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02.23.16

Gags and Raids: Watch What the US Patent System Has Come to

Posted in America, Patents at 3:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As if patents are a matter of national security

A squirrel gagged

Summary: A couple of news stories and what they serve to highlight with respect to the theory and practice of patents

THE USPTO is probably the world’s most aggressive patent system. Rather than foster innovation it does a lot to harm it, usually benefiting (enriching) just a few large corporations that receive the lion’s share of patents and deter/suppress competition this way.

As a new example of the USPTO’s aggression consider Joe Mullin’s article which says that an “Archery company sues LARPer over patents, then files gag motion to silence him” (suppression of information about aggressive action is something that the EPO did to me several months ago). To quote Mullin:

When Jordan Gwyther started Larping.org, a website that promotes his favorite hobby, he didn’t expect it would lead to him being sued for patent infringement over foam arrows. And when he spoke out about the lawsuit, neither he nor his attorney saw what was coming next: the patent-owner filed papers in court last week asking for a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would keep Gwyther quiet.

Curiously, almost on the same day (as the above article), the EFF published “EFF Defends Live Action Role Players’ Right to Criticize Patent Suit,” where it said: “The First Amendment guarantees that even patent owners are subject to the slings and arrows of public criticism. Today EFF has submitted a motion and amicus brief asking the court to reject a patent owner’s attempt to silence criticism of its lawsuit.”

Another new article by Joe Mullin speaks of the “hoverboard” raid that we covered here some days ago because after the raid the litigation got mysteriously dropped. “The Chinese defendant lawyered up, defended itself—and wants attorneys’ fees,” according to Mullin’s summary.

The original idea behind patents was very different from this. Had the founders of patents foreseen the above, would they have created such new laws?

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