15 thoughts on “PBS News Hour on Patent Trolls

  1. 6

    My opinion, and it was touched upon in the video, is that the worst thing about the patent system today (as administered by the PTO) is that it allows people to claim the inventions of others. How do they do that? They allow claims to results. Further they allow means plus function claims that are supported by nothing more than a description of the result achieved by forming the function. The how is never explained. When later, someone actually figures out how to achieve the result claimed, the patent covers that implementation.

    Consider the transporter. The patent office will allow a claim to the transporter supported by a specification that illustrates only a blank box, which is described to effect transportation. The specification is never clear about what goes into that box to cause the transportation effect.

    The patent office generally does not object to claims that claim nothing more than results. The patent office also does not object that the specification does not describe how to achieve the result claimed. They tend to get lost in enablement issues, when the issue really is written description.

    In the case of software, applicants argue that by describing the result, any programmer can write a program that achieves that result. Whether this is true or not true in a particular case, there remains that there is no description of how the result is achieved. Thus the first to figure out how to do it may find himself accused of infringement by others who essentially write science fiction and claim the future.

    An example of this phenomena is illustrated in today’s Twin Peaks Software v. IBM case from the Federal Circuit. Case.link to cafc.uscourts.gov

    1. 6.1

      It is just sad to see a person like Ned the Ed with such a good education to pander to try to get business.

      Ned, you know what you wrote above is nonsense. You know that when there is just functional description that the issue is whether one skilled in the art knows how to build a machine to perform those functions. Ned, you know that all claims are functional including those in the mechanical arts and biology/chemical.

      Ned, try to have some dignity.

      1. 6.1.1

        Night, in my opinion, you do not understand why the law does not allow the patenting of ideas, of principles and the abstract and the like.



          Please tell me which branch of the government was solely authorized to decide what that law is.

          Hint: it is not the judicial branch.

    1. 5.1

      (Not) surprisingly, seemingly well balanced, but in a nuance manner, not so much.


      That being said, it does provide at least a “voice” as to the NPE side.

    2. 5.2

      Well balance, but surprisingly devoid of the real issues. No discussion of 101, 102, 103, or 112, which was relevant to all the issues.

      Was someone writing down ideas? or were they enabled?

      Where did he get the “idea” for the hyperlink? Is that hindsight reasoning?

      What is the filter for a patent?


      Terrible reporting.

      1. 5.2.1

        Salomon is an Economist. His reports are always through a big picture economic lens. They don’t have anyone equipped to consider the validity of the asserted claims. But given how fast they caved….


          Les, what you wrote does not address what I said. The issues he raised do have very specific criteria for determining the answers. He didn’t tell the watcher what they were.

          Terrible, terrible reporting.


            The more you know about a subject, the more shocked and dismayed you will be about the reporting of it. Compared to other “patent troll” stories, I don’t think this one was that bad.

            I too would have preferred an examination of the claims and their validity. However, as I said, given how fast the accusers caved, I’m guessing that evaluation would have favored the position of the accused.

    3. 5.3

      Plus as I said below no report on this is complete without discussing the massive lobbying money Google has put into burning down the patent system. They Goodlatte on the screen. Mr. Google Bucks is his nickname on Capital Hill.

  2. 3

    The argument that was presented about a hyper-link was pretty bad. They didn’t even discuss 102 or 103. And, they didn’t discuss 112. None of these were discussed even in layman’s terms. Terrible report.

  3. 2

    They should have added that Goodlatte’s biggest donors are Google and the like.

    So, missing is the massive, massive, lobbying by Google and the left’s belief that patents are morally wrong.

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