Patent Trolls Stifle Innovation and Business Investment

first_imgIn late 2013, I had the opportunity to testify before the Judiciary Committee of the United States’ House of Representatives about pending legislation focused on improving the country’s patent system. H.R. 3309, the Innovation Act, was subsequently passed by the U.S. House but was never voted on by the U.S. Senate. The abusive patent litigation that prompted activity in the U.S. Congress continues to stifle many young businesses and affect overall business growth for companies of every size.EMC has a keen interest in seeing that the U.S. patent system is rational, fair, and evenly balanced. We create many innovations and look to the patent system to protect our intellectual property (IP) and the jobs it creates. We currently have more than 4,000 U.S. patents.In my 20 years in the field of IP law and licensing, I have seen abusive patent litigation sweep the country – diverting billions of dollars from economic growth and innovation to battling frivolous suits filed by patent assertion entities (PAEs) or “patent trolls.”EMC doesn’t settle frivolous patent suitsSince 2005, EMC has been sued by patent trolls over 30 times and we have never been found to have infringed any patents. As a matter of principle we don’t settle frivolous suits, but defending those suits has cost millions and caused business disruption because it requires our employees to shift attention from designing new products and growing the business to sitting in depositions or going to court.For us, a typical PAE suit involves a shell company created solely to file suits. The PAE often sues dozens of companies, including EMC, in separate suits that get consolidated together. This causes each independent company to lose due process rights, and forces it to waste time and money coordinating lawsuits based on unrelated products.Furthermore, patent trolls attempt to pressure us into settling by demanding that thousands of documents and emails be provided pre-trial, most of which are irrelevant to the suit and costly to produce.To get a decision on the merits of a case, we typically have to wait two years, spend millions, and endure massive business disruption. Meanwhile, the PAE has nothing to lose with a steady income stream from defendants who settle along the way. This is often the fate of small and mid-sized companies who do not have the funds or bandwidth to hold their own in the face of this immense pressure.Academics reveal economic impact of PAE activityThe Computer & Communications Industry Association commissioned a study by MIT Professor Catherine Tucker. Upon release of her paper, Professor Tucker said: “Some protection of intellectual property can lead to more innovation. However, more patent litigation does not imply more innovation. In fact, it implies less innovation. My analysis showed that litigation by patent trolls did not foster entrepreneurial investment at all. It is instead associated with significantly reduced venture capital investment in entrepreneurship, preventing startups from developing and suppressing job growth.”Among the economic impacts discovered in Professor Tucker’s research, she found that “frequent patent litigators” (PAEs) led to a loss of at least $8.1 billion in venture capital that would have been otherwise invested in American business enterprises over the course of five years.James E. Bessen, Jennifer Ford & Michael J. Meurer of Boston University School of Law also published a paper concluding that PAEs caused $29 billion in direct costs in 2011 alone. That number does not factor in broader costs, which have been estimated at $80 billion per year.Looking forwardI believe that patent litigation reform is urgently needed. Litigation initiated by PAEs is exacting a major toll on EMC and other productive companies, both large and small. Failure to act on the abuses of the litigation system has resulted in the problem growing worse, with more industries falling prey to the tactics of the PAEs.Legislation designed to reform our patent system will restore accountability and put balance back into the system, thereby alleviating some of the unfair legal tactics that are used against hardworking companies of all sizes that are the life-blood of the economy. Abusive patent litigation is a costly and rapidly-growing problem that is stifling American innovation and job creation each and every day.last_img read more

