×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Who Helped Kill Patent Troll Reform In the Senate

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the whoever-has-the-most-money dept.

Patents 157

First time accepted submitter VT-802-Software (3663479) writes "A bipartisan proposal to curb patent trolls was shelved by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday. 'Supporters of the compromise accuse trial lawyers, universities, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies for foiling the plan at the eleventh hour. As late as Tuesday, the University of Vermont and a biotech coalition each sent letters to Leahy opposing the legislation. "We believe the measures in the legislation go far beyond what is necessary or desirable to combat abusive patent litigation, and would do serious damage to the patent system," reads one of the letters. "Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Kudos (5, Funny)

Tailhook (98486) | about 6 months ago | (#47071387)

Somehow, someone failed to omit the (D) that time.

A big moment for Slashdot.

Re:Kudos (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#47071483)

A big moment for Slashdot.

Not that big. The summary puts the blame on "lobbyists" when the real blame goes to the Democratic leadership of the Senate. It isn't as if the lobbyists were holding a gun to their head and forcing them to take the contributions. The prime saboteurs were Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Harry Reid (D-Nv). If you live in either of those states, you should remember this when you vote.

Re:Kudos (-1, Flamebait)

jhylkema (545853) | about 6 months ago | (#47071507)

If you live in either of those states, you should remember this when you vote.

As opposed to what? Some Scientologist teatard [wikipedia.org] ? No thanks.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071571)

How progressive.

You forgot this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072367)

You left your strawman out again. Please take him home, he's getting a little ragged.

Re:Kudos (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 6 months ago | (#47072481)

He wouldn't have any power and be marginalized. So yes he actually is better. Junior senators rarely get appointments so removing reid solves a problem. It doesn't matter if Justin beiber took the seat. As long as its someone other than Reid the problem is solved.

Re:Kudos (3, Interesting)

pepty (1976012) | about 6 months ago | (#47071783)

Also not a big moment for Slashdot: No discussion of which aspects of the legislation the biotechs and universities objected to. Not in the summary, the original story, or the discussion here.

Re:Kudos (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#47071811)

Bogus down mod... You are correct. It is not the lobbyist's fault when the politician takes the bait. However, don't single out the democrats. Their tag team partner republicans are in it over their heads also.

It is the voters that helped kill patent 'reform' by reelecting politicians who take crooked money.

Re:Kudos (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#47072093)

However, don't single out the democrats. Their tag team partner republicans are in it over their heads also.

Can you provide a citation for this? Everything I read says it was the Democratic leadership that wanted it killed, mainly because of objections from trial lawyer organizations that are big donors to the Democrats. If you know of a Republican that was involved, please name and shame.

Re:Kudos (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071537)

You seem to be trying to imply that Patrick Leahy is to blame for the failure of this legislation. In fact, the article is saying that he was the champion of this effort but has been forced to shelve the bill thanks to lobbying. If anything, the D next to his name makes the Democrats look good, not the other way around.

Re:Kudos (2, Interesting)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47071581)

It's hard to understand how Leahy could have been forced into shelving the bill. He could have been arm-twisted into it, or he could have been predisposed to do it, but forced? How would that happen?

Re:Kudos (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071613)

SImple. There's a D by his name. All D's are victims when their actions don't jibe with the predominant Millennial view of them being the fearless, freedom-loving, progressive warriors for social justice.

Re:Kudos (4, Funny)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47072063)

People who generalize are all idiots. And if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: nobody likes a person who exaggerates.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072329)

People who generalize are all idiots. And if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: nobody likes a person who exaggerates.

Generalisations are generally untrue once you look past the surface and the closer you look, the more exceptions show up.

Or, as I always say, "Generalisations are generally wrong".

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072151)

SImple. There's a D by his name. All D's are victims when their actions don't jibe with the predominant Millennial view of them being the fearless, freedom-loving, progressive warriors for social justice.

The R's just send millennials to die in illegal wars wrought by cowards.

Re:Kudos (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 6 months ago | (#47072429)

It's like your not paying any attention to politics at all. They care called political parties not because they just have exclusive expensive soirees paid for lobbyists, although that happens quite regularly but because they communicate with each other upon a regular basis to agree upon policy, campaigns and who is in and who is out as well and most importantly of all how they will vote on issues. The also collectively gather intelligence on opposition parties, although how much they are actually the opposition is questionable as they often attend the same soirees paid for by the same people and figure out how they will vote.

