10.24.12

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Business Press (Forbes) Questions Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO building

Summary: Following the lead of the New York Times and some of the latest events, business press bloggers take aim at the US patent system; European politicians too take notes

THE business press, notably Forbes, hosts some blogs which openly oppose software patents. This does not mean that Forbes should be commended, as for the most part Forbes also does a lot of damage. Here is one blog which is on the fence:

The Big Fix #3: How To Untangle The Mess With Software Patents

The amount of energy that the big tech companies are expending to document and defend software patents makes no sense. A couple of weeks ago, The New York Times wrote that, “Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings.” Nonsense, right?

But is it the tech companies’ fault that they are at war? Is Apple a “bully” for suing Samsung? Did Google ”steal” from Apple? Whose to blame here? Perhaps history and the Supreme court.

Well, SCOTUS serves big companies [1, 2], i.e. American protectionism, just like the lawyers who monetise patents and thus, expectedly, drip bias. Another blogger from the same site also blames CAFC; as more bloggers from Forbes
see the impact on Facebook we sure see public backlash ensuing. As we said earlier this month, it is when people see their phones and Web page under attack that they shout out in protest:

Hardly a month goes by without Facebook finding itself named in a patent-infringement lawsuit, and October’s plaintiff is Bascom Research, which describes itself as a “software-development company focused on applying computational and data structures to complex data sets in the medical field.”

Bascom Research is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lexington Technology Group, which announced its merger with Document Security Systems, a provider of anti-counterfeit, authentication, and mass-serialization technologies, in the same press release that contained the details about the patent-infringement suit.

This is an LLC, which almost always means that it’s a troll, just like other new examples:

The complaint, which was filed on October 10th in the Eastern District of Texas, alleges that BSP Software’s Integrated Control Suite (ICS) and Integrated Version Control (IVC) products infringe upon one of several patents held by Motio for technology found in its MotioCI product.

Lawsuit such as this are said to harm everyone:

Patent Trolling Is Draining the Blood from the Idea Economy, and It’s Just Getting Worse

[...]

What does it mean that money is draining out of the innovation economy to entities that don’t do anything for that economy?

Let us hope that all this backlash will yield change. Here in Europe it serves as a cautionary tale and politicians start turning against the unitary patent (trans-Atlantic bridge for troll) like they turned against ACTA towards the end:

Just more than a year ago FFII.se replied to the Swedish justice department on a query about the proposal for a EU patent court (in Swedish), but we where quite lonely on the issue we had with that the court was not in the EU and beyond governing. Sure we had help from our network, but we where just the crowd fighting those self serving software patents against a collective of lawyers thinking of patents as their income. Now it seems we have company – and good company too!

Here is a nice round up by two high profile politicians of Europe

Awareness among the public informs politicians, who can in turn prevent bad policies from coming through. Europe does not welcome patent trolls.

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