You may already be following this “fairy tale”—an allegory that came to me during a Sunday morning at home. The first two installments introduced the big and powerful B-Techs, and their frustration when the New Innovators came on the scene to threaten their dominance. Now the fable continues, as the B-Techs strike back …
Read Part I: The Birth of an Idea, the Growth of an Industry
Read Part II: The Path of Innovation Leads to Competition
Part III: The B-Techs Hatch a Pernicious Plan
So it came to pass that the B-Techs banded together like a bullies in a playground, and vowed to bring these pesky patentees down.
This meant huddling together in secret, in well-lighted but often badly air-conditioned places called conference rooms, to which administrative assistants brought lunches from a place called The Corner Bakery and coffee from a place named for a ship’s chief’s mate. (Yup, you’ve guessed it.)
Sipping coffee, huddled over little cardboard boxes filled with carbohydrates like sandwiches and cookies and, yes, even potato chips, the B-Techs hatched a plan to rid the world of the New Innovators. They would trample down these upstart New Innovators! They would bludgeon them with legal filings!
And, even though these New Innovators had been awarded patents by legal means by that big office in the CiMI, the B-Techs would ignore their patents—a strategy called Willful Infringement. The B-Techs decided they would deliberately infringe the patents held by those pesky rebels, the New Innovators.
When the New Innovators learned that the B-Techs were infringing, they asked the land’s revered Reconcilers to step in and stop it. But lo! those B-Techs had yet another step in their insidious plan to stay one step ahead.
Through Representative Agents, the B-Tech leaders went to the country’s High Council, and sought to educate the council members, who purported to represent the people, about the evils of the rebels. It’s a backroom bullying process called lobbying.
B-Tech was so fierce in its lobbying, and their rhetoric about these pesky patentees was so forceful in its Hyperbole (a specialized form of embellishment that happens often in lobbying), that the New Innovators became branded as trolls.
Isn’t that ironic? Small innovators who had followed the law were being accused of abusing it. And they were being tarred with the brush of nasty names, while B-Techs who didn’t have patents got away with stealing the New Innovators’ new ideas!
And as all this was going on, the B-Techs engaged so-called Media Agents to report on proceedings at the High Council and create an aura of disrespectability around the New Innovators they now were calling trolls!
The Media Agents warned the people of the dangers of these so-called trolls—even though they were virtually a total fiction! (Yes, it’s true: There were a very few bad apples in the barrel … But nowhere near the whole barrel!)
Several creative Media Agents even began depicting the New Innovators as dwarfs inhabiting the underside of bridges, by attaching little digital pictures called JPGs and GIFs to their emails. It was even suggested that these trolls, who supposedly were invading the land, could steal people’s souls if looked straight in the eye. What lies!
It’s called Spin. And all this lobbying at the High Council and the spin of the Media Agents had a pernicious effect. The people, who no longer had an ounce of independent thought, worshipped the B-Techs, and swallowed hook, line, and sinker every word of the Hyperbole about the invasion of so-called trolls. Who weren’t trolls at all!
After all, the people rationalized, who would want to hurt their beloved B-Techs? And if B-Techs were hurt, how would we get all the amazing updates and new megapixel toys? And as the Hyperbole of the troll invasion spread throughout the land, it reinforced the urgency at the High Council to do something!
Do something the High Council did. It issued decrees that made it difficult to enforce a patent unless you were a deep-pocketed B-Tech. It issued decrees punishing anyone who wasn’t a B-Tech for trying to enforce a patent.
Then came the next phase of the B-Techs’ invidious plan: they engaged Warrior Agents—highly skilled, highly paid professionals who would stop at nothing to protect B-Techs.
(Without the B-Techs, you know, these Warrior Agents were merely service providers—people who wielded words for anyone who would pay them. But with the support of the B-Techs, these Warrior Agents believed they were The Champions of Good. And the people believed it, too!)
The Warrior Agents, masters of all High Council decrees, convinced the land’s revered Reconcilers, who after all were confirmed in their position for life by the High Council, that the decrees made the New Innovators’ patents invalid.
Why, the Warrior Agents argued, why even look at the numerous drawings or the complicated descriptions and detailed claims of the patents. Why do that?
And just like the people had done, the revered Reconcilers swallowed every word of Hyperbole from the Warrior Agents about how dangerous these purported trolls were. They simply had to be stopped.
So the revered Reconcilers began to routinely hold patents invalid—not, mind you, based on the claims or what the patent covered, but instead based on who owned it, how famous they were, whether the accused infringers were more famous, or who had the most money to spend on spurious filings.
The revered Reconcilers obliged these verbally dexterous Warrior Agents by exploiting facile analogies to Dismiss on the Pleadings (which is special legal terminology for taking a shortcut to avoid digging into complexity).
And sadly, though the New Innovators fought mighty battles against the Warrior Agents all over the land for many years, in the end the combination of High Council decrees, false media narratives, bamboozled Reconcilers, and frankly, a brain- and brand-washed people meant the New Innovators began losing the war to protect their innovations.
Eventually, it was feared, they would just die out. But we will see.
Stay tuned for Part IV: The Demise of Innovation (But, Perhaps, the Birth of Hope)