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 These two are quite outdated and ‘modernising’ them for the age of digital abundance is imperative; making software patentable like hardware is worse than foolish and trying to restrict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. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  2. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  3. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  4. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  5. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  6. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  7. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  8. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  9. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  10. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  11. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  12. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  13. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  14. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  15. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  16. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  17. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  18. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  19. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  20. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  21. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  22. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  23. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  24. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  25. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  26. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  27. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  28. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  29. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  30. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    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