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02.05.13

USPTO Shows That It Wants to Go Global

Posted in America, Patents at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protectionists’ imperialism

Napoleon in His Study

Summary: Unitary patent and the ever-increasing patent imperialism noted while the US patent system announces intention to coerce countries overseas

B

logs of patent lawyers celebrate patents, but they are not alone; plutocrat press Bloomberg, which has been promoting “intellectual property” nonsense for quite some time (we called it out on it many times), has an entire blog with 4 people currently dedicated to advancing software patents, with people like this guy calling himself “an inventor listed on seven U.S. patents.” Bloomberg makes it more apparent what it stands for. It’s for corporations, not people. Globalists want multinationals to have unlimited powers without borders.

Over in New Zealand, which experienced US lobbying similar to what we had experienced in the EU, a patent profiteer from AJ Park [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] says that “Pitney Bowes denied printing patent”. To quote: “The Examiner considered this a close case as merely printing something in general is insignificant post solution activity. Ignoring the printing aspect leaves you with only an abstract idea which is not patentable.

“Pitney Bowes argued that these claims are directed to more than an abstract idea. These claims automatically select an advertisement and then actually print that advertisement on a mail piece.

“The Board agreed with Pitney Bowes that the whole invention is automatically putting the appropriate advertisement on an actual mail piece. In this context, the Board found this to be more than an abstract concept and hence patentable subject matter.”

But lawyers in NZ, like this writer’s employer, lobby to make abstract ideas patentable in NZ. This risks spreading patent trolls from the United States, as one writer in NZ warns:

Incentives to troll the system are also likely to be high. Many software companies when hit with a lawsuit are likely to settle out of court in order to avoid legal costs and the negative publicity/share price impacts associated with a legal bun-fight. Given the money likely to be involved, it is possible that many arcane yet widely significant aspects of application coding could be patented with a view to making a fast buck.

Once again the long term loser is New Zealand whilst multinationals grow fat at our expense.

We’ve all seen the insanity that is the US patent system, and how it led to those shameful Apple VS. Samsung courtroom brawls. The big question is how badly do we want something similar for New Zealand?

There are trolls too, hitting both Android and iOS (Samsung and Apple), the most dominant mobile operating systems. Owing to free and open sharing, my Android application was recently picked up by another British developer (my application is Free software) who wants to try to port it to iOS. But with more Lodsys lawsuits, as shown here, even application developers are not safe anymore. Companies like Lodsys go after the small developers too. Some European companies already got hit by these trolls, barring them from distribution in the US (which in the case of global app stores may mean overall ban).

Groklaw takes note of a”Notice of Public Hearing USPTO: Asks for Comments on International Harmonization of Patent Law” and this reminds us of Cablegate lessons on global patent system, as covered here many times before. Here it is:

Notice of Public Hearing and Request for Comments on Matters Related to the Harmonization of Substantive Patent Law

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking stakeholder input on certain matters relating to international harmonization of substantive patent law, in particular, information and views on: (1) The grace period; (2) publication of applications; (3) the treatment of conflicting applications and (4) prior user rights. To assist in gathering this information, the USPTO is holding a public hearing at which interested members of the public are invited to testify on the issues outlined above. In addition, interested members of the public are encouraged to complete an electronic questionnaire relating to the above-identified issues. Separate written comments may be provided through electronic mail, though completion of the questionnaire is strongly preferred in lieu of separate comments. Additional details may be found in the supplementary information section of this notice.

So basically the US wants to do to the world what Brussels did to Europe. The FSFE expresses concerns about what the unitary patent can do to Europe in its latest newsletter. It’s the top issue:

We want software as a tool to help society. Software patents are a threat to this as they add legal and financial risks to software development and distribution by giving the patent holders legal power to completely prohibit software developers from using patented ideas.

In December the European Parliament has adopted a proposal to create a patent with unitary effect for Europe (henceforth the “unitary patent”). In adopting the proposal, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) chose to disregard intense criticism of the proposal from all sides of the debate. Already before the vote patent lawyers, legal experts, SMEs and civil society groups such as FFII as well as FSFE all voiced their concerns to MEPs. With the adoption, the European Parliament has given up part of its power to shape Europe’s innovation policy. That power will instead fall to the European Patent Office (EPO), which has a track record of awarding monopoly powers on the widest possible range of subject matter.

According to the European Parliament’s website, “the international agreement creating a unified patent court will enter into force on 1 January 2014 or after thirteen contracting states ratify it, provided that UK, France and Germany are among them. With your ongoing help, FSFE will continue to inform companies and politicians about the danger of software patents.

The FSFE’s head very recently noted that “Amazon patents trade in “used” digital objects http://ur1.ca/cpaq3 The next one-click?” Amazon is hostile towards GNU/Linux 1, 2, 3] (at last as a free platform) and it also pushed its software patents into Europe.

The next stage is for the USPTO to merge in a sense with the EPO, making a patent globalisation that Microsoft lobbied for out in the open. We must oppose it like many opposed ACTA in Europe. Judging by passage for the unitary patent, we are not strong enough yet.

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