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

11.19.11

Big Figures for Big Impact: Academics Versus Lobbyists

Posted in Patents at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Education

Patent lawyers’ propaganda does not stack up

Summary: New numbers from Bessen et al. and the latest propaganda from a UK-based front group for ‘IP’

FOLLOWING the newest study from Bessen and his co-workers, there is press coverage estimating the cost of patent trolls at about half a trillion dollars. The figure as it appears in headlines might not be accurate, but it does have an impact and it can help squash patent trolls. We are quite used to seeing the Business Software Alliance commissioning the likes of IDC (at the behest of Microsoft et al.) to put out there some bogus figures which have the very opposite effect, so maybe this is a case of using scholarly work to battle lobbying. “Federation Against Software Theft” is another new body we saw emerging in a press release a couple of days ago. It says: “The new small claims service being introduced at the Patents County Court (PCC) in 2012 will help small and medium sized software businesses protect their copyright, trademarks and designs, reports the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).”

Sounds like lobbying for patents on someone else’s behalf. At the bottom it says that “The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) was formed in 1984. FAST is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee and wholly owned by its members. It was the first organisation to protect software publishers’ rights and advances its mission through education, enforcement and policy initiatives, together with promoting standards and best practice in the professional management of software. FAST advocates IP for growth. www.fast.org.uk ”

IP growth, eh? It’s funny that they have a .org.uk domain while they probably just serve as a front group of multinationals like Warner or Microsoft. Historically, we are less used to seeing this body fronting for patents and more used to seeing it involved in copyrights maximalism.

In other news, there is this continued push to put patents on just about anything, which leads to a stunning debate that ought to have been trivial. Some companies wish to patent life itself. To quote: “Oral arguments begin today on two separate cases, which don’t involve biotech firms but will affect the industry.”

It also says: “Both Akamai and McKesson have found support from two biopharma groups and one company in amicus curiae filings. Myriad Genetics offered insight into industry thinking: Since the Human Genome Project, the company noted, companies cannot obtain patents for fundamental composition of matter, since almost all of the human genome, all its encoded proteins, and analyses of those molecular markers, are deemed prior art.”

They actually wanted a patent on life and the Genome Project famously stopped them (to a degree). How did things get so bad to begin with? Not every piece of knowledge should be treated as “property” that can be sold of leased. It’s an outrageous suggestion to do so. Here is some news about patents being sold. It says that “Cryptocard has acquired the patents and intellectual property of GrIDsure, a UK pattern-based authentication start-up that became insolvent earlier this month. Term of the deal, announced Friday, were undisclosed.”

So basically this company was just a bunch of patents and it failed. Who would have guessed? Based on this news, there are predators out there looking just for patent monopolies to pick from defunct (or up for sale) companies so that they can extract fees without really doing anything. And as noted before, Doom 3 too is now suffering from patents, so despite goodwill from Carmack, we have no source code yet. “Games programming icon John Carmack,” says one article, “has been advised to rewrite some of the Doom 3 code to pave the way for its open-source release.” There is more about it here. The patent system does not encourage innovation, it is just an expensive nuisance as it stands. Software developers do not want that.

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 23/2/2020: PipeWire 0.3 and Osu!

    Links for the day



  2. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on Being Cancelled

    It was reading this that I realized I’d been cancelled myself. In my case, I was painted misogynist and transphobic, and for a post in which I supported women but denounced a crowd of men twisting the feminist cause, that I share, to attack rms, as if he wasn’t a feminist himself; and in which I express curiosity as to what pronoun to use to refer to zero women to paint me as someone who disregards gender identities and their pronouns.



  3. Good People Need to Run for Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board Positions After an FSF Coup Threw in the Towel, Pushing Out the Founder

    "I have been hit, but not knocked out, and my campaign for free software is not over." --Richard Stallman, October 2019



  4. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 22, 2020



  5. Alexandre Oliva's Message About Cancel Culture at the FSF

    Being cancelled is no fun. In my case, it was for standing for a friend who got canceled for defending someone else from an accusation that was later proven false.



  6. Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

    Links for the day



  7. Being Rich Does Not Imply Being Smart (Especially When One is Born Into Wealth)

    Presenting the 'genius' (college dropout, but that does not matter when the yardstick of wisdom is wealth alone), with his own predictions overlaid on top of his photo from the show of Bloomberg (another 'genius' whose supposed brilliance is measured using money alone)



  8. The Rise and Fall of Free Software

    "We simply need to make the movement less corporate, and more grassroots."



