In a time when it would appear that innovation is at an all time low I would point to the fact that the Patent Trolls are to blame in a big way. I am tired of hearing about how Apple got an injunction against Samsung in Spain and in Germany the polar opposite. Microsoft is “protecting is intellectual property” by playing dirty tricks and the list goes on and on. But I was thumbing through Linux.com and found a wonderful link from the Register that states Google’s Legal Boss is Fed up with Patent Warfare!
The man defending Google’s right to innovate across its many fronts stated “The concern is that the more people get distracted with litigation, the less they’ll be inventing,” said Tim Porter, Google’s patent counsel.
In this current climate the worst of it is not that the major players are even looking to correct a slight or make the system better. It is a plain and simple shake down and extortion ring. Are there instances where a patent has been infringed upon and there should be compensation…absolutely but for the most part even the patents are pretty ridiculous.
Porter argues during the ’90s and early 00s nearly anything could get a patent and this has built up a backlog of problems. The patents of the day were going to unoriginal, vague proposals that have fuelled the litigation and legal trouble that is happening now.
This is something that I can completely agree with and there has not been a period of this much activity in the patent infringement history since the time of the Steam Engine when the patent infringements and legal battles led to a decades long period of stagnation in innovation and creative thought. Our best hope for the future is a real focus on Patent Law Reform and shortening the period that a software action can have a sustainable patent.
In the chart above we can really see that it has gotten completely out of hand and it is not just in software either. I did some checking and I have a question. Have you ever teased a cat with a laser pointer…well if you have (since 1995) you may be in violation of US Patent Number: 5443036 and you could owe the patent owner Kevin T. Amiss damages for using his process patent. Really…teasing your FREAKING CAT is patented??? Talk about lowering the bar and the standard for entry…wow!
Well, another day dawns. Funny how every day is blending together but the good news is that the countdown nears to a time of great happiness…just 17 days until I am sitting poolside on the Norwegian Epic. Will I still blog…not sure…that is still 17 days away.
Chris J Powell