Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Is USPTO Patenting Ideas Rather than Discoveries or Inventions? - Yes

TechnoLawyer at its IP Memes today has the following text which clearly reveals current patent application practice and confirms also thereby that the USPTO patents ideas rather than discoveries or inventions in an actual physical product (see our posting on patents and the U.S. Constitution):

"So what exactly is a Patent Troll? We've asked the question a few times on our various blogs but have yet to see a litmus test definition that lets you give a thumbs-up or down on an individual patent owner. We're beginning to think we'll end up with a obscenity-style "you know 'em when you see 'em" sort of definition. Several general attempts to define the term have been made. One "consensus" requirement has emerged — the patent owner must make no use of the invention. Can you imagine the list of "trolls" that would emerge if that were the only requirement? Perhaps ironically, Google, the current king of the online world, would be on the list. Consider this recent quote from a Google spokesman regarding a patent recently granted to the company for a voice-activated search technology: "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees may come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services; some don't." You heard it here first ... based on the best definitions out there, even Google is a patent troll...." [emphasis added]

As one CEO of another company is quoted in Red Herring as saying, regarding voice activated search on cell phones (for which one patent, e.g., was just granted to Google based on a patent application filed five years ago):

"The technology and the content have finally caught up with the idea. "

In other words, it was not an invention or a discovery that was actually patented, but only an idea, waiting for others to develop the technology and content to make that idea work. And that is what is currently being rewarded in patent troll suits such as those brought by NTP, Visto and EOLAS.

Such ideas were never intended to be patentable under the U.S Constitution.

Is USPTO Patenting Ideas Rather than Discoveries or Inventions? - Yes

TechnoLawyer at its IP Memes today has the following text which clearly reveals current patent application practice and confirms also thereby that the USPTO patents ideas rather than discoveries or inventions in an actual physical product (see our posting on patents and the U.S. Constitution):

"So what exactly is a Patent Troll? We've asked the question a few times on our various blogs but have yet to see a litmus test definition that lets you give a thumbs-up or down on an individual patent owner. We're beginning to think we'll end up with a obscenity-style "you know 'em when you see 'em" sort of definition. Several general attempts to define the term have been made. One "consensus" requirement has emerged — the patent owner must make no use of the invention. Can you imagine the list of "trolls" that would emerge if that were the only requirement? Perhaps ironically, Google, the current king of the online world, would be on the list. Consider this recent quote from a Google spokesman regarding a patent recently granted to the company for a voice-activated search technology: "We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees may come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services; some don't." You heard it here first ... based on the best definitions out there, even Google is a patent troll...." [emphasis added]

As one CEO of another company is quoted in Red Herring as saying, regarding voice activated search on cell phones (for which one patent, e.g., was just granted to Google based on a patent application filed five years ago):

"The technology and the content have finally caught up with the idea. "

In other words, it was not an invention or a discovery that was actually patented, but only an idea, waiting for others to develop the technology and content to make that idea work. And that is what is currently being rewarded in patent troll suits such as those brought by NTP, Visto and EOLAS.

Such ideas were never intended to be patentable under the U.S Constitution.

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