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

01.12.16

Why the Corporations-Leaning US Political System Does Not and Will Not Help Resolve the Patent Chaos

Posted in America, Patents at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where money calls the shots corporations and their owners almost always get their way at the public’s expense

Money envelope

Summary: Commentary on the US patent system and why it has never quite healed itself, nor will it ever be able to heal itself if large corporations dominate political figures

BEFORE we were focused on the EPO we had been writing literally thousands of articles about the US patent system (USPTO), which is utterly dysfunctional, unjust, and detrimental to human progress.

IP Watch, a site mostly critical of the existing systems or frameworks, has just said that “More than 50 members of the United States Congress today sent a letter urging the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to exercise their legal authority to require medical patents that have emerged from government-funded medical research projects to be licensed on reasonable and affordable terms for public use.

“It helps show that patents are often more to do with protectionism than innovation or public service. It’s about corporations, not about people.”“The letter [pdf], rooted in a growing public concern with the rising prices of prescription drugs, argued that failure to use this measure would drive an image that the American government funds projects with taxpayer money that allow profiteering from struggling patients and families rather than simply earning enough profit to provide for future research and the researchers’ own incomes.”

It is easy to spot the inherent problems here, seeing the absurdity of granting a patent monopoly, a government-enforced monopoly, derived from tax money which the government ordered to be given. It helps show that patents are often more to do with protectionism than innovation or public service. It’s about corporations, not about people.

A new article from bankers’ media alludes to the CLS Bank case, which is better known by the plaintiff’s name, Alice. Here is what it says about software patents:

A landmark case in this area was the 2014 decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that patents on software related to an electronic escrow service were found to be unpatentable, since the patent’s claims were drawn from abstract ideas.

“I think there’s a movement in the courts and in Congress to restrict the scope of software patentability,” Knight said.

Yes, well, once upon a time there was a healthy debate out there about whether software patents should be abolished. Those days were gone after large corporations had hijacked the debates and warped these into debates about patent trolls (meaning small entities that typically use software patents, often against large entities/corporations). All of these “reform” (for large corporations) talks virtually vanished (from the media and from politics) right after the summer break. It all got squashed and lost all its momentum. This is politics. It’s total nonsense when it’s clogged up by sponsors, donors etc.

“…once upon a time there was a healthy debate out there about whether software patents should be abolished.”Florian Müller tells IP Troll Tracker (Steph): “I agree that a focus on trolls is poor justification for reform. Trolls are merely a symptom of the underlying problems.” He also asks “So you also feel that patent reform advocates have been too timid so far in their portrayal of problems and proposals?”

This was after he wrote a long rant about the role of political correctness (or maybe the sixth sense which is campaign contributions money) in the reluctance to put to rest the bad patent system which promotes extortion rackets. To quote the apolitical part (not GOP promotion):

U.S. patent reform advocates have been disappointed term after term, presidency after presidency. Washington has a “do nothing” reputation, but a sea change appears to be around the corner and it may also create an environment in which, at long last, the massive and dramatic problems caused by a broken patent system may be addressed more forcefully and courageously than before.

Political correctness has terrible effects because it prevents politicians, the media and the general public from discussing the real issues without mincing words, and when you can’t even talk about the real issues, you’re very, very unlikely to identify and implement solutions.

Political correctness is the root cause of many problems not only in such contexts as immigration policy or the problem with certain ethnicities’ crime rates.

There are many areas in which a dogma has been turned into an axiom. Even though I’m an environmentalist (my house has a groundwater heat pump and uses groundwater temperature for cooling), I’d like there to be a more open discussion of the causes of global warming. Just an example.

Political correctness is also a huge problem in the debate over U.S. patent reform. Organizations and individuals probably feared that they would be “anti-American” if they simply said that the U.S. patent system is broken and fails to serve true innovators.

In all those congressional hearings on patent reform that I watched, each and every politician repeated the mantra of the U.S. patent system being key to innovation and allegedly being the envy of the world, when the reality is that it’s the laughing stock of patent and industry professionals in the rest of the world. Over the years I’ve talked to so many patent lawyers from Europe and Asia, and even to patent examiners (though not the ones the EPO leadership accuses of having been in contact with me), about the overall situation, and no one believes that U.S. juries are qualified to determine infringement and validity issues, no one has ever disagreed with me that the Federal Circuit is generally too patent-holder-friendly, and no one has ever disagreed with me that the quality of USPTO-granted patents is generally even lower than that of European patents.

Impactful patent reform in the U.S. won’t happen until at least a significant percentage of all politicians and stakeholders participating in the debate will start to tell the truth, which is that most information and communications technology patents are invalid as granted, that a high percentage of all claim construction decisions are reversed on appeal, that even those patents that are not invalid and are ultimately deemed infringed generally don’t protect anything that justifies a 20-year monopoly, and that there is no point in incentivizing “being first to file” when the combination of copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and the first-mover advantage in relatively fast-moving fields are more than sufficient to protect investment in innovation. Reform advocates must place more emphasis on the fact that ever more U.S. patents are not granted to U.S. companies, just like most European patents are not held by European companies. It must be said that the correlation between patents and innovation in a country is hardly a causation of patents promoting innovation, that patents increasingly serve as a substitute rather than an incentive for innovation, and that studies linking patents to innovation are often based on circular logic, considering each patent an innovation.

Less is more. How can anyone seriously believe that patent inflation has anything to do with increased innovative activity? Would anyone believe that merely printing more money creates prosperity? Reform advocates should talk about how to gradually bring the number of patents granted per year down to a fraction of the current rate.

