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by Franki

Forgent, the company that litigated loads of money from companies using the JPEG image compression format is looking for more money and so has decided to go after DVR video. Luckily it remains to be proven if their patent was the first related to such technology and as such the patent has yet to be proven in court.

My problem with the patent system is that there are not enough people at the patent office who are sufficiently knowledgeable on Tech issues to decide that a specific patent is valid or not. So we end up with companies being able to patent the vaguest ideas and extort millions from companies that are doing the actual innovating. If I speculated about using my nose to control a computer cursor and patented the process, anyone that actually did the work of making it feasible, even if they didn’t know I had previously speculated about it, could have at least part of their proceeds funnelled to me.

The problem is that a patent should need to be really explicit, not at all general, and most patents are not. I believe the term is “overly broad”. To have the idea of using my nose to control a cursor isn’t enough, it should be necessary to explain in the patent exactly how I plan to get the nose mouse working. More often then not, that sort of detail is not considered necessary for a patent application. So what we end up with is millions of overlapping patents and lawsuits up the wazzo, often over patents that should never have been granted in the first place. Lets be honest here, the current process means that all the get rich quick mobs are starting patent portfolio companies, so they can come up with vague ideas, patent them and make a quick buck from the companies that do the actual innovating. And they want to extend this rubbish to Software in the EU as well? They need only look to the US courts to see why that is a bad idea.

As it stands now, I expect Forgent to hold out their hands to anyone trying to create devices that record video (such as TV) to disk such as TIVO. The JPEG fight earned them about 100 million dollars and hasn’t finished yet, and I guess a taste like that gets you addicted.

You’re probably asking yourself “Why should I care?” and that’s a valid point, but consider that if the manufacturers of these devices have to pay say $5 dollars per device to one patent holder, and other $5 dollars to another, then you can bet that extra $10 dollars will be added to the price of the device. So you the customer ends up paying these patent hoarders with your hard earned dollars. That is one reason you should care.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   August 19, 2018, 2:28 pm
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   August 20, 2018, 3:28 am
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