Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Hilarity on a Fine Sunday

The following patent video is not only poor in terms of quality (it's grainy and noisy); it also shows something that is poor in terms of actual quality. Watch this and try to keep a straight face.



Patent-happy businesses are becoming a real menace. Not only do they accept anything without sufficient scrutiny, but they also enable their clients to become a real menace. Here is a longer video that shows you the skewed type of mentality and approach -- a 'meat market' patent system.



Here are some very recent stories about patents and their abuse. The stories appeared in the press in the past couple of days alone, which gives you an indication of how recurrent -- and thus serious -- these issues have become.

China's intellectual property rights are making some headlines again.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established an expert panel at the request of the United States to probe whether China has taken sufficient action to protect intellectual property rights (IPR).


Andy Updegrove has written a nice piece of the East's perception of intellectual property and what it means to the economy. Patents are about control, usually to be handed over to the titans. It's not about innovation and progress; it's about building fences. And in a world without fences and walls, who needs Windows and Gates (patent licensing)?

On any given day you can find thousands of words of reporting, advocacy and debate over the role of patents in technology. One side promotes the availability of patent protection as the source of much innovation, while the other contends that patents have exactly the opposite effect, and many other vices besides.

[...]

The issue also includes revised versions of two pieces that have already appeared here in the Standards Blog, the first of which (called OOXML, ODF and UOF: What's Up in China?) uses the development of UOF and the recent defeat of OOXML in China as an example of how developing nations are taking action to promote their industries in spite of the efforts of First World industries efforts to maintain their primacy.


Speaking of ODF and OOXML, you can send your thoughts to Microsoft's press. Previously, they revealed that even Softies dislike OOXML. That was a week ago.

Here is the use of patents in piracy and prevention.

Recently we reported that anti-piracy company Viralg is selling the patents to its technology on eBay for $1,000,000. Most people didn’t think it was value for money but Viralg have been in touch and they have a new idea - selling the patents to P2P’ers to help prevent some future anti-P2P technology.


The following is arguably a biology patent, which is related to controversies that surround DNA/gene patents ("patenting life").

Japanese to patent transparent frog

[...]

Japanese boffins have used artificial insemination to breed mutant frogs with transparent skin. The scientists reckon this will make biological research - not to mention school biology lessons - signifcantly less messy and traumatic, as it will no longer be necessary to cut the slime-filled creatures up in order to examine their innards.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don't have to dissect it," enthused noted Hiroshima University* sunroof-amphibian man Professor Masayuki Sumida, according to AFP.


Here is the the latest major development.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a technology patent case that has the potential to throw the entire technology supply chain into upheaval -- or prompt closer adherence to technology licensing terms.

Those disparate outcomes are both possible from a case involving two parties that aren't even U.S. companies. In 2000, LG Electronics of Korea sued Quanta Computer and several other Taiwanese PC makers, claiming the firms were violating LG's U.S. patents by using them without authorization -- courtesy of Intel.


Here is another key case to watch.

Washington, D.C. - The Computer & Communications Industry Association today applauded two opinions of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that limited the scope of patentable subject matter, In re Nuitjen and In re Comiskey.

“These are landmark decisions, said CCIA President Ed Black. “Since the Federal Circuit abolished the exclusion for business methods in the 1998 State Street decision, it has often been assumed that there are no limits – that you can patent anything.”


The issue of patents will continue to be discussed as long as Novell and Microsoft continue the abuse. Never in the past have Microsoft and Novell told us what patents they spoke about (if any at all).

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