Monday, May 19, 2014

The "patent troll" phenomenon is neither new nor evil

Within a post titled Thomas Edison Was a “Patent Troll”
, Adam Mossoff writes of his "title character":

Edison would have been wiser to continue to embrace market specialization—inventing in his lab and selling or licensing his patents to others to manufacture and sell his innovative products. It was doing this that brought him his fame and fortune as a young innovator at Menlo Park, and ironically it would have brought him notoriety today as a “patent troll.”

Mosoff also writes of the tendency by some to view the troll "problem" as recent in origin:

Yet, many smart people assume that the patent licensing business model—and the buying and selling of patents themselves—is an entirely recent development. In 2006, for instance, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated as simple fact in eBay v. MercExchange that “An industry has developed in which firms use patents not as a basis for producing and selling goods but, instead, primarily for obtaining licensing fees.” Commentators now assert in prestigious law journals that the “patent marketplace is a relatively new secondary market.” Now we’re seeing calls that the patent laws should be changed in response to this “new” development by mandating that all patent owners manufacture or sell their patented innovations in the marketplace.

Back in 2006, LBE, within an article titled Edison as a Patent Troll, or Where is California Going in Stem Cell Research? , recognized the flaw in the "recent" attribution and wrote:

Although some people, such as Adam B. Jaffe, and Josh Lerner, suggest the patent problems are of recent origin, with changes in the last 20 years which have led to a decline in patent quality but a strengthening in patent rights, the empirical evidence for this is thin. Many of the issues we see now have been around for a long time.

In the following, aspects in the history of the light bulb are discussed. Consistent with the viewpoint of the VCs, J.P. Morgan invested in Edison, the man, before Edison's key patent issued. To attract attention of the influential, Edison set up the first commercial electric power plant near Wall Street, much as RIM (BlackBerry) has attained impact through the opulence of its customers

LBE's article was so popular at the time that it was repeatedly plagiarized.
JEB Stuart travels to India
"Edison as a patent troll"

Of the copying of LBE's article, fark found the copying of LBE's bio of interest:

"This blatant rip-off is unacceptable, even for a blogger.", which included the following advice to would-be plagiarists from fark:

Helpful hint: when plagiarizing an article just go ahead and skip the last paragraph if it is a bio of the real author

See also
The convenience of not remembering history when discussing patent reform


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