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

10.14.19

“The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask her what she thinks of the status quo

Mariana Mazzucato
By Alex Taffetani. Own work, CC BY 3.0.

Summary: It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists

Economists sometimes speak negatively and critically about today’s patent systems, seeing how far patent scope has come and how much litigation this incurs. Only those with very deep pockets can endure and pursue real justice. The USPTO has been compelled to stop that, partly owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. The European Patent Office (EPO), on the other hand, persists like there’s no tomorrow and the sky is the limit when it comes to patent grants. António Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but “products”; “quality” has come to mean speed (or pendency).

“This is often being done in Europe by companies that aren’t even European!”Patents have moreover become an “asset” for legal departments and law firms, not scientists. Just check who’s best served by them, especially in Europe.

In a new article/interview an economist called Mariana Mazzucato spoke of loopholes for tax evasion — basically tricks that have made it “legal” for large companies with patent monopolies to not pay tax on large transactions. This is often being done in Europe by companies that aren’t even European! To quote some bits: [via]

But a narrative of innovation that omitted the role of the state was exactly what corporations had been deploying as they lobbied for lax regulation and low taxation. According to a study by Mazzucato and economist Bill Lazonick, between 2003 and 2013 publicly listed companies in the S&P 500 index used more than half of their earnings to buy back their shares to boost stock prices, rather than reinvesting it back into further research and development. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer, for example, spent $139bn (£112bn) on share buybacks. Apple, which had never engaged in this type of financial engineering under Jobs, started doing so in 2012. By 2018, it had spent nearly one trillion dollars on share buybacks. “Those profits could be used to fund research and training for workers,” Mazzucato says. “Instead they are often used on share buybacks and golfing.”

That posed an urgent, more fundamental problem. If it was the state, not the private sector, which had traditionally assumed the risks of uncertain technological enterprises that led to the development of aviation, nuclear energy, computers, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the internet, how were we going to find the next wave of technologies to tackle urgent challenges such as catastrophic climate change, the epidemic of antibiotic resistance, the rise of dementia? “History tells us that innovation is an outcome of a massive collective effort – not just from a narrow group of young white men in California,” Mazzucato says. “And if we want to solve the world’s biggest problems, we better understand that.”

[...]

Soon, she became a regular visitor at Whitehall, advising both Cable and Willetts on policies such as the Small Business Research Initiative, which funded small and medium enterprises, and the patent box, which reduced the rate of corporate tax on income derived from patents (which she calls “the stupidest policy ever”).

Mazzucato knew that to influence politicians she would need to do more than just criticise. “The reason progressives often lose the argument is that they focus too much on wealth redistribution and not enough on wealth creation,” she says. “We need a progressive narrative that’s not only about spending, but investing in smarter ways.”

Patent policy as it currently stands needs reforming, but the EPO goes in the opposite direction. What it means by “reform” is making it worse, or making it more favourable to lawyers at the expense of scientists. Or programmers… after all, software patents are being granted in Europe in defiance of the law and against the will of actual programmers!

Notice how law firms refuse to speak out against software patents. They’re complicit. Quiet this weekend at IP Kat, as usual, except the article “2019 updates to the EPO Guidelines for Examination” — one of the latest such articles which we’ve mentioned lately (this blog is not the first to break down these changes).

“The exclusion of computer programs from patentability,” a section further down the bottom, speaks of “the [guidelines'] section relating the patentability of artificial intelligence and machine learning.” Rose Hughes speaks of what comes into effect in just over a fortnight from now:

The updated version of the EPO Guidelines for Examination is now available (here). The new guidelines come into force on 1 November 2019. The guidelines, as the name suggests, are a guide to the current case law and practise of the EPO and are not legally binding (see IPKat herefor a full discussion of legal precedent at the EPO and the role of the guidelines). The 2019 update to the guidelines incorporates some of the significant developments in the established case law of the Boards of Appeal. One key change to the guidelines this year is an update to the assessment of novelty of selection inventions. Other updates include clarification of the definition of “substance or composition” and a new section on the criteria of reasonable expectation in an assessment of obviousness for biotechnology inventions.

[...]

The patentability of software is another hot topic at the moment, and subject to its own referral to the EBA (IPKat: The patentability of computer simulated methods – another referral to the Enlarged Board of Appeal). The 2019 guidelines include some updates to the section relating the patentability of artificial intelligence and machine learning. In particular, the guidelines now clarify that “[t]erms such as ‘support vector machine’, ‘reasoning engine’ or ‘neural network’ may, depending on the context, merely refer to abstract models or algorithms and thus do not, on their own, necessarily imply the use of a technical means. This has to be taken into account when examining whether the claimed subject-matter has a technical character as a whole (Art. 52(1), (2) and (3))”.

But EPO created loopholes for these words and terms, e.g. buzzwords (“hey hi”) and hype (“blockchains”), not to mention vague nonsense like “technical effect”. So the EPO gets to pretend that it obeys the law while in practice breaking it with impunity. It’s being justified using pseudo-novelty and obfuscation.

Things ought to change. But will they? Who has more ‘lobbying’ power? Captured media of the litigation ‘industry’ keeps gaming the news and setting up events with stacked panels. People like Mariana Mazzucato would not be invited.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Ask
  • Digg
  • Mixx
  • Slashdot
  • StumbleUpon
  • Alltagz
  • BarraPunto
  • blinkbits
  • BlinkList
  • Bloglines
  • blogmarks
  • BlogMemes
  • Fark
  • Gwar
  • Klickts

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 3/8/2020: Linux 5.8, GNU Linux-libre 5.8, Libinput 1.16, Rust 1.45.2, Julia 1.5

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 02, 2020



  3. [Meme] Is It Not a Layoffs Round When You Rebrand It?

    More and more Microsoft layoffs; but the media is hardly interested in reporting those and/or analysing the growing scale of the layoffs (about half a dozen rounds of layoffs this summer alone)



  4. IBM is Already Gutting Red Hat and Firing Employees Without Warning, Jim Whitehurst Isn't Even Using GNU/Linux

    The situation at Red Hat isn’t good, employee morale is very low, and yet — perhaps unsurprisingly — nobody seems to be talking about it (at least not in the mainstream media)



  5. Microsoft Lays Off Many More Workers in the Advertising Division/s and Terminates Products While the Press is Distracted by TikTok Rumours

    Microsoft is laying off a huge number of workers without properly reporting these and whilst exploring ways to divert attention away from those layoffs



  6. Links 2/8/2020: Wine-Staging 5.14, VokoscreenNG 3.0.5

    Links for the day



  7. IBM and the Bomb - Part VI: Diplomacy Replaced With 'Trade' (Money Over Politics), or How Watson Jr. Was Sold to the Public, in the Same Way His Father (IBM Co-founder) Sold His Business Relationship With Dictators Like Hitler

    Sometimes people are led to believe that corporations directly and indirectly run their country; judging by the events of 4 decades ago (IBM chief becoming the American representative in Russia/Soviet Union), this is hardly a new thing and it's not a myth, either



  8. IBM and the Bomb - Part V: Arms Control by Company That Profits From Nuclear Arms? World War II Mistakes Repeated?

    A decade after the end of the deadliest war his father died and two decades later he repeated the same mistake — the error of conflating business with politics, as if maximising revenue would miraculously achieve the best outcome for nations as well



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, August 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, August 01, 2020



  10. Links 2/8/2020: Nitrux 1.3.1, Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster” and Wine 5.14 Released

    Links for the day



  11. [Meme] Privilege: When They're Born Into Money That Means They Know Everything About Anything

    Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were in 'safe hands' because rich kid Tom was representing the United States in Russia (USSR at the time), having proven his skills by being born to the man who had met Hitler and made lots of money in the Third Reich



  12. IBM and the Bomb - Part IV: IBM's Watson Came Under Fire for Representing the U.S. in U.S.S.R./Russia With No Qualifications or Any Relevant Experience

    There was certainly resistance to "Mr. rich man" Watson Jr. becoming a US diplomat owing to privilege (born into the 'right' family) rather than experience and/or political track record, symbolising a sort of "revolving doors" phenomenon -- namely overlap between business and politics, or money and power, respectively



  13. IBM Loves Power (and Nuclear POWER, or Expensive OpenPOWER) More Than It Loves GNU/Linux

    As we noted last week, IBM is very close to Modi because it is moving a lot of its workforce to India and this can become a future liability to IBM’s reputation (or lack thereof) as a tolerant firm



  14. IBM and the Bomb - Part III: IBM's Watson Jr. Rose From Business V.I.P. to U.S. Ambassador in the Soviet Union During the Cold War (Which IBM Profited From)

    Like his father, who was IBM‘s co-founder and later president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which helped the Nazis, Watson Jr. entered US and international politics in his later days; recently-declassified documents show us his political legacy



  15. Donald Trump's Trash Against China Helps Prop up Microsoft Monopoly and Distract From All the Microsoft Layoffs

    Microsoft as a surveillance giant of the United States government isn’t a myth; it was first in the PRISM programme of the NSA (Bill Gates is a loud proponent of NSA surveillance), it took over European Skype under mysterious circumstances, and now it might be getting TikTok as a ‘gift’ from Donald Trump’s friends and the imperialists, in effect confiscating Chinese assets for full-spectrum dominance



  16. [Meme] Testosterone Patent Office

    When you're running an office that's barely diverse at all and you paint a misleading picture of it expect backlash



  17. The Criminals Who Run the EPO Are Exploiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People to Distract From Their Corruption and Crimes

    The misuse of social justice causes by corporate interests has become grotesque; more people ought to speak about the ramifications and object/work against this misuse, which mostly serves to obscure or distract from the biggest issues



  18. EPO Workers Are Losing Their Homes and Losing Their Time Off; It's All About So-called 'Production'

    As another wave of attack on labour rights, European Patent Office (EPO) workers turn their homes into their workplaces and they no longer enjoy any real breaks from work (they work all year around, sometimes until midnight and overnight); they’re supposed to be thankful and even happy as if António Campinos does them a favour by not firing them (at least not yet) and because there’s a health crisis they should be grateful for anything thrown at them (Benoît Battistelli + disaster = Campinos)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 31, 2020



  20. Managing IP Still Champions Fake 'News' for Team UPC

    Managing IP does not care about its reputation; all it cares about is appeasing its clients by spreading falsehoods and perpetuating baseless hope



  21. Links 31/7/2020: Sys Admin Appreciation Day, GTK 3.99, Alpha of Wayland's Weston 9.0

    Links for the day



  22. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 30, 2020



  23. Microsoft Banned *GPLv3 (It Would Have Done the Same Even in GitHub Had GitHub Not Already Hosted GPLv3-Licensed Projects)

    Techrights reproduces this decade-old article from RMS



  24. People Who Believe Global Warning is a 'Hoax' Are the Types Who Might Think Microsoft Really Loves Linux

    Facts don’t seem to matter all that much when the Public Relations ‘industry’ pays to push lies (and “Microsoft loves Linux” is among those truly laughable lies, which are valuable to Microsoft's long-term objectives and are therefore repeated endlessly in the media for maximal effect)



  25. [Meme] GitHub is Not About Sharing But About Giving... Everything to Microsoft

    Microsoft wants to meet your ‘meet’ (meat) and assimilate it as Microsoft’s own; why would anyone still be giving anything (code, bug tracker, CI etc.) to proprietary and centralised (controlled by Microsoft) platforms in 2020? It’s a trap, as even the logo serves to suggest (octopuses putting their tentacles all over you and crushing you with their mouths).



  26. Bill Gates Calls the Chinese 'Pirates' (But He's Simply Projecting Again)

    The world's "most generous" person (according to publishers whom this "generous person" pays to write this) is saving the world from "pirates" (but not the ones in Somalia, just poor people in places like China)



  27. Microsoft Needs Linux (More Than GNU/Linux Needs Microsoft) for the Same Reason a Drowning Person Needs 'Revenge'

    There’s this persistent notion, based upon a deliberate lie (which Microsoft pays the media to perpetuate), that Microsoft has ‘come around’ and magically learned to “love” the competition (as if Ballmer and Nadella are opposites when they’re in fact friends and longtime colleagues); it’s obviously just a phase of a very old strategy and some out there are still in denial about it (this denial is being encouraged by the bribed publishers, notably the mainstream media)



  28. [Meme] It Was Only a Matter of Time All Along

    Taking boot level control away from computer users was a bad idea all along; giving Microsoft control over Linux booting was the icing on the cake (having to ask Microsoft for certificate/permission), not to mention an FSF award for it



  29. IBM and the Bomb - Part II: How IBM Sneaks Into Positions of Power (and Nuclear Power, Global Superpower, Nuclear Weapons)

    We remind readers of the role IBM played in unbridled armament (from which it profited a lot) whilst also picking diplomatic roles in the American government



  30. Karma or Hubris? Is #TorvaldsWasRight a Thing Now?

    Techrights did not forget how UEFI 'secure' boot came into kernel space; This proposal came from Red Hat and then foisted/pushed onto Linus Torvalds by at least 3 Red Hat employees (the mainstream media blasted Torvalds for his response to this 'offensive' technical move by Red Hat, helping Intel and Microsoft control silicon at CA level)


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