Apple, Microsoft, IBM, others team to slow down U.S. congressional patent reform

“Major U.S. companies including Ford, Apple and Pfizer have formed a lobbying group aimed at pushing back at some changes to the patent system members of Congress have proposed, saying these measures would hinder protection of valuable inventions,” Diane Bartz reports for Reuters.

“The group is concerned about pending legislation aimed at fighting so-called patent assertion entities (PAEs), companies which produce nothing but instead buy up patents and then attempt to extract licensing fees or sue for infringement,” Bartz reports. “Called the Partnership for American Innovation, the group warned that steps to stop the PAEs could also hurt truly innovative companies.”

“Companies signing on to the effort so far are Apple Inc., DuPont, Ford Motor Co., General Electric, IBM Corp, Microsoft Corp and Pfizer Inc.,” Bartz reports. “In particular, the group would oppose efforts to make software or biotechnology unpatentable. Google, Cisco and other supporters of efforts to curb frivolous patent litigation from PAEs, often termed “patent trolls,” supported a bill that easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December.”

Read more in the full article here.

14 Comments

    1. We can, using Twitter. Wait for cable news to develop the means for all of us to judge the SCOTUS decision-making process. Twitter feeds now in syndication!

      Collectively we’d assign up or down votes and shape Everyman’s decision, including who we elect to public office, who gets to be a cop, or fireman, or a school teacher.

      Currently we use proxies. These reps do our talking and thinking for us and we have no control over what they do or say, until they come home. Even then they lie and obfuscate over the work they do as they look for a soft landing with their retirement windfalls.

      Personally, I think if everyone had to vote for everything, the majority would hire someone to take their place at the polls. Their own personal representative to step & fetch.

      I wonder what it was like to have to wait weeks or months, maybe years before we heard the results of elections, or decisions made on our behalf? Most likely back then, we never saw our representative ever again once they moved East.

      1. Another solution to party consolidation besides term/seat limits would be to include a “none of the above” option for voting, so that all parties would have to go back and chose better candidates if enough people didn’t like any of them.

  1. Apple has turned itself from being the foremost technology company in the world to the biggest patent troll in the world under the clueless leadership of Cook.

  2. Once again, government shows their total and complete ineptitude, and yet, so many people trust them and re-elect the same people over and over.. there should be term limits and no one should ever be able to return to any form of government service (i.e. lobbyist) after they’ve served in that position. Let’s see how far some of these people would actually get if they had to earn their money…

    1. The general public does not really elect anyone. They just get to decide between usually only two and sometimes one viable candidates chosen by parties looking out for themselves.

      Since they are chosen for their party credentials and loyalty, there is no guarantee they any viable candidate is also competent at government, most often they are not.

      So you can blame the public for electing them, but in reality the public his almost no say whatsoever.

      The problem is a system that allows two parties to duopolize politics. The Constitution limits the three official branches of government, but did not but seat or term limits on parties. Without limits power tends to consolidate so we get to where we are now, only two major parties, which is only one party away from having no choice at all.

  3. The patent system is so utterly broken that tinkering with the laws is not going to do any good. The existing system has become optimised for lining the pockets of lawyers, but useless for any other purpose.

    If patent laws don’t protect innovative companies from having their inventions ripped off, then what’s the point of patent laws ? Similarly if a patent troll can try to assert a broadly written patent ( of a concept that they have never put into production ) against a company that is genuinely making innovative products, then again what’s the point of patent laws ?

  4. Microsoft could be a natural ally of Apple here. Microsoft, who owns many patents, has extracted so much money in licensing fees from handset makers running versions of Android that Microsoft makes more money off Android than Google does.

    But Microsoft plays the game…it approaches other firms at the executive level and works out deals for dollars. Apple isn’t intersted in money, it wants to force other companies to stop using it’s stuff, so it spends years in court, and ultimately, sadly, doesn’t achieve its objective.

    If Apple took a Microsoft approach they would have settled with Samsung years ago. But a company with 140 billion in cash reserves isn’t interested in a few billion more, so we have this endless court drama.

    Both Apple and Microsoft want strong patent laws but for entirely different reasons. I wish Apple luck but they’ll need more than that.

    1. Well Bubbles, they tried to settle with Samsung years ago.

      Samsung thought $40 per handset was too much, those bastards.

      Really, Apple had over 200 iPad patents. Samsung illegally used most of them. Thats only about 20¢ per patent.

      Those cheap Samsung Bastards.

  5. I don’t think I mind patents if they follow the rule of first to file AND have a product for sale in a market. Also would be good to have a clause where if the patent holder should cease using a patented technology in at least one product being produced and sold by that company for a defined period of time that patent shall be considered ‘abandoned’ and become public domain. Enough of this sitting on patents that never get used or are no longer in use by the patent holder. In order to facilitate full use of multi-part patents, each ‘part’ will be subject to the same rule negating any claim of continued use of the entire patent by fulfilling only one part and allowing such ‘abandoned’ parts to join the public domain.

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