The U.S. Patent System Is Killing Innovation

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MaximumMike

@Maximum PC

 

My comments trigger the Spam filter, yet these idiots continue to get through with their crap every day. There's no captcha or anything, so I have no way to make my post. What good is a Spam filter that blocks legitimate posts and lets Spam through? I would prefer to deal with Spam and be able to make my post than to have my comments blocked based on some terrible filtering criteria. Really, can't you guys get this right? If not, can you at least bring back the captcha? Or perhaps you could keep a list of known users who post regularly and don't post spam.

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Holly Golightly

You are right... This method of filtering is annoying. Perhaps if they did something like verify accounts... Sort of like what MySpace did by connecting your phone number to your account, and you have to give them the serial number they text you, you can then bypass all spam filters, and captchas. This makes life that much more easier. Make it something like a VIP list... Verified!  

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LatiosXT

While I do believe the patent system is useful for preventing someone who does have money from simply plagirizing an idea and running off with it, it's pretty much like everyone else said in regards to what we have now: it's vague and abused. However I honestly do believe that if you do patent something, you should have a time limit to actually make it a product (in some form or fashion) before it fades out, rather than just sit on it so you can collect royalties later. Or just something to knock out Rambus.

But at the end of the day, I'm also saddened that I can't go a week without browsing through ONE tech news site that says Company A is suing Company B for some vague general patent.

Also I had a laugh when I looked at the first gen iPod Touch's About->Legal and the damn thing is like a thesis.

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richeemxx

Well first and foremost most of the articlt centers around hardware patents and cases that are not apart of the US system. Apple blocking the Galaxy tab is a Germany issue (and will be an EU case) only. HTC and their lawsuits are the only one currently in the US courts.

What needs to be understood is exactly what fellowleo said. Patents are meant to give tech innovators an edge, and that is how it should be. Otherwise you are going to see a stagnant spot in the tech arena as companies won't spend billions in R&D.

That however is not the issue at hand. The issue is the vagness at which these patents carry. Much like copyrights thse days. Companies patent the simplest of terms, or copyright basic words, and are granted the right to them. It use to be you had to show something a bit more specific to get your patent, or copyright.

The reason much of the system isn't working now is because companies are finding it harder and harder to innovate. And companies, specifically Apple don't want to, cross liscense their patents for others to use, and well vice versa. They figure if the FTC, ITC or European Commission isn't going to hit them with anything in the Antitrust arena then why share. Eventually it all has to kit critical mass and we'll see some reform somewhere. The question is simply how long will we have to wait!!!

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fellowleo

Sigh...

Yea, the patent system is messed up and yes it is stifling innovation, but like any system of rules, it has it's purpose and it can be abused and no doubtingly it is being abused. To nonchalantly throw up your hands and choose anarchy is no solution. Why would any person spend the money to research and develop an idea if anyone else can just swoop in and steal it? Perhaps lower the amount of time the holder can profit from the patent? Well, the shorter the amount of time you can profit from a patent the less amount of money you will be willing to spend to develop it and some patents takes millions if not tens of millions to develop. If the patents expire quickly enough, they'll be more than happy to wait a few years rather than pay the fees and then steal it all. As for patent trolls, I hate them as much as the next guy, but take into account that not everyone has the motivation or the vast capital to set up a manufacturing plant. Sometimes the only way for them to profit from their work is to sell or license their ideas. Regarding tort reform, where the loser pays the legal fees of the winners, would a small R&D firm risk having to pay the millions in legal fees of the mega multinational if they complained about their stolen ideas? In our legal system, it's not what is true or even right for that matter, it's what you can prove.

Yes, it's a mess and it will remain a mess for a while to come. I think there has not been much action to fix the system because they really don't know how to fix it. Every patch they apply could have a detrimental effect on something legitimate.

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ScytheNoire

Do research on the history of patents and why they were created. It's always been about having a monopoly going back to the very first patent in 1421 that allowed him to burn the boats of any one who tried to compete. It's always been about destroying competition and innovation. The system doesn't work, has never worked, and never will work. When will people wake up and realize this. Do your research and imagine how far we might be without patents, how much money wouldn't be wasted on lawyers. Things need to change, should have changed a long time ago. Don't believe the patent lies.

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TerribleToaster

A world without patents is a world without R&D. If I spend years of time millions or billions of dollars developing an idea that comes to fruitation, only to have it copied by everyone else in the market within a few weeks I might as well not have done any R&D in the first place since I'm now millions/billions in the hole with no prospect of making up the what I lost developing. The worst part is not only does an absence of patents prevent R&D, for those who do R&D, those people who are brilliant and doing a great job otherwise, they are the ones getting screwed over the most.

 

If you researched patent history, you should have noted that the more the patent system was refined the more innovation and R&D happened.

 

The patent system definitely has its flaws, but you can thank it for most of what you enjoy today.

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MaximumMike

The point of a patent is to give the originator of the idea a competitive advantage in the market and an actual chance to market his idea before everyone copies it. Everything changes rapidly in the technology sector. So, I say if you're not ready to bring your idea to market within 6 months, you cannot get the patent. And once you get the patent, its only good for a year and cannot be renewed. That's it. 

