05.09.14

The US Patent System is Only Getting Worse as 92% of Patent Applications Now ‘Successful’, Everything Under the Sun Patented

Posted in Patents at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Innovation myth hinged on grossly lenient system

Bezos gives lecture

Summary: Amazon shows that it continues to be a major part of the patent problem (trying to patent every silly idea) not just the US but potentially also in Europe

THE USPTO, like several other pseudo-’federal’ agencies (controlled by corporations and/or lobbyists, e.g. the FCC) is totally out of control and over time it is getting increasingly detached from its original goal/s. It’s time to abolish or restart the USPTO, as we pointed out even half a decade ago.

In today’s news we have Amazon, which tries to legitimise software patents in Europe, getting a patent on photography against a white background. Yes, seriously.

As Timothy B. Lee points out, almost every patent application (in the US) now becomes a patent and this includes not only Amazon’s infamous “one-click” shopping but also photographing merchandise. As TechDirt put it:

US Patent Office Grants ‘Photography Against A White Background’ Patent To Amazon

The US Patent and Trademark Office is frequently maligned for its baffling/terrible decisions… and rightfully so. Because this is exactly the sort of thing for which the USPTO should be maligned. Udi Tirosh at DIY Photography has uncovered a recently granted patent for the previously-unheard of process of photographing things/people against a white backdrop… to of all companies, Amazon.

The USTPO deserves no more than zero legitimacy at this stage and as Glyn Moody recently pointed out in his talk, we need to keep this corrupt mess out of Europe:

Software Patents in Denmark: To Be or Not To Be?

Every week brings us new reports about the destructive effect of software patents in the US, and of a patent office there that is only too willing to grant them and other undeserving patents: an excellent if depressing article by Timothy Lee points out that the “allowance rate” – the percentage of patents that are eventually granted by the USPTO – is now a staggering 92%.

There are very good grounds for fearing that the imminent new Unitary Patent system will bring exactly the same problems to Europe, and yet there has been almost no discussion about it, certainly not here in the UK. Similarly, British citizens have not been asked whether they want this new system foisted on to them. You might say that’s an unreasonable thing to expect, since patents by their very nature are complex, specialised subjects. That may be true, but the fact that Denmark will be holding a national referendum on the subject in a few weeks’ time, shows that it can be done.

[...]

Today, we live in a very different world. In 2012, 469,000 patent applications were filed with the USPTO; 258,000 in Europe; 11,000 in Denmark alone. That is a world of inventive abundance, not scarcity. Some might say that’s great, and that it shows that the patent system is doing its job well, encouraging lots of inventors to come up with lots of inventions. But we need to look more closely at both the benefits and costs of that patent system, and its overall impact on the economy.

That’s precisely what a new research paper from Bessen, Neuhäusler, Turner and Williams entitled simply “The Costs and Benefits of United States Patents” attempts to do. It’s fairly long and complex – it’s written by economists, for economists – but its results are entirely straightforward.

The research looked at the costs and benefits to US companies of patents from 1984 to 2009. That’s particularly useful, since it embraces quite distinct periods in patenting. Overall, it found that the total benefits accruing to US companies from patents was around $385 billion. Calculating the total costs, which include indirect losses as well as the more obvious ones, was harder, and the authors of the paper came up with two different estimates based on slightly different methodologies.

There is no doubt that the USPTO is totally out of control. Keeping the USPTO at bay by preventing imperialist expansion of patents is essential right now. It has not been entirely successful over the years, but popular pressure played an important role not just in Europe but also in India, to name just one country. This is class war between billionaires or their corporations and everybody else.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 18, 2021



  2. The US Election Was Not Rigged, But the Nomination Process Was (Undermined to Maintain Control by Oligarchy)

    Cheating/driving the left out of the Democratic Party seems like a longstanding tradition and we know who stands to gain from it; moreover, problems remain in the voting process because it's controlled by secret code of companies like Microsoft (in spite of the openwashing)



  3. InteLeaks – Part XX: Redacted (for Names Only) Release of Intel File About Developer eXperience (DX) Meddling in GNU/Linux

    Today (or tonight) we release the first 'phase' of InteLeaks in a sensibly redacted form; coming up next is a surprise from Team Microsoft



  4. Sites in Bed With the EPO and UPC 'Covering' the 'News' Without Mentioning Any of the Overt Abuses

    It is rather sad that blogs like IP Kat have turned into proponents of abusive EPO management and Team UPC increasingly resorts to lying using pseudonyms (to avert criticism and accountability); much of the rebuttal or response that’s hinged on reality/facts can only be found in comments, which are still subjected to a face-saving moderation process (conducted by Team UPC)



  5. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part IV: Stories From the Depths of the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    To reduce or alleviate suspicions and a potential of mistrust the FSF needs to become more transparent and liberate information (such as the real reason Bradley Kuhn left, as noted in the previous part)



