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
  • Slashdot

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: Friday, October 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 30, 2020



  2. [Meme] Two Dictators: How the EPO Shuffled the Dictatorship's Cards

    EPO President António Campinos turns out to be no better and even less popular than Benoît Battistelli



  3. 2020: The Year the Patent System Converged With Naked Fascism

    The worldwide system of patents, administered in part by WIPO (fronting for the super-rich), is losing the argument and instead — nowadays more than ever before — it is resorting to authoritarianism (the kids’ gloves are off)



  4. Links 31/10/2020: KDE on Hugo, NetBSD Moves From TWM to CTWM

    Links for the day



  5. Links 30/10/2020: WordPress 5.5.2 and NSA Mum on Its Back Doors Policy

    Links for the day



  6. Free Software is Still Under Attack From Software Patents (GNOME Getting Patent Trolls to Settle Isn't the Real Solution)

    We're asked to believe that a sort of "patch" (suggested by companies or monopolies with endless patent portfolios) means that Free software and software patents can co-exist; behind the scenes, however, "community distros" (not developed and controlled by monopolies) are coming under patent attacks which they cannot publicly speak about



  7. Microsoft is Already Bribing the Likely Next US President (Having Also Paid the Trump Campaign) to Ensure Microsoft Can Get Away With Crimes and Receive Bailouts from Taxpayers

    Microsoft is still controlling "both sides" to ensure that it remains in control of the administration; it's already looting the taxpayers while still lying to shareholders ('legalised' embezzlement)



  8. With Microsoft in Charge, OpenSSF Seems More Like It's About Back Doors -- Not Real Security -- Inside the Linux Foundation

    Another Linux Foundation (LF) group seems to have been taken over by the company that’s attacking Linux and attacking real security (as opposed to fake security or back doors in the name of “national security” — the Trojan horse for imperialistic coercion, worldwide)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 29, 2020



  10. Living in a State of Constant and Never-Ending Fear Will Harm Software Freedom

    "Freedom" or "liberty" may seem to have been co-opted by extreme right-wing and COVID-denying (or COVID-minimising) elements, but at the moment we do stand to lose many "tech rights" (in the name of "protecting" us)



  11. [Meme] Mozilla's 2020 Vision

    Mozilla does not seem to understand that proprietary Azure and proprietary GitHub won't offer Mozilla a way/path out of the mess it's in



  12. Techrights Done With Maintenance For Now, Will Resume Posting at a Higher Publication Pace

    With a few new features added to the site we can finally resume normal operations (more articles per day)



  13. Moving to Phones Won't Liberate Users

    A so-called 'phone' (or 'smart' phone) with Linux under the bonnet isn't freedom; it's a branding war being won, but principles are being abandoned



  14. Links 29/10/2020: LibreOffice 7.0.3, Linux 5.9.2, NVIDIA 455.38 Linux Driver

    Links for the day



  15. Links 29/10/2020: Istio 1.6.13, Krita 4.4.1 and PyPI Key-Signing Ceremony

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 28, 2020



  17. Links 28/10/2020: Linux Dropping WiMAX Support, Istio 1.7.4, Ubuntu is “Hirsute Hippo”

    Links for the day



  18. Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women's (and Minorities') Voices for Public Relations

    Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo



  19. In a State of Flux Due to Maintenance and Improvements

    For the first time since summer of 2019 we're investing time and effort improving the site in a number of ways



  20. Links 28/10/2020: Torvalds on Succession, PyTorch 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  21. [Meme] Stealing the Competition

    After the fall (and fail) of CodePlex Microsoft decided to grab the Linux Foundation and most Git-based projects (through GitHub) — a strategy even Microsoft can learn to love



  22. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 27, 2020



  23. Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  24. Taking Our Efforts to the Next Level in an Increasingly Proprietary and Hostile Web

    Web users are being repressed by mechanisms of mass manipulation, control and restrictions; the Web may not be going away any time soon, but architectural and topological issues need to be overcome (the sooner, the better)



  25. Read Techrights Without a Web Browser

    Any text editor can now be used to read Techrights, owing to a daily bulletin we've set up and will maintain every day



  26. [Meme] Torvalds Assimilated

    People belatedly realise that Microsoft’s plan for Git (and for Linux) isn't for the betterment of those projects but for Microsoft monopoly



  27. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  28. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  30. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day


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