Subject: Re: termless copyright and patents
From: Thomas Lord <>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 18:05:14 -0700

So, just to cut to the chase,

"BOO!" to compulsory public licensing, is the universal
reaction.   This is more or less old news.

Without re-rehearsing everything bad that's been said about
patents over lo these many years, lemme take that as read
and offer this rough idea instead of compulsory public licensing:

1. Applicant selected terms (up to but not exceeding 20 years).

2. Applicant selected public licensing formulae.

3. Applicant opt-in to mandatory federally approved arbitration
    services in exchange for relatively modest caps on infringement

4. Things like that.   In exchange for lower filing fees, EZ-filing,
    low-enforcement fees.

So, Joe Hacker invents a new kind of UI widget and, for $75, files
a patent.   He worked in his parents basement for 6 months on that
(and it is the fruit of several years of idle contemplation).   It
really, really belongs in every web browser out there and, if Joe didn't
file but simply posted it on source-forge and made even a moderate
amount to publicize, it would probably show up in web browsers within
3 years.

Instead, Joe takes out a 5 year patent, public license at $150,000, opting
for arbitration.   He caps infringement damages at $300,000.   He
reduces to practice as a proprietary Python/Tk library and as an ActiveX

Meanwhile, Bob Pharma takes out a default patent (20 years, ordinary
damages, no arbitration, etc.).

In any proceedings, Joe's burdens of proof are a lot lower than Bob's.