02.10.11

USPTO Has Patents Blocking American Innovation, Brainwashed European Minority Wants to Emulate This Mess

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 5:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Board room

Summary: Patent system leniency in the United States is causing legal chaos; the FSFE and FFII try to stop it from entering Europe ushered by lobbyists, countering a Microsoft mobbyist (Florian) in the process

A MAJOR shakeup in the patent world may be catalysed or caused in part by the LG-Sony patent fight, which is proving yet again that the patent system harms customers. It also helps drive companies outside regions which are zealous about patent ‘enforcement’ (taxing or removing products from the market).

TechDirt says that “The White House Wants Advice On What’s Blocking American Innovation”. Except for hostility towards science (including learning of evolution, as indicated in our daily links this week), there is the issue of excessive monopolisation, even of simple algorithms. To quote the concluding words from TechDirt:

I doubt my input will get read or, if read, anyone will care, but at least it’s worth a shot. Unfortunately, to date, it’s appeared that the administration is under the sway of lobbyists, who still pretend that the patent system of today really does increase innovation, and, thus, I can’t imagine they’ll be open to looking at the actual research on the issue or tackling the real problems of the patent system.

One need not look so far back to witness spurious patent battles because the case of TiVo and EchoStar is back to the headlines. Here is the TiVo statement and the DISH Network statement. There is a lot of accompanying coverage [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] and the endless fight goes on and on. Microsoft it also trying to embargo TiVo as part of its new strategy.

There is an ongoing debate about whether or not this mess can penetrate Europe, where such incidents are still very rare (and patent trolls are very scarce). The ‘EU patent’ is currently the main risk factor, so the FFII is fighting it back and the FSFE is trying to stop this too. A patent lawyer from Europe writes:

A decisive few weeks for the future of the European patent system; ECJ decision due on 8th March http://t.co/YcZ1OXU @iam_magazine

The article is accessible to subscribers only (echo chamber) and the President of the FFII says:

18 countries have now declared they want to go on EU patent close cooperation.

Then, Microsoft Florian started intervening, for example by chatting with Jan Wildeboer (Red Hat) and the President of the FFII. While the latter said that “If the harmful German decisions stays in Germany, I am fine with it [FUD from Florian], but the EUPC will expand them to the EU”

The mobbyist replied with more FUD: “UK isn’t much better. We’ll see what they do in the Apple/Nokia case in London.”

There is more of that sort of junk from Florian and the FFII’s representative breaks it apart by writing: “Damage control it is called. Time for a new directive.”

Notice how Microsoft apologists are defending the EU patent. It says a lot about how harmful it can be to Free/libre software.

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2 Comments

  1. patent litigation said,

    February 15, 2011 at 1:59 am

    Gravatar

    The recent Intellectual Ventures suits present just one example showing that the NPE (“patent troll”) business model is fast becoming dominant in the world of IP. Thomas Edison held over 1,000 patents, but practiced none of them. He invented, which is what he did best, and let others manufacture products from his inventions. If an inventor cannot sue for patent infringement and recover damages, they why should anyone invent anything? Only vigorous patent enforcement rewards inventors for their inventions and incentivizes others to invent.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I humbly disagree. Most inventions are just enhancements of several existing inventions (Edison is known for this) and people profit from good execution of ideas, not exclusion. Monopolies like patents are putting a burden on each inventor, so think about one’s ability to practice when hundreds of thousands of people with patents breathe down one’s neck. Patents are a two-edged sword.

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