Re: An Open Letter From Jeff Bezos on Patents

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2000 - 07:47:45 PST

Adam Rifkin -4K wrote:
> Gotta hand it to Jeff Bezos, he sure knows how to talk the talk...
> Darn if he doesn't sound like Jerry Maguire at the beginning of the
> movie when he's losing it:
> > Bottom line: fewer patents, of higher average quality, with shorter
> > lifetimes. Fewer, better, shorter. A short name might be "fast patents."

I posted this on Amazon. I'll probably never go back and visit, but
just pasted it out there so I can get back to other stuff. Talk to me
about the pain of software patents after a bunch of lawyers spend hours and hours
trying to understand the nuances of something too complex for them to tell
you something you already know but with less certainty for a lot of money.


One of the problems with the current patent system wrt software is that most filing
companies do not live up to their "duty to disclose". In fact, the standards that
evaluate prior art and influencing factors often
are left out because of business factors. There's no peer-review, there's no access
to the particular reviewers in a particular field, and even more, one patent that may
appear unique in one field is common
practice in another.

A second problem is that a lot of shotgun style patent companies will file "bogus"
patents. Bogus means it's intentionally overly broad
in that it creates a legal and monetary barrier to challenging the
patent. The only effective mechanism for dealing with this to date
has been public announcement and scrutiny.

Without a doubt, the majority of court cases in the next 10 years will be figuring out software patents. Any
reform now will save the country years and years of litigation. An unfair
patent system will stifle competition by allowing overly broad patents to stand. I would
recommend 1) an initial patent review of all existing software related patents, 2) an
open instead of closed patent review process after the initial USPTO
review and consideration of granting the patent. Shortening the length of the patent
to 5 years, but then have minimum right to practice
guidelines that slowly allow the patent to be put into public practice rather than the
all or nothing system that currently exists.

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Mar 10 2000 - 07:47:53 PST