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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:13 PM   #51
tbrinkma
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
This is exactly right. No defensive patents would solve a lot of problems in this system. Patents were supposed to be about protecting innovations coming to market...
Hold on... You've got a *very* basic misconception that's probably influencing your thinking on the topic of patents. Patents are *supposed* to be about ensuring that the knowledge to create an invention are shared with the public, rather than being kept secret and being lost to time as a result.

The method used to encourage this is to provide a temporary legal monopoly over the practice of the invention. (That's not a goal, it's a method.)

How exactly would you get rid of 'defensive' patents without also getting rid of 'normal' patents?


My own solution to the patent mess involves putting the protections and incentives back with the inventors as follows:
1) Patents belong to the inventor or inventors (actual people) listed on the patent. (Normal laws which make it illegal to incorrectly list or not list people still apply.)
2) Patents can be licensed freely, just as they are now.
3) Patent ownership can *NOT* be sold or otherwise transferred. (Period. Full stop.)
4) Add a method to challenge a patent's validity in so far as the required description of the patent. (If an appropriately skilled team cannot implement the invention *solely* by reading the patent, then it does not fulfill the basic requirement that it must accurately and completely describe the invention, and it is invalid.)

Suddenly, the industry would be fighting to keep patent terms (length) reasonable, and ensure that patent filings actually contain the requisite information. And, the number of patent applications might actually drop to only include things that are actually *worth* patenting.

Similar changes (1-3) to copyright law would might get it pointed back toward the direction of sanity again as well.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:14 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
They aren't using them defensively. They are using them offensively, that's the difference.
Both sides in all cases are both offensive (suing) and defensive (defending against a suit). These are both distinct from patent trolls in which the suing party (the troll), has no actual products or intentions of making a product on the patent in question.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:22 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by kdarling View Post
What about buying companies and never using their tech? Or doing it to keep a previously common product out of other people's new devices?

Apple got an exclusive on LiquidMetal, for example, which prevents anyone else from using it in consumer electronics. Samsung had been using LM in phones since 2002, IIRC.
I've seen that claim float to the surface before, but the only documentation I've seen put forward to support it turned out to be a single model of phone which was *actually* made of painted/dyed plastics, not metal of any sort.

I'm interested in seeing some gadgets made using LiquidMetal (because Apple doesn't seem to be going anywhere with it at this stage). Can anybody point to an actual device?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd5jos View Post
What this proves is that we need more powerful and capable 3-d printers. Patents protect a company from another company profiting by "stealing" innovation. However, if you use an innovation to build something you use (and don't sell it) there is no protection in place. So, if I had a 3-d printer that could handle the job, I could build myself an iPhone, and there is nothing that Apple could do about it (as long as I don't sell it).
No, no, NO! That's exactly *wrong*. In that scenario, *YOU* would be the one violating the patent.

Patent protection/violation has *nothing* to do with *selling* the patented invention. It has to do with *producing* or *using* the patented invention. Most of the time, a single person is too small a target to be worth the hassle. If it became the norm for individuals to 'print out' their own patent-violating gear, you can bet your *** that would change right quick!
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:23 PM   #54
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Makes it seem like it would be nearly impossible for any new company to enter an existing market.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:28 PM   #55
tbrinkma
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Originally Posted by Bafflefish View Post
No where in Jobs' original quote is your bolded statement present. The bolded statement is simply a personal interpretation of what Jobs said, such that Tones wasn't "misreading" anything given that Jobs very much did say "even if we never build it, which implies they would patent an idea and then sit on (since that's where the "never build part" comes in).

The defensive component is ambiguous, so it could be potentially that it's in case they change their mind, or it could be used to simply prevent others from using that idea, or any other number of reasons. Ultimately though, there's no way to read into it that they were using it for the purpose you prescribed.
So, if I buy a pick up truck, in order to have the hauling capacity *even if I never use it*, I'm buying a pick up trick with the explicit intent to never use it's hauling capacity?

If I draw up plans to build a deck for my house so that I know what it will require, even if I never build it, I'm drawing up plans explicitly so I'll never use them?

Your logic is utterly flawed.

'Do X regardless of whether I'll ever need to take advantage of it', is *NOT* the same as 'Do X so that I'll never take advantage of it'. Reading comprehension, folks. It's a good skill to have.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:29 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by chrmjenkins View Post
Both sides in all cases are both offensive (suing) and defensive (defending against a suit). These are both distinct from patent trolls in which the suing party (the troll), has no actual products or intentions of making a product on the patent in question.
No, motorola and Samsung are suing apple because they want to get apple to settle before the trial or back down. They also are using legitimate patents and not questionable software patents with so much prior art its not even funny. Apple started this whole mess. Everyone else was dragged in by them.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:32 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
Apple started this whole mess. Everyone else was dragged in by them.
Agree 100%.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:32 PM   #58
tbrinkma
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
They aren't using them defensively. They are using them offensively, that's the difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rendevouspoo View Post
Apple is not using the system defensively. They actively go out of there way to thrown money at the chance of winning a rediculous suit.
Apple only seems to be actively suing over patents that they actively use.

The ones they don't use seem to stay locked up until someone sues *them*, at which point these, otherwise unused, *defensive* patents get pulled out for the counter-suit as needed.

Surely you two can see the difference there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
No, motorola and Samsung are suing apple because they want to get apple to settle before the trial or back down. They also are using legitimate patents and not questionable software patents with so much prior art its not even funny. Apple started this whole mess. Everyone else was dragged in by them.
Ok, maybe not, but you've got a really 'colorful' view of reality.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:34 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by tbrinkma View Post
Hold on... You've got a *very* basic misconception that's probably influencing your thinking on the topic of patents. Patents are *supposed* to be about ensuring that the knowledge to create an invention are shared with the public, rather than being kept secret and being lost to time as a result.
I didn't say anything about secrecy. In fact, I expanded what I meant with the commonly-argued phrase "use it or lose it", meaning, patent whatever you want but if it's not actively moving toward going to market it does become public domain after a brief time. That single rule change would- IMO- do 3 things:
  1. Create a surge in the economy as good innovations suppressed by defensive patents are brought to market rather than letting them become public domain (those with real market value would be brought to market)
  2. Accelerate our progress as people (because a lock on the "status quo" through defensive patents could no longer slow down the natural pace of real change).
  3. Demotivate/decapitate the defensive patent strategy (it would no longer hold much value to file patents with no intention of bringing the patented to market soon).
IMO, both of these are big wins for individuals but at a potential costs to all companies that lock up defensive patents to protect the "as is" rather than evolve with the next big things.

By "defensive", I didn't mean "secret", I meant patenting something with no intention of bringing it to market is an innovation killer. A really big company(s) with deep pockets could eventually patent all kinds of concepts that they don't intend to bring to market. However, if someone else tries to bring them to market, they then have to deal with licensing from a patent holder that was otherwise not doing anything with the patent. That slows down- even discourages innovations- and adds to the cost of bringing new "gee whiz" things to market. For what? So that the big companies can make even more money because they are rich enough to patent ideas with which they don't really want to do anything?

Someone suggested a change to the legal system where the loser pays all of the court costs. This is similar. Reward the patent holders that are bringing new innovations to market; discourage the patent "buyers" who are really just playing defense. I've read that big oil owns some terrific patents on rechargeable batteries but they like us buying oil, not reducing our demand for oil. Whether that's true or false, it's easier to believe it as true than not.

Same with big pharma. Again, last 20-30 years, we've had MASSIVE advances in tools, technology, medical knowledge, etc. Where are the cures? Where is one big cure? We seem to have one-a-day treatments for everything- even stuff no one considered an ailment or syndrome 10+ years ago. But we can't cure anything. Are cures that hard to come by or is there just too much money in backing cures down to treatments?
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:34 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by blackhand1001 View Post
No, motorola and Samsung are suing apple because they want to get apple to settle before the trial or back down. They also are using legitimate patents and not questionable software patents with so much prior art its not even funny. Apple started this whole mess. Everyone else was dragged in by them.
The sooner people just admit that there are a LOT of BS patents that exist (I am not keeping this exclusive to Apple) that shouldn't the better.

