Real Inventor Adventures (What Save the Inventor Didn’t Tell You)

As I noted last fall, the Innovation Alliance is pushing its claim that all sorts of catastrophes will befall individual inventors if we pass patent reform. Recently, through its “Save the Inventor” campaign, the Innovation Alliance put up a comic strip to tell its story.

It seemed to me that the ending was unsatisfying, so I’ve written a new ending, which you can read below. (If you don’t want to read the original strips, just read the introduction, which will catch you up on the story so far.)

Click on any image below to open the gallery of strips. (Start reading at the Introduction.)

  2 comments for “Real Inventor Adventures (What Save the Inventor Didn’t Tell You)

  1. Gordon McGrew
    December 2, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Wow, that is great, Matt. Could you turn mine into a comic?

    So these trolls are regularly making it look like big corporations are infringing my patent to make me mad at the system? How does that help them?

    Well, no they mostly buy patents from independent inventors who have no practical means to commercialize their inventions. Then they sue Hugecorp to make money.

    Well, selling my patent was my intention all along. I don’t have capital or expertise to go into
    manufacturing, marketing, distribution, etc. Do you mean they bought my patent so they could sue suing themselves for the infringement they faked? How does that make sense?

    No, in this case Hugecorp is an actual huge corporation that is actually practicing your patent.

    So in this case Hugecorp IS stealing my invention.

    No, you don’t really have an invention. It may be novel, but it is an obvious variation on something that already exists.

    But my lawyer said it had to be non-obvious or the Patent Office wouldn’t have granted it. But you
    said he isn’t a lawyer so he is wrong?

    No, in that case he had to be a lawyer or the Patent Office wouldn’t have allowed him to represent you. And what he said about the Patent Office not granting obvious patents is true, but sometimes they make a mistake.

    So if they make a mistake and give you a patent you can still collect money from infringers?

    No, the accused infringer can prove that the patent is invalid during the court procedures.

    Then what is the problem?

    The problem is that Hugecorp has to spend a lot of time and money to defend themselves. That cuts into their huge profits.

    But doesn’t the Patent Troll have to spend a lot of time and money also. And if the patent is invalid they will get nothing. Do they have that much money?

    No, the Patent Troll has only a tiny fraction of the resources of Hugecorp. They hope that
    Hugecorp will pay them a relatively small amount of money to go away.

    But if the patent is invalid, why don’t they just prove that in court?

    Well, Hugecorp is just going to do what is cheapest. You don’t expect a huge corporation to put
    principle ahead of profit, do you?

    Well, of course not. So these huge corporations only file patents that they know are non-obvious, right?

    Oh no, Hugecorp files patents on obvious and trivial variations all the time?

    Why do they do that?

    Well, it helps keep new competitors from entering the field by extending the effective life of their real patents. Big Pharma is notorious for doing that.

    So the difference between Hugecorp and a Patent Troll is that Hugecorp will actually make the patented invention?

    No, not if they don’t think it will increase their profits. Sometimes it is more profitable to just keep making the old one than to introduce a better product. They just don’t want someone else to do that.

    So if Congress shuts down the Patent Trolls, I can just sell my patent to Hugecorp, right?

    Don’t be silly. If Hugecorp wants to practice your patent they will just do it.

    Then I can sue them?

    Sure if you have millions of dollars to gamble on it and years to find out if you have lost it all.

    So if the trolls are shut down, my patent is worthless and Hugecorp can just do whatever they want.

    I’m glad I could help you understand the truth about Patent Trolls.

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