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

08.06.15

The Rise of Patents as Just a Marketing Tool

Posted in Marketing, Patents at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system. My entry wasn’t nearly the goofiest.” –James Gosling, father of Java (context)

Summary: Examples where patenting of simple ideas can be viewed as clever PR ploys rather than actual inventions

THE patent hype is largely manufactured. It’s the outcome of brainwashing, to which patent lawyers (the opportunistic parasites) contribute a great deal. In reality, as we have shown before, terms like “patented” or “patent-pending” merely serve to give the impression of inventiveness and advancement. It’s marketing, geared towards respect from rival companies (counterparts or potential partners) and maybe customers too, especially if they are gullible.

The use of patents for marketing was demonstrated (again) by Steph the other day. “What you are seeing here is a measuring cup with a handle,” she wrote. “How, on any planet anywhere, is that patentable? You can’t throw a dead cat without hitting something similar-looking. I mean, honestly.” Steph previously showed how this is done by so-called ‘beauty’ (cosmetics) giants. They’re not alone when it comes to such charades as in the field of software (and gadgets too) this is done sparingly. Earlier this week IP Kat debunked what it called “the myth of the lone inventor.” Corporate image and senseless PR is what many patents are really about. Acquiring patents by applying for them is not hard (almost everything gets accepted at the end), it’s just expensive.

Let’s look at some recent examples where patents are used for little more than marketing. A week ago The Register wrote that “at the time of writing, 13 EVO:RAIl jobs are open at the company and patents for the software powering the appliances recently emerged.”

What will these patents be used for? Looking at the details and context of the article, they won’t be able to defend themselves from giants in their field, so these patents cannot be used defensively (nor offensively). VMware/EMC would eat them alive because of disproportionate portfolio size.

Here is another example. It’s a press release describing MacroPoint as “creators of patented freight tracking software designed to give 3rd party visibility into load status” (as if being “patented” makes it better).

We recently wrote about Fitbit and patents [1 2 3]. One potential competitor from Korea is hoarding patents rather than focus on development. To quote a puff piece about this company:

He adds 54 patents in haptic technology to Dot’s existing five, providing a strong head start over potential competitors for the company, founded only one year ago.

What exactly can this small company do with those patents? These products are designed to help spy on people even in their sleep and the patents above serve this agenda in no way whatsoever. It’s another example of (mis)use of patents for marketing, perhaps in an effort to find venture capital.

Last but not least, consider imperialism and the turf wars long fought between superpowers. Nuclear submarines (powered by a nuclear process in the US before nuclear missiles were loaded on board by the Soviets), space missions, etc. have long been used for political propaganda, giving the impression of military might and superiority. Idealogical wars (communism, capitalism and so on) have long been fought on grounds like patents, inventions, “firsts” (e.g. reaching space, landing on the moon), not just games of Chess. It’s now rather similar in the industry because many companies try to prove their supposed ‘superiority’ by hoarding patents and bragging about the number of patents they hold under their name/belt.

Here is a Pentagon-leaning site coming up with the headline “Navy’s reign in patent rankings continues”. Well, the Army wants monopoly and power; using patents in this case is just marketing. It’s not as though the Navy is going to take some foreign nation to court (which sovereignty anyway?) over patent infringement. To quote the military propaganda: “The value of military technology research can be looked at in a variety of ways, with protecting lives on the battlefield likely the most commonly cited goal. Another, easily quantified metric, though, might be the number of patents generated by the military’s research labs.”

No, that is just marketing. Calling it “research labs” is in itself propaganda, relying on two nonsensical words that are associating war and militarism with science. The army does not like science, it likes power and domination. It is Free software-hostile (except for the practical purposes), back doors-friendly, and it now leans towards yet more proprietary software, based on this news which claims: “Being able to select a commercial-off-the-shelf software package and customize it as little as possible for a project this massive is the reason that DoD has given all along for not opting to use the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ proprietary and open source VistA EHR.”

“Accenture is f*ed up,” explained iophk to us (he had served in the Army). “This will be another mess with enormous overruns like with the stock exchange. $9 billion, that’s what, 45,000 man-years at $200k salaries?”

Well, considering the love of patents (for marketing purposes), why not love for proprietary (secret) software too? Protectionism is what it’s all about.

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. Organising Techrights

    We're tidying up the site so as to make it easier to find past material (by clustering topics programmatically)



  2. Links 26/5/2019: GNOME 3.33.2 and OSS Catchup

    Links for the day



  3. Much Ado About Senators Tillis and Coons (Who Failed in 2017 and in 2018)

    The patent microcosm is attempting to buy laws that supersede the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and remove/weaken U.S.C. § 101 as well as PTAB while their blogs and sponsored 'articles' serve as lobbying vehicles



  4. European Patents Are Eventually Being Revoked. But at Great Expense to Everyone Except Law Firms.

    European Patent EP2724461 is revoked; but the cost of this chaos, which included an invalid embargo, could well be measured in billions, not millions



  5. Team Campinos Will Try to Make It Difficult to Go on Strike (But Won't Manage to Prevent It)

    The European Patent Office has a long and growing tradition of failing to respect staff's rights, including the right to go on strike (over violations of other rights of staff)



  6. Links 25/5/2019: Wine 4.9 Released, FreeBSD 11.3 Beta, Telegram Launches Fift

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  8. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  9. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  10. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  11. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  12. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  14. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  15. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  16. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  17. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  18. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  19. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  20. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  21. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  22. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  23. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  24. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  25. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  27. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  28. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  29. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  30. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    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