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

09.18.09

Patents Under Fire While Microsoft Escapes Patent Law (Again)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 4:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken truck

Summary: Microsoft keeps dodging laws that are very controversial to begin with; Broadcom still on patent warpath

A writer for the Huffington Post has just called for the abolishment of patents [via Mike Masnick’s take]. It comes a day before the President of the FFII wrote: “Give me your ideas on what to do next Thursday for the World Day Against Software Patents, my idea is to make a fire with some EPO patents.”

[P]erhaps, without all those extra monopoly profits we wouldn’t have such great new products? The fact is there aren’t so many great new products – a well known fact among health economists is that while big pharma’s spending has soared the last decade, as patent control has tightened, drug discovery has plummeted. Pharmaceutical innovation is not lower in Europe, despite of big pharma’s lower monopoly profits. While the market for pharmaceuticals is now largely a global one, so local rules may not be so important, this was less true in the past. Historically, before pharmaceutical patents were introduced in Italy in 1978, that country accounted for about 8% of new pharmaceutical discoveries worldwide. After the industry was strangled by patents, that percentage dropped to practically zero. Switzerland, a powerhouse in the world drug industry, introduced pharmaceutical patents at about the same time. While Switzerland’s fall has not been as dramatic as Italy’s, it too is much less of a powerhouse today than it was before 1977.

Patents do not seem to lead to the innovation their proponents claim. The list of examples goes on and on: the discovery of the one-dose HIV cocktail that replaced the complicated multi-pill regime? That took place in India a country that at that time did not allow pharmaceutical patents. Of the fifteen great medical milestones recently identified by the British Medical Journal – only two were patented or could be attributed to the “incentive” that patents supposedly provide. Numerous technical studies by economists of the effect of stronger patents on innovation have failed to find any consistent increase. Put it plainly: while the social gains from abolishing patents on drugs are obvious and computable, the losses are dubious and, on the basis of empirical evidence, probably nil.

Pharmaceutical patents and the resulting monopolies have many other corrosive effects, over and above raising the prices of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies spend far more money promoting their products than on R&D. Some of the giants spend as much as four times on marketing as they do on research and development. How do these companies market their products? Most of the money goes to “scientifically convincing” the medical profession to prescribe patented products. How? Well, for example, by inviting doctors and their families to week-long conferences in exclusive resorts, where two hours are for a marketing presentation (the “medical symposium”) and the rest for (all-included) leisure. A spectacular – but hardly unique – example of the level of corruption is the conviction of Pfizer for encouraging doctors to bill the government for drugs they were provided for free. These practices not only raise the cost of drugs, but corrode trust in the medical profession.

The pharmaceutical cartel, which Microsoft happens to have great stakes in, actually wants something even stronger than patents.

The other day we wrote about the Alcatel-Lucent vs Microsoft decision being overturned, which once again proves that Microsoft is above patent law. This is the second time in one month that Microsoft escapes prosecution for patent violations. As always, Masnick’s take on this is insightful.

There is a mythology in the US about the value and importance of patents — and because of that, it’s not surprising that patent trials involving juries quite often end with the patent holder being declared victor, and a huge amount being awarded by the jury. Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent have been involved in a whole series of patent battles recently.

Another high-profile case involves Broadcom and Emulex at the moment.

Broadcom says Emulex is using its patented technology unlawfully and is off to court to stop Emulex using unlicensed technology and to get cash damages.

Here is Masnick’s take:

Can’t Buy ‘Em? Sue ‘Em For Patent Infringement!

JohnForDummies alerts us to Broadcom’s latest patent infringement suit, this time against Emulex. Broadcom is quite aggressive on the patent front, so at first this didn’t seem like a big deal.

Broadcom is not just “aggressive on the patent front”; it has fraud going on, which seems typical for patent aggressors [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], Microsoft included.

“The current “patent thicket,” in which anyone who writes a successful software programme is sued for alleged patent infringement, highlights the current IP system’s failure to encourage innovation” —Pr Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Laureate in Economics), IP-Watch

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. 'Corporate Linux' Will Not Protect Software Freedom

    The corporate model is inherently not compatible with software that users themselves fully control (or Software Freedom in general), so we must rely on another model of sovereignty over code and compiled code (binaries)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 18, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, October 18, 2019



  3. 26,000 Posts

    We want to thank those who help spread the word; it gives us moral support and morale.



