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. Links 22/9/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.7, Lennart's Latest Plan

    Links for the day



  2. Summits of Open Bear Traps: The Open Core Summit and Other 'Open' Events That Actually Attack Software Freedom

    Conferences that call themselves "open" something are sometimes nothing but an attack on openness (not to mention freedom) and promotion of FUD about Free/Open Source software (FOSS); there's an ample set of examples to that effect



  3. Openwashing Report: 'Open Source' Without Any or Most of the Benefits

    The cheapening of the term "Open Source" continues; sooner or later everything out there will be called "open" irrespective of what it really is



  4. Patent Extremism is Not Normal and Not an Innocent Mindset

    Reflection upon the sad state of the European patent system and how media turns a blind eye to it; worldwide, in general, the discussion about patents is being warped by the litigation giants, whose sole goal is to maximise the number of lawsuits/shakedowns (personal gain)



  5. Links 22/9/2019: LLVM 9.0.0 and FreeBSD 12.1 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. Links 21/9/2019: Plasma 5.17 Beta in Kubuntu, Cockpit 203

    Links for the day



  7. IBM Cannot Become a True Friend of Free Software Because of Its Current Patent Policy

    IBM needs to quit bullying people/companies with software patents; that would help towards appeasement of IBM critics and sceptics



  8. When Patent 'Professionals' Sound Like Children Who Learned to Parrot Some Intentionally-Misleading Buzzwords, Myths and Lies

    With buzzwords like "AI" and misleading terms like "IP" the litigation zealots are trying to convince themselves (and the public) that software is a physical thing and a "property" which needs "protecting" from "theft"; it doesn't seem to bother these people that copyright law already covers software<



  9. The European Parliament Needs to Become More Outspoken About EPO Abuses

    There are few encouraging signs in Europe right now because the EPO's disregard for patent law (striving to just grant as many patents as possible) earned it much-needed backlash from the European Parliament



  10. Links 19/9/2019: German Federal Ministry of the Interior Wants FOSS, Top Snaps Named

    Links for the day



  11. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  12. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  13. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  14. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  15. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  16. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  17. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  18. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  19. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  20. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  21. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  22. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  23. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  24. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  25. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  26. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  27. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  28. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  29. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  30. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)


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