Greed, psychosis & stupid self-interst...
Fucking America up the arse since - oh, they're not listening.
Another drink, anyone?
A new survey confirms what your own good common sense has already told you: 1) patent-infringement cases are increasing, ii) the most litigious plaintiffs are patent trolls, and C) the most-sued company is Apple. "The patent case load of the district courts has more than doubled since 2008, and verdicts like Apple-Samsung have …
Getting sued means shit, except you've been sued. We've basically sat on our collective asses since Reagan era and let the lawyers convince everybody that 'Rule of Law' really meant 'Ruled by Law', which is an entirely different thing altogether.
The first time I got sued was in 1993 and the Judge tossed the case out within 15 minutes of the opening bell. He called the whole thing a 'gratuitous misapplication of the law' and told the stammering jackass who sued me not to come back to his court with 'trickery and semantics' again. It was great. I was too young to know I should have given the opposing lawyer the finger and pissed on his car. Ah well, the ignorance of youth.
At any rate, you rarely see judges using the enormous latitude given them to utilize common sense in their rulings. As I've said several times, there isn't a single point of US law that doesn't have a gray area built in that allows judges to say 'this is stupid' and call the whole thing off. They've just lost the courage to do so. They've gone from being chosen for their personal perspectives to being little more than overpaid process clerks.
It's all shit.
You know, I've never considered that. It's a really good point. I've lost count of the number of times I've been in court and I couldn't tell you any of the judges names. I know the name of the judge in the OJ case though, and I never intentionally watched or listened to any part of that mess.
While I perused this article, I was served with an ad insert for Beverly Law Firm, featuring a man with a black eye in a wheelchair. Apparently, this firm specializes in litigating traffic accidents, and I "don't pay if they don't win!"
Sigh--I miss Phil Hartman as Lionel Hutz. At least then I could laugh at this stuff.
The medical community has bitched for decades that malpractice suits cost the American public $(x)zillions per year. At present, about 1/2 of the US States have some sort of limit on how much money you can get if they cut off your perfectly good leg instead of your mangled pinky finger.
If they're not going to actually fix the patent system they need to limit the awards. It's simply obscene that some little snippet of code is worth hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars. That doesn't even sound reasonable. It doesn't occur outside tech either, at least not as rampantly stupidly anyway.
For instance, I've got a few patents dealing with metal casting and manufacturing. If you own anything that's made of titanium or one of several titanium alloys it's 100:1 the factory that made it licenses the technology from me. It took years and many millions of dollars to research and perfect it all. The science was established, but nobody wanted to take the risk and develop it, so I did. Yay me. In six years I've sued three companies for infringement and that was just because they were dicks about it all. The other three cases were settled quick, easy and out of court, with nothing more than a (nice) letter from me.
In the three cases I took to court the infringing parties went way, way out of their way to hide what they were doing. This isn't copy and paste shit. This is industrial foundry work using exotic metals and gasses. It requires dedicated equipment and several million dollars of investment just to get production rolling. It takes about 14 months or so to set up the whole thing.
These guys were hammering out thousands of widgets, boxing them up and shipping them all over the world. I caught them, as caught as caught can be caught them, tried to be nice and ended up in court. There was never any question they were going to pay. That was established the first day of court. The how much was an entirely different matter.
I got some money out of them. A fair amount based on what they had made illicitly. Don't get me wrong, it was not a small amount, but it sure as fuck wasn't equal to the GDP of the Falklands either. They now pay the license fees, nobody was forced out of business and nobody killed themselves over it. It was fair.
Fair is what US law and our patent system are built around and it's all gotten away from that. It needs to be brought back to fair, and quickly. As it stands now, developing software is a stupid thing to get into. We invested in five software startups last year, and then only after serious research. The investments were a lot smaller than we prefer as well. But what are you supposed to do?
Something is terrifically wrong if you can accidentally do what common sense dictates and be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars because of some code. Then have the same system turn right around and have people who have to build special facilities in order to willfully infringe only pay a lot less millions of dollars. It's as if you're punished for coincidence and applauded for guile. It's really fucking stupid.
I always thought the best to stop patent trolls was to have an "use-it-or-lose-it" clause in any patent owned by a business. If I, as an individual, come up with a brilliant idea, I do not have the capital to market and mass-produce my idea. So the use-it-or-lose-it clause would not apply to me. But if, for instance, Samsung has a patent for a new interface but in a reasonable time they never used it, then it becomes public domain. The use-it-or-lose-it clause would allow a judge to invalidate a patent if the judge determines the company owning the patent does not use it or never used it.
Even those that do make stuff are suing over things they shouldn't.
That's the same as trolling.
Also, obtaining patents for things which shouldn't get one. That's also trolling. They may not be suing at that point but they are threatening their competition and potential competition, which is essentially the same.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022