A Solution to the Software Patent Problem?

Patents in the USA were intended to protect inventors against people copying, reproducing, and selling their own creations. But with software, things have gone awry with companies like Apple and Microsoft patenting the stupidest things — hoping they will slip through the US patent office and be accepted. And now to defend oneself from being sued for patent infringement, huge companies are scooping up patents in billion dollar buys. Apple and Microsoft recently paid $4.5 billion for Nortel‘s patent pool, and Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12 billion which included their patent pool.

This is a tremendous amount of money spent which isn’t even for any tangible product, research, or manpower. In the long run this is going to cost consumers by raising product prices (Microsoft gets $5-10 for every HTC phone sold, even though there is absolutely no Microsoft product or technology in it).

I was thinking about the patent problem and how it could be changed to protect the individual or company inventions but prevent big businesses from bullying other companies and hurting the consumer. What if patents could not be transferred to another individual or company without being released into the public domain? In other words if you hold a patent for something that you invented, you would still be fully protected by that patent, but you could not sell or transfer that patent power to someone else. If you decided to sell your company or go out of business, the patents automatically get released in the public domain.

This solution would protect the inventor (person or company) that invented the “thing”, but prevent the fake companies that just buy up patents and sue everybody from existing.

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