I've been watching the story of NTP vs. RIM and the slightly lesser known case of MercExchange vs. eBay. What I find curious is that Patents, which were created to drive and reward innovation, have now become a means to stifle it.
There are many varied pro and con issues surrounding patents. The one I’d like to address is the one that puzzles me the most—Patent Holding companies that exist solely to collect royalties on patents bought at the equivalent of ‘fire sales’ without any intention of actually producing anything with the technology. The U.S. courts treat these patent holding companies as equal to the original inventor or a company actually using the technology it has patented. By holding a technology advancement hostage—they aren’t using it and no one else can—these holding companies are accomplishing the opposite of the Patent's original intention.
If the spirit of the law was to spur innovation and the letter of the law now hinders it, shouldn’t we change things so that the spirit and the letter are once again the same?