Patent trolling to go under anti-trust spotlight
Report says hearings set for December, with Nokia and Cisco to appear
America’s Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are to take a look at whether patent trolls are breaching US anti-trust laws.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting (paywalled) that the process will be kicked off by informal hearings in December. That report claims that Cisco and Nokia have confirmed they will attend the hearings.
Cisco’s position on patent trolls became crystal clear in October, when the networking giant accused NPE Innovatio of “racketeering” for its strategy of suing WiFi users over patent infringement.
The hearings would promise to be more than a little tense, in that case, since Intellectual Ventures Management (founded by ex-Microsoftie Nathan Myhrvold) will be along to defend the
patent trolls’ non-practising entities’ (NPEs’) position.
Earlier this year, IVM was identified as a true giant in the NPE world, ranking as perhaps the fifth-largest patent-holder in America. The Stanford University study, The Giant Among Us, described the escalation strategy it follows: offer targets a chance to settle with Intellectual Ventures Management, and if rebuffed, find yourself in the cross-hairs of a more litigious sub-licensee. ®
I hope that this thing really takes off. Patent trolls are becoming the enemy of technological advances everywhere.
they should just implement a "use it or lose it" clause. You have two years to implement a patent otherwise it expires. and once implemented you need to continue using it otherwise it expires two years after the last product to use it is released.
I am not a well funded company PR department
Innovation continues despite patents, not because of them. Getting a patent takes years and defending one in the courts takes at least £250,000. Startups do not have the time or money. What they do have is first mover advantage: by the time someone else has copied their product, the startup has released version 2.
Patents are most valueable to established companies who do not innovate. They can use patents to keep startups out of the market.
Patents are supposed to increase the rate of technological progress by rewarding inventors with a monopoly in return for publishing details of how their inventions work. In the real world, people only read patents when they are threatened by lawyers. This is because:
*) Patents are written in patent language which is difficult for non-patent specialists to understand.
*) Reading a patent almost never helps you implement a product. This is most obvious with software patents because they do not include source code.
*) Thousands of new patents are awarded every month. It is impractical to search through all that junk for a useful patent.
*) Reading a patent leaves you open to triple damages for willful infringement.
As inventors no longer read patents, they entire reason for the patent system disappeared decades ago.