The Case Against Patents

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Papabravo, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. Papabravo

    Thread Starter Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    Is there any possibility that we could have a Sticky that points to Don Lancaster's classic article, "The Case Against Patents". It is sure to spark an interesting discussion.

    http://www.tinaja.com/glib/casagpat.pdf

    and I've tried to quote it twice today but Joe Jester beat me to the second one.

    Maybe after 23 years some lucky soul has another story to tell about his fabulous success with the patent system. Anything is possible, but apparently very unlikely.

    BTW - I have two patents and never received so much as a dime for either one.
     
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  2. bountyhunter

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    Sep 7, 2009
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    The business of patents has become very shady because of all the companies out their trolling for people they can get to pay them to "help them get their idea patented".

    The other problem is you have countries like China stealing anything they want and ignoring patent laws. The value of patents today is questionable. Tech companies used to try to patent everything to "build barriers" that keep other companies from using their ideas but it was bogus. They just wanted a fat patent portfolio to project the illusion that they had "cutting edge" technology. I reviewed some of the patents at NS, the ones I saw were worthless.
     
  3. JoeJester

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  4. Papabravo

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    Your link was to a superset of which the single article I linked to was a part. Your collection is more complete. The point is the everyone who contemplates the utility of getting a patent needs to read and understand the point. I have two patents with my name on them. They were both filed by the companies that I worked for. Neither one of them earned either me or my company even one thin dime. Just so everybody knows where I'm coming from -- in case there was any doubt.
     
  5. tracecom

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    I, too, have my name on two patents. One is an appearance patent for which my employer paid me $50.

    The second is a patent on my idea to put a small natural gas (or propane) powered internal combustion engine and alternator inside a natural gas (or propane) powered central heating unit. The purpose of this would be to generate enough electricity from natural gas to power the thermostat, the igniter, and the fan; thus the central unit would be able to provide heat during a mains power failure.

    All I got from that one was the threat of a lawsuit if I didn't sign over all rights to Black and Decker, when they bought out the company I used to work for. B&D did nothing with the patent, and then was bought out by Stanley, who is also doing nothing with it. Frankly, I hope someone takes the concept to market; it would be a winner.
     
  6. atferrari

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    Just yesterday I've read that a company patented the idea of driving LEDs using PWM.

    How comes? Is it valid?
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013
  7. t06afre

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    You can NOT paten any "invention" that have been made publish before patent application. Published may be like talking about "your" invention on a convention/seminar. Controlling LEDs by PWM. That sounds like a very weak patent to me. A week patent is a patent that is not very likely to be defendable in court
     
  8. tracecom

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    I think the patent office is overwhelmed by the sheer number of patent applications and by the complexity of the technology. As a result, they patent things they don't even slightly understand. From the few patent applications I have read, it seems the intent is to "baffle them with bull...." and it's working.
     
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  9. #12

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    Lucky me, I was rather young when a person told me that a patent does not stop people from stealing your work, it gives you the right to sue them after they steal your work.

    One short step from there, "Can I hire more lawyers than General Motors?" (or IBM or Cisco Systems). Of course I can't. Now, even that doesn't matter. It's more like, "Can I hire more lawyers than China?"

    It's a big boys game and I don't qualify.
     
  10. bountyhunter

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    When I worked at national Semi, the company gave an award of about $3k to any engineer who filed a patent. They were patenting any stupid thing they could think of. Nat Semi wanted to brag how many patents it had so it would look "innovative", so they bribed their workers to file them.

    Interesting thing about patents: just because you file one and get it awarded, it doesn't mean it's valid. The patent office has no responsibility to verify that the concept is unique or useful or whether or not it will stand up to a legal challenge. They just take your fee and assign the patent. A lot of people find out later the patent is worthless when it gets challenged.

    As a member of technical staff, I was asked to review some of their patent applications. I nearly fell off my chair a few times. The patents were a joke. But Nat Semi hired outside legal services to write them so they had no interest in whether they were valid or not, they just wanted to get paid for their services. And Nat just wanted another notch on their patent belt... and so it went.
     
  11. bountyhunter

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    And it's a governmental bureacracy which means it's filled with people who do the bare minimum to get their paycheck and by definition, couldn't get a real job. They collect the fee and stamp the paper.
     
  12. GopherT

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    That statement is a bit to sweeping for my taste. I do know some very frustrated and hard-working people at the patent office.

    On the other hand, there are some specific cases that fall into your description. This patent was a case in point. The back story was discussed at an intellectual property meeting I attended. The patent lawyer was explaining the concept of patents to his son. His son said, "i invented something that nobody else does". The attorny went trhough the motions to teach his young son how the process works. To the patent lawyer's surprise, the patent was granted. Outrage by the IP community and criticism of the patent office resulted in the patent office revoking the patent. Patents are rarely revoked based on criticism. It usually takes a request from a competing inventor or user of a technology and a re-review of the patent by the patent office (or, alternatively - a petitioner can work through the court system).

    In any case, here is the US patent for your reading dis-pleasure. The image on the front explains it all...
    http://www.google.com/patents/US6368227
     
  13. loosewire

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    I have a Independent patent number, cost a lot of money ,sitting with stupid

    patient attorney's and the guy who does all the work ,the guy with the lead

    pencil and drawing paper. Another reason, I keep my privacy.
     
  14. tindel

    Active Member

    Sep 16, 2012
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    I hope you were filling one patent a week! You could pay your house off in short order that way - two years on a $300k house! I could have turned into a game! Who can submit the stupidest patent and still get the award!

    My current company has a similar policy, but they only give you the money if the patent is granted. I have a patent idea or two I've thought about submitting to the company, but haven't had time, but it's on my to do list. I figure if they don't grant the patent maybe I can at least submit it to EDN or something.

    Any comments in how much (or little) having a patent(s) on your resume boosts your resume? I've found that white papers are great for your resume - they are typically peer reviewed so you have some backing to their validity.
     
  15. bountyhunter

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    I wasn't dishonest enough to do that.

    However..... they also had an author encouragement program that paid between $1500 - $3000 for each article I wrote that got published in a major magazine or conference (dollar amount depended on how ritzy the magazine is).

    I published about 40 articles in the 20 years I worked there and yes.... it helped pay off my house.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  16. bountyhunter

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    That's the great thing about the internet: everybody is allowed to have a different opinion.

    Considering my recent life experiences with the unemployment development department, the IRS, and the US postal service (who managed to lose the video of my mother's funeral my sister mailed to me via priority mail), I am starting to think the best course of action for all departments of the government would be to burn them down and start over.

    As for patents: the ridiculous garbage I have seen issued patents could fuel an eternity of Seinfeld episodes.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013
  17. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Where is Einstien when you need him?
     
  18. shortbus

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    Riding the street car.:p
     
  19. blueroomelectronics

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    When I see mention of Patent in a forum post I just see the frustration build as the poster is looking for advice but unwilling or incapable of describing what they're trying to do from fear of being beat to market.

    Drives me nuts and I've never seen a single idea that had any legs or wasn't just pie in the sky wishful thinking on an impossible project.

    My curiosity often keeps the posts going only to discover a smoldering lump of coal at the bottom of the abyss.
     
  20. Papabravo

    Thread Starter Expert

    Feb 24, 2006
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    "smoldering lump of coal"

    OR

    "steaming pile"

    That's a real knee slapper -- y'all decide
     
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