Skip to comments.Microsoft loses Supreme Court case on Canadian patent ($290M)
Posted on 06/09/2011 12:42:12 PM PDT by markomalley
Microsoft Corp suffered a defeat on Thursday when the Supreme Court upheld a record $290 million jury verdict against the software giant for infringing a small Canadian company's patent.
The justices unanimously agreed with a U.S. appeals court ruling that went against the world's largest software company in its legal battle with Toronto-based i4i.
The high court refused to adopt Microsoft's lower standard to replace the long-standing requirement that a defendant in a patent infringement case prove by clear and convincing evidence that a plaintiff's patent is invalid.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft had argued that a lower standard of proof involving a "preponderance of the evidence" would make some "bad" patents easier to invalidate while promoting innovation and competition.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
This is something that sticks in my craw, so I’ll zero in on it. What property isn’t “imaginary”? Real, material, physical, tactile stuff, I’d guess you say. Well, leaving aside for the moment all the immaterial things you can own without which there’d be no civilization, let’s take it as given that you can only own physical things. Does that somehow make property less imaginary? Hell no.
Property is about the relationship between you and your things. Not the physical relationship, either. If it were, we wouldn’t need the law, as Might would determine ownership. Your car, your land, your whatever would cease to be yours once you weren’t touching it. But that’s not the case. Property exists because we imagine it to be yours even when you’re not in possession of it.
In summation, all property is imaginary.
Patents are an imaginary form of property. Imagination is fine, but as a form of transferable property, it has no real markers of property lines. It tends to become wild quickly when indulged, and when policy and contract depend ONLY upon imaginary boundaries, contracts and policy become tyrannical.
Real property obeys the Pauli exclusion principle. Once a real thing exists in this instance of a universe, when held 100% by one it is not held by another.
And btw, your post is an exemplary mini-essay. Very Marxist!
Ignore the things, recast property as relationship. The old “make absolute things relative” transform.
But this world ain’t Marxist. It’s real.
I was so intrigued by what he was producing, so I got him to talk with me about it. He said he and his wife had, working together, spent ten years of research, experimentation and invention, not only figuring out how to do it but creating the equipment to do it and do it well.
I asked how much time and expense they put into getting the process or equipment patented. He floored me when he said they had gotten NO patents for any of it. I was amazed and opined that that seemed wild to me as I had never seen anything like it and surely they wanted to protect what they had.
He told me that they had looked into getting key parts of the process and key equipment patented, and, in the end decided against it. They thought the expense was too much, the time involved too long and possibly litigious, and to get the patents they had to actually make a public record of the "how to" of what they had.
He said that his wife and him finally decided: "If someone else can figure this out on their own, so be it."
I am not fully in agreement with their choice, but I have such respect for them that when I discuss this issue I try not to say directly what it is they did.
It's been twelve years. They still have their same small location and do their business out of a small semi-rural studio. I have not yet seen anyone else repeat their work. They are not trying to spread what they know to the world, but they are not stopping anyone from doing what they do. They actually do not want to be business giants and very well known. They like their lifestyle just as it is.
While I can see the "rightness" of patents, I can also see that it is a process - getting patents - that itself (the process) REQUIRES you to protect, or you might as well not start down that road in the first place. It depends on the business model that satisfies what it is you want to do.
“Patents were always intended for protection of physical creations or the arts.”
Wrong. Patents were to protect ideas. Software is an idea.
No, “idea” is way too broad. Patents were to protect any useful art, manufacture, engine, machine, or device, or any improvement thereon not before known or used.
That’s the wording used in the Patent Act of 1790. A useful art means what we today call technology. It did not mean “art” as the term is commonly used today to describe things like “Piss Christ”, and performance art, like 1911’s jeune fille Adorée Villany’s did. Nor did it include Micheal Jackson in either his Jackson 5 or his Thriller persona.
More power to ‘em.
(Now I’m dying to know what and how)...
Sorry. I know I am following my own strong feelings of respect about their efforts and not anything they demanded from me - because in all we discussed they revealed nothing about how they do it.
I will only say that if you are ever visiting the shops and galleries in New Hope, Pennsylvania, you might run across their studio-shop.
If you do, run across their place that is, I am sure you will recognize the unique process and you’ll tell me then that you found it.
No problem. I don’t foresee ever being there. Just another of life’s many mysteries...
I think you have that backwards
I agree with you. Patents are to protect innovation. The sysyem in the US though does not do a good job of it. Legal cost to defend a patent render many patents useless to the holder