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   Wall Str Journl editorial lambasting patent system
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still_studying
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Wall Str Journl editorial lambasting patent system
« on: Jun 15th, 2007, 11:05am »
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The WSJ has a fairly negatively-toned editorial regarding a dispute between Broadcom and Qualcomm.  Apparently QCOM infringed a BCOM patent involving cellphone chipsets, and the ITC has decided to ban importation of cellphones made using QCOM's chipsets.
 
I can't post links (drat), but the editorial is at the OpinionJournal (dot) com website under:
 
www (dot) OpinionJournal (dot) com (slash) weekend (slash) hottopic (slash) (questionmark) id=110010192
 
Some relevant excerpts, posted under fair use  Grin :
 
Quote:
By a 4-2 vote on Thursday, the ITC decided to ban the import of any new cell phone model produced with certain microchips made by Qualcomm. ITC Chairman David Pearson dissented on grounds that the ban was antithetical to the public good, which is certainly true. But the import ban is effective immediately, and this means that President Bush, through Ms. Schwab, has just 60 days to set the ruling aside before it becomes permanent. There's an overwhelming case for doing so.
 
The ITC's power to ban foreign-made, patent-infringing products goes back to the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930--which ought to be a hint that this is a bad idea. The fear was that American intellectual property would be stolen by foreign firms, which would use U.S. patents to produce goods overseas without paying royalties and then ship those products to the U.S. The law was never intended to substitute for domestic patent-infringement suits in federal courts between two American companies, which is the story here.

 
Quote:
The ITC ban is in effect a bar to innovation by these U.S. companies--a fact recognized both by Chairman Pearson in his dissent, and by the administrative law judge who originally heard the case and refused to issue a broad ban in October 2006. Moreover, Broadcom is already suing Qualcomm in federal court over these very same patents. There is thus no need for the ITC to muscle in, except to expand its own bureaucratic turf in the patent field. The ITC's separate process was created only as a way to deal with patent infringers who were beyond the reach of U.S. courts.

 
Quote:
Our own sense is that the patent system needs two things above all: better patents and less litigation, and the two are related. The U.S. Patent Office needs to raise its standard of patent quality, so that patent-holders and potential licensees both know that any patent is likely to be valid and upheld by the courts.

 
I don't know anything more about the case than what was in the WSJ editorial, but it seems that (1) they don't make any case that the Broadcom patent was weak, low-quality, or invalid;  (2) they seem to think that there is a separate standard for prohibiting importation of goods by a foreign company (e.g., Nokia) compared to a U.S. company (e.g., Qualcomm/AT&T); (3) they seem to think that "fast moving industries" should be subject to lesser protection than staid, old-fashioned products like buggy whips and breakfast cereals.
 
I oughta just quote their whole article and let them sue over that old-fashioned concept known as "copyright infringement" which has no place in a modern fast-paced world with the WWW on it.  Grin
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