Troubles loom for patent trolls who rent sovereign immunity from Native American tribes


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/18/monetizable-immunity.html


#2

Has anyone else found themselves thinking that Allergan is awfully close to a word that means, “Irritant”?


#3

tenor


#4

Oh good, once every century, the stars align and the Ancient Old Ones… Ahem. I mean Congress awakens and actually remembers how to do their job and how laws are supposed to work.


#5

Maybe the trolls didn’t pay off enough of the right Congressmen?


#6

#7

Is this an entirely new use of the phrase, “patent troll?” I do not recall ever seeing it used this way.


#8

Why couldn’t the Native Americans just sell the patent again to the highest bidder? If I understand the rules of this game they can’t be sued for breaking their contract right?


#9

They could, but presumably they were already being paid a hefty sum to participate in this nonsense and they were interested in being paid similarly hefty sums for participating in similar nonsense in the future. People usually don’t poison their own wells.


#10

Now that corporations are persons, some of them want to be sovereign citizens.


#11

I thought about this, and actually I don’t think they are getting a “hefty” sum, and I would actually be interested how long they would have to go along with this game before participating becomes more profitable then exploiting.

Besides the fact that this is far from universally true, you can’t discount the possibility that the Native Americans decide to fuck over the patent trolls because they hate patent trolling.


#12

Like anyone else, tribes can make decisions that look good in the short run. (e.g. “Those crazy new people are starving. We should bring them some food.”)


(It’s related to a Scientology “drug rehab”. I have a near-Scientology memory.)


#13

I’m not really basing my assessment on what is or is not in the interest of the tribe in the long run (I wouldn’t pretend I know). More that once people find a money making scheme, they often think inside the box of that scheme. It’s pattern matching - I do X I get paid, so I keep doing X. Some people are real outside-the-box thinkers who say, “I do X I get paid, so why don’t I do Y hoping to score big” but people who make policy decisions tend to be system supports instead of system breakers except in desperate times.

None of this is to say that a tribe would never sell someone else’s patent out from under them, or just decide to keep it for themselves and not share any of the revenue back with the company. I think @kingannoy raises a real issue.

I suppose all in all I would bet against a tribe deciding to do that, but maybe I wouldn’t be as heavily as these companies appear to have bet against it happening (especially not if I realized the tribe was betting on the other side).


#14

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