Ho-Hum, another article today clobbering us so-called “patent terrorists.” (I’m truly offended.) Actuallly, this one is rather interesting in that promotes what I’ve always thought is a good idea — indemnification for users of infringing products.
In particular, some companies have concluded it’s a good idea to protect their customers against patent infringement charges resulting from use of their products. This is only fair as it almost always the manufacturer’s fault, not the customer’s, that infringement exists in the first place. I hope more big companies follow suit. (Heh heh.)
Where I part company with the author is over the familiar refrain that patents should not protect those who make no product and instead seek to license their patented technology. Why should actual use be a prerequisite for legal protection? How practical is it for someone to start a new car company or compete with Microsoft and Intel on basic, de facto computer standards? Does this mean that only GM, Microsoft and Intel personnel are able to develop new technologies relating to cars, software or processors? Of course not. Should someone who comes up with something new and valuable in these areas be expected to give it away simply because the realities of the marketplace make it impractical to compete head on? Apparently some people think so. By the way, they have little philosophical opposition to getting and enforcing patents when it comes to protecting their own technology, but that’s getting to be an old story.