For use by students enrolled in LWN117, Cyberlaw and Policy (QUT).
I think that it is important to acknowledge and reward the inventors and holders of patents. They had put in the time and effort into creating a new idea and/or technolofy, and should be rewarded as such.However, if a patent case was brought up and the primary intention is not to protect the patent, but rather to stop the progress of technology and innovatation, then the case have to be considered different.If patents holders have the ultimate right to sue and stop any person who may use partial information from his patent to stop the development of new technology, then no one will be willing to think of new innovations for fear of being sue for their ideals. Ideals and innovations comes from what we need improvement, or advancement, from our current state of life, and if everything is patented, will there still be anyone willing to take a risk to improve it? Monopolisim should be discouraged.Theif of patents should of course, still be prohibited and punishable. Companies dealing with technology should seriously consider all patents which they might use, and royalties have been paid for before publishing.I think the best way to deal with patent issue, is for the patent holders to be genuine about protecting their intellectual property, and the developers to be respectful of the inventors who had came up with the core foundation of their new ideas.
I totally agree. If someone has dedicated a significant amount of resources to create a particularly ingenious electronic program he should be rewarded and benefit from such invention. If such invention is then held to be obvious, thus not novel enough, then it will be available to the general public. There really should not be any difference in the way a patent provides protection to an electronic invention compared to a physical one.
As the 9 April Microsoft $1.06b purchase of AOL patents was discussed in class: It's worth noting that Microsoft yesterday (23 April) sold 650 of those Patents to facebook and licensed to them the other 275 for $550m.
My feelings on patents are mixed. I have no problem with the awarding of software patents or e-commerce related patents. What I feel is wrong with the current patent system is that it allows the holding of patents by companies who never exploit the patent. I feel we should move to a system whereby you can only sue for patent infringement if you currently produce a product or provide a service that exploits that patent.
This article demonstrates the practical impact of the current law which allows companies to purchase patents from patent trolls as offensive/defensive legal manoeuvres rather than with any interest to the implementation of the technology patented. I believe the effects of this are both that more things are patented than is required (creating a dead-weight economic loss due to increased perception of potential infringement) and more litigation is sought purely as rent seeking by non-productive patent troll companies. I appreciate John's argument that legal holding companies provide a market/clearinghouse for patents and I believe that function could continue without allowing the holding companies themselves to sue for infringement, though this would obviously impact the underlying value of the patents to non-development entities.
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