If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws

Sometimes it’s not the obvious things that create the biggest problems.  In this case one of the hidden job killers in our economy today is the explosion of patent litigation.

Every technology company I have is getting hit by patent lawsuits that are the biggest bunch of bullshit ever.  Every week it seems like a new one comes up. Between having to pay our lawyers a lot of money  to review each, to increasing insurance rates and settlement costs because we can’t afford to pay to fight the nonsense, it’s an enormous expense. So much so that money that would have gone to new hires to improve and sell the product has to be saved to pay to deal with this bullshit.

I’m not talking about a new company that had an idea that someone beat us to. No sir. I’m talking about companies that have been doing business the same way for years that are getting hit by patent trolls . These aren’t operating companies that are trying to protect their business. These are companies that aggregate patents and raise capital for the sole purpose of suing companies and extorting money from them.

It’s bad for my little companies. It’s horrific for bigger companies. It’s so bad that  major tech companies are  buying big collections of patents not because theyher want to own the intellectual property but rather because they want the ability to respond to patent lawsuits with a lawsuit of their own. It’s like playing a game of thermo nuclear war. If all sides have “nuclear patents” they can respond to patent litigation with equal force . In other words, if you have enough “nuclear patents” no one will sue you for patent infringement because you have enough power to respond in kind. Its crazy and costing this country jobs.

Google just bid $900mm to buy a patent collection. Those patents ended up being sold for $4.5BILLION dollars .  That is money that for could have  gone to job creation.

We need to face the facts, patent law is killing job creation. If the current administration wants to improve job creation, change patent law and watch jobs among small technology companies  develop instantly. I know I have at least 1 company that would hire instantly. 

81 thoughts on “If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws

  1. Pingback: Patents, Anyone? Gadget Makers Continue to Square Off in Court - LATEST MOBILE PHONES–PRICES-FEATURES – LATEST MOBILE PHONES–PRICES-FEATURES

  2. America became a world leader in software before software patents existed. Suppose IBM, CDC, DEC and the leaders of the mini and mainframe industries had pursued patents as aggressively as today. Would we even be familiar with the names Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison? I doubt it. Is the next generation of creators being cut off at the knees? Probably. It was the lack of software patents that made rapid change, innovation and revolution in the software industry possible.

    Comment by masatenisimi -

  3. Pingback: Patents, Anyone? Gadget Makers Continue to Square Off in Court – TIME | Tech Gadget

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  6. Ignore the first sentence of my post above, it was accidentally copied from my blog with the comment. Thanks.

    Comment by femtobeam -

  7. OOPS! My bad the USPTO link to info on reduced or a waiver of fees is.
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/appxr_102_11.htm

    Now have a Great Weekend.

    Comment by 2dpopout -

  8. Pingback: Google, Motorola y el culebrón de las patentes | Soraya Paniagua

  9. Pingback: America’s patent catastrophe : chateau loulou

  10. Pingback: If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws « blog maverick | jwuventure

  11. Pingback: Patent Fights Stir Up Trouble; Market Turmoil May Delay IPOs | Dice Blog Network

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  13. As someone who is coming up in business I see it in a different light. I have a patent pending on a software related product. I believe that when the product is released that other existing companies will have a strong incentive to copy it and release their own version of it themselves. And since it is meant to make working with these other companies systems an easier process they would have an advantage. They could create their own tools that do the same thing and block me out of the market that I created b/c I simply don’t have the funding to go toe-to-toe with them. My patent puts me at a level where I can feel comfortable hiring developers to build the patented product, having them support it, having other business support… you know, providing jobs. These jobs would not ever come into existence if not for my patent. I’m not risking my money knowing full well that the existing companies providing related service will choose to build their own version of my product once I’ve already done the research and legwork required to prove that it is viable. When that time comes I will either agree to sell them the rights to do so or I will choose to continue on with the business providing a product and paying employees money to do so. Patents can create jobs and they can encourage invention by leveling the playing field and making “worth it” for people to innovate. They’re not, by any mean, all bad.

