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(Slate)   Thomas Edison, the original Patent Troll   (slate.com) divider line 40
    More: Fail, non-practicing entity, Thomas Edison, plain, Declaration of Independence, division of labour  
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4542 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 May 2014 at 12:50 PM (13 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



40 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-19 11:06:52 AM
The article's not wrong...  if you define patent trolls as anyone who tries to enforce or license a patent but doesn't make a product with it, then yeah, you're sweeping all sorts of things into that bin, including those inventors in the article and research universities.
And it also leads you down the wrong path to a solution - no one dislikes patent trolls  because they don't make product. We dislike patent trolls because of extortionate demand letters, suing end-users rather than manufacturers, filing suits with weird joinder of giant companies and tiny individuals in order to screw with venue, using preliminary injunctions as a massive stick to force settlements, etc... none of which have anything to do with "not making product". Solutions need to focus on those real problems, rather than unrelated things like requiring patent owners to make product in order to maintain their patent, something that will unintentionally harm universities and small inventors.

For example, in the AIA, the joinder rules got fixed... You can't now sue Microsoft in Seattle and Joe Schmoe in Florida in order to argue that Texas is the best place because it's halfway between. Unless Microsoft and Joe Schmoe are actually working together to infringe the product, then you can't join them. This has resulted in a huge decrease in the number of patent defendants.  Similar changes to the induced/indirect infringement doctrines would eliminate suits against end users.
 
2014-05-19 11:25:01 AM

Theaetetus: The article's not wrong...  if you define patent trolls as anyone who tries to enforce or license a patent but doesn't make a product with it, then yeah, you're sweeping all sorts of things into that bin, including those inventors in the article and research universities.
And it also leads you down the wrong path to a solution - no one dislikes patent trolls  because they don't make product. We dislike patent trolls because of extortionate demand letters, suing end-users rather than manufacturers, filing suits with weird joinder of giant companies and tiny individuals in order to screw with venue, using preliminary injunctions as a massive stick to force settlements, etc... none of which have anything to do with "not making product". Solutions need to focus on those real problems, rather than unrelated things like requiring patent owners to make product in order to maintain their patent, something that will unintentionally harm universities and small inventors.

For example, in the AIA, the joinder rules got fixed... You can't now sue Microsoft in Seattle and Joe Schmoe in Florida in order to argue that Texas is the best place because it's halfway between. Unless Microsoft and Joe Schmoe are actually working together to infringe the product, then you can't join them. This has resulted in a huge decrease in the number of patent defendants.  Similar changes to the induced/indirect infringement doctrines would eliminate suits against end users.


Wait... a Slate writer with an armchair understanding of law got things... wrong?

I... I need to sit down.
 
2014-05-19 11:29:32 AM

BKITU: Wait... a Slate writer with an armchair understanding of law got things... wrong?


Byline:  Adam Mossoff is professor of law at George Mason University, and a senior scholar in the Center for Protection of Intellectual Property at George Mason.

And I said he wasn't wrong - the article notes correctly that, under the current definition of "troll", Edison and others would be trolls. But it stops there and never really says "okay, so what do we do about the problems?" If anything, the implication is "Edison was a troll, but Edison was awesome! Therefore, trolls are awesome too, and you should just shut-up, you naysayers."
 
2014-05-19 12:04:39 PM
Edison was ruthless.
 
2014-05-19 12:12:14 PM

Fear_and_Loathing: Edison was ruthless.


videodance.emptyfilm.com
Not so... In 1894, Edison filmed Ruth St. Dennis doing a skirt dance.
 
2014-05-19 12:53:20 PM
Tesla.
 
2014-05-19 12:54:24 PM
Edison was an ASSHOLE....

www.moviecitizens.com
 
2014-05-19 12:54:40 PM
Didn't Edison screw over Tesla with patent law at some point? I seem to remember something along those lines.

/ alternating current lines; of course. Direct current lines are just impractical over long distances...

// watts this? Electricity jokes?
 
2014-05-19 12:55:26 PM
Old news on Edison.  Edison, while a brilliant man and highly influential on our country, was also an insane asshole.
 
2014-05-19 12:55:56 PM
I assume the Fail tag is for Subby linking a Slate article.

Thanks for the "article" with zero facts whatsoever about whether any of these people were in fact trolls or simply standing up for legitimate patent offenses.
 
2014-05-19 12:56:29 PM

Theaetetus: The article's not wrong.


It's Slate, you could have stopped there (without even reading the article).
 
2014-05-19 12:57:36 PM

DontMakeMeComeBackThere: Theaetetus: The article's not wrong.

