Obama Targets Patent Trolls with Proposed Legislative Changes

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    President Obama has today announced a set of executive actions directed at cracking down on patent-holding firms that interfere with competition and abuse the patent system, reports The Wall Street Journal. Many technology companies, such as Apple, have dealt with multiple lawsuits from so-called "patent trolls," which aim to make money through licensing fees.
    Obama has constructed a five-step plan with a total of seven legislative changes, which will be released as part of a White House report on patent trolls. The plan includes a recommendation that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office create rules that require patent owners to be identified and a request for Congress to pass legislation that puts sanctions on questionable lawsuits filed by patent-holding firms.

    Additionally, Obama hopes to cut down on the International Trade Commission's involvement in patent disputes. Claims filed with the ITC are often resolved more quickly than standard federal lawsuits.
    Reliance on the ITC has not been limited to patent trolls, as a number technology companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google have increasingly used the International Trade Commission to settle a number of patent disputes.

    According to President Obama, patent-holding firms are a drain on progress. The firms, he says, "don't actually produce anything themselves. They're just trying to essentially leverage and hijack someone else's idea to see if they can extort some money out of them."

    Over the years, Apple has faced litigation from a number of patent-holding companies like Lodsys, which has targeted app developers over in-app purchases, and VirnetX, a company that was awarded $368.2 million over VPN connectivity in Facebook in 2012.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the comment thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All MacRumors forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Obama Targets Patent Trolls with Proposed Legislative Changes
  2. macrumors demi-god


    Jun 2, 2007
    The post is coming from inside the house!
  3. macrumors 65816


    Jul 12, 2011
    UCD, Ireland
    This sounds like the kind of legislation that takes a hell of a long time to implement....
  4. macrumors regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    It'd be great if this was really thorough legislation that really worked...but...well, knowing the US Government...
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 16, 2011
    This is good news. The patent system in the U.S. is broken and needs to be fixed.
  6. macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2010
    This may be the first thing Obama has done well in office.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Feb 4, 2011
    But what will MR post about? This eliminates about 65% of front page posts! ;)
  8. 2ms
    macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    Hah, it's so funny how a president gets in a scandal or two and then suddenly his smiling face starts appearing on every web site in the world with him suddenly making various announcements about this that and other -- anything to create news that is different from the scandal news :)

    I don't mean that in negative way. although I do suppose it is a bit sad...
  9. macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    What, specifically, is broken about the patent system?
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2011
    He can propose whatever he wants, it has to pass Congress, which should only happen by the time Haley's comet comes around.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Aug 17, 2009
    The simplest place to start, to throttle the trolls, is to force them to prove they are developing the concept. A patent that is not being directly used by the holder or an affiliate of the holder should expire in two years unless the interested party can demonstrate ongoing R&D.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    I WAS the one

    May 16, 2006
    HELL YEAH! I believe you should patent what you already made not what you dream to make.
  13. macrumors 68020


    Apr 15, 2004
    Washington DC
    That it's profitable for a group of investors to buy up vague, poorly written patents from holders/companies that no longer use them/care about them and then sue everyone who is even close to violating them in the hopes that they pay up rather then fight.

    If you think these patent holding companies are benefiting the original holder then you are mistaken. They often are bought for next to nothing.

    As others have mentioned - patents are to protect not to be bought by shell companies to punish others.

    It's not just the holding companies to blame - Apple, Google and just about every technology giant are just as guilty too. They buy patents to keep others from using them. Similiar to what AT&T/Verizon do with wireless spectrum.
  14. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2011
  15. Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Not entirely true. He's proposing some executive actions, which do not need to pass Congress. He's also proposing some legislative actions, which obviously would involve Congress.
  16. macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Dallas Texas
    Although I laude his initiative I really can't see congress doing a darn thing about it.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2011
    Hmmm, guess he was listening to "This American Life" Last weekend.

    Amazing how people fight over utter nonsense while this stuff goes on.
  18. macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2005
    Uh... The fact that you don't have to produce/sell a product or service for starters
  19. macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2012
    Don't get ahead of yourself! We never know what he's gonna do next...
  20. macrumors 68000


    May 28, 2008
    If you patent something, you better have it working somehow...hardware wise. You patent software, after a few years (say 5 due to how rapidly software advances) it expires and is granted universal cross-licensing fees.

    If you go bankrupt or something like that, that patent expires and it cannot be re-filed by another company. I think this would be a good start.
  21. macrumors demi-god


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    Geez, doesn't the Government have anything better to do than...wait...

    Pretty good idea if it can get past...well... some other people!

    Not bad for a Commie...er...Socialist...ah...foreign born Muslim...I mean the President.:p

    ;) :D
  22. macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    It's not his only action he's ever done right...

    Certainly it's the biggest thing he's ever done right, or at least it sounds like it from this article. I'll have to see what exactly he is proposing first.

    Other things he has done did a lot more wrong than this did right, though.
  23. macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Hopefully it is better than the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act he signed. Which made the system even worse by changing it from first to invent to first to file. Now you don't even have to create something just file the idea. Which I thought it was that way already. I guess I was wrong.

    Perhaps we should just file for all the ideas that are found in Sci Fi. That way by the time they are actually created they are not patentable and any existing patents have long since expired:rolleyes:.

    Personally I think high tech electronic and software patents should be limited to one or two years. After a year new tech is old news. But a long standing tech patent holds up progress.

    It's not the same as other fields since adoption rates and changes are so fast in the tech field. Unlike say farming equipment where a new device can take years to reach market adoption.

    Another problem I did not hear addressed. Is how tech patents seem to keep getting reissued. I know there has been a lot of patents in the news that make no sense. As earlier cruder devices and software existed in the 70's or 80's which they battle over a recently issued patent for the same concept.
  24. macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2010
    Scandals? What scandals? Check President Obama's job approval polls. Hasn't dropped an inch. They're only scandals in the fevered minds of Republicans. The rest of us see through all of the bloviating coming from the right.
  25. macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2011
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but Obama is the head of the executive branch, is he not? That is not how laws are supposed to be created.

    Putting all that "checks and balances" nonsense aside, since it's obviously not important anymore, what do you suppose his motivation is for this order? To draw attention away from his numerous scandals? Lobbying from Google (remember his connections to Eric Schmidt)?

    Watch very carefully.

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