    Comment by sirahlst -

    • Every business has risks. Thats the real world. Do it better and in a way that is difficult for them to copy. Market and support it better. Price it better. Price it cheaper than they can develop it. Lots of ways to beat the competition. If you are dependent on a patent, the only way is in the courts and by that time you probably dont have the money to do it because instead of investing in your company to make it faster/.better/cheaper, you spent too much money on lawyers

      Comment by markcuban -

  14. Pingback: Resultate von Software-Patenten | startafire

  15. The endlesess negative comments about lawyers are ridiculous, short-sighted, ignorant, uninformed, and silly. We’ll be having a very different discussion when you are sitting in my office with tears in your eyes complaining about how someone just ripped off the code you wrote and is scooping up millions YOU earned. The intellectual freedom you claim to seek is the freedom to rob from your colleagues. We are a country who places a value on an idea – you don’t want to run afoul of patent law? PAY FOR A LICENSE – its as simple as that. Do you really think the lawyers are just sitting like a cop on the highway with a speed gun, waiting for you to accidentally violate a patent? No, you are offered an opportunity to pay for the license to use another person or entity’s intellectual property. You are sued when you think you shouldn’t have to pay the inventor, or are too stupid to heed the advice of your legal counsel. I don’t like paying for milk, but I don’t write blog comments against dairy farmers. I’ve made a lot of money for a lot of people who were flat-out SCREWED by business people who think making money is more important than following the law. Get smart, get a good lawyer, stop complaining about costs you should know about when you get into business. This is not a lemondade stand.

    Comment by nicholasknack -

  16. Great post and discussion..

    I’ve got a startup with several potential ‘business process patent’ opportunities. We’re working with the attorneys now. One of the main reasons we’re looking to pay these ‘non-value added’ fees are toward the point you make on execution. We don’t have the startup capital to implement our idea ‘right away’ so we believe it’s in our best interest to get the IP locked down so we have something to go to VC. We also know time is not our friend as it relates to technology, and we’re not in the business of paying attorneys for research and litigation. So, I have to admit, we’re completely new to this arena..maybe Don made a good point toward copywriting??

    As an IU alum, I look forward to any advice you might be willing to share (offline). I’d also like to extend the opportunity for you to review our b-plan and investor packet. Hope to make your acquaintance and oh yeah, GO HOOSIERS!

    Comment by jcholman -

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  19. Pingback: peHUB » As The Patent Wars Escalate, Investors Worry About Jobs At Startups

  20. Mark this rant is really disappointing. I’ve been a big fan of you for some time now, and unfortunately you just proved yourself a hypocrite or detached from your investments. How can you decry the moves of patent trolls when you are nicely invested in one of the most blatant ones out there?

    http://www.uniloc.com/index.php/news-stories/the-wall-street-journal-mark-cuban-invests-in-device-tracking-firm/

    Based on an article from November, 2010, Uniloc had sued nearly 100 companies on the basis of one patent. Now it makes no sense what so ever to assume that in the logical evolution of software ANYONE would ever come up with the idea of licensing per device… How absurd. It must be pure genius to conceive of such a patent.

    Uniloc makes NO PRODUCT nor do they write any licensing software. The internet calls them a troll in nearly every corner, and they have become famous for simply cranking out any variation of a patent one can imagine and then suing over them.

    So Mark, your little software company that is suffering from over litigious patent lawyers, how would they have be served if you put your money where your mouth is and provided them the investment you have so blatantly made in patent trolls?

    Comment by honestabe92612 -

  21. Pingback: My Suggestion on Patent Law

  22. Pingback: Software patents: Lots of whining, but reform unlikely | whynotwebworks.com

  23. Pingback: Bootup: U.S. patent system a ‘hidden job killer’ | FP Tech Desk | Financial Post

  24. Pingback: Software patents: Lots of whining, but reform unlikely | ZDNet

  25. Well, it definitely created more lawyer jobs.

    Comment by linuxcity -

  26. Pingback: Robert's blog » Current US Patent Law Costs Jobs

  27. Pingback: If You Want to See More Jobs Created, Change Patent Laws « adafruit industries blog

  28. Mark:

    Patent law will not change for the better until people acknowledge the source of the problem. Bad patents that stifle innovation are merely a symptom — not the cause.

