Subject: Re: patent trolls and X-licensors
From: "Ben Tilly" <btilly@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 14:03:23 -0700

On 6/5/06, Forrest J. Cavalier III <forrest@mibsoftware.com> wrote:
> Ben Tilly wrote:
>
> > Given this, I'm fairly comfortable saying that most patents *are*
> > invalid.
>
> Do you think that statement is true of non-software patents too?

Yes.

The reason why the rate is so high is that the patent system is broken
and will give a lot of questionable patents, getting them does not
cost that much, and they have negotiating value whether or not a court
would in fact invalidate them if someone challenged them.  The result
is that patent-holders have strong incentives to ask for as much as
they can up front.

There is nothing specific to software here, therefore the result
should not be specific to software either.  The current system
encourages the creation of lots of very poor patents, and the result
is that we have a lot of bad patents.  (Patent 5443036 anyone?  Google
for it...)

Note that none of what I'm talking about now is connected to whether
patents on software or other things might or might not be beneficial.
I am just saying that, by the standards our legal system uses to judge
these things, most granted patents would not stand up.

Cheers,
Ben