Issa strikes defiant tone over patent reform

By Gene Quinn
February 11, 2015

Congressman Darrell Issa

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) speaking at the National Press Club on February 11, 2015.

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, struck a defiant tone this morning speaking at the National Press Club. Issa, speaking at Patents in Theory and Practice: Implications for Reform, sponsored by the Technology Policy Institute, explained in no uncertain terms that the patent litigation reforms contained in the Innovation Act will not be watered down, period. He told the audience that never again will a defendant first learn of the allegations against them only at the end of the case.

Issa, known for his bombastic style, explained that he has seen the patent litigation process both as a plaintiff and a defendant. His message was clearly one that those opposing patent reform will not appreciate. He told the audience that Congress would listen to those both for and against the legislation, but point blank told those who are seeking alterations that they will not succeed. He also likened patent reform to tort reform, which seems a terribly unfair comparison given that those who will be most negatively impacted by patent reform are independent inventors, Universities and entrepreneurial start-ups.

In private conversations with several in attendance, everyone that I spoke with agreed that Issa’s tone was defiant. Several in the audience who support major revisions to the Innovation Act were surprisingly pleased with Issa’s comments, explaining that Issa’s in-your-face, domineering rhetoric could be a sign that those opposing the legislation are gaining in the House. Issa being so dismissive of the thought of changing the legislation could simply be him trying to discourage opponents from continuing to fight

What follows is a transcript of Congressman Issa’s remarks as delivered.

For those of you who are here with the press today, there’s really no story here that hasn’t been told. For decades innovation has increased but the quality of patents, the quality of the judiciary that oversees and adjudicates those patents and the quality of the claims made by non-practicing and practicing education, inventors and patent holders has complicated and crowded the patent courts. A number of years ago I was honored to try to hopefully improve the quality of the adjudication within the article of previous reports. It is working. Not working perfectly but the number of reversals by the Federal circuit is the best indicator of whether or not the District Court gets it right.  Having said that, we must remember that the federal circuit, at times, could be less than infallible.

A number of years ago we tried to improve the PTO. It is still an ongoing process. It is one that my committee will continue to look at. Reexaminations are the most powerful tool where the exertion by a patent holder exceeds what he or she really should have gotten or in some cases did get within the language of the claims. But the patent bill we are dealing with today, deals with a much simpler, easier to understand problem. Allegations in large numbers are coming from people whether they are so called “trolls” or in some cases what I call patent bullies; companies who practice, have large portfolios and make vague claims as to what you might or might not be infringing. So when people talk about trolls, I always include patent bullies.

If I have got 25,000 patents and today I say “Do you feel lucky?” And I go ahead and sue you vaguely under a portfolio or even just tell you that if you don’t you want to be sued out of business, that you’ll sign a license broadly and early. The fact is there is very little protection. Under the Invents Act, the most critical element and I don’t want to be short, but I want to make sure that everyone understands the heightened pleading in the Invents Act will not be watered down.

Never again will someone be able to make a claim in such a vague way as to, in fact, get to the end of the trial and millions of dollars before they’re actually held accountable for “What it is I did wrong in your eyes?” This is important in two ways. One, obviously we are trying to deal with patent trolls as they are often referred to. But there is another reason. Patent holders are part of the innovation process by the very nature of their allegations that their patent and your product line up too closely.

Innovation begins often when you have a problem that cannot easily be solved. In a highly competitive industry, a $2.00 license may in fact make you non-competitive, particularly if the patent holder is your competitor. So when a specific allegation of patent infringement occurs, line by line, dependent and independent claim, it gives you the basis to innovate your own alternatives. That is the responsibility of the patent holder to say when you infringed and how you infringed because ultimately it is a pathway to new innovation or to sell it.

As the introduction very kindly said, I am inheriting as the Subcommittee Chairman a very, very bipartisan and to a certain extent bicameral piece of legislation. The House and the Senate had to draw up the language, language that got more than 300 votes last congress. You can always find 95 people to be against anything but out of 435, that is an awfully big majority. My ranking member, Jerrold Nadler and I disagreed for 14 years on a great many things but we agreed on the need for patent reform and we’ll stand shoulder-to-shoulder to make sure this bill stays strong and ultimately becomes a victory that Republicans and Democrats can both say they worked on Tort Reform together.

I want it to be understood clearly, I inherited a bill that was brought by bipartisan support. I have no intention on watering it down to please one group unless in fact that group brings two, three or four votes for everyone we lose. So when you look at the dynamics that my committee deals with, as we mark this bill up, I’ve got 95 people, more or less, minus those who didn’t return, who didn’t like this bill. And I’ve got 325 or so people I’ve got to please, so you can imagine the likelihood of significant change of this bill in the House is low. And the Senate is really no different. The changes will be minor but they may occur.

In closing, many people who vehemently oppose this bill. They come in and they go through each and every element of the reform and they ask, “Can’t you meet us halfway?” meaning “Can’t you change every single element of the bill?” I can tell you that that is not going to happen. I can tell you, as a former chairman, with respect to Chairman Goodlatte, I do not have any authority to make it happen.

And that is pretty good because what I do have the authority to do is to look for new ways to make this more streamline. To look for ways to instruct or to insist both the patent office and their re-examination process and the article three Judges to make this process smoother and faster. I will close with this. I have been a Plaintiff and I have been a Defendant. In neither case did I want to slow down the process. I wanted my day in court. I wanted my day in court if I thought I was innocent, otherwise I would have settled as a Defendant and I sure wanted my day in court as the Plaintiff because time and time again we know that the longer a process goes on, the more expensive it is and the less likely we are to actually collect the full amount you’re entitled to.

So with that, I will tell you speed to court, speed to trial, speed to re-examination, is a big part of how we are going to defeat patent trolls and improve the process for real innovators.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 57 Comments comments.

  1. Paul Morinville February 11, 2015 3:15 pm

    My read on it is that he is very concerned he is losing the vote in the House. I’ve been to 100 offices and have spoken to almost half of those. There seems to be a fairly strong group of Democrats against it and many Republicans asking good questions, which means they are not fully for it. Many have told me that they have not considered the side of the inventor, who has been largely ignored in all this chaos.

    Next week is a recess in DC and most Congressmen will be home taking meetings. You have a good opportunity to get in front of the decision maker in an office near you. If enough people do, H.R.9 will not pass the House.

    Perhaps it will pass anyway, but it will with a substantially lower vote and that sends a strong message to the Senate that the support for the inventor killing legislation is not strong.

  2. Don't Be Evil... February 11, 2015 3:19 pm

    Surprise, surprise…who is Issa’s top campaign contributor…none other than Google… https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00007017&cycle=2014

  3. Anon2 February 11, 2015 3:31 pm

    Don’t Be Evil @ 2

    to be fair note that cause and effect are not clearly identified.

