Quoted: Nothing funny about patent trolls

“The problem is, if you’re going to have a patent on, say, a button on a keyboard, then anytime someone turns on a computer you’re going to randomly go after people and say, “Did you use this button?” “Yeah.” “Then you owe us money.” “How much money?” “Well, how much money are you making? Meet me outside.”

— Marc Maron, comedian and podcaster, discussing the problem of patent trolls with CorpCounsel.com editor Brian Glaser. Maron, host of the popular “WTF” podcast, is one of many podcasters facing the threat of litigation over alleged patent infringement. The fight has been taken up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; “None of us could afford to protect ourselves. Yeah, we can go to lawyers, but none of us can afford to litigate this thing,” Maron said. The comedian has become a vocal anti-patent troll advocate for independent broadcasters, and has called for change in the way patents are enforced. “Somebody’s got to stop the way that this works. This doesn’t seem to be something that promotes invention or encourages entrepreneurial activity,” he told Glaser. “It seems so clearly an abuse of the system.”


Comedian and podcaster Marc Maron. (Photo by Seth Olenick/www.wtfpod.com)




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  • JCF

    The problem is not in the way patents are enforced, but in the way they are issued. Most likely, the patent for “the button on the keyboard” should never have been issued in the first place.
    Most solutions against the so-called “patent troll problem” will shift the imbalance of power between large corporations and individual inventors even further away from the individual inventor.
    A simple solution would be to require consent from the first inventor, or a majority of inventors, on any assertion of IP rights related to a patent. But of course that would mean corporations would need to treat their inventors with respect, rather than like disposable assets. It is so much easier to demonize the “trolls”.

  • Steve

    The problem is not only patents but the “Disneyization” of copyright laws. Why should a disembodied statement have a 100+ year protection and a patent (that actually produces something) only live for 17 years. If our current copyright laws were in force, Disney would not even exist (you can take that for good or ill).