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05.22.15

Patents as a Marketing Strategy: USPTO Now Part of the Advertising Industry

Posted in Patents at 12:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The existence of publicity patents, or patents whose sole purpose is to advertise some products, serves to discredit the US patent office, which was originally set up to promote science and technology

IN A COUPLE of recent blog posts from Steph in her rather obscure WordPress blog readers become aware of an old trick where USPTO seals of approval are used as a form of endorsement, even if there is only a patent application (“patent-pending”), which means just about nothing, even in a system where up to 92% of patent applications are "successful" (meaning that approved patents too are almost meaningless or worthless as a measure of innovation). Steph writes: “According to a suit filed in New Jersey, L’Oreal decided that they’d require their IP attorneys to file a certain number of patents each year, not to promote the progress of science and useful arts, but so that customers would be persuaded to buy their products because of a “patent pending” stamp on them…

“To recap,” says another post, ” you’re spending money on IP attorneys and USPTO fees and office action fees and clogging up the patent system for people with real things to patent and getting virtually nothing in return, except for a lawsuit from an attorney who thought the process was so ridiculous he quit doing it?”

“The only good patent is a non-existent or dead patent, not an “open” patent.”That’s what people who buy L’Oreal pay for; they not only pay for the ads that bamboozle them but also for lawyers who exploit the USPTO for marketing purposes. These are ‘trophy patents’, or some kind of medals for potential recognition by the public (at face value).

What does the USPTO intend to do about this? Nothing of course, it’s all business to them. This patent system hardly needs to be publicly discredited when it does so much to discredit itself. This does nothing for science; it’s about consumerism.

Speaking of ‘publicity patents’, how about the nonsense which is “Open Patent Licensing” or claims that giving up on litigation with a patent is “open source” (as Panasonic or Tesla want us to believe). To quote this new report from AOL: “A new trio of open patent licenses can help encourage innovation, discourage patent trolls and help companies attract top engineering talent. These licenses aren’t just for open-source romantics. They are practical legal tools used by software companies like Google, Twitter and Dropbox.”

The only good patent is a non-existent or dead patent, not an “open” patent. As Oracle served to show when it acquired Sun and later used its patents offensively, not even a “good” patent owner makes his/her patent/s benign. Google’s Android is at times defended using patents from IBM, which is itself a patent bully (it famously attacked Sun) and a prominent lobbyist for software patents all around the world.

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