    The antecedent “cause” of a Google contribution may be the pre-existing convictions of a morally spotless politician. It stands to reason Google’s money would follow those with which it agrees.

  4. Paul Morinville February 11, 2015 3:51 pm

    Anon2… After meeting with enough of these offices, I agree in part with your assessment. They will definitely contribute to those who agree with them and those who agree with them vote in their favor for reasons other than money. However, that is not all of the story. That money then is used by the lawmaker to help struggling peers win their elections, which has the effect of multiplying the vote as the peer is pressured to vote along with the lawmaker that helped them win.

    The overall effect is that the money buys votes indirectly. The only way to fight it is to get loud enough that the second lawmaker is more concerned about votes back home than campaign money.

  5. Gene Quinn February 11, 2015 5:34 pm

    On the money issue… it is worth noting that Google has spent heavily for years to influence patent reform. Those looking for a cause and effect and finding none seem to misunderstand how business is done in Washington, DC.

  6. Curious February 11, 2015 6:03 pm

    to be fair note that cause and effect are not clearly identified
    Must there be an original cause? Could it be some type of vicious cycle going on where one reinforces the other and vice versa?

    I would be completely shocked if Issa’s agenda wasn’t influenced by Google, and I’m sure Google is throwing money at Issa because he is “receptive.”

  7. Common Sense February 11, 2015 6:41 pm

    We need to stop saying that patent reform is going to hurt inventors and start-ups. This is not true. Innovators and Start-ups do not have enough money to prosecute patents. So they go to NPE’s who profit and extort others. Its a horrible system, right now it does not serve anyone well. The public does not benefit because the USPTO creates “monopolies” for certain entries. Innovators need 3M to prosecute a patent. The only benefit…..trial lawyers. And hence all the support from the group here…

  8. Innovator February 11, 2015 6:50 pm

    Gene – Cut it out. The patent system stopped serving the public, the inventor and the start-ups a long time ago. The only people who benefit from the existing system are Trial Lawyers, Trolls and legacy companies who cannot commercialize any inventions like IBM and Lucent. If you want to benefit the public, get rid of the USPTO. Why would you want to give anyone a monopoly on anything?

  9. Don't Be Evil... February 11, 2015 8:22 pm

    @Common Sense – then what is your solution? That all inventors should just start working for large tech companies rather than innovate on their own? And how will the startup community move forward if IP is devalued to the extent the Innovation Act is trying to do?? What I’d personally like to see is Declaratory Judgment reform…because at least then you can discuss licensing with a larger entity before litigating. Right now you litigate first and ask questions later. And I would rather have a chance as an inventor to protect my invention – even if that means trial lawyers are the main mechanism for it now.

    @Innovator – By your rationale, the USPTO stopped serving Google years ago when they filed their patents before even starting up. Would there even be a Google right now if the USPTO didn’t exist? What investors would have funded Google knowing that Excite, Yahoo or one of the search engines at the time could replicated their methods and algorithms for page rank, etc. I just find the irony of all this is that the one company that likely benefited from patents more than anybody, is the same company that is pushing to basically abolish them.

  10. Ken February 11, 2015 8:41 pm

    I have a struggling start-up, and the main thing convincing investors to invest in us thus far has been our patents. They know that “we” may not have the funds to enforce our patent, of course, but the assumption is generally that an eventual acquiring company could (if needed). However, many investors are nervous about these extremely anti-inventor measures, and they’re becoming increasingly reluctant to invest because of the risk they may pass.

  11. Common Sense February 11, 2015 8:57 pm

    @Don’t Be Evil. Google won because it was easy to use and they were the first to figure out how to monitize search results. When Excite, Yahoo, etc decided to become a news portal, Google become the go to search engine to get easy fast results. Volume increased and the whole pay per click model exploded. Remember, nobody else at the time had, they were still doing banner ads. Thats why Google is Google.

  12. Innovator February 11, 2015 9:03 pm

    @ken. I feel your pain, it is difficult to commercialize a product. Just having an idea is not enough, somebody needs to put the whole package together for the consumer. Imagine if someone patented the “smart phone” and the only phone we could buy would be the Motorola whatever. How sad. We need Steve Jobs, Elon Musk of the world who can take an idea and commercialize it. In fact, look at Elon Musk, he opened all of his patents to the world and the world and Tesla will be better off as we all can build on his inventions.

  13. Just a Guy February 11, 2015 9:12 pm

    There are so many unbelievably great ideas in the market right now that are serving the publics best interest. We should continue to encourage each other to innovate and grow. A big part of this is building on others technology. Like apps for the iPhone.

    What if the Taxi association had a patent on “Picking Up People and Transporting for a fee” where would Uber be? We would all be slaves to the taxi industry for the rest of our lives. Patents should be issued for extraordinary ideas which are very clearly defined and narrow. There should be and are 100 different ways to build an electric car. Nobody should have a patent on ” building an electric car”. Which is what is happening now and why there is a problem.

  14. Paul Morinville February 11, 2015 10:17 pm

    Just a guy, can you tell me what the patent number is for an electric car? Or for that matter any other exceedingly broad patent. I don’t know of any and I think something specific would help me understand your argument.

  15. Paul Morinville February 12, 2015 8:36 am

    Innovator @ 12, It takes much more than just going out a doing it. It takes money, people and an idea of what to do to build a company. If you’re a small company with a big idea and that idea cannot be protected, no early stage Jobs or Musk in the world could overcome a large company taking it, massively commercializing it and running you into the dust bin of history.

    If we pass this so called “Innovation Act” and we do not correct the damage caused by the inaptly named “America Invents Act” there will be damn few late stage Jobs and Musk’s. Just really big politically powerful Google’s will fill the stage.

  16. Curious February 12, 2015 9:12 am

    If you want to benefit the public, get rid of the USPTO. Why would you want to give anyone a monopoly on anything
    Hmmm … interesting idea. Let everybody work for the common good. No individual ownership of (intellectual) property — just dedicate it to the public so anybody can use it. Oh wait, a similar idea was already tried in a slightly different context — it was called Communism, and it was an utter failure.

    Communism failed because the person who worked the least got much than what they put in whereas the person who contributed the most got much less than their contribution. This is/was a terrible model for incentivizing people. Sure, there will always be the altruistic few that will work hard regardless of the incentives, but we are looking for a system that provides the type of incentives that will be best for society.

  17. Curious February 12, 2015 9:17 am

    Google won because it was easy to use and they were the first to figure out how to monitize search results
    Google won because it had great (and patented) technology. I used all the search systems before Google came out, but when I discovered Google (and how it always seemingly produced better search results), I stopped using the others.

    Without the traffic created by Google’s technology, their monetizing efforts would have been far less successful.

