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12.04.12

SCOTUS Can Show Support for Public Interests by Stopping USPTO’s Systemic Corruption

Posted in Patents at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Super frog

Summary: The USPTO, which under leadership of an IBM veteran (i.e. monopoly/cartel) grants monopolies on pseudo-code and life code, can be challenged by the Supreme Court, but given its track record, optimism is unjustified

“The problem [with patents] is not just quality,” writes Pamela Jones in Groklaw. “It is the inability to recognize abstract ideas,” she expounds, responding to David Kappos at the USPTO Web site. But this controlled opposition, people who argue that “bad” patents and not software patents are a problem, remain a barrier to progress. They help stack panel with so-called ‘moderates’ who won’t let software patents go away in one fell swoop. Those moderates now include Red Hat and few other FOSS-using companies like Google. They are part of the system, they don’t want to be called 'extremists' (typical tactic).

We have created a wiki page about SCOTUS because we recognise it as part of the problem too. It seems eager to let genes be patented; when genetics are brought to the SCOTUS we expect the same pro-profit decisions to be made, but we shall wait and see. Wired says: “The Supreme Court announced Friday it would review a case testing whether human genes may be patented, in a dispute weighing patents associated with human genes known to detect early signs of breast and ovarian cancer.”

This harms poor people and hits Ill people the hardest. Monopolies let prices go trough the roof, e.g. by selling drugs for 1000 times their production costs. Here is what India has to teach us. From the German press:

For years, India has refused to respect the patents of foreign pharmaceutical companies suspected of slightly altering their drugs merely to extend their profitability. In doing so, it helps not only the growing number of domestic generic drug makers, but also the millions who can hardly even afford the copycat drugs.

Some companies that use patents on life go further. DuPont, for example, uses Sisvel tactics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] by sending thugs to enforce monopoly with patents:

DuPont Co. (DD), the world’s second- biggest seed company, is sending dozens of former police officers across North America to prevent a practice generations of farmers once took for granted.

The provider of the best-selling genetically modified soybean seed is looking for evidence of farmers illegally saving them from harvests for replanting next season, which is not allowed under sales contracts. The Wilmington, Delaware-based company is inspecting Canadian fields and will begin in the U.S. next year, said Randy Schlatter, a DuPont senior manager.

At the end of the day, as Dan Gillmor (whom me mentioned a lot before) correctly puts it in his new article:

Instead of rewarding invention, US patents just help corporations work monopolies and legal ‘trolls’ make parasitic profits

In a matter of unspecified amount of time we will know if SCOTUS still protects monopolies or protects the public. Let those who are responsible know what you think. Public backlash can alter outcome (see SOPA in the US and ACTA in the EU). The problem is, the media is owned by large corporations like GE, which based on the news continue to lobby in favour of patents, with nonsense like this:

The chief intellectual property counsel for GE argues that patent protection provides a crucial incentive to innovate.

That’s nonsense, especially for software. Ask any developer. But GE is a lobbyist for software patents [1, 2, 3]. Remember who founded GE and what he had done with patents. GE is a classic representation of the issues with patents. It’s a protectionism instrument.

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