type of lawsuit serves as a milestone likely to exacerbate the tension over patent issues and increase calls for patent reform and scrutiny of the system.

This year, about 61 percent of all patent lawsuits filed through December 1 were brought by patent-assertion entities, or individuals and companies that work aggressively and opportunistically to assert patents as a business model rather than build their own technology,...
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"Studies" like this always make the BS 'o meter peg. Just like the tort reform advocates that whine about "junk lawsuits" and the pols that complain that "47 percent are takers".

So what would patent "reform" look like to "solve this problem"? Probably something like "only entities whose primary business is related to the patent can enforce the patent"

With a law like that, people like Bob Kearns, who was a teacher, would be unable to enforce their patents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kearns

If the law said "patents are unsaleable", then people who lack the determination that Kearns had would be unable to assign their patent to a party that had the resources to defend it.

Bottom line, patents would be reserved for the power that be, while it's open season on anyone else's invention.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Roberts_(inventor)

Steve
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Patents do seem to be a huge mess right now, not that I'm an expert in patents, patent law or all the issues, but two thoughts come to mind.

One is a professional review system before patents are issued, to help weed out "dumb" patents, or ones that are trying to claim rights on things that already exist.

The other is some sort of "use it or lose it" rule- that is, you get, say 2 years or so of complete exclusivity, after which it falls under something similar to frand if you are not actively using it.


Very curious to see what holes can be poked in these ideas!

Cheers,
Drew
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