Thursday, February 25, 2010

Patent reform deal near in Feb. 2010?

Rick Merritt reports in EE Times: "A U.S. Senate committee has struck a rough compromise on a controversial patent reform
bill .. "

Tough to believe that patent reform would get any traction when health care looms, BUT it might be easier to pass a soft ball patent reform bill and get some traction on bipartisanship and working together.

Unless the fee diversion is tackled, this is not the real deal. "it's a joke, son."

***Meanwhile, of health care, timesonline has a vicious post Try to stay awake: the President has a healthcare Bill to pass including a law reference:

Quite the opposite, interjected Obama, suddenly in his legal scholar element: the Budget Office said that premiums would fall, which would then inspire middle class families to purchase better, more expensive insurance policies. “This is an example of where we’ve got to get our facts straight,” he chided, in the tone you might use while encouraging a toddler to eat all his peas.

and one commenter observed:

Both Alexander and Obama were wrong...the health care bill presented by OBAMA has not been ruled on by the CBO because they said there wasn't enough detail to do it.

IPBiz notes that being a "legal scholar" is saying Gary Boone invented the integrated circuit.

**Also, from a comment on Slashdot about IBM's patenting tendencies:

Don't blame IBM. They're not "schizophrenic". They are merely in the game playing by the rules as they are written, because that's what everyone else on the field is doing. What if a football team suddenly decided throwing passes was dishonorable, and they wished other people wouldn't do it? They'd get hammered. They'd lose all over the place.

Same for IBM. They can wish for change and still play a mean game. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact - the more the merrier, says I. Why? Because the more idiot patents like this that get granted, the sooner this mess will end. For two reasons.

First reason - the dumber a patent is, and the more obvious it is that you are merely patenting something someone else came up with - the more likely it is that a judge somewhere will get that clue we've all been waiting for.

Second reason - World War I.

How did WWI start? The assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria. A single death. That's all it took. All of the alliances and counter-alliances of the time made an extremely unstable system. All it took was the right nudge, a single assassination, and all those alliances got called up. Countries picked sides and it was off to war. Where 15 million people died. Imagine that. Fifteen million people all killed, and it all traces to a single assassination.

Remind you of anything?

All of these companies today have these IP portfolios, and an uneasy truce in between them that says "you nail us and we'll nail you". Strategic partnerships, licensed IP - a tangled web of legal rights. Just like the tangled web of alliances pre-WWI.

All it will take is our Ferdinand.

Remember the hubub over the FAT file system, how MS holds the patent on it? Why aren't they suing everyone for their legally due royalties? They could nail everyone from Samsung to Nokia. So why not do it? Because everyone would nail MS for other trivial things they are in violation of. It would be Patent WW I.

So let these companies patent trivial crap like LOL. Why not? It will make the crater bigger when The Big One happens. And nobody wants that because in this case it won't be soldiers dying, it will be money evaporating. IP portfolios are insanely overpriced. If PWI happens, the courts will be *swamped*. The only fix will be to invalidate software/process patents or spend every single minute of court time available until 2142 sorting out the mess. And that means those portfolios will suddenly be useless. As will all the license agreements. That's a lot of money to go *poof*. It'll make the housing market bubble of 2008 look like a hiccup. We're talking many many billions of dollars here.

So let the current cold war continue. Go ahead. Patent LOL. Patent emoticons. Patent tying your right shoe before your left - I don't care.


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