04.20.16

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Corporate Lobbying for Software Patents in the United States and Against Alice, Against Patent Reform

Posted in Apple, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Billionaires and their think tanks too get involved

Manny Schecter
IBM pushing for software patents not just via lobbyists like former IBMer, David Kappos (on IBM’s payroll for lobbying now), but also IBM’s Manny Schecter (above). Photo credit: Esteban Minero

Summary: The law surrounding patents in the United States continues to be manipulated or at least lobbied on by large corporations such as IBM and Microsoft, as well as by think tanks such as CATO Institute

THE PAST few weeks were spent looking at the front group led by David Kappos, who is paid by software firms such as IBM, Microsoft, and more recently Apple, which evidently has a lot at stake (it has just settled a patent lawsuit and here are ten of the earliest reports we were able to find about this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]). Kappos is trying to diminish if not demolish the impact of Alice so that software patents continue to do their damage (recall the lawsuits from Microsoft against Linux, Apple against Android, and IBM against various Internet companies as of late).

“Kappos is trying to diminish if not demolish the impact of Alice so that software patents continue to do their damage (recall the lawsuits from Microsoft against Linux, Apple against Android, and IBM against various Internet companies as of late).”IAM ‘magazine’, a proponent of this Kappos lobbying agenda (openly so), has just said: “As this blog and others have reported, there has been a general increase in patent activity in the auto sector in recent years, which has brought with it a rise in new infringement lawsuits and activity at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). However according to data recently released by Unified Patents, the number of lawsuits in the sector dropped last year, despite a rise in the overall number of new patent cases in the US. There were 126 new cases filed in 2015 involving carmakers and their suppliers. That was down from 154 in 2014 and 160 the year before.”

Drop in litigation is a good thing, unless one runs a litigious company that is suing rivals or threatening rivals in order to extract ‘protection money’ (settlement). Recent statistics suggest that a vast proportion of patent lawsuits are now being filed by patent trolls, who typically use software patents. According to the above, which refers to trolls using common euphemisms, patent trolls “still account for the lion’s share of new cases with 88 suits filed last year.”

“Drop in litigation is a good thing, unless one runs a litigious company that is suing rivals or threatening rivals in order to extract ‘protection money’ (settlement).”One patent propagandist offers support to his buddy at IBM, which is increasingly a patent aggressor/bully. He previously interviewed him. “IBM’s Manny Schecter,” he wrote, “giving keynote @Innography #Insights2016 today @ 11am CT on “What should we do about Alice?” A very good question!”

One approach embraced by Manny (so far) is rather simple; pay David Kappos, a former IBM employee, to lobby the system. It’s sort of weird that the question is, “What should we do about Alice?”

“One approach embraced by Manny (so far) is rather simple; pay David Kappos, a former IBM employee, to lobby the system.”That’s like asking, “what should we do about the Supreme Court?” IBM seems arrogant enough to attack or discredit the highest court via Kappos (IBM).

The same kind of quote comes from this tweet, which says “IBM Chief Patent Counsel @MannySchecter @Innography Insights – What Should We Do About Alice?” (to his pleasure, based on his response).

“Don’t let IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc. effectively buy the law by ‘buying’ former officials like Kappos.”The one good thing about David Kappos, Manny Schecter and various other proponents of software patents (or boosters of IBM’s patent aggression) is that they help demonstrate/highlight how corrupt the patent system is. One conspiring to shape one’s system by lobbying is not illegal, but to put one’s staff in key positions and to pay to change law may be. Don’t let IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc. effectively buy the law by ‘buying’ former officials like Kappos. It’s a mockery of a system that’s supposed to be shaped by public interests. Ask Manny Schecter how much money, other than lots of salaries, IBM has just paid Kappos to legalise/promote software patents in the US. Generally speaking, try to find out who’s paying to change the law and how much. Yesterday we became aware of a ‘Conservative’ (corporatist) think tank of the Koch Brothers (CATO) publishing a paper on patents (spring edition), downplaying the severity of the patent system’s problems [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] to essentially defend patent trolls, which mostly come from (or to) Texas. This paper, based on the feedback, is widely liked by patent lawyers from Texas.

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