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Prominent critic of patent system to join the White House

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In a fresh sign that the Obama Administration may be getting serious about patent reform, the White House is bringing on professor Colleen Chien, whose research is shedding light on controversial practice of patent trolling, to advise its chief technology officer:

“In her new role, she will advise [Todd] Park on issues related to intellectual property and innovation, as well as privacy, open government, and civil liberties. She will help ensure that OSTP can fulfill its missions to coordinate science and technology policy across the executive branch and to provide advice to the president on science and technology policy matters,” according to a release from Santa Clara University, where Chien teaches.

Chien, a former patent lawyer, has published influential papers that question the economic justification for the current wave of patent trolling in which holding companies acquire old patents and threaten productive companies with expensive lawsuits unless they purchase a license.

One prominent troll, for instance, this week notched new victories in its campaign to demand money from companies that podcast.

Chien is a more measured critic than some, noting that trolls can help start-ups in some cases, but that venture capitalists and start-ups have an overall negative opinion of them.

News of Chien’s White House appointment coincides with numerous proposed bills and an FTC plan to curtail patent trolling, which can drain start-ups and innovate companies of capital for research and hiring. Perhaps sensing the pushback, the most famous patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, is increasing its lobbying spending as it seeks to raise another $3 billion to expand its trolling activities.




2 Responses to “Prominent critic of patent system to join the White House”

  1. The word on the street is Chien is a paid puppet for some of teh worlds biggest invention thieves.

    “patent troll”

    infringers and their paid puppets’ definition of ‘patent troll’:

    anyone who has the nerve to sue us for stealing their invention

    This is just spin control by large infringers to cover up their theft.

    The patent system now teeters on the brink of lawlessness. Call it what you will…patent hoarder, patent troll, non-practicing entity, shell company, etc. It all means one thing: “we’re using your invention and we’re not going to stop or pay”. It’s a pure red herring by large invention thieves and their paid puppets to kill any inventor support system. Their goal is to legalize theft. The fact is, many of the large multinationals and their puppets who defame inventors in this way themselves make no products in the US or create any American jobs and it is their continued blatant theft which makes it impossible for the true creators to do so. To them the only patents that are legitimate are their own -if they have any. Meanwhile, the huge multinationals ship more and more US jobs overseas.

    It’s about property rights. They should not only be for the rich and powerful -campaign contributors. Our founders: Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others felt so strongly about the rights of inventors that they included inventors rights to their creations and discoveries in the Constitution. They understood the trade off. Inventors are given a limited monopoly and in turn society gets the benefits of their inventions (telephone, computer, airplane, automobile, lighting, etc) into perpetuity and the jobs the commercialization of those inventions bring. For 200 years the patent system has not only fueled the US economy, but the world’s. If we weaken the patent system, we force inventors underground like Stradivarius (anyone know how to make a Stradivarius violin?) and in turn weaken our economy and job creation. Worse yet, we destroy the American dream -the ability to prosper from our ingenuity for the benefit of our families and communities. To kill or weaken the patent system is to kill their futures. Show me a country with weak or ineffective property rights and I’ll show you a weak economy with high unemployment. If we cannot own the product of our minds or labors, what can we be said to truly own. Life and liberty are fundamentally tied to and in fact based on property rights. Our very lives are inseparably tied to our property.

    Prior to the Supreme Court case eBay v Mercexchange, small entities had a viable chance at commercializing their inventions. If the defendant was found guilty, an injunction was most always issued. Then the inventor small entity could enjoy the exclusive use of his invention in commercializing it. Unfortunately, injunctions are often no longer available to small entity inventors because of the eBay decision so we have no fair chance to compete with much larger entities who are now free to use our inventions. Essentially, large infringers now have your gun and all the bullets. Worse yet, inability to commercialize means those same small entities will not be hiring new employees to roll out their products and services. And now those same parties who killed injunctions for small entities and thus blocked their chance at commercializing now complain that small entity inventors are not commercializing. They created the problem and now they want to blame small entities for it. What dissembling! If you don’t like this state of affairs (your unemployment is running out), tell your Congress member. Then maybe we can get some sense back into the patent system with injunctions fully enforceable on all infringers by all patentees, large and small.

    Those wishing to help fight big business giveaways should contact us as below and join the fight as we are building a network of inventors and other stakeholders to lobby Congress to restore property rights for all patent owners -large and small.

    For the truth about trolls, please see

  2. Freerange

    We need to take out patent trolls completely – they are nothing more than big money parasites. More and more these big hedge funds and wealthy individuals are seeking every single opportunity they can find to pick our pockets. Just take a good hard look who is behind these leeches.