USA anti patent troll bill passes house of representatives.

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by FAST6191, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    This section frequently sees discussion of bills, cases and oddities concerning all sorts of intellectual property law. Other than speculating on what a given patent might mean for the end result we tend not to have much positive news when it comes to patents. Today this is a different for not only has the US house of reps passed a bill but it also concerns patents that might be considered a positive step, for reference the US patent system is not well regarded by most of the rest of the world (the concepts of software patenting and a lot of the biological side of things as well as the apparent laxness of the USPTO when it comes to the basics of patents). One crash course on US patents here if you want one.

    Anyway patent trolling is a term for when various companies, ones that never invented anything and exist solely to do this sort of thing, will buy up random patents and then seek to extract money from people. As defending yourself in court is a considerably costly activity many that find themselves victims of this practice will instead settle (at not inconsiderable cost). As the worlds games, internet and small electronics products have a rising number of small companies that see to somewhat niche products this can be quite troublesome.

    Once it is enacted it will apply to any patents issued or actions filed after that date, there may be some things applied retroactively though.

    You can read the bill here (warning PDF).

    Sources
    The Register
    Businesswire
     
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  2. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

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    I hope this bill passes, although lobbies will still attempt to prevent this from happening...
    if it passes, I guess we'll all form a giant choir singing "Thanks Obama"
     
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  3. pasc

    pasc GBATemps official GBA Freak

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    I sure will sing along that choir.
     
  4. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    Patent trolling is some people's only source of income, and here comes Obama, trying to take it all away! What, if he can't have a job after 2016, nobody can? Goddamn communist!
     
  5. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I fear you misread. The subject was concerning patent trolling, blatant trolling is as acceptable as it ever was.
     
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  6. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    About effing time B-)
     
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  7. chartube12

    chartube12 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    This is one of 3 rights bills I want to see being passed. A

    Another is a revision of copyright act so books and software rights expire after a max of 25 year, which is far more reasonable than 100+ plus years.
     
  8. war2thegrave

    war2thegrave GBAtemp Regular

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    I see that no one is considering the side effects of this.
    This bill will benefit huge corporations to the detriment of small businesses and indivduals.
     
  9. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    How so? Most patent disputes in the billion dollars or more clubs seem to be settled by going nuclear or leveraging their own portfolios against others. The mid range stuff where you make somewhat more niche items is what is typically troubled by said trolls (though the possibility of a settlement has not prevented them from trying it on elsewhere), I am not seeing much in the way of downsides as far as the mid level players being able to take on the big boys either (save perhaps the costs thing though that happens in other areas) and the higher burdens thing (though if that at least helps negate some of the USPTO's laxness I am not going to complain too hard).
     
  10. Jayro

    Jayro MediCat USB and Mini Windows 10 Developer

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    I may be totally wrong here, but if I patented say... a game console, and called it the NexDS, and Nintendo wanted to use that name, they would have to pay me royalties, or pass on using that name for their console? It that how this patent trolling works? I'm confused...
     
  11. DinohScene

    DinohScene Capture the Dino

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    If you make the "NexDS" a sufficient time before it's even announced then they have to pay royalties.
    Atleast that's what I get from it

    I for one am hoping this bill passes.
    Got no other words for it then that patent trolls are disgusting lowlife scumbags, just a step above scammers basically.

    Also, Hello Apple!
    How does it feel to not be able to sue anybody anymore?
     
  12. Arras

    Arras GBAtemp Guru

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    I'm not 100% sure, but here's an informative Wikipedia article on one of the worst patent trolls ever: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_Games
     
  13. zeello

    zeello The reason we can't have nice things.

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    Should the patent system even exist?
     
  14. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    Absolutely.

    People forget that the patent system is essential to encouraging innovation; patents protect the innovators. I'm going to be a lot more willing to show off my invention if I can be sure that no one's going to steal it out from under me, and if I have competitors, I'm going to have to work harder to get my invention out there first.

    The problem isn't with the patent system, just the abuse of loopholes. We can close the loopholes without tearing the whole system apart.
     
  15. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    That would be more of a trademark thing. Patents are where you cook up something new and non obvious "to an expert in the field" and want to prevent others from using what you might have spent ages researching (analysis/building easy, design hard and all that). A patent is a legal document that you file and have to get approved (though more on that later), once it is granted (or more accurately pending) you get a monopoly on using that invention and nobody else can sell items using that invention (unless you say so). Trademarks do come up in game world -- the reason resident evil is called that rather than Biohazard is held to be because a band with the same name held the trademark. Now should your NexDS do something that no console before it has done (and probably a computer as well) then if Nintendo wanted to do that too and you had a patent for that then Nintendo would have to pay up or miss out.

