In summary, it is not ok to steal IP, but not every patent actually contains IP. Some patents would be declared invalid if someone thought it was worth the money & effort to challenge the patent in court.
Your example about the H-bridge-in-a-defibrillator patent might seem like case in point, but I suspect the court might rule this to be a valid patent if the inventor was the first to combine those two things.
That might seem ludicrous to we engineers, who learned about H-bridges many years ago from a college textbook, and who are also aware that defibrillators have been around for decades. But the USPTO often considers combinations of prior art -- even fairly obvious combinations -- to be "new IP." This is yet another way in which our patent system is broken.
I wouldn't go so far as to despise the word "inventor," because occasionally a genuine inventor actually comes along and, well, invents something -- really invents something.
But I fully appreciate your disdain for those who simply capitalize on the lack of an existing claim on obvious combinations of existing inventions.
On the other hand, you have companies trying to claim as their own IP ideas which they did not originate, and are, in fact, public knowledge. You only have to look at the number of patent applications that the USPTO reject as not novel to understand the picture. A lot of unoriginal patents still slip through the system.
I have to agree with "eewiz". I've been a "designer" (I despise the word "inventor") for practically my entire professional career. More than once I was asked to review a patent, find the "holes" and work around them. During the course of doing this I was handed patents for things like using an H-bridge driver in a circuit. I balked and said "How is it possible that they got a patent on such an absurdedly obvious thing?". The answer is always the same "They got the patent for using that circuit in THIS particular device" (a heart defibrillator to be exact in this instance). I'm not the first to say it and won't be the last, the "Patent System" is broken beyond repair. If I "come up with" anything I think worthy, I release it into the public domain as fast as possible. I have never had "an original thought" in my entire life; we are the products of what has come before us(and if you think that you are so special that YOU have "original ideas" do yourself a favor and search on ANY TWO words at alibaba.com and see how "original" you are). This gets away from the point of this blog post; Of course, the question is rhetorical and the answer as stated is it is never okay to "steal" IP, under any circumstances. I wouldn't walk into your shop and "borrow" a screwdriver, nor would I take your "idea". But when we've fostered and protected the idea that one can round the corners on a rectangle and get away with saying "No one has ever thought of this before and we'll crucify anyone that tries to do it from here on out" then we lie in the bed we've made. Oh wait, the rounded corner rectangle was used in a *consumer device" and no one has ever done THAT before. Except for when they did... No matter, I have more money than you so I'm right.
Ok, this doesnt work well with design IP, but maybe there should be a demand for fingerprinting on HW and SW to even be able to take the cases to court?
But of course, if the gear is developed in china/india, maybe you're in trouble in the first place :p
But isnt it irritating when someone has a patent on some IP you already thought about or even worked hard on?
I think its too easy to claim IP.
But luckily its easy to proove partly or full copies, both in sw and hw, if the inventor just spends a little time to hide some unique patterns.
Ive used it myself in firmware, where I hid some unique text, zipped and tooked the header out and baked the data into the code together with some constant tables. There is no chance copying this without including the trace unless they reverse engineer every tiniest bit of the firmware.
The copies was stopped efficiently, even if they tried to hide the tracks.
Having sat through 2 graduate courses,as part of my PhD program, on IP by a leading Taiwanese IP expert(he was visiting professor at my university), I can tell how Asians view western IP. The summary of the courses were "go ahead and INFRINGE" . I was taught how to "design around" a patent so as to get the same functionality without technically violating the patent. And what to do if get caught.
I want to say, IP theft is here to stay. And nothing much can be done to stop it. Even in the US, corporations steal IP from one another. I remember one of my friend's friend who was hired at Marvel, his official daytime job was to read through all Broadcom patents, and come up with IP that "design around" the Broadcom patent.
americans are quite generous in delivering free porn IPs to other country.
why it start whiling now?
From: Alfred Childers [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:35 PM
Subject: Do not bury your love life before time
Time is a pleasure; make it more long-lasting
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.