It's Slate, you could have stopped there (without even reading the article).


OK, I'm a moron - I read that as the article IS wrong.

Damn, waste of a good snark too.....
 
2014-05-19 12:58:11 PM
Wanna bet if you dug into things it's really J.P. Morgan behind most of the lawsuits.
 
2014-05-19 12:58:12 PM
Slate sucks!!!
 
2014-05-19 12:58:19 PM
Singer sewing machines was patent trolling long before Edison.
 
2014-05-19 12:58:24 PM

Satanic_Hamster: Old news on Edison.  Edison, while a brilliant man and highly influential on our country, was also an insane asshole.


The asshole is remarkable?
 
2014-05-19 01:00:31 PM
If someone invents something, and licenses a patent for it, they are not a patent troll.

If someone patents something that's already in common use and is in no way representative of an innovation, then tries to strong-arm people actually using said concepts, THEY are a patent troll.

Edison was not a patent troll.
 
2014-05-19 01:03:07 PM
Everyone raps on Edison recently, while forgetting that Alexander Graham Bell literally toured Europe posing as an investor, talked to inventors, went home, and patented their stuff in the US. Who do you think invented the telephone or the hydrofoil?
 
2014-05-19 01:06:35 PM
Patent troll and movie pirate. And then there was that elephant thing...

You can thank Joseph Swan for your light bulbs.
 
2014-05-19 01:07:13 PM

iheartscotch: Didn't Edison screw over Tesla with patent law at some point? I seem to remember something along those lines.

/ alternating current lines; of course. Direct current lines are just impractical over long distances...

// watts this? Electricity jokes?


Oblig: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla
 
2014-05-19 01:07:23 PM

Theaetetus: BKITU: Wait... a Slate writer with an armchair understanding of law got things... wrong?

Byline:  Adam Mossoff is professor of law at George Mason University, and a senior scholar in the Center for Protection of Intellectual Property at George Mason.

And I said he wasn't wrong - the article notes correctly that, under the current definition of "troll", Edison and others would be trolls. But it stops there and never really says "okay, so what do we do about the problems?" If anything, the implication is "Edison was a troll, but Edison was awesome! Therefore, trolls are awesome too, and you should just shut-up, you naysayers."


This is typical lawyer stuff.  The reality of a troll is someone who scoops the legal rights on something someone else invented or failed to realize was patentable.  Edison, Goodyear, Jobs, etc.... all rode on the backs of real scientists who actually invented stuff, they then became the name synonymous with a life-changing item and history rememebers the victors yadda yadda.

Companies have been operating like this for a long time (TFA states this) and many are sitting on tech patents they aren't using.  It kind of stiffles innovation and makes creative brilliant minds hesitate on taking risks as they are worried about some damn lawyer parasite tearing into thier pockets.  I see the side of protecting the individual/Co. holding a patent but there sould be some limitations to others using ideas and not getting the ol' murikan sue job.
 
2014-05-19 01:07:39 PM

Fenwick3: Edison was an ASSHOLE....


Came for Drunken History, leaving satisfied....
 
2014-05-19 01:27:28 PM

kasmel: If someone invents something, and licenses a patent for it, they are not a patent troll.

If someone patents something that's already in common use and is in no way representative of an innovation, then tries to strong-arm people actually using said concepts, THEY are a patent troll.

Edison was not a patent troll.


However, if something is already in common use, then it can't be patented by definition.

The actual root of the problem here is with the government giving out invalid patents without due diligence.

The solution is to give the patent office more money to more thoroughly examine patents for prior art.  But that's "Excessive government spending", so we can't have that.
 
2014-05-19 01:33:04 PM
│ Of course, by selling his patent rights to others, including even to businesspeople
│ who themselves embraced the patent licensing business model, Goodyear would
│ be attacked today as a "patent troll," just as inventors today have been attacked
│ for this same commercial activity.


This is idiotic reasoning. Goodyear invented something, then sold the rights to manufacture it to other people who had the resources to do so that he did not have. That's how the system is supposed to work.

 In fact, one of Goodyear's own licensees engaged in a massive litigation campaign
│ against hundreds of dentists, suing them for royalties on unauthorized uses of
│ rubber dental implants.


More idiocy. How is that Goodyear's fault?
 
2014-05-19 01:38:21 PM

Geotpf: The solution is to give the patent office more money to more thoroughly examine patents for prior art.  But that's "Excessive government spending", so we can't have that.


