Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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Allied Security Trust comes out with the latest patent policy scam

Newswires report that a group of big high tech companies have combined some of their monies to buy up patents that "tr-lls" might assert against them. Yet another patent policy scam to avoid addressing the real issue - incompetent PTO management that allows too many crappy patents to issue. Some of the companies in the combination, the Allied Security Trust, include Verizon, Google, Cisco, Ericsson, HP and others. Companies will have to pay $250,000 to join, and ante up $5,000,000 for an escrow account to be available to buy up patents. Why is this a complete joke? First, this anti-tr-ll scam has as a chief executive office Brian Hinman, former VP of IP for the biggest and first patent tr-ll, IBM. Since IBM created most of the tr-ll tactics being used, I suppose Himan is in a good position to recognize and fight such tactics. Let's face it folks - this whole tr-ll scare is the patent world version of swiftboating, drenched in tons of hypocrisy spewed by tr-lls themselves. I mean, if Google wants to help the patent system a bit, it will immediately stop wasting the time of the Patent Office, drop all appeals related to its 1-click patent, and dedicated the patent application to the public. Otherwise, Google should shut the frk up about obnoxious players in the patent world. Second, this defensive tactical move is probably too late, given that the big tr-lls bought up a lot of patents before anti-tr-llism became popular, and that the tr-ll companies bought a lot of the higher hanging fruit. I ask, what's left to be bought that is obnoxiouslly assertable? Companies like Acacia have had enough time and enough money to sweep through the issued patents to find crap to assert. Anything left can be laughed out of court. Third, and most importantly, the only legitimate complaint is when people assert crappy patents that should have never issued in the first place. If you have a really good patent, one searched well, I say sue everyone you can find. If these companies, and others, didn't know about your technology, that's their fault for not taking the patent system seriously, which includes monitoring patents in your field of technology. The high tech companies are the biggest bunch of whining crybagies I know of in the patent world, as compared to the pharma companies, which for decades have had mature patent monitoring programs. The high-tech industry, thinking itself above the mechanics of the patent system, refuse to do any of this, and then whine when hit by a crappy patent. So the real problem is people wrongly and unethically asserting crappy patents. But what are the companies in this Allied Security Trust, or the Coalition for Patent Fairness, doing to help fight the issuance of crappy patents? Are they: - submitting less of their own crappy patent applications to the PTO (hey Google, drop your 1-click appeals), so the PTO has a lesser workload and more time to issue higher quality patents? NO - organizing prior art in their respective fields of technology, to use themselves, plus make available to the Patent Office, to help lessen the level of crap being issued by the PTO? NO - are they using the political clout to get Congress to investigate and clean up incompetence and corruption in PTO management? NO - are they pooling their monies together to develop software tools to analyze patents that they can use themselves and donate to the PTO to help lessen the level of crap being issued? NO - are they using their clout to fight the unconstitutionality and excessive costs of Markman hearings - (a specification is not fully enabled under 112 if you need a friggin claims construction done after the defendant has been sued)? NO So much like the Software Patent Institute, the Public Patent Peer review initiative, various PTO-business partnerships, the Public Patent Advisory Committee - this new Allied Security Trust is another patent policy scam that will do nothing to change things and once again deflect attention and resources from the real problems plaguing the patent system.