logo

Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Patents (General)

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


back

Bad news from the smartphone front

The New York Times has been doing better on patents and copyrights recently, exemplified today with a story entitled A Bull Market in Tech Patents link here .

The article includes this drawing of a smart phone and the number of patents - 250,000 according to Google--that affect each of the subsystems:

That is quite an invitation to lawsuits and lawyers looking for fat fees.

But the Gee-Whiz aspect of these numbers is overshadowed by the costs in innovation in an industry hypnotized by who has the latest gizmo. As the article goes on to note, "This patent gold rush has a darker side. It is diverting money for innovation from industries crucial to the economic future of the United States, analysts say. Patents were created as an incentive for innovation, giving inventors a temporary right to commercialize their ideas, without others copying them. While the recent blockbuster patent deals may make sense for the companies, analysts say, they are fed largely by legal considerations asserting patent claims or defending against claims rather than economic ones."

That leaves us with an industry dominated a handful of giants and a mob of minnows on which the giants feed. The consumer pays for all this in high prices and a lack of real competition or innovation.

Isn't the world of monopoly grand!


Comments

According to the Washington Post, Obama in his September speech will touch on discussing the patent issue. I don't think it will be "positive" from the perspective of Against Monopoly.

Washington Post, August 10, 2011 "Obama pivots to job creation with few tools to spur growth"

"The administration is also looking at a familiar set of plans: renewal of a two-percentage-point cut in the employee- paid portion of the payroll tax and extended unemployment benefits, which are both scheduled to expire on Dec. 31; establishment of an infrastructure bank to fund public works spending; ratification of free-trade deals; and overhauling patent law." (emphasis added)

I suspect the word "overhauling" will be meaningless.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/obama-pivots-to-job-creation-with-few-tools-to-spur-growth/2011/08/10/gIQA1DJq6I_story.html

The Post wrote this editorial (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-to-encourage-american-innovation/2011/08/05/gIQApACjFJ_story.html) defending the currently pending patent reform bill which does little to change the system. That prompted me to write the following letter to the editor that was not used--the paper ran another nearer to its view.

"Both you and Obama are wrong in supporting the patent law changes now under consideration in Congress ("Yes, Patent Reform," editorial, August 15). They ignore the real problem with patents which create government mandated monopolies that are supposedly for a limited time, but in practice become permanent. Which companies dominate computer software--new firms or the old like Microsoft and Apple? The latter suppress innovation by staking out broad claims to the scope of their patents, preventing new entrants with real innovations, aided and abetted by the Patent Office which has a vested interested in taking care of its supporters. The rise of "patent trolls" (firms that make money by using its patents to sue potential competitors but make nothing themselves) possess questionable patents but new firms with legitimate innovations end up paying off because they don't have the finances to fight for long. Readers interested in more details should go online to blogs such as Slashdot, Techdirt, and Against Monopoly for details on the many current developments. The evidence is overwhelming.

I looked at the post above and gazed in wonderment that 250,000 patents could be relevant to smart phone technology. That is pretty incredible given that only about 2.5 million or so patents are in force in the United States. If these are all U.S. patents, then 1/10 of all U.S. patents are for cell phones. That seems just a little, unusual, given that people on this web site have stated how pervasive patents are in all the different technologies.

Going back to the original article through the link, the article does not state that 250,000 PATENTS are relevant to smart phone technology. What Google said is the 250,000 CLAIMS COULD be relevant to smart phone technology. The number of claims in electronic-related patents tends to be fairly high, so a rough guesstimate of the actual number of patents would be in the range 8,000 to 10,000.

As much as people like to think that smart phone technology is one of the most important technologies in the world, pointing at 250,000 related patents is beyond exaggeration, it is inaccurate.

Digging through the data stream, it turns out that the 250,000 number did not come from Google, or John Drummond, at all. That number was generated by patent troll RPX. That number is now getting repeated over and over and is on the verge of becoming fact rather than some bullshit number thrown out by someone with a vested interest in puffing up the value and importance of patents that might have some vague value with respect to smart phone patents, most likely so they can enhance their bottom line. When Against Monopoly repeats this unsupported number, all they are doing is further HELPING patent trolls in creating an artificial demand for marginal or valueless patents.
Washington Post Article today (8/22/2011).

Smartphone patent wars heat up: Microsoft v. Motorola http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-tech/post/smartphone-patent-wars-heat-up-microsoft-v-motorola/2011/08/21/gIQA29I7VJ_blog.html?hpid=z5


Submit Comment

Blog Post

Name:

Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code
QuatroThreeEightThree:


Post



   

Most Recent Comments

Questions and Challenges For Defenders of the Current Copyright Regime Subject Very controversial Gráfica em

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

Yet another proof of the inutility of copyright. The 9/11 Commission report cost $15,000,000 to produce, not counting the salaries of the authors.

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece P.S. The link to Amazon's WKRP product page:

WKRP In Cincinnati - Requiem For A Masterpiece Hopefully some very good news. Shout! Factory is releasing the entire series of WKRP in Cincinnati,

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. @ Anonymous: You misunderstood my intent. I was actually trying to point out a huge but basic

Rights Violations Aren't the Only Bads I hear that nonsense from pro-IP people all the

Intellectual Property Fosters Corporate Concentration Yeah, I see the discouragement of working on a patented device all the time. Great examples

Music without copyright Hundreds of businessmen are looking for premium quality article distribution services that can be

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Les patent trolls ne sont pas toujours des officines

Patent Lawyers Who Don't Toe the Line Should Be Punished! Moreover "the single most destructive force to innovation is patents". We'd like to unite with you

Bonfire of the Missalettes!

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? So, if our patent system was "broken," TFP of durable goods should have dropped. Conversely, since

Does the decline in total factor productivity explain the drop in innovation? I wondered about TFP, because I had heard that TFP was increasing. Apparently, it depends on who