09.25.11

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The Parallel Universe of Patent Lawyers

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legal failure

O. J. Simpson

Summary: A look at several new items of interest and what they can teach us

TECHRIGHTS does not expect to be read by many patent lawyers. It would seem too insulting to them, not because of strong language but because patent lawyers have a different reality in their minds — one where they are necessary and even guardians of innovation.

We always see patent lawyers pretending to be part of the industry rather than parasites to those who drive the industry (the producing industry, not meta-industries). To monopolists, those patent lawyers do serve an important role. They are a guardian against competition. Their role is to narrow down the industry, removing choice, increasing fear, and contributing mostly to stress and waste of time. The assumption that if something is profitable then it must be good to society is very misguided. Almost equally misguided is the supposition that rich people always know better than the rest and that ruthlessness plays no part in one’s wealth (this aspect of the problem was explored in the previous post). In fact, the legal occupation is more about who argues better and has deeper pockets for better arguers/manipulators/dirt diggers; it’s not really about justice (case of point: O. J. Simpson). It’s biased towards money and in favour of one who already exploits others. So getting to the point though, the software industry does not need patent lawyers. Developers already have copyrights by default and disputes over copyrights are easier to resolve (even out of court) because the matter is not so blurry.

“The assumption that if something is profitable then it must be good to society is very misguided.”There is this one blog/magazine which is very shameless about its boosting of software patents. It’s called IAM and we pointed out its weaknesses in prior years. Here it is right now cheering the patent extortion business which works well for patent troll Acacia. And according to this patent maximalists’ blog, we should also belittle Bessen’s research [1, 2, 3] because, according to its stance, there are flaws. To quote: “On the Gametime IP blog Patrick Anderson takes Bessen, Ford and Meurer to task over their working paper, entitled The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls. Sadly, however, although Anderson does a very effective job, out there in the real world nobody is listening. Reports on the CNN Money, Washington Post, Business Insider and Ars Technica websites, among others, all report the findings uncritically. Now I think Anderson’s blog is among the best there is on patents, but how many people read it in comparison to those sites that I have mentioned? The fact is that, whether you like it or not, this paper is going to be very influential – just as Patent Failure, written by Bessen and Meurer in 2008 continues to be cited approvingly in countless reports and policy papers to this day; even though it too is deeply flawed.”

How are these “deeply flawed”? No details given, bot even a link/reference.

According to another patent lawyers’ blog, this one from Axel H. Horns, software patents are no longer up for debate in Europe. The German Pirate Party (sponsored in part by patents-loving company) is once again cited for support. Quoting the post:

After that the debate on software patents died down. A conference organised by the European Patent Office and held in Brussels on July 05, 2007, under the title “Computer-implemented inventions: where do we stand in the debate on ‘software patents’?” made perfectly clear that nowhere any intentions were living to re-start the legislative process to have a sectoral Directive on patentability of CIIs.

What the EPO has been doing in recent years is rather shameful. Its head left not too long ago, after she had opened a door to interpreting software patents as valid in Europe. Then again, the EPO is once of those establishments biased to serve patent supporters and be run by them, too.

Mike Masnick et al. are meanwhile “Petitioning The[ir] Government Against Software Patents,” according to this blog post which comes 2 weeks after the laughable ‘reform’:

Apparently I had missed that the White House set up a platform for people to petition it directly. A few folks have sent over a petition that was set up asking the administration to reject software patents, noting that they are hindering the software industry, one of the few “strong” industries in the US. The specific petition asks the government to stop issuing software patents… and to void all existing software patents.

Given the declining quality of patents, the USPTO should clearly address scope and not the nonsense about “first to file”. Getting rid of software patents would be a good start.

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