05.20.13

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Ongoing Focus on Patent Litigation and Patent Trolls Reduces Focus on Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Out-of-focus reform

Text focus

Summary: The problem with increased focus on the players that use software patents litigiously and the litigation itself

The United States harbours almost every large patent troll. Not too long ago Masnick’s site said that for “some background. Spangenberg has built up quite a business for himself by buying up awful patents and suing tons of companies” (we wrote about this troll in [1, 2]). His site also highlights this new tool for analysing the history of any given patent in the courtroom. Identifying trolls and weaponised patents won’t do enough to address the core problem though. One of the more outrageous stories as of late speaks of patent lawyers (non-producing) who demand £700 or so for the use of a scanner. That’s the per employee fee, as covered by Joe Mullin and Mike Masnick not so long ago. Another patent troll goes after large companies with Microsoft cash in its pocket. As another manager says “Don’t Turn My Company Into A Patent Troll!” it is becoming clear that patent trolling is an issue, but it is also the symptom of a bigger issue. At Yale they are focusing on trolls rather
than software patents
and several companies are doing the same, losing sight of the patents themselves and instead focusing on the users. The trolls expert Joe Mullin previously showed that in the overwhelming majority of cases patent trolls use software patents, which may help explain why this problem is almost unique to the US. He recently said that “Apple’s intervention can’t stop the lawsuits [of smaller trolls]—five more were just filed.”

The problem is the patents themselves, not the smaller player that use them (Apple is a large entity which uses patents like a troll). Several propositions are put forth, but any solution which frames litigation or trolls as the problem (not questioning patents themselves) is not a long-term solution and probably not an solution at all. It’s inherently a scope issue.

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