So the choice comes down to pushing a bill they know will lose or backing down, rewriting the bill and the deciding how to re-launch it. So important issues, try and fail just to win votes for trying or actually really try to push the legislation through. The reality is yes, patent reform will seriously damage the patent system but seriously that is exactly what needs to happen. Patent were meant to promote researcher and release ideas to the public not be bullshit money printing machines and the means but which to shut down competition. We have basically allowed psychopathic greed to dominate every area of economy and until we get those psychopaths out of the system we are screwed.

Re:Kudos (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072717)

Your arguments might be taken a little more seriously if they didn't contain about a dozen spelling and grammatical mistakes. When I find a mistake in the first three words of a post, I generally don't bother to read the rest.

Suggestion - if you know you have problems with grammar and spelling, copy and paste your post into Word before submitting it. Word will at least give a cursory grammar and spelling check before you subject your ideas to public scrutiny.

.

Re:Kudos (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071787)

Usually what happens is that when the sponsor of a bill finds in the eleventh hour that they have lost enough support to pass the bill, as is the case here, they will shelve it rather than forcing a losing vote. Doing it this way means that other legislators haven't committed to a position on it, leaving the possibility open to bring it back in the future. The article gives a second reason - if the bill is brought to the floor right now it might not get support from Harry Reid, which would go a long way towards sinking it.

If you're determined to be pedantic about the word "forced" then you're welcome to pick another. The article does not suggest in any way that Leahy wanted to bill to fail.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071885)

leahy is one of one of very few good guys. he's made a few really bad votes (some anti-piracy crap),
but very often when something actually reasonable get discussed in congress, it has his name attached to it.

Re:Kudos (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071807)

Because if you bring a bill up for a vote when you know it will fail, then that's the end of the line. Nobody is going to change their vote later... that's flip-flopping and it makes you look bad as a politician.

Whereas if you shelve it, you can bide your time and try to reestablish the necessary votes.

In any event, one of the major provisions of the bill was to permit the courts to shift fees onto the plaintiff when they bring frivolous claims. This was uncommon before because Federal Circuit case law made it difficult for trial judges to decide to do this.

However, a recent SCOTUS case overruled the Federal Circuit case law. It's now believed that more district court judges will shift fees. Because of this recent development, lots of politicians who were going to vote for the bill have probably decided that it's not worth sticking their neck out on a vote if the recent SCOTOS decision will being about much of the effect.

So most likely the idea is to shelve the bill and wait-and-see what the effect the SCOTUS decision will have on litigation. If it doesn't curtail litigation in the next year or two, then I would expect the bill to be resurrected.

Re:Kudos (1)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47072071)

That's not a bad spin. I hope you're right. I have a lot of respect for Leahy (he's one of my senators) but I'm sometimes frustrated by what he does with respect to patent law, and I was really frustrated with what he was doing with copyright law back in the days of SOPA/PIPA. I think he's learned a bit from that experience, but I"m not sure. I still remember watching Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, seeing his cameo and feeling sick to my stomach at the utter tone-deafness that that appearance represented. Sigh.

Re:Kudos (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#47071827)

Powerful politicians have a lot to hide, from the public, and from their spouses/mistresses. Blackmail is probably the prime motivator in politics. It's just the nature of the business.

Re:Kudos (2)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47072077)

I've seen no evidence to support such an accusation against Senator Leahy. Not every politician is a philanderer.

Re:Kudos (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#47072725)

Not everything is about sex either. These people are owned. You don't get that kind of influence any other way. But the really unfortunate part is the voters trust in the propaganda.

Re: Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071621)

Omg I am so sick of this double standard. If it was an r you would have the opposite opinion. They're all the same.

Re:Kudos (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071789)

Forced to shelve the bill because of lobbying.

If politicians keep getting reelected after listening to lobbyists it should be no surprise they listen to lobbyists more than the voters. ;)

If the voters don't like this then I blame the voters - they failed in their responsibility to:
0) provide feedback
1) vote for better candidates

BUT the truth is more that most voters don't care about such stuff (they care and vote on "hot button" topics[1]). Two minorities do. One is against and one is for such stuff and has $$$$$.

I suspect the politicians do actually care about their ratings and the opinion polls. When enough voters start to really care, that's when you get stuff like the recent marijuana legislation.