    John Koenig – Founder: The Patent Studio (TM)

    http://computemedia.com

    Comment by John Koenig -

  29. I commented about this on the next Blog Post. This type of expense is what I categorize as a “Non-Value Added” cost. It adds no real value to a product or service, but does add to the cost and therefore, the price. I would classify a lot of the financial “industry” as non-value added. The old story of a guy who ends up with a freight car load of rotten eggs (I forget the actual commodity) after buying egg futures too close to the delivery date comes to mind. His adviser tells him ” … those eggs are for buyin’ and sellin’, boy, not for eatin’… “. In this case, although the price of the eggs may be affected by futures trading, there is no added value. A distributor, for instance, does add value, by making the eggs available to people who couldn’t otherwise get them. This is simplistic stuff, but an important way to evaluate the variety of processes and regulations that must be dealt with in bringing any product (or service) to market.

    Comment by maduceone -

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  33. Pingback: Mark Cuban: If you want to see more jobs created, change patent laws « Economics Info

  34. Pingback: Time To Really Deal With The Broken Software Patent System

  35. Lots of very interesting comments on your blog here Mr. Cuban. I wish I coud summarize what percentage agreed with you and which did not, but I won’t because quite candidly I don’t have the time. Unless you put me on your payroll then I could analyze this information and summarize it for you. That in itself could be a new technological breakthrough.

    What about and APP or software program that analyzed the content on the blog and than summarized a set of statistics you were looking for. I probably shouldn’t bother though someone probably has an obscure patent somewhere that would prevent me from launching it.

    That being said, if your ultimate goal here Mr. Cuban was to create a discussion that made people think, come up with ideas that would help support your comments, foster thoughts that they internalized and learned from, or learned what the opposition thought……you accomplished that and more.

    I could not tell you if the number of people that commented here shows a statistical enough summary to derive anything from…but it does show there is passion behing this topic. Kudos to you and all the people commenting. So for those of you that want to CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO, good luck…..for those of YOU THAT ARE JUST GOING TO ACCEPT IT, keep fueling the fire of the those that want to challenge it because change might accomplish what everyone wants……and true innovation with require someone to challenge it.

    Comment by jtamoe46 -

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  37. Gee Mark – took you long enough to notice. I’ve been saying the same thing for the last ten years, and no one has been listening.

    The good thing is that over ten years I’ve had a lot of time to think. The bad thing is that there are no easy solutions.

    1) The problem isn’t software patents. It isn’t business patents. It’s patents period. It has existed since patents first were grants by the kings in Europe. The U.S. system was designed to avoid the prior problems, and as we can see it failed miserably.

    2) There are vested interests who are making large amounts of money out of the current system, and will fight any attempts at reform.

    3) Because of 1) and 2) the only way anything can possibly be done is if the situation gets so bad that business becomes impossible, or if the United States ceases to exist as an entity.

    Yes, I know this sounds rather dismal, but it is how I see things.

    Consider Microsoft, a company that at one point was fighting for change. At present it has changed sides, and now is trying to use the system to block competition. I doubt that it will be successful in this, but it will try, and it may manage to slow things down. From one point of view they have no choice. They can read their financial reports as well as I can, and can see that Chapter 11 is just around the corner if they don’t stop the erosion of profitability (do a Google search on “Microsoft Death Watch).

    So I’m afraid you have two choices. Either live with the disaster that the U.S. system has become, or emigrate to a country with rational laws.

