Bonum Certa Men Certa

Litigation and Patenting Versus Research and Development

The real battleground: Litigation and Patenting (L&P) versus Research and Development (R&D)

Summary: A reminder of who's 'stealing' jobs from engineers and who it is done for (who benefits from mass taxation rather than actual production)

TODAY'S MANY POSTS about the USPTO are intended not only to cover recent developments but also to demonstrate just how out-of-hand things have become due to patent maximalism. Decades ago it was nothing like that.



Consider this new press release, which is a symptom of where we are today. Instead of hiring scientists, who are well-educated, experienced and high-skilled, firms are adding "patent" people [1, 2] and press releases like this new one ("Innovate Intellectual Property Research" in the headline) remind us of that infamous saying from the world's largest patent troll (Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's patent troll), who said: "Intellectual property is the next software."

"Society cannot advance if litigation and patenting replace research and development (R&D)."What ever happened to focus on creation and development? Patents are paperwork and legal work, they're not science and technology. A few days ago Cambridge Network said: "Our exhibitors this year included the UK IPO; RWS Group Inovia providing patent filing and translation services, and four companies who provide search and analysis software for patent and IP related research" (as if it's all about patents now).

Society cannot advance if litigation and patenting replace research and development (R&D). We need to choose what's more important. Decades ago, recalls this new article, IBM bullied its competition using patents (it still does) and this was the impact:

For perspective on the impact that patents can have in the tech industry, we turn to a tale from the 1980s during the PC boom when the relationship between hardware and software was markedly different from today. The legal battles between IBM and Compaq over "clone" computers were formative for attitudes about IP today.


Computers could advance a lot faster if it wasn't for software patents and constant patent bullying from the likes of IBM (a resurgent trend now that IBM is imploding with a lot of layoffs). It's time to decide whether we want a world full of programmers or full of legal firms (employing a few programmers to develop patent-searching tools). We shall say more in our next post about software patents.

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