  6. Links 18/1/2021: GNU Radio 3.9, Wikipedia at 20

    Links for the day



  7. InteLeaks – Part XIX: Intel's Web 'Experts' Seen as Microsoft Champions Dealing With the Platform Microsoft is Looking to Destroy

    Things aren't rosy at Intel because the hires aren't suitable for the job of documenting and/or presenting GNU/Linux-centric products (whose target audience is Free software developers)



  8. Adding Images as Characters to the Daily Bulletins of Techrights

    Our daily bulletins now have inside them coarse graphics, depicted using characters alone, and the tool used to generate them announced a new release earlier today; we showcase some of its features (in a new video)



  9. Links 18/1/2021: Weekly Summaries and Linux 5.11 RC4

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 17, 2021



  11. The Oligarchs' Parties Will Never Choose the Side of Software Freedom Because Free Software Cannot Bribe Officials

    The tough reality is that next week's (or this coming week's, depending on what Sunday counts as) inauguration ceremony is partly symbolic as all the same and important issues remain largely untouched, for corporations control almost everything of significance



  12. COVID-19 Has Actually Helped Software Freedom Due to Financial and 'Spare Time' Factors

    Developers and users are increasingly exploring what the Free software world has to offer; this is actually measurable and it contradicts claims to the contrary



  13. Future Plans and Using Videos to Complement Text

    Remarks on recent and impending site changes; We are not replacing text with video, we're just trying to enhance the presentation a bit, especially where visuals help make a point or where browsing through Web sites (or leaks) is more suitable than static, linear presentation



  14. InteLeaks – Part XVIII: Intel Does Not Know How to Properly Do Research and It Seems Apparent Unscientific Methods Are Used to Justify Poor Documentation

    There appears to be a severe crisis at Intel; they cannot recruit scientists (or those whom they recruited are walking away) and as a result the company produces bad products with poor documentation (or highly defective chipsets that top-notch marketing cannot compensate for); in this video we walk through some examples of how studies are being conducted (as already noted in Part XVII)



  15. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part III: The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Seems More Like a Victim of Destabilisation Campaigns

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF), which turns 36 later this year, is looking to raise money that helps support the GNU Project, soon 38 years old and likely the most important Free software project to exist (ever)



  16. Links 17/1/2021: EasyOS on Raspberry Pi and GNU libsigsegv 2.13

    Links for the day



  17. InteLeaks – Part XVII: The High Cost of Microsoft Windows Users in GNU/Linux Development Teams

    A look inside Intel explains what holds back the technical team, which bemoans the lesser technical people getting in the way and not even using the product that they are writing about



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 16, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 16, 2021



  19. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part II: Why Bradley Kuhn Left the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    The founder of the FSF is still at the FSF (albeit not publicly) and the person who lobbied to oust him has basically been 'banished' by the founder



  20. Links 16/1/2021: LibreOffice 7.1 Release Candidate, Zeroshell 3.9.5, FreeBSD Report, and GhostBSD 21.01.15

    Links for the day



  21. Free Speech on the Web Not Respected by Companies That Used to Support Software Freedom

    Mozilla does not have to make its Web browser about politics; it can just make an excellent piece of software that is neutral about the Web pages that it renders, based on the user's personal preferences



  22. Suppressed Facts of the Free Software Movement and Its Community of Volunteers – Part I: We Are Under Attack by Corporations and Their Salaried Facilitators

    The corporate takeover (taking over the Commons, produced by volunteers who are motivated by altruism) is a subject we must speak about and somehow tackle; this series will highlight uncomfortable or difficult truths



  23. InteLeaks – Part XVI: Intel Cannot Do Command Line, Even When It's Vastly Simpler and More Suitable for Development

    The Developer eXperience (DX) team at Intel seems to be full of Microsoft drones instead of developers and/or mildly technical people; this has not only harmed the quality of documentation but also upset staff, alienating people who actually understand what developers need (more than buzzwords like "DX")



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 15, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, January 15, 2021



  25. Links 15/1/2021: KaOS 2021.01, Whisker Menu 2.5.2, Istio 1.8.2

    Links for the day



  26. InteLeaks – Part XV: Intel is Blind to Blind and Colour-Blind People

    Intel does not seem to grasp very basic concepts associated with accessibility; nevertheless, Intel shamelessly tries painting itself as "woke" and a "justice warrior" (policing speech while overlooking much-needed practical work)



  27. Links 15/1/2021: GStreamer 1.18.3 and Proton 5.13-5

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 14, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 14, 2021



  29. Links 14/1/2021: Wine 6.0, Debian 11 Freeze, and Alpine Linux 3.13

    Links for the day



  30. Patent Propaganda and UPC Jingoism Instead of Actual News

    Today's so-called 'news' about the EPO (Europe's second-largest institution) and the failed UPC is nothing short of shameless propaganda


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