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. Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice Calls the European Patent Office “Rotten”, Other Sources Scrutinise Recent Moves

    The patent office which was once known for being the best bar none is rotting under the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, who made himself and his friends the main clients of the Office



  2. PTAB Emerges as Hero of USPTO Because Quality of Patents Improves, Software Patents Are Effectively Dead (or Dying Once Reassessed)

    With help from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) -- not just patent courts -- software patents drop like flies by the thousands



  3. Creative Technology, Now Operating in 'Patent Troll' Mode, Shot Down by the ITC; Jawbone Too Shot Down

    Some good news from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which may have put an end to Creative's new war on Android (using old patents)



  4. Corporate Media in India Misrepresents Startups to Push for Software Patents

    A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface



  5. Links 25/8/2016: Linux Turns 25, NetworkManager Turns 1.4

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/8/2016: More From LinuxCon, Uganda Wants FOSS

    Links for the day



  7. Links 23/8/2016: GNOME 3.22 Beta, Android 7.0 Nougat

    Links for the day



  8. The Linux Foundation Gives Microsoft (Paid-for) Keynote Position While Microsoft Extorts (With Patents) Lenovo and Motorola Over Linux Use

    This morning's reminder that Nadella is just another Ballmer (with a different face); Motorola and Lenovo surrender to Microsoft's patent demands and will soon put Microsoft spyware/malware on their Linux-powered products to avert costly legal battles



  9. Not Just President Battistelli: EPO Vice-Presidents Are Still Intentionally Misrepresenting EPO Staff

    Evidence serving to show that EPO Vice-Presidents are still intentionally misrepresenting EPO staff representatives and misleading everyone in order to defend Battistelli



  10. Battistelli the Liar Causes a Climate of Confrontation in French Politics, Lies About Patent Quality (Among Many Other Things)

    Battistelli's lies are coming under increased scrutiny inside and outside the European Patent Office (EPO), where patent quality has been abandoned in order to artificially elevate figures



  11. The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

    The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever



  12. Apple's Patent Wars Against Android/Linux Make Patent Trolls Stronger

    Apple's insistence that designs should be patentable could prove to be collectively expensive, as patent trolls would then use a possible SCOTUS nod to launch litigation campaigns



  13. Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/8/2016: Apple and Microsoft Down, Systemd Spreading to Mount

    Links for the day



  15. Links 20/8/2016: Android Domination, FSFE summit 2016

    Links for the day



  16. Patents Roundup: Trolls Dominate Litigation, PTAB Crushes Patents, Patent Box Regime Persists, and OIN Explains Itself

    Another roundup of patent news from around the Web with special focus on software patenting



  17. The Cost/Toll of the 'New' EPO and Where All That Money Goes or Comes From

    The European Patent Office has become a servant of the rich and powerful (including large foreign corporations) and even its own employees now pay the price associated with misguided new policies (or 'reforms' as Battistelli habitually refers to these)



  18. Links 19/8/2016: Linux Mint With KDE, Linux Foundation's PNDA

    Links for the day



  19. The End of an Era at the USPTO as Battistelli-Like (EPO) Granting Policies Are Over

    The United States is seeing the potency of patents -- especially software patents (which make up much of the country's troll cases) -- challenged by courts and by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)



  20. Battistelli's European Patent Office Goes to the United States to Speak About the UPC and Software Patents

    The European Patent Office is showing its utter contempt -- not just disregard -- for the very fundamental rules that put it in its place and brought it into existence



  21. Turkey Subjected to the European Patent Convention (EPC) But Benoît Battistelli is Not?

    The ‘constitutional crisis’ at the European Patent Office in the context of Turkey, which has signed "the EPC and as such recognises the competence and the decisions of the institutions which have been introduced in the convention."



  22. Links 18/8/2016: EFF Slams Vista 10, Linux Foundation Makes PNDA

    Links for the day



  23. Links 17/8/2016: GNOME and Debian Anniversaries

    Links for the day



  24. Personal Audio LLC and Patent Troll Jim Logan Demonstrate the Harms of Software Patents and Why They Must Never Spread to Europe

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio (a notorious Texas-based patent troll) is still fighting with his bogus patent, having already caused enormous damage with a single software patent that should never have been granted in the first place (due to prior art, not just Alice)



  25. The Patent Microcosm Hopes That the Originators of Software Patents Will Undermine the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

    Now that the actions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which have been consistently upheld by the CAFC in precedential decisions, are suddenly being questioned the patent microcosm gets all giddy and tries to undermine PTAB (again)



  26. That Time When the Administrative Council Helped Battistelli Crush Oversight (Audit Committee) and What ILO Said About It a Month Ago

    Things are becoming ever more troublesome at the EPO as the Administrative Council enjoys inaction from the International Labour Organization (ILO), in spite of its role in destroying much-needed oversight at the behest of Battistelli



  27. The EPO's Administrative Council Keeps Postponing Debate About Grounds for Firing the President

    A recollection of events prior to the latest Administrative Council meeting, where Benoît Battistelli's failings and accountability for failing to correct them never even came up



  28. A Surge of Staff Complaints About the European Patent Office Drowns the System, Disservice to Justice Noted

    Self-explanatory graphs about the state of the justice [sic] system which is prejudiced towards/against EPO workers, based on internal reports



  29. Links 16/8/2016: White House Urged by EFF on FOSS, Go 1.7 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 15/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC2, Glimpses at OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

    Links for the day


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