Monday, July 10, 2006

Paul Ryan of Acacia asked about patent trolls

from an interview of CNET with Paul Ryan:

CNET: Pardon me, but there are those who believe that there are entities--they call them patent trolls. This is used as a derogatory adjective, but I'm sure you're familiar with the term.

Ryan: Sure, absolutely.

CNET: Do you think those entities exist?

Ryan: Well, there are various definitions. I think it's a little bit disingenuous for companies that, in effect, steal other people's property by not licensing it to then call the party that developed the technology, "the bad guy." It kind of turns the world upside down...The term has been widely disseminated and used against companies generically that own patented technologies, which I think is a little unfair.

On patent reform -->

CNET: What's your suspicion? Is there a particular group behind the scenes that's trying to foster that impression [of a crisis in the patent area]?

Ryan: The lines have been clearly well distinguished. If you look at the eBay amicus briefs, companies like GE and Procter & Gamble, and 3M, and the pharmaceutical industry and those people who've relied on patents that normally respect other peoples' intellectual property are on one side of the equation. There's a small number of tech companies who have formed some coalitions and ironically they're the same group that has time and time again been convicted in court of willful patent infringement.

[IPBiz has noted previously that opposing parties in a patent litigation may end up filing amicus briefs advocating opposing positions in a different patent case, so that the amicus brief to the Supreme Court becomes an extension of advocacy of business positions of individual entities, rather than any general appeal to patent reform.]


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