    Wayne

    Comment by Wayne Borean aka The Mad Hatter -

  38. Google’s $900M bid mentioned in this blog posting was just the opening bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio. The portfolio eventually went to Google’s competitors for $4.5B. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/when-patents-attack-android.html

    Comment by lee810 -

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  40. I was a blog behind … reading about you being happy eating mustard and ketchup sandwiches (ewwww!) and then along comes this one about patent reform.
    Along with other commenters, I was disappointed that you didn’t articulate your thoughts on “HOW” the laws should be reformed. Prior to 1998 patents were not granted to laws of nature and mathematical algorithms. So software’s “function” (being mathematically based) was not generally a candidate for a successful patent. That all changed radically in the landmark 1998 decision “State Street Bank & Trust vs. Signature Financial Group” where the patent was upheld for “the method of calculating the net asset value of complex mutual funds” .. and basically all hell broke loose after that. Patent applications quintupled, the content of which was often familiar ways of doing business, but the “new” internet interface allowed them now to claim it was unique. For example… a patent was issued for… buying and selling goods at auction… an activity performed since pre-history —but Priceline.com was awarded a patent for their online version. You get the idea. I like this quote from Brett Dorny, “ Like pirates barricading sea lanes, these patents could block off avenues of profit that your company had been traveling for years.” Patents moved from a defensive shield to an offensive sword and the litigation and attendant costs … attorney fees, insurance, cost of doing business has expanded exponentially, as well as fostering a culture for patent trolls which is currently vexing you —– they exist because they are incentivized by the present system. All of this is old news and much of the state we find ourselves in now sources back to that 1998 patent law “change”… so WHAT needs to be changed now? Personally, I’m more than a little wary about the present proposed change awaiting ratification into law where the patent award standard is no longer first to invent but will soon be first to file.
    I tend to agree with the letter signed by groups such as the U.S. Business & Industry Council and American Innovators for Patent Reform: “The bill favors multinational and foreign firms over start-up firms seeking an initial foothold in U.S. domestic markets, and favors market incumbents over new entrants with disruptive new technologies”
    I don’t believe this favors the AMERICAN little guy, the free-thinker, the innovator — what used to be the invention engine of this country … it favors the large multi-national companies and foreign firms with big bucks and has us trending EVEN more towards a system favoring aggregators and IP collectors vis a vis the wannabe John D Rockefellers building up their IP version of Standard Oil Company vs. me the little guy dreaming her dream in Houston, Texas and working hard to execute the vision. I fear the CLIF notes of this recent patent reform for the little guy is not legislative remedy but BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again).
    I’ve just had notice of my 2nd patent, the 3rd is in progress and I hope they will adequately protect my fledgling business because I believe it has great potential to dominate in its market niche for selling luxury properties. The 7 year average has us knocking on the door at 20% selling AT OR OVER LIST PRICE —- thats the AVERAGE over 7 years taken direct from MLS data. Most people think it is a real estate application, but its not .. its an IT application wearing real estate clothes. So yes… I’m going to be right in there in the thick of it — under the boards throwing elbows with the best of them as I move forward expanding my business and licensing… and using my patents as a protective shield.

    Comment by SMARTePLANS -

  41. Couldn’t agree more. Since I’m in a foul mood this morning I’d go further and say this will continue to get worse as we continue to value lawyering over creating.

    Consider the ratio of the number of lawyers graduated per year to the number of engineers. This is the best leading indicator of economic activity I can imagine. A related index could be the fraction of leading politicians who have technical (not law or medicine or business – technical).

    For a stark look, consider china(8 of 9 are engineers):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politburo_Standing_Committee_of_the_Communist_Party_of_China

    Not saying that’s the right model, but you can’t argue with China’s ability to get stuff done. I think its directly attributable to cultural values and those reflect what/who gets rewarded.

    Fix that and we’ve fixed a lot.