  18. Just A Guy February 12, 2015 9:24 am

    @Paul Morinville. Nobody is debating the fact that there is a lot of low quality patents that have been issued. Even the USPTO admits it. How would you personally feel if every time you buy something on the web there is an additional $3 fee to cover patent cost for licensing an a generic ecommerce patent by Lodsys? Or not having the ability to get an email to your mobile phone because someone has a patent on that? Or the one click patent.

    The USPTO has no idea what they are granting, they leave it up the market to decide through re-exams, IPR’s, etc. The issue with this is that the USPTO just granted someone a litigation license, which is a very powerful tool.

  19. Curious February 12, 2015 9:30 am

    Nobody should have a patent on ” building an electric car”. Which is what is happening now and why there is a problem.
    From your comments, I surmise that you are not in the intellectual property business (and likely someone not well grounded in technology). Nobody gets just one patent on “an electric car” or a “mobile phone.” For example, I suspect that a single modern mobile phone implements thousands if not tens of thousands of patented inventions.

    Notably, the patent system hasn’t prevented mobile phones from being manufactured despite them being covered by so many patents.

  20. Curious February 12, 2015 9:37 am

    How would you personally feel if every time you buy something on the web there is an additional $3 fee to cover patent cost for licensing an a generic ecommerce patent by Lodsys? Or not having the ability to get an email to your mobile phone because someone has a patent on that? Or the one click patent.
    Your hypotheticals aren’t grounded in reality. An onerous license doesn’t make anybody money. As such, your $3 fee would be more likely a penny or less.

  21. American Cowboy February 12, 2015 10:06 am

    Also, Just a Guy, you lamented about the taxi industry having a patent that would kill Uber-type competition “for the rest of our lives.” Unless you are an old man, sickly or just plain unlucky you will outlive a twenty year patent.

    But you are on to something, though. Without patents on things like the Uber business model, incumbent businesses like taxi businesses lobby their governments for regulations to keep out competition, and those regulations last much longer than 20 years.

  22. Treavor February 12, 2015 10:23 am

    @Curious,
    The comparison to Communism is inappropriate. You might as well just say that people that oppose patents eat Christian babies if you are going to use groundless sensationalism. For starters, a lot of communist regimes actually had patents, and physical forms of property and ‘intellectual property’ are two very, VERY different beasts. From the perspective of economics, comparing the two is the height of ignorance.

    Secondly, what is being advocated here is open competition, which is fully compatible with capitalism. There are markets without much ‘IP’ to speak of (except maybe trademarks), and they tend to more closely resemble the models we see for how capitalism is supposed to work.

    Your hypotheticals aren’t grounded in reality. An onerous license doesn’t make anybody money. As such, your $3 fee would be more likely a penny or less.
    You are making two unfounded assumptions. One is that what is an onerous license is going to be universal. However, the greatest returns may potentially come from shaking down a few groups for a lot of money instead of shaking down a lot of groups for a little bit of money.

    Two, you assume that patent holders are going to make competent decisions. History has shown that people do stupid things with power, and patent holders are far from an exception. Patents can easily become a rope to hang yourself with.

  23. Scott February 12, 2015 11:00 am

    @Just a Guy. Thank you for making my day. I am glad you are not sticking to blogs where you can provide intelligent insights to the conversation. Maybe I am giving you too much credit, as this probably is not possible for you on any blog. Patenting an electric car (Dear Sirs, please accept my patent on any and all electric cars! Hilarious!), slave to the taxi industry (for 20 years even with the incredible assumption of that patent being granted! I can image you on a busy NYC sidewalk with a cardboard sign that says “No to Patents”, screaming “Come on Sheeple, we could all be SLAVES to TAXIS!” I dunno though, I bike/drive myself to work so I am safe, phew!) and a 3 dollar fee every time you buy an item online (Oh don’t worry about that honey, that is just the 3 dollar fee for internets!).

    Talk about a gross misunderstanding of both the patent and business world. Wow. I think the lesson here you gave everyone else is that there is no point in even arguing your points, as you are all hat, no cattle.

  24. Don't Be Evil... February 12, 2015 11:13 am

    @Treavor how can you possibly have open competition without a level playing field? Patents are the only thing that keep the playing field level allowing inventors and startups to grow their IP into ideas then into companies and so on. Without IP protection, there is no competition. There are only the have and have nots. The have’s being the large entities that can steal and rip-off ideas and tech at will with no repercussions.

    Also, for your other ‘markets’ you’re referring to, I’m assuming you mean markets that leverage technology that aren’t themselves dependent on IP – Uber or ‘sharing economy’ startups that connect people for tasks. The technology layer itself though (and companies that create these technologies) need IP protection otherwise what incentive is there to invest in R&D? Uber itself wouldn’t be possible without the smartphone and all the R&D, IP, etc that went into it. Without patents, there’s absolutely no incentive to create something if it can be replicated and scaled quickly for market share by a larger, well-funded entity.

    And finally, what about investment itself? VC’s invest in companies that have IP protection and can’t be easily replicated by the market. Sure, some like Uber, grow quickly, scale and get ridiculous valuations…but there are alot of startups that are very dependent on technology itself that they develop. How would they survive with ‘open competition’ without IP protection…

  25. Treavor February 12, 2015 11:37 am

    @DBE,
    If you accurately describe patents as legal monopolies, your first paragraph is nonsensical. “How can we have competition without monopolies?” To pretend that patents level the playing field is completely ridiculous. That was not and never has seriously been any part of their role. The utility of a patent is having the power to EXCLUDE competition, so they are inherently against open competition.

    That doesn’t mean that patents are bad. You could argue that open competition is less effective because it doesn’t control for externalities. You just can’t do so while pretending to be strictly capitalist. But if you aren’t even going to make a sensible argument, then any conversation with you will be inherently fruitless.

    As for the markets I was referring to, fashion and food are the go-to examples, and for a good reason.

    In regards to investment, you seem incapable of understanding how VC behavior would change if there were no patents to be acquired in an industry. If an industry is profitable and the playing field is ACTUALLY level because there are no patents, then investors will invest on the merits of the products and services instead of who has carved out the most lucrative legal monopoly.

  26. Gene Quinn February 12, 2015 12:03 pm

    Just A Guy-

    Your parade of horribles is completely ridiculous. To people like you it is an all or nothing proposition, which is both absurd and shows how little you know about the industry. The fact that there is a patent could never mean that the patent owner would be able to shut down your e-mail service. Since at least the eBay decision nearly a decade ago it has been impossible for inventors to get a permanent injunction. So essentially what you are saying is that you don’t think inventors should have the right to be compensated for the innovations that large companies steal. That position is extreme, short-sighted and ignorant.

    Your claim that a patent could raise the cost of every transaction by $3 is laughable as well.

