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. A Linux World: After Billions of Dollars in Losses Microsoft Changes How It Reports Financial Results

    The abusive monopolist is trying very hard to hide its growing difficulties, especially in an effort to bamboozle non-technical shareholders who cannot understand how Linux has essentially taken over

  2. Microsoft Continues to Extort Linux and Android OEMs Using Software Patents, This Time ASUS (Forced to Pre-Install Microsoft Spyware With OOXML)

    A roundup of news illustrating that Microsoft is still very much in a total war against Android, (mis)using federal regulators and even software patents to get its way

  3. Links 4/10/2015: Linux 4.2.3 , 4.1.10; MPlayer 1.2 released

    Links for the day

  4. Links 2/10/2015: Qubes 3.0, Linux.Wifatch

    Links for the day

  5. Microsoft-Connected Firm Net Applications Used to Mislead About Vista 10 Share and Mock GNU/Linux

    People who are connected to Microsoft (some being former staff) link to a firm that is connected to Microsoft in order to create the illusion that Vista 10 market share grew to 6.63%

  6. Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and EPO Vice-President of DG3 Suspiciously on Unlimited Sick Leave After Benoît Battistelli's Unprecedented Attacks on Other EBoA Staff

    Rumours suggest that Benoît Battistelli's affairs at the EPO may have something to do with Wim Van der Eijk's longterm absence

  7. Microsoft's Secret Special Relationship With EPO Illustrates Serious Corruption at Microsoft and the EPO

    A big story about the EPO and Microsoft working in a sort of collusion-type setup so as to serve Microsoft's patent agenda, which involves aggression, even against European software that is Free (as in freedom)

  8. Links 1/10/2015: LFS 7.8, Calculate Linux 15 Released

    Links for the day

  9. The 'Microsoft Loves Linux' Baloney is Still Being Floated in the Media While Microsoft Attacks Linux With Patents, New Lawsuits Reported

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on Linux and on Android (using software patents, which it still discreetly lobbies for), some figures in the media are perpetually peddling the Microsoft-serving lie that 'Microsoft loves Linux'

  10. The Microsoft Botnet Goes Bonkers and ATMs Running Windows Spew Out Cash

    The terrible security (by design) of Microsoft Windows is causing all sorts of very serious and collectively expensive issues

  11. Black Duck Continues to Pile FUD on Free/Libre Software

    Having spent nearly a decade promoting the fear of Free software licensing, Black Duck now does the same regarding Free software security

  12. Links 30/9/2015: New Kernels, Nexus Devices

    Links for the day

  13. Links 28/9/2015: Last News Catchup Before Resumption

    Links for the day

  14. Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

    Links for the day

  15. Süddeutsche Zeitung Explains Imminent Federal Scrutiny Against Battistelli's EPO in Germany

    The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reveals that actions by the German government may be imminent against the EPO's cliquish management, including its ringleader Benoît Battistelli

  16. EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret

    The reckless assault on European democracies and long-established laws across Europe are now lucidly demonstrated when it comes to patents

  17. Europe's Acceptance of and Resistance to Software Patents, Courtesy of Corporate Front Groups and Courtrooms Respectively

    A snapshot of recent developments and upcoming developments in Europe, regarding software patents in particular

  18. German Press Explains EPO Investigation Unit (I.U.), Struggles to Openly Speak to the Secretive EPO

    The secretive Investigation/Investigative Unit (I.U.) of the European Patent Office (EPO) is further studied/explored by a recent article from junge Welt, an old and well-established German newspaper (since 1947)

  19. Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

    Links for the day

  20. Translation Needed of Article About EPO Threats Against SUEPO's Elizabeth Hardon

    A call for translation of an important article that may help shed light on the modus operandi of the Investigation/Investigative Unit of the EPO, which works with Control Risks Group (CRG), the 'British Blackwater'

  21. Media Filled With Spin and Lies Amid Microsoft's Admission of Internal Usage (and Modification) of GNU/Linux

    Further analysis of Microsoft's admission that it uses Linux internally and the media's poorly-researched response to that

  22. EPO Management Justifies Censorship (Even of Journalists) Using Its Vice-President Željko Topić

    The Topić connection to EPO-imposed and universally-induced censorship not just of news sites but also sites which speak about the censorship itself, or dare question the integrity of the EPO's management

  23. Changes at Techrights

    A few short notes on how we are going to re-align the site with disruptive trends, notably patents-related

  24. EPO President Benoît Battistelli Compared to Famous Criminals on European Television

    The Belgian TV network featured a show which was making fun of Battistelli earlier this month

  25. Dutch Politician John Kerstens Says EPO Investigative Unit is Called ‘the Gestapo’

    The infamous Investigation Unit (I.U.), which secretly bullies staff of the EPO with notorious interrogation techniques under virtually no oversight, is described on Dutch radio

  26. The European Patent Office's Autocracy Has Proven the Streisand Effect, Amplifying Its Opposition's Messages

    The management of the European Patent Office (EPO) is still trying to suppress negative messages about managerial failures, violations and abuses, thereby serving to only increase media coverage (newspapers, radio, television) of increasingly well-known and widely-covered scandals

  27. IBM is Again Attacking Free/Libre Open Source Software by Pushing for Patents on Software

    A timely reminder that Big Blue is no true friend of GNU/Linux and other Free software projects, just an opportunist that uses the Linux brand and wants to make the platform a commodity (for servers that run IBM's proprietary software and use IBM-branded hardware)

  28. Windows is Dying, Based on my Conversations With Microsoft Windows Staff

    The arrival of Vista 10 heralds the continuation of a trend that Vista 8 cemented, namely an inevitable demise of Microsoft's common carrier (and formerly cash cow), Windows

  29. Microsoft Claims to Have Built 'Windows' on Top of Linux, But Where is the Source Code (GPL)?

    Microsoft cannot rely on Windows anymore, so it takes GNU/Linux code and puts its own brand on it, without even releasing the changes (as per the GPL's requirements)

  30. Dutch Report: EPO Suicides Possibly Caused by Working Conditions Imposed by EPO's Management

    More press coverage about the terrible situation at the European Patent Office


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