As the Patent Trolls are coming, yes the Patent Trolls are here and why should you Mr. Consumer care? For the same reason the Eloi feared the Morlocks as they are here to feed upon us, yes our wallets as well as steal our social affluancy too while they are at it! As a while back I had written a post titled “Patents, A Thing of the Past…” waxing, or maybe better said as waning about the failures of the current patent system and the pending affects upon the future of our society.
What has got me thinking about this is Lodsys LLC a patent holding company which by the coverage in the popular press holds a whopping four patents and one of them happens to be for “In App Purchases”, yes you read that correctly as selling something from within something that sold is now patentable. So in short if you purchase something from say a magazine or newspaper ad then all those people need to be paying Lodsys LLC for coming up with the idea! Because after all that periodical or news print is analogically nothing more than an “App” albeit a physical one rather than software, however before going there let’s look at why we “Joe Average” should care about this anyway.
For starters, I’m a firm believer in patents as in concept they promote investment in research and development for very complex areas where no one would typically thred because of “copycat-ers”. The key here to note is “complex” , in App Purchases is NOT complex as say designing a new drugs which may save millions of life’s or a new super strong metal alloy which takes advantage of advances in crystalline designs. Which brings me back to the [Patent] Trolls as their goal is simply to seek out “potential” infringe-ers and extort them, and the reason for using the word “extort” as this is what is being done as written in a prior post your guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
Thus we have Lodsys sending notices and suing small software developers over what “they” feel is an infringement of their patent rights forcing the small developers to either pay the “protection” money admitting guilt and building support for the Trolls. Or fund a massively expensive legal battle in the court systems which could take years, however either way you the consumer are paying for this and while one can say money is exchanging hands the “result” of this is not building additional social affluancy as if anything its promoting massive erosion.
The reason for the later comment is you won’t see Lodsys or any other Patent Troll serving notice on any developers in say China or India as that paper would assuredly find its way to the closest out-house to be used for a truly appropriate purpose. So therefore people are not developing Apps here because our legal systems punish them whereas the lackadaisical nature of most foreign national judicial systems create not only an imbalance, however a gapping chasm. So we are consumers end up paying which means we have to buy less as for most of us who aren’t a Gate’s or Buffett money is finite. Second we are losing distributed jobs which we as a nation need desperately, so it’s time we the consumer stand up for a change…
P.S. As a side bar for those out there in the business, yes I’m aware that the Lodsys patents refer to a “means” of in App purchase and not in App Purchasing itself. However to me this is what adds insult to injury as its liken to the chicken and the egg as the chicken is “prior art” yet the concept of a round white object with a yoke is patentable so therefore if you want a chicken, pay me first.