113658FW: [toyota-prius] Re: Why lithium?
- May 31 9:26 AMWhat 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: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of Mike Dimmick
Sent: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 'Paul Lawler'; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: [toyota-prius] Re: Why lithium?
> -----Original Message-----[mailto:email@example.com <mailto:toyota-prius%40yahoogroups.com>
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:toyota-prius%40yahoogroups.com>
> On Behalf Of Paul LawlerPatents allow a patent-holder to demand as much in royalties as they want
> Sent: 29 May 2009 20:23
> To: email@example.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.
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.
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