07.03.12

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US Political Pressure Used to Spread Software Patents

Posted in America, Asia, Australia, Patents at 9:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imperialism through law

An aqueduct

Summary: India, Australia and New Zealand lobbied by some corporations-backed US politicians to approve US patent monopolies

CABLES from Cablegate have shown us how diplomatic pressure is put on nations in order for them to embrace a US-style rule of law. Recently, the US tried doing this in Australia and/or New Zealand, bringing software patents there, amongst other things. The following article may be mixing copyrights with patents, but it does show how US pressure is applied to india’s law making:

- Patent proceedings: The United States displayed concerns over inefficient streamlining of patent opposition proceedings and ineffective system for protecting against unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure of test or other data generated. It has urged India to take additional steps to improve coordination with enforcement officials of certain state governments within India, address its judicial inefficiencies and to strengthen criminal enforcement efforts by imposing deterrent level sentences and giving IPR prosecutions greater priority. The report added that the United States will monitor developments concerning compulsory licensing of patents in India following the broad interpretation of Indian law in a recent decision by the Controller General of Patents, while also bearing in mind the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health found in the Intellectual Property and Health Policy section of this Report.

Over in New Zealand this is happening as well and we wrote about this at the time. So did others:

In its latest 420-page National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, the USTR expresses concerns at Australia’s National Broadband Network, and government concerns at offshore storage of personal data; while New Zealand is in the crosshairs for legislation currently before parliament that would ban software patents.

They use blackmail to impose software patentability. Here is criticism of the TPP, a vehicle for wiping many existing laws in one feel swoop:

This week, San Diego is hosting the latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Australia and New Zealand are at loggerheads over this secretive new trade treaty spanning the Pacific Rim. The rift between the neighbours over the Trans-Pacific Partnership was revealed after the investment chapter of the agreement was leaked to the public.

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson has argued that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the first step toward a regional free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific. But Australia, it appears, has refused to submit to the “investor-state” tribunal system in the negotiations over the agreement.

A while ago there was this Australian forum on software patents and Australia’s IDG sites asked if software patents harm innovation:

Do software patents stifle innovation?

Software patents are stifling innovation and should not be applied to computational information processing, according to a Victorian software developer.

At least they quote those whose opinion matters the most.

The lawyers got their way in Israel based on this piece from Australia:

The patentability of software and computer implemented technologies has been a veritable hotspot in patent law over recent years in many countries. The Israeli Patent Office has now, after lengthy deliberations, settled on a formal policy….

Given US influence on the nation, this is not shocking.

Over in Poland, which we mentioned before in relation to software patents, Glyn Moody claims there is something rotten going on:

Earlier this year, Poland played a crucial role in igniting street protests that pretty much stopped ACTA in its tracks. That’s not the first time it has had a major impact on European tech policy. Half a decade earlier, it derailed a proposed EU software patent directive, which had sought to make software patentable in Europe — something that Article 52 of the European Patent Convention had appeared to rule out. That led to a later vote in the European Parliament where software patents were decisively rejected.

The polish presidency did a lot of harm when it comes to software patentability [1, 2, 3, 4]. At the end of the day, it’s clear that European citizens have nothing to gain from such policies; it’s for multinational corporations, many of which are headquartered in the US. If only there was as much popular resistance to software patents as there it to ACTA…

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