The New Data Center Stack

first_imgOne of the many benefits of working at Dell Technologies is simultaneously having access to the brightest minds in compute, storage and networking. Even better, we get to put these big brains together to think about IT in terms of end-to-end infrastructure, not discrete silos. The breadth of our portfolio provides us with the opportunity to think about how to solve our customers’ problems rather than how to protect our own technology silos.Why is this important?  Because, as Michael Dell rightly points out, you can’t lead digital transformation by thinking in silos. Certainly we still need distinct focus on server, storage and networking, but we also need to think and operate more broadly. The industry wants to see the toolchains and solutions as consistent, general-purpose and reusable. The industry wants digital transformation, and you can’t lead the digital transformation by thinking in silos.If I look across Dell Technologies right now, I see transformation happening. The Server group  working on hyperconverged systems (largely a Storage product), the Networking group leading our Virtual Edge Platform (arguably an x86 server for the network domain), the Server and Networking teams partnering to deliver PowerEdge MX, our software-defined network manageability driven by the team that unlocked IT manageability, VMware, and Pivotal leading how the workloads themselves are transformed.Every one of these groups is thinking and discussing 5G – a new network paradigm woven into the fabric of everything that Dell Technologies has invested into. That’s why it’s important for Dell Technologies to be focused on the best solutions and delivering more agility to our customers, not on protecting silos.Looking specifically at the networking space, even as SDN and Open Networking drive towards composable building blocks, it’s increasingly obvious that the companies being disrupted, the ones who have long embraced a model that locks customer into a proprietary networking infrastructure (I’m looking at you, Cisco), are attempting to rebuild the vertical, proprietary stack. It may look different, sit at a higher layer, above the network stack itself, but it’s vertical and proprietary nonetheless. The new stack around software-defined is built on controllers, automation, analytics, security, programmability, and eventually, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This stack can’t be proprietary or we risk rebuilding the closed, locked in, and inflexible stacks of the past, except with more business-critical impact.What have we accomplished so far?Taken complex network functions off of proprietary ASIC and moved them to x86Forced generalized network workloads to move from proprietary ASIC to merchant siliconTaken control plane from that merchant silicon platform and moved it to x86Driven a multitude of open source communities around undifferentiated control and data plane capabilities, and developed standard mechanisms to interface between the twoIn other words, the world approached the network through the lens of IT and saw that the network, like IT, doesn’t need to be built on proprietary building blocks.What are we doing now?Moving the data/user plane of those complex network functions off of the x86 in the server back onto FPGA SmartNIC to improve efficiencyAbstracting the merchant silicon to be as easy to consume as x86Enabling the control plane and data/user plane to be further apart (logically and geographically)Using IT toolchains to automate the historically CLI-driven capabilitiesRearchitecting both IT apps and network functions to be truly independent of the underlying compute paradigmIn other words, the world is seeing that the network can be managed, automated and programmed like IT infrastructure.What are we going to do next?Move workloads freely to their ideal computing architecture – from x86 to FPGA-based SmartNIC to merchant siliconSlice the end to end network (physical, virtual) into servicesEliminate the two-backplane paradigm (backplane intra-server, network fabric inter-server)Use closed-loop ML-based Automation to drive the decision logic of the aboveModel all Infrastructure as a set of capabilities that any application can take advantage ofIn other words, the world will see that infrastructure is a composable set of functions and capabilities made available to any workload—there is no network or IT or switch or router or server. No silos, just infrastructureDigital transformation is a journey that transcends silos, and we’re on the way. We want to take you on that journey with us.last_img read more

GOP’s McConnell blasts ‘loony lies’ by Ga. Rep. Greene

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell is blasting newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, calling the far-right Georgia Republican’s embrace of conspiracy theories and “loony lies” a “cancer for the Republican Party.” The statement Monday comes as House Democrats are mounting an effort to formally rebuke Greene, who has a history of making racist remarks, promoting conspiracy theories and endorsing violence directed at Democrats. Democrats have said they will strip Greene of her committee assignments if House Republican leadership refuses to. Greene says Democrats will regret the move if Republicans regain the majority after the 2022 elections.last_img

Lawsuit alleges rodent infestation at New Mexico prison

first_imgSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two former inmates in New Mexico are suing state prison staff and a food-service contractor for cruelty and negligence, alleging they failed to resolve a yearslong rat and mouse infestation at the kitchen in a women’s lockup. The inmates cited health risks including mouse-borne Hantavirus, though no infections were reported. The federal court lawsuit announced Tuesday from Albuquerque-area residents Susie Zapata and Monica Garcia describes a “horrific and widespread” rodent infestation that included contact between food and rodent feces, urine and and even rodents that somehow plunged into stew and a batch of oatmeal. The Department of Corrections declined to comment on details of the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.last_img

Oregon looks at ban on using tear gas against crowds

first_imgSALEM, Ore. (AP) — Tear gas, pepper spray and other impact munitions have been deployed by police for months during protests in Portland, Oregon, enveloping neighborhoods and even a school yard. Now, an Oregon lawmaker is seeking to ban the use of the chemical agents in one of the most sweeping police measures in the country regarding crowd control. A legislative subcommittee on equitable policing heard a parade of witnesses this week describe the harm caused by the chemical agents. One woman who suffers from asthma said she couldn’t breathe and felt like she was dying after a crowd was gassed by police.last_img