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

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 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. EPO Continues to Grant Hundreds of Thousands of Illegal Software Patents and the Media Doesn't Care

    The only thing worse than the EPO intentionally ignoring courts, Parliament, the EPC and so on is how corporate media and blogs controlled by law firms simply don't care or actively cheer for that



  2. Greenwashing to Distract From the EPO Breaking the Law, Rigging Justice and Its Own Courts

    The so-called 'Haar case' ends as expected; the EPO won't even deal with the question of legality, instead throwing it aside as "inadmissible" while bombarding the media with puff pieces about being "ethical", "social" and now "green"



  3. Linux.com Has Become a Microsoft Promotion Site Under Linux Foundation-Appointed Staff

    The sole editor of Linux.com (after the layoffs of all staff) is a 'true believer' in the 'new' Microsoft and one who uses Linux.com to promote his personal site where he offers PR services



  4. Links 22/7/2019: SUSE Gets CEO From SAP, MuQSS 0.193 Scheduler, VLC Bug

    Links for the day



  5. Links 22/7/2019: Linux 5.3 RC1, GNU Hyperbole 7.0.3, DebConf19

    Links for the day



  6. Don't Kick the Puppy That is Suing Linux Using Patents While Bribing Officials, Threatening Critics and Hijacking the Linux Foundation

    Jim Zemlin is protecting the "puppy" (to use his own analogy), Microsoft, while getting paid about/almost a million dollars per year (about the same amount of money Microsoft pays his PAC)



  7. EPO Gradually Becoming the World's Most Permissive (Low Patent Quality) Patent Office by Consciously Violating the EPC

    Today's European Patent Office is making innovation a lot harder for Europeans; it limits what people can freely do, e.g. what computer code they can implement, and only lawyers are loving it



  8. Tweets Are Not Journalism But Succinct Unverified Hearsay; Time to Treat Them Accordingly

    Childish public discourse can be attributed to SMS-sized nonsense posted in a hurry by career provocateurs, not grown-ups (becoming a waste of time for actual reporters who spend hours/days correcting the record after these go 'viral'); this is killing responsible journalism, necessitating a rethink



  9. The Web is Not JavaScript

    Simple sites respect visitors; rather than and instead of exploiting them or passing burdens to user-end browsers we should focus on text and links — the very core components of hypertext as opposed to bells and whistles



  10. Links 21/7/2019: DXVK 1.3.1, GameMode, Mutter 3.33.4

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  12. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  13. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  14. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  15. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  16. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  17. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  18. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  19. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  20. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  21. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  22. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  24. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  25. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  26. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  27. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  28. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  29. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  30. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')


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