Erick Robinson

217 points
Bangalore, India and San Diego, California

Erick Robinson is Director of Patents - India and Patent Counsel for Qualcomm, and formerly was Senior Patent Counsel for Red Hat.

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A huge problem with this type of legislation, regardless of which side of the argument one favors, is that it merely prevents the patentee and accused infringer from communication before a lawsuit is filed. In reality, it requires the patentee to file a lawsuit, making reasonable discussion difficult or impossible since emotions flare after a suit is filed. The law forces a patentee to file a lawsuit because the information required to be communicated, namely "[f]actual allegations concerning the specific areas in which the target's products, services, and technology infringe the patent or are covered by specific, identified claims in the patent" could be used by the accused infringer to file a preemptive lawsuit. Such a lawsuit allows the accused infringer to pick the court and possibly present its case first at trial -- both significant advantages. That is, in order to communicate their case without severe penalty, the patentee is now forced to file a lawsuit. This is neither useful, nor efficient.

Good point. This assumes that no patents are valid or worthwhile. Many inventors need the patent system because it is their only chance against large corporations. Further, companies need patents to protect their technology against competitors. That said, there are certainly some bad patents out there, and the percentage of such patents is higher in the software realm.