[1] like abortion, gay marriage etc. Of course the fact that the USA is quite strongly divided on such issues may allow the "ruling class" to more easily herd voters into either the D or R pens. But if they were instead split on other "important issues" that the ruling class also didn't really care about, a similar thing would happen too. The D and Rs will probably split the votes on those issues, and 95% will vote for D/R and the ruling class will lobby D+R on issues that they care about and get the laws they want.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072089)

So the two big majorities get what they want (abortion, no abortion, gay marriage etc) in the states they win. And the lobbying minorities get what they want whether D/R wins. Win-win.

That's about as democratic as you can get for a country like the USA. Things could get interesting if one day the majority's interests start to conflict with that minority.

Whatever it is, I think the priorities should be good education and a not too crappy economy so that education can be funded and people can actually survive to be educated. The USA has too many uneducated ignorant people. The people who hate and look down on the stupid and ignorant are stupid and ignorant themselves. In a democracy hating the stupid and ignorant isn't going to help you much since they make up the majority. Helping the stupid and ignorant is what you should do. It is of course true that many are probably beyond help, but hopefully enough can be helped.

The other option is to go "fuck them", exploit what you know and help yourself, probably a better plan for a selfish individual but not so good for the country.

Re:Kudos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072247)

That's because there's no difference in stated political preference between Republicrat and Demoblican. They're all a bunch of fatcat jerkoffs milking the public teat for all it's worth, making sure there's nothing of value left in America. You didn't think all those "wars" were about peace or your safety, did you?

The best government (1, Redundant)

symbolset (646467) | about 6 months ago | (#47071389)

Money can buy.

Re:The best government (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#47071575)

You might be tempted to think money would be smarter than this pack of louts.

Re:The best government (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#47071907)

Nonsense. The return on investments has been phenomenal. And things are looking up!

Oh noe's (3, Insightful)

future assassin (639396) | about 6 months ago | (#47071395)

"Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."'"

Oh but when it comes to regular citizen being treated like suspects because of a few rotten apples then thats ok but forbid this would happen to big money holders.

Re:Oh noe's (3, Insightful)

jonsmirl (114798) | about 6 months ago | (#47071635)

It would be cool if the companies suypporting this bill sent about about 20,000 demand letters to Vermont and Nevada companies and then started prosecuting on them. Should be easy since overly broad patents are a dime a dozen. Then maybe Leahy and Reid will get the message before their constituents break their doors down.

Re:Oh noe's (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 6 months ago | (#47072471)

Oh but when it comes to regular citizen being treated like suspects because of a few rotten apples then thats ok but forbid this would happen to big money holders.

Yes, because the common people are the serfs, whereas the big money holders are their masters/rulers. Therefore different rules apply.

Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071397)

Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be, he and Randy can fuck off.

Re:Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about 6 months ago | (#47071431)

Ricky, keep your damn garbage bees away from me.

Re:Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#47071487)

Laney and Randy are greasy bastards.

Re: Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will b (5, Informative)

JWW (79176) | about 6 months ago | (#47071493)

Stories are circulating that Harry Reid is the one who exerted pressure on Lahey to pull the bill.

Reid is as corrupt as they come.

https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com]

Re: Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will b (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071831)

He's referencing a crass Canadian show called Trailer Park Boys, specifically an episode called "Jim Lahey is a drunk bastard." Your post was on-topic for the story, but it was kind off-topic for who you replied to.

Just letting you know why you're modded off-topic.

Re:Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#47071937)

"why so serious??"

/oblig

Re:Mr. Lahey is a drunk bastard and always will be (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | about 6 months ago | (#47072067)

God I wish I had mod points right now... :)

Your system of government killed it (2, Insightful)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 6 months ago | (#47071411)

It does not matter who stepped up to the plate this particular time.

Your system of government is corrupt and out of control.

Asking for names is not seeing the forest for the trees.

Re: Your system of government killed it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071503)

Moron. Outing the corrupt is the first step to removing them from office.

Re: Your system of government killed it (2, Interesting)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 6 months ago | (#47071525)

1) That almost certainly wont happen when you out them - certainly not over an issue like this.

2) They will be replaced with another corrupt drone even if they are.

Why?

Because it is the system of government that has become corrupted. Cutting off a few branches when the tree is infected will not work.

There is something moronic here and it is not my comment....

Re: Your system of government killed it (3, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47071593)

Actually, your comment is moronic, because it implies that the right thing to do is cut down the tree, by which I assume you mean destroy what's left of the democracy. What do you think will arise in its place? Something better? Read your fucking history. The right thing to do is take this seriously and get active. It's worked in the past, and it will work again. Burning down the house is not the right way to solve this problem.

