TweakMDS wrote in post #12481274
In the same way, many of these technologies are so trivial, you don't *need* to reverse engineer them. As soon as you hear the general concept, you can build your own implementation of it. For that, you don't even need the competition's designs. That's where many of these copyright / patent cases become tricky.
Suppose this technique wouldn't exist yet; If you have 10 people develop an isolated technology for IS, and then proceed to to file 10 patents. You will probably get all 10. Then wait 10-15 years for lawsuits to start happening between person 3 and 7, because person 7 was maybe one day later or used a similar design.
This whole patenting system is wrong and often contains very vague trivial concepts.
And what's worse is that you can actually get a patent without being able to make it, and then sue a company that does (without using your patents) but only after 10 years.
They should really make the patents expire if you haven't started production (or even market the final product) within 12 months or something...
Ehhh, I dunno 'bout that. Maybe they do last too long, and with how fast things move now-adays 10 years might be a better length, but patents such as a patent on IS technology, Ultrasonic Motors, that kinda thing, are places the patent system works well. These are hard physical products, machines, technology, etc, manufacturable goods.
What is screwy is patenting vague ideas (amazon's 1-click patent for example), incredibly obvious things (like you were saying), business models, and software--that stuff should not be protected by patents as it doesn't encourage innovation, but rather discourages it. Though I might not be opposed to software patents entirely if they had a very very strict non-obvious requirement and only lasted 2 years.
But I wouldn't want say, Canon to not be able to get a patent on something like USM because it took 'em more than a year to put it into a product, that probably wouldn't benefit society. I do completely agree that something needs to be done about patent trolls, though. You shouldn't be able to get away with sitting on something for 10 years with the intent to use it later in a lawsuit if someone ever makes it, I agree 100%, that just discourages innovation and hurts the public flat out.
I think Canon and Nikon image stabilization is something that is a good example of a good patent, though, it's certainly innovative and useful tech, it was manufactured and gives the public great benefit, and if Sigma did really copy Nikon and knew it and continued to do so, then they deserve what they get. If they didn't, then hopefully the judge will see that and they'll get to keep doing so. What will probably happen is they'll agree to some licensing payment behind the scenes. Either way it'll be interesting.