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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. Links 19/1/2021: Krita 4.4.2 Released and JingOS Hype

    Links for the day



  2. Team UPC Keeps Pretending That UPCA Can Still be Resurrected (Even Without the UK, Which is Strictly a Requirement)

    The latest distortion of facts regarding the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (UPCA) as seen from the lens of people who seek to profit from such distortion



  3. 'Ethical Source' is Not Ethical and Not a Movement But a Misguided Self-Serving PR Stunt

    Something which is neither enforceable nor ethical is being promoted by profoundly unethical media in the pockets of large corporations



  4. InteLeaks – Part XXI: Intel Seeking Advice From a Bunch of Clowns (Harbor 'Research')

    A firm called Harbor 'Research' is making dubious recommendations to Intel; as shown in the above video, there's also an obsession with buzzwords (typically suggestive of a lack of technical grasp/understanding)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 18, 2021



  6. The US Election Was Not Rigged, But the Nomination Process Was (Undermined to Maintain Control by Oligarchy)

    Cheating/driving the left out of the Democratic Party seems like a longstanding tradition and we know who stands to gain from it; moreover, problems remain in the voting process because it's controlled by secret code of companies like Microsoft (in spite of the openwashing)



  7. InteLeaks – Part XX: Redacted (for Names Only) Release of Intel File About Developer eXperience (DX) Meddling in GNU/Linux

    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  8. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  9. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)



  10. Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

    Links for the day



  11. InteLeaks – Part XIX: Intel's Web 'Experts' Seen as Microsoft Champions Dealing With the Platform Microsoft is Looking to Destroy

    Things aren't rosy at Intel because the hires aren't suitable for the job of documenting and/or presenting GNU/Linux-centric products (whose target audience is Free software developers)



  12. Adding Images as Characters to the Daily Bulletins of Techrights

    Our daily bulletins now have inside them coarse graphics, depicted using characters alone, and the tool used to generate them announced a new release earlier today; we showcase some of its features (in a new video)



  13. Links 18/1/2021: Weekly Summaries and Linux 5.11 RC4

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  15. The Oligarchs' Parties Will Never Choose the Side of Software Freedom Because Free Software Cannot Bribe Officials

    The tough reality is that next week's (or this coming week's, depending on what Sunday counts as) inauguration ceremony is partly symbolic as all the same and important issues remain largely untouched, for corporations control almost everything of significance



  16. COVID-19 Has Actually Helped Software Freedom Due to Financial and 'Spare Time' Factors

    Developers and users are increasingly exploring what the Free software world has to offer; this is actually measurable and it contradicts claims to the contrary



  17. Future Plans and Using Videos to Complement Text

    Remarks on recent and impending site changes; We are not replacing text with video, we're just trying to enhance the presentation a bit, especially where visuals help make a point or where browsing through Web sites (or leaks) is more suitable than static, linear presentation



  18. InteLeaks – Part XVIII: Intel Does Not Know How to Properly Do Research and It Seems Apparent Unscientific Methods Are Used to Justify Poor Documentation

    There appears to be a severe crisis at Intel; they cannot recruit scientists (or those whom they recruited are walking away) and as a result the company produces bad products with poor documentation (or highly defective chipsets that top-notch marketing cannot compensate for); in this video we walk through some examples of how studies are being conducted (as already noted in Part XVII)



  19. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part III: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Seems More Like a Victim of Destabilisation Campaigns

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which turns 36 later this year, is looking to raise money that helps support the GNU Project, soon 38 years old and likely the most important Free software project to exist (ever)



  20. Links 17/1/2021: EasyOS on Raspberry Pi and GNU libsigsegv 2.13

    Links for the day



  21. InteLeaks – Part XVII: The High Cost of Microsoft Windows Users in GNU/Linux Development Teams

    A look inside Intel explains what holds back the technical team, which bemoans the lesser technical people getting in the way and not even using the product that they are writing about



  22. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  23. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been 'banished' by the founder



  24. Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

    Links for the day



  25. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  26. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  27. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  28. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



  29. Links 15/1/2021: KaOS 2021.01, Whisker Menu 2.5.2, Istio 1.8.2

    Links for the day



  30. InteLeaks – Part XV: Intel is Blind to Blind and Colour-Blind People

    Intel does not seem to grasp very basic concepts associated with accessibility; nevertheless, Intel shamelessly tries painting itself as "woke" and a "justice warrior" (policing speech while overlooking much-needed practical work)


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