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I Jedi

While I agree there needs to be reform in the patent system, I don't think it needs to be tossed away. If I can't keep an idea I had from others, why even bother to make it, as I can't make any money off of it?

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Holly Golightly

What they need to do is kill the patent system! They stiffle competition, as the article stated, and really hurts innovation because of patent trolls who never invent what they patent. Apple is trying to patent form and function, which is a definite no-no.

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TerribleToaster

Without patents there would be no innovation (and thus no competition). No incentive to improve anything if you don't profit from it (This is ECON 101).

 

The patent system definetly has its problems but having no patent system is so much worse. It would be better to attempt to fix the problems in the system rather they just get rid of it.

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Holly Golightly

Yes, but apparently the patent system is slowing down the tech industry. Perhaps there should be a happy middle... But then this will hurt research and developement... The thing is, many companies patent things they, themselves never use. Small companies will have to spend their investment money on lawyers instead of innovation. This format of greed hurts everybody really.

The technology industry is a very fast paced market. If the slow patent system can't keep up, we will be looking at years of the same exact technology while everyone's profit goes to litigation. Maybe if patents did not last forever... Maybe we can have a mixture of the two? When governments have to interefere in free markets, they only slow down progress... (Political Science 101) This is why we need reform from our current system... They are not working the way it is right now.

There should be a better balance. Corporations should not patent things like form and function. There is not much variation between tablets and phones. They all tend to look alike. Black, big touch screen, round edges, standard buttons, and icons for the OS. Not much different. It does not take years of research and developement to define form and function. Enhancements takes that long, typically. Windows Phone tiles are an enhancement. They are like icons and widgets fused together and make it fully interactive. Apple's simple icons are similar to that of a desktop. Small buttons you press on a home screen. Nothing major. Everyone uses them. Blackberry and Android can't be sued because of simple things like how icons are positioned. To patent something as silly as a touchscreen with a button is nonsense. These patents only prevent competition from truly occuring. This is why things are moving a little slow right now in the tech world. Everybody is suing everyone. Shouldn't that money go to good use? Sigh, it seems that the best solution is to rid the damn system and let innovation grow at uncontrollable rates. This way everyone will try to 1-up each other. This way they have to keep innovating, otherwise they fall behind, and then they lose out on money. This is where the customer wins.

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MaximumMike

>>When governments have to interefere in free markets, they only slow down progress... (Political Science 101) 

 

Did you really just say this? I knew you weren't serious with all that communism stuff. You just like to get a rise out of people.

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Holly Golightly

You need to wake up and smell the coffee on that subject. Open your eyes! Communism does not mean, lets all live naked in the woods because there is no such thing as a market. The cold war has blinded many Americans about communism. Nixon and Reagan are ignorant. It is about spreading the wealth. No oil or other natural resources should belong to a person or foreign corporation. It belongs to the people. The banks should not be handled by the greedy giving us 29.99% interests. Utilities should be free of charge. Housing should be for free. Education should be free for everyone.

Now, back to the subject, science and technology should be allowed to go at its own pace. Thus why USSR defeat USA in first space travel, and the first country to launch a satellite. The patent system slows down the progress of science, and technology. Something no communist (and I am pretty sure bleeding heart capitalists) don't like seeing being slowed down. The patent system has had a history of slowing down technology, which is something we are witnessing right now. I say lets destroy the patent system, and bring forth true progress once and for all.

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TerribleToaster

 

Ummm, while the USSR did start a space program years before the US, they were quickly out paced by NASA, who not only surpassed them in technological and logistical innovations, but also did it with far more regard for safety. Hence why the US landed on the moon (both first and only nation), made the first GPS system, etc.

Competition drives innovation at the fastest rate possible, you don't have competition in a purely communist system. It's considered to be one of the biggest problems of a communist economic system.

 

On a side note, I wish the banks did give us a 29.99% interest rate. I'd put everything in a SD and make a killing.

Or did you mean that they charge us 29.99% interest? (In which case, I'd start my own bank and undercut all of them, making a killing while putting them out of business or back at the market price, the wonders of capitalism).

 

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Holly Golightly

When you see a number as high as 29.99% of interests... I do not mean the interest you earn in mutual funds or a Savings Account. Come on, you read the news, don't you? What I mean is the interest rates banks charge to consumers when they use their credit cards... The same thing that helped our economy get in further debt. Not everybody is a rich republican that can invest millions of dollars into multinational corporations. Try to see things from the perspective of the working man.

Yes, NASA is great... But with budget cutbacks... I am beginning to wonder if USA will ever return to the moon... Or Mars at that. Capitalism is all about greed. Patents everywhere where everyone sues everybody. Where you do not own what you buy but rent licenses to use. Capitalism is self-destructive by greed. This is why USA, (the inventor of capitalism) has elected a socialist president. Everyone in America feels it is time for a change. We need reform in our greedy patent system, and we need serious change in these corporate bailouts. It is the people who make this economy move. We make the money move, we keep the economy alive. Without the people, businesses would naturally shut down... And there goes your patents.

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bpstone

Democrat leaders are equally rich as republicans. I don't trust any of the fork tongue bastards anymore.

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Holly Golightly

Yeah, I am not very found of democrats. Their answer is tax, tax, and more tax. They hurt the very people they try to help.

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