On Fri, 10 Jun 2005, Justin Mason wrote:
> - Cross-licensing deals are common practice among large corporations, but
> they depend on how many patent licenses can be offered by both sides, so
> they do not generally cross-license with SMEs that may have only a tiny
> number of patents to offer in return. This puts forward the prospect of
> a cartel of large patent-holding companies "sewing up" a marketplace
> between themselves using the monopoly powers patents provide, and
> blocking out competition from any other firms.
Or companies form patent pools. Eg The MPEG consortium and its pool
of 190 odd critical patents for making, eg, DVD players, along with
several other consortia (DVD Forum?) and companies. Iirc Chinese
electronics companies are very unhappy about this because they (for
some reason) effectively end up paying more than western companies.
typically $20 of the cost of a $200 DVD player is for the patent
licences. I have a vague memory that the chinese complaint was they
end up paying closer to $30 or $40 per player - but i cant find a
reference (anyone know?).
Obviously, the 'consumer' pays that $20 to $40.
Patents have mostly turned into, by and large, legalised racketeering
by very large companies. Almost inevitable if you indiscriminately
grant monopoly powers to powerful and self-interested bodies.
Note that even large companies (the ones who make most use of the
patent system) are starting to complain.
1. Well, that's not completely true. Applications are discriminated
against by how rich the applicant is, as you pointed out.
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
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