    Comment by imjimmurphy -

  42. Mark I could not agree more. Unfortunately the figures add up to a broken system catering to large accounts, not only that, but there are several inventors I spoken with that filed provisional only to be denied protection after the twelve months passed to companies that coincidentally filed a few days earlier, or months later.
    One individual is Dr.Edward Romanov, a former USSR Naval intelligence officer and a man involved in polonium-210 program. Dr. Romanov immigrated to the USA about a decade ago. When I first interviewed Edward it was to discuss his creation of a software package that would enable earth orbit Satellites to track individuals suspected of crimes via their body movements. As Dr. Romanov put it, we all age differently and anyone with the financial capability can defeat facial recognition systems. However, our bodies take on mechanical traits that are hardwired into our subconscious, rarely if ever change and can be easily tracked. His issue was international patent requirements, and the strict regulation of foreign nationals, (especially former USSR scientist)ability to get speedy protection. After reviewing the material Dr. Romanov sent I was sure that this security system would benefit the USA in our efforts to track bad guys abroad so I connected him with then CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger office, for an introduction to the DHS.
    So not only are you spot on about the patent office killing jobs they might also be holding up technologies that would prevent harm to innocent people on a global basis.
    Presently I have a few provisional patent apps focused on AR (Augmented Reality) and am anxious to see what happens when I have to roll them over to Patent Pending status.

    Comment by 2dpopout -

  43. Mark,

    As you know in the USA once something becomes law than it becomes a entity that lobbyists bend congress people’s ear for thus US Congress has no incentive to change it.

    However, maybe the budget fight now changes it as if the change can be put in both more tax revenue and more jobs than maybe enough congress people will change it.

    However, I will not hold my breathe as the odds of that happening are slim at best. I would rather hope that the efforts to invalidate patents concerning java/android by Google make it into some automated web process to collect prior art mechanical-turk style so that everyone has access to the same prior art leverage.

    Yeah, I personally facing it now as several application ideas can not be acted upon due current patent trolling in the purchase in app area. So I do feel your pain as many other start-ups do as well.

    Comment by Fred Grott -

  44. why is not a single person responding to the title of the article? the patent system needs to be updated we all agree on that. But mark is making the claim that if we improve this system that this will somehow lead to jobs. In the last 10 years. Income tax has been at the lowest its been in history. Corporations are raking in record profits. They are also receiving billions in subsidies and trillions in aid. Take a look at the unemployment. Corporations and wealthy individuals have proved time and time again that simply having more money in the coffers does not always lead to job creation.

    Comment by striike -

  45. America became a world leader in software before software patents existed. Suppose IBM, CDC, DEC and the leaders of the mini and mainframe industries had pursued patents as aggressively as today. Would we even be familiar with the names Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison? I doubt it. Is the next generation of creators being cut off at the knees? Probably. It was the lack of software patents that made rapid change, innovation and revolution in the software industry possible.

    Comment by jamesmork -

  46. Job Growth and the Legal System…

    The following was a comment I made in response to my friend’s Facebook post with regard to Dentists charging large questionable amounts for dental work. Personally, I get my dental done in China … 10x cheaper, great dentist, modern facilities.

    “… The United States arguably has the best record on human rights, but it comes at a cost. That is, the cost of lawyers.

    Everything in the society is affected. If I want to buy a sandwich at a diner, I am helping support the insurance premiums of the diner that has to make sure they are covered when someone stubs their toe on a rock outside their restaurant and wants to be paid $75,000.

    So up go the prices, and off-shore go the jobs.

    To a large extent, off-shore companies get the business because they are not burdened by the weight of these costs. Granted somethings CAN’T be outsource, but many tasks can be.

    My favorite recent example of this is David Kacinich, who sued the Congressional Dining Hall http://goo.gl/fJD5I for over a $100,000 and then gets frustrated when his constituents are loosing their jobs. Here is a lawmaker serving as a catalyst for the exact problem that is killing so many US company’s ability to compete.

    And, with globalization, I figure this will just get worse. ”

    Probably time to off-shore my lawyer…

    Comment by ecurran -

  47. Meanwhile back in China they don’t worry about patent law. They just copy everything that is invented in America and sell it worldwide without regard to who invented the product first.

    Comment by hoopsvader -

  48. Your take on software patents is very shallow and somewhat selfish.

    The main problem with software patents is that patents are not actually for innovation but for common sense functionality.

    Also, the length of patents(20 years) is not relative to the intelligence and work put behind an innovation. It is a constant length for all patents.

    There is also a major problem with the American legal system. If an entity sues another one but loses the court battle then they are not penalized. In some more civilized countries around the world the losing party will be responsible for the legal fees of both sides. As a result people don’t sue others unless they know they are in the right and will win. This is a very important issue that needs addressing is America.

