A man tosses in his bed, his thoughts dominated by visions of ruin and destruction. Unable to sleep, he levers himself from his bed and finds a chair in the darkness. One week earlier, this was man was a hero in the recessional economy. An entrepreneur, one of the individuals creating jobs out of nothing. Tonight, he is a victim of a terror campaign. He sees the labors of his hard work torn apart, his future uncertain and he knows fear.
This man is an educated software developer and a few days ago he received legal documents accusing him of software patent infringement for using software provided by his platform provider. The accuser does not develop software, instead they are a predator, consuming the efforts of previous creators for pennies on the research dollars spent. They find the ruins of companies who strove to be first to make new discoveries, compaies that attempted to protect their right to monetize the hard work. All this positive effort, bought at a steep discount so the predator can build an intellectual property library which they turn into a revenue generator. Filing intimidation lawsuits far and wide, fishing with fear to force capitulation, the company extracts the lifeblood from the entrepreneurs who strive to create value.
The news lends coverage to the Somali pirates, a group of poor, desperate men who seize ships in passage and hold them for ransom. The patent Trolls of the US are worse. They are not poor, desperate men, they do not just prey on the large ships, but instead hold for ransom every small skiff or fisherman who passes. The terror is not fear of death, but fear of losing everything, fear the American dream is a lie. Having your name appear on an legal accusation inflicts the same feelings as the pirates do, Terror.
Every leap forward in technology has a negative side. As shipping brought pirates, and trains brought train robbers, Patents have brought out the patent trolls.
So, what is the solution? I propose a limitation on patents to limit the enforceability to active companies in the industry. There should be no marauding band of degenerate lawyers who attempt to extort from the positive work of others. To enforce a patent claim, the owner should be forced to prove a business reason for the suit and a legitimate venture which contributes positively to society.
Let us act to support our creators. Let us act to counter this drain on productivity. Let us disband these hooligans and ensure the legal system acts to protect the interests of the common man. Let us act to open the avenues for new entrepreneurs and shut down these IP extortionists.