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

02.01.12

When Lawyers Run the System It Becomes Dependent on Them

Posted in Law, Patents at 5:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will today’s students become producers or paper pushers?

Students

Summary: How the patent system, controlled for the most part by lawyers, raises a generation of leeches rather than a generation of engineers

WE VERY often emphasise the fact that the patent systems’ main cheerleaders are patent lawyers. Well, Tim has just published a thought-provoking article that starts with a very suitably rhetorical question: “Does Innovation Revolve Around Patent Lawyers?” Here are some bits from his analysis:

A patent attorney named Daren Gibby was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book Why Has America Stopped Inventing? As you’d expect from a book written by a patent attorney, it’s a pretty strongly pro-patent book. I didn’t expect to agree with the book’s arguments, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to engage with the “other side” of the patent debate.

The bulk of the book is a meandering narrative about America’s great inventors—Eli Whitney, Samuel Morse, Charles Goodyear, and many others—and their struggles to enforce their patents against infringers. Whitney, for example, almost completely failed to prevent infringement of his cotton gin patent, and as a consequence made very little money from his invention.

After a few chapters, I began to wonder what the point of all these anecdotes was. After all, the book bills itself as an explanation for America’s alleged decline in innovation. But it wasn’t clear what these blow-by-blow descriptions of the patent enforcement efforts of great 19th century inventors had to do with the modern patent system. Indeed, aside from some hand-waving about the lack of cancer cures and flying cars in chapter 1, the book never makes a serious effort to substantiate the claim that the pace of American innovation has slowed down.

Watch how products are being taxed behind closed doors. The externality is all of us who are not part of this private deal.

“Here’s a post explaining that proprietary codecs drive up the costs,” wrote to us a reader today. It’s a tax on ideas and here is one way to tackle it along with Phoronix‘s analysis.

The first three adhere to the standard Linux library API’s, so should be a straight forward swap in for applications that use them. OpenMAX IL does not have a standard API at this stage, so is a custom implementation. All these libraries are as supplied by Broadcom, the SoC (System On Chip) provider.

In another new post from Mike Masnick he explains how 3D printing is being held back by patents. Innovation anyone?

We’ve seen this before, but here it’s a modern example: work simply wasn’t done on many of these efforts in part because there was no competition. And, in fact, there are still a few patents that really do hinder things, and this is a problem. Considering just how much good these 3D printers can do — especially as they provide more power, do multi-color, and a variety of other features, it kind of makes you wonder just how much we’ve lost by having tons of researchers just sitting on their printer projects out of a fear of getting sued.

Separately, according to some “legal” blog, US judges (“legal” folks) permit software patents. To quote:

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court spoke on patentable subject matter in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010), Federal Circuit panels have taken a variety of approaches to the subject. The latest approach is seen in Dealertrack, Inc. v. Huber, No. 09-1566 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 20, 2012). It brings back the notion of preemption as a test for patentable subject matter (also known as patent eligibility). The notion of preemption was briefly touched on in the original In re Bilski opinion, 545 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (en banc).

This is a European blog. The lawyers in Europe wants software patents simply because it means more business to them, at the expense of buyers of products and engineers themselves. The Bilski case , like all cases, was decided on by lawyers, not scientists, so it is not surprising that they expand their own territory at the expense of producing industries.

In this week’s news we discover that Wipro seeks US monopolies on software, possibly because in India it is hard.

Facebook too is mentioned in this context:

As it prepares for one of the biggest IPOs ever, Facebook is coming under the same fierce attacks being waged against other big technology companies: patent lawsuits.

Facebook itself is also launching patent attacks. Going back to Wipro (a close Microsoft partner like Facebook, but from india), its new patents are leaving room for doubt. Another Microsoft partner, Quest the villain,
gets a patent and brags about it. To quote: “Quest vWorkspace 7.5 delivers low cost desktop virtualisation via patent-pending scalability enhancements, direct Hyper-V integration, fast provisioning, and advanced desktop virtualisation load balancing and provides direct support for Microsoft Hyper-V, including FREE Microsoft Hyper-V Server.”

Here is another update from the patents arena:

Fiserv this month filed a lawsuit in federal court against rival IBM i banking software provider Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) and its Metavante subsidiary over alleged violation of its patents relating to online payments. The alleged violations involve patents held by Fiserv’s subsidiaries, CheckFree and CashEdge, that describe online financial activities, such as conducting account-to-account transfers, creating electronic transaction “pick lists,” and making payments on behalf of others.

And another new one:

Not that it was simple to create. The research began more than a year and a half before USF applied for the patent in 2006. It arose from a project on people’s transportation behavior.

Even search algorithms are being patented:

Melbourne-based researchers are looking to commercialise a search algorithm that analyses networks to identify the most easily exploitable vulnerability chains.

