More on the DataTreasury Patents

by on April 3, 2008 · 54 comments

In his characteristically bullying style, Tom Giovanetti sent me this link to a Washington Post write up of the DataTreasury controversy. Apparently banks have, in fact, proposed an amendment to the patent bill that would be narrowly tailored to exempt themselves from DataTreasury’s patents. While I have zero sympathy for patent trolls (and don’t especially care if they “invented” the patents themselves or purchased them from a third party), carving out narrow exceptions for narrow interest groups is the wrong way to go about patent reform. What we need is broad patent reform that protects people in general, large and small, from abusive patents like the DataTreasury patents. To the extent that narrow carve-outs peel off potential supporters for fundamental patent reform, they might even be a bad thing.

Also, somebody from a PR firm sent me this link. (She was cagey about who she works for, but I assume it’s one of the banks behind the amendment—I wish PR people would just give me a straight answer) Apparently the CBO has, in fact, estimated that taxpayers would be on the hook, on the grounds that the amendment would constitute a taking under the Fifth Amendment. This seems wrong to me—narrowing the scope of a government monopoly isn’t the same as taking somebody’s land—but there it is.

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