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

08.21.11

Misconception: The Problem With the US Patent System is Just Patent Trolls and/or Just Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Google, IBM, Law, Patents at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US flags

Summary: Clarifications and explanations regarding the goal of a (yet theoretical) patent reform that would actually prove to be effective

EVERY ONCE in a while, someone suggests an amendment to the systems we have in place. Law and governance forever evolve, or devolve. On the one hand there are lobbyists working at the behest of people who seek to distort the system for their client/s and on the other hand there are grassroots efforts to make the systems more sane and civilised. It is an eternal battle and the power that wins depends on the integrity of politicians. If politics expels lobbyists and abolishes cronyism, then the return on investment becomes too low for lobbying to remain a compelling option. Bill Gates and his friend Nathan (the world’s biggest patent troll) have been lobbying a lot recently to further perturb patent policy in favour of the billionaires. It is a tough battle in the US. We covered the issue many times before and showed that lobbying for the billionaires is shrewdly being disguised as helping “the little guy” (or gal).

“But spending money upfront for the chance of a better world is our job. And it’s the right thing to do.”
      –Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
To confront or address this serious issue we must first define what the problems are. There is no single ‘camp’ here because some people want all software patents eliminated, some prefer to see only a portion of them (the “bad” ones) eliminated, and some just want to make patents work in favour of themselves or Linux (the "IBM way", maybe Google too based on its recent Android defence strategy).

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a persistent critic of software patents as of late [1, 2, 3], makes suggestions for getting rid of patent trolls, which are more like a symptom than the main problem. Many of them use software patents and give the illusion that not only gigantic companies use patents to cause harm. “Every venture-backed startup needs to make a credible, public statement now: we will fight every patent troll case, to the Supreme Court if we have to,” suggests Gobry. “Every venture capitalist needs to make a credible, public statement: we will finance our portfolio companies’ cases against patent trolls. We recognize that it’s going to be a long, hard slog. We’re going to burn tons of money at first. But spending money upfront for the chance of a better world is our job. And it’s the right thing to do.”

Well, this is not the key problem and it “ignores they are *intended* part of patent system, though,” writes Georg Greve in relation to this article. Trying to pretend that getting rid of patent trolls is the only desired “reform” is what lobbyists of large companies have been doing. As we saw quite recently with Apple’s embargo threats and legal actions (with fake 'evidence'), the problem is not just bigger than patent trolls; it is bigger than software patents, too. Sometimes we have patent cartels. According to this new article, Apple continues to pursue patents. Here is the latest:

A patent application submitted by Apple has revealed its plans to turn the iPod and iPhone into a mobile karaoke system that can help to teach amateur singers how to hit the right pitch and key.

The bottom line is, large companies — not just patent trolls — are exploiting the USPTO to make themselves rich. This leaves more than 99% of the US public totally betrayed by this system that their government fosters.

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 22/8/2019: KDE ISO Image Writer, GNU Parallel ‘Jesper Svarre’

    Links for the day



  2. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

    "This library is not just for cultural works, but also for software."



  3. Linux Foundation's Linux.com in 2019: Zero Articles (Nothing Original) and a Terrible, Rookie New Design

    Linux.com has become a curated syndicator of news (edited by one single Microsoft proponent); the site has also eliminated its traditional design in favour of something only 'hipsters' can appreciate



  4. Managing IP as Team UPC's Megaphone and Lobbying Front

    Managing IP is lying on behalf of Team UPC yet again; the site's long history promoting the UPC hasn't ended even when prospects of the UPC are slim to none



  5. No More Rights for EPO Staff?

    The oppression and the crackdown on labour rights in Europe's second-largest institution has deepened to the point where staff is paid as little as is legally possible



  6. Links 22/8/2019: GNOME 3.33.91, Systemd 243 RC2, Cockpit 201, Ubuntu Touch OTA-10, FreeIPMI 1.6.4

    Links for the day



  7. Some Patent Attorneys Dislike Techrights Not Because It's Wrong But Because Software Patents Are Wrong (and Sometimes Illegal)

    Odd rants which misuse common law and ignore alleged Fair Use (and misinterpretation of copyright law, for censorship purposes) would have people believe that we're wrong; but it's more likely that the person in question is jealous, insecure, or offended by our stance on patent scope, which is very much rooted in the law itself (and the views widely held by software developers globally)



  8. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema

    "Every time a distro does not suit a user's purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one's own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born."



  9. Links 21/8/2019: Dell's XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

    Links for the day



  10. Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

    Links for the day



  11. Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

    Bristows LLP is at it again and it's getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual



  12. Guest Post: António Campinos' European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

    The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices



  13. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead

    "This strategy is not far from when Microsoft talked about "de-commoditizing protocols" in the late 90s, as part of their plans to control, dominate, and end Open Source and Free software."



  14. EPO Cannot Handle Patent Justice With a Backlog of About 10,000 Cases at the Boards of Appeal

    The EPO's long war on judges and on the law has proven to be costly; it's difficult to pretend that the EPO functions like a first-world legal framework



  15. The European Patent Office Increases Surveillance: Can't Get Food Without Being Spied on

    The infamous "War on Cash" has been 'won' at Europe's second-largest institution, where people's diet can now be monitored and indefinitely retained on the system



  16. To GNU/Linux, the Operating System, GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) is Not the Threat. Microsoft is.

    Don't let Microsoft get away with its bogus narration; GNU/Linux is primarily under attack from Microsoft, whereas Software Freedom in general is under attack from many directions



  17. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

    Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship



  18. Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

    Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the 'bad boy' of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there



  19. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

    "AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won't be followed all the time."



  20. Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

    Links for the day



  21. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

    "Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important."



  22. Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation



  23. Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

    Links for the day



  24. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

    "If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages."



  25. Links 19/8/2019: Another Linux 5.3 RC, OpenSUSE's Richard Brown Steps Down, Slackware Creates Patreon Page, Qt 6 Initiated

    Links for the day



  26. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm



  27. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free as in Speech

    "While a new breed of so-called anarchists campaign against expression that even the state allows, people are also foolishly overplaying the relevance of the state to free speech issues -- as if it's not a freedom issue when a project is increasingly thought-policed, because the thought-policing isn't on a state level."



  28. Toxic Culture at Microsoft

    Racism, intolerance, sexism and bullying are rampant at Microsoft; but Microsoft would rather deflect/divert/sidetrack to Google and so-called 'GAFA'



  29. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Introduction

    "The FSF isn't just threatened, it will hit a large iceberg in the future that changes it permanently."



  30. Linux Journal and Linux.com Should Have Been Kept Going

    There's apparently no good explanation for the effective shutdown of Linux Journal and Linux.com; London Trust Media Holdings (LTMH), owner of Linux Journal, saw numbers improving and the Linux Foundation, steward of Linux.com, is loaded with money


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

Recent Posts