Re: Your system of government killed it (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47071631)

You're absolutely right. The only way to fix this is to nuke the problem from orbit. /AliensMovieQuote*

* just in case some idiot from the NSA/FBI/CIA/whatever never heard of that movie, this comment is only a joke. I do not possess the ability to send anything in orbit nor do I own any nukes. The only radio-active material in a music CD titled "Radio Gaga", which turns active when inserted into a CD/DVD/BluRay player.

Re: Your system of government killed it (0)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#47071955)

if you have to explain that you were not serious, then we have already lost any shred of liberty we once had.

and if the NSA is reading this, FUCK YOU!!!!

yeah. you read that right. illegal organizations like the NSA can go fuck themselves.

find my IP and come after me, assholes. not even sure I care anymore. we're fucked as a country, anyway.

Re: Your system of government killed it (2)

aevan (903814) | about 6 months ago | (#47071657)

The american system is the only true democracy then, there is no better form it could take?

Re: Your system of government killed it (3, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 6 months ago | (#47071673)

I'd call American democracy a pretty good prototype of the real thing.

But its just a prototype, and beta ended loooong ago.

Re: Your system of government killed it (2)

Anonymice (1400397) | about 6 months ago | (#47072253)

I'd call American democracy a pretty good prototype of the real thing.

But its just a prototype, and beta ended loooong ago.

That America's even a democracy appears to be under debate at the moment...
Oligarchy, not democracy: Americans have ‘near-zero’ input on policy – report [rt.com]

Re: Your system of government killed it (1)

mellon (7048) | about 6 months ago | (#47072059)

It appears to be the case that several other democracies are working better, but that doesn't mean that there's a path from our democracy as it is now to a democracy like those. If nothing else, the culture is different. It's easy to think of these things as narratives with clear outcomes, but the reality is that we are where we are, and we move incrementally or discontinuously from there. Incremental change is a lot safer than discontinuous change, because we get to evaluate whether we are going in the right direction at each increment; at a discontinuity, we just have to take a stab in the dark and hope for the best.

That worked out pretty well in Iceland, but Iceland is more the exception than the rule.

Re: Your system of government killed it (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 6 months ago | (#47072557)

They somehow managed to give black people voting rights in US history. So maybe now it is time to stop the political duopoly and allow other parties to effectively have a saying. The current situation is a political non-compete-scheme.

Re: Your system of government killed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072603)

Coalition government [slashdot.org] is fairly popular.

Re: Your system of government killed it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072529)

The United States is not a democracy. It is a [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_republic]federal republic[/url].
[quote]What do you think will arise in its place?[/quote]
A republic can be replaced with a republic. There are plenty of ways the system can be improved. Most of which would threaten the jobs of the politicians themselves, so it is not likely any real improvements will happen under the current system.

Re: Your system of government killed it (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 6 months ago | (#47072665)

Not necessarily. A popular, grass roots movement towards a 3rd party that actually represents the people would work also - assuming the candidates can live long enough to get voted for.

I would suggest, at least at first, putting up candidates who are good at dodging bullets.

Both real and metaphorical....

NB: My proposal just made your over-reactive comment moronic.

Awesome to be me.

Re:Your system of government killed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071727)

Your system of government is corrupt and out of control.

Maybe, maybe not, but a much better system than what else is out there.

Re:Your system of government killed it (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 6 months ago | (#47071779)

Better than India's version? You know where you dont have to blow everyone and their moms just to get on the ballot?

Re:Your system of government killed it (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#47071931)

Better than India's version? You know where you dont have to blow everyone and their moms just to get on the ballot?

You're using India as an example of non-corruption? Where 62% of the citizens have bribed government officials? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Your system of government killed it (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 6 months ago | (#47072661)

Untrue.

No point rehashing the argument yet again and typically it would be for naught anyway as few people what to challenge their truisms.

But it is not true and I suggest if you think it is and are actually interested in the topic you do a little reading and comparison.

Lawyers (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#47071433)

As long as lawyers are the majority of legislators you'll never see real patent *or* torte reform. End of story.

