EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.09.09

Patents Roundup: Food for Thought

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AS WE HASTILY ACCUMULATE AND ORGANISE antitrust material (almost toiling), we find ourselves unable to keep up with the news, but here are some read-worthy items on intellectual monopolies, without particular emphasis on just software.

Philosophy

It is heartening to find more and more critics of our intellectual property regime, partly as a result of growing knowledge but more importantly, the growing critical reaction to the extreme excesses of the application of the law. A new voice for me is that of Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. whose book, THE CONSERVATIVE NANNY STATE; How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer, is available for download on line link here under a Creative Commons license. The book is about much more than IP, as the subtitle indicates, but this review focuses on the IP issues Baker covers. He calls the chapter, “Bill Gates Welfare Mom: How Government Patent and Copyright Monopolies Enrich the Rich and Distort the Economy”.

He begins by examining the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, and Microsoft, noting that it was not Gates hard work or brilliance, or the superiority of his software, but his government provided monopoly based on IP law that made him today’s Croesus.

An anonymous reader called our attention to a comment reposting some fantastic thinking on the dangerous trend of believing we can own, sell or steal ideas.

Light at the end of the tunnel: Will tough times bring on boom times for patent acquirers?

That’s what Joff Wild concludes in another article on this subject. Here’s the equation: Recession equals (patent-owning) companies going out of business equals auctioning off of these assets as companies try to raise cash to pay creditors equals more opportunities to acquire patents (both from bankruptcies and solvent companies that want to raise cash).

While this may be a patent troll/NPE’s (Non-Practicing Entity) modus operandi for building up a portfolio, any company that develops and sells products, seeks new technologies, and is willing to spend cash can do the same. According to Wild, it’s a great way to save R&D time and money.

Yes, tough times can sink a business. But just like in any other enterprise, IP investors can look for the silver lining – opportunities to turn financial turmoil to financial success.

Patent Trolling

Things are not helped by a Commission that often seems to hold contradictory views on IP (although Commissioners are set t be replaced in June 2009). What could change things is if European leaders get the bit between their teeth, as the seemed to in 2007. With so many other things to worry about, however, you have to wonder whether there will be time for patents in 2009.

[I]t does look like the Federal Circuit is at least somewhat paying attention to this issue, and recently transferred a patent infringement lawsuit out of Marshall, Texas, to Ohio, after noting that Ohio was “far more convenient.”

Reform Needed

While it’s taken quite some time, the EFF has had considerable success with its project to bust ten awful patents. The latest is that the USPTO has agreed to re-examine a patent from Seer Systems involving online music.

“Patent busting is a waste of time: even when successful, it takes too long [...] Need root and branch reform, not rollback,” writes Glyn Moody. The same goes for Linux Defenders [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

More about the case which we covered 2 days ago:

The last two years have seen plenty of patent litigation among storage companies, including a battle between Sun Microsystems and NetApp Inc. that is still ongoing. However, other patent lawsuits that have made a splash in the storage industry, such as Quantum’s suit against Riverbed, have been settled out of court or otherwise fizzled like this one. In the Sun case, at least one of the patents cited by NetApp in suing Sun has been taken off the table by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office due to similar enforcement issues. So far the lawsuits are looking like key talking points for those who argue the patent system in general badly needs reform.

Overall, it’s still a problematic situation.

“They [EPO examiners] claim that the organisation
is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents
as possible to gain financially from fees generated.”

—Expatica, European Patent Office staff on strike

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  2. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  3. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  4. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  5. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  6. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  7. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  8. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  9. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  10. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  11. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  12. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  14. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  15. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  16. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  17. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)



  18. Systems Can Crash and People Can Die by Changing Language (Even in Parameter and Function Space) to Appease Activists

    It seems clear that Intel takes the lead in trying to change Linux not in technical means but purely social means; even when (and where) that can compromise the robustness of the kernel (Intel is nowadays known for profoundly defective chips with back doors)



  19. António Campinos Should Speak to Peasants, Not Litigation Lawyers

    Mr. Campinos does not work for campinos but against campinos; he represents the people who sue or threaten them using ludicrous patents that should never have been granted (e.g. in Ethiopia)



  20. Christine Lambrecht (German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection) Ignores the Fact That Even Patent Experts Reject the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The debacle single-handedly caused by and attributable to Christine Lambrecht, who is eager to appease litigation lawyers, is made yet worse by the fact that people in this domain/profession reject what she's trying to ram down people's throats



  21. [Humour] The Linux Foundation is Not Even Using Linux

    The Linux Foundation does not support Linux except in name; it is important to remember that



  22. Microsoft Loves Power

    An explanation of why Microsoft says it loves this and that; Microsoft lacks the capacity to love or to express empathy as it's always about self gratification or coercion, nothing else



  23. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 04, 2020



  24. Indoors Society, Shut the Windows

    Times are changing in all sorts of ways; it seems like GNU/Linux and other Free/libre operating systems may emerge as winners when the 'dust settles'



  25. Allegation That Microsoft Adopted the Mentality of Suicide Bombers Against Linux, Leaks Reveal

    Looking at leaked E-mails from around the time Microsoft used Cyanogen as a 'proxy', we're finding some stunning admissions or speculation about the real motivations



  26. [Humour] A Union in Whose Interests?

    The union-busting 'yellow union' (the one that helped Benoît Battistelli marginalise SUEPO) is unable to represent staff any longer



  27. FFPE EPO Has Rendered Itself Obsolete by Liaising With Benoît Battistelli

    FFPE EPO has been left out of staff representation, demonstrating that liaising with the oppressor is a self-deprecating move which must be avoided (the only remaining potent union is SUEPO)



  28. Links 4/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 'Personal Edition', Atari VCS Coming Soon

    Links for the day



  29. [Humour/Meme] The 'New' Edge (Chrome Copycat) is Already Dead, So Microsoft is Trying to Just Kill the Competition

    Edge market share is so minuscule that it doesn’t even make it into this chart (it’s in “other”); no wonder Microsoft now bullies Windows users into using it, for users reject it even after months of endless advertising/AstroTurfing and aggressive exploitation/appropriation



  30. Fourth of July in the United Kingdom and the United States

    In these bizarre times Independence Day is still being celebrated, even as so many people are out of work, running out of hope and being fed xenophobia in social control media with a racist 'celebrity' president (the "user in chief")


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts