Ming the Mechanic:
Nader on Patents

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Nader on Patents2003-03-01 23:59
20 comments
by Flemming Funch

Wired prints a few words from Ralph Nader about the U.S. Patent system.
"The United States spends more than $1 billion annually to examine patents. Despite this expenditure, the Patent Office has become a glorified diploma mill, routinely granting rights that should never have been issued. The patents wouldn't stand up in court, but they're expensive to litigate. So why are we forcing developing countries to follow our lead when we don't do a good job ourselves? [...]

The system protects two groups: software companies with weak products who use patents to harass competitors, and patent lawyers. The ease of getting patents makes it economically attractive to abuse the system in a number of unpleasant ways. People obtain patents and then ask businesses to pay licensing fees that are cheaper than the cost of mounting a legal defense. Also, firms are wary of investing in new products for fear they will be ambushed by an infringement claim that may or may not be valid but will cost millions in legal fees."



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