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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://ireaderreview.com/2009/03/24/apple-sued-by-monec-iphone-ereader/

seriously patent law seems to make little sense in the modern world. When the nation had like 3 "inventions" a year this might have made sense. Now all you need to do is look 5 years ahead to what everyone knows someone will be doing someday as a logical evolution of current technology and patent it and then sue anyone who actually goes to the trouble of making it (because you have no real idea how or interest) and then sue them.

This article really Pi$$ed me off! ???

I'm going to patent the idea of faster than light travel "by some means" and if anyone actually does it they owe me big!!
 

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I think there are companies that just patent "things" and hope to sue people in the future. This is their business... business of suing people.
 

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Sort of like a lawyer who posts on a forum hoping to pick up plaintifs for a class action suit.
 

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Yeah, it's a disaster.  Two of the benchmarks for whether an idea is patentable is whether it's obvious or not, and whether there is prior art (ie "has someone done this already?")  Both are COMPLETELY ignored by the patent office.  As an added bonus, they fired all their technical staff a couple of years ago, so now the people reviewing electronic technologies are sociologists or historians or some crap.  Here's a couple other good examples:

Apple was recently (late last year, IIRC) awarded a patent for any touch input device which can be operated by more than one finger.  Fails both tests.  It's COMPLETELY obvious;  so obvious, in fact, that someone else developed it in 1982.

Amazon a few years ago was able to patent the idea behind one-click.  Not trademark the name, mind you.  It's actually illegal for any other vendor to store your ordering preferences and let you buy merchandise with a single button.  This is why EVERY other site, no matter how big, has a shopping cart that you MUST use.
 

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Intellectual Property Law is a very difficult, intricate area of the law.  Those attorneys and patent examiners practicing patent law, either in private practice or at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, are highly educated, many of whom are engineers, hold PhDs in fields such as biochemistry, etc. and graduated from some of the best schools in the country such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT.  Each patent examiner is extremely knowledgeable in the area of technology of which they are examining patent applications and they follow the letter of the law. 

 
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
slh92462 said:
Intellectual Property Law is a very difficult, intricate area of the law. Those attorneys and patent examiners practicing patent law, either in private practice or at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, are highly educated, many of whom are engineers, hold PhDs in fields such as biochemistry, etc. and graduated from some of the best schools in the country such as Harvard, Yale, and MIT. Each patent examiner is extremely knowledgeable in the area of technology of which they are examining patent applications and they follow the letter of the law.
possibly, even given that though....the law tends to be written by elected idiots who can't program their VCR (or worse yet, by lobbyists). You can follow the letter of the law and end up with unworkable stupidity as as seen in the examples above.
 

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slh92462 said:
Each patent examiner is extremely knowledgeable in the area of technology of which they are examining patent applications and they follow the letter of the law.
That's the hope, but it doesn't seem to work out that way.
 

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Kind said:
I think there are companies that just patent "things" and hope to sue people in the future. This is their business... business of suing people.
To be fair, some companies also seek patents as a defense against any possible suits against them. But I agree with the general sentiment that there are far too many patents granted for ideas that are fairly obvious or should arguably be denied on grounds of prior art.
 

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Well the obvious way to alleviate this problem is to make a patent invalid unless you bring it to market in a reasonable amount of time.  They would also have to not allow continuous renewing of a patent for products that have not been developed.  The patent laws were not intended to hold innovators prisoner while rewarding savvy do-nothings
 

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slh92462 said:
Each patent examiner is extremely knowledgeable in the area of technology of which they are examining patent applications and they follow the letter of the law.
I've never disagreed with a statement more in my entire life.

It takes 4-6 years to train a patent examiner on the process. 70% leave in less than 5 years, therefore nearly all the examiners at any given time are unsuited for the job. In fact, the patent office does such a poor job of retaining top talent that they pay well above government pay scales and STILL lose 1/3 of their employees in the first year.

All examiners are required to process a quota of patents per week, a number that has not been changed in 30+ years, as applications have expanded from single page or even single paragraph submissions such as "a device that moves blades back and forth to trim whisker hair" to massive, complex software applications involving hundreds of thousands of functions. This leads to unpaid overtime, working on vacation, and just plain rushing through things with not a care as to whether the process is done correctly, only that it is done, period.

Two thirds of examiners (62%, to be exact) think there's no possible way they can correctly process a submission, on average, in the time allotted. a full half think the process isn't right even if they did have time to do it according to the book.

All these numbers are from the GAO, and can be looked up to your heart's content.
 

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I have a feeling that patent law is going to change dramatically in the coming years, at least in the United States. The system is broken, and this has been a problem for a good long time now, especially with the rate at which technology is improving.
 
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