UPDATE 02-Mar-10: As has been pointed out (see comment), the blog belongs to BRAD Feld, not Michael.
A recent post on Michael Feld’s blog, http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2010/02/sawyer-weighs-in-on-intellectual-ventures.html, prompted me to post the following comments:
“Sawyer’s” comments on IV, as useful as they may be in making him feel self-righteous (or is he spending all that time in Texas pro bono) are, for the most part, avoiding the real issues of the failure of the patent system, world wide, to keep up with technology and business realities. He is attacking someone who plays a bad game better than he instead attacking the bad game itself.
The three hundred year old perception that it was a fair trade to give an inventor some period of exclusivity to profit from his invention in exchange for teaching society the invention’s details never envisioned a world in which product/technology lifecycles might be measured in months or in which patent litigation costs start at 7 figures. Nor did they envision technologies where a patent examiner would need an advanced degree to understand a patent application. Or inventions that were totally intangible, like software or business methods.
Furthermore, I doubt the founding fathers envisioned the growth of the patent law practice, where one set of attorneys bill out at well over 50 times the minimum wage to nitpick through the legal maze created and interpreted by another set of lawyers.
My point is not that attorneys charge too much – it is just that the constitutional basis for the patent laws (that society benefits when innovation is encouraged and that that goal is achieved when inventors are encouraged to share the details of their invention with society by having an opportunity to profit without competition) is no longer served by the laws and processes that form our patent system.