Edit: feel like I should expand one this.
None of the opinions you mentioned are consistent across HN, nor are they supported by all of the same people. Not even a majority of HNers support most of those opinions. In fact, I think the only one of those that HNers do tend to support in majority is "But enforcing patent rights - that's bad."
After seeing issues like the above over and over again it feels like the system isn't working to do what it should. I'd love to see patent enforcement to help fund the work of inventors and push the overall state-of-the-art forward, but it really feels like that's not what's happening right now.
Patent trolls are succesful because of the millions of worthless patents issued (i.e. scope that actually does overlap prior art, such that people think they have broader protection than they actually have). The other reason is that people are filing patents (and getting them granted) based on concepts that seem viable in principle, but which they haven't actually distilled to practice (ahem - Magic Leap).
All of these issues can be greatly mitigated by reinstituting (1) the rule for inventors to actually demonstrate the technology they're patenting to the USPTO.
For all the complaints we see on HN about, say, Uber, it's still very much on top in SV and held up as a huge success story and model for other companies.
For the record, I think the OP was being hyperbolic. But there is an element of truth: Silicon Valley (rightly) criticises the things that hold it back, but is largely quite happy to stay silent about things it takes advantage of.
Software on patents were not a thing to begin with, if you were around 20-30 years ago. It's a recent invention. So yeah, it's totally worth challenging, especially the super broad patents used by patent trolls.
I still think the way to solve the patent issue for software is that you make it's time limited to 5 years and make them non transferrable. Unlike patents on physical things, it is much easier to make something similiar that just works around a single one of the claims. Another thing we probably need is that any patent dispute that goes to court requires a prior art check and "novel" reassessment and if it is found that the patent was never novel or prior art existed, then the patent is thrown out. This could be done as part of the USPTO office instead of the courts as a precursor to actual trial.
It happens to be the case that patent trolls are also immoral, but don't let that confuse you.
The problem is that they rely on infringement claims being made in "bad faith." Patent trolls never make claims that would trigger these bad faith conditions.
Or, if they had made qualifying "bad faith" claims in the past, it is trivial to update their demand letters to avoid triggering the bad faith clauses in these bills or laws.
The article mentions cloudflare a bunch, but they are based out of California. I don't even know of them being sued by a patent troll in Massachusetts.
Edit: honestly, the idea of having the software patents disgrace/mess untangled seems hopeless by now. I can't even begin to imagine what kind of seismic event it would take to pull that off. :/
There's so much more money involved now (in all kinds of places - now we have massive passive collections both in old- and new-style companies) than last time there was a huge fight surrounding software patents.
Sure, each US state and each EU country can work towards making things harder for patent trolls, but how much will that help in most cases where products are global and the patent troll can pick their venue at their leisure.
I've always disliked that companies can incorporate out of state to "shop" for favorable laws. Good to know there's at least one downside.
Has this ever happened? I don't think so.
Also, it would be nice if the interview included a peppercorn of information about the bills.
WA state has a new anti-patent troll law. It is useless.
edit: link to the bill sponsored by Eric Lesser https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S128
edit2: after scanning the bill, it looks like every "mainstream" patent troll would be able to continue to operate without making any changes to their practice. Only the most incompetent lawyers have any chance of triggering the "bad faith" element in this law. (Same as WA state anti-patent troll law.)
> I don't think so.
That doesn't make it any less true. What you think and feel have little to do with real facts.
Yes. Revostock, a small business that simply sold After Effects templates by independent artists was shut down by a patent troll:
Early stage startups can run into trouble from trolls but if they do not have any money.... Unless the troll files a complaint and actually initiates a lawsuit, the scary letters should be ignored.
Though I do think startup GC's should learn how to handle the initial phases of a patent infringement lawsuit. It isn't that hard -- then it would force the trolls to spin up an expensive full-stack lawsuit if they want to keep going. This is expensive and risky for trolls.
Sure it does. I've had it happen to two of my ventures. Anecdote is not the singular of data, but I can't imagine it is rare.
One of the problems is the patent office may grant an extremely narrow patent, but the courts just might interpret it broadly. However, the shell company suing you has no assets to recover over a bogus suit. So, taking them to court has zero upside, costs money, and has a tiny chance of costing a lot of money. Thus troll.
Personally I find the whole idea of IP to be a little too strict. It is possible for me to come up with an idea completely independently and still get sued because someone got the same idea and decided to make it his IP.
Some big tech companies have the same strategy as patent trolls, and for some reason this is a much more widely accepted practice.