EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.08.13

Losing Sight of the Real Problem With the Patent System

Posted in Deception, Patents at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man with glasses

Summary: Criticism of a strategy for reforming the patent system — a strategy which gained popularity despite the fact that it is a red herring with no solution in sight

Armed with some new information, Mike Masnick insists that “Over 90% Of The Most Innovative Products From The Past Few Decades Were NOT Patented“. Copyright is not a prerequisite for creativity and patents are not essential for innovation; these legal instruments are empirically shown, repeatedly, for having the very opposite effect. So the problem is patents and copyrights, not those who use or misuse them. These two are quite outdated and ‘modernising’ them for the age of digital abundance is imperative; making software patentable like hardware is worse than foolish and trying to restrict copies of 1s and 0s is also an impossible task.

Brad Feld, a startups-loving VC, says “It’s Time To Protect Startup Communities From Patent Trolls” (which again places focus on trolls rather than software parents, as Feld used ti). To quote his opening paragraphs:

If you’re a mobile gaming startup, you’ve probably heard of, or even been sued by, a company called Lodsys. Where this narrative gets interesting is when you understand that Lodsys is suing small, effective companies for “unlawfully” using patents that that it has no intention of developing upon. This behavior is what the tech community calls patent trolling. And there are AT LEAST hundreds of so-called “patent trolls” out there — increasingly targeting startups, creating a real drag on innovation and job creation. 55 percent of the companies targeted have $10 million or less in annual revenue.

I spend my days investing in new tech companies around the United States, hoping to help them build the next great idea that will make our lives better. Startups already face many unique challenges to growth and so I’m always disheartened to see legislation that fails to protect, or even hurts, companies that are creating jobs and inventing breakthrough technologies. One recent example is the America Invents Act (or AIA) — the biggest attempt at patent reform in over 50 years. Despite the attempt at change, the system is still struggling under the weight of overly broad patents that are often bought up by non-practicing entities (or patent trolls).

But that’s not the key point; trolls are not always worse than large entities which use software parents to impede startups. Masnick’s site says that “When Startups Need More Lawyers Than Employees, The Patent System Isn’t Working” (irrespective of patent trolls). This too, however, uses the recurring theme of trolls rather than software patents:

As part of our sponsorship program with the Application Developers Alliance, we’re highlighting some of the content on DevsBuild.It, their new resource website, that we think will be most interesting to Techdirt readers.

We’ve talked a lot about the tax on innovation that patent trolls create, which is well-known inside startup circles but often misunderstood by the broader public, thanks to the pro-innovation rhetoric of high-profile trolls like Intellectual Ventures. The conversation is getting more attention lately, especially with the recent news of Senator Schumer’s patent reform bill which specifically aims to fight the patent troll problem, and this interview with an anonymous developer from a tech startup offers some perspective from someone who is directly affected by the issue.

Ashby Jones from the Murdoch-owned press misses the boat by using a false narrative in the article “Samsung-Apple Patent Fight: Is It Worth It? “

There are issues with this article. It starts with: “Smartphone makers who went on the offensive in the industry’s patent wars are learning a tough lesson: The courts aren’t buying it.”

Not quite accurate. It was Apple that sued Samsung, it’s not a two-way battle. When one side seeks deterrence/defence through reactive litigation, it’s not quite as the article puts it. Here is a post based on this report:

WSJ: The patent wars have been a major bust for all smartphone vendors

While just about everyone is sick and tired of the constant barrage of patent lawsuits among smartphone vendors, it seems that tech companies themselves keep plugging precious resources into suing one another despite having fairly little to show for it. Analysis by The Wall Street Journal has found that “courts have proven as likely to deliver plaintiffs a rebuke as a win, and the slow grinding of the justice system has sapped the impact of the occasional big victories” in patent lawsuits.

There is a pattern in reporting which is troubling; either the reporters single out the mobile market as the issue or they simply name the trolls, never challenging the simple idea that patents themselves (or their scope) may be the culprit.

Apple is suing Android/Linux because Apple is desperate, not because its patents have merit. Already we see some eulogies for Apple, such as this one about “Peak Apple”. It says:

Foxconn is reportedly planning for an Apple-free future after a massive slump in orders from Cupertino.

Apple’s favourite production company is moving away from simply building other people’s designs and trying to break into a new market with the introduction of a range of flatscreen televisions.

Recall that Foxconn sold Android down the river to Microsoft [1, 2]. This is neither an issue of patent trolls nor an issue of patent applications backlog. Taking a shot at trolls would do nothing to address the issue, not in its entirety anyway.

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. Boycott Cyanogen/CyanogenMod If Its Anti-Google Rhetoric and Microsoft Funding Continue

    Cyanogen, which makes CyanogenMod, has become more of a Microsoft proxy than a real company, just like Nokia after Elop took over



  2. Marketing Illusions Shattered: Vista 10 is Not 'Free' and Not Even a 'Free' Upgrade

    The truth about Microsoft's pricing strategy is revealed almost a fortnight after Microsoft lied about it for the sake of diversionary publicity



  3. Crushing Software Patents and Patent Maximalism in the US Still Not the Goal of Political Actors

    The debate about scope of patents in the United States still misguided if at all existent as both Michelle Lee and the GOP obsess over "trolls"



  4. Catarina Holtz From the EPO Boards of Appeal Explains Bad Behaviour of the Management With Regards to EPC 2000

    The violations of rules set forth by the European Patent Convention (EPC) are being discussed by an EPO veteran (now retired)



  5. The EPO's Paid Propaganda Campaign in the Media

    EPO buys (using public money) coverage that is favourable to its rogue management's agenda, demonstrating utter disregard for scientific processes



  6. Links 31/1/2015: Open Lunchbox, Librem 15 at Around $400,000

    Links for the day



  7. Links 30/1/2015: CERN Adopts 64-bit GNU/Linux, Inkscape 0.91 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Apple- and Microsoft-Friendly Media Continues Attacking Android/Linux

    Some of the latest examples where corporate media (funded and run by large corporation) distorts facts, selectively covers facts, and generally serves to protect the Apple-Microsoft duopolist world view



  9. Qualys Admits That Its Scare Campaign (So-called 'GHOST') Somewhat Baseless

    Even the company that bombarded the media with its "GHOST" nonsense admits that this bug, which was fixed two years ago, does not pose much of a threat



  10. European Unitary Patent and Court System in Trouble

    New resistance to the Unitary Patent amid allegations of misconduct in the European patent authorities



  11. Text of Ruling/Decision Against Željko Topić (Regarding Audi as a Bribe)

    The legal loss of Željko Topić laid bear for the public to see even outside Croatia



  12. Media Coverage of Demonstration Against Jesper Kongstad of the Administrative Council (EPO)

    Last week's EPO demonstration has been covered by Danish media, raising awareness of the "banana republic" state of the EPO



  13. Links 29/1/2015: Android Shipments in 2014 Exceed 1,000,000,000, LibreOffice 4.4 is Out

    Links for the day



  14. Corporate Media, Led Astray by Patent Lawyers, Continues to Distort the Reality of Software Patents Post-Alice

    The press of the rich and the powerful continues its attempt to preserve software patents, despite the US Supreme Court's decision to abolish a lot of them on the basis of abstraction



  15. An Estimated 1,000 EPO Employees-Strong Legion Engulfs Danish Consulate to Protest Jesper Kongstad's (of Administrative Council) Protection of Benoît Battistelli

    A large protest waged by staff of the EPO targets one of the key facilitators of Battistelli's terrifying tyranny



  16. Links 28/1/2015: Ubuntu Touch Windowed Mode, NVIDIA Linux Legacy Drivers Updated

    Links for the day



  17. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia

    The EPO's notorious Vice-President, whose appointment at the EPO is still raising some alarming questions, has just lost his case in Croatia (one of many cases), motivating us to accelerate coverage about the persona known as Željko Topić



  18. Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

    Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed



  19. The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

    More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old "Microsoft Open Source" Big Lie grows feet



  20. Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  21. Microsoft's Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

    Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world



  22. Microsoft Accounting Practices After Fire Again, After Previous Abuses and Book-Cooking

    After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again



  23. Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

    Links for the day



  24. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  25. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  26. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  27. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  28. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  29. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  30. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    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