Google: Patent System in Crisis

Posted on August 2, 2007  Comments (0)

Google’s patents chief believes the US patent system is “in crisis” and I agree, see related posts below. Google: Kill all the patent trolls

There are too many businesses, she added, who do little more than use patents as a means of making money. Such businesses, often referred to as trolls in patent law, have proved to be a serious minefield for tech companies over the last few years. Lee highlighted the tribulations of Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry handheld, which settled a patent lawsuit for $612m last May.

Speaking alongside Lee, Apple’s chief patent counsel, Chip Lutton, wouldn’t go quite so far as his Google counterpart. He said the US patent system was “not broken” and that it was “not in crisis,” calling it “the best in the world”. But he acknowledged that there was a “huge bubble” of patent assertions that needs to be scaled back. “The question with this bubble market, as with any bubble market, is ‘Can we solve it without a crisis arising?'” he said.

Lutton believes that the key to fixing the country’s patent problems lies with the courts, not the patent office. “Most patents issued are never litigated and never licensed,” he said. “We need to focus on fixing the litigation system. That’s most relevant.”

Related: Software Patents – Bad IdeaPatenting Life, a Bad IdeaThe Effects of Patenting on ScienceIntellectual Property Rights and InnovationAlwaysOn Stanford Summit: lawyers for Google, IBM, and Apple ponder the patent system

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