My Tax Dollars At Work: US Gov’t Tells Us What We Already Know

Sitting in 9th grade civics class during my “blue and silver years” as a high school student, I thought the government was the ultimate authority when ever they put out an Official Report, regardless of the subject matter.  I don’t remember if my teacher taught me that, though I know she was leftward leaning and I recall vividly how upset that made some of my friends for reasons I still don’t get.  I, for the record, never got into those arguments.  All I cared about was which Duran Duran member was the cutest (hint: Simon, by a landslide) and when the next Harrison Ford movie was coming out.

But I digress.

Fast forward 25 15 years and I’m shaking my head as I flip through the study that came out yesterday, the title of which is “Assessing Factors That Affect Patent Infringement Litigation Could Help Improve Patent Quality”.  Are they telling me they’re going to assess those factors, or just that if they did, it could help improve patent quality?  You people need better names for your studies, to start with.

The very first sentence of the report shows the bias of the patent trolls creeping in, which is funny because I thought for sure it would take at least until page two.

History is filled with examples of successful inventors who did not develop
products based on the technologies they patented.

This is a direct response to one of the many names for patent trolls that reference the fact that they do not manufacture products, such as Non-Practicing Entity.  Now, all of a sudden, that’s the battle cry.  “LOTS of people have patents and don’t manufacture anything!  That doesn’t make us bad!  Quit picking on us!  WAHH! ”


Cry me a river, trolls.

This is why we need to keep using the term patent troll instead of all the niceties and euphemisms:  NPEs aren’t inherently bad, and neither are patent monetization entities.  But that is NOT what we’re trying to address and once again, you people know that.  What aggressive patent litigation a la Lodtellectual Venturesys (for you Aggies out there, that’s Lodsys+Intellectual Ventures), MPHJ, Uniloc, et al is about is shakedowns using old and decrepit patents to go after companies for infringement in the hopes of getting a payout.  Which is why studying litigation is not going to get you all the pieces of the puzzle and why we need things like That Patent Tool to track pre-suit communication, where the meat of the problem lies.

It’s not that studying patent litigation isn’t a good idea, but don’t we have a plethora of companies out there already doing that, and on their own dime vs. using my tax dollars?  I mean, this report even says that a large chunk of the problem occurs outside of litigation:

[Companies] said that these letters, which they refer to as “demand letters,” sometimes threaten lawsuits if the parties do not reach a licensing agreement. These company representatives told us that for every patent infringement lawsuit filed against them, they might receive many times more letters notifying them of potential infringement and offering licenses.

Calling these people out before it even gets to trial is what is going to help resolve the troll issue.  Without a doubt, patent quality matters and we have the awesome folks at Article One Partners banging that drum really well.  And yeah, loser pays and other changes to damage awards would help.

But don’t we already know this?  Did we need a commissioned study that I pay for when I write my check to Uncle Sam every quarter to tell us this?

Survey says?  No.



{Crying baby image courtesy of Erich Spangenberg’s Mom Jill Greenberg:}


2 thoughts on “My Tax Dollars At Work: US Gov’t Tells Us What We Already Know

  1. Pingback: US Government Accountability Office Refutes White House on Patent Reform, Identifies Software Patents — Not Trolls — as the Key Issue | Techrights

  2. Pingback: The LA Times Forgot About The 80/20 Rule | IP Troll Tracker

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