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11.20.09

Patents Roundup: Observations About WIPO Numbers, Deteriorating System and Its Effects

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Patents at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: WIPO releases some rather revealing statistics and out-of-touch patent systems are still put in doubt

YESTERDAY we showed that the patent systems are being hijacked by lawyers, but this covers mostly patent trolls and middlemen, whereas it neglects the role that monopolising multinationals typically play. According the the Business Mirror, data from WIPO shows that well over 90% of the patents in the Philippines have nothing to do with the Philippines. It’s like “intellectual imperialism”.

THE country’s patent landscape continues to be dominated by foreign owners, with data both from the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IP Philippines) indicating that over 90 percent of the patents applied for and granted here were from nonresidents.

Wipo’s 2009 World IP Indicators revealed that the Philippines had the third-largest number of patent applications among 20 emerging countries that the group surveyed after the Ukraine and Indonesia.

However, 96.4 percent of the patents granted in the Philippines were issued to nonresident filers.

The report, which was based on the 2006 worldwide statistics, also showed that 92.9 percent of the patents filed in the Philippines were from nonresident filers.

This happens in India as well (companies like Google, Microsoft, Nokia and BT are examples we gave); multinationals are protecting more territories. Is this really the purpose of patents as protectionist measures? More information of this kind can now be obtained from WIPO now.

WIPO has launched an enhanced online patent information service that will improve public access to information on patents filed and granted around the world. WIPO’s PATENTSCOPE®, which currently hosts data on more than 1.6 million international patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), has been extended to include several collections of national and regional patent information.

In the New York Times, one author goes further and suggests constructing a different patent system. It points out:

The quality of American patents has been deteriorating for years; they are increasingly issued for products and processes that are not truly innovative — things like the queuing system for Netflix, which was patented in 2003. Yes, it makes renting movies a snap, but was it really a breakthrough deserving patent protection?

As things stand, “The More Innovative You Are, The More You Get Sued,” argues TechDirt, which points to Business Insider.

Shazam Entertainment, makers of the popular iPhone app that tells you what song is playing in the car, store, bar, restaurant, etc., is getting sued for patent infringement by Digimarc, another software company. The suit covers three patents; two date back to 1995 — long before the iPhone.

TechDirt also wrote about the role of intellectual monopolies in banning Windows XP [1, 2]. Embargo does not equal innovation.

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