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02.10.18

The Chamber of Corporations, Together With the Trolls’ Lobby, Resorts to Alarmist Propaganda in an Effort to Alter Patent Policy

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And as usual they use China as the scaremongering strategy

The Chinese Are Coming

Summary: Seeing that the US patent system has made moderate improvements to the quality of patents, businesses that rely on aggression make a whole lot of noise, pointing to “reports” or an “index” which bashes US patent policy

THE USPTO recently improved. Tomorrow and on Monday we’ll say a lot about PTAB. Numbers are increasing; not just patent numbers but also oppositions. Patents are no longer regarded as a “slam dunk”; they’re scrutinised more closely by courts, by PTAB and even by examiners (in spite of the temptation to just grant everything).

Patent microcosm, patent maximalists, patent radicals or whatever one calls them are losing their minds. They keep shouting about "China!" as if Chinese patent policy is the “gold standard” or a yardstick all of a sudden. Didn’t they spend decades if not centuries moaning about China being “pirates” or “thieves” and “knockoffs” or “ripoffs”? Why is China suddenly a role model to them? Intellectual dishonesty knows no bounds. All they care about is how much money they can make at the end of the day. Lawsuits are “business”. Threats are “business”. Convincing clients to pursue patents they don’t need and will never use is “business”. Whose business?

See this tweet which said (just a few days ago): “The decline in start-ups is blamed on incumbency and inability to disrupt. Could it be that our IP policies do not support new entrants?”

No, nothing to do with ‘IP’ policies. “You just superimpose your agenda onto unrelated news,” I told him.

This has become so typical. Any time some bad news about the US goes ‘viral’ the patent microcosm leaps/jumps at the opportunity to somehow frame that as ‘proof’ that patent policy needs to change. It has not only become laughable; it’s tiring because it’s impossible to rebut this echo chamber, simply because of the scale (their lies propagate among themselves ad infinitum).

The Chamber of Commerce (we typically call it "Chamber of Corporations" or "Chamber of Corporates") and USTR are not reliable sources of information. We exposed some of their malicious lies about 6-8 years ago, based on many cables published by Wikileaks (it’s commonly known as “Cablegate” and it’s a massive repository of information).

The Chamber of Commerce and USTR basically ‘rank’ countries based on how subservient they are to the largest US-based corporations. We were therefore disappointed to see IP Watch giving a platform to the Chamber of Commerce, which is a patent maximalist. On the same day (yesterday) IP Watch was also giving a platform to another patent maximalist (voice of imperialist oligarchs). In both cases it’s behind a paywall and Google News picks it up, so people will judge everything by headlines like “US Industry Index Makes Case For Strong IP Protection Worldwide” and “On IPR, Major US Trading Partners In Firing Line Of US Industry, While Cancer Patients Ask For Access”.

IP Watch is generally a good site, but in the interest of “balance” it often relays public relations material for lobbyists. This is not helpful to their reputation. The above-mentioned Chamber of Commerce “index” is already being exploited for the usual bashing of India, where software patents are not allowed. They do this every year. The Chamber of Commerce continues to bully and shame India, typically helped by sites like IAM, and business press then comes up with headlines like “India ranks 44 out of 50 nations in intellectual property index” (because it says no to unethical patents).

An article by Avadhi Joshi (Khurana and Khurana) meanwhile attempts to bring up a subject they refuse to leave alone. The headline says “India: Do Software Patents Actually Fall Under The Ambit Of Section 3(k)?”

What we have here is a bunch of patent lawyers continuing to disregard the law while striving to pursue software patents. From the opening paragraph:

Section 3k is often criticized for its ambiguity of the words “computer programme per se”. Though the Indian Patent Act doesn’t explicitly disallow software programs, a lot has been left to interpretation of the same, which in turn has been to many companies’ benefit. This article will analyze the patentability of software programs with support of a few cases.

We expect IAM to write something about that soon. Last year alone it wrote nearly 10 articles bashing India over its patent policy. At times, as expected, IAM cited the Chamber of Commerce for 'proof'. But it’s not just IAM. It’s easy to tell that Watchtroll is a nefarious site when it relies on the villainous Chamber of Commerce to construct a lobbying argument. That’s just what it did 2 days ago, resorting to old panic tactics and drama. Here’s what it said: “The United States was once again the top ranked country in overall score in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual Global IP Index for 2018, but the rankings are closer than ever. This year the United States edged out the United Kingdom by a mere .01 points on the Chamber scale”

What they’re basically measuring is patent maximalism and things like that. As if patent maximalism is absolutely desirable (it is to some occupations, like litigators)…

Watch some other headlines to the same effect: “The U.S. dropped to 12th place in countries with best patent systems”

What do they even mean by “best”? Certainly not patent quality. Remember, this is the Chamber of Commerce we’re talking about here. The name is misleading as it’s not a Federal thing but more of a corporate front group. The patent microcosm now relies on the villainous Chamber of Commerce, which is a lobby for special interests…

Here is what IAM wrote in Twitter: “US falls again in patent rankings in latest @USChamber IP report. Down to 12th now, below Italy.”

The report [PDF] is almost 200 pages long. We took a quick look. IAM added: “As well as another fall for the US it’s worth noting the big gains made by the by Korea’s patent system – up from 12th to 6th…”

But what does the rank even mean? What is it based on? Not actual patent quality.

Here’s a patent maximalist hollering at the USPTO: “We’re Number 12, We’re Number 12… https://twitter.com/uspto/status/961630897920532482 …”

He’s trying to pressure them to go back to patent maximalism.

Another patent maximalist said: “Below Italy (!?) the (mighty) American patent system continues to fall. #EfficientInfringers & their mouthpieces @EFF @publicknowledge & other allegedly “public interest” groups are great at defeating US industrial policy & undermine #Inventors & horrific at creating jobs https://twitter.com/iam_magazine/status/961609122776002561 …”

As if EFF and Public Knowledge are less credible than the Chamber of Commerce? The EFF and Public Knowledge care about their country; the Chamber of Commerce cares about a few oligarchs in need of protectionism.

Here comes the Koch-funded lobby for patent trolls. Adam Mossoff wrote: “IMPORTANT READ: “U.S. Innovation Economy Falls Even Further in Latest GIPC Patent Rankings.” For 2nd year in a row, US drops in rankings due to uncertainty & anti-patent changes in past decade. Time to #fixPTAB & #fix101 to save US #innovation leadership!”

Remember that Mossoff and his collaborators are funded by oligarchs. One response said: “Last year = possible anomaly. This year = trend. Everyone in IP should be troubled by this.”

“Everyone in IP” means patent lawyers and the likes of them, including patent trolls whom they service.

Good riddance.

Iancu is then invoked: “#1 -> #10 -> #12. This year the icepick is only 20% deeper into our eye! How much more of a wakeup call do we need? Sure counting on Dir. Iancu to arrest this slide.”

Will Iancu work for the patent microcosm that he came from? We worry so. Will he succumb to pressure from the Chamber of Commerce or listen to voices of reason such as the EFF and Public Knowledge?

Dennis Crouch, as usual, uses the “China card” to ‘guide’ Iancu back into patent maximalism traps. Watch what he wrote some days ago:

I wrote earlier this week that the Chinese patent system is at a crossroads as it reaches middle-age. I believe that the US patent system is also at a crossroads – ready to be refreshed and renewed, but tentative about what that will mean for established interests. I look forward to hearing Iancu’s vision for the future and his ideas for implementation.

Here they go again with “China!”

For crying out loud, have they run out of rational arguments? There’s no potent argument for patent maximalism, so they just lean on ‘China envy’ if not full-blown Chinophobia.

Lobby group IAM is also pressuring Iancu. It’s asking him to listen to the Chamber of Commerce and ruin the system’s reforms for the sake of maximalists/trolls. IAM is giving him tasks using alarmist nonsense. From the closing paragraph: “The Chamber’s IP index has undoubtedly become a cudgel for critics of the US patent system to drive home their point that changes need to be made to instill greater certainty into section 101, particularly in areas like medical diagnostics, and to address the concerns that IPR remains skewed against patent owners. That it has once again shown America’s decline relative to other leading IP jurisdictions underscores the size of the task facing the recently confirmed USPTO director Andrei Iancu. Restoring some faith in the US patent system may well feature prominently on his to-do list.”

In contrast, there are voices of reason that do not rely on what IAM calls “The Chamber” above (“the” — as though it’s something quite so authoritative). The R Street Institute, for example, has just published this opinion/article at The Hill. Charles Duan, who describes himself as “a senior fellow and associate director of tech and innovation policy at the R Street Institute,” asks Iancu to improve patent quality. Here is what he wrote about PTAB: “Maintaining the effectiveness of post-grant patent review procedures. The procedures introduced in 2011 with the America Invents Act — namely inter partes review, post-grant review and covered business methods review — are critical to ensuring that erroneously-granted patents can be efficiently reconsidered, limiting any damage they may cause. Already, parties have used inter partes review to challenge questionable patents on technologies such as podcasting and software activation. Proceedings like inter partes review work well because, in large part, they are run by expert judges of an expert agency with experience in patent law and technology. Certainly, there are procedural elements for the USPTO to refine. But the agency should reject critics’ calls to eliminate the proceedings entirely, to limit severely their effectiveness, or to devolve certain disputes (such as those over pharmaceuticals) to generalist federal courts.”

Here’s what Duan said about quality: “Improving patent quality and internal monitoring procedures. Poor-quality patents — especially those on old or obvious ideas — provide no value to innovation or the economy, and in fact can detract from economic growth. The USPTO is the first line of defense against poor-quality patents being issued, and it should dedicate resources to examiner training and internal monitoring systems that focus on the correctness of decisions to grant patents.”

The Hill has also published an opinion of an opposite nature. Kristen Jakobsen Osenga wants more patent litigation, almost as if that in its own right would spur innovation. Here’s what he said:

Part of the reason the U.S. innovation economy has flourished is because of our strong patent system. Lately, however, the strength of this patent system has been eroding, due to changes that have decreased the value of patents and made patent rights less certain.

[...]

When a company that used to pay a license to use a technology can stop paying a licensing fee but continue to use the technology and simply wait for the patent owner to sue it, that’s a sign of a weak patent system.

When, after a company is found to be infringing a valid patent on a technology developed by others, others step in on its behalf to argue that the infringer should be allowed to continue its behavior, that’s a sign of a patent system that is eroding.

The headline of the piece from Kristen Jakobsen Osenga is “US takes one step forward, two steps back on innovation,” but it has absolutely nothing to do with innovation. It’s all about patents.

The CCIA too had a response to misleading headlines and patent lawyers who intentionally conflate patents with innovation (the classic lie). The CCIA’s site Patent Progress wrote:

As part of Patent Progress’ series on innovation in the United States, we are examining ways to measure innovation. One useful metric, measuring the investment being made in the creation of new and innovative technologies, is research and development spending. This metric tends to show the investment in innovation, in particular by larger companies. And if we examine R&D spending, we see the same story we saw with respect to startups and venture capital earlier in our series—innovation in the United States continues to be world-class.

Do not fall for the illusion that economic success and innovation depend on patents. In the right balance they might. But patent maximalism as promoted by “The Chamber” together with IAM and Watchtroll is all about giving away money to lawyers and trolls.

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