How To Kill Patent Trolls Once And For All

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Aside from this guy's idea of getting billionaires to fund a trollbusting non-profit group, what other ways can you stop patent trolls? Maybe you can patent trolling so trolls would have to pay you every time they tried trolling someone?

So here's the idea: A bunch of Silicon Valley billionaires should get together and endow a non-profit. Let's call it Trollbusters. Its job is to give grants to startups fighting frivolous patent troll lawsuits, so that those startups can fight them all the way — to the Supreme Court, if need be. An independent committee of competent lawyers and technologists would review cases and decide if they're actual patent troll lawsuits (rather than legitimate business disputes) and if they are, the wallet would be fully open.
 

Gman1979

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Part of the issue is how the legal field operates. Even if you levy fines against a law firm, without direct sanctions against the lawyers involved, they can just dissolve the practice and reform it with the same people and a new name in the same building with the same staff and get around paying the fine.
 

cyclone3d

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Easy way to get rid of patent trolls.

If you are a patent troll and you lose, then you must pay all court costs, pay the person/company you sued the amount you sued them for, and you are banned from ever practicing "law" for the rest of your life.
 

Uvaman2

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i dont necessarily disagree with patent trolls anymore.. might not be perfect but they are a stop gap of sorts from the likes of apple google and ms from being both in control of markets and abusing patents. in the mess the patent market is trolls have a place normally they would attack big companies so fuck it.
 

the-one1

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Easy way to get rid of patent trolls.

If you are a patent troll and you lose, then you must pay all court costs, pay the person/company you sued the amount you sued them for, and you are banned from ever practicing "law" for the rest of your life.

See post #2
 

mdburkey

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See post #2

Then change the law to state that all fines are to be levied against all lawyers in a practice, based upon their percentage ownership in the practice at the time of the levy (unless it is a case of contempt, etc in which case the fines may be directly levied against a specific attorney), and that operating as an LLC does not apply to court fines (ever).
 

c3141hf

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Easy way to get rid of patent trolls.

If you are a patent troll and you lose, then you must pay all court costs, pay the person/company you sued the amount you sued them for, and you are banned from ever practicing "law" for the rest of your life.

They hide behind asset-less shell companies . There is nothing to take.

The easy way to get rid of patent trolls is to abolish patents and other fictitious state privileges.
 

Quix

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Just make all civil trials bill court costs to the loser. That would resolve 99% of all frivolous lawsuits in the USA.
 

Mohonri

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I think the issue at hand is not so much the patent trolls themselves, but rather the way our patent system currently operates. Patent trolls are simply the (nasty) symptom of an underlying fault: it's too easy to get patents for already-invented or obvious things.

What I think we need is better screening of patents first, so that patents are only granted for actual, real inventions.

Actual IP holding companies *can* serve a purpose. Say you invent something brand new, and get a patent on it, but you don't have the money to actually bring it to market. You approach a company (IP co or otherwise) and sell them your patent for lots of money. The company goes out and does all the work to bring the product to market, and they get to profit (and so did you). I see nothing wrong here. The problem is when A) the patent is invalid, and companies spend years and $millions litigating it to make it go away, and/or B) a company waits until an idea becomes popular, them ambushes the whole market and takes it hostage.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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My solution: Eliminate patent holding companies completely, by changing the law such that any patent that is not actively used by its holder for a period of 1 year automatically becomes null and void. This might also help curb the use of patent holding subsidiary shell companies in tax havens collecting "license fees" from their corporate parents. What some call a "twofer" :p


I think the issue at hand is not so much the patent trolls themselves, but rather the way our patent system currently operates. Patent trolls are simply the (nasty) symptom of an underlying fault: it's too easy to get patents for already-invented or obvious things.

What I think we need is better screening of patents first, so that patents are only granted for actual, real inventions.

This I very much agree with. I'd say its very much a symptom of our current political times with one side of the aisle so hell bent on cutting budgets and fighting regulation, that just about every agency out there is at the budgetary breaking point, to the point where they can't pay enough to recruit talent that knows what they are doing, and don't have enough people do thoroughly do their work.

The patent office is no exception. It results in an environment where many patent reviews are skimmed over quickly by people who may not even be experts in the field, and granted too easily, rather than being given an in depth review (which is time consuming) by a person who knows the field.


If we cut our military spending to the same percentage of GNP as the rest of the world, and increased our top tax brackets to be inline with most of the developed world, we could have functioning education, good healthcare that doesn't drive people top bankruptcy, and - yes - a functioning patent office.

