2010-03-22

They Call Them Heros, We Call Them Trolls

I get it from this (Glyn Moody, ComputerWorld UK) article.
Basically, an ex-Microsoft employee has founded a company that simply buys up all the patents it can and then licenses them at high fees. They don't actually do anything with the patents.
The saddest part (and this is to those who will come in defense of the inventiveness of the company) is that the companies spokespeople themselves have admitted just this.
At least they have the honor to admit that what they are doing might not be on the highest moral grounds. (Mr. Moody, I disagree with your assertion that this is a bad thing. At least they are being upfront about the ethics of their actions.)
Moody's title is "Beware of the King of the Trolls". I think this may merit a little more explanation: on the Internet, people who "yell" and "scream" (using all-caps, bad grammar, and poor spelling) unsubstantiated claims are called trolls. This is exactly what the company is doing - making unsubstantiated claims to would-be inventors about patents just to scare them off.
People on the Internet ostracize trolls and ban them from message boards and such. Would it be so hard to "scale it up"?
And for those people who think I am against patents, while I think that usually individual patents work for the individual and for society, these corporate patents are the things against which I rail.

2 comments:

  1. Hi there!

    We write about some of the stuff we don't actually _do_ on our lab blog:

    http://intellectualventureslab.com/

    We are involved with science every day. We make things, break things, and invent things. We just don't start companies - - we let other people who are good at starting companies do that. As an open source advocate & contributor: my views on patents are complex; I personally believe that there isn't anything wrong with letting inventors be inventors, and let people who are good at running companies go run companies.

    Cheers,
    -3ric Johanson

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  2. Thanks for the comment! (I wonder how you found it!)
    My view of this comes from the article in the Economist on your company - they didn't seem to talk about any inventions, just that you collect and license patents to other companies.

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