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


In Debating Patents, Avoiding the Excessive Focus on Patent Trolls

Posted in Patents at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A matter of focus


Summary: The scapegoat of an inherently broken patent system becomes almost the only element to be criticised, leaving the biggest issues unaddressed

The point about US patent debate (or USPTO policies) being distorted cannot be stressed too strongly. It is becoming a major issue. Evidently, given the increased coverage of the wrong issues, we can’t risk repeating the point about lost focus. Not much is said about software patents and cartels these days. The corporate press and the corporations-funded government warp the debate to remove criticism of large corporations’ misuse of patent monopolies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Several people are starting to notice this. The problem with the Eolas patent is that it’s a software patent, not that it’s being used by a troll (see “Eolas Doesn’t Own Internet” from FOSS Force).

In his joint blog, Judge Posner writes about patent trolls, saying that a dubious “court has long played a promotional role in the patent system, having been created at a time (the early 1980s) when there were fears that the United States was being overtaken on the technological front by Japan. Those fears of course proved groundless. But the idea that American inventors needed more encouragement and therefore that the standard of patentability should be relaxed persisted. The result today is a vast number of patents in force—some 2 million—providing a rich source of inputs for the patent troll industry.”

“Not much is said about software patents and cartels these days.”Posner also opposes software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], so he knows that trolls are not the only problem. The head (President) of the OSI responds to Darrel Issa, a politician who like many others in his field does not recognise the broader issue. Simon Phipps explains that it’s not just trolls when he tells Issa that “corporations are also using patent law to chill valid competition. Remember to deal with them too.”

The White House is serving big corporations by going only after trolls, and hardly even targeting entities like Intellectual Ventures (IV). The other day Steph said: “What’s frightening is how long IV sat on their stash and claimed they were just “helping innovators” and “furthering the field of science” by amassing all those patents. No one believed you, IV.”

Here are some of the latest numbers: “Intellectual Ventures (“IV”), a patent-holding company founded by the former chief technology officer of Microsoft Corporation, recently began a patent enforcement campaign against the financial services industry. IV purports to have 70,000 patents, $6 billion in committed capital, and more than $3 billion in licensing revenue to date. IV has a history of aggregating a significant number of patents relating to a particular industry and then initiating aggressive litigation and licensing efforts against companies in that industry. IV has sufficient size and substantial resources to pursue its enforcement campaign and poses a considerable economic threat to its target industries, including financial services.”

What will the White House do about it? This is a racketeering operation. Mark Bohannon, a sort of lobbyist from from Red Hat, acknowledges that trolls are an issue but does almost nothing to highlight issues relating to patent scope.

Giving its platform not to a lawyer for a change (this series is stuffed with them), Wired now features Patrick Hall, who explains how patent law harms innovation:

Patent Law Broken, Abused to Stifle Innovation


Software patents should last no longer than five years from the application date. Currently, patents last for twenty years, which is an outdated timeframe given the pace of software innovation. Patent lengths should reflect the speed of innovation within individual industries.

He does not focus only on patent trolls and his closing words are: “So long as malicious companies and opportunistic patent assertion entities can cannibalize the productivity and ingenuity of America’s tech community, advancements will stall, great ideas will crash before they ever take off, and the global community will miss out on opportunities to improve the human condition.”

Given the way CPTN members like Oracle are conspiring to kill Android using patents, it is clear that not only trolls are a problem. Copyrights too are being used. Here is the latest from Oracle. As Pamela Jones put it, “Oracle is making a big fuss over trivialities. Normally, nobody sues over this kind of trivial copying. But since Oracle has, Google says it was supposed to demonstrate why such copying was *not* de minimis, which it has failed to do. Like, who could? It’s stupidly teensy weensy stuff. Why Oracle can’t see that it’s making itself look petty and small is the only mystery.” Notice the spin there from Oracle lobbyist Florian Müller.

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. Public Protests by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff Weaken the EPO's Attacks on the Media

    Where things stand when it comes to the EPO's standoff against publications and why it's advisable for EPO staff to stage standoffs against their high-level management, which is behind a covert crackdown on independent media (while greasing up corporate media)

  2. Why the European Patent Office Cannot Really Sue and Why It's All -- More Likely Than Not -- Just SLAPP

    Legal analysis by various people explains why the EPO's attack dogs are all bark but no bite when it comes to threats against publishers

  3. How the EPO Twisted Defamation Law in a Failed Bid to Silence Techrights

    Using external legal firms (not the EPO's own lawyers), the EPO has been trying -- and failing -- to silence prominent critics

  4. East Texas and Its Cautionary Tale: Software Patents Lead to Patent Trolls

    Lessons from US media, which focuses on the dire situation in Texas courts, and how these relate to the practice of granting patents on software (the patent trolls' favourite weapon)

  5. The Latest EPO Spin: Staff Protesters Compared to 'Anti-Patent Campaigners' or 'Against UPC'

    Attempts to characterise legitimate complaints about the EPO's management as just an effort to derail the patent office itself, or even the patent system (spin courtesy of EPO and its media friends at IAM)

