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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: Patents Out Of Control? Growing Lawsuits Shake Up Internet Industry

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Patent lawsuits are a growing annoyance even for giants such as Intel and Microsoft. Industry and government officials say the lawsuits are but one symptom of a patent system gone haywire, especially in technical fields such as computers, software and biotechnology. Critics say most of the patents are bogus -- for inventions far from original. They are doled out, they say, by an overwhelmed U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that is ill-equipped to judge arcane patent applications from software and Web businesses.

Look, I know it’s all confusing and unsettling but would everyone please take a deep breath? To begin with most people who bang away at this issue are either unknowledgeable and/or have an axe to grind. Some law firm focus entirely on defending clients against whom a patent infringement suit is filed. Naturally, they will oppose patents. Would they have issued patents to Edison, the Wright Brothers, or Bell?
Rest assured in the end everything will be ok. The sun will rise tomorrow. Patent law has been formed and refined over 200 years in this country. Patience please. It is not perfect and what is, but given time all will work out. One would expect the patent office is going to make some mistakes, but the system includes remedies. Still, I believe you will find they make rather few (I noticed your critics offered nothing to support their naked accusations) and because of the built in checks (interference, reexamination,...) most of them are weeded out long before expensive litigation. To learn more about patents try David Pressman’s ‘Patent It Yourself’. I know of at least 1 large patent law firm which uses it.
As to the suggestion that patents are not needed to spark innovation, I wonder how many of those critics have ever invented anything? If they had and had first hand experienced the problems and pitfalls, they would not have made such a statement. When you innovate you bleed. Otherwise, all would do like some companies who just wait for their competitors to come up with a good technology then steal it as it is cheaper and safer to steal a new technology than originate it. Just look at Kodak and Polaroid, or Microsoft and Stac. Just look at foreign countries that have no or weak patent protection. Even large companies there cannot keep the technologies they develop.

Posted by: susie 2004-01-22 09:28:55 In reply to: Paul Davidson
What if I said I had a patent on the concept of
"pushing the enter button on a keyboard to transmit information" and some yahoo at the patent office actually issued me a patent for this...then I sue the world and they are either forced to
A: pay me large sums of money
B: make all new keyboards with the word "transmit" instead of "enter"
Many of these so called "patents" are equally ridiculous.
A grant made by a government that confers upon the creator of an invention the sole right to make, use, and sell that invention for a set period of time.
IMHO..these types of patents should be revoked..Just cause a guy says "Hey! I have an idea! This picture on this webpage can spin around!" does not mean he deserves a patent..If he creates software, patent the product or invention..ideas without development amount to ziltch..
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