Summary: An accumulation of news about software patents, patent parasites, and patent trolls
THE parasites who are patent lawyers continue to give misguided (but self-serving) advice. They wants programmers to think that patent applications — not automatically-acquired copyrights — are needed for funding from VCs and the likes of them.
Companies like MOSAID make a living (for some lawyers) by litigation alone. Having recently gotten some patents from Microsoft and Nokia, MOSAID may soon be suing companies that already pay Microsoft for Android. B&N complained about MOSAID, but Microsoft paid B&N a considerably expensive/meaningful bribe for its silence. Meanwhile, as this report reveals, Nokia patents are being used against Android companies with a weak patent portfolio:
Nokia just announced that it’s suing HTC, RIM, and Viewsonic for patent infringement in the US and Germany. All told, there are 45 patent in the various lawsuits, covering what Nokia says are proprietary technologies — i.e., not industry standards. Specifically, Nokia’s patents cover hardware features like antennas, radios, and power management, as well as software features like multitasking, navigation, app stores, retrieving email attachments on mobile, “conversational” message display, dynamic menus, and certain types of data encryption.
HTC and Viewsonic — unlike Motorola and Samsung — haven’t many patents. So it is clear who will be harmed the most by such a system.
“Software patents [are] destroying business of SMEs in Germany,” says OPENTIA and it has become rather obvious that all this patent nonsense is just serving giants and their lawyers. Vivek Wadhwa, a critic of software patents (who regrets applying for some in the past), alleges that patent trolls are destroying jobs. As he put it in the Washington Post:
Where are the jobs? Ask the patent trolls.
President Obama has been touting patents as a way to create jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness. “These are jobs and businesses of the future just waiting to be created,” he said of patent applications last September, “somewhere in that stack of applications could be the next technological breakthrough, the next miracle drug, the next idea that will launch the next Fortune 500 company.”
The President is mistaken—at least when it comes to the patent system as it relates to software patents. These patents—and the patent system—aren’t creating innovation, they are inhibiting it and, by extension, job creation. Why? Because the breakthroughs aren’t in the patents, they are in the way ideas are commercialized and marketed. Because of flaws in the patent system and government leaders’ misunderstandings, there is an arms race of sorts happening in the tech industry that is sapping billions out of the economy and crushing technology startups. This system is enriching patent trolls—companies that buy patents in order to extort money from innovators. These trolls are like a modern day mafia. Given this, I argue software patents need to be eliminated or curtailed.
In order to re-ignite the economy several steps have to be taken other than regulation. Some obviously bad ideas like software patents, for example, must go. █