    However patents are relatively easy to get and many companies and people will get them. You can sell a patent as well, indeed when companies go bust the patents they might have are considered items you can sell, lease or otherwise treat as most other assets. Various people then made a business of gathering patents up and suing someone that might have infringed upon it. As going to court is a very expensive game any settlements offered by the ones doing the patent gathering might be the more financially viable option and the patent gatherer gets money for basically nothing. Similarly as of some time back the US Patent and trademark office basically forgot themselves and granted far more patents than the idea of patents would realistically allow (see most of the discussion whenever patents come up where someone will try to say this has already been done or that it is obvious to anybody that read a basic textbook on the field being covered by the patent). Because of this (though the idea exists outside the US too) there are things you can do that are completely obvious but are technically infringing a patent (even more so as the US allows software and business methods to be patented, see something like Amazon 1-Click) which only makes the situation worse.

    The last few years saw it get so bad that anybody filing a patent infringement claim (and legitimate ones do happen) would probably have been considered a troll until proven otherwise.
     
  16. zeello

    zeello The reason we can't have nice things.

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    But information is free... Anything invented would presumably have been invented anyway sooner or later. Isn't a patent just as likely (or, given enough time, more likely) to withhold from us having access to an idea or invention?

    The same would be true if there was no patent system. The inventor has the first and last chance to capitalize on his invention before everyone else copies it.
     
  17. FAST6191
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    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Err no.

    To go a bit further

    "invented anyway sooner or later"
    Depending upon the field in question that is not assured. Medicine is a good example, though we are seeing the first stages of modelling for the most part finding new drugs amounts to taking something that works, tweaking some part of it, testing it, finding it failed and then tweaking it in a slightly different way. To do that properly is ridiculously expensive. If it costs that much and everybody can copy it the moment it otherwise releases that means the one doing the research is now however many millions in the hole and all everybody else has to do is spin up their drug manufacturing machines and tweak a few knobs to get the new drug which does not make research appealing. Sure we could rely on publicly funded research but the world is typically a bit better for allowing others the chance to try their own hand at it.

    "The inventor has the first and last chance to capitalize on his invention before everyone else copies it."

    Except patents allow them a chance to recoup the money/time they invested in creating the thing in the first place and the courts/legal system will prevent anybody big or small from making and selling something that works as described (and for some things similarly to that which is described) in your patent. Sure there is the chance someone else will invent the same thing before you but that is considered an acceptable trade.

    "Isn't a patent just as likely (or, given enough time, more likely) to withhold from us having access to an idea or invention?"

    Patents are not free to obtain and the means to getting there usually costs a bit. Sitting on a patent is then not typically the done thing. There have been situations where such things have held back progress of a sort (for a start look at submarine patents) but the concept of patents is so overwhelmingly positive as to render. Similarly patents are very specifically limited in length to prevent things from getting too silly.

    I have huge issues with a lot of the intellectual property system, especially the US attempt at it all and tendency to want to spread it, but unless we are going to do away with the idea of money/resources (not likely) there really should be something.
     
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  18. YayMii

    YayMii hi

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    Am I the only one who read the title as "anti-patent" troll bill?
     
  19. war2thegrave

    war2thegrave GBAtemp Regular

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    If a small business or individual inventor creates something worthwhile and a tech giant (apple samsung) decide to use it without paying for it,
    what recourse does the small business or individual have?
    These "small fry" could challenge the multinationals in court and they may even win, but the months or years of legal fees and the
    eventual years long appeals process could drive most small businesses and individuals into bankruptcy (Sony vs. Lik Sang)

    If some huge multinational corporation stole your patents, would you have enough money to challenge them in court?
    If not, you could sell your patents to a "patent troll" that does have the cash to fight years long, multi-million court battles
    and you could at least see some money for your efforts without facing financial ruin.

    Just like NAFTA, SOPA, and Obamacare. This bill was created by and for the benefit of multinational corporations,
    so there really isn't any reason to get excited about this.
     
  20. Psionic Roshambo

    Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Now if only they would do something about copyright trolls... 20 or 30 years seems sane enough to make money on something and sell it multiple times over. After that it should be in the public domain.