  6. The Serious Implication of Controversial FTI Consulting Contract: Every Press Article About EPO Could Have Been Paid for by EPO

    With nearly one million dollars dedicated in just one single year to reputation laundering, one can imagine that a lot of media coverage won't be objective, or just be synthetic EPO promotion, seeded by the EPO or its peripheral PR agents

  7. EPO: We Have Always Been at War With Europe (or Europeans)

    The European Patent Office (EPO) with its dubious attacks on free speech inside Europe further unveiled for the European public to see (as well as the international community, which oughtn't show any respect to the EPO, a de facto tyranny at the heart of Europe)

  8. What Everyone Needs to Know About the EPO's New War on Journalism

    A detailed list of facts or observations regarding the EPO's newfound love for censorship, even imposed on outside entities, including bloggers (part one of several to come)

  9. EPO Did Not Want to Take Down One Techrights Article, It Wanted to Take Down Many Articles Using Intimidation, SLAPPing, and Psychological Manipulation Late on a Friday Night

    Recalling the dirty tactics by which the European Patent Office sought to remove criticism of its dirty secret deals with large corporations, for whom it made available and was increasingly offering preferential treatment

  10. The European Private Office: What Was Once a Public Service is Now Crony Capitalism With Private Contractors

    The increasing privatisation of the European Patent Office (EPO), resembling what happens in the UK to the NHS, shows that the real goal is to crush the quality of the service and instead serve a bunch of rich and powerful interests, in defiance of the original goals of this well-funded (by taxpayers) organisation

  11. Microsoft Once Again Disregards People's Settings and Abuses Them, Again Pretends It's Just an Accident

    A conceited corporation, Microsoft, shows not only that it exploits its botnet to forcibly download massive binaries without consent but also that it vainly overrides people's privacy settings to spy on these people, sometimes with help from malicious hardware vendors such as Dell or Lenovo

  12. When the EPO Liaised With Capone (Literally) to Silence Bloggers, Delete Articles

    A dissection of the EPO's current media strategy, which involves not only funneling money into the media but also actively silencing opposing views

  13. Blogger Who Wrote About the EPO's Abuses Retires

    Bloggers' independent rebuttal capability against a media apparatus that is deep in the EPO's pocket is greatly diminished as Jeremy Phillips suddenly retires

  14. Leaked: EPO Award of €880,000 “in Order to Address the Media Presence of the EPO” (Reputation Laundering)

    The European Patent Office, a public body, wastes extravagant amounts of money on public relations (for 'damage control', like FIFA's) in an effort to undermine critics, not only among staff (internally) but also among the media (externally)

  15. Links 27/11/2015: KDE Plasma 5.5 Plans, Oracle Linux 7.2

    Links for the day

  16. Documents Needed: Contract or Information About EPO PR/Media Campaign to Mislead the World

    Rumour that the EPO spends almost as much as a million US dollars “with some selected press agencies to refurbish the image of the EPO”

  17. Guest Post: The EPO, EPC, Unitary Patent and the Money Issue

    Remarks on the Unitary Patent (UP) and the lesser-known aspects of the EPO and EPC, where the “real issue is money, about which very little is discussed in public...”

  18. Saving the Integrity of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Some timely perspective on what's needed at the European Patent Office, which was detabilised by 'virtue' of making tyrants its official figureheads

  19. A Call for Bloggers and Journalists: Did EPO Intimidate and Threaten You Too? Please Speak Out.

    An effort to discover just how many people out there have been subjected to censorship and/or self-censorship by EPO aggression against the media

  20. European Patent Office (EPO) a “Kingdom Above the EU Countries, a Tyranny With ZERO Accountability”

    Criticism of the EPO's thuggish behaviour and endless efforts to crush dissenting voices by all means available, even when these means are in clear violation of international or European laws

  21. Links 26/11/2015: The $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Running Sans Systemd Gets Hard

    Links for the day

  22. EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

    A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

  23. Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

    The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management's behaviour

  24. The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

    The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

  25. Debunking the EPO's Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli's Nastygram to French Politician

    Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO's media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

  26. The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

    Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli's private letters -- spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it's very hypocritical a form of spin

  27. Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

    Links for the day

  28. United They Stand: FFPE-EPO Supports Suspended Staff Representatives From SUEPO

    An obscure union from the Dutch side of things at the EPO is expressing support for the suspended colleagues from SUEPO (more German than Dutch)

  29. Censoring WIPR Article About Censorship by EPO

    A testament to how terrified journalists have become when it comes to EPO coverage, to the point of deleting entire paragraphs

  30. Censorship at the EPO Escalates: Now We Have Threats to Sue Publishers

    Having already blocked Techrights, the EPO's management proceeds to further suppressions of speech, impeding its staff's access to independently-distributed information (neither ordinary staff nor management)


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


Recent Posts