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

12.30.09

Man Behind US Declaration of Independence Opposed Patenting

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thomas Jefferson

Summary: Sharp contrast between Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison; China falls into the trap of greed for monopoly

What do great thinkers like Don Knuth, Tim Berners-Lee and Thomas Jefferson have in common? Well, they all realised that intellectual monopolies hinder rather than advance science. TechDirt tells a story about Thomas Jefferson deciding that “The Hemp Brake Was Too Important To Patent”:

We’ve had plenty of discussions about Thomas Jefferson’s views on the patent system. He is, clearly, the father of the patent system in the US. While he was incredibly skeptical of the idea of granting any monopolies originally, he did come around to accept patents in very limited circumstances, and when he oversaw the patent system, he was careful to make sure that the downsides of such monopolies were limited. Separately, for many years, I’ve heard the story of how Ben Franklin purposely decided not to patent his stove invention, stating:

“As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously.”

Regarding patents, a lot more has been said about Jefferson, who is known for his stubborn approach against this abuse of ownership. In The Letters of Thomas Jefferson we find:

THE EARTH BELONGS TO THE LIVING

“I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self evident, “that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;” that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by an individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society. If the society has formed no rules for the appropriation of its lands in severalty, it will be taken by the first occupants. These will generally be the wife and children of the decedent.”

Now, compare that to Thomas Edison, who in a time when the patent office was said to have already gotten everything concievable filed, decided to carry on and earn about one thousand patents. He was a real patent maximalist, to whom patenting other people’s work was also seen as acceptable, based on this new item from TechDirt:

How Thomas Edison, Patron Saint Of Patent Holders, Copied Others’ Works To ‘Invent’ The Light Bulb

We’ve written in the past how Thomas Edison — who is often held up by patent hoarders as the perfect example of why patents are necessary — didn’t actually invent any of the stuff he’s famous for “inventing.” Instead, he’s most famous for taking the work of others and innovating around it just slightly, to find a good market — but then also patenting the work of others and blocking anyone else from entering the market. I admire his innovative side and his marketing prowess, but find his abuse of patents to be unfortunate. Reader Michael points to a recent story in Wired which highlights how this worked with the incandescent lightbulb.

Microsoft and Apple have taken a similar approach whereby they patent other people’s already-implemented ideas (or slight variations around them). It offers vanity over a mere number, which is to be blindly perceived as might.

Glyn Moody points to this alarming reminder (among many more) that China wants to use patents — including software patents — to carve out a monopoly for itself. He says, “watch for the US to get the sharing bug soon,” particularly in relation to this article from a patent maximalist publication in China:

He [President Hu visited a privately owned software company, and was pleased to learn that business was better than last year. The President stressed the importance of technological innovation.

President Hu Jintao said, “Nowadays, the competition in information technology is extremely fierce. I hope you, as a software company, will treasure technological innovation as your life. You need to own intellectual property rights for your products. I hope you will be pioneers in the development of our country’s software industry.”

He gets it all wrong. China would be far more competitive by sharing its wealth of knowledge, thus cheapening the process of research and development. Maybe some lobbyists have had him misled. He ought to be a Jefferson, not an Edison.

“It was Edison who said “1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. That may have been true a hundred years ago. These days it’s “0.01% inspiration, 99.99% perspiration”, and the inspiration is the easy part. As a project manager, I have never had trouble finding people with crazy ideas. I have trouble finding people who can execute. IOW, “innovation” is way oversold. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be applied to products like MS Word or Open office.”

Linus Torvald

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

3 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    December 31, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Gravatar

    Hu’s first act in North America as President of China was to get callled on the mat to answer to Bill Gates. There’s no question of who’s on which end of the leash.

    http://cryptome.org/cn/gates-birdseye.htm
    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2006/04/chinas_presiden.html

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    We live in a world where money is wrongly assumed to be indicative of wisdom (see who’s approached for an opinion on the economic crisis, despite lack of qualifications) and money sure means power.

