12.18.16

The USPTO Helps Large Businesses Crush Small Businesses

Posted in America, Google, Patents at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ignore the old and tired myth of large businesses ‘stealing’ ideas of the ‘little guy’…

“Small enterprises generally adopt a rather negative position towards the current increasing granting of patents for software and algorithms because they fear that these will hamper or eventually even impede their work (more than 85%).” —German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Study of the Innovation Performance of German Software Companies, 2006, p. 86

Summary: The US patent system helps discrimination against small businesses or family-owned businesses — a problem which is likely to exacerbate/deepen under the next administration

THE USPTO has long been run by people from big industry and big companies. Watch what David Kappos has turned into. It remains to be seen where Lee will go after her time at the Office (Trump will pursue her removal, with high level of certainty).

Timothy B. Lee, a critic of software patents for about a decade now, has this new article about Trump in which he says “Google [is] also advocating reforms to rein in low-quality software patents” (we wrote about this the other day). Here is the key part:

In recent years, Google and Microsoft have both been actively lobbying for patent reforms to rein in litigious patent trolls, with Google also advocating reforms to rein in low-quality software patents. Trump will not only choose a new director for the patent office, he will also have influence over patent reform legislation over the next four years.

What about the views of small companies? As many people have already pointed out, Trump seems to be giving his ears only to billionaires and companies that rake in billions. It’s oligarchy on steroids. And watch this truly terrible advice from a truly terrible news site that famously glorifies billionaires. Big corporations’ media is now misleading small businesses on software patents by saying:

Why Patents Should Be Part Of Every Startup’s Risk Mitigation Strategy

[...]

The debate over whether software should be patented goes back to the beginning of software, but a good example is looking back to when Microsoft was a young company with almost no patents. Now they are one of the most prolific patent filers.

Actually, to quote Microsoft’s chief at the time, “[i]f people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Gates, who actually said that, complained that patents were harmful to small companies (like his at the time). Why pretend that, as Forbes put it, “Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, companies in industries that are seeing some of the most rapid innovation — like software and tech companies, particularly those focused on content delivery — often ignore the problem and don’t focus on future risk mitigation until they have a problem, and the result can be costly” (they actually cite Watchtroll!!!).

What they mean by “risk mitigation” is pursing patents of their own. What a terrible advice.

See this new article titled “The biggest threats to the free web” whose first section is “Software Patents”. To quote:

No one can own the web, but many companies are attempting to slice it up and own the very concepts that form the web. Software patents, unlike standard patents for inventions, do not actually involve the creation of tangible objects. Instead the U.S. patent office has handed out patents for ideas like the double-click or the use of a single button to make a purchase.

While the European Union has taken a more aggressive stance against software patents, the U.S. is now entangled in them with major companies like Google and Apple battling it out through proxy lawsuits. One firm, Eolas Technologies, claims to own the patent for the “interactive web” and threatens to undermine the very freedom of the web itself.

As history shows, and basically throughout the whole history of patents, the system was used as a mechanism of protectionism. Large companies used it to keep small companies from being able (or allowed) to compete. Why pretend that any of this has changed? And moreover, why on Earth cite propaganda from Watchtroll in an effort to urge small companies to hop on the patent bandwagon? It is widely known that for small companies to read patents only makes them more vulnerable (willfulness of infringement), patent applications make them poorer and enforcement of patents against trolls is impossible; enforcing patents against giants like IBM is worse than stupid because IBM can then retaliate with far more patents, so it’s not hard to see who this system really serves (by design, by persistent lobbying).

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2016/12/18/crushing-small-businesses-with-patents/

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