How Quickly Things Change

Four years ago I published an article on patent trolls called “Blackberries and Barnyards.”  I thought that I was picking a title that would make sense for a long time. Given Research in Motion’s (RIMM) recent earnings performance, though, in four years I may have to explain to people what a Blackberry was.

Just a random thought.

UPDATE:  Here is a link to my article, in case you’re interested.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Bruce Boyden says:

    What’s a barnyard?

  2. Shag from Brookline says:

    I associate humor as well as George Orwell with barnyard.

    Why didn’t Gerard provide a link to his article or a cite where it can be found?

  3. Shag from Brookline says:

    Gerard, I appreciate the link. I read on screen the intro and Part Two with its history of the late 19th century on farm implement design patents. It was interesting and a fairly quick read because it was double (triple?) spaced.

    So the Constitution provided very few words in the patent and copyright clause, which Congress acted upon to foster innovation among inventors and writers. As a by product, it provided for innovation among patent attorneys, who moved against consumers of the farm implements, the farmers, with legal claims that the farmers could not afford to defend by hiring their own attorneys. This reminded somewhat of ASCAP attorneys who would go into bars, clubs, etc, listening for ASCAP protected songs and then demanding licenses. Back in the late 1950s I represented a small club owner who got such a demand. ASCAP had engaged a Boston attorney to represent it in the area and he would send out young lawyers looking to augment their salaries by trolling bars, clubs, etc. The license fee to be charged my client was substantially less than what he would have had to pay me to fight it (and perhaps still lose). So my client paid the fee annually.

    So I was able to understand the barnyard connection in Gerard’s title. As to the Blackberries, I had imagined the connection might not be the fairly new technology but rather that blackberry bushes may thrive in barnyard dung piles. (Maybe they do?)

    I do plan to read the entire article of 61 pages, which should be fast reading because of spacing noted above (and it reads well). The article helps to understand the current patent trolls and the new patent law. While Part Two identifies “Patent sharks” in that time period, weren’t trolls more likely to have been found in a barnyard than a shark?

    So, yes, while Gerard may have to explain “what’s a Blackberry” in a few short years because of technology advances, blackberries in season need no explanation. Just wash them well before eating, just in case.

  4. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    When I clerked for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the editor was fond of changing these kinds of things. So an opinion would read, “There was a shooting at the McDonald’s” and she would edit it to “There was a shooting at the McDonald’s restaurant” so that, in the event that someone were reading the case in 400 years and McDonald’s had gone out of business (not that I’m predicting that, mind you, they may thrive and colonize other planets in that timespan) or changed its name or whatever, the reader would still know what the heck you were talking about.