01.20.10

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Obama Finally Slams the USPTO, But Parrots Talking Point from Microsoft and Intellectual Monopolists

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Steve Ballmer at 7:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Failure to understand the true role of patents, especially at the government level; pharmaceutical industry veteran admits the patent lie; IPCom officially loses patent crusade

Steve Ballmer has been lobbying President Obama to increase the pace at the USPTO and Obama is now saying that the “Patent office’s system is ‘embarrassing’,” according to The Hill. Also, according to a closer look, his problem with the USPTO is not the notion of monopoly as a business model but that the USPTO does not issue enough patents. We saw this talking point before, Mike Masnick denounced it, and he is doing it again by concluding with:

It is embarrassing (perhaps the fear of patent infringement holds the patent office back from modernizing?), but not quite as embarrassing as the fact that the patent office has not done its job of “protecting and promoting innovation” at all for a very long time. Given the number of questionable and obvious patents that it has approved, and its willingness to create massive patent thickets, it has become clear that the patent office has been much more focused on processing patents, not in promoting innovation.

Why are politicians convinced that intellectual monopolies are necessary? Because big businesses tell them so? Of course they would, it’s beneficial to Big Business after all; it’s a protectionist measure.

“Why are politicians convinced that intellectual monopolies are necessary?”Some of the most renowned patent propaganda defends the pharmaceutical cartel, claiming that patents are needed in order to save lives. Several weeks ago we wrote about fallacies of pharmaceutical patents (see Novartis for example [1, 2, 3, 4]). At the time, we also showed that the Gates Foundation was a multi-billion dollar investor in pharmaceutical patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. There is an unethical issue here [1, 2], but most people overlook it due to propaganda.

To debunk the myths, the Against Monopoly Web site has just made use of the confessions from a pharmaceutical veteran, who admits that patents are not needed by them (unless profit is the sole motive, not cures).

Lessons from 60 years of pharmaceutical innovation

[...]

He also admits that “in many organizations, short-term priorities encourage marginal innovation, which provides more reliable returns on investment, at the expense of major change.” He recognizes, in other words, that the current incentive system rewards the development of me-too drugs over novel therapies. Finally, he admits that alternatives to the traditional patent system, including prizes, may be required to boost R&D productivity.

Very encouraging words!

Indeed. It is increasingly made publicly known that patents are just a naked emperor. Here is patent taxman IPCom [1, 2, 3] losing its case against Nokia. It was a pretty major story in yesterday’s news.

Nokia has scored two consecutive victories against German patent license manager IPCom in the U.K, it said on Tuesday.

On Monday, the U.K. High Court announced that two IPCom patents named in a suit brought by IPCom against Nokia are invalid, and therefore can’t be infringed upon, according to Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant. The patents are related to how phones connect to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network, he said.

Nokia has new issues to worry about because of Apple [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which is trying to embargo Nokia products (in response to Nokia’s attempt). It’s a tit-for-tat game which does nothing to advance science.

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