Original holder donated patent to non-profit for “public good”

by Walter Olson on November 14, 2013

So how exactly did it wind up in the hands of a patent troll? [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

{ 3 comments }

1 Bill Poser 11.14.13 at 3:15 pm

The article raises the question of why Amex obtained the patent in the first place if they gave it to the non-profit in good faith. One possibility, of course, is that they only decided to give it away after obtaining it, but I wonder if there is also a financial advantage: perhaps the tax deduction for the charitable donation was greater than the cost of obtaining the patent?

2 Alan Hawke 11.15.13 at 3:05 am

The article raises the question in which it conveniently avoided the obvious answer; AmEx may have obtained the patent for tax reasons as a benefit, but by obtaining the patent they would prevent a patent troll such as Intellectual Ventures from suing the bejeebers out of banks already using the technology developed by someone else. The author seems to think that if AmEx didn’t patent the methods employed by the CVV security code, nobody would have and it would have been free for everybody to use.

Techdirt appears to be an anti-patent, anti-copyright, and anti-intellectual property proponent. A quick glance at their anti-DRM article is proof enough. I dislike patent trolls as much as the next guy, but they are a far cry from authors, musicians, filmmakers, and industry leaders in ideas and innovation.

3 Bill Poser 11.15.13 at 6:18 pm

In theory if AMEX wanted to prevent someone else from obtaining the patent, it would have been sufficient to publish it as that would constitute prior art. I suppose, though, that they might have decided that obtaining the patent themselves would be less trouble than having to persuade the Patent Office that someone else’s patent application was invalid due to the prior art.

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