    My understanding of today’s world is that almost every “businessman” is the equivalent of a prostitute. Using whatever unethical means to gain financial advantage and use the naivety of their customers to extort money from them. People these days don’t have any pride and are not willing to fight for what’s right instead it’s only about what’s right for “me”… me-me-me

    If people as rich as yourself are not willing to fight patents in court because its not financially feasible, then what chance do the smaller start up companies have? or even worse individuals who write programs for Android or iPhones. The same way legal fees are heavy for the companies being sued, they are also somewhat expensive for the company doing the suing. So if everyone fought patents in court they would probably win (via invalidation of patents) and put an end to this whole situation.

    As you mentioned Google, I feel obligated to remind you that Google has a patent on the doodles. How ridiculous is that?!

    p.s. what set of patents did Google *recently* acquire? As far as I know they started a bid of $900 million for Nortel’s portfolio and ended up bidding over $4 billion but still lost it to the coalition forces who bid $4.5 billion.

    Also, it is worth noting that creation of emulation software has gone to court and is legal yet Google has removed all mobile emulation software from their Android market after some pressure by mobile companies who were launching their game oriented mobile handsets. So rest assure if Google or other large co-operations had the money to create more jobs that necessarily not be the case as in this instance their unethical actions ended up in job losses for perfectly legal applications and individuals. So the only problem for large co-operations is how the share of the pie is divided and we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everyone else!

    Comment by jensontaylor -

  49. I assume you mean Software Patents. I think patents are fine for physical devices while software is already protected by copyright laws. Paying licenses for software patents is double-dipping.

    The actual invention is the computer, anything you do with it should not be patentable. The book example posted above is good but a better one is getting a patent for a novel way to use the wheel, or getting a patent for using an existing machine in reverse…

    Intellectual Property is one of the main sources of income for wealthy people, lobbysts, politicians, lawyers, judges, etc. It is not in their best interest to lose one of their main passive revenue streams. This is why the patent reform law in Congress is written to benefit them while screwing us even more (they want a “first to file” doctrine: it means anybody who sees my invention can steal it by running to the patent office before me)

    Politicians will not change the system and will keep squeezing everybody until there is massive public outrage (unlikely) or epic lobbying (how big is your wallet?)

    Comment by vpeters25 -

  50. The problem is larger than just the patent laws. The VC culture is also patent-obsessed. It you tell a VC, “we have three patents pending,” then they are impressed. Otherwise, they say, “there’s no IP.” You can have a million lines of code, but without the patent applications, then analyst won’t give you the check mark for “IP.”

    Comment by dsarna -

  51. This sounds like a longer version of, “Everything that can be invented, has been invented.” Just playing Devil’s Advocate here. Google is in the middle of anti-trust litigation IIRC, and they need to watch their step. So, that’s not a great example.

    I’m not saying your supposition is unfounded, however, it is the way the current system works. When I worked for what became Raytheon, I’d visit various techs that had several patent awards on their wall, however, they’re all owned by the company in question, and not the individual that created the actual invention.

    My point here is, your small technology company that would hire immediately may be comprised of people that have created inventions for other companies, and would be remiss to use them for yours. Unless of course you have a patent lawyer to sort these things out.

    Comment by Matches Malone -

  52. Okay, sounds good Mark….so let’s do it! What can I do to help?

    Comment by jtamoe46 -

  53. Patents are WAY overrated.

    Comment by Joseph Putnam -

  54. Change patent law… how? You don’t even begin to suggest how to “fix” patent law.

    But patent law can’t be fixed. It’s the problem.

    One of the commenters above thinks they aren’t, that lawyers are the problem, but companies and patent lawyers (even the patent trolls) are just acting on the incentives created by the patent system.

    The solution is to abolish patent law altogether. Patents, and other forms of intellectual “property” such as copyright, are an unjust grant of monopoly privilege that gives the patentholder the legal privilege to violate the real property rights of others.

    To learn more, start with Stephan Kinsella’s “The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide” and follow the links therein to learn more.