This is why we can't have nice things.
 

Spewn

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My solution: Eliminate patent holding companies completely, by changing the law such that any patent that is not actively used by its holder for a period of 1 year automatically becomes null and void. This might also help curb the use of patent holding subsidiary shell companies in tax havens collecting "license fees" from their corporate parents.

Can you define "active use" in a way that simultaneously doesn't punish small companies and doesn't allow large companies to effectively still do nothing with a patent?
 

kbrickley

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I think people have already hit the highlights:

- make patents less vague and more specific
- formal technical approval of new patents
- establish neutral patent court for all hearings to eliminate troll friendly districts
- shorter time limit on patents
- limit the number of times a patent can be sold or transferred
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Can you define "active use" in a way that simultaneously doesn't punish small companies and doesn't allow large companies to effectively still do nothing with a patent?


You are correct, that would be tricky, but I'm sure verbiage could be created that would improve the situation over where it currently stands. No matter what will be put in place, there will always be some clever lawyerly type who will try to find a loophole in it though...
 

Spewn

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You are correct, that would be tricky, but I'm sure verbiage could be created that would improve the situation over where it currently stands. No matter what will be put in place, there will always be some clever lawyerly type who will try to find a loophole in it though...

Exactly, and my concern is that results in it being more about "who can afford more/better lawyers" rather than actually accomplishing the goal. I don't mean to be overly critical I just think we need to be careful not to put up roadblocks for the wrong people/companies.
 

InorganicMatter

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A first big step to "kill patent trolls" was actually taken earlier this year. "Form 18," which is what allowed barebones, unspecific patent lawsuits to be filed, was repealed. We should start seeing a lot less "shakedown" lawsuits in the coming months.

The next big step, in my opinion, is repealing universal patent venue. Returning to the old rules of having to sue the defendant in their home court, instead of in a far-away court that has no connection to the infringement (Texas), will be a big step toward curbing abusive complaints.

Eliminate patent holding companies completely, by changing the law such that any patent that is not actively used by its holder for a period of 1 year automatically becomes null and void. This might also help curb the use of patent holding subsidiary shell companies in tax havens collecting "license fees" from their corporate parents.

Keeping in mind that patents are property, would you also be okay with taking away land from someone if they haven't used the land for a period of 1 year?
 

Skripka

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Keeping in mind that patents are property, would you also be okay with taking away land from someone if they haven't used the land for a period of 1 year?

Odds are if you haven't done anything with a patent for 1-5 years, you're never going to. Odds are you're just squatting the proverbial round corners. Further patents are extremely expensive-so unless you're incorporated, you're probably not going to be able to afford one.


Same deal with copyright. Most sheetmusic (I'd wager 95-99%) is out of print, but the copyright is squatted by some publisher (who went defunct...then the IP was bought by another publisher...that sold out to another publisher...that merged with a publisher...that went defunct and got bought by someone) somewhere. To make matters worse, most publishers never show in their catalogs what they have squatted so you could ask for a 10X retail cost reprint. You have to call and email every publisher individually to find out if a piece you know of is in their stacks. That IP is all but permanently GONE from the market and from society. The publishers honestly have no intention of publishing that stuff again, they quit printing it because it isn't profitable and in a generation the stuff becomes unknown and gone.
 

InorganicMatter

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Odds are if you haven't done anything with a patent for 1-5 years, you're never going to. Odds are you're just squatting the proverbial round corners.

So? People "squat" on their family ranches for generations without making productive use of the land. It's the same thing.

Same deal with copyright.

Copyrights are difficult to compare to patents. Copyrights automatically vest upon creation/publication of a work, require no maintenance, and are for all intents and purposes, indefinite in duration. Patents cost thousands of dollars to get, require a showing of novelty and nonobviousness, require regular maintenance, and have a relatively short duration.
 

Skripka

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So? People "squat" on their family ranches for generations without making productive use of the land. It's the same thing.



Copyrights are difficult to compare to patents. Copyrights automatically vest upon creation/publication of a work, require no maintenance, and are for all intents and purposes, indefinite in duration. Patents cost thousands of dollars to get, require a showing of novelty and nonobviousness, require regular maintenance, and have a relatively short duration.

Don't be absurd.

Everyone on this board knows that so long as you file the right number of forms written in technobabble with a few diagrams and pay the money, you'll get a rubber-stamped patent on just about anything. No one at the USPTO checks for prior art or novelty or nonobviousness. Hence Apple getting a patent on rounded corners. Or any number of software GUI patents.

