TED Talk: Drew Curtis: How I Beat A Patent Troll

Posted by · April 17, 2012 3:40 pm

After being sued for violating a patent “for the creation and distribution of news releases via email,” Fark.com founder Drew Curtis was over it. Taking to the stage at a TED Talk hosted in Long Beach back in March, Curtis used the speaking invite as an opportunity to share his experience in facing down a patent troll.

Speaking of the broad nature of the patent that he and several other major companies including Yahoo, TechCrunch and Reddit were being accused of violating, the Fark founder began, “Now it may seem kind of strange that such a thing can actually be patented, but it does happen all the time. Take something already being done and patent it for an emerging technology.”

Given the widespread use of such tactics by patent trolls, Curtis’s advice is simple. “Don’t fight the patent,” he warns. “Fight the infringement.”

Watch the full TED Talk here:

Sharing his TED Talk with readers over at the Huffington Post on Tuesday, Curtis went on to share a piece of advice shared by his “buddy” and Columbia University professor Ray Fisman, who wrote an article for Slate last week on the same topic.

“Short version: it brings innovation to a complete halt,” Curtis argues.

Worse still, the Fark founder continues, large companies, especially those in the high-tech industry, are beginning to use their “patent arsenals” (originally collected for allegedly defensive purposes) as weapons against each other.

“The war has already started folks,” he warns, after pointing to a mind-boggling chart entitled “Smartphone Competitor Patent Suits” (see image below). “Billions of dollars are being wasted on this (expletive deleted). People are actually dying as a result.”

So how do we solve the patent troll problem and re-stimulate innovation? Share your thoughts and views in the comments below.

For more on the world of patent trolls & intellectual property . . .

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • ElrondCT

    My solution is simple: eliminate software and business process method patents. Software should be covered by copyright only. Business process methods are fair game for anyone; patenting them does not “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” as called for by the Constitution. Patents should apply only to tangible property.