The International Telecommunications Union – the communications arm of the United Nations – has convened a round-table meeting to talk about patents, why they aren't working and what might be done to solve this. The ITU sets international standards, and so has an interest in making them work, though the organisation hasn't been …
these do seem like very easy problems to resolve
no 1. if you are aware that a standard is being formed and your patent may be part of it you must declare and investigate this at the time. Or else your patent is void.
no 2. if you purchase a patent that is already covered by a standard and it was not declared it is void.
no 3. if you purchase a patent that is already covered by a standard and it was declared then you must abide by the terms of the original agreement.
no 4. Any patent authority found issuing frivolous patents or those covered by prior art should be fined.
I was thinking submarine patents should be dealt with by creating a law which binds them to the FRAND agreement already created - at minimal rates - if they are brought up after the creation and agreement of a standard.
So that it's actually better financially for these would-be submarine patents to be submitted during the standard creation process rather than popping up later, as long as the "minimal rates" were truly minimal.
We can't fix the patent system just with stick, we also have to use some carrot.
my proposed rules
1) All patents submitted to a standard will be properly investigated, trivial ones should be invalidated
2) Royalties to use the standard will be paid to the standard body and then split between the contributors based on number and importance of patents (decided when forming the standard)
3) Owners of 'Submarine' patents cannot sue companies that have paid to use the standard, they must apply to the standard body for a cut - they have to give very good reasons why they didn't declare earlier.
4) People who implement a standard without paying the royalties should get huge fines / products banned (money to be split between contributors as in rule 2 )
Good Luck in the USA
All US international agreements (treaties) have to be ratified by the US Congress.
Since the name of their game seems to be to auction their votes off to the highest bidder, who knows how effective it will be.
"The UK Ministry of Defence's licensing arm, Ploughshare Innovations"
Good God. Really?
Reminds me of the US plan to use nukes for construction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plowshare
patents serve more than one purpose
What a lot of comments miss is that patents also serve as a deterrent against other patent holders/trolls.
The problem is, if all of your patents are FRAND then you effectively can't use them as a defensive patent any more.
For example. Widget maker A holds a lot of FRAND patents which they spent a lot of money to create and are making moderate returns on licensing. Widget Maker B which is paying 1p/unit to Maker A for its FRAND patents then hits Maker A with a £3/unit demand for some design patent that it pushed through the patent office on Friday afternoon just before pub time.
Maker A is effectively unable to use its FRAND patents defensively and so has to remove funcationality from its device. Maker B now has a superior device which it pays very little in royalties for.
Re: patents serve more than one purpose
Here is a hint: standard essential vs none standard essential.
as far as I know, FRAND only covers standard essential patents.
how about adding:
limit the life of the patent, complex patents that show some innovation can live longer then simple patents that later appear to be obvious (or to put it another way, patents can be re-examined by today's knowledge)
software patents can only live for 1 year after the 1st device that uses it comes out. After which, it expires. If however, no device is released, then the patent expires after 5 years.
software patents shouldn't exist should be like fashion.
Proper tech should be patentable. (Radio - new designs for stuff etc)
Pharmaceuticals should be patentable (No extensions to the length though.) but only for new drugs not stuff like release mechanisms. (At least not in a way that precludes someone doing anything else with what otherwise would be a generic drug).
Patents should have enough detail for anyone with reasonable skill to reimplement the invention after it expires in a trivial manner.
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