Google Calls For Patent Reform - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
9/5/2007
04:41 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Calls For Patent Reform

In light of legal action from Polaris IP, Google execs say the U.S. patent system has not kept pace with the changes in the innovation economy.

One week after being hit with a patent infringement lawsuit by intellectual property licensing company Polaris IP, Google executives are renewing the company's call for patent reform.

"Unfortunately, the patent system has not kept pace with the changes in the innovation economy," said Google policy counsel and legislative strategist Johanna Shelton and Michelle Lee, head of patents and patent strategy, in a blog post on Tuesday. "Google and other technology companies increasingly face mounting legal costs to defend against frivolous patent claims from parties gaming the system to forestall competition or reap windfall profits."

Polaris IP last week sued AOL, Amazon, Borders, Google, IAC, and Yahoo for allegedly violating its automatic message routing patent.

Google has a long history of trying to change the U.S. patent system. In February, Google was one of dozens of technology companies that signed a letter urging patent reform sent by the Coalition for Patent Fairness to Congress.

The coalition, which counts Google as a member, would like to see: 1) damages for patent infringement tied to the proportionate value of the infringing component instead of the entire product; 2) the standard for "willful infringement," which triples damages, made more stringent; 3) international harmonization of patent laws so that foreign companies play by the same standards as U.S. companies; and 4) consistency in how different jurisdictions treat patent cases, to end the practice of "forum shopping."

The Eastern District of Texas, where Polaris IP filed its lawsuit, remains a popular "forum" among those claiming patent infringement.

"A growing chorus of business leaders and companies spanning the technology, financial services, and traditional manufacturing industries has joined with legal scholars, economists, consumer and public interest organizations, government institutions, and major editorial boards in calling for patent reform," said Shelton and Lee.

Shelton and Lee said that Google representatives are talking to members of the House of Representatives and their staff about the importance of this issue. The House is expected to deliberate about the bipartisan Patent Reform Act later this week.

At the same time, Internet users are talking back to Google. All of the four comments left on Google's Public Policy Blog at the time this article was written express skepticism about the need for reform and about Google's motives.

"I wish you guys would put your weight behind solving the real problem: subject matter expansion," said Ben Klemens, a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution and author of Math You Can't Use: Patents, Copyright, and Software (Brookings Institution Press; 2005), in a comment post. "Until the mid-1990s, a patent had to have a nontrivial physical element, like a drug or a new machine; but at that time, a panel of former patent attorneys decided -- without referring to Congress or other prior study -- that nonphysical objects like mathematical algorithms and business methods should be patentable. A few years later, all the 'Patent System Broken' headlines started appearing."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
[Interop ITX 2017] State Of DevOps Report
The DevOps movement brings application development and infrastructure operations together to increase efficiency and deploy applications more quickly. But embracing DevOps means making significant cultural, organizational, and technological changes. This research report will examine how and why IT organizations are adopting DevOps methodologies, the effects on their staff and processes, and the tools they are utilizing for the best results.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll