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. Links 28/11/2014: Debian Fork, Fedora 21 RC, Git 2.2.0

    Links for the day



  2. Mozilla Will Relay Firefox User Input (Even Keystrokes) to Microsoft and the NSA Through Yahoo in the US

    Mozilla is letting Microsoft manage users' data in Firefox, including keystrokes in the address bar



  3. Microsoft Found to Have Broken the Law in China (Tax Evasion), Just Like Practically Everywhere

    China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft's notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million



  4. Links 26/11/2014: Docker Patched, New DragonFlyBSD

    Links for the day



  5. Message to the Corporate Media: Bill Gates is Not an Ebola Expert

    Brainwash in the corporate media, including media that the Gates Foundation bribes in exchange for sheer bias, paints the super-rich as the solution rather than the problem



  6. US Government Finally Probes Microsoft Over Financial Fraud, Microsoft Then Bullies the Government With a Lawsuit

    Microsoft is finally being investigated -- perhaps properly too -- for its well-known tax abuses that have so far proved that Microsoft is "too big to jail"; Microsoft is suing the investigator, exerting its abusive power to discourage further investigation



  7. Gagging Critics: Micro Focus-Run SUSE Bribes Journalists in Exchange for Positive Coverage

    Amid the takeover by Micro Focus, SUSE pays journahayess (especially critics) who in turn become some kind of advertisements feed of Novell



  8. Links 25/11/2014: Tizen News, Jolla Tablet Past Million

    Links for the day



  9. Links 24/11/2014: Linux 3.18-rc6, Qualcomm Eyes GNU/Linux Servers

    Links for the day



  10. Boycotting Micro Focus International

    Microsoft's "Partner of the Year" is taking over the patron of SUSE and all of Novell's remains, except the patents (Microsoft has already grabbed those)



  11. Vesna Stilin's Remarks on Željko Topić: Part XI

    Vesna Stilin speaks about her confrontation with EPO Vice-President Željko Topić, who has criminal lawsuits against him in Croatia



  12. Links 22/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu MATE

    Links for the day



  13. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  15. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  16. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  18. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  19. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  20. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  21. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  22. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  24. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  25. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  26. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  27. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  28. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  29. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security


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