    You are welcome to comment here on IPWatchdog, but keep it real.

  27. Gene Quinn February 12, 2015 12:05 pm

    Just a Guy-

    You say: “What if the Taxi association had a patent on “Picking Up People and Transporting for a fee” where would Uber be?”

    You do realize that Uber is NOT a tech company, correct? You are treating Uber as if they are an innovator and a patent could prevent them from taking their innovations to market. Uber is a car service. They are no more a tech company than a grocery store that has an app.

    You need to inform yourself about the meaning of the word innovation. Please look it up. Innovation is not offering a new product, innovation is doing something new. So why you complain that companies won’t be able to do something they want to do and then equate that to harming innovation your argument is both laughable and misinformed.

    -Gene

  28. Curious February 12, 2015 12:08 pm

    groundless sensationalism
    Hardly. When one talks Communism in the abstract (and in its pure form), it seems like a reasonable system. However, it is grounded in idealism — not reality. I like the reference to Communism because it shows how the removal of economic incentives can have drastic effects.

    Secondly, what is being advocated here is open competition, which is fully compatible with capitalism.
    There is a difference between systems of open (or “free” or “laissez-faire”) competition and fair competition. Under open/free competition, anything is permissible since it is without regulation. Like Communism, it has an initial appeal to it when talked about in the abstract. However, in reality, open/free competition is a much different animal. Open/free competition leads to the type of abusive practices that prompted the enactment of the Federal antitrust laws.
    Fair competition (the system the US strives for today) is one that recognizes a that some type of balance need exists between incentivizing strong competition and protecting both consumers and businesses from unfair competition. To do so requires a lot of regulations and a lot of active intervention. We do not have an “open competition” system in the US (just ask any Libertarian).

    There are markets without much ‘IP’ to speak of (except maybe trademarks), and they tend to more closely resemble the models we see for how capitalism is supposed to work.
    Care to elaborate on those markets more fully?

  29. Real Innovator February 12, 2015 12:25 pm

    @Curious – Really, nobody gets a generic patent for something like an electric car. What do you think of this patent that was just knocked out. The patent covered” taking, tagging, organizing and storing digital photographs online”

    You are right, the patent was really inventive.

    Read more: http://www.therecorder.com/id=1202717468424/Wielding-Alice-Tech-Giants-Trounce-Digital-Photo-Patent#ixzz3RYJyNBmo

  30. Curious February 12, 2015 12:32 pm

    To pretend that patents level the playing field is completely ridiculous. That was not and never has seriously been any part of their role. The utility of a patent is having the power to EXCLUDE competition, so they are inherently against open competition.
    The utility of patent is having the power to exclude copying — not necessarily competition. With very few exceptions, there are always alternatives (i.e., competition) to patented technology. As such, a patent doesn’t necessarily exclude competition — but it does allow a small player in a market to recoup their investment in a technology and not get ground to pieces by a larger player in a market who in a purely “open competition” could grind the smaller player into the ground using alternative means (e.g., market size/power, distribution efficiency, and a whole host of other business advantages).

    As for the markets I was referring to, fashion and food are the go-to examples, and for a good reason.
    Except (somewhat) in the manufacturing thereof, not a lot of technology going on there. While I’m thinking about it, are there a lot of good paying jobs in fashion and food?

    If an industry is profitable and the playing field is ACTUALLY level because there are no patents, then investors will invest on the merits of the products and services instead of who has carved out the most lucrative legal monopoly.
    Not really. The VCs would be far more interested in who was the best copiers of innovative (and valuable) products and services rather than who was the best creators of innovative and valuable products.

    By way of example, let’s say you and your team of 4 other engineers spent 6 months making an app for mobile phones. Once introduced into the marketplace, this app is looking like it has the potential to be a great success. However, if the underlying technology isn’t patented, Apple or Google or Microsoft could easily employ a team of 50 engineers to reproduce your app in a week and then have their marketing departments position it in the marketplace to be far more accessible to potential users than your app. They’ll also be able to spruce up your app, make it interoperable with their stuff, and generally make you all but a footnote (if you are lucky) in history because you have no other way to compete with them.

  31. Curious February 12, 2015 12:42 pm

    @Curious – Really, nobody gets a generic patent for something like an electric car. What do you think of this patent that was just knocked out. The patent covered” taking, tagging, organizing and storing digital photographs online”
    What I think about any patent always considers the time in which it was filed. In this instance, the patent has a priority date of 1996. Everything about computing has come a looooong way since then. As such, I’m not surprised that someone got a patent on this technology.

    My thought is this — there is some point in history (different for different inventions) in which every invention (that is statutory under 35 USC 101) would have been patentable under 35 USC 102/103.

  32. Just A Guy February 12, 2015 1:06 pm

    @Gene – You are right, I am not a patent lawyer and really do know little about your business.

    I disagree with you on Uber. The are an extremely innovative company. You do understand that they are going to transform the automotive world, right? The whole model of buying cars and putting them in your garage might be dead for a majority of us.

  33. Treavor February 12, 2015 1:22 pm

    @Curious
    I like the reference to Communism because it shows how the removal of economic incentives can have drastic effects.
    Yes, the comparison seems apt when you are painting with a brush so wide it’s a paint roller, but if you get into a level of detail suitable for intelligent conversation, it’s more of an illustration that large, centrally controlled economies are very inefficient. If you have the level of knowledge you would obtain from an entry level economics course, it becomes clear that this example is poor, and that the choice is because Communism is a scary word to most anyone who lived through the Cold War.

    There is a difference between systems of open (or “free” or “laissez-faire”) competition and fair competition.
    And if you understand that difference, we can actually have some intelligent debate on the efficacy of such a system, and what kinds of tweaks might make such a system more efficient. We must also consider that we may not have the competence to do things better, in which case, we are better off with a truly free market (at least in regards to patents). If we simply hold that it’s self-evident that our system is better and that we know better, hubris will inevitably destroy us.

    Regarding the food and fashion markets, Johanna Blakley has a good TED talk on it, although similar information is available for other sources. The fashion industry is very fast moving and cutthroat, which means that they have to constantly innovate to survive. Standing still is death in high fashion.

    @Curious
    The utility of patent is having the power to exclude copying — not necessarily competition.
    No, it’s to exclude competition. If I, having never seen your work before in my life, independently invent the same thing, you can still sue me. If you are proposing that we change patent law to only include copying, then your point is valid. Until then, though, it prevents direct competition. You are correct that it doesn’t inherently prevent indirect competition, but I think you are underestimating the risk of patents to blocking others. In video compression, for example, patents exist on enough of the techniques that it’s not possible to create a truly competitive codec without infringing existing patents. It’s quite difficult to make even a decent substitute without encroaching on the territory of an MPEG-LA licensor. Perhaps this kind of blocking is not the norm, but it happens to an extent that we shouldn’t brush it off as if it were nothing. If the argument for patents is solid, being realistic should still yield convincing results. If you pretend that the patent system is all benefits and no drawbacks, then you are living in a fantasy world.

