I have now been nursing an idea for some time. It is a wonderful technological idea. It might revolutionize the IT world.
I would like to register my idea as a patent. Naturally, I consulted an expert. Mind you, I did not just ask some Jack or John, no: I asked a really competent expert.
The result was a disappointment to say the least. My idea can probably not be patented,
🙂 regardless of it being a really wonderful and totally ingenious idea.
In return, I learned a lot about patent law and its application.
I also learned that there is a tendency towards big companies to ignore the law on purpose. For the gentlemen who make decisions in concerns, it is no reason not to go ahead with a procedure if this same interesting procedure or technological principle has been handed in for licensing as a patent or has already been patented.
Firstly, who can say if the patent will be licensed? And secondly: it is very expensive to file a lawsuit against a big enterprise. And it is even more expensive to win said lawsuit. Consequently, many big companies assume that it is still less expensive to violate a patent than simply to pay the licence fee. Except if the owner of the patent is just as powerful. Be evil!
Even lawless behaviour, however, is an instigation for new business ideas. Currently, some firms, pushed by venture capital, are founded for the sole purpose of buying up patents that are probably not utilized by the big companies quite according to the law. These firms are specialized on filing lawsuits against those big companies. That is the only thing they are capable of. And the only objective is to make money. You could call them a kind of innovative demand note club!
They pay as little as they can get away with to the owners of the patents. Often, those owners do not have a chance of getting what is lawfully theirs. And so they have bent to the inevitable: rather than being left with nothing at all, they sell their patent at a cheap price to a “troll”. That is what the patent lawyers call these firms.
In my personal opinion, such enterprises have forfeited their right to do business. Just like some “financial services”.
Basically, enterprises are supposed to offer products and services that promote the public good. Even the Bavarian Constitution says so. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be very interested in this any more, either.
Now, isn’t this again a rather perverse story? One might easily despair. And I already wonder if there will not be a company with the motto “Don’t be evil!” and still behave according to the motto “Be evil!” when it comes to patents. Simply because everyone does it anyway and the economic situation demands it. We are quite familiar with this. It is the standard justification for everything you do.
(Translated by EG)