10.31.11

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Harming Society One Patent at a Time

Posted in Patents at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: News about patent trolls and unquestioned glorification of patents

Jay Walker [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] became a patent troll after he had given up on doing real business. The Wall Street Journal once approached us for a comment about Walker, having researched the subject more thoroughly than most other publications. TechDirt too denounces Walker by stating that:

Jay Walker created Priceline. That was a good idea, and he showed that he could execute on that. But since then, apparently the only thing he’s wanted to execute on is destroying his legacy by becoming a full on patent troll, and suing as many big companies as possible. Last year, we noted that Walker claimed he had effectively invented “friending” (Patent: 5,884,27 for “establishing and maintaining user-controlled anonymous communications.”) and sued Facebook. That same article talked about him suing the Powerball lottery (Patent: 7,740,537 on “applying lottery multipliers”).

Sadly enough, this is something which seems to be encouraged by the press. When Microsoft partners get involved and when patent aggressors claim vanity rights (another example is “iRise Awarded Canadian Patent for Its Interactive Software Modeling Technology”) there is hardly an attempt to put it in perspective and explain that the granting of monopolies is bad news for everyone. Do you want to help improve the world? Don’t try, it’s patented, according to this new piece of news. When planet Earth and the strategies for helping it get patented, then it becomes a lot clearer how patents hurt everyone.

The question about patents — especially these days — is a very simple one. Academics have answered it repeatedly. The corporate press still does not seem to get it though. Maybe that’s because ownership of the media has a conflict of interest and reality is a threat to it. The problem is not software patents alone, but software is an area where the usefulness of patents can be easily disproven. The next few posts will tackle the same subject.

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A Single Comment

  1. Michael said,

    October 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Gravatar

    You make it clear you do not like patents. Fine.

    So what do you suggest company X do to protect its years of work and millions of dollars of research to defend its products which are based on innovative ideas?

    Just put them out there and let others make cheap knock-offs? No protections at all? That is silly… so what do you suggest?

    I admit – I am torn on this issue and do not have all the answers.

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