Even if you designed your product/software 18 years ago, they can still sue you over the patent if it's still in use. The damage they can recover may be limited to the last 6 years, but if they can shut you down unless you pay them whatever they ask for, does it really matter?
Of course it matters. What's worse than having to pay a huge license fee to stay in business? Having to pay a huge license fee to stay in business and having to pay royalties for 18 years of past infringement, especially if for the first 12 of those, you weren't even infringing, but because it's so long ago, you no longer have the evidence.
The fact that it matters is the essence of Max's proposal, which amounts somewhat to reducing the statute of limitations period to less than zero. The point is to avoid all past royalties, even though it does nothing about the problem of having to pay a huge license fee to go into business.
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