Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Forbes criticizing Forbes on patents; one poseur dumping on another poseur?

A definition of a poseur is a person who pretends to be what he or she is not. Writers at Forbes pretend to be knowledgeable about patents. Criticizing an earlier Forbes piece [covered in IPBiz as Forbes dipping into yellow journalism on patent reform? ], Tim Worstall Tim Worstall in Forbes notes:

OK, I’ve no doubt that the problem itself occurs. But I’d hesitate hugely before accepting the actual numbers on offer. Because the paper doesn’t make a crucial sitinction: that between a Non-Practicing Entity and a patent troll. The second is a subset of the first but we cannot term all of the first as being the second. But that, sadly, is what the paper itself does: (...)

Worstall has a revelation in 2014 that universities might be deemed NPEs, even though they should not be labelled trolls:

Patent trolls exist, yes, patent trolls are largely non-proactising entities, yes, but it does not therefore follow that all NPEs are patent trolls. Let me take a hypothetical example. We have a university (we might call it “Harvard” for example) where professors and students create a new drug with interesting properties. They patent it. This is actually the sort of thing that happens quite a lot actually, small research organisations (whether universities or not) find something of interest. They’ve absolutely no intention whatsoever of trying to take that drug to market though.

Gene Quinn wrote in 2010: I hate the term patent troll because it has over time become synonymous with “non-practicing entity.” Not all non-practicing entities are bad though. For example, universities are non-practicing entities but the research they do is fundamentally important to our economy.

Note also the 2008 post on IPBiz:

And see the IPBiz post
Patent law academics make troll studies a growth industry

Worstall's punch line:

Harvard, or the little corporation Harvard sets up, are clearly an NPE here. But they’re in no manner a patent troll if they do end up suing someone for breaching their patent. And that’s where I spot the error in this paper.

Perhaps Worstall needs to review the Ariad/Lilly and Rochester/Searle cases to see the error in Worstall's thinking.

And then Universities licensing to patent trolls?

And recall: "It is as reasonable to represent one kind of imprisonment by another, as it is to represent anything that really exists by that which exists not." –Daniel Defoe


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