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October 23, 2007

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Bruce Sewell, Intel general counsel, wailed in Washington Monday about  "people who buy up patents for the purpose of litigating them. We're not talking about individual inventors who sue for patent infringement. We're talking about patent speculators who warehouse patents and use those patents to go after successful companies."

Sewell astonished with the revelation: "Not all patents are identical. Some patents are more important in a product, and some patents are less important."

Sewell declined to explain why mega-corporation Intel couldn't identify and warehouse patents itself, particularly those that "are more important in a product," or why it did not consider it equitable to license patents when infringing others' intellectual property.

Sewell, a career corporate lawyer, neither economist nor financier, apparently fails to grasp the concept of marketplace economics applied to intangible assets.

Instead, Sewell wants the law changed to benefit Intel. "You have a group of companies that are happy with the status quo, and are saying, 'Don't change it; it's not broken.' That's fine, but it's broken for a lot of other people."

Mr. Sewell, please relax; help is available. All you need do is dial Patent Hawk at 206.529.5146 and let them help you with those nasty speculators by killing their patents, and identify those patents that may be "more important in a product", so Intel can do a little warehousing of its own. Ease up, my friend; that little reform scam you'd like to run: it's just not going to work out.

Posted by Patent Hawk at October 23, 2007 12:22 AM | The Patent System

Comments

As a chief legal counsel for Intel Mr. Sewell should know where those (at least some of the most "pain-in-the-ass" for his company) patents come from and how they end up being purshased by "patent trolls"...
They come from independent inventors and startups alike, who were refused to be taken seriously or even ruined financially by the likes of Mr. Sewell.

Do those corporate types have no shame ?

Posted by: small inventor at October 23, 2007 9:23 AM

Yeah, stop giving small inventors the bum's rush.

Posted by: take that at October 23, 2007 2:50 PM

Counsel for large companies usually take the path that make themselves the most fees. Paying royalties and buying patents might be cheaper, but they would rather make the money themselves. Intel takes advice from its attorneys, which surprise, is to pay them rather than inventors.
Patent trolls are usually attorneys as well. The new laws though seem to hit attorneys harder than anyone though. KSR makes inventors lodge fewer patent applications. The new PTO rules mean fewer fees from continuations. Fewer injunctions means fewer attorney driven patent trolls. The PTO is introducing more sanctions on attorneys and blaming them for the backlog.
Maybe this is really the Republicans against the lawyers, similar to the changes in damages claims and class actions. After all lawyers are perceived to vote Democratic. If patent attorneys approached the Democratic Congress and offered more contributions, and got some lobbyists a lot of this might be averted.
Once the Democrats saw this as Republicans attacking their financial contributors their attitude might quickly change. I would suggest the attorneys considering joining attacks on the PTO start writing some fat checks to Hillary and the problem will go away.
For example someone might form a PAC for patent attorneys.

Posted by: MJC at October 23, 2007 7:16 PM

Democrats, Republicans...

They are all of the same color to me after watching recent developments in Congress...

Just a bunch of ignorant and power-hungry hypocrits (with a few exceptions on both sides)

Posted by: small inventor at October 23, 2007 7:36 PM

MJC, Republicans Duncan Hunter and Dana Rohrbacher would make this a national security issue if prodded in the right direction. They were friends of innovation in the past, and I believe they would get on board quickly. A lobbyist would be necessary, and you are right, attorneys must "invest" some dough for that assistance.

Posted by: seenithappen at October 23, 2007 8:30 PM

Ok, so who is going to call a lobbyist? The best way might be to call some Democrats, e.g. Clinton, the DNC, Hunter, Rohrbacher and ask for some lobbyist's names. They are also talking about this at patentdocs.com.

Posted by: MJC at October 24, 2007 12:52 AM