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Comment "Just" A Patent Application? (Score 4, Informative) 52

In this context, you can be sure there is more. The patent laws of the US and other countries require that the application (and consequently, any issued patent) describe the invention in sufficient detail so that someone of ordinary skill in the art area to which the invention most nearly pertains can make and use the invention. You don't have to build one, but you do have to provide enough detail so that someone else could build one.

Comment Incredible... (Score 1) 367

... or rather, incredibly condescending. Given my occupation (and prior occupation in law enforcement), I am a huge advocate for catching criminals. I am also a huge advocate for the rule of law and respecting rights of people under law. By saying that the Bureau is collecting information so we can have an "adult" conversation, the clear implication is that those on the other side of the conversation from the Bureau have been having conversations that are immature or child-like. The tone of those comments is like that of a parent telling a child that it is time for the child to grow up. It indicates a lack of respect for the opposing views. The Bureau isn't doing itself any favors with that kind of approach.

Comment Not an Agency (Score 1) 154

The Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress and as such is part of the legislative branch of the US Government and ultimately reports to Congress. The federal agencies that most people think of and interact with, such as the Patent and Trademark Office or the Veterans Administration, are part of the executive branch which ultimately reports to the President. The PTO specifically is an office within the Department of Commerce. I suspect the inability to use is due to this separation.

Comment There Goes The Neighborhood (Score 1) 164

Certain items are classified as "dual use" for US export control laws because they have 2 major use classifications - military and non-military. The only way to ensure that goods sold for non-military purposes are not later used for military purposes is by monitoring and controlling.

We all know how effective the US's monitor and control systems worked in Iran.

Comment Unfair and Deceptive Business Practice (Score 1) 562

One of the cardinal rules of contracts is that words are given their ordinary plain meaning. This rule is applied within the context of the transaction. If words have a usual or customary meaning within a particular industry, then that meaning is attributed to the word used. If you want to depart from that rule, you have to provide a definition in the contract.

Hard drive manufacturers got into trouble with this principle when they quietly redefined a megabyte to be equal to 1,000,000 bytes instead of 2^20 bytes like everyone was used to.

If I had AT&T as my service provider, I would be complaining to the Federal Trade Commission alleging this as a violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act. I would also be complaining to my state's Attorney General alleging a violation of my state's consumer protection laws.

Comment Re:Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 1) 167

Except that you have to make the initial investment, there is always a risk that you will lose, and there is always a risk that although you have been awarded costs, you will not actually be able to collect the money. Early settlement by taking a license provides financial certainty and eliminates the legal risk, which are two things that companies like a hack of a lot more than litigation.

Comment Re:Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 1) 167

"Highly questionable" doesn't mean the claims are invalid (although they may be). In this context, highly questionable means that the claims either do not fully describe the product or process accused of infringement or can only be characterized as fully covering it through unreasonable ("imaginative") interpretations of the claim terms.

Comment Wrong Problem - More Unnecessary Legislation (Score 5, Informative) 167

Section 285 of the Patent Act of 1952 (35 U.S.C. 285) already permits judges to declare patent cases to be "exceptional" and award appropriate relief. From the defendant's perspective, a case can be declared exceptional if the plaintiff cannot show that at least one claim of the patent in suit covers the device or process accused of infringing the patent. This section is regularly used by defendants to obtain attorneys fees and costs.

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 1927 of Title 28 of the U.S. Code also provides bases for the same relief.

The problem with patent trolls is not the inability of defendants to get costs. It is that trolls often wage licensing campaigns by bringing highly questionable claims but set the costs of licenses below the cost to defend an action in court. Companies typically choose to go the economical route and take a license.

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