Patents on tiny components vs. large, complex things

Article: 8-Socket Commodity Servers: Flourish or Perish?
By: MS (ms.delete@this.lostcircuits.com), March 17, 2010 6:42 pm
Room: Moderated Discussions
Richard Cownie (tich@pobox.com) on 3/16/10 wrote:
---------------------------
>mpx (mpx@nomail.pl) on 3/16/10 wrote:
>---------------------------
>
>>In other cases law actually is on a side of large, complex things. For example
>>in case of roads if any property is in a way of a planned road then it will be expropriated.
>>Same for dams on rivers or in many countries even large manufacturing plants. Of
>>course those expropriated are given fair compensation, but nothing unusual or spectacular
>>like in many of those patent cases.
>
>At least in the USA, this is not at all a "big vs small"
>distinction, but rather the law of eminent domain allows
>*government* to override private-property rights and
>force people to sell, to further the public interest.
>
>So for example, if a big corporation wants to buy your house
>to build a big factory on the site, they can't force you
>to sell it just because their shareholders want to make
>a buck. They might be able to persuade government to
>invoke eminent domain on the grounds that the project will
>benefit the general public.
>
>And I have the impression that there are also limits on
>the rights of patent holders, and that they may be forced to
>license their patents on reasonable terms under some
>circumstances.
>
>Of course in the actual administration of justice in the
>real world, the "large complex things" are usually being
>made by big companies with lots of money who can hire lots
>of lawyers. So no matter what theoretical legal principles
>are involved, it's pretty hard to come up with cases where
>a "large complex thing" really got stopped in any serious
>way.
>
For once I agree with you :-)

Patent law is very sophisticated but the underlying principle is the fostering of technology since patents are disclosures meant to teach the technology to anybody with average skill in the art in the first place.

Arguably, there are possibilities for abuse like in any other system but there are also many exceptions that can be invoked in the interest of public interest. The probably best known example was the patent of the transistor which was thrown out just because the invention was deemed too important, which is kind of funny but the case shows what is possible and what is not.

The other issue is that there are always ways of working around a given patent. It may not be the technically most elegant solution but in 99% of all cases that possibility exists and then it becomes a matter of trade-offs, that is, honor the inventor of a given aspect by taking a license or else figure out how to do without.

There is no real legal ground for enforcing a licensability of a patent but as an inventor, blocking a technology only invites creativity with respect to finding a way to work around a patent and if that is the case - sometimes by dumb luck - your patent is toast. Not to mention the always looming issue orf prior art that can invalidate parts of the claims or the entire patent.

That said, the best advice to give a patent holder is to try and get some carrot licensing deals worked out where the financial burden on the licensee is smaller than what they would have to spend in legal fees in order to wiggle themselves out of the infringement situation. Arguably, there are exceptions but they are very rare (~ 0.01% of all patents or less). In other words, if you are moderate, there is a good chance of recooping the costs of your patents through multiple small licensing deals that everybody will accept because they ARE the way of the least resistance and cost but if you are going for the jugular, be prepared for the "sport or kings"
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TopicPosted ByDate
New article: 8 socket commodity serversDavid Kanter2010/03/09 11:27 AM
  New article: 8 socket commodity serversVincent Diepeveen2010/03/09 02:46 PM
    number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)longtimelurker2010/03/14 06:13 AM
      number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)EduardoS2010/03/14 06:34 AM
      number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)Wes Felter2010/03/14 11:33 AM
        Magny-CoursMax2010/03/14 05:56 PM
          Magny-Coursanonymous2010/03/14 07:33 PM
            Magny-Courslongtimelurker2010/03/15 03:54 AM
      number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)Vincent Diepeveen2010/03/14 12:31 PM
        number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)longtimelurker2010/03/14 02:37 PM
          number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)Vincent Diepeveen2010/03/15 12:36 PM
      number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)David Kanter2010/03/14 12:56 PM
        Bad mathDavid Kanter2010/04/01 02:24 AM
      number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)slacker2010/03/14 03:51 PM
        number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)Michael S2010/03/15 06:05 AM
          number of sockets is wrong metric (was: New article: 8 socket commodity servers)slacker2010/03/15 02:02 PM
            Memory interfacesDavid Kanter2010/03/15 02:17 PM
              Memory interfacesslacker2010/03/15 10:08 PM
                Patents on tiny components vs. large, complex thingsmpx2010/03/16 12:41 AM
                  Patents on tiny components vs. large, complex thingsRichard Cownie2010/03/16 06:58 AM
                    Patents on tiny components vs. large, complex thingsMS2010/03/17 06:42 PM
                      Patents on tiny components vs. large, complex thingsa reader2010/03/18 09:45 PM
          Serial Port Memory TechnologyDavid Hess2010/03/21 04:32 AM
  New article: 8 socket commodity serversMichael S2010/03/09 04:13 PM
    New article: 8 socket commodity serverstheluketaylor2010/03/09 06:32 PM
    New article: 8 socket commodity serversJesper Frimann2010/03/09 11:35 PM
    New article: 8 socket commodity serversDavid Kanter2010/03/10 01:38 AM
      New article: 8 socket commodity serversTim2010/03/16 09:44 AM
  New article: 8 socket commodity serversanon2010/03/09 07:59 PM
    New article: 8 socket commodity serversDavid Kanter2010/03/10 12:06 AM
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