  2. uberVU - social comments said,

    January 4, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by schestowitz: Man Behind US Declaration of Independence Opposed #Patenting http://boycottnovell.com/2009/12/30/thomas-jefferson-edison-patents/ #swpat…

What Else is New


  1. Links 13/2/2016: Debian 6.0 EOL

    Links for the day



  2. The European Patent Office, Aloof/Apathetic to Inventors and Human Rights, Simply Cannot be Trusted With the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The European Patent Office (EPO), once a source of great pride for increasingly-unified Europeans, not only wants to enjoy impunity but also wants to attain new powers, despite demonstrating that its interests are anything but European and are often detrimental to Europeans, not just to European inventors



  3. Feedback About Battistelli's 'Meet the President' Event in Rijswijk (4th of February, 2016)

    President of the EPO, the self-absorbed Battistelli, as described by those who attended his self-glorification event earlier this month



  4. Microsoft Continua Usando Patentes de Software para Extorsionar/Chantajear Incluso Más Compañías que Usan Linux, Forzandolas/Coerciendoles a PreInstallar Basura de Microsoft

    Acer es el último gran OEM que se ha convertido en la caza de brujas por parte de Microsoft contra preinstalladores de Android/Linux, a quienes esta coerciendo en convertirse en transportistas de Microsoft (o enfrentarse a litigaciones sobre patentes de software, con altos costos legales sino bloqueos con altísimos costos por arreglos secretos).



  5. Nuevas Protestas Contra La Vil OEP en Medio de Crisis Nerviosa de su Empleado Español (Después del Matoneo Institucional de Los Chacales de Battistelli), España Rechaza la Patente Unitaria UPC

    Enfrentando enorme presión de no-tecnicos Eurocráticos como Battistelli, España permanece FUERTE y RESISTE la Corte Unitaria de Patentes (UPC), que pone más poder en las manos de un cuerpo ABUSIVO que grotescamente discrimina contra los Españoles.



  6. Sólo Media Docena de Patentes Cubana Registradas en la OEP, Pero el Trístemente Célebre Battistelli Va a Cuba a Acumular Apoyo Baráto

    Ahora que España esta antagonizando a la OEP (y especialmente la UPC) el Presidente de la OEP ayuda a crear piezas de hojaldre en español cuando visitó Cuba y sus vecinos hispano-hablanetes que históricamente son renombrados por su gobernabilidad desaparecida así como su ilegalidad (como la OEP misma)



  7. In Lawyerland, Simulated UPC 'Trials' and More Extraordinary EPO Propaganda for Change That Would Harm Europe to Help Patent Lawyers and Their Big Clients

    A look at the latest wave of lobbying for the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), courtesy of patent lawyers who profit from patent disputes, and the utterly shameless marketing from the European Patent Office (EPO)



  8. Apple and Microsoft Cannot Keep Up With Android (Linux), More Layoffs Reported

    Having failed to grow (in the operating systems market share sense), proprietary software giants lose loyalty, try to attack the winner (Android/Linux) with software patents, and inevitably make their staff redundant



  9. Links 12/2/2016: Russian's Government With GNU/Linux, India's Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  10. New EPO Protests Amid Nervous Breakdowns of Spanish EPO Employee (After Institutional Bullying by Battistelli's Goons), Spain Rejects the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    In the face of enormous pressure from non-technical Eurocrats like Battistelli, Spain remains strong and resists the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which puts more power in the hands of an abusive body that grossly discriminates against Spaniards



  11. Only Half a Dozen Cuban Patents Filed at EPO, But Hugely Unpopular Battistelli Goes to Cuba to Garner Cheap Support

    Now that Spain is antagonising the EPO (and especially the UPC) the President of the EPO helps create some puff pieces in Spanish as he visits Cuba and neighbouring Spanish-speaking nations which are historically renowned for defunct governance and lawlessness (like the EPO itself)



  12. Nepotismo de la UPC, Abusos Políticos, y el Envolvimiento en la UPC de la Firma ¨Legal¨ que la OEP Contrato para Matonear a Techrights

    La Corte Unitaria de Patentes UPC, un sistema arregaldo esta siendo embestida por la gargant de Europa por la OEP. (Nos están metiendo la yuca). Sus grandes clientes (incluso extranjeros), con sus abogados de patentes para que todo el mundo los vea.



  13. Miembro del Parlamente Europe Resalta ¨Las Continuas Violaciones de los Fundamentales Derechos de los Empleados de la OEP¨

    Pregunta a la Comisión Europea de parte de la MEP Portuguesa Ana Gomes, publicado en el sitio del Parlamente Europeo.



