09.27.07

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Patent Madness Watch: When USPTO Becomes Incompatible with Consumers’ Needs

Posted in America, ECMA, Intellectual Monopoly, ISO, Open XML, Patents at 5:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More patents = more INNOVA~1?

There was a glimmer of hope about a month ago when talks about a reform began to materialise. In hindsight, optimism was premature. Shortly thereafter came the opposition and the lobbying, which has had some impact, sadly enough.

“In hindsight, optimism was premature.”It appears as though the patent system remains and will remain entangled in the mess which it led itself into. This must the consequence of being motivated and run by lobbyists and the commercial interests of companies that can afford influence. We covered all of this before and provides many references to support the fact that the patent system is in a sad state and that internal issues have had it possessed by industry forces, not independent assessors or promoters of invention, let alone the consumer.

Some of the very latest articles demonstrate the issues which must now be coped with (or better yet — corrected). The following news, for instance, shows us that companies are stung because of poor quality control in the USPTO.

Vonage denied the claims, arguing that Sprint’s patents were flawed and shouldn’t have been approved.

Is peer review inexistent? Some time ago it was said that people are paid better if they just approve a patent rather than reject it, which gives an incentive to spurious patents. It’s another moronic case of quantity over quality, which is something that Neelie Kroes recently criticised, the context being Microsoft’s abuses.

If you thought you had already seen ridiculous patents, then watch this:

Dublin-based firm Adwalker has been granted a US patent for its wearable interactive digital media platform.

Can USPTO save itself from becoming another toothless, clawless and dishonored tiger such as Ecma and the ISO?

While Congress continues to fight over patent reform (often missing the bigger issues for those that the lobbyists are most interested in), it’s been the Supreme Court that’s been doing its best to bring some sanity back to the patent system.

It is at least acknowledged — not just by outsiders — that the system is broken and possibly irreparable. It’s easier to reject weak standards (c/f OOXML) and patents (c/f Microsoft’s patent on sudo) then it is to throw them away after they had been accepted, filed, and possibly paid/compensated for.

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2 Comments

  1. Ken said,

    September 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm

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    They should do away with software patents all together. They just slow innovation and drive up costs. The rampant abuse of the patent system has created far more problems than it has solved. Patent trolling, hidden patents, rewriting and rewording patents to lengthen their effectiveness, threatening legal action–it’s all part of the big patent game.

    The drug companies love patents too because they can string them out forever, raking in huge profits on the backs of good people, while they subdue any form of competition and further hold back true “innovation”. It is just pathetic.

    Even the Universities have gotten in on the gravy train. They use taxpayer dollars for research which provides them the means to develop new technologies that they patent. The drug companies buy the patents to corner the market in that technology. Years ago universities had to make what they discovered in research using federal funds available to everyone. Those days are gone and that is one reason that health care costs have been rising steeply in the past 20 years. If you want to reduce health care costs, then reduce the ability to patent every idea known to man.

    Like a bunch of bratty kids playing in the sandbox. One complains that the other has used his idea for a sand castle and improved upon it. Waaa waaa, get over it, that’s innovation!

    Just do away with the entire patent system. You will then see innovation like never before. These abstract forms of property are there just to satisfy selfish and greedy business interests. They do nothing to help mankind. Kill patents and let innovation and competition prevail!

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    September 28, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Gravatar

    @ Ken: yes, I agree, and I also think that the following article will add impact to this point:

    Big businesses boast of patent benefits, for small businesses

    A report published by an EU task force on intellectual property claims that small businesses benefit from a patent system, despite lacking almost any participation by the small business community.

    Instead, the report, titled IPR (intellectual property rights) for competitiveness and innovation, was written up almost entirely by large corporations and the patent industry.

    [...]

    The report does note objections from the likes of patentfrei.de and Sun Microsystems, which were recorded at some length in the report. But this does not appear to have impacted the conclusion of the report in any way

    [...]

    Jean-Pierre Laisne, of ObjectWeb, an open source software community, said that he found the report useless: participants were told that all their contributions would be recorded but at the end only those of Business Software Alliance and Microsoft were used.

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