Why computer technology patents are useless; and the “Patent-Troll” story.

This American Life reports on a the “patent troll” phenomenon and uncovers why patents–especially in computer technologies–are not enabling innovation; rather the phenomenon is taking value out of the economic system.
This “patent troll” phenomenon and corrupt utilization of the patent system is make products more expensive for consumers, and requires billions of dollars be paid to shell companies of attornies rather than to actual inventors or people using the patents to create actual products that make the world a better place.
Pretty disgusting…   Here our country stands at a severe economic crossroads, where our position in the global economy is rapidly declining; and our government is allowing these “patent trolls” to styfle innovation: our nation’s only competitive advantage.
Below is more information on the July 22 report by NPR’s This American Life. Highly recommend listening to this podcast episode.  PLAY this podcast episode.


Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.

We take you inside this war, and tell the fascinating story of how an idea enshrined in the US constitution to promote progress and innovation, is now being used to do the opposite.

There’s a derogatory term in Silicon Valley for companies that amass huge troves of patents and make money by threatening lawsuits: “patent trolls.” When Jeff Kelling’s Internet company Fototime was sued – along with more than 130 other companies – for violating someone’s patent, he wondered if it was a troll (which the company denies), and then settled out of court.

NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. The investigation takes them to a small town in Texas, where they find a hallway full of empty companies with no employees.

Laura and Alex continue their story about Intellectual Ventures and the practice of patent trolling. They learn why the buying and selling of patents is likely to continue being a huge, controversial business that affects the entire tech industry.

Source link: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

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