Patents against innovation




Patents against innovation

Patents against innovation. It sounds just as absurd as the “honey bees against”, “Students Against Sex” or “Rock Against Drugs”.

Patents against innovation? How so? Patents exist only in order to protect the rights of inventors, designed to return R & D investments and generally stimulate technological progress! Maybe somewhere it is true, but in today’s software development world – this is a profound mistake.

Patents against innovation! Modern software patent law – is a distorted looking glass, nothing to do with common sense are not available, and require rapid changes in the name of the very innovation.


Good intention to protect inventors of patents – today it has become a tool of extortion, the purpose of which is directly opposed to the protection of innovation. Modern patent business – it’s racket technology is a cross between a dog in the manger and the monkey-kleptomanki with a pronounced instinct “to haul in a hole,” all that glitters. And the dog – the size of a cannon, monkey – no less than King Kong.

Now the details. Let’s look at the business side.

The main characters of the play – patent aggregators (aka patent trolls), buying up the rights to the invention, and with their help blackmails innovative companies. It would seem, what’s wrong with that – there is nothing “tyrit” other people’s ideas, borrowed – pay! And here begins the underwater part of the iceberg.

First, in the long tradition of patent offices of many countries (primarily the United States) allow patenting their ideas in a very, very broad sense, such as the “method of transmitting electrical signal”, under which 10 years later you can take anything you want. Second, the idea is patentable, not the realization that not only motivates the present inventors, as armless crafty yap with exuberant imagination. The vast majority of patent aggregators have never been and will not be implemented in practice. Third, even the description of specific inventions (ideas) are often so vague that it is easily “stretched” on anything.

The patent system is vulnerable to all kinds of abuse. And with regard to these vulnerabilities, and just shows the line between troll and inventor-nugget. At the crux of the problem, this face is thin, but it is palpable.

As the saying goes, there is a caveat.

And, apparently, shustryaki not slow to take advantage of this vulnerability, turning Patent Institute in gop stop the high road. Each year, a truly innovative company fork out for them by tens of billions of dollars – read, distract a huge amount of the very innovation.

What’s worse – a vicious patent business is growing and is fragrant. So what? – The costs are minimal, do not introduce anything, victims pull processes can not afford, and they prefer to negotiate. Scraped himself unfortunate patentikov pool, sit on it aki Nightingale the Robber, take a bribe for the ride, huh?

Of course, in patent law have both national and industrial specificity.

Antipode of the American system – European. It is more difficult to patent the patent with “rubber” formulas, all applications are a major peer-reviewed, plus trollizm hampered by procedural methods. In some places, is still practiced by Application patent system, people here like to “take the customer on a fright” (and in fact works!), But when it comes to court, it quickly surrender their position. A couple of years ago, so we tried to “pontanutsya” in Italy in mobile technologies. Ha!

As IT has its own specifics. There is still more to start because it is one thing to patent, for example, engineering invention (from the concrete does not wriggle), but quite another – software technology. There reigns a play on words and the mind is not the first year across the board. How many minds, the time of the most innovative and money spent on it! And the system is alive zhivehonka.

It would seem that we are seeing the brave fight against IT-Schnick infamous patent troll. Certainly not! By software vendors themselves directly and indirectly, consciously and necessarily involves the other side of the barricades.

A recent example: Ericsson sold 2tys. patent aggregator Unwired Planet. Well, it is clear from the Swedes financial problems, you need to pump out the maximum of all the possibilities, and liabilities to the maximum converted into assets. That turned – now Ericsson will receive a troll share its profits with the sold patents.

Other condone trolls, agreeing to license patent pools. From the point of view of an “effective manager” with the MBA-Lychko is justifiable momentary decision, but strategically – is a shameful defeat.

Different countries have long been trying to solve the problem. Occur regularly attempt to legally prohibit the patenting of software algorithms. Unfortunately, cases of success we are still unknown. That’s New Zealand for 3 years goes around and around, and WHO and is now there. Recently we met Working Group on Innovation of the Russian-American Presidential Commission. And what do you think? The proposal to exclude from the list of algorithms patentable subject matter was struck from the agenda with the filing … Microsoft! About how! Why is that? Not so much whether the former Technical Director of the company is now headed by the world’s largest patent troll? But that’s a topic for another post.

In general, trolls – to press, patent law – dopilivat.

And that’s what needs to be done in the first place:

Should be limited in use. Prohibit the second and subsequent patent holders to claim for a patent for a period preceding the purchase. For what? To maintain immunity – patentees sometimes “pass” patent-troll pacifier is for profit for the previous period, thus keeping themselves from counter-claims.

In case of defeat or withdrawal of the claim troll obliged to compensate the defendant all costs. Now trolls know their impunity and play on it.

Deny patent aggregators to sue. In the case of intervention in any patent litigation settlement with the proposal of the trial – see this as extortion and pressure on the defendant.

Change the approach to the description of patents. Time – clearly prescribe the purpose and scope of the invention (technical result, which is required for the direction of the patent, and sometimes does not give the necessary certainty in the application). Two – clearly define the terms of the patent and their interpretation, without a proper definition – hack patent during the examination.

And finally, the most important thing. Not to patent the idea, and their concrete implementation. So we really will support and defend the innovators and will be able to get rid of the patent parasites.

But in reality? In reality, at the highest level, like there is an understanding that the conservatory is not going smoothly. How and when it will work? The sensitive issue. On the other hand – is there another way out?


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