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Patent infringers like bullies

The primary example in "Proliferation of Patents Granted in U.S. Prompts Lawsuits," Sept. 9, is the story of a company called ArrivalStar and its CEO, Martin Kelly Jones. The article seems to take exception with Mr. Jones' vigorous prosecution of his own patents, going so far as to call him a troll. As a patent attorney, this is shocking.

The patent system has a simple premise: An inventor is rewarded for his innovation with an exclusive, albeit temporary, marketplace. The inventor may produce his product or he may grant a license to another person who wants to produce his product. If anyone starts making or using the inventor's product without the inventor's permission, the inventor may sue for patent infringement.

The patent system exists to encourage innovation. Mr. Jones and ArrivalStar created over three dozen unique innovations (and given the level of infringement, his innovation must be particularly useful). Other, bigger companies started taking Mr. Jones' inventions without his permission. If a teenager took candy from a first-grader, we would all recognize that the teenager is a bully. But when a large company takes from a small company, apparently our reaction is to blame the small company for sticking up for itself and to call it names.

If the patent infringers of the world want to avoid so-called "patent trolls," they should negotiate a license before simply stealing someone else's technology.

DANIEL W. ERNSBERGER, ESQ.
Shadyside


Paint a whole fracking picture

The new curriculum sponsored by the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association ("Oil and Gas Industry Drafts Lesson Plans," Sept. 4) seems to be propaganda from big oil and gas companies afraid to tell the whole story about fracking. It does a disservice to future generations to not examine all sides of the issue, bringing in health experts, environmental officials and others who are concerned about the dangers posed to our communities by fracking.

If the oil and gas companies were really worried about our students' futures, about the future of Pennsylvania, they would not pollute our air, water, land and communities. They would not commit over 3,300 serious environmental violations. They would not drill hundreds of wells next to our schools, hospitals -- and even in our most beautiful parks that many students enjoy.

By presenting this one-sided curriculum, the oil and gas companies neglect some of the incredible risks and costs of fracking. If we want to discuss fracking in the classroom, I think we should discuss it from all sides. Perhaps teachers should invite Sen. Jim Ferlo to talk to students about why he supports a moratorium on fracking.

LINA BLOUNT
PennEnvironment Philadelphia

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