Chachkes writes: By rewarding innovation, they created an incentive for inventors to invent more. Patents don't reward innovation; they promote public disclosure of invention: the inventor gets a right to exclude for a period of time and the public gets useful information. Most issued patents do not lead to innovation, much less reward innovation.
Chachkes writes of the NTP patents: I write unremarkable because they disclosed a technology nobody would buy on the open market. IPBiz notes that for years and years, no one would deal with Chester Carlson's xerography. IBM turned down Carlson three times.
Chachkes writes of silly patents: Or perhaps it is because an overworked Patent Office has issued plenty of patents that never should have been. How about Patent No. 5,443,036--a method of exercising a cat with a laser pointer? Or Patent No. 6,960,975--an antigravity perpetual-motion device that defies the laws of physics? Chachkes missed the standard "peanut butter and jelly" and swing patents, but he also missed IBM's "queue for airplane toilet" patent and "outsourcing" application.
Chachkes writes of continuation abuse: Then, in the interim, if anyone creates a new product in the same technology space, you try to draft a new continuation claim to cover it. Never mind that you never envisioned that product. IPBiz notes that it is irrelevant whether the patentee envisioned a given product. What is relevant is whether the patentee has written description support for a patent claim covering the product. If so, the patentee would have a rightful claim.
Chachkes writes of the Eastern District of Texas: Companies often settle for princely sums rather than have a jury predisposed against big corporations, and with no technical knowledge, decide their financial future. Chachkes might note some big companies who have been PLAINTIFFS in ED Tex.
Chachkes concludes: Of course, now there are loud voices complaining that the pendulum is swinging too far against patent holders. If that's the case, we can look forward to another round of equal but opposite reactions, and I can look forward to another column in CNET News.com's Perspectives section.
**Of Dave's comments below.
#1. It is true that the Supreme Court has sometimes referred to patents as conferring monopolies. Just because the Supreme Court makes such remarks in dicta does not mean that patents do confer monopolies. A right to exclude others is not a right to make. The Supreme Court was well aware of this during the radio patent wars.
#2. What the patent statute does is self-evident. In return for a certain type of disclosure, which is made available to the public, a patent holder gets a right to exclude for a certain finite period of time. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a requirement that a patent be shown to be an innovation. The US patent statute now, just like the Venetian statute in 1474, is to encourage folks with ideas to come forward and make them public known, without concern that someone will just steal them. Arguably, innovation might proceed faster (for a while) if the bigger guy could steal ideas. But after a while no little guys would come forward, and the big guys would merely be trying to sell their old stuff, again and again.