Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 07, 2004

Patent Pending

NYT: Mystery Bidder Obtains Internet Patents

A mystery unfolded this afternoon in Federal Bankruptcy Court when a lawyer for an anonymous bidder acquired a set of patents covering important aspects of commercial Internet transactions for $15.5 million.
...
The patents and patent applications cover basic activities like using standardized electronic documents to automate sales over the Internet. Some intellectual property experts said that the patents could be used to challenge Internet services offered by companies like I.B.M., Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.
...
Mark X. Mullin, a lawyer for a Dallas law firm representing a company identified as JGR Acquisitions, put forth the winning bid. Mr. Mullin said he would file further details as required by the bankruptcy court. He declined further comment and immediately left the courtroom.

There is something seriously wrong with such use of patents and other intellectual property rights.

Some mysterious company buys some patents that cover things any 5 year old could think of and then challenges some big companies. Make no mistake - in the end you, the consumer of the products of these companies, will have to pay.

Why should copyright protection on cartoon characters extend up to 95 years after the author died? Why are patents allowed on genes of existing plants? Why a patent on a business process that was implemented with the technology of electronic networks, but was certainly used in paper shuffling networks before?

"To promote the progress of science and useful arts" as the US constitution says?

These may help the judicial science and the art of fraud, but certainly neither humanity nor the individuals making the giant-leap progresses in technological development. 

(Btw: What are not-useful arts?)

Posted by b on December 7, 2004 at 20:12 UTC | Permalink

Comments

The message is always the same: "We own you, and there is nothing you can do." Abuse of the law is one of the most serious decadences of a system. The self-healing powers of the US ought to kick in now. Who would let this kind of nonsense go on? But then, we have the nonsense of some European institutions...

btw: It's good to read your name under these posts, Bernhard.
"BerĂ´me: a voice from Old Europe"?

Posted by: teuton | Dec 7 2004 20:24 utc | 1

(Btw: What are not-useful arts?)

Soon-to-be declared non-useful arts in America: the study of evolution; sex education; body counts; the Hippocratic oath.

Posted by: kat | Dec 7 2004 20:25 utc | 2

It's called Enclosure.

Posted by: DeAnander | Dec 7 2004 20:31 utc | 3

Crap I had a link about a week ago that I could have sworn talked about the links between JGR Acquisitions and the CIA and thier many front companies. It talked about how these CIA front companies have become more important at making money than spying for us, but damn if I can find the original link now. grrrrrrrrrr...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 7 2004 20:39 utc | 4

Well, I've always thought the whole "intellectual property" and "copyright" stuff should be banned and outlawed. As the Frenchman said, "Property is theft". My only real hope is that a few major emerging powers (say, China and India) will just dump them, mass-produce pirated goods and computer stuff, and the whole system will come crashing down. Alas, both US and EU are hopeless in this matter