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United States Government Patents

Patent Trolls Getting the Attention of the Feds 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-that-tramping-over-my-bridge? dept.
crazyvas writes "The New York Times has published an article on the FTC's plans to investigate the patent system, and likely patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures. From the article: 'To its defenders, Intellectual Ventures is a revolutionary company unfairly viewed, in the words of its co-founder Peter N. Detkin, "as the poster child of everything that is wrong with the patent system." To its critics, it is a protection racket otherwise known as a patent troll. This summer, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to begin a sweeping investigation of the patent system after the agency's chairwoman, Edith Ramirez, urged a crackdown. She has singled out a particular kind of miscreant, one that engages in "a variety of aggressive litigation tactics," including hiding behind shell companies when it sues.'"
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Patent Trolls Getting the Attention of the Feds

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  • by al0ha (1262684) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @07:29PM (#44313587) Journal
    Let's see, how many Wall Street executives are in jail due to the Fed investigating the irrefutable evidence of fraud at the highest levels perpetuated by Goldman and others which led to the collapse of the economy.

    Oh yeah; 0
  • by foniksonik (573572) on Wednesday July 17, 2013 @09:24PM (#44314257) Homepage Journal

    Which is more likely? A small guy invents something truly unique or a small guy invents something with a unique quality but incorporates lots of industry standard technology?

    In the first case the small guy should have a clear patent that is not disputable.

    In the second case one of three things can happen. He can file and be awarded an overly broad patent which is clearly just a rewrite of prior art at which point he sells it to a patent troll or he can file and be awarded a small patent on something unique but unfortunately can't do anything with it because a patent troll already laid claim to the industry standard stuff he built it on top of.

    The third thing that could happen is that the guy realizes he's screwed and his idea will never make it past the startup phase - so he gives up and goes back to work to a corporate gig.

    This third possibility is becoming more and more common. This is the chilling effect of patents and patent trolls. People are afraid to do anything new for fear of being sued, even when the new thing is a simple improvement on something that's been done for decades. Worse yet, companies are afraid to buy new stuff from small guys because they can be sued just for using the invention (no indemnity against IP lawsuits, no sale).

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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