One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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The GOP wants the Silicon Valley’s love. And by love we mean the millions of donation dollars that currently go mostly to Democrats. And sadly, it appears some Republicans will go to nearly any length to curry some of that coin.
Including giving up core conservative principles. Currently on the Win Your Love sacrificial altar – private property rights.
Since 2011, Overstock.com, from my home state of Utah, has been targeted by 28 so-called patent“trolls,” seeking to enforce vague patents.
Patents are private property – and deserve all the protections a personal parcel of land does.
If a patent is vague, that is the fault of the U.S. government – the Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) – for approving it. Once the USPTO approves, though, that patent is private property – with all the ownership rights pertaining thereto.
If Overstock doesn’t like it – work with Congress to tighten up the USPTO’s approval process. Don’t get government to undermine a fundamental component of our intellectual property system.
Behold the fundamental issue in this whole “patent troll” discussion. We don’t need “patent troll” reform – we need Patent Office reform.
Often these trolling lawsuits come from shell corporations that don’t make or sell anything.
“Shell companies” – otherwise known as property owners. These companies in many cases purchased the patents from those who invented the patent-able product – the people from whom sprung forth the miracle that is creation.
Inventors often have zero desire to actually implement their ideas. Their joy is in the inventing. They are often more than happy to sell an idea (to a “shell company”) – to fund their work on their next idea.
This is an amazing, virtuous cycle of innovation. Why would we want to fundamentally undermine it?
(P)atent trolls are crippling growth across all sectors of our innovation economy – from small businesses to America’s largest companies.
There’s a very easy way to avoid this litigation, Ladies and Gentlemen – pay the people whose property you are using. Or don’t use it.
If I were squatting in your office building and renting the space out – would you be pleased if I got Congress to outlaw your ability to collect rent or evict me? You absolutely would not. Congratulations – you’re an “office troll.”
This is the Silicon Valley looking to “rent seek” – which means getting government to pass laws that tilt the playing field in their favor. And, of course, getting favors from government costs money – otherwise known as political donations.
Of course Democrats are – as always – for Crony Socialist sale. It’s disheartening when the allegedly free market, private-property-protecting Republicans are too.
Hey GOP – sometimes the girl ain’t worth it.
[Originally published at Red State]