Re:Lawyers (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 6 months ago | (#47071473)

I beg to differ. They can increase the value of their patent litigations by extending the validity of patents from the present 20 years to first 50 years, then 500 years. Heck, copyright started with 14, and now it's lifetime+70, which could add up to something like 150 years, so 500 years for patents is not that inconceivable. Then you better have good lawyers and pay them a lot of money when the stuff they can get you can last for generations.

Re:Lawyers (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#47071495)

As long law schools are allowed to pump out vast numbers of lawyers, this problem will continue.

Re:Lawyers (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 6 months ago | (#47071963)

as long as 'business gets any damned thing they want', you mean.

lawyers are powered by business. take away the extreme power that business (in the US) has and you've just leveled things.

lawyers can work for us, too; but there's just no money in it, so they don't!

Re:Lawyers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071869)

Mmm, torte reform...

/homer simpson

As it should be (2, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 6 months ago | (#47071457)

"Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a POTENTIAL patent troll." -Fixed that for you

Re:As it should be (3, Insightful)

loonycyborg (1262242) | about 6 months ago | (#47071627)

If they assert that even such tame legislation can harm 'legitimate' patent holder then it's an argument in favor of abolition of patent system altogether, because it's hard to find meaningful difference between 'legitimate' and 'troll' which makes the patent system itself more harmful than useful since any obviously existing abuses run unchecked. Each such successful lobbying effort supports the position of patent/copyright abolitionists like me :P

Faggots in Islamabad (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071467)

Those punks take it up the ass for Allah, the bitch, in the name of Moohammad, the faggot child molester.

Democracy ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071481)

I have never understood how overwhelmingly supported and popular legislation in a "so called" democracy, where every individual supposedly is allowed only one vote, can be killed by a single corrupt individual. I guess Orwell had it right after all. "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

I wish they had more references. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071491)

"Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."' Name 5, right?

University of Vermont (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071497)

University of Vermont is run by people not born in Vermont. They are all insect hive dwellers from New York City. They are hardly American, with more allegiance to a country in the Middle East than to America. They are shysters, crooks, shylocks, and thiefs. The fact that patent troll reform threatens their money bags should come as no surprise. Most of their kind have made their fortunes by exploiting others. It's part of their "tradition", their "thing".

Re: University of Vermont (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072025)

Stay classey, racist.

Re-design Patents (1)

Stardner (3660081) | about 6 months ago | (#47071549)

Perhaps if patents held up to a profit threshold (derived from development costs) rather than a fixed duration, patents would be able to provide protection to innovators without feeding troll scum.

Re:Re-design Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071697)

To avoid taxes, companies already have developed effective methods to pretend to make no profit -- they don't need to change anything.
A rule as you described would only encourage even more companies to deploy such tax avoidance methods.

Supporters of the plan accuse... (4, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 6 months ago | (#47071553)

Supporters of the compromise accuse trial lawyers, universities, pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies for foiling the plan at the eleventh hour.

Lawyers? They suck. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies? Boo! Universities? Horr- wait, what?

If universities are opposed to the law, then that means that it probably defines "troll" as any non-practicing entity or those who make their income from licensing and litigation rather than sale of products, and therefore implicates research universities like MIT, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell. And yeah, if the law is going to force them to abandon some of their research efforts, then it's a bad law. Patent trolls are a problem, but they need a targeted solution, not one that will damage an entire R&D industry.

For example, one of the big troll-y issues was suing tons of unrelated defendants in a single suit - like Microsoft in Seattle, and Google in Mountain View, and Apple in Cupertino, and Joe Shmoe Consumer in Florida... They had no interest in Joe, he only bought a single product that was alleged to infringe, but by including him, they could argue that Texas was halfway between everyone, so it was a good venue, rather than, say, Northern California. So, in the America Invents Act, they changed the joinder rules and said you could only include multiple defendants if they were explicitly working together to infringe, like subsidiaries or agent/principal relationships. Poof, overnight, Joe stopped getting sued. Good solution: targets the problem perfectly, doesn't harm legitimate inventors.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071577)

Meh. Universities seem like part of the problem. They take public funds to pay for research and patent the results. If my tax dollars are paying for research, I want to share in the rewards rather than having the profits privatized to pay for some litigious university IP department.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (4, Interesting)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 6 months ago | (#47071915)

You, sir, are a complete IDIOT!,

The money that universities make off their patents doesn't go into the pockets of some mysterious investor but BACK INTO FUNDING THE UNIVERSITY.

