04.13.09

ACTA Leak Reveals Upcoming Intellectual Monopoly War?

Posted in IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents, SUN at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dreaming
Big ACTA is watching

Summary: As certain large nations approach bankruptcy, will so-called “IP” become the next battleground?

THANKS to a friendly tip, we now know that “ACTA covers patents” and that “all IP rights under TRIPS means patents.” This latest leak is the scanned document draft, but it’s likely that sooner or later someone will translate it manually (or semi-manually with OCR) into reproducible text, in digital form. From Wikileaks:

The file presents US, Japan and EU drafts of the controversial international copyright and patent trade agreement, ACTA (“Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”). The documents were obtained by Wikileaks staff.

Here is some coverage and initial interpretation from Digital Majority:

Behind closed doors, the European Union, United States, Japan and other governments are negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. No mandates or drafts are published. The ACTA will contain new rules for the enforcement of copyrights, trade mark rights, patents and other so called “intellectual property” rights. Public interest organisations are concerned ACTA may limit access to medicines, limit access to the internet, give patent trolls free reign and harm the most innovative sectors of the economy.

“The document has confirmed my fears. They want to basically stop everything that can be spread on the Internet, all forms of trademark infringement, and even medicine. It is much more far reaching than I thought. I wonder, finally, what is not covered by ACTA?” said Jens Holm to DN.se.

Here is our local copy of the ACTA drafts [PDF].

We are already discouraged to find that IBM, the quiet giant whose business moves abroad (thus degrading work conditions for all) and patent portfolio widens (or gets a lot thicker), may capitalise on some of the above. This new article discusses the role of intellectual monopolies in an IBM/Sun takeover. Sun’s policies on patents — including on software patents — would become utterly worthless.

To achieve negotiating leverage this is a potent and potentially powerful tool in the right hands. And the fact that the technical analysis is subjective only adds to this power. To counter such a strategy one needs a story and one needs to be able to speak the language and understand the motivations of the acquirer who wants to exploit this advantage.

Now, I don’t know if something similar to this scenario is being played out now, but I do know that IBM is an “IP smart acquirer” and I also note that the Sun share price is heading south quickly as news of the deal’s collapse is absorbed. Is IBM using IP and potential concerns about what is in Sun’s portfolio to leverage a lower price for the acquisition? I suppose we will find out soon enough.

Speaking of a patent deform, this article shows just how much of a farce it continues to be (albeit nowhere as harmful of the ACTA). As Pamela Jones put it yesterday, “I suggest they shouldn’t call it First to File. They should call it First to File Sneaky. See what happens when Congress “fixes” patent law? Is it stupid or intended? Who knows? Does it matter? One thing is for sure: this isn’t making patent law simpler.”

Here is a personal take (which is based on opinion alone, inspired by facts): A lot of the powerful countries as we know them have come to rely on the capital of large corporations within their sovereignty. That. however, is beginning to change with more nationalisation (even in implicit ways like a bailout). As nations that are old empires approach possible declaration of bankruptcy (US debt exceeds $11 trillion and the UK’s is around $3 trillion), there will likely be a power struggle around notions like “IP”. In case a practical example helps, think of an African nation being offered “access to IP” in exchange for its natural resources like gold and minerals. The vision that’s presented to stake-holders motivates and rationalises many of those notorious agreements that we see now, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now ACTA. Here in this Web site we’ve accumulated many links to information about ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. People are encouraged to learn and to disseminate information about ACTA.

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4 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    April 13, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Gravatar

    Roy, you should stick with facts and not paranoid fantasies of world conditions that are far from patent law.

    Just to be clear, we don’t live in the world of 1890 with Eurpoean colonial powers controlling the world. We live in 2009 where those former colonies have much power, a multilateral world. Meanwhile, socialism has made Europe too spineless and politically correct to even defend itself much less commit aggression. And Obama is busy making the United States Europe.
    I just get so tired of people who think that the Society for Creative Anarchism is how one should play politics. Here in the United States they want to fight racism, when it would be a quest equivalent to finding the Holy Grail to find an actual racist. At least, in America, the left wants to refight the 1950′s for the next 500 years. It’s better than European left refighting the 1890′s.

  2. Doug said,

    April 13, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Gravatar

    Your depiction of a European ‘socialism’ bares no relation to reality, as does the rest of your spiel ..

  3. Jose_X said,

    April 13, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Gravatar

    The ad at the top of this page says: “Protect Your Intellectual Property\n Trademarks, Patents, and Copyrights” by some company or other.

    This is an appeal to greed. It pretends that “you” will benefit from this protection. Individually, it seems you would, but collectively you end up losing a lot more.

    Alternatively, it encourages fear. It says to protect your stuff because everyone else is doing the same thing.

    Unlike with limited resources. When you “propertize” things to which you ordinarily had access, you end up losing a lot of things to which you ordinarily had access. You gain 10 patents but lose 5 million patents.

    If you learn something new and powerful tomorrow, you will find you can’t do much with it legally because a few of those that learnt it yesterday got a monopoly over you and everyone else coming in after them.

    We need a marketing campaign (because those working against us are marketing to those likely to “create” intellectual property) that talks about everything that is being taken from everyone by forced government monopolies. .. as if only one person or a very narrow group were able to make contributions in a certain way. This set of laws puts monopoly power into the hands of the wealthy and business savvy. It’s a power that belonged to everyone and which the majority of people have been empowered to tap only recently with the growth of the Internet and more sophisticated computing power.

    Create Linux distros to teach about these issues and make it easy for users to take action. Then spread these distros by word of mouth.

    IP stands for Intellectual Ptheft.

    Reverse Robin Hood: impoverish everyone to give to the rich.

    We need to press to have these unconstitutional laws struck down (in the US) and have fair laws replace them.

    Create Linux distros to spread this message.. and spread the word, folks.

  4. Jose_X said,

    April 13, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Anyone want to create an IP: Intellectual Ptheft logo?

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