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Google Employee Calls For Reform of Outdated Patent Laws
engine

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 3:21 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Chris Russell, Operations Manager at Google's data center in Council Bluffs.

Google Employee Calls For Reform of Outdated Patent Laws [desmoinesregister.com]
Unfortunately, American innovators and engineers are being constrained by patent laws that have not been updated since 1952. Current law is being used to hold up companies for huge settlement payments, even when alleged infringements are trivial. Google and countless other American companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year defending and settling frivolous patent lawsuits - resources that would be much better spent developing revolutionary new technologies and creating jobs.

As part of comprehensive patent reform, Congress should take the necessary steps to modernize and provide additional resources to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Consider that in 1790, when the first patent law was enacted, three patent examiners reviewed three patent applications. Today, there are only 7,000 patent examiners charged with reviewing more than 460,000 patent applications per year. The application backlog has created an unnecessary drag on innovation.


 

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 5:36 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

Oh the irony of the same company that files patents faster than McD's can take orders in a drive-thru window complaining about the problem that they are helping create.

I'm sure Google would be thrilled to be able to just copy anything anyone else creates without having to worry about repercussions.

Microsoft had that same attitude when they added DoubleSpace to their OS and put Stac out of business.

[en.wikipedia.org...]

Even with patents, by the time Stac won the lawsuit the company was kaput.

Fear the millionaire geeks seeking to stomp the small guy out of existence.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 5:37 pm (utc) on April 2, 2009]

jcoronella

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 6:56 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL: I have not heard of one instance where Google has INITIATED a patent dispute.

Are there any? I don't think they roll like that. They have them for a strong Defense.

greenleaves

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 7:21 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

what happened to Bodog really opened my eyes to the power of frivolous patent lawsuits. I must agree, the system needs to be changed... but with who's interest in mind?

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 7:44 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL: I have not heard of one instance where Google has INITIATED a patent dispute.

Are there any? I don't think they roll like that. They have them for a strong Defense.

Did I say Google initiated any patent disputes?

Without patents there's nothing to protect us small fry developers from larger predators like Google and Microsoft, which was the point of the Stac Electronics patent suit that I pointed out.

If someone small develops the next best thing in search and Google can't simply copy them because of patent violation then the new company has a distinct advantage that Google wouldn't want them to have.

Now imagine Google's facing a new competitor that's kicking their tail, the company won't sell them the technology, and they can't infringe on the patent without a massive financial penalty.

That's where they don't want to be and the easiest way to avoid it would be to have the patent system tossed aside.

Sure, you're going to get a few frivolous patent lawsuits because a few wackos out there are looking to scam the system, but personally I like the fact that the little innovators can protect themselves from the monolithic giants that could easily replicate what the innovators have done and decimate their little companies.

Filing a lawsuit isn't the only way to nuke a company as unfair competition does an equally good job.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 7:45 pm (utc) on April 2, 2009]

flyerguy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 7:47 pm on Apr 2, 2009 (gmt 0)

I wish they would speed up the application/review process, too many companies are spending $10K to apply for a patent that's clearly never going to be approved, on the grounds they can write nasty letters to anyone who tries to use similar technology, and scare them into submission - "you will owe backdated royalties for using this technology once our patent is approved" etc. - no small business can weigh the potential costs of patent litigation vs the probably meager gains they get by using a specific technology.. so whoever has the most money can gain simply by bullying the competition until their silly application expires.

I have been on the small-fish side of this type of scenario, a little extra functionality for users is not worth seeing your business potentially destroyed, most businesses couldn't afford one day in patent court.

A faster review process would decrease the window for this type of idea-squatting.

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 12:10 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I notice they are not asking for an end to software patents. I think that says just how much their silly software patents really do mean to them.

Tastatura

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 3:05 am on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I guess it all depends where agree you sitting. If you have a patent you want ti enforced and to bear fruit from it, if you are developing something new / similar you like to have a less restrictions. :)

I agree that there is some change needed for US patent laws (and perhaps internationally - yes there are differences ). Some allowed patents are downright silly, but that is just my opinion. What Google rep is asking/ petitioning for is a bit overbearing if I understood it correctly. Also these two statements can be viewed as bit contradicting
Current law is being used to hold up companies for huge settlement payments, even when alleged infringements are trivial. Google and countless other American companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year defending and settling frivolous patent lawsuits...
.

Google can choose not to defend "small infringements" and save money :)

PTO is backed up, but review process is also based on "quality" or uniqueness of your patent and competency of the reviewer.

At my previous job, patent attorney told us that "patents are not there to enable you to do something, but rather to stop someone else from doing it". Take it as you will :)

poppyrich

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 3:44 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

If a large company has a patent on a technology for which any case can be made for infringement, no matter how flimsy or "frivolous", the legal costs of defending can easily drive a start-up out of business.
That's just the way it is.
Legal costs are the real weapon, having the patent just gives you the ability (or just a pretext, sometimes) to wield it.

texasville

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 5:09 pm on Apr 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Patents are probably the MOST stimulating to innovation of anything in existence. If you can't just copy then you have to find and build something better to do the same job in a different way. Copying is stagnation.
Patents probably have done more for the American ingenuity than anything else.
But I do agree the patent office needs to be funded better and technology should be paramount to speed things thru.

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 1:49 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Most of all, the patent process needs to become much much cheaper; perhaps funded entirely from future royalties? It should be possible for someone without two dollars to his name to invent something, and patent it, and still have those two dollars at the end of the day.

Tastatura

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 5:17 pm on Apr 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

...patent process needs to become much much cheaper..

yes it's expensive; even more so if you try to file internationally as well as in US...
you can always file provisional for a year, which is about $500 - perhaps still not cheep but way less then "full blown" patent fees

[edited by: Tastatura at 5:17 pm (utc) on April 5, 2009]

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3884062 posted 4:02 pm on Apr 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Without patents there's nothing to protect us small fry developers from larger predators like Google and Microsoft, which was the point of the Stac Electronics patent suit that I pointed out.

How many patents do you hold? How many do IBM hold? Whose patent portfolio is harder to work around?

Add to that the cross licensing by the giants, that means that they pay nothing to each other, but new entrants have to pay all of them - especially in fields like semiconductors.

Has software progressed any faster since it became patentable? As far as I can see, most of the important ideas existed in some for before that.

Web services and even software distributed in binary form can be kept a trade secret, and the creator has a copyright. Are patents really necessary on top of that?

Then there is the risk every developer faces of unknowingly infringing, and finding out after committing to a technology. This is made worse by patent trolls with submarine patents.

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