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I'm not a fan of patents at all, but at the very least we should make having a product in the market as an absolute minimum for defending it. No product in market === no patent for you.

I'm also not a fan of patents1, but having to have a product in the market in order to defend a patent just introduces another, different type of breakage.

How hard would it have been for Honeywell to slap out a craptacular prototype product to be "in the market" and then sue Nest? Not hard, if they cared to do it.

How hard would it be for Nest (or another small company), if they had the original patent, to bring a product to the market in order to qualify to sue Honeywell? Maybe not impossible, but surely harder than the reverse.

If I grant that patents should exist, or at least that they DO exist, it seems reasonable that reducing an invention to practice (but not necessarily to marketability) is enough to go seek a patent, such that you could then seek funding or partnership opportunities at far more favorable terms than if all you had was a secret invention that you couldn't patent until you were able to bring it to market with money you didn't have and couldn't get.

1-excepting perhaps in drug discovery cases, where I am less certain of what I think

How would that work exactly? You end up turning the patent from protecting an idea/invention into protecting who can get a product manufactured first. In particular, it seems trivial for your manufacturing partners to steal your patent by delaying delivery and putting your product on the market instead of you. The little guy is the one who loses.

Or did you think companies would follow the guidelines in good faith??

Defending it != acquiring it. It seems reasonable that if your going to sue for X$ in damages you need to have an actual product in the market, or at least licence your patent to someone who actually makes it.

Take this case for example. Honeywell would simply throw together a crappy product and sell a couple of hundred of them just so they could put Nest out of business. There needs to be greater reform IMO.

Honeywell has no choice but to licence their patents to Nest. The question is simply are the patents valid, did Nest infringe, and how much can Honeywell charge Nest. That said, if a company as large as Honeywell can only point to say 50,000$ in sales for their patent protected product it's hard for them to justify outrageous licencing fees.

I don't dispute this at all, but patent reform isn't going to achieve what we want overnight. Requiring a product in the market is at least a step in the direction of eroding the position of most patent trolls. Once we've achieved that, the next step is to further raise the bar for what is defensible.

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