Those of us who appreciate a free market economy that actually has vim and vigor – know we need Intellectual Property (IP) protection. Even more so now in our 21st Century Information Economy:
“Economy in which knowledge is the primary raw material and source of value.”
And how do we protect “knowledge” – “the primary raw material and source of value?” With IP protections – also known as copyrights, trademarks and patents.
God bless our Agrarian Economy Founding Fathers – they got this. And they got this – back when most people were tilling fields rather than putting quill to parchment (let alone typing on keyboards).
Of such incredible import did the Founders deem IP protection – they ensconced it by name in the Constitution:
“The Copyright Clause (also known as the Intellectual Property Clause, Copyright and Patent Clause, or the Progress Clause) describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8). The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power ‘To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.’ The clause is the basis of intellectual property laws in the United States, specifically copyright and patent laws.”
Unfortunately, so many people today want to kill this golden-est of gooses. Either they don’t like private property of any sort (See: The Left) – or they bizarrely, stupidly devalue property simply because it isn’t tangible (See: Many Libertarians).
And of copyrights, trademarks and patents – they far and away most frequently target for destruction patents. By far the most important of the three.
But the things they cite as “problems with patents” – are actually just about never a problem with patents. Someone or something else is failing – and these people use them as an excuse to denigrate and undermine patents.
Born of this nonsense was the nonsense phrase “patent troll.” Which has taken on two different-but-related ridiculous definitions.
The first is someone who didn’t file the patent – but who instead purchases the patent, and then looks to get paid for it. Ill-defined in exquisitely stupid detail by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch:
“So-called ‘patent trolls’ – entities that don’t actually make or sell anything but that instead buy patent licenses merely to extort settlements….”
This is…just dumb. A patent is the inventor’s private property – to do with whatever he wishes. Up to and including…selling it to someone else. Who then enforces it – exactly as the inventor his own self would have.
I.e. get paid for the use of their private property. Not “extort settlements.”
Enterprise Rent-A-Car doesn’t make the cars they rent to us. They buy them from…the inventor. (A car being a rolling pile of patents, after all.)
Enterprise isn’t a “car troll” “extorting settlements” from us renters. They’re a legitimate business engaged in a legitimate business – which has made our lives and the lives of car manufacturers easier and better.
And way more often than not, inventors want to be…inventors. Not CEO managers of patent portfolios. So most of them are more than happy to cash out on one patent – and plow that coin into their work on the next.
There is absolutely zero wrong with any of this – dense Orrin Hatch-ian anti-property claims to the contrary notwithstanding.
The second “patent troll” definition is:
“(A) categorical or pejorative term applied to person or company that attempts to enforce patent rights against accused infringers far beyond the patent’s actual value or contribution to the prior art, often through hardball legal tactics (frivolous litigation, vexatious litigation, SLAPP, chilling effects, and the like).”
All of which – ALL of which – can be solved by actual judges doing their actual jobs…and quickly dismissing these stupid lawsuits.
This isn’t the fault of patents – this is the fault of the President of the United States and the United States Senate:
“He [the President] … shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, …Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States.…”
We have had Presidents for at least the last half century nominating ridiculous anti-Constitution, anti-law, anti-free-market, anti-property Justices and judges.
And we have had Senates for at least the last half century dropping repeatedly the Advise and Consent ball – and waving through a whole bunch of anti-Constitution, anti-law, anti-free-market, anti-property Justices and judges.
(To wit: Neither Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagen have any business being on the Supreme Court.)
These clowns in gowns then ignore the Constitution and the law – and instead impose their personal policy preferences.
Up to and including allowing patently ridiculous patent lawsuits to move forward. Because these clowns in gowns don’t like private property. Or functioning free market economies. Or the Constitution. Or….
As radio impresario and all around genius Mark Levin then so aptly notes:
“When justices veto legislative acts based on personal policy preferences, that’s tyranny.”
Yes it absolutely is.
What it isn’t – is a problem with patents.
If you want to solve this – and you should for a whole host of reasons beyond just IP – you need to get on our Presidents to nominate better Justices and judges.
And failing that – get on the Senate to not Consent to confirmation.
All of which would be a marked improvement.
None of which has anything to do with patents specifically – or Intellectual Property generally.
This first appeared in Red State.