Fark's Drew Curtis on beating patent trolls

"Make the process as annoying, as painful and as difficult as possible for them." [TED via Waxy]


  1. The fullscreen slide on the economic impact of patent trolling versus terrorism doesn’t match the slide onscreen when it goes back to Drew. What’s the second slide? 

  2. He’s exactly right…this is no mor thatn Legal extortion…Color  Of Law Mafiaoso’s

  3. Now wait just a minute here… I am an IP lawyer… I file patent infringement suits… where do the stats come from that say I (and others like me) have caused four times the damage to the US economy than 9/11?!?  Seriously?  

    1.  Did 9/11 really cause that much damage? The economy burped for a bit, but then took right off again and was going full steam till it popped for unrelated reasons seven years later.  It’s like a gut punch.  IP lawyers are  continuous long term parasitism whose only goal is to stifle competition. 4x seems a little low.  I guess once you account for the useless drain of DHS/TSA.

      1.  Reading that source, it looks like BS, haruspicy, chicken-gut statistics. Even the opening of the abstract admits “In the past, non-practicing entities (NPEs) — firms that license patents without producing goods — have facilitated technology markets and increased rents for small inventors.” The problem isn’t NPEs, it’s software patents with prior art which should never have been granted in the first place.

  4. Drew didn’t get away from some of them because he made it annoying, he showed them he didn’t have any money. 

    Trolls don’t care about annoying, the guys actually running things find the cases and have others do all the work.  So being annoying doesn’t really affect the guys with the settlement power.  Thank god I found a new job.

      1. He was let out of the case, not because he convinced the lead attorney he wasn’t infringing, but because he convinced them he didn’t have any money.   While he says he made it a legal nightmare, that’s a complete joke. I don’t recall that it got very far past the answer, several defendants got a lot of extensions, and there wasn’t even a Markman hearing.

      2. He certainly doesn’t have as much money as other other companies they were going after.  Seems like it was a misfire on the patent troll’s part.

      1. Speaking as a budding developer, patent lawsuits scare the shit out of me. Terrorism? Eh, not in the slightest.

  5. Yeah there really are trolls out there, and they really do damage. From the inventor’s point of view, though, things look a lot different. The problem isn’t non-practicing entities (NPEs) so much as patents that never should have issued in the first place.

    The ability to sell patents is crucial for any inventor who can’t get the capital to practice the invention, or whose invention is an improvement in a field with high barriers to entry, or inventors who simply want to focus on inventing rather than spending a decade or two starting and managing a business. 

    If  NPE non-inventors can’t enforce patents then they won’t pay inventors for patents. This means that there will be much less possibility to make a profit from inventing, and inventors will no longer spend several thousand dollars and give up the confidentiality of their work for what is really nothing more than a license to sue (at an additional cost of several hundred thousand dollars, years of effort, with a good chance of losing  even meritorious cases).

    Practicing entities have little incentive to buy or license a patent if the patent holder does not have the money and will to sue, so the ability of inventors to earn money from their invention would be greatly reduced by eliminating NPEs from the market.

    If inventors don’t get paid, then they won’t bother, and society will go back to guild and trade secrets and its technological progress will slow substantially. Compared with authors and artists it is already far more difficult – virtually impossible, in fact –  to make a living as an inventor.  Most smart inventors look at the costs and odds and decide to either keep their inventions to themselves or to publish – and with the costs and risks of implementation with no corresponding legal barrier to competitors copying at much lower risk, an unpatented but published invention has much less chance of actually being used. Society loses.

    NPEs who sue  are one of the few things in the patent system that actually works.

    1. These are SOFTWARE patents he’s talking about.  You could remove software patents from the system entirely and people would still be creating new software.  Think about all of the great software innovations that have happened, and chances are all of the breakthroughs were made BEFORE a software patent was applied for.  

      The only uses for software patents, really, is for trolls seeking licensing fees and for large companies to protect themselves from trolls.  In larger companies like Google, they may help justify R&D expenses, but for smaller companies they’re just a cost of doing business.  For the most part, they really don’t have anything to do with spurring innovation. 

      1.  I mostly agree with you. Virtually all software patents should never have issued in the first place. If the software is embodied in a single-purpose physical machine, the machine could sometimes be properly patentable, but this fiction that software running on a general-purpose machine makes it into a new machine really has to go. OTOH, at least patents expire, unlike copyrights.

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