The US patent system isn’t the only one permitting patents on software. Under the EPO’s regime (like Brimelow’s “as such” loophole) many companies apply for and get software patents in Europe. The patent lawyers like it because it means more business (income) for them. Looking at sites of patent lawyers (IAM for instance), we do find very recent evidence that the patent system doesn’t quite function as was originally intended (when patent laws were conceived as means as providing an incentive to those publishing their physical inventions). As part of Xiaomi’s notorious campaign to amass thousands of patents, it now reportedly buys Broadcom patents. So, here again we have hardware-related patents being passed around, sold, changed in terms of ownership/assignment, serving to show that as a reward for innovation patents don’t quite function, not as stated on the tin. They’re more like weapons or tools of coercion.

“One way to tackle these issues is to inform the public, not politicians, who are easily influenced by corporate cash (bribes/donations/revolving doors) and are therefore unlikely to become part of the solution.”“In an assignment dated 23rd October 2015 and recorded with the USPTO on 7th December,” IAM wrote, “US semiconductor company Broadcom transferred 19 US patent assets to an entity named Xiaomi H.K. Ltd.”

In similar news, “Qualcomm asks U.S. court to force Apple, Samsung and others to surrender documents” and “Public patent licensing company index declined 24.4% in 2015″.

The term “patent licensing company” can be viewed as a gentler term for patent trolls, such as the Microsoft-connected Acacia, which habitually attacks Linux with patents. According to this report from IAM, Acacia is not doing too well. To quote: “Capping off 12 months of slumping share prices was the resignation in late December of Acacia CEO Matthew Vella. His exit came after the NPE was on the wrong end of a damaging decision in the Eastern District of Texas as a jury found in favour of the defendants, including Alcatel Lucent, ruling that the Acacia patent was invalid and not infringed. If that ruling had gone the other way it’s fair to say that Vella would probably still be in a job.”

Irrespective of this one patent troll and putting aside the impact of Alice on software patents, the problem is far from resolved and some of Müller’s observations (not the political slant) have earned praises from critics of the patent system, such as Jamie Love. One way to tackle these issues is to inform the public, not politicians, who are easily influenced by corporate cash (bribes/donations/revolving doors) and are therefore unlikely to become part of the solution.

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 25/4/2017: Kali Linux 2017.1 Released, NSA Back Doors in Windows Cause Chaos

    Links for the day



  2. Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

    The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts



  3. EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

    Conflict between management and staff -- a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli -- continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)



  4. In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm's Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

    The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don't really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie



  5. In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

    The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent 'parades' in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore



  6. Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

    Links for the day



  7. Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

    How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards



  8. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

    A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays



  9. For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

    In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions



  10. EPO Staff Representatives Fired Using “Disciplinary Committee That Was Improperly Composed” as Per ILO's Decision

    The Board of the Administrative Council at European Patent Organisation is being informed of the union-busting activities of Battistelli -- activities that are both illegal (as per national and international standards) and are detrimental to the Organisation



  11. Links 23/4/2017: End of arkOS, Collabora Office 5.3 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Intellectual Discovery and Microsoft Feed Patent Trolls Like Intellectual Ventures Which Then Strategically Attack Rivals

    Like a swarm of blood-sucking bats, patent trolls prey on affluent companies that derive their wealth from GNU/Linux and freedom-respecting software (Free/libre software)



  13. The European Patent Office Has Just Killed a Cat (or Skinned a 'Kat')

    The EPO’s attack on the media, including us, resulted in a stream of misinformation and puff pieces about the EPO and UPC, putting at risk not just European democracy but also corrupting the European press



  14. Yann Ménière Resorts to Buzzwords to Recklessly Promote Floods of Patents, Dooming the EPO Amid Decline in Patent Applications

    Battistelli's French Chief Economist is not much of an economist but a patent maximalist toeing the party line of Monsieur Battistelli (lots of easy grants and litigation galore, for UPC hopefuls)



  15. Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

    Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments



  16. Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

    Links for the day



  17. At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

    The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive



  18. Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

    The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)



  19. In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won't Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

    Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International



  20. Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

    The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC



  21. EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

    Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)



  22. Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  23. Bristows-Run IP Kat Continues to Spread Lies to Promote the Unitary Patent (UPC) and Advance the EPO Management's Agenda

    An eclectic response to some of the misleading if not villainous responses to the UPC's death knell in the UK, as well as other noteworthy observations about think tanks and misinformation whose purpose is to warp the patent system so that it serves law firms, for the most part at the expense of science and technology



  24. Links 20/4/2017: Tor Browser 6.5.2, PacketFence 7.0, New Firefox and Chrome

    Links for the day



  25. Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

    The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites



  26. IAM, the Patent Trolls' Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

    IAM Media (the EPO's and trolls' mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as "news", promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies



  27. The Patent Microcosm Keeps Attacking Every Patent Office/System That is Doing the Right Thing

    Patent 'radicals' and 'extremists' -- those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy -- fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers



  28. Another Final Nail in the UPC Coffin: UK General Election

    Ratification of the UPC in the UK can drag on for several more years and never be done thereafter, throwing into uncertainty the whole UPC (EU-wide) as we know it



  29. Links 19/4/2017: DockerCon Coverage, Ubuntu Switching to Wayland

    Links for the day



  30. Links 18/4/2017: Mesa 17.0.4, FFmpeg 3.3

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts