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07.16.18

Alliance for US Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) Misleads the US Government, Pretending to Speak for Startups While Spreading Lies for the Patent Microcosm

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 12:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alliance for U.S. Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ)

Summary: In the United States, which nowadays strives to raise the patent bar, the House Small Business Committee heard from technology firms but it also heard from some questionable front groups which claim to support “startups” and “jobs” (but in reality support just patents on the face of it)

More than a decade ago we wrote quite a lot about front groups like ACT and Computing Technology Industry Association pretending to speak for small businesses whilst actually speaking for Microsoft (in exchange for money).

Days ago there was a hearing/debate similar to those infiltrated by ACT (they have renamed since). Watchtroll called it an “Anti-Patent Panel” and obsessed over talking points from Chris Israel, Executive Director of Alliance for US Startups & Inventors for Jobs. It’s just preaching to patent maximalists, who are a tiny minority (less than one in a thousand US citizens). CCIA has already responded to Chris Israel’s claims, labeling them misleading and worse. For example:

Israel complains that there’s been an increase in investment in social networks, platforms, software apps, B2C technologies, and financial services. He claims that “these are not sectors that are investing heavily to push the outer boundaries of science and technology to remain competitive in a global market.”

But that’s simply false.

For example, social network and platform companies have invested billions of dollars in developing new software improving the efficiency of high-performance databases and new technologies that enable more efficient data centers for large-scale computing. Without that kind of technology, data centers like the ones that are enabling current advances in AI and drug discovery aren’t feasible. In fact, next week the National Institutes of Health are holding a workshop—participants will “hear from leading industry experts and scientists who are employing AI/ML in biomedical research settings.”

That’s not the only connection to AI, either. Social networking and platform companies have invested in (and released for public use) basic AI research, producing tools like TensorFlow (Google) and PyTorch (Facebook). These direct products also have follow-on impacts, enabling others to push the outer boundaries of science and technology.

There’s a ton of amazing work going on out there in AI right now. A lot of small companies are creating new ideas built on a machine learning substrate.

But that machine learning substrate probably utilizes one of those AI tools produced by a social network or platform company, and many of them run on ubiquitous compute platforms like Amazon Web Services provided by B2C service companies. Those “platform” and B2C VC investments that Israel is complaining about are why AI is now within the reach of any company, not just companies with the capital to build their own compute farm.

And once a small company has built their AI-driven product? That small company can begin selling to anyone, anywhere, using a service like Amazon or eBay’s B2C platforms.

Why have there been so many lies?

Thomas A. Hemphill meanwhile promotes the ‘STRONGER’ (actually weaker, low quality) Patents Act. This misguided anti-PTAB bill died last summer and will die again this summer, more so in light of Oil States. Here is what Hemphill wrote:

In March, Reps. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, and Bill Foster, D-Illinois, introduced the Support Technology & Research for Our Nation’s Growth and Economic Resilience (STRONGER) Patents Act of 2018.

This bill has a companion piece of the same name in the Senate, co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.

[...]

Heard before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), an inter partes review (IPR) is a trial proceeding where a non-patent owner may challenge (after either nine months’ post-grant patent-grant, or after the termination of a post-grant review, whichever occurs later) the validity of a patent based on prior art patents and publications.

[...]

Not surprisingly, this list of organizations does not include the biggest Silicon Valley companies — Apple, Google, Intel and Cisco, whose business models involve products with “patent thickets” of hundreds or even thousands of patents, in contrast to life sciences or small software and hardware companies who may have three to five patents protecting their product investment. For these tech giants, the status quo is working just fine.

[...]

Creative legislative and executive branch solutions, based on industry characteristics, can go a long way in ameliorating the patent validity issue.

This is being framed as a fight between technology giants and pharmaceutical giants, but as we explained in past years it’s a totally bogus framing that seeks to mislead readers. What we really have here is a fight between patent maximalists (e.g. law firms) and everybody else, including a lot of pharmaceutical companies (maybe not the very big ones) and especially generics. On the technology side both large and small companies support PTAB; we can think of no exception to that. Patent trolls with software patents aren’t technology companies but litigation operations. Like we said last week, groups which claim to support the bill led by Thomas Massie and Marcy Kaptur (and advertised by patent trolls, as one might expect) don’t help small businesses but merely harm them, just like the Alliance for US Startups and Inventors for Jobs (USIJ) does. It makes one wonders what members they have and what motivations are there; grossroots or AstroTurfing?

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