  9. Why You Should Adopt Debian 10, Not Vista 10 (Windows Vista With Microsoft's Latest Surveillance Add-ons)

    A little personal story and recommendation of Debian "Buster" (10) or Devuan (whose developers persist)



  10. Ethics by Exclusion

    It's the same old philosophical question; can excluding those who are perceived to be intolerant be seen as an act of tolerance?



  11. Even Worse Than Microsoft Inside the Board of the OSI

    The OSI has accepted people from companies that actively attack Software Freedom and there may be more on their way



  12. ZDNet Continues to Stuff Its 'Linux' Section With Proprietary Software of Microsoft

    The above is what the "Linux" section of ZDNet is going to look like throughout the weekend (and this is hardly unusual, either)



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 21, 2020



  14. Links 21/2/2020: EasyOS 2.2.11 Released, Microsoft's Control of the Linux Foundation Increases and More Binary Blobs Arrive

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, February 20, 2020



  16. Video: LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman

    LinuxWorld 1999, Torvalds and Stallman



  17. GNU World Order is a Personal Sacrifice, LinuxWorld Just Business

    As the Linux Foundation shows, Linux is just business (and proprietary software) as usual, software patents included, whereas it’s GNU that continues the Free Software Movement’s battles



  18. Links 20/2/2020: Oracle Solaris 11.4 SRU18, Mesa 20, VirtualBox 6.1.4

    Links for the day



  19. Open Source Did Not Win, It Was Assimilated to and by Proprietary Software

    Don’t fall for the whole “Open Source has won!” spiel; You know we’ve lost the battle (and were in effect gradually conquered) at OSI and elsewhere when those who speak for the OSI are Michael Cheng (Facebook), Max Sills (Google), and Chris Aniszczyk (Linux Foundation); they say “Open Source Under Attack” (FOSDEM talk) but their employers are the ones attacking and they downplay openwashing



  20. Former Microsoft Employees Don't Like Talking About Past and Present Microsoft Back Doors (Designed for Spy Agencies)

    In a typical Microsoftian fashion, once they cannot defend the illusion/delusion that Microsoft values security the 'Softers' run away and block any further debate



  21. Techrights Warns Against Impending Extradition Efforts (Passage of Julian Assange to His Death in the United States)

    Imprisonment of journalists who are effective at exposing crimes (of the powerful, not petty crimes) must never be condoned



  22. Team UPC: Many Mouths and No Ears

    The mental condition of Team UPC gets more worrisome by the week



  23. Team UPC Insults Judges Because the UPC is Dead and UPC Lobbyists Have Nothing Left to Lose

    More judge-shaming tactics are in the mix; Team UPC seems to feel like there's nothing left to lose as the UPC is already dead (hope itself is next to die)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 19, 2020



  25. China Bashing is Grounded in Fear (That They Can Simply Do Better Than the West)

    The atmosphere of hate towards China — fuelled partly by a white supremacist in the White House — is unhelpful and insulting; dignity and understanding is the way to go



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 18, 2020



  27. FFII Press Release: Germany Can No Longer Ratify the Unitary Patent Due to Brexit and the Established AETR Case-law, says FFII

    Germany cannot ratify the current Unitary Patent due to Brexit and the established AETR case-law. The ratification of the UPC (Unified Patent Court) by Germany would constitute a violation of the AETR case-law, which was used during the EPLA negotiations in 2006 to consider a deal with non-EU countries, such as Switzerland.



  28. DRM (Proprietary Software) Already Makes Mozilla Firefox Broken, Unreliable, Undependable (Dependent on Binary Blobs)

    More people are beginning to realise that Mozilla resorted to self-harming DRM and self-inflicted damage that impacts Firefox; can Mozilla (re)join the anti-DRM coalitions?



  29. EPO and Other Patent Updates Over RSS

    Site syndication (over RSS feeds or XML/Atom) is vastly better than what became popular in recent years (censored, centralised, discriminatory "Social Control Media"); here are some feeds of interest



  30. When It Comes to a Unitary Patent System, Bad (or Intentionally Dishonest) Legal Advice Has Become the Norm

    The Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent (UPC and UP, respectively) reinforce the old saying about lawyers being liars, doing anything to attract clients (to take their money); the UPC is basically dead, but fiction, falsehoods and outrageous fantasies still find their way into Web sites of law firms


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