Missing the key to progress…
Summary: How the debate about patents is progressing and its disappointing focus on small abusers of the patent system, not systemic problems
Troll Tracker notes that RPX is misunderstood because it is a patent cartel rather than a troll. It is an example of everything that’s wrong with the patent system and WatchTroll (Quinn) [1, 2] helps groom patent trolls by writing a propaganda piece (no comments allowed, wonder why!) about the father of patent trolling. “Anyway,” writes Troll Tracker, “Ray Niro offered up a bounty to find out who an anonymous blogger was because he’d been called out on his poor behavior. Offered up a bounty. On a blogger.”
She adds: “Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn’t. But what it isn’t is a surprise that Raymond Niro would be a staunch defender of the practice of patent trolling, and adverse to any legislation that may seek to curb such behavior.”
Mark Bohannon, writing for Red Hat, wrote about patent trolls this week, saying about resistance to them that:
In a letter last week to leaders of both the House and Senate, a wide range of interests—newspaper and magazine publishers, retailers, hospitals, restaurants, transit authorities, hotels, banks and credit unions, telecommunication companies, consumer electronics, marketers and advertisers, and retailers—joined consumer groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge, the motion picture industry, automobile manufactures, and grocers to seek comprehensive legislation.
According to this corporate press report, “U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Monday to give companies another tool to fight lawsuits brought by companies that specialize in patent litigation.”
Like Microsoft? Or Apple? No, they go only after the small abusers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], serving large corporations' interests, as usual. The article says “Cisco Systems Inc, Apple Inc, Google Inc and other technology powerhouses have been pushing for legislation that would reduce the number of times each year that they are sued for infringement by a “non-practicing entity,” a company that licenses patents as its business. Google has estimated the cost of such litigation to the U.S. economy at $30 billion a year.”
The Web’s longest nightmare ends: Eolas patents are dead on appeal
The inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, had never testified in court before last year. In February 2012, he left Cambridge to fly down to Tyler, an east Texas city of about 100,000, to testify at a patent trial. It was the culmination of a bold campaign by a man named Michael Doyle to levy a vast patent tax on the modern web.
We wrote about this at the time. The problem, however, is not trolls but patents on software. Some members of the W3C have those patents and they also lobby for DRM.
One day we might find ourselves debating software patents again. Right now it’s trolls who stole the thunder and impede real, all-encompassing progress. █