It's amazing to read how some people believe that Company X or Y is completely justified in having a patent which is simply ridiculous.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:35 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by HobeSoundDarryl View Post
I can't blame Apple for playing the game by the rules (that actually cost them in that Creative patent scenario) but I do completely believe the game's rules should be changed. "No defensive patents" otherwise known as "use it or lose it" would be the first changed rule.
There is no "use it or lose it rule" in patents.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:39 PM   #62
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So they spend more on patents and litigation than on R&D...perhaps the courts should get to setting some precedents in this new gray area we seem to be in.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:39 PM   #63
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In my opinion, Apple has to continue what it is doing until the system is fixed. It just seems way too obvious that Apple is being ripped off. People assume that just because it's the way Apple does it, then that is the only way and you shouldn't be able to patent it. Samsung just seems to not care and will just keep testing the waters. As I enjoy drawing/photography/digital design as a hobby, I can appreciate Apple's claims of "look and feel". If I have spent the time and money to create my artwork, I don't want another "artist" copying my works and selling them as their own. You look at Samsung and now they want to sue apple over 4G patents, so it looks as though they are the ones abusing the system. Apple sued in regards to look and feel, while samsung is suing over something it seems every phone provider will need to have. Do I seem to be incorrect in any of my statements?

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/09/28/no-co...-copies-apple/

http://samsungcopiesapple.tumblr.com/

http://mashable.com/2012/08/23/samsu...y-apple-store/
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:39 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by ECUpirate44 View Post
The US patent system is completely broken. I like Mark Cuban's perspective of simply out performing the competition.
That's because Mark Cuban never invented anything AFAIK. So for individuals who don't make a living creating anything new, that's easy to say. But if he toiled for many years on a new idea that leapfrogged the market, and a large corporation (ie, "competition"), came along and ripped it off in a few months and drove him out of business, I bet he'd have a whole new take on patents and "competition".

The patent system can definitely be improved, but to do away with it completely is not the answer, IMO.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:41 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by tbrinkma View Post
My own solution to the patent mess involves putting the protections and incentives back with the inventors as follows:
1) Patents belong to the inventor or inventors (actual people) listed on the patent. (Normal laws which make it illegal to incorrectly list or not list people still apply.)
2) Patents can be licensed freely, just as they are now.
3) Patent ownership can *NOT* be sold or otherwise transferred. (Period. Full stop.)
4) Add a method to challenge a patent's validity in so far as the required description of the patent. (If an appropriately skilled team cannot implement the invention *solely* by reading the patent, then it does not fulfill the basic requirement that it must accurately and completely describe the invention, and it is invalid.)
3 won't help. You can still purchase zombie companies and keep them around as subsidiaries that pursue their own patent lawsuits. Or you can pay the owners of the patents in return for them filing lawsuits against your target list. It makes the paperwork more complicated, but that's it.

4 is a good idea. Sometimes even the people listed in the application cannot tell what is being claimed by the patent.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:41 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by PsudoPowerPoint View Post
Because the under-appreciated patent office is on a tight budget, and the patents that matter ultimately get tested in court.

I'm strongly in favor of government protection of intellectual property, but I'd like to see the duration of the protection shortened to something like five to seven years. However, there should also be some way to get an extension on that term when the developer can show that a longer term will spur more innovation, or that a longer term is necessary to recover the cost of developing the invention (as with increasingly expensive pharmaceutical developments).
Why would you be in favour of the government protecting IP? What happens in the market place is between the suppliers and consumers. A third party, such as the government, makes things less efficient.

A patent is nothing more than a state-sanctioned monopoly over an idea for a period of time. In other words, a patent criminalises someone else with the same idea, whether or not he copied it or coincidentally thought it up (which happens a lot). Competition is then stifled and products become more expensive.

Ideas can't be stolen. They can only be duplicated.

The reward for a good idea should not be to waste resources on criminalising someone else with the same idea. The reward should be getting to the market first and gaining market share.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:43 PM   #67
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No, motorola and Samsung are suing apple because they want to get apple to settle before the trial or back down.
Really? I must have missed the statements from both companies stating exactly that. Perhaps you can provide the links?

Quote:
They also are using legitimate patents and not questionable software patents with so much prior art its not even funny. Apple started this whole mess. Everyone else was dragged in by them.
Injecting your own opinion about types of patents to try and determine who is guiltier. Cool.

Apple did not start it. Since the launch of the iPhone, Nokia was the first to sue, and they sued Apple over phone related products. Everyone has been suing back and forth since then.