  14. Links 11/2/2016: LibreOffice 5.1, HMRC and FOSS

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Continues to Use Software Patents to Extort/Blackmail Even More Companies That Use Linux, Forcing/Coercing Them Into Preinstalling Microsoft

    Acer is the latest large OEM to have become a victim of Microsoft's witch-hunt against Android/Linux preloaders, whom Microsoft is coercing into becoming Microsoft's carriers (or face litigation over software patents, with high legal fees if not injunctions or high damages upon secret settlements)



  16. EPO Brain Drain (Even Directors Fed Up With Team Battistelli) and Rumours About Battistelli Becoming President of the UPC

    Words heard through the grapevine of the European Patent Office (EPO), where staff is overwhelmingly against the managers and some people, including high-profile staff, add to the exodus



  17. More Than 20 Years in the Line: European Patent Office and Claims of European Convention on Human Rights Infringement Against Applicants/Stakeholders

    Gross incompetence and potentially an infringement of the European Convention on Human Rights at the European Patent Office (EPO), this time impacting an applicant (one of many in a similar position)



  18. UPC Nepotism, Political Abuses, and UPC Involvement From the Legal Firm That EPO Hired to Bully Techrights

    The Unitary Patent Court (UPC), a rigged system that is being rammed down Europe's throat by the EPO, its big clients (even foreign), and their patent lawyers laid bear for people to see



  19. Member of European Parliament Brings Up “Ongoing Violations of the Fundamental and Employment Rights of the Staff of EPO”

    Question to the European Commission from Portuguese MEP Ana Gomes, as published in the site of the European Parliament



  20. La Oficina Europea de Patentes Pretende que No Pasa Nada y Prepara una Feria de Vanidad

    La estrategia de relaciones públicas de la OEP cuya destructiva estrategia de patentes continua sin disminución (por ahora), se engancha en Colombia y se esfuerza en manufacturar el mito donde el público, examinadores de patentes, y aplicantes de patentes todos estan muy felices con la OEP.



  21. La ‘Internacional’ Commisión de Comercio Impone/Reenfuerza Patentes de Software para Establecer Otro Embargo

    La Comisión Internacional (sic) de Comercio se esta entrometiendo en competición de nuevo permitiendo a un gigante de los Estados Unidos Ciso en este caso, a potencialmente bloquear rivales (no importaciones del extranjero) usando patentes de software.



  22. Links 9/2/2016: Linux in Robotics, Hyperledger Project

    Links for the day



  23. Besieged Benoît Battistelli Mimics 'Damage Control' Tactics of FIFA or Blatter as More Judges Start Getting Involved in EPO Scandals

    Rumours and a new rant from Battistelli reinforce suspicions that actions are being organised behind the scenes, possibly as part of an upcoming, high-level campaign to unseat/dethrone Battistelli, who has become a reputational disaster to the European Patent Office (EPO), much like Sepp Blatter at FIFA



  24. Several Political Parties Directly Challenge the European Patent Office for Ignoring the Law, Not Obeying Court Orders

    Politicians make it crystal clear that the EPO, despite its unique status, cannot just raise its nose at the rulings of courts of law, definitely not in Dutch territory where the EPO operates



  25. Even the Legal Community is Upset at Benoît Battistelli for the Damage He Did to the EPO

    A recent article from lawyers' media (in German) speaks of the great damage (or mess) left by its current president, who has become somewhat of a laughing stock and growingly synonymous with farcical trials even in the circles of stakeholders, not just his own staff



  26. EPO Union (SUEPO) Getting Busted: “More and More People are Joining the Union, but Fewer and Fewer People Dare to Take on Leading Positions There.”

    The union-busting actions taken by EPO management in collaboration with Control Risks (for weak accusations against staff representatives) and FTI Consulting (for 'damage control') as described in a recent article, in the words of SUEPO lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld



  27. Microsoft's Copyrights- and Patents-Based Attacks on GNU/Linux Carry on

    The SCO case is still going on and Microsoft has just signed a patent deal with GoPro over its FOSS-based software, relating to “certain file storage and other system technologies”



  28. The EPO's Benoît Battistelli is the Dictator Who Can No Longer Dictate Like He Used to

    The European Patent Office's mechanism of oversight is starting to work just a little because, based on a new report from Juve, Battistelli is now reluctant to make proposals that would prove unpopular among delegates



  29. La Más Detallada Explicación (hasta ahora) de ¿Qué esta mal con la OEP?

    La insistencia de la OEP que permanece arriba de la ley no sólo est bajo fuego en los medios pero también esta siendo desafiada basado en personas familiares con la aplicabilidad de la ley a organizaciones internacionales.



  30. Links 8/2/2016: Vista 10 Nags Help GNU/Linux, Nautilus Updated

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts