@TechDirt, patents are necessary

Stumbled upon this little dittie here:  Article about something to do with science in the public good, but I only read the sentences that had the word “patent” in them.  {Kidding.}  Here’s a quote:

The problem, it turns out, is that as with patents there is no actual data to back this up. Kealey points out that there is no historical or econometric data anywhere that supports this claim. For example, he points to the OECD’s sources of economic growth report (pdf), where it found very high correlation between economic growth and countries that had high levels of private R&D. When it came to publicly supported R&D, the report found no impact on economic growth… but, more worrying, it found evidence that public funding of science tended to crowd out private funding of R&D, which (again) correlated highly with economic growth. Now, of course, correlation is not causation, and there may be many other factors at play here. However, it is interesting that there doesn’t appear to be any direct evidence that public expenditure in science leads to economic growth.

Bolding mine.  So let’s trim it even further:

… very high correlation between economic growth and countries that had high levels of private R&D.

Color me silly, but I would argue that the reason private R&D works (i.e., contributes to growth) is because of the patent system that protects all the money spent on R&D, in that you have to pay someone to use ideas and technology that they in turn paid to researche and develop.   The patent licensee (or purchaser) can then take your leg up and build on it.  Right?  Fair?  Equitable? What am I missing?

Incidentally, this is why NPEs are so irksome: they buy patents not to further innovate, but to litigate.  “Innovate, don’t litigate” is a phrase that begs to be screen printed on t-shirts with a patent troll in a little red Ghostbusters circle-with-a-slash graphic over it. Something like this only nicer:

Proceeds from sales going to me, of course.

Just sayin’,


Trolling: Not Just for Patents Anymore

This has been brewing for a while, and I think we all knew it would happen and honestly I’m surprised it took this long.  I’m far less well-versed on the copyright side of intellectual property than I am the patent side, but it stands to reason that if one could monetize patents they can do the same with copyrights.  Behold:

Righthaven likens itself to patent enforcers

And so it began just a few short months ago: Righthaven is the first Copyright Troll.  I think this calls for a mascot.  We all know the quintessential patent troll guy, which looks strikingly similar to the Tasmanian Devil, so I suppose if someone at Looney Tunes were on the ball things could get interesting.  Anyway, we need a mascot for the copyright side.  Any takers?

What will be different this time is that people are coming out swinging against this stuff right off the…bat.  <–See what I did there?  Ah, baseball.  America’s past time, along with filing lawsuits.  Here’s a quote from the linked article:

The new 119-page federal answer and counterclaim levels 56 charges at Righthaven covering allegations ranging from racketeering to violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The claim charges Righthaven lacked standing to sue over Review-Journal and Denver Post material, that it filed “extortionate lawsuits” to extract settlements from defendants and that these suits had a “dramatic chilling effect on expression on the Internet.”

I’m not so sure that last comment is true, not much has a “dramatic chilling effect on expression on the Internet”.  Besides which, I question the omission of a comma between “dramatic” and “chilling”.  Nevertheless, the key word in the quote is clearly “counterclaim”.  Fighting this sort of thing in court from the get go is going to be key in preventing a whole new  class of company from emerging and making a mess of the copyright side of things.

Just sayin’,