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113658FW: [toyota-prius] Re: Why lithium?

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  • Bob Schulhof
    May 31 9:26 AM
      What ever happened to government protecting us from monopolies & restraint
      of trade? It is one thing to have a monopoly on a needed product another to
      just see that it never sees the light of day because it would lower your
      profits. Is anyone actually using Chevron's Patents now?

      From: toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com [mailto:toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of Mike Dimmick
      Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:23 AM
      To: 'Paul Lawler'; toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [toyota-prius] Re: Why lithium?

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:toyota-prius%40yahoogroups.com>
      [mailto:toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:toyota-prius%40yahoogroups.com>
      > On Behalf Of Paul Lawler
      > Sent: 29 May 2009 20:23
      > To: toyota-prius@yahoogroups.com <mailto:toyota-prius%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: Re: [toyota-prius] Re: Why lithium?
      > Surely you are not naive enough to think that nobody else is capable
      > of developing a viable NiMH battery because of Chevron's patents. That
      > would be like saying nobody else could develop a smart phone because
      > Blackberry hold that patents; or nobody else could develop a touch
      > screen mp3 player because Apple holds the patents. The "useful" life
      > of a patent is generally much shorter than the 17 years granted by
      > the U.S. patent office.

      Patents allow a patent-holder to demand as much in royalties as they want
      for the use of the patent, often as royalties per produced unit rather than
      a fixed fee. There is no compulsion for them to issue licenses, except as
      far as keeping the company running goes - if they have outside investment,
      even as a shell company, the patent remains valid. The price for renewing
      the patent every year does increase, but it's not significant to a company
      of Chevron's size.

      US law permits triple damages to be awarded if you knowingly ('wilfully')
      infringe a patent. You will notice that this means that if you invent
      something completely independently, they can still get you.

      The only way it works is like nuclear weapons: through mutually-assured
      destruction. Companies of sufficient size continually apply for frivolous
      patents, most of which are granted because the patent office is supposed to
      show a profit, and the only way it can get revenue is fees from issued
      patents. The companies then cross-license these patents with each other so
      they can actually get their work done. They can be held to ransom by anyone
      who holds a patent who isn't in the business of manufacturing the product,

      I'm a software engineer. In my industry patents are laughable. Microsoft has
      just been successfully sued for using XML to store Office documents - the
      new file formats in Office 2007. This was completely obvious to anyone, but
      the patent was still issued. Microsoft sued TomTom over their use of Windows
      95's extensions to support long filenames in the FAT filesystem, which is
      used by storage cards, so anyone using long filenames on storage cards is
      infringing. Again, the idea of hiding extra information in directory
      listings so that legacy DOS both didn't show it in listings, and didn't
      overwrite it, was completely obvious. The problem guided the solution so
      closely that there was practically no invention there.

      Wondered why only Toyota and Ford produce hybrids on the HSD plan, with two
      motors and a power-split device? Because Toyota got patents on their minor
      improvements to TRW's original 1970s patent, which had of course expired.
      Ford had independently made similar improvements to get a working hybrid,
      and Toyota threatened to sue. They cross-licensed the patents - Toyota
      getting some diesel engine technology licenses - so that both could continue
      making the cars.

      Why is everyone else pursuing their own hybrid drive system rather than
      licensing Toyota's? Or Honda's? Because they don't want to pay Toyota
      royalties, and also they want to get a patent on it, to lock out areas of
      competition for themselves. This is not the advancement of science and
      technology that the authors of the patent laws had in mind.

      There's nothing any carmaker can cross-license with Chevron, because Chevron
      isn't in the business of making cars. That leaves the technology completely
      blocked off, as Chevron won't license it at any reasonable price, and the
      carmakers know that they would lose any lawsuit, probably with triple
      damages; either would add way too much to the cost of the car.

      Mike Dimmick

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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