It's even worse... The patent office is self funded through application and patent maintenance fees,  and runs a surplus. But when it comes time to spend that surplus to upgrade databases or hire more Examiners, then Congress grabs it and says "no, we need it to build a bridge that no one wants in a place no one goes." It's quite literally charging inventors $X to "examine their patent application", then spending $X/2 on it and diverting the rest elsewhere.
 
2014-05-19 01:45:14 PM
The greedy Wright brothers fought for a blocking patent that gave them a monopoly on airplane-building. Then they proceeded to sue Glen Hammond Curtiss and other aviation pioneers, slowing aeronautical development. Still, Curtiss is credited with hundreds of inventions, including wing flaps and retractable landing gear, that can be traced to modern aircraft, whereas almost nothing used at Kittyhawk is recognizable in a plane today.
 
2014-05-19 01:54:09 PM
Good patents are good, bad patents are bad, tautology club is tautology club.

Getting and enforcing a patent for something like vulcanizing rubber is vastly different than what we see in software with patenting "... but with a computer" type shiat and waiting to steal from from productive people who build things and certainly didn't need any of the "research breakthroughs" in troll patents.
 
2014-05-19 01:57:25 PM

CodeMonkey4Life: Getting and enforcing a patent for something like vulcanizing rubber is vastly different than what we see in software with patenting "... but with a computer" type shiat and waiting to steal from from productive people who build things and certainly didn't need any of the "research breakthroughs" in troll patents.


Yeah, it is vastly different, in that patents for vulcanizing rubber exist, but "... but with a computer" software patents don't.
 
2014-05-19 02:06:01 PM
Tesla would probably agree...
 
2014-05-19 02:16:15 PM

Theaetetus: Geotpf: The solution is to give the patent office more money to more thoroughly examine patents for prior art.  But that's "Excessive government spending", so we can't have that.

It's even worse... The patent office is self funded through application and patent maintenance fees,  and runs a surplus. But when it comes time to spend that surplus to upgrade databases or hire more Examiners, then Congress grabs it and says "no, we need it to build a bridge that no one wants in a place no one goes." It's quite literally charging inventors $X to "examine their patent application", then spending $X/2 on it and diverting the rest elsewhere.


It's cool now.   Michelle's here and is all like.... "Whoaaa, my #1 priority is fixing your tech infrastructure.  Let's DOOOOOO it".

Soon we'll have the mainframe up and running to autoexamine your patent application.  It will throw together prior art rejections by semantic keyword mapping of references to claims.

Initial reports indicates the autoexaminer will have a 2% lower affirmation rate than human examiners.

/Kidding
//Sort of, but not really, but kinda.
 
2014-05-19 02:22:54 PM
 
2014-05-19 02:43:28 PM
One word: Topsy.
 
2014-05-19 02:59:50 PM

iheartscotch: Didn't Edison screw over Tesla with patent law at some point? I seem to remember something along those lines.

/ alternating current lines; of course. Direct current lines are just impractical over long distances...

// watts this? Electricity jokes?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current

You may have to rethink HVDC. US even has a few lines:
img.fark.net
 
2014-05-19 03:48:12 PM

Ivo Shandor: Patent troll and movie pirate. And then there was that elephant thing...

You can thank Joseph Swan for your light bulbs.


1.bp.blogspot.com

/obscure?

//hot
 
2014-05-19 06:02:02 PM
Thomas Edison was a  gigantic d*ck
 
2014-05-19 10:34:47 PM
One big difference, Edison actually owned his pattens.
 
2014-05-19 10:45:19 PM

Clemkadidlefark: Thomas Edison was a  gigantic d*ck


He sorta sounded like a classic case of small d*ck syndrome to me - ideal for assholes - ya know if you know people that are into that.

//biased Tesla is one of my heroes.
 
2014-05-19 11:19:48 PM

Theaetetus: CodeMonkey4Life: Getting and enforcing a patent for something like vulcanizing rubber is vastly different than what we see in software with patenting "... but with a computer" type shiat and waiting to steal from from productive people who build things and certainly didn't need any of the "research breakthroughs" in troll patents.

Yeah, it is vastly different, in that patents for vulcanizing rubber exist, but "... but with a computer" software patents don't.


Terrible software patents are a very real thing.

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/
 
2014-05-20 04:01:56 AM

iheartscotch: Didn't Edison screw over Tesla with patent law at some point? I seem to remember something along those lines.

/ alternating current lines; of course. Direct current lines are just impractical over long distances...

// watts this? Electricity jokes?


Nope, just took credit for several of his inventions. Give Edison that shiatty rock band that took Tesla's name.
 
2014-05-20 05:47:30 AM
This should be a Ric Romero article.
 
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