Google: Microsoft wields patents when its products fail

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This is exactly what Mark Cuban was talking about. jobs are being lost because patent law is messed up.


(electronista.com) Claims overbroad patents could stifle innovation: Tim Porter, Google's patent counsel, suggested in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the current system of patent registration for software was partly to blame for the storm of lawsuits by Microsoft and others regarding the Android operating system. Porter said that current patent law allows Microsoft to use the large patent portfolio it has acquired over the years to get revenue from other companies "when their products stop succeeding in the marketplace, when they get marginalized, as is happening now with Android." Industry research shows Android leading the Windows Phone platform by a wide margin. Porter said that the patent office has been too lenient since the 1990s, awarding software patents for broad, vague or unoriginal ideas. He pointed to a decision by the US Supreme Court in 2007 that should have reinvigorated an "obviousness" standard first spelled out in a 1952 law. In that ruling, the court asserted that an invention could not be patented if it would be considered "obvious" by a person having ordinary skill in the art. The court said that giving such dubious claims patent protection would stifle innovation. However, since the ruling the number of software patents granted and the number of lawsuits have both increased dramatically.Ironically, in 1991 Bill Gates wrote of his concerns about the very tactics that Microsoft is using today. Gates predicted that if the practice of software patenting became widespread, "some large company will patent some obvious thing," and "take as much of our profits as they want." [via Ars Technica]

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