Monday, April 07, 2014

The troll history again

Susan Decker in a Bloomberg post gives credit to Intel for the first use of the term patent "troll."

But see

Separately, of Decker's allusion to Elias Howe, referenced by some as a 19th century patent troll, which text of Decker is:

Even the idea of investors buying a stake in a patent litigation is old: It’s how Elias Howe, inventor of a unique type of stitch, funded his patent battles with sewing machine company founder Isaac Singer.

One notes this discussion is somewhat incomplete, and, as such, misleading. Howe's initial partner Fisher had sold his interest to Bliss, who thus was a co-owner of the Howe patent at the time of litigation. It is true that Bliss advanced the money for the litigation against Singer (and others). But Decker omitted that Bliss demanded, and received, a mortgage on the farm of Howe's father. Thus, Bliss was not an investor who bought a stake in the litigation. Bliss was a co-owner of the patent, and had a secured interest (mortgage on the farm) on the litigation money he advanced.

link for the role of Bliss, book of John W. Klooster: Icons of Invention

Two years after Howe won, a patent pool was formed.

As one point on patent law, the defendants had identified a piece of prior work by one Hunt. The problem was that Hunt abandoned his work without publishing, using, or selling it. Thus, not effective prior art.

A link for the Decker post:


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