Businesses found out long ago that it is much easier to do business by reducing competition thru barriers to entry, legal restrictions, etc. One of the ways to prevent competition and reward well established players is thru patents and copyright. Ostensibly these are in place to promote “competition”. In reality patents and copyright are simply a tool by which vested interests get to protect their interests by reducing competition. That is why I am in favor of drastically reducing copyright and patent times, and requiring that they meet stricter requirements in terms of demonstrating a real investment needed to develop the product (instead of just being the first person to stumble across the obvious), and that the product is genuinely original and has not been done before. Far too many patents are granted for things that are not new, or only marginally new. Patents and copyright are far too broad and long. It is stifling competition and hurting consumers and the development of new technology. It is absurd that there is a copyright on Happy Birthday, which is part of our national culture. The whole system has become corrupt, abusive and out of control. The latest disgrace to befall the system are the patent trolls. Please sign the petition by Electronic Frontier Foundation below.
Stop patent trolls. Support the SHIELD Act.
Finally, a bill to deal with the problem of patent trolls.
The SHIELD Act (H.R. 845), introduced into the House by Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), is the first bill of its kind to target nasty patent trolls.
Patent trolls are entities that don’t create anything themselves, but instead buy up patents and use them offensively. Making broad claims of infringement based on patents of questionable validity is the troll’s favorite move. Most defendants choose to settle because patent litigation is risky and expensive—and trolls offer settlement amounts that, although still incredibly burdensome, are far cheaper than a lawsuit. Businesses who are targeted—including cafés running Wi-Fi and podcasters—lose both time and money, and innovation suffers.
The SHIELD Act spears patent trolls’ incentives right through the heart: if a patent troll sues someone, they better believe that the defendant actually infringes a valid patent. If not, the troll could be on the hook for the winning party’s full litigation costs, which often stretch into the millions of dollars.
This “fee shifting” system would empower innovators to fight back, while discouraging trolls from threatening lawsuits to start.
Help us stop patent trolls from gaming the system. Send a message to your representatives asking them to support this