    Comment by Geoffrey Allan Plauché -

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  57. hangtime79 totally agree. however with regards to the original post, jumping to the conclusion that this lead to a significant increase in jobs is laughable. mark should not be stating that this will lead to more jobs. there is empirical evidence proving otherwise.

    Comment by striike -

  58. I’ve been through this and Mark is absolutely right – the entire patent lawsuit cottage industry is ridiculous. I have seen presentations where specialty firms convince boards of directors that turning over the rights to pursuing frivolous lawsuits on behalf of their patent “portfolio” would be more profitable than their day to day manufacturing activities and mission, and in one case, for several years, it actually was – which is terrifying. I shudder to think how many lobbyists are already registered to “address” this issue, on behalf of legal juggernauts.

    You ever read the brilliant (non-litigious) plan I sent you Mark? You keep responding to my friends’ emails, so I’m kind of the dork Mark isn’t corresponding with in our group. Regardless, keep up the good work baller – I’m a big fan.

    Comment by fa309jie0jez -

  59. Let’s separate the patent problem into its components. If you are doing basic and applied medical research you need patents. Nobody is going to undertake bringing a cancer drug to market without them. The problem lies in two classes of patents – software and business process patents. Both of these either need to go away completely or we need to shrink the time frame for the patent to 1 or 2 years. Put the stuff on a conveyor belt and stamp them approved. If you are real company you value the immediate granting of the patent and will use it get the quick 1 to 2 year head start and absolutely take the market by storm. If you are a patent troll amassing a bunch of bunk patents you are willing to wait and need duration ie 20 years in order to create a nice little business. If we can’t get rid of these idiotic things (business process and software patents) we can do the next best thing and neuter them. Oracle hasn’t done sh*t to help or promote Java since the purchase of Sun but it sure has taken on it and Microsoft have sure put everyone else in a vice to pay for the patents on it. Pure bunk and its not helping the industry or our economy. Wasted capital, pure and simple.

    Comment by hangtime79 -

  60. You’ve got it all wrong. The problem is the LAWYERS not the patent law. Lawyers are sucking the blood out of our country. They are destroying the fabric of our country.

    Comment by akismet-fa5dd46debab3afd00636eac21bbfba1 -

  61. In my opinion, true patent law reform should first start with the way patents get approved. I see some of the patents that these companies are suing over, and I’m like “are you fucking serious?”. Patents for things like “icons on a touchscreen that open programs”. You can patent that? WTF?! How is that really that different than icons on a computer screen. And how can you really patent something like that to begin with anyway.

    Unfortunately the way the system works now is that patents get very loosely reviewed and then approved. Then, the only way a patent’s validity is truly tested is if it goes to court, and this is becoming more and more the norm these days. The validity of a patent should be thoroughly analyzed first before it gets approved. Hopefully, with all the patent trolling going on right now, the gov’t sits up and realizes that they need to do something to reform the patent system, because it’s obviously completely broken.

    Comment by flybriur -

  62. Right on. I work for a very small tech company and we recently got hit with a completely bogus lawsuit for patent infringement and ended up having to settle for a non-trivial amount of money. Totally with you on this one. No matter where companies are a lot of these cases (like ours) seem to get brought up in Texas which apparently has favorable conditions for plaintiffs.

    Comment by robmartino -

  63. Pingback: Mark Cuban: Patent law is killing jobs

  64. mark,

    c’mon now. im all for changing the patent rules, but this post has little substance. patent fights and filing patents is a cost of doing business in many industries. your article is basically saying “remove a huge cost for us and we’ll do better”. No shit. its very obvious that eliminating a major cost will benefit many businesses. but by how much? and who’s to say they will use that money to create jobs? if businesses (many of which are sitting on piles of cash right now) have proven anything over the last several years, it is that increased profits do not always lead to more jobs.

    Comment by striike -

    • actually this is a NEW cost of doing business. I gave my own personal example. I have companies that would like to hire more people but cant because we spend far too much on trolls.. There is nothing hypothetical about it. We may just be 20 jobs or so. As you can tell from the comments, we arent alone.

