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Lobbying for Patents in the EU and the US

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Summary: Time at the lobby takes its toll on society as politicians like Marcin Korolec and predators like Carl Icahn promote what would harm people's interests

SOME days ago we wrote about the Polish presidency [1, 2, 3, 4] and its stance on a framework which would help legalise software patents in the EU. According to patent lawyer Axel H. Horns, this open door for software patents in the EU is urgently being pushed for passage before the end of this presidency's reign:



The EU Competitiveness Council met in Brussels on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 September under the chair of Mr. Marcin Korolec, Deputy Minister of Economy, and Mrs Barbara Kudrycka, Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education.

[...]

Commissioner Barnier will welcome progress made in recent weeks and stress the importance of reaching a final agreement by the end of 2011. He will highlight that reducing the costs and complexity of the existing European patent system has a substantial impact on innovation and growth.


We wrote about Barnier in relation to his work which was pro-patents (as covered here, here, here, here and here). He has a lot of power, so people should not lose sight of his actions and words. Another person who has a lot of power is Carl Icahn, who abuses this power to crush Yahoo! and have Motorola pretty much reduced to just a pile of patents. To quote patents boosters (patent lawyers) from IAM Magazine:

I wonder if the most significant event of the past few months for the developing IP market place was not actually the Nortel auction or Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility, but the statement from Carl Icahn prior to the latter occurring. Towards the end of July, billionaire investor Icahn, who has a fair sized chunk of Moto shares, said that the board should be looking to monetise the company’s patent portfolio, which he said had “significant value”. He continued: “There may be multiple ways to realize such value given the current heightened market demand for intellectual property in the mobile telecommunications industry.”

We now know that even before Icahn went public with his views Google and Motorola Mobility were in talks about a possible acquisition, indeed Icahn may even have known about them; but what his statement showed was that a serious investor had taken a close look at the IP position of one of the companies he had an interest in and had formed a significant position as a result. Of course, without the Nortel auction he probably would not have done so; but that is by the by - he did.


The turning of phone makers into just a pile of patents is a subject we tackled in a separate post. This works well for patent lawyers and companies that are extremely large. it really harms customers and impedes competition, so there is no justification for it.

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