extortion - a rose by any other name
Posted May 9, 2005 16:03 UTC (Mon) by giraffedata
In reply to: extortion - a rose by any other name
Parent article: Software, reverse engineering and the law
Isn't example One the same as from your previous comment? So the
analysis is the same. You hint that Corporation A's patents aren't
valid -- otherwise, option (a) (taking A to court) wouldn't be an
option. That being the case, there's extortion just like in the
Soprano example. Corporation A is obligated to leave you alone for
free, just as Mr. Soprano is obligated not to trump up charges against
you, for free. Offering to perform the obligation for money is
The transfer of a patent from one person to another doesn't really
change the morality of the patent at all. The inventor was paid by
the public with a patent for disclosing his invention. The inventor
converted the payment to cash by selling the patent to Corporation A.
Corporation A is converting its investment to cash by enforcing the
patent. The system's doing what it's supposed to do.
Your point is that, if it's legal, it's not extortion.
It wasn't that simple. I talked about moral, not legal. I drew a
connection between the two, saying that the fact that something is
legal is a strong indication that society in general believes it is
moral. Society has caused patent law to exist and grow for hundreds
of years. Lots of people must believe in it -- I.e. believe it's moral
to demand payment for use of an invention.
My point is that, if I cannot show it's illegal, it doesn't matter.
I agree. It is extortion, and wrong, and often illegal, to file or
defend a lawsuit when you know you're legally wrong, in hopes that the
other side will find it cheaper to pay you than pay legal fees. This is not a patent issue. But I
believe this thread started out with discussion of patents that are
valid under present patent law.
1. using your definition that an idea that any one of 100K hackers could
have "appl[ied] common sense to [his/her] profession," it's legally
"obvious", assume more than 90% of all software patents are nonobvious.
I don't think it's germane to the extortion question, but: from what I've
seen, about 2% of software patents are nonobvious.
My second point is that if I see someone hurt and I need to drive on the
wrong side of the road to help them then I'll drive on the wrong side of
the road. What's the discussion?
I agree. I didn't think we were discussing that.
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