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Paul Morinville
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If the intention is to kill independent inventors and small patent-based business, legislation currently in Congress will accomplish that. http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/2013/12/legislation-to-kill-the-us-patent-system-2543158.html
Toggle Commented Dec 30, 2013 on Patent Trolls—Posner at The Becker-Posner Blog
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Malcolm, It might also be a good idea to reduce the time it takes to process applications too. Oh, and, my examiner told my attorney that the his software group just "isn't allowing patents" as a reason for yet another senseless rejection. It might help to allow at least some patents at some point even if the six or more years it takes to process a patent isn't reduced.
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I find it pretty humorous that any of you think some company is going to negotiate a license for a published pending patent. Why? It's not good business. Just wait for a law suit. Years and years will pass before it comes, if it ever comes at all. Why not just do it and take your chances? The odds are with you, and you can avoid all the contingencies and other problems and just make money.
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Professer Meurer tells the same old story about patent trolls, especially in software. His populist argument omits reality. He reasons that patent trolls buy patents so they can wait for the market to infringe and then extract royalties from unsuspecting victims. He feels that this drives a "tax" on innovation. He also equates it to cyber squatting. I submit that this scenario is simply not possible in the vast majority of cases, especially in software. Software is arguably the fastest market in terms of technology product life cycle. Time from the inception of the idea to its implementation is measured in months. The glaring reality Professer Meurer does not understand is that it takes at least six years to get a patent. During that time the PTO publishes the application to the public. Somehow the new invention gets incorporated into software products and often becomes widely adopted in a matter of months. By the time the patent is allowed (six years later) the market is mature and saturated with infringing products usually produced by largest and richest of software companies. Investors don't put their money in companies that intend to compete in a mature market with technology that is already mainstream, so building a company based on the invention is no longer an option for the inventor. The remaining options are to litigate personally, or to sell to a troll. Given the cost and effort of litigation, selling to a troll can be an acceptable outcome for some inventors and a measured reward for publicly disclosing the invention in the first place. Professer Meurer's view is uninformed and conflicts with reality.
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IANAE, thank you for your reasoned response. As you may have guessed, I am an individual inventor. The problem for guys like me is exactly what Bad Joke highlighted. If my invention is not worth a significant settlement, I will not find a lawyer to help me, and therefore all of my efforts and money go to waste. I spend a lot of time and money getting patents on the things I invent. It's not possible on the onset to determine an invention's future value. If I can't get legal help on a contingency basis, I've wasted all that effort and money. Why would any inventor submit some new idea for others to build upon if it can be stolen and there is not recourse? Why not just go fishing? I see and understand the argument that an infringer brings. In the case of computers or software, I have some questions. Didn't they have something to sell before they incorporated the invention into their product? Won't they still have something to sell if they take that invention back out? If they no longer have something to sell, well, isn't the invention then the product? If they lose a line of business because they have incorporated someone else's property without permission, it seems to me to be a just solution. If injunctive relief is removed and damages are limited, there is no reason on earth for an infringer to settle short of an court order. Why would they? On the goatee, I use it for my public image and I never sell my hair.
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Yes, but my understanding is that an inventor without a product is strangely not allowed an injunction, which necessarily leads to a discussion of damages. I think that leads to the problem inherent in this discussion. My body is made up of hundreds of parts. If my goatee infringes, I may or may not pay to grow it back. I think that there is a willing buyer/willing seller equation that will bring a fair market value. Why should I have the ability to argue to a court what my goatee is worth? Order me to shave it and I can negotiate with the patent holder for a license.
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"Terrible news for small inventors and small companies as this means that contingency fees will be going by the wayside when firms can no longer recoup their costs from recoveries for low volume items." Yep. Bad Joke hit it on the head. It's license for large companies to steal. Maybe the best way to handle this is as the founders reasoned... injunction. Take it away and if they want it back, they can buy it at market value from the inventor. The courts would only need to determine infringement and grant injunctions. No need to think about, analyze or award damages.
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Mar 4, 2010