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04.01.10

Patents Roundup: “Lawyer’s Trick” in Gene Patenting, Elan Microelectronics and HTC Connected, Neelie Kroes Confused About Role of Patents

Posted in Apple, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DNA stairs

Summary: How companies want to privatise human DNA, an HTC supplier wants to block iPad, and Commissioner Kroes passes on clichés about patents and entrepreneurship (after heavy lobbying from Microsoft)

Yesterday’s news about gene patents led the president of the FFII to saying that “Genes and software patents are granted thanks to the “lawyer’s trick” (or a computer program as such)” [1, 2, 3, 4]. The New Scientist asks, “Is this the end of gene patenting?”

Elan Microelectronics’ embargo attempt against Apple was also mentioned yesterday (contained in the same post) and here is what TechDirt had to say:

Given all of this, it was really only a matter of time until the patent litigation began flying over the iPad. Slashdot points us to the news that Elan Microelectronics is seeking to ban the import of iPads into the US via the ever-popular ITC loophole.

Our reader Oiaohm says that it took him “a bit of digging” but he found that “Elan Microelectronics is a direct supplier to HTC. Now this is good. Apple attack HTC so now HTC suppliers lining up to eat them for lunch.” Apple tried to embargo HTC phones consisting of Android (Linux) and now the iPad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] is at risk.

A week ago we wrote about Amazon's pushing of software patents into Europe and now we find another bizarre patent that “could make returns harder” according to CNET.

A new patent awarded to Web retailer Amazon.com could change what customers see in their shipping confirmation e-mails, as well as making falsely problematic returns more difficult.

Amazon does not respect competition or Free software and along with Microsoft it hurts GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4].

This brings us to Neelie Kroes. We previously complained about her bad attitude towards software patents [1, 2, 3]. Last week David Hammerstein revealed what Microsoft had been doing to her [1, 2]. She is being bamboozled and lobbied heavily and it may have led her to making the following statement three weeks ago:

To give you one example of the barriers to smart growth: protecting a patent is 13 times more expensive in the EU than in the US. How does that help you as entrepreneurs? It does not!

There’s a fallacy here. Patents do not spur growth; this myth has been debunked many times by several independent studies. TechDirt currently has this new explanation which it titled “The Patent System Does Not Scale”; in short, patents become a burden at some stage. They only hinder and distract, rewarding lawyers and monopolists, not scientists.

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