With the massive Google MMI deal, immediately detailed and described at length as either a great war-time move by Larry Page or something much more like AOL buying Time-Warner, and now Kodak’s sale of its patent portfolio (purportedly to a large company to be used for defense against patent litigation) one wonders if the world has gone patent crazy.
And with all this war footing and patent trolling, it seems clear that we need to rethink intellectual property controls, with an eye towards improving innovation and decreasing the need for all this costly “protection.”
For more on the criticisms of patents, see Wikipedia’s entry on the issue.
A long standing argument against patents is that they may hinder innovation and give rise to “troll” entities – A holding company, pejoratively known as a “patent troll”, owns a portfolio of patents, and sues others for infringement of these patents while doing little to develop the technology itself.
And check out Felix Salmon’s article on the cost of patent trolls…
Essentially, if you’re small, you have to hope to fly below the radar; if you’re big, you have to pay billions of dollars on patents you have no particular interest in.