And if you want to get into those who have been suing Apple, there's evidence that those companies are asking rates for FRAND patents above the rates they ask of others. Is that fair?

Finally, suing apple over hardware related patents would not preclude them from suing on software patents or trade dress, so I'm not sure what your angle is there, either.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:44 PM   #68
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I read through some of the depositions in the Samsung trial and the Apple designers that were interviewed didn't seem to know the first thing about design patent drawings they were shown (either that or they were instructed to play dumb). The only only one who gave answers that sounded like he had a clue was Jony Ive.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:46 PM   #69
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So they spend more on patents and litigation than on R&D...perhaps the courts should get to setting some precedents in this new gray area we seem to be in.
Some people prefer the courts apply the existing law rather than invent their own limitations or expansions.

We are not in a new or grayer area. Tech companies have ben living with patents for more than a century and patent fights heat up in fields with rapid progress. For example, Avation during the turn of the previous century. Patent trolls are a new business model, but neither Apple, nor Google, nor Samsung is a patent troll and that is the biggest fight at the moment.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:47 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by craftytony View Post
In my opinion, Apple has to continue what it is doing until the system is fixed. It just seems way too obvious that Apple is being ripped off. People assume that just because it's the way Apple does it, then that is the only way and you shouldn't be able to patent it. Samsung just seems to not care and will just keep testing the waters. As I enjoy drawing/photography/digital design as a hobby, I can appreciate Apple's claims of "look and feel". If I have spent the time and money to create my artwork, I don't want another "artist" copying my works and selling them as their own. You look at Samsung and now they want to sue apple over 4G patents, so it looks as though they are the ones abusing the system. Apple sued in regards to look and feel, while samsung is suing over something it seems every phone provider will need to have. Do I seem to be incorrect in any of my statements?

http://www.tuaw.com/2011/09/28/no-co...-copies-apple/

http://samsungcopiesapple.tumblr.com/

http://mashable.com/2012/08/23/samsu...y-apple-store/
A lot of your examples have already been discussed to death - that even Apple copied the idea from elsewhere.

I do a lot of graphic design work. I would be pissed as hell if my design were stolen. However - I wouldn't think for a second that, for example, the shape of my icon was "mine" unless it was REALLY unique. Rounded corners isn't unique enough.

If I created an icon for an audio recording app and I used an old style microphone - I wouldn't be pissed that others did something similar because the fact is - it's pretty standard.

Now - if you design some cool icon that has never been done before and is truly unique - then sure - be pissed.

But, for example - Apple suing everyone and their grandmother who happens to have an actual APPLE as part of their logo is just ridiculous.

The reason people think Samsung has a right regarding patents and their technologies is because even if it's mandatory to have in a phone these days - it's something of real substance.

Equating a piece of 3G tech (for example) patent vs a rectangle with rounded corners is silly anyway. Two different beasts.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:48 PM   #71
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When Apple declines, they can use the revenue from their patent business to keep them paying the bills.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 02:54 PM   #72
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There is no "use it or lose it rule" in patents.
Right, the discussion is about changing the rules to make a better system. I'm suggesting that rule as a change to the "as is".
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 03:05 PM   #73
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I guess we can now safely say that a dollar that Apple spends on suing competitors is a dollar less spent on innovation.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 03:09 PM   #74
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I guess we can now safely say that a dollar that Apple spends on suing competitors is a dollar less spent on innovation.
Even if you disregard the lawsuits, Apple doesn't spend much of their cash on R&D.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money...ing/53673126/1
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 03:22 PM   #75
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A non-tech example of the broken patent system

When James Dyson invented the bagless vacuum cleaner he first tried to sell the idea to the existing vacuum cleaner companies, such as Hoover. They all turned him down because their business model was recurring revenue from bag sales. Dyson's technology would break their business model.

So Dyson decided to start his own vacuum cleaner company and the rest is history.

However, in retrospect, the executives at Hoover and the others say they wish they had purchased Dyson's idea back when he offered not. Not because they wanted to make such a cleaner. But only to suppress it and keep the technology off the market.

Modern companies learned from Hoover's mistake, and now often buy disruptive technology companies simply to get the patents and sit on them. The patent system has been flipped on its head. It now stifles innovation instead of encouraging it. And in the end, the consumers get less choices.
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