  4. The Myth of 'Analysts'

    People with exaggerated roles (exaggerated by corporate media and corporations that control them) distort public perceptions about their clients; they're in effect just elevated marketing or Public Relations (PR) operatives



  5. The FSF Has Two Acting Presidents Now

    Alexandre Oliva, who acted as a sort of deputy of Richard Stallman in recent weeks, sheds some much-needed light on the current situation



  6. Should Anybody Dictate the Free Software Movement?

    "There's a great myth, as Jagadees reminds us, that advocacy doesn't produce software. That myth is corporate, and proper advocacy has at times produced the greatest software in the history of computing. If we want great Free software to continue, we need advocacy more than ever."



  7. Links 18/10/2019: More KDE Events and OpenBSD 6.6

    Links for the day



  8. We Don't Know Who Will Run the Free Software Foundation, But We Know Who Will Run the GNU Project

    Software Freedom is under a heavy and perhaps unprecedented attack; some people out there are paid by the attackers to celebrate this attack and defame people (cheering for corporate takeover under the blanket of “Open Source”), but the founder of the Free software movement remains alive, well, and very much active



  9. New EPO Meme: Who Wants to Make Billions From a 'Public' Monopoly?

    What was supposed to be a cash-balanced patent office became a money-making monster that fakes ‘crises’ to attack hard-working examiners



  10. EmacsConf Without Richard Stallman

    Now that emacs is being 'rebranded' this kind of meme seems apt



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 17, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 17, 2019



  12. Guest Article: In the Absence of Richard Stallman OEM Source Software ('Open Source') is Trying to Hijack Even Emacs

    "Now they have to create some fictional history. No need to worry."



  13. Guest Article: Techies Should Not Dictate the Free Software Movement

    "We should start a second phase of the Free software movement that's making good software and putting users at the center."



  14. Links 17/10/2019: Ubuntu Turns 15, New Codename Revealed, Ubuntu 19.10 is Out

    Links for the day



  15. Free as in Free Speech (Restrictions May Apply)

    When limits of speech are not safety-related rules but political correctness or conformism



  16. There Won't be Patent Justice Until Patent Trolling Becomes Completely and Totally Extinct

    SLAPP-like behaviour and extortion/blackmail tactics using patent monopolies are a stain on the patent system; it's time to adopt measures to stop these things once and for all, bearing in mind they're inherently antithetical to the goal/s of the patent system and therefore discourage public support for this whole system



  17. EPO Staff Union and Staff Representatives Ought to Demand EPO Stops Bullying Publishers and Censoring Their Sites

    An often neglected if not forgotten aspect of EPO tyranny is the war on information itself; EPO management continues to show hostility towards journalism and disdain for true information



  18. Bribes, Lies, Fundamental Violations of the Law and Cover-Up: This is Today's European Patent Office

    It has gotten extremely difficult to hold the conspirators accountable for turning Europe’s patent office into a ‘printing machine’ of the litigation industry and amassing vast amounts of money (to be passed to private, for-profit companies)



  19. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Lost Almost Half (3 Out of 8) Board Members in Only One Month

    As the old saying goes, a picture (or screenshot) is worth a thousand words



  20. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 16, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 16, 2019



  21. Startpage and System1 Abuse Your Privacy Under the Guise of 'Privacy One Group'

    Startpage has sold out and may have also sold data it retained about its users to a privacy-hostile company whose entire business model is surveillance



  22. Links 16/10/2019: Halo Privacy, Ubuntu Release Imminent

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 15, 2019



  24. No, Microsoft is Not an 'Open Source Company' But a Lying Company

    The world’s biggest proprietary software companies want to be seen as “open”; what else is new?



  25. Meme: Setting the Record Straight

    Stallman never defended Epstein. He had called him “Serial Rapist”. It’s Bill Gates who defended Epstein and possibly participated in the same acts.



  26. EPO Staff Resolution Against Neoliberal Policies of António Campinos

    “After Campinos announced 17 financial measures,” a source told us, “staff gathered at multiple sites last week for general assemblies. The meeting halls were crowded. The resolution was passed unanimously and without abstentions.”



  27. Satya Nadella is a Distraction From Microsoft's Real Leadership and Abuses

    "I’m merely wondering if his image and accolades that we’re incessantly bombarded with by the press actually reflect his accomplishments or if they’re being aggrandized."



  28. Raw: EPO Comes Under Fire for Lowering Patent Quality Under the Orwellian Guise of “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI)

    Stephen Rowan, the President’s (António Campinos) chosen VP who promotes the notorious “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI) initiative/pilot, faces heat from the CSC, the Central Staff Committee of the EPO



  29. Making The Most of The Fourth Age of Free Software

    "For better or for worse, we can be certain the Free Software Foundation will never be the same."



  30. FSF is Not for Free Speech Anymore

    The FSF gave orders to silence people


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