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Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch

From: T . Max Devlin
Subject: Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch
Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 14:15:17 -0400

On Sun, 16 May 2004 01:10:13 -0400, Barry Margolin
<> wrote:

>In article <>,
> T. Max Devlin <> wrote:
>> >I didn't say *that* lawsuit helped Microsoft.  I said that the patent 
>> >system helps Microsoft, but it also helps the little guys so they can 
>> >sue Microsoft.
>> But, of course, it doesn't, since Microsoft isn't just another company
>> competing with patents.  There monopoly power gives them a bankroll
>> sufficient to change the rules about who wins and who loses in a
>> lawsuit, even if it costs them billions of dollars.    Just like any
>> other property rights, patent in the hands of such an entity can be
>> used to provide predatory leverage.
>So you think patents should be available to everyone except *really* big 

Who me?  You're misunderstanding my position.  I think no property
rights should be available to monopolists.

>Should we also deny them the right to buy real estate?  What 
>else should we deny to Microsoft?

The privilege of existing.

>Anyway, I thought we were having a discussion about patents in general, 
>not specifically Microsoft.

Actually, we are having a discussion (fragmented at best, but it is
there) about whether there is any reason to discuss patents in general
in light of the fact that there is so much to discuss about
monopolization, which is even more general, and is what most of the
problems stem from.

>Would it have been OK if it had been "Joe 
>Schmo Patents Flipping a Light Switch"?

Depends on what you mean by "OK".  I think it is OK now, in terms of
patent law, though I have no confidence this patent would survive an
objective evaluation.  I believe that either Mr. Schmo or Mr. Gates
would be in violation of the Sherman Act should they seek to use their
ownership of this patent to secure market share in preference to
market size, regardless of whether it is OK or not as a patent.  I
believe Mr. Schmo would have no reason to think such a tactic would
work for him, and Mr. Gates has no reason to think it wouldn't work
for him.

>Are patents only silly when 
>Microsoft applies for them?

All property rights are silly when Microsoft applies for them;
Microsoft is a scam masquerading as an industry.

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