Hephaestus, I think your comment about trade secrets is more true than many people realize -- including the companies they work for.
Lots of patentable innovations come out of engineers working in product development groups, not just corporate R&D groups. Schedules are tight, the next project starts as soon as the current project finishes, and the financial incentives to the inventor to pursue a patent application may not be worth the effort -- especially when the effort involves a lot of extra after-hours & weekend time spent reviewing prior art, back & forth with the company patent attorneys, etc.
At the individual engineer level, I think a lot of innovative ideas are just kept to oneself. Given the ease with which patents can be violated (think of multi-million gate SoCs), I think there are many engineers who may think "I'm just going to keep this clever little trick to myself" rather than teaching it to the world at large.
This comment does not specifically address patent lawyers, but primarily those who promote the lack of personal responsibility for the results of ones actions. They scream "If you are injured it must be somebody else's fault", and then attack the closest party that has any money. The ultimate result is not only the suppression of many good ideas, but, far worse, the dumbing-down of the gene pool, by assuring that the stupid and lazy are able to reproduce in abundance. So the result will be that our once great country will have a huge proportion of really stupid folks. Just think about that: a nation of folks who don't understand that you should not try to trim the hedge with a rotary mower, or use a curling iron in the shower, or any of the other things that have been used to win claims against manufacturers in the past few years. This is what we can thank those product liability lawyers for.
By the way, I'm an engineer - not an attorney. Following is the continuation of the article at that URL.
Today's Jack Cades can readily be found throughout the insurance industry and in manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and chemical companies. They want to dismantle the tort system. They want to disrupt the judiciary and abrogate the common law, to the detriment of the rights of individual citizens, consumers, and injured persons who deserve competent representation and adequate redress for harm done to them.
Over the centuries tyrants and demagogues have come in many forms. In today's context, it is not the "army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to the ignorant" who cry for the demise of the lawyers, but rather modern demagogues who manipulate our governmental institutions to their own ends. Why? Because trial lawyers are the first line of defense to prevent irresponsible elements within the insurance, manufacturing, and chemical companies from dismantling the tort system, disrupting the judiciary and abrogating the common law to the detriment of the rights of individual citizens, consumers and tort victims.
Doubtless, if Shakespeare could put quill to parchment to script analogous phrases for modern corporate tyrants, he could couch their refrain thusly:
•If America's democratic institutions of right to trial by jury and election of judges are to be abolished, first let's discredit all the lawyers;
•If American citizens' common law rights to full recovery of legal damages are to be abrogated for the benefit of profit-motivated corporations, first let's defame all the lawyers; and
•If America's judicial system of tort reparations is to be remolded into a profit mechanism for the insurance industry, first let's degrade all the lawyers.
Please see the following URL.
Ironically, the rallying cry of the lawyer bashers has become Shakespeare's quote from Henry VI: "THE FIRST THING WE DO, LET'S KILL ALL THE LAWYERS."
Those who use this phrase pejoratively against lawyers are as miserably misguided about their Shakespeare as they are about the judicial system which they disdain so freely.
Even a cursory reading of the context in which the lawyer killing statement is made in King Henry VI, Part II, (Act IV), Scene 2, reveals that Shakespeare was paying great and deserved homage to our venerable profession as the front line defenders of democracy.
The accolade is spoken by Dick the Butcher, a follower of anarchist Jack Cade, whom Shakespeare depicts as "the head of an army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to the ignorant," who sought to overthrow the government. Shakespeare's acknowledgment that the first thing any potential tyrant must do to eliminate freedom is to "kill all the lawyers" is, indeed, a classic and well-deserved compliment to our distinguished profession.
Of -- our society—have invested a lot of money and opportunity cost in getting these folks to their Ph.D.s—and for what? --, what about the highly trained scientists and engineers currently without jobs?
See post at IPBiz:
I am always reminded of the joke; 99% of the lawyers give the rest a bad name. As a group they have done it to themselves. There was a time when a lawyer's job was to make sure a person got a fair trial. Not so today. They try to distort the truth, withhold evidence, throw out things that are relevant etc. to get obviously guilty persons off. They do dirty tricks like the guy in the previous comment about going through divorce. I have an acquaintance that had his divorce contest moved far away from home so he, being a janitor, could never afford to contest it. Nuf said?
Lots of people complain about "parasitic lawyers" and that there are to many lawyers. But I never hear anyone complain about the REAL cause of the problems they blame on lawyers - the LAWS we have allowed congress to pass or not gotten congress to pass (state or federal - same issue). Lawyers are only the agents of the laws we have written. If write laws that leave lots f room for ambiguity then we can only expect long drawn out legal actions. If we write laws that are really precise - and probably leave loopholes because they don't address future technologies we will reduce the subtle issues that lawywers can exploit to make being involved a lose lose situation.
Lawyers work for companies just as engineers do. Company says "patent it" so we talk to the company's patent lawyers. I have a handful of questionable patents which any [other] fool could have thought up but I was first so the company wants the ideas protected. The problem is not the middle-person (the lawyer) or even the company but the corporate culture which values a tradeable patent over the product it is protecting.