I can’t leave Munich without a comment on that NPE session. Picture the scene. Have you ever seen the film the Fifth Element? Gary Oldman, the excellent Gary Oldman, plays the baddie, the ultimate capitalist owner of everything sold or produced worldwide, everyone’s boss. He tips a glass from his desk, breaking it on the floor of his office, little robots come out from the walls, one a hoover, one a dustpan, one to wash, one to polish, all to demonstrate to Bruce Willis, the hero, how chaos and disorder is good as it gives us mindless humans a range of purposes and keeps us busy.
I’ve just sat through the IPBC session titled “Getting to Grips with NPEs”. Now that was a session which generated real emotion in me, and showed how amazing us humans are at spending time and effort on things that are ultimately meaningless.
I went through a large range of emotions. I started out neutral . Here we go, just another session about trolls, trolls justifying why even trolls do social good (we help small inventors make money from their IP!-well done, good for you), lawyers arguing over technicalities (rule 11, blah, blah blah), the anti-troll lobby screaming about how unfair the system is to allow this abuse and Dan McCurdy (we’ll come back to him later) giving his troll stats.
I quickly got into irritated. Mainly as the session was dominated by American accents justifying their respective positions. Mild anger soon followed. More American accents, more justification, more self-justifying arguments.
Soon followed by seething. Vigorous agreement with Nokia (great speech, really great speech Dr Schneider) and Technicolor (ex Thomson, good “I hate trolls” speech Beatrice de Russé). I found myself wanting to applaud. C’mon the anti-troll lobby!!!There was little room for middle ground in the room. And, for me, the anti-troll camp has my lifetime vote.
Why? Well it is quite simple really. With one very limited exception (genuine lone inventors) I concluded that the whole troll business model is just so lacking in any creativity or social worth. I found myself asking “What went wrong in these people’s childhoods or lives to lead to a conclusion that they can look themselves in the mirror and believe that they are doing anything good?”. Daniel Papst by the way gave a good human explanation if I understand their heritage, gamekeepers turned poachers.
And then I realised I owe slashdot an apology for ever expressing any admiration for organisations that create nothing. So here I am, saying sorry and asking for forgiveness for my error. I’ve now seen the inside and see how futile it all is.
The one exception that one has to make and should make it for the small and lone inventor. He/she deserves reward if he is the godfather/mother of a new technology that creates wealth. He or she, exceptionally, deserves a fair reward. The rest of you, have you really got nothing better to do?
Dan McCurdy is a legend in the IP world. An IBMer under Marshall Phelps, a licensing expert/jobbing consultant in Thinkfire (I’m sure I recall his profile with a dollar amount against his face for his lifetime licensing dollars generated), now AST. But how can these two statements be reconciled? Statement 1, timed at about 46 minutes in “I would be delighted to close down AST tomorrow if the NPE problem went away!!” (hooray!!), and then, at around 58 minutes in “When we buy patents in for our AST members, we commit to sell them within 12 months, and we sell them to the highest bidder, we sell to operating companies, aggregators, and….to NPEs”.
Excuse me, come again….WHAT!!! You perpetuate the problem by selling on patents, to NPE’s, who can then sue those who don’t have licenses as they aren’t your members.
Go back to the first image of Gary Oldman in the Fifth Element. What peculiar beings we are. Like my kids when they’ve nothing better to do they create chaos until a parent says stop. This really does need some high up parent to say stop. The US risks damaging its credibility as a country by this worthless pursuit, threatening new innovations by imposing a totally arbitrary and senseless tax created by some out of control kids. If we have anything we in Europe we can do to stop this catching on in Europe, we really should.So sorry Slashdot again, I got it badly wrong. I apologise.
There is nothing to admire in this.