One last example shows us that software patents are out of control in the US and as long as lawyers run the system (politicians and judges) we are unlikely to see much change, only change for the worse. Here is what seems like business methods. Bilski didn’t help much, did it? It’s business as usual.

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. Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

    Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office



  2. The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

    Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software



  3. National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

    British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy's systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world's biggest nuclear arsenal



  4. Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

    As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a 'cloud' company with online operations has been miserable at best



  5. They 'R' Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

    The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium



  6. Speculations About the EPO's Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

    Readers' views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it's on the 'targets' list of the EPO



  7. Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

    Links for the day



  8. Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

    Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law



  9. Google's Fight to Keep APIs Free is Lost, Let's Hope Google Continues Fighting

    SCOTUS refuses to rule that APIs cannot be considered copyright-'protected', despite common sense and despite Java (which the case is about) being Free/libre software



  10. Patent Trolls in the Post-Alice World

    A round-up of news about patent trolls in the United States, some of whom are are doing well and some of them not as well



  11. DDOS Attacks Against Techrights

    Information about some of the most recent DDOS attacks against this Web site and the steps to be taken next



  12. The Patent System Not What it Used to be, Large Corporations and Patent Lawyers the Principal Beneficiaries

    A look at some recent patent stories and what can be deduced from them, based on statistics and trends



  13. After Intervention by the Council of Europe Comes a Detailed Summary of the Situation in the European Patent Office (EPO)





  14. IRC Proceedings: May 31st - June 27th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  15. Links 28/6/2015: Manjaro Linux Cinnamon 0.8.13, VectorLinux 7.1

    Links for the day



  16. Williamson v. Citrix Online (at CAFC) Reinforces Alice v. CLS Bank (at SCOTUS) in Crushing Software Patents

    More patent news from the United States, again serving to indicate that software patents over there are getting weak (harder to defend in court or acquire from the patent office)



  17. Proskauer Rose LLP is Cherry-Picking Cases to Make Software Patents Seem Eligible Despite Alice v. CLS Bank

    Naming and shaming those who are trying to reshape the consensus despite a rather consistent pattern of software patents being rejected



  18. IAM Biased: How IAM 'Magazine' Glorifies Patent Stockpiling

    A look at the bias of one of the most overzealous sites for and by patent lawyers



  19. PATENT Act No Longer in the News... and That's Just Fine

    Putting the PATENT Act aside for the time being, for it has little or no impact on the really problematic patents



  20. The Latest Lies From Microsoft's PR Apparatus/Public Face, Mr. Nadella

    Having spread the outrageous lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” (whilst obviously attacking it in many ways), Microsoft's CEO (essentially Bill Gates' right-hand man) says Microsoft is “one of the biggest contributors to Linux kernel” (because of proprietary software it tries to contaminate it with while violating the terms of the GPL)



  21. Microsoft Jack (Schofield) Promotes Microsoft's Proprietary Lock-in and Calls People Who Recommend Free/Libre Software 'Trolls'

    Jack Schofield, writing for a Bill Gates-funded paper despite claiming to have retired, promotes Microsoft Office and insults all those readers who do not agree with him



  22. The Council of Europe Slams the EPO as Political Pressure Grows for EPO Management to Obey the Law

    Battistelli et al. come under yet more fire as politicians -- many of whom from Battistelli's home country -- become better informed of the EPO's management fiasco, abuses, and scandals



  23. Operating Systems Usage Based on Technical Site Statistics

    ome numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)



  24. Links 27/6/2015: Wine 1.7.46, SparkyLinux 4.0

    Links for the day



  25. Proprietary Software on Top of Proprietary Software (AV on Windows) Only an Illusion of Security

    Remarks on the recent revelations about code and communication interceptions targeting insecurity firms and Microsoft's claim that 'transparency' alone would be enough to assure security



  26. The EPO's Circus of Nepotism, Corporatism and Gross Abuse is Promoting the Unitary Patent

    The shameful management of the EPO, which Benoît Battistelli constructed based on his nefarious self-serving agenda, keeps pushing forth in a direction that greatly harms European citizens while mistreating the EPO's technical staff (scientists and examiners)



  27. Links 26/6/2015: Ardour 4.1, GNOME 3.17.3 Released

    Links for the day



  28. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Staff in Munich Demonstrated Against EPO Management Yesterday Afternoon

    Earliest coverage of yesterday's protest against EPO corruption and abuses



  29. Microsoft Windows So Insecure That Even Fonts Are Remotely Exploitable

    Windows userbase is once again under serious threat and high risk because something as simple as fonts (rendering of text/pixels on the screen) isn't done securely in Windows



  30. Microsoft is 'Buying' the Media Ahead of Vista 10 Launch

    Signs serve to indicate that Microsoft is already tightening its grip on technology news sites, ensuring that they give Microsoft disproportionate levels of coverage


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