05.05.09

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Intel’s Co-Founder Spills the Beans on the Great Patent Lie

Posted in Hardware, Patents, Quote at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intel’s Andy Grove compares patents to toxic loans

Setting aside Intel's many market-bound crimes for a moment, here we have another abusive monopolist saying what he really thinks about intellectual monopolies:

Andy Grove: Patents Are Like Mortgage Backed Securities

It’s an interesting comparison and one that does seem apt the more you think about it. In separating out the “security” from the underlying asset, we tend to distort things. It was that distortion that resulted in the financial crisis, as it enabled those who wanted to sell risky things to obscure the actual risks and pretend that their securities were safer than they were.

Grove Says Patent System May Have Same Flaws as Derivatives

Andy Grove, who oversaw Intel Corp.’s emergence as the world’s largest chip company, says the U.S. patent system suffers from the same kind of flaws that brought about the global financial crisis.

Patents have evolved to a point where they often aren’t developed into products, and instead are instruments traded by speculators looking for the highest possible profit, Grove said May 2 at an event in Mountain View, California. Similar to financial derivatives, the link between patents and the products they protect is getting more tenuous, he said.

Intel’s Grove: Something foul in Silicon Valley

Speaking to a diverse Silicon Valley audience that included Gordon Moore (founder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel); Ted Hoff (co-inventor of the microprocessor); Carver Mead (VLSI concept); Intel CEO Paul Otellini; and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Grove said the patent system is slouching toward the model that precipitated the financial crisis in the U.S.

Isn’t it sad that while Intel’s origins insist that patents are toxic, Intel is also accused (in China for example) of being an abusive monopoly which is endlessly using its patents to terrorise competitors? It’s sincere hypocrisy.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

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4 Comments

  1. Jose_X said,

    May 5, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    This is a really sweet gift:

    http://www.linuxtoday.com/infrastructure/2009050501435NWRHLL

    It’s worth reading the 11 page brief as well as the press release (as well as Glyn’s article as well as….)

    Three Cheers for Red Hat!

    [It's not to late to join the FOSS world, Novell.]

  2. Shane Coyle said,

    May 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Gravatar

    "Similar to financial derivatives, the link between patents and the products they protect is getting more tenuous, he said. "

    Agreed. We actually had a discussion in a similar vein here a few months ago.

  3. twitter said,

    May 5, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Gravatar

    Intel and other monopolists will try to use patent trolls to strengthen their own position. As the SCO and Novell cases prove, monopoly interests have already used shell companies to do their dirty work with copyright and patents. It is just that they are now subject to the same kinds of attacks themselves after so many years of only using their patents against smaller competitors and inventors. Look for them to bribe their way into some “tort reform” that secures the ability of “reputable” companies to exercise their “defensive patent portfolios” against competitors.

    What’s interesting is that they have bowed to the reality of the Biski decision. Seven months ago, independent observers have declared M$’s patent portfolio “worthless”. More recently, the former head of the USPTO declared the US’s whole “IP” stance from 1994 a failure. It has probably taken Intel, M$ and the other usual suspects that long to agree on their strategy for dealing with this new reality. We’ve seen that Intel, does not think M$ has any worthwhile business plans, and Vista’s failure dissappointed the whole industry, so there might be a fundamental rupture. One thing is sure, companies won’t just surrender their software patents. Common sense must be demanded by the rest of us.

  4. Sean Tilley said,

    May 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Gravatar

    On the one hand it’s nice to see Intel’s co-founder step forward and speak his mind about issues that are poisoning Free Software.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure whether he’s going to go around solving any problems.

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