descriptive naming of your opponent
Posted Oct 15, 2007 23:14 UTC (Mon) by drag
In reply to: descriptive naming of your opponent
Parent article: A visit from the trolls
Troll is a double meaning. Remember this is english.. the written word is only part of it. It's ment to be spoken also. Troll, trawl, etc. They sound the same.
A troll is a monster under the bridge that eats children. Patent trolls are like that.
A patent troll is some corporation that produces nothing worthwhile. They have no products, they have no software they make themselves.
In the modern U.S. software environment it's virtually impossible to produce software and not infringe on software patents. There are hundreds of new software patents per week. Thousands per month. Tens of thousands per year. Every year the number is growing.
I am not exagerating at all. I am saying there are thousands of new software patents per month. This is the literaly truth.
It's impossible to make software and NOT infringe on patents. You can't avoid it. It's not worth trying. You'd have to have something like 10 expert patent/software/IP attornys per programmer to even come close to avoiding them and even then it's no garrentee.
So what software corporations like Microsoft or Novell have to do is get as many software patents themselves. This way if other corporations sue them for infringement then they can sue back.
So by definition Microsoft or Novell or Sun or IBM can NOT be patent trolls. They produce software and thus are liable to software patents themselves. Their threat is neutered. Microsoft's threats are hollow.
Patent trolls don't produce any software. They don't produce any products that anybody can use. No hardware, no software, nothing. Thusly they are completely immune to counter lawsuits.
Patent trolls are corporations formed around obtaining software patents from failing companies or other sources of patents. Once they obtain these patents then they are free to extract licensing fees out of legitament companies. Most of the time you do not hear about them because most of the time it's cheaper for real software companies to pay them silently, under the table, even.. rather then fight them.
They are usually lawyers and such that form patent troll companies. So they know how much a lawsuit would cost a company. So they make sure that the licensing fees for a patent are less then what it would cost to defeat their patent.
So say they have a weak patent and they figure it would take a court case and a couple of appeals to have their patent destroyed. Say that would cost a software company 40-50 thousand dollars to win. So they charge 30 thousand dollars. They sue one company after another, make them sign NDAs so that nobody knows how much they realy paid and it's off to find another target.
THAT is what a patent troll is.
They don't make anything. They don't produce anything. They don't innovate, they don't have any innovation to offer to other people. They simply purchase the remnents of failed companies and extract licensing fees from real working people. It doesn't realy f-ing matter if the people that made the patent originally did anything innovative. The people that are doing the innovating and the people that are doing the sueing are not the same people.
If you don't like 'Troll' then call them:
exploitive parasitic asshats
waste of human flesh with law degrees
People call them 'Patent Trolls' because that's the NICE term. They are actually being very very nice in using that term.
So don't put down the term. There are ones that are much much worse.
Most people that do end up supporting patent trolls are, ironicly, academic sorts and institutions. Those folks are not happy with the taxation and other fees that extracted from corporations and working people to fund their schools. They sometimes feel that they produce some sort of innovation in software-land and that patents and licensing fees are a effective way to get secondary source of financial support. They are just blinded by the $$$$. Since they, themselves, rarely produce anything of value they are mostly isolated from the reality of patents. Ivory towers are nice, I guess.
(that's not to say that all academics are like that, of course! Many are very valuable people)
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