It is only "difficult to get" patents if you don't have a legal department in your employ.
 

kbrickley

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So? People "squat" on their family ranches for generations without making productive use of the land. It's the same thing.



Copyrights are difficult to compare to patents. Copyrights automatically vest upon creation/publication of a work, require no maintenance, and are for all intents and purposes, indefinite in duration. Patents cost thousands of dollars to get, require a showing of novelty and nonobviousness, require regular maintenance, and have a relatively short duration.
Land is not quite the same kind of property though. Land is a physical possession and once purchased it will continue to gain or lose value until you choose to sell it. There is no time limit on land possession (at least in the USA) and it is not designed to protect anything other than your property ownership rights.

A Patent is designed to encourage investment by protecting a company from unauthorized competitors (until the patent expires). It can also provide protections in international legal disputes. The patent is time limited and except for when people game the system with inappropriate renewals it will expire. Perhaps we should change the patent law to reflect the amount of investment in the patent. A patent with little R&D might only get 5 years protection. A patent with higher R&D levels might get 10 or 15. We should probably also treat all patents the same (rather than the current system of design patents and utility patents).
 

drakken

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first patent trolls not sure I should use that word but to quote him, anyway make money because they get details by industrial espionage which has plenty of teeth to it, you can be executed for it since it is detrimental to the economy... but none one seems to want to push for that when all they did was rip off a bunch of people and ruin a bunch more people's lives by exploiting their ideas then using a culture of fear uncertainly and doubt tried to prevent anyone from speaking up... for that most get ten years of jail time... during which their assets build the market stabilizes they then pull their money out when they get out with no care of who they hurt, and do what they intended to do with no incentive to be decent people since they are convicted felons...

Patents in the USA had one sole purpose to encourage inventors of little means to create ideas well established companies would not look into as the risk verse the reward was not cost effective... there are other patents and trademarks etc.. but the IP and design patents were so that people would try inventing things that no one have ever heard of... only most patent thieves tend to work a gift on the inventors by offering free or cheap labour, break into homes, apartments, and workplaces... the whole point most people do not invent anymore because some company will either force them out of biz by attacking their basic costs, or over head which is illegal, but proving it is very hard which is why patents are supposed to protect people so that if people want to use the idea they have to pay the designer or sit on the design while the person staves... really it is not doing what it is supposed to. On top of that if you attempt to patent something that is considered a threat to national security you end up with a security clearance and keeper (mine is the DOD) usually some people just end up dead or in another country... but if we really want to fix the process we need to remember our roots... telsa gram bell... these guys wanted to change the world... their companies... baby bells got broken up because no one could compete against them... Nicolai Tesla didn't he die alone in a foreign country... so the American dream is a white picket fence and nice things right... so why not you attempt to patent something they verify it is a new idea, never been published anywhere else, and not obvious.... why not build industrial parks around the country where if you patent something they give you a home for fifty years... if you never make it work after fifty years go work in fast food... that is still a needed job and it gives the person a place were other really bright people might be able to start a company... since the offices would be restricted to an inventor living in the office park? It would make construction which is supposed to put money in the economy... though to avoid people gaming the system might want to leave it up to the states where they end up and what rules for construction and so forth... meaning other people would still be able to use the idea but the inventor would have a place to live and work to try and find things that make the idea worth while to other people to pay him or her for...

there has to be something wrong with that idea... oh ya your neighbors might be horrible people just out to steal your ideas... still some one might be able to turn it into a better way than a limited monopoly that no one with money cares about since you have to spend the money instead of having a cop track down all the people doing the crimes... plus since we are first to file if it was no where else published there should be a time stamp... the only other issue I can think of is most idea get stolen before they are finished... no idea how to fix that since most protected work spaces cost millions of dollars to setup... I actually tried a couple times to meet the criteria for a foundry to develop a couple ideas... never got the go ahead it was not secure enough...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Keeping in mind that patents are property, would you also be okay with taking away land from someone if they haven't used the land for a period of 1 year?

I'd argue that there is a huge difference between physical property and an artificial legal construct designed to protect something for a temporary period of time, with the intent of stimulating research and development.
 

Rob94hawk

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A few bullets to the head.

A much cheaper alternative and get's the point across to other trolls.
 

M76

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Easy. If you don't use your patent to produce anything with it, then you have to pay an exponentially larger amount every year to renew it, or you loose the patent rights.
 

Nanan

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Reduce patent lifespan to 5 years and patent trolling would vanish for the good of all.
 
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