01.14.08

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Patents Roundup: Google, Patent Reform, and “The Eco-Patent Commons”

Posted in Courtroom, Google, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patently effective in elbowing Free software

Google’s patent cases have been covered here quite a few times recently (e.g. [1, 2]). Like several other large companies, Google seems to have gotten a big target painted on its behind. In the latest round in court it denies infringing on the claimant’s patents. [via digitalmajority.org]

The plaintiffs say that Google uses this system to run its search engine, and that the system was invented by Kenneth Baclawski, an associate professor at Northeastern and one of Jarg’s founders. Northeastern was awarded a patent for the system, which it has licensed exclusively to Jarg.

You can find out more about Google’s take on these issue in this video of Eric Schmidt.

In another case: Court Reverses Jury Decision in eSpeed-Trading Technologies Patent Case [via digitalmajority.org]

The judge also denied TT’s motion for enhanced damages, which had been premised upon proof of willful infringement. It is expected the judge will issue a subsequent ruling with respect to whether the amount of the damage award, which the jury had assessed to be $3.5 million, should be reduced.

As pointed out days ago, some patent systems are said to have reached an all-time low (barrier), which can be indicated by a sharply rising number of patents that are accepted.

For the past year or so, many have spoken about the urgent need for a reform. The New York Times even published an article about this yesterday. The article isn’t for or against the reform; it merely presents the views of both sides.

AS the Senate prepares to tinker with the nation’s patent laws this spring, it’s worth recalling the law of unintended consequences.

More interesting perhaps is the analysis of this article, which comes from the anonymous TrollTracker.

To be sure, there’s more to the current patent reform bill than damages apportionment and venue reform. Some of it I support, some of it, well, I could live without it (first-to-file!). And I’m sure there will be many changes ahead. But I sure hope that the individual inventor community does better than “damages apportionment will lead to the end of innovation as we know it” and “let the Supreme Court fix it, and don’t touch the laws, Congress.”

Moving on a bit, in what appears like the ‘OIN of the environment’ you will find some details about a new sharing initiative that involves IBM.

Today IBM and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, together with Nokia, Pitney Bowes, and Sony, are announcing the creation of “The Eco-Patent Commons,” a new collaborative effort focused on shared use of intellectual property to help the environment.

How does Mother Nature feel about the fact that helping save it is something that gets restricted by what RIchard Stallman calls “a government-imposed monopoly”? Don’t these alliances pretty much beat the whole purpose of filing piles of papers and then cross-licensing or signing peace treaties? Wouldn’t a permanent truce be archived by elimination of spurious patents that are an abomination in the legal system? Moreover, why does Bob Sutor refer to this as “intellectual property”, which is a confusing propaganda term? Such terms need to be buried quickly in order for trademarks and copyrights to be honoured for what they really are. These should also be distinguishable from terrible ideas such as granting somebody ownership of mathematics. Bob Sutor has a strong background in mathematics, so he can hopefully agree and relate to this.

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