      Comment by markcuban -

  65. Planet Money recently talked about this issue:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/05/138934689/the-tuesday-podcast-the-patent-war

    To me, this is another field where lawyers are way too powerful (suing a surgeon for a scar, drying your cat in the microwave…).

    Lawyers are making everyone’s life terrible in this country. A business owner that I know, would not let kids ride their bike and skateboard on his factory lane during the weekend, only because if they get hurt, he is afraid of being sued.

    Lawyer are one of the few professions where more competitors brings you more business, since when one sue, the defendant has to hire another lawyer to defend himself.

    The whole juridical system needs to be changed in this country. However, it is going to be tough as their profession is very well represented in DC.

    Judges should judge on common sense and people’s intention, rather than on procedures. Law should be understandable by everyone so that no one needs a lawyer to defend himself.

    Comment by etilyeti -

  66. Dude, 100% with you.

    But, i submitted a patent last week and I am told it may take up to two years. That’s also a job killing, ridiculous amount of time.

    Comment by usloansmortgage -

  67. Hear, hear. At this point, the only reason a legislator can have for not understanding what patents have become is because that legislator doesn’t want to — the evidence is just overwhelming at this point.

    Comment by kfogel -

  68. Pingback: Twitted by Mellyhopes

  69. Sounds like someone is having a crappy Saturday night.

    Comment by Bad Bad Leroy Brown -

  70. Pingback: Twitted by joshua_whitaker

  71. Unfortunately, the patent reform bill that President Obama just encouraged Congress to pass, does nothing to address the problem of patent trolls. (The full text of the bill, H.R. 1249, can be read here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-1249).

    This bill passed the House 304-117 and it’s companion bill (S.23: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-23 ) passed the senate 95-5, vitally assuring that the two bills will be reconciled and signed into law in early September, once congress returns from recess. This is “reform” in name only, as the bills will do nothing to discourage the job-killing litigation tactics of the patent trolls that Mr. Cuban references above.

    If you care about the issue of patent trolls, you have one month to encourage your Congressperson to amend S.23 and/or H.R. 1249 to include limiting damages from “non-practicing entities” (aka, trolls).

    Comment by pomeroy41144 -

  72. Once again, Mark Cuban tells it like it is. Patents made sense 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago for mechanical devices. But today software patents make NO sense at all.

    Software is written just like a book or novel is written. Books have copyrights…not patents. Likewise, software should have copyright protection, but not patents. Giving a patent to software is analogous to giving a patent to a book author for the structure of a story with a protagonist, antagonist, love interest, and three part story arch. All stories are written that way. You can’t patent a novel, and you shouldn’t be able to patent software either. Just copyright it.

    Sadly, we are so far down the software patent road that there may be no way to unwind it. Software patents clearly stifle innovation and cost companies millions, and even billions of dollars. As Mark says, those dollars could be better spent hiring people.

    Don Dodge

    Comment by dondodge -

  73. Pingback: If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws « blog maverick — alex’s blog

  74. As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.- Ben Franklin

    Comment by greenpathenergy -

  75. couldn’t have agreed more. It’s annoying enough when companies with actual products get into a patent war, even more when you see companies just collecting patent portfolios without bringing actual products to the market.

    Comment by jprlopez -

  76. It’s a grotesque reality of anyone even considering going into business. I’m in the toy business. There is almost nothing new under the sun. As soon as you produce an item a whirlwind of “cease and desist” letters arrive. 99% are unrelated to the item you’re producing, but the letters must be answered. A shakedown not entirely dissimilar to the mobsters of old…

    Comment by ourmanflint1 -

  77. wow – would never have known that. That is insane, I hope there are some multiple damage recourse suits to send a message

    Comment by txwarrior -

  78. As a small medical mobile application we are learning a lot about patent but our problems is getting into the game as well as patent issues. How can my company help when can’t even into the game?

    Comment by iwanttogetrippedup -

  79. sounds good to me, what can the little guy do to change patent law?

    Comment by nakiannu -

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