Bonum Certa Men Certa

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Turn Public Money Into a Tax on the Public

Bayh-Dole
Full paper [PDF]



Summary: The University of Wisconsin System, or the public state university system of Wisconsin (funded partly by taxpayers), turns into additional tax on taxpayers in an act of "crony capitalism" as it's sometimes dubbed; Johns Hopkins has this potential too

TECHRIGHTS has, over the years, published many articles about US universities that use USPTO-granted patents to either feed patent trolls (through sales, i.e. de facto 'armament') or use separate entities to wage legal wars.



"Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures seems like another one of those entities using taxpayers money for privatisation with patents, under the familiar guise of "Technology Transfer"."There's an angle of gross abuse, waste and injustice to all this. It has become common knowledge in patent circles because the media occasionally writes about it and we don't wish to repeat all the same arguments again. Instead, let's focus on this press release that resurfaced earlier today (it was apparently first published 10 days ago).

Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures seems like another one of those entities using taxpayers money for privatisation with patents, under the familiar guise of "Technology Transfer". The patents are now being passed to some company called CardioWiseâ„¢, which may or may not use these patents (some of which pertaining to software) in litigation or threats thereof.

"Apple is just the latest among many victims, but the media seems to care only when Apple is on the receiving end..."More relevant to our case though is the lawsuit mentioned the other day for its effect on Apple (which corporate media absolutely loves writing about). The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), essentially one of those loopholes for universities to act not like universities (which are conveniently funded by taxpayers, akin to corporate welfare), decided to attack these taxpayers with taxpayers-funded patents (e.g. by raising the price of products). Apple is just the latest among many victims, but the media seems to care only when Apple is on the receiving end and headlines that say "half a BEEELLION dollars" become possible. Shaun Nichols, who is based in San Francisco, explains the patent at hand as follows (there are diagrams too): "That patent is impenetrable if you're not au fait with modern processor design but it's pretty interesting. It basically describe a speculative execution system that predicts memory dependencies within a CPU pipeline. It uses a table to track potential dependencies to avoid misspeculations, which are costly to execution speed. Specifically, it looks out for load-store pairs that can cause a misspeculation."

"If there is any technology transfer that merits advocating here, it's a transfer from academic/scientific institutions back to the public that financially sustains them."Joe Mullin, a trolls expert, wrote about this too, noting that "WARF was one of the first university institutions to dive heavily into patent litigation. In a stream of lawsuits, WARF has demanded that it be paid royalties on a vast number of semiconductors."

We unfortunately need to continue to name and shame those who do this in very much the same way/reason we criticise the NSA for amassing patents and NASA selling patents to trolls [1, 2]. This, in our view, is misuse of public funds. If there is any technology transfer that merits advocating here, it's a transfer from academic/scientific institutions back to the public that financially sustains them.

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