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Thread: Reason Alive in US Court System; Posner Writes op-ed: '..Too Many Patents in America'

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    Reason Alive in US Court System; Posner Writes op-ed: '..Too Many Patents in America'


    It seems that the light of reason is still burning brightly in the U.S. Court system, it's just harder to find. One particular judge is keeping the flame burning, and we have written about him in the past. His name is Judge Richard Posner, and he was the same judge who dismissed the Motorola vs. Apple patent case with prejudice. Many consider Judge Posner to be one of the most respected and brilliant intellectualists sitting on the bench currently, and a new op-ed he wrote for TheAtlantic.com goes a long way toward proving that. The title of this opinion piece from Judge Posner is "Why there are too many patents in America."

    In it he opens eloquently with a simple statement that, "...[our patent law system] warrants reconsideration by our public officials." Furthermore, he ends his editorial with the following, "I wish merely to emphasize that there appear to be serious problems with our patent system, but almost certainly effective solutions as well, and that both the problems and the possible solutions merit greater attention than they are receiving." In the world of tech, and especially the smartphone tech-world, these statements should perk the interest of many, because it shows that someone within the system has a wise head on their shoulders. The Congressional hearing that convened earlier this week should take notice.

    Throughout his piece, Judge Posner makes some incredible simply and relevant points that should get any reasonable person thinking differently. Here are a couple more quotes that stand out,

    A patent blocks competition within the patent's scope and so if a firm has enough patents it may be able to monopolize its market. This prospect gives rise to two wasteful phenomena: defensive patenting and patent trolls. Defensive patenting means getting a patent not because you need it to prevent copycats from making inroads into your market, but because you want to make sure that you're not accused of infringing when you bring your own product to market. The cost of patenting and the cost of resolving disputes that may arise when competitors have patents are a social waste.
    He also said,

    "Yet patent plaintiffs tend to request trial by jury because they believe that jurors tend to favor patentees, believing that they must be worthy inventors defending the fruits of their invention against copycats -- even though, unlike the rule in copyright law, a patentee need not, in order to prevail in an infringement suit, show that the defendant knew he was infringing. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that in some industries it is very difficult to do a thorough search of patent records to discover whether you may be infringing someone's patent; and even if doable, the search may be very expensive.

    Patent trolls are companies that acquire patents not to protect their market for a product they want to produce -- patent trolls are not producers -- but to lay traps for producers, for a patentee can sue for infringement even if it doesn't make the product that it holds a patent on.
    And, he offered these potential solutions,

    There are a variety of measures that could be taken to alleviate the problems I've described. They include: reducing the patent term for inventors in industries that do not have the peculiar characteristics of pharmaceuticals that I described; instituting a system of compulsory licensing of patented inventions; eliminating court trials including jury trials in patent cases by expanding the authority and procedures of the Patent and Trademark Office to make it the trier of patent cases, subject to limited appellate review in the courts; forbidding patent trolling by requiring the patentee to produce the patented invention within a specified period, or lose the patent; and (what is beginning) provide special training for federal judges who volunteer to preside over patent litigation.
    We thought that with all the bad news regarding the patent wars we constantly have to inundate you with, that it would be worthwhile and enjoyable to share something positive for a change. Who knows if Judge Posner's article will reach the right people and make a difference, but at least we know that there are people working within the system, who realize that a change needs to be made. Ironically, Judge Posner admits that he isn't even a patent expert, so if he can come to these conclusions simply by using reason and logic, then perhaps people who can make changes to the system will listen. His piece is a simple and easy read. We encourage you to check it out at the source link below, and then come back to comment in our thread!

    Thanks for the tip, nikecar!

    Source: TheAtlantic
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    #2
    I am hopeful that this proven, but lone voice of reason can reach the rest of the system and be heard.
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    It was actually good to see the proper definition of a "patent troll". Too many times I have seen the general use of it that appears to be incorrect. I'm not a fan of Apple, but it appears that they cannot be a "patent troll" or have an army of "patent trolls", as they certainly produce a product using the patents they are so quick to throw at other companies. The negative connotation of the word "troll" just seems to be too good to pass up when referring to what Apple is doing, even if it's incorrect.
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    Great article. Some of the comments below show just how delusional some people are about the whole thing though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by todroid
    It was actually good to see the proper definition of a "patent troll". Too many times I have seen the general use of it that appears to be incorrect. I'm not a fan of Apple, but it appears that they cannot be a "patent troll" or have an army of "patent trolls", as they certainly produce a product using the patents they are so quick to throw at other companies. The negative connotation of the word "troll" just seems to be too good to pass up when referring to what Apple is doing, even if it's incorrect.
    Learn something new every day...
    Someone correct me if im wrong but did apple make a patent for an object displaying screens in each separate eye like glasses? (but does not affect the google goggles[thank god])
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    Quote Originally Posted by omar908 View Post
    Someone correct me if im wrong but did apple make a patent for an object displaying screens in each separate eye like glasses? (but does not affect the google goggles[thank god])
    As far as know they have not sued anyone for "an object displaying screens in each separate eye like glasses". Which would make the question if they have a patent for it rather mute.
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    #7
    If the system were revised to a more proper level, it would prevent Apple from really doing anything (which is basically create a monopoly, like Microsoft tried to do way back when).

    They system SHOULD, ideally, be that you cannot file for, nor be granted, a patent for a system/software which you do not currently have in PRODUCTION WITH INTENT TO SELL.

    That way, Apple (as a great example) couldn't just file for the "wedge" design, unless they actually MADE something that was wedged-shaped. BUT, if you want to get even MORE proper, there should never be a patent for the SHAPE of a device. That would mean that most TV's cant be rectangular, because Apple holds the patent to a rectangular shape. You see where thats going?

    What Apple is doing is, in the end, trying to monopolize the market. Not just in phones, but tablets and and (mostly) electronic devices. They are just a bad company. Look at their devices. What does an iPhone 4S do SO MUCH BETTER that an iPhone 3GS didn't? Visually, NOTHING has changed (oh yeah, except in v5.x.x they now have a notification pulldown shade (oh, gee.....like ANDROID DID FIRST), and also they changed.......nothing. Theres no ingenuity, creativity, spark, flare, or fresh design in any way. Heck, even every phone they've ever made all look the same (minus the small difference in rounded corners. lol) Nobody wants their product because theres nothing new. At least Android (and even WebOS, Palm, and Blackberry) have even made visual changes to their OS to improve their product. Apple has done NOTHING. Even in benchmarks, MOST Android devices outperform iOS devices without much trouble. Android can just do more than iOS. Its just that simple, Apple is scared that they are losing because they aren't doing anything worthwhile. While everybody around them advances, Apple is left behind getting irritated that they aren't #1.

    [/end_rant]
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by todroid

    As far as know they have not sued anyone for "an object displaying screens in each separate eye like glasses". Which would make the question if they have a patent for it rather mute.
    Well true, but i bet if the google goggle displayed an object in each separate eye apple would sue haha, but you have a point
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    They haven't yet, wait for a manufacture to start selling it in large quantities.

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    The difference in the patent that Google applied for is that it has a single pane and is controlled via finger movement. That's what tech writers have been citing anyway.
    Last edited by MissionImprobable; 07-14-2012 at 07:44 AM.
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