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

08.28.10

Patents Kill, So Let’s Just Kill Them

Posted in OIN, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Those who exploit copyright and patent today will be regarded in a few decades as we regard those who exploited slavery.” –Crosbie, yesterday

Working hard

Summary: As patents are an inherently problematic phenomenon, they ought to be abolished rather than just tamed or cooperated with (so-called ‘pragmatism’)

THE world’s ‘death patents’, which are promoted by the Gates Foundation, are an ethical problem and we have many older posts about the subject. The patent dilemma is most pronounced when people are killed by patents or their lives held as hostage by patents. SJVN, whose career involves a great deal of UNIX and Linux (then journalism), gets around to addressing this subject. He writes about “killer patents” as he calls them.

In the computer technology business, we tend to see patents as being bad for developers and business. What we don’t realize that the problems we have with Microsoft’s bogus patent claims against Linux and Oracle’s patent-based attack against Google are nothing compared to the evils that IP patents bring to the pharmacy business.

Take, for example, the assault that the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) is now mounting on Abbot Labs. PUBPAT is formally asking the United States Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine eight Abbot patents relating to the critical HIV/AIDS drug Ritonavir, aka Norvir.

Ritonavir, a protease inhibitor, was one of the early HIV/AID antiviral drugs. Today, as HIV has grown tougher, it is now more widely used to enhance the efficacy of other protease inhibitors in AIDs drug cocktails. In this role, it’s still a critical HIV/AIDS drug.

Being a technical person, SJVN understands that he does not really need patents. Copyrights are already there and the GPL too uses copyright laws. Groklaw, on the other hand, is not sufficiently sceptical of OIN and Peer-to-Patent. Groklaw editor Pamela Jones used to be a proponent of patents, but somewhere along the way she is said to have changed her mind. Right now we see the same adherence to accepting patents as a necessary evil, also from Eben Moglen who can make money from it. Groklaw tries to defend its audience [1, 2], which comprises many lawyers, including some who engage in patent lawsuits (also defence of course):

But as Eben Moglen pointed out recently at LinuxCon, the patent crisis in general isn’t going away. So it’s best that we figure out the very best ways to deal with it. I’m told his talk will be available as video soon, and when it’s up, it will be here on the Linux Foundation website.

Linux and FOSS compete on who has the best code, not patent infringement lawsuits, speaking of vision. It’s a superior development model. Nobody competes with courtrooms. I’m not saying no one sues. The GPL lawsuits are about copyright infringement, but they are what they say they are, not wolves in granny’s cap to fool Red Riding Hood. It’s why the code keeps getting better and better.

The title of this post is “How You Can Help Patent Attorneys Help Free Software” (implying that lawyers can solve the problem, usually for a fee). This is one area where Techrights does not fully agree with Groklaw. Using patent lawyers to fight against patents is like forming an alliance with Shell to end wars.

Patents are rarely beneficial to progress, if ever. Let’s use a new example. In relation to this article, TechDirt raises the question, “Would Photography Have Been Different If It Had Been Patented Up?”

Reader Murdoch points us to one of Wired’s regular “this day in tech” history pieces about how Louis Daguerre revealed all of the “secrets” to making daguerrotypes, which was the basis for photography, in 1839. Rather than a “patent” to lock up the offering, the French government gave Daguerre and his partner, Isidore Niepce, pensions in exchange for freeing the knowledge — with each receiving the equivalent today of $30,000 per year — a decent, but hardly huge sum. And with all that information public, suddenly everyone started innovating on the idea and trying to improve it, leading to modern photography.

Companies that make print — not photography — possible are keeping the prices high, artificially in most cases. The latest among several lawsuits which prevent real competition comes from HP:

THE MAKER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK, HP has is going after its cheap and cheerful rivals, claiming that they have nicked its technology.

HP has asked the US International Trade Commission (ITC) to have a look at some of the inkjet ink supplies and components that are being shipped to the Land of the Free.

Just like Lexmark last week, they turn to the ITC [1, 2, 3, 4]. How does that improve development as opposed to HP’s bottom line? A lot of patents just make no sense to society (they have always made sense to the largest corporations however). They basically elevate prices, encourages price-gouging, and lessen competition. Let’s just get rid of patents (especially software patents), not learn how to live with them.

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. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  3. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  4. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  5. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  6. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?





  7. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  8. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  9. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  10. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  11. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  12. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  13. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  14. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  15. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  16. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  17. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  18. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  19. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  20. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  22. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  23. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  24. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  25. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  27. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  28. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  29. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  30. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux


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