    The VCs would be far more interested in who was the best copiers of innovative (and valuable) products and services rather than who was the best creators of innovative and valuable products.
    No, VCs are more interested in what makes money. Whether it is original or copied probably doesn’t matter all that much to them, and copiers don’t necessarily make more money. Copying also isn’t bad in and of itself. Copying is a necessity for human survival and progress.

    By way of example, let’s say you and your team of 4 other engineers spent 6 months making an app for mobile phones. Once introduced into the marketplace, this app is looking like it has the potential to be a great success. However, if the underlying technology isn’t patented, Apple or Google or Microsoft could easily employ a team of 50 engineers to reproduce your app in a week and then have their marketing departments position it in the marketplace to be far more accessible to potential users than your app. They’ll also be able to spruce up your app, make it interoperable with their stuff, and generally make you all but a footnote (if you are lucky) in history because you have no other way to compete with them.
    Better interoperability IS better service, and interoperability is often inhibited by patents. You are assuming, however, that there is no real advantage to being an originator. Facebook, instagram, and twitter, at least in the forms that made them popular, could be made by just about anyone, likely technically better, with the right skills over about a weekend. One advantage the little guy has over the big guy is greater flexibility, so a more competitive market should, at least theoretically, be MORE friendly to smaller entities. IBM is the biggest patent holder in the world, at least by numbers filed, and they wield incredible influence over the patent system. They are anything but the little guy.

    Also, let’s be honest here. The little guy is almost always going to be a footnote at best, patents or not. So, unless you include something like a statistical analysis, saying ‘the little guy gets screwed’ carries as much weight as saying ‘the sky is blue.’

  34. Just A Guy February 12, 2015 2:43 pm

    Gene – The only thing I ask, is stop pretending to defend the “little guy”. Go to San Francisco and see all the “little guys” and how well they do. How did Salesforce.com and Amazon kick that crap out of IBM without any patented technology? I mean, at one point, they were both little guys. And anyone can build a CRM tool, right? Wrong.

    The problem with you argument is that your little guy has an idea but cannot commercialize it. The example is that video going around with the guy who combined a thermal camera with a microwave. Is that really innovative? I don’t think so, he just combined two technologies together. What will be innovate is how he manufactures the product for a reasonable cost, creates a complete distribution channel of resellers and creates a form factor and pricing model that accommodates a specific segment of the market. Putting a thermal camera inside a microwave? That is the easy part.

  35. Paul Morinville February 12, 2015 2:44 pm

    I just left a hearing in the judiciary. Goodlatte showed the same irrational bullying to a speaker from a VC group. He raised his voice complaining about NPE’s lobbying against the bill.

    This means we are close to killing the bill. Next week you congressman will be at your local office. Go see them.

    If you need a document to take with you describing damage, you can download mine athttp://www.usinventor.org/googled.html. the bottom doc is best

  36. Anon February 12, 2015 6:08 pm

    Nice site Paul.

    Your added signal vastly improves the signal to noise ratio on this thread.

  37. Paul Morinville February 12, 2015 6:28 pm

    Anon… Thanks. Whoever you are.

  38. Curious February 12, 2015 9:41 pm

    it’s more of an illustration that large, centrally controlled economies are very inefficient
    Poor example — large, centrally controlled economies (similarly, large, centrally controlled business) and not exclusive to Communism and. The point about Communism involves its root word of commune or community. It is about what happens when everybody (i.e., the community or commune) owns everything – another way of saying everybody owns nothing. With pure Communism, everything belongs to the commune and you are entitled to your share. However, if everybody produces X and you produce X+Y, you don’t get X+Y as your share. Instead, you get X=Y/n (where n=the number in your community). Needless to say, n is usually an extremely large number so even if Y is really large (i.e., you contribute much more than everybody else), you see very little of it in return. Conversely, if you produce much less than X, the impact on your share is minimal. Where people are looking to maximize output versus input (i.e., work the least to get the most), it becomes a race to the bottom. He who works the least wins (at least in the short run). This, however, is a terrible way to run an economy.

    If we simply hold that it’s self-evident that our system is better and that we know better, hubris will inevitably destroy us
    I suggest you look in the mirror.

    In video compression, for example, patents exist on enough of the techniques that it’s not possible to create a truly competitive codec without infringing existing patents..
    Create your own. Oh wait, you don’t want to bother recreating it. You just want to climb upon the back of somebody else’s work. There are plenty of codecs out there and I’m sure many of them aren’t patented (some of them are old enough so that any patents on them, if there were any, would have expired).

    No, VCs are more interested in what makes money.
    Let me clue you into something, investment $ spent on copying technology is almost always lower than investment $ spent on developing the same technology. When copying, you already know the end result so all the wrong turns made in developing the technology can be avoided. As such, all things being equal, those that copy have less expenses to cover than those that innovate. Ergo, those that copy have the ability to make more money for their investment.

    Copying is a necessity for human survival and progress.
    I would rather incentivize innovation over copying.

    One advantage the little guy has over the big guy is greater flexibility, so a more competitive market should, at least theoretically, be MORE friendly to smaller entities
    Get an MBA, and you’ll be exposed to plenty of case studies as to how large corporations were managed so as to act more like smaller corporations in terms of flexibility. However, you won’t find many case studies showing how a very small company with little capital can recreate the marketing, R&D, supply chain, pre-existing customer relationships, bargaining power, and institutional knowledge (among others) of a large company. As such, in both theory and reality, a more competitive (i.e., “free”) market is NOT more friendly to smaller entities.

    The fashion industry is very fast moving and cutthroat, which means that they have to constantly innovate to survive.
    You should realize that the fashion industry relies heavily on copyrights (copyrights because “fashion” is expression not function, which is protectable with patents). I don’t think that this is a winning argument for your side.

  39. Anon February 13, 2015 8:02 am

    Great points all, Curious.

  40. Treavor February 13, 2015 9:34 am

    Poor example — large, centrally controlled economies (similarly, large, centrally controlled business) and not exclusive to Communism and
    I didn’t say they were. However, that’s the most clear thing that we can gather from the failure of communism. It’s not all that relevant because physical goods and IP are nothing alike from an economic perspective. If everybody owns everything in the physical realm, you have the tragedy of the commons. If everybody own everything in the intellectual realm, you have a literate society. Try and shake all of the empty rhetoric and fearmongering out of your head and brush up on Econ 101 to learn or recall the difference between rival and non-rival goods.

    I suggest you look in the mirror.
    Well, I do fancy myself as quite the looker, but I gather your intention is to point my hypocrisy, which might be more relevant if my role in the conversation wasn’t questioning whether or not we know better. My position is fully compatible with humanity being mostly bumbling idiots.

    Create your own. Oh wait, you don’t want to bother recreating it. You just want to climb upon the back of somebody else’s work. There are plenty of codecs out there and I’m sure many of them aren’t patented (some of them are old enough so that any patents on them, if there were any, would have expired).
    I said a competitive codec. Even VP8 barely fits the bill in the modern state of the art. Yes, you can freely use MPEG-1, but it’s not even in the same league.

    Also, just to clarify, the codecs themselves generally aren’t patented, but rather, the techniques used in said codec are patented. So, it’s not like you just make a little tweak to the codec, it’s more like you avoid almost every technique developed in the last 20 years.

    it’s funny that you criticize “climbing on the back of someone else’s work” with phrasing so reminiscent of Isaac Newton’s ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ I guess the first inventor of modern calculus was just a freeloading Commie, right? But, you just ‘stole’ from said Commie, so I suppose that makes you a super-Communist, at least if you having bothered to do your economics homework yet.

    Ergo, those that copy have the ability to make more money for their investment.
    Except when different parties enter the market at different times, all other things are never close to equal. That’s why Facebook will buy Instagram for a billion dollars (although I think he overpaid a bit) when their software could be completely replaced functionally with a frontend for ImageMagick that two developers could crank out over a long weekend.

    I would rather incentivize innovation over copying.
    We actually need BOTH of them, and the point is that copying IS NOT EVIL despite many people such as yourself incorrectly demonizing a practice essential to human survival.

    Get an MBA, and you’ll be exposed to plenty of case studies as to how large corporations were managed so as to act more like smaller corporations in terms of flexibility
    That they TRY to be as flexible as smaller corporations doesn’t mean that they come anywhere close to succeeding. By virtue of being such big companies, they have a lot of resources tied up and investors and boards are generally going to be a lot less forgiving and lenient.

    You should realize that the fashion industry relies heavily on copyrights (copyrights because “fashion” is expression not function, which is protectable with patents). I don’t think that this is a winning argument for your side.
    No, it doesn’t. Clothes are functional, and there’s no means of separating the functional from the non-functional, so no enforceable copyright exists for clothes, although a weak one has been proposed now and then. The only real protection for clothes is trademark, which is exactly why a Louis Vuitton purse has the name spammed all over it, because that’s the one thing legit competitors can’t copy.

    Perhaps you should actually look into the claims that others make instead of just angrily spouting off what you THINK is the case.

  41. Anon February 13, 2015 9:56 am

    IP is not non-rival goods Treavor.

    You trip right out of the gate.

  42. Treavor February 13, 2015 10:21 am

    @Anon,
    Patents themselves may be rival, but the claims in the abstract, like all other information, are non-rival goods. Right now, EVERYONE ‘owns’ the knowledge of incandescent lightbulb, and that in no way inhibits anyone else from using it. By contrast, if you and I were both to try and own the same car, my ownership of the car would interfere with and devalue your ownership of the car.

  43. Gene Quinn February 13, 2015 10:22 am

    Just A Guy-

    I’m not pretending to defend the little guy. I actually support pro innovation policy rather than policies that will destroy innovation.

    Your comment about going to San Francisco and seeing the “little guys” is extremely telling. As if only San Francisco has little guys. What about inventors in Southern Florida, or Nevada, or in the Capitol region? What about the start-ups at every University in the US? You point to companies that raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding the want to pretend that they are small players? Please.

    Can anyone build a CRM tool? Obviously the answer is NO. As it turns out, despite what the Supreme Court believes, any second year engineering student cannot program useful, worthwhile software over a weekend. There are a great many computer programmers who spend their days telling others that things cannot be done, when in fact what they are saying is (1) I don’t know how to do it; or (2) I don’t know where I can copy someone else’s code to provide that functionality. Programming something that is useful isn’t easy, which is why companies like Apple, IBM and even Amazon spend so many millions (or billions) of dollars every year engaging in research and development. It is also why they get patents.

    Next, you claim that Amazon, for example, doesn’t have any patents. To call that argument ridiculous would be insulting to other arguments that are merely ridiculous. Either you are lazy, clueless, indifferent to the truth or you are a fraud with an agenda. Amazon has several thousand patents. If you want to comment here on IPWatchdog you MUST not lie and build fictitious arguments upon a fraudulent foundation.

    You say: “The problem with you argument is that your little guy has an idea but cannot commercialize it.”

    And that is why patent licensing is so critically important. Thomas Edison didn’t commercialize anything. And the truth is that big tech doesn’t innovate. Big tech can commercialize, but they have almost universally lost the ability to innovate except in extremely rare cases, such as with IBM who spends $6 billion annually researching. But everyone buys truly small start-ups to get their innovation.

  44. Gene Quinn February 13, 2015 10:40 am

    Treavor-

    You say: “No, VCs are more interested in what makes money. Whether it is original or copied probably doesn’t matter all that much to them…”

    You do realize that statement is completely false, right? It should be self evident, but apparently it isn’t for you, so allow me to explain. The reason investors, including VCs, demand patents is because it makes absolutely no sense to invest in the creation of a technology if you cannot own the technology. Why spend the vast sums required to create if upon successful completion a free rider can swoop in and copy? It would make no sense because the free rider would not only take the fruit of your labors, but they would be able to charge less because they didn’t have to invest in R&D. Furthermore, most businesses do not succeed. With patents there is at least an asset that can be used to recoup some of the investment.

    You really need to get a better grasp on simple economics. You might also find it useful to watch Shark Tank, where the investors always ask whether there is a patent. You should also read these articles on IPWatchdog that clearly explain why investors demand exclusive rights:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/11/09/a-strong-innovation-ecosystem-is-needed-for-job-creation/id=52058/

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2015/01/22/creating-start-up-success-in-an-anti-patent-climate/id=53864/

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2010/03/12/venture-capital-success-based-on-patents/id=9657/

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/10/21/the-cost-of-not-having-patent-protection/id=51758/

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2011/01/27/start-up-reality-no-patent-no-funding-no-business-no-jobs/id=14659/

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014/07/21/promoting-innovation-the-economics-of-incentives/id=50428/

  45. Reasonable February 13, 2015 10:47 am

    @innovator, @common sense
    The implication that patent holders should dedicate their work to the public good for free is incredulous.
    By that logic drug companies should give drugs to sick people for free? Similarly Doctors should treat people for free? How about lawyers dedicating all their time to help people in trouble for free?
    Except for charities, I don’t see any of the above or anyone else working for free.
    Why should patent creators work for free?
    Corporations don’t innovate…creative people innovate. Those creative people should be rewarded for their efforts or else innovation will cease.

  46. Curious February 13, 2015 11:16 am

    If everybody own everything in the intellectual realm, you have a literate society</i.
    Except you have provided nobody with an incentive to come up with something in the "intellectual realm." Your arguments (and philosophy) fail because you neglect a most basic human requirement … which is an incentive to do something. While some are altruistic, most are not. You (incorrectly) presume that once restrictions on intellectual property are lifted, people will continue to create intellectual property at the same rate as before. You philosophy is based upon idealism — not reality.

    I said a competitive codec.
    That’s right, you want somebody else to do the heavy lifting and you to reap the benefits of their work. Great philosophy you have …

    That’s why Facebook will buy Instagram for a billion dollars (although I think he overpaid a bit) when their software could be completely replaced functionally with a frontend for ImageMagick that two developers could crank out over a long weekend.
    I think you grossly underestimate what Facebook bought. They didn’t merely buy the code.

    We actually need BOTH of them
    OK … what would you do to incentivize innovation? Copying doesn’t need because it’ll happen regardless. What are your incentives for somebody to work 1000, 2000, 10,000 man-hours on a project and then have to give it away because you would deny them intellectual property rights?

    That they TRY to be as flexible as smaller corporations doesn’t mean that they come anywhere close to succeeding.
    Oh, many of them do. Also, what does it really mean to be “flexible”? Regardless of what it means, flexibility is FAR overrated. Moreover, no amount of flexibility can overcome the advantages of that the big players can bring to the table if they decide to set their sights on you and your market.

    so no enforceable copyright exists for clothes
    Some (in certain circumstances), but strong protection exists as you admitted yourself. To be honest, I don’t deal with fashion so my knowledge in that arena is limited. An entirely different story with patents, however.

  47. Treavor February 13, 2015 12:46 pm

    @Gene,
    You are positing why VCs would choose firms that have patents over firms that don’t have patents. That doesn’t mean that if patents are not an option for an industry, there will be zero investment in it. Again, VCs care about making money from the businesses they invest in. HOW that money is made is inconsequential to them other than the reliability of profits. Since most patents aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, the ‘scrap value of patents argument’ is pretty weak, as most businesses that are getting investments from VC have or are going to acquire something with value other than patents.

    I think the problem that you and many other patent lawyers have is that you feel the need to present a reality where without patents, the sky falls, the river turns to blood, and such, which prevents you from making your best arguments and perceiving how other paradigms or systems might work.

    @Curious
    Except you have provided nobody with an incentive to come up with something in the “intellectual realm.” Your arguments (and philosophy) fail because you neglect a most basic human requirement … which is an incentive to do something. While some are altruistic, most are not. You (incorrectly) presume that once restrictions on intellectual property are lifted, people will continue to create intellectual property at the same rate as before. You philosophy is based upon idealism — not reality.
    You are assuming that the only incentives come from the patent system, which is light years from reality. The conventional wisdom, however, is that necessity is the mother of invention. Boredom is probably the father, and inebriation and sleep deprivations are the cool uncles. There are a lot of factors that go into innovation, and most of them are just circumstance.

    That’s right, you want somebody else to do the heavy lifting and you to reap the benefits of their work. Great philosophy you have
    Yes, because to build an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. We couldn’t have this conversation if somebody else didn’t do the heavy lifting (and besides, even if I wasted my time recreating all of those techniques in a vacuum, the law would treat me the same, which means your attack is invalid unless you are proposing a defense for independent inventing). Fortunately, humans excel at letting somebody else do the heavy lifting, so a farmer was able to let an ox drive the plow instead of doing it themselves, allowing them to get much higher yields that free up human resources.

    Said freed up resources allowed us to build society. Therefore, patents could not exist if it weren’t for the free riders you are so concerned about didn’t exist. If we didn’t do that, we wouldn’t have a society, and probably wouldn’t have a human race. Newton did it. Edison did it. Every human that has walked this planet has done it. Even monkeys and intelligent birds do it extensively.

    I think you grossly underestimate what Facebook bought. They didn’t merely buy the code.
    No, I understand why, I’m just pointing out to you that there is value to businesses outside of patents, being the biggest, or being the cheapest. Just because you want to think that the world is simple doesn’t mean that the universe will bend to your ignorance.

    Oh, many of them do.
    No, they don’t. They may end up being less bureaucratic than IBM, but they aren’t going to come close to being as flexible as a startup because a startup can take stupid risks that could bring the whole company down, while no billion dollar company is going to be able to do that, at least not unless they are on the verge of going under.

    Also, what does it really mean to be “flexible”?
    Able to quickly react to changing circumstances.

    Regardless of what it means, flexibility is FAR overrated. Moreover, no amount of flexibility can overcome the advantages of that the big players can bring to the table if they decide to set their sights on you and your market.
    Yes, and that’s why IBM has maintained dominance on the personal computer market… Do you actually think about what you post or do you just post the first inane rhetoric that pops into your head? Reality is actually more complicated and nuanced than a game of rock-paper-scissors.

    Some (in certain circumstances), but strong protection exists as you admitted yourself. To be honest, I don’t deal with fashion so my knowledge in that arena is limited. An entirely different story with patents, however.
    No, the only protection is trademark, which is not a strong protection against anything other than fraud, and not really much like copyright or patents at all other than the fact it’s intangible. I believe Japan has a nominal analog to copyright for fashion that is completely toothless in practice.

  48. Gene Quinn February 13, 2015 4:24 pm

    Treavor-

    It seems that you want to try and change what you said now that I’ve demonstrated you wrong. Let’s not forget that it was you who said that whether exclusive rights could be obtained or not didn’t matter to VCs. That statement is as incorrect as it is ridiculous.

    You say: “I think the problem that you and many other patent lawyers have is that you feel the need to present a reality where without patents, the sky falls, the river turns to blood, and such, which prevents you from making your best arguments and perceiving how other paradigms or systems might work.”

    So why don’t you tell us how those other paradigms would work? How about you give us examples of countries where there are weak patent rights and strong, thriving economies? Oh wait, those countries don’t exist. Well then… why don’t you give us an example of a proprietary company that succeed by adopting open source? Oh wait, examples don’t exist there either. As a matter of fact Sun demonstrated how to turn a multi-billion dollar company into a several hundred million dollar company by pursuing opens source. Well… why don’t you explain how successful Red Hat has been without patents? Oh wait… they have a huge patent portfolio.

    The problem with your arguments is that they demonstrate you don’t know anything about the industry. For crying out loud you actually said that Amazon didn’t have any patents. Obviously the truth isn’t important to you.

    One thing you are correct about, is if others didn’t come before then people would have to reinvent the wheel and couldn’t stand on the shoulders of giants. Of course, you fail to understand that the argument you make actually supports the patent system and completely undercuts your own arguments. This probably is a surprise to you, but patents don’t last for ever. Most patents last for between 4 and 8 years. Only the most commercially important patents last beyond 12 years for a maximum of 20 years. So patents are very short-lived. They also must be published. So the patent system allows for the dissemination of knowledge so that others can build on the genius of those who come before them. In a world without patents things are kept as trade secrets, which means that no one can build on the genius that has come before.

    You have a lot to learn, but there is a cure for ignorance like yours. Open your mind and read. Knowledge and truth are wonderful things!

  49. Gene Quinn February 13, 2015 4:28 pm

    Treavor-

    You can start your further education here:

    https://www.uschamber.com/blog/4-charts-show-stronger-intellectual-property-protections-mean-stronger-more-innovative-economy

    Remarkable how much more innovation occurs in countries with strong patent rights.

  50. Curious February 13, 2015 4:41 pm

    The conventional wisdom, however, is that necessity is the mother of invention. Boredom is probably the father, and inebriation and sleep deprivations are the cool uncles. There are a lot of factors that go into innovation, and most of them are just circumstance.
    I’m sorry, nobody spends real $$$ on R&D because of boredom, inebriation or sleep deprivation. Smart businessman do so because they expect a return on their investment. This is far less likely to happen if you were emperor of the world.

    a farmer was able to let an ox drive the plow instead of doing it themselves
    And you want someone to walk in at harvest time, say “I want the fruits of your labor and BTW … I don’t want to pay a penny for it.” Nice. You do realize, of course, that patents do not grant perpetual rights in technology. Everything that has been patented will eventually come off patent. As such, your missive about ‘everybody doing it’ falls flat.

    Able to quickly react to changing circumstances.
    I think you overestimate small company’s flexibility then. Small companies cannot easily drop a product because of “changing circumstances” — particularly if they are heavily invested in it.

    that’s why IBM has maintained dominance on the personal computer market
    One might say that IBM was wise in getting out of a market that was becoming commoditized.

    Reality is actually more complicated and nuanced than a game of rock-paper-scissors.
    You need to come up with better insults — yours are quite lame.

    OK … what would you do to incentivize innovation? Copying doesn’t need because it’ll happen regardless. What are your incentives for somebody to work 1000, 2000, 10,000 man-hours on a project and then have to give it away because you would deny them intellectual property rights?
    I previously asked those questions with the expectation that you would not answer them. You did not disappoint me.

    Your side loves to talk about how society would be improved if everybody could share technology/knowledge/whatever. However, I rarely see them talking about how to compensate the innovators and creators.

  51. Gene Quinn February 13, 2015 4:47 pm

    Treavor-

    I missed you saying this:

    “Boredom is probably the father, and inebriation and sleep deprivations are the cool uncles. There are a lot of factors that go into innovation, and most of them are just circumstance.”

    That isn’t the level of discourse that we strive for here on IPWatchdog.com. There are plenty of places you can go to spew your condescending nonsense and get in the way of thoughtful debate. You are now invited to go to those other places and leave us alone.

  52. angry dude February 15, 2015 6:42 pm

    Bottom line: do not file for patents
    And if trade secret or copyright protection doesn’t work in your field then do nothing even remotely inventive
    That’s right – absolutely NOTHING
    It will save you money and mental health

  53. Reasonable February 15, 2015 8:05 pm

    To: @angry dude
    would like to compare notes with you. Any way to contact you?

  54. angry dude February 16, 2015 9:51 pm

    @Reasonable

    I don’t know about your field of endeavor. I did something of some importance in digital signal processing (google robust pitch determination), where you have a choice of software copyrights (doesn’t really work – see HBO’s “Silicon Valley” ), algorithm patents or trade secrets (secure encrypted DSPs or custom ASICs ($$$$$$$$), maybe server-side software, but no software for general purpose home or office PCs unfortunately, well, maybe USB dongles but they suck big time…).
    I picked patent protection (back in 2002) and now I am HUGELY disappointed in the US Patent System.
    Well, as the saying goes: “Fool me once – shame on you, fool me twice – shame on me”

  55. angry dude February 17, 2015 7:41 am

    About Google:

    Many people here don’t realize what Google is and what Google was at the very beginning.
    Google started as a small Internet search engine company – 100% server-side software technology (their home webpage still shows it)
    With server-side tech you don’t care for patent or copyright protection – it’s protected automatically by trade secret because it’s on a server side – not accessible to anyone.
    The “famous” page-rank patent is for the most part a smoke-screen and bs:
    You cannot replicate Google’s server-side tech based on their patents and you cannot reverse-engineer their server-side tech. Period.

    Now the client side (e.g. PC software applications, smartphone apps etc.) is different: it can be reverse-engineered (from compiled binaries) and without patent protection you WILL be ripped off by a larger entity if there is any benefit for them (cost of reverse-engineering vs. reward of gaining in-house knowledge of inner working of your tech)
    Google is a huge monster corporation these days and they do everything: server-side, client-side, tablets, smart phones, feeding kids in Africa, buying politicians in US, you name it…
    And Google doesn’t want other people or companies to have patents.

    P.S. The popular HBO’s “Silicon Valley” shows how Hooli (aka Google) treats real innovators. And in real life the main character guy would be fired from Hooli before being ripped off by them, but then we wouldn’t see the second season…

  56. Curious February 18, 2015 9:40 am

    With server-side tech you don’t care for patent or copyright protection – it’s protected automatically by trade secret because it’s on a server side – not accessible to anyone.
    Let pick this apart, shall we. First, as everybody well knows, code is easily transferred. As such, “trade secrets” in a computer realm are very difficult to maintain. Also, engineers move. While they may have signed NDAs, it is difficult to monitor what an engineer does once they leave the company. Finally, while server-side technology may not be easy to reverse-engineer, you can see the results of what the technology achieve, and the results themselves may be enough to perform the reverse-engineering.

    I work for companies that get patents on server-side technology. I have to assume that they are getting these patents for some type of purpose.

  57. angry dude February 18, 2015 2:10 pm

    @curious

    I wish you best of luck reverse-engineering and replicating the structure, network topology and behind the scene functionality of google or amazon services from end results.
    Keep your compiled binaries in-house and never ever show source code to anyone – and they won’t be able to steal from you.
    That’s why we see pirated copies and clones of most sofisticated softwares (e.g. matlab, msoffice, cubase etc) but never a “pirated” version of e.g. google search

    Companies of all sizes are still getting patents – sometimes I wonder why ?
    It probably has to do with corporate valuations, but as Eric Spangenberg pointed out it’s all gonna change in the near future… significant GAAP write-downs are coming
    Patent “reform” is gonna bite those same corporations arguing for it in the back, maybe after some class-action lawsuits