Hold on a minute - American Patent System
Sorry but although IP is imperfect this,
"anyone who is not putting a patented technology into practical use two years after getting the patent approved, or at least is able to prove that he seriously attempts to, should loose the patent"
, is a seriously flawed idea.
If you have an novel invention (whether software, hardware or widgets) you should have the right to be able to exploit that idea however you see fit. You may not be capable of actually making that idea, but someone who is capable should pay you to use it.
The fundemental problem is actually the American Patent System.
There are key criteria for a patent
- Is it new?
- Is is technical (does it relate to the way something works)?
- Is the intellectual step required obvious to anyone with technical knowledge of the area?
- Does is meet the laws of physics and/or can it actually be made?
In Europe the general system (although burdensome at the beginning) allows the patent office to judge whether these are met _before_ issuing the patent.
In America they avoid the initial detailed check, they just do a cursory check (no comparison with existing patents to confirm it is original etc.). Then they let the lawyers battle it out if anyone disagrees.
For an example see http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6994809.html.
A patent allowed for a method to cover a hole in a plaster wall by creating a plug of the same material in the same size.
I know I'm biased but the European system seems better and should result in less work for lawyers. A good thing all round I think.
Of course when it comes to American companies trying to patent their software to create a monopoly, Europe aren't so happy about that. Poor old Bill.