As a direct result of being able to profit from their patented research universities can afford to do more (or more expensive) research without having to dip into TAX DOLLARS to do so.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072065)

Oh, bullshit. Tuition costs and student loan debt are spiraling out of control. Allowing the universities to socialize risk (i.e. taxpayer-funded speculative research) and then privatize the profits is immoral and doesn't do anything appreciable to fix the problem.

I also refer you to Bowen's Law [wikipedia.org] regarding tuition costs.

There are far better ways to fix the problem than to allow universities to become litigious patent trolls. Those lawyers the university employs to patent troll don't work for free.

It's simple: public funded research == public access journal publications and public domain patents. We paid for it with our taxes. Let the university fund research itself from its own endowment if it thinks it's such a great, profitable idea.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072131)

You obviously haven't ever been involved with obtaining a university patent. As an inventor, I received a very sizable portion of the returns personally. Like taking candy from .... well tax payers.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072181)

A large number of Patent generating Research Universities are not public. They are private and are not funded by tax dollars.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071595)

Research is not the same as patents. The race to earn patents as a way of funding University research is corrupting University research by making Universities into unpaid R&D divisions for the private sector. That's a big part of the reason you don't have things like Bell Labs any more; they've been outsourced so that governments pay for a lot of the infrastructure by paying for the Unviersity.

It's not Universities that are opposed to fixing the patent system. It's the people in Universities right now who make their money by being invested in the current corrupt patent system. Universities, as they should be, would not be serving as subsidised corporate R&D and filing patents.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (1)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#47071661)

why should corporations do R&D?
one company invents something they might keep it for themselves and not license it. a university will license to anyone

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#47071701)

Not.

For the right price universities sometimes grant exclusive licenses.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072427)

Universities are every bit as corrupt and broken as any other over bloated money hungry industry. The fact that so many people still fail to see that is a far bigger problem for this country than patent reform.

Re:Supporters of the plan accuse... (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | about 6 months ago | (#47072483)

Universities generally insist that all IP developed as part of a sponsored agreement is owned by the university (as opposed to the inventors or the funders - the two normal ways of doing things). This isn't the "classic" troll behavior, but it's not much better. It has the same result of depriving the actual inventors (small business, professors, grad students) of an opportunity to commercialize their work. It deprives the funders (US government, non profits, small and large business) of IP they should rightly own as well as discouraging people from working together.

Almost all of the research done by universities is done via such sponsored research agreements, not internal funding.

They ARE patent trolls! (3, Interesting)

dshk (838175) | about 6 months ago | (#47071641)

"Many of the provisions would have the effect of treating every patent holder as a patent troll."

Software should not have been patented, and software patents are indeed not allowed in Europe (although they are lobbying hard to bring the broken US system into Europe).

I am yet to see a software patent which worth the effort of reading and decoding its intentionally unclear text. In the best case they are basically direct applications of unpatentable mathematical knowledge produced by real scientists, and not the inventors mentioned in the patent.

So yes, anybody who uses software patents for litigation or for any other purpose except defending against a troll, is indeed a patent troll.

Re:They ARE patent trolls! (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 6 months ago | (#47072297)

Who modded this off topic. It is perfectly on topic and quite insightful too.

The summary says one complaint was that everyone was treated like a patent troll. Well when the majority of patent dispute cases we hear about amount to "I did some math", "Your genes are mine", "We've been doing this for years, but look it's now ON A PHONE", and "Oh my god I did this with only one button", patent holders both practising and licencing are actually trolling.

Patrick Leahy is a piece of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071677)

stick that in your patent reform hole and smoke it!

I love being a Dem, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071729)

We have some very corrupt representation, people that routinely take in big bucks from business and use that to guide their decision making.

It's nothing new, but in the past Dems were less guilty of this, and now they do it flagrantly. It blurs the line between them and Republicans who do the same thing quite a bit.

So yeah, my team fucked up. Sorry.

Re:I love being a Dem, but... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 6 months ago | (#47071805)

If you cant beat them, join them, seems to be the dem's new motto.

Re:I love being a Dem, but... (2)

gnupun (752725) | about 6 months ago | (#47072571)

Sorry, this anti troll reform is beyond stupid. Does it have clear guidelines to determine which patent is trollish and which is valid? Since it does not, it immensely hurts holders of valid patents and therefore the entire patent system. Instead of punishing the patent holder, the USPTO should not issue patents that are troll-worthy.

This is why you can't use laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47071761)

to fight against those who write the laws.

I've given up on any hope of ever fixing this through negotiation or diplomacy. When the corruption has rooted itself so deeply into the host, sometimes the only way to save the rest is to sacrifice the one.

Burn it to the ground and be done with it.

It's impossible to "damage the patent system" (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#47071845)

It is already broken beyond repair.

What are the money and politics behind this? (2)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 6 months ago | (#47071879)

It started last summer, when patent trolls started messing with one of the biggest political donors of all time [realtor.org] - the National Association of Realtors. [opensecrets.org]

If you take a look at Patrick Leahy's donors [opensecrets.org] , you can see real estate is down the list.

Summary - this issue got before Congress only when the NAR was bitten by it. I don't the issue is dead, not by a long shot. The NAR has deep connections in government and unless they somehow get the issue to go away for them personally, anti-patent troll legislation is likely to come back. Perhaps more quietly next time.

Damage the patent system? (1, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#47072009)

Uh. The patent system is ALREADY royally fucked beyond belief.

This was supposed to be a first step to actually cleaning it up and making it work AS INTENDED.

Guess we couldn't have that happen. Not enough money in it for people...

Fuckers.

Just Your Friendly Ultra-Liberal Democrat (1, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 6 months ago | (#47072043)

Who still buys into that garbage that only Republicans protect big business that the nice and friendly, warm and fuzzy, Democrats are the party of the People?
(Hint: They're the party of the Union bosses and every corporate lobbyist with a checkbook. At least the Republicans don't lie about it.)

Individual Inventors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072155)

The "patent reform" that was proposed would make it impossible for individual inventors and small companies to get patents and enforce them. Currently, it costs approximately $10,000 in legal fees to get a patent. This is also takes, on average, between 3-5 years from when you file an application. Two years is the absolute minimum, but I have worked with clients who have had patent applications pending for as long as 12 years because of the incompetence and poor funding of the PTO. Then, if you want to enforce the patent, you have to be ready to either,(a) pay hundreds of thousands up to several million dollars to attorneys, or (b) give a large percentage of all recoveries to contingency counsel. However, contingency IP counsel will not pay for or handle Inter partes reviews (IPR) before the USPTO, which are now the norm for accused infringers to file. An IPR takes approximately 2-3 years from start to finish and will cost approximately $100k in attorney fees to the patent holder. Any enforcement action during this time is likely put on hold.

Now, the current reform is going to make it even riskier for patent holders. Not only will they have to outlay $110k to get the patent and to survive an IPR, plus give away 40% of any recoveries to contingency counsel. Now they will also have to worry that they will be on the hook for $500k - $4m that a corporate defendant will rack up against them. Now, you might think that a patent holder who knows that they have a valid patent should not worry about the risk in fee shifting. However, District Courts are overturned by the Fed. Circuit at approximately a 50% rate. Thus, a patent holder has to consider that the Court will get it wrong as much as they get it right. If you are a small or individual, you have to outlay $110,000 plus having a risk of having to pay someone who you think infringes your patent up to $4m dollars in case you lose. This relegates the patent system just to companies that can afford to pay the attorney fees of potential infringers.

Thus, with this "reform" the patent system will turn into a method for large corporate patent holders to use their patent holdings to keep competitors out of the marketplace (Microsoft doesn't care if they have to pay someone's attorney fees).

The problem isn't the existing law... (1)

American Patent Guy (653432) | about 6 months ago | (#47072159)

... it's the lack of effort in patent examination. The reason proper examination isn't being done is because patent applicants don't pay enough in fees. The time a patent examiner gets toward a case is a matter of hours: they are evaluated upon the number of cases they dispose of. It's easier to allow a case to issue with the appearance of proper search and examination, than it is to find proper grounds to make a legally valid rejection.

Patent trolls are merely people who take advantage of these facts.

What they really meant to say: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47072169)

What they really meant to say: "We don't mind the legislation, so long as it doesn't stop the gravy train. Your legislation would actually *do something* and we have found the extra income to be like winning the lottery every year. So the legislation must be stopped: make it as toothless as the Justice Department toward the banks after the 2008 financial crash, and we will be good."

No choice (2)

Tetetrasaurus (1859006) | about 6 months ago | (#47072275)

If the US doesn't make it easier to challenge patents, we're screwed because foreign entities who don't honor patents like we do are innovating more and more, and patenting more and more.

A good example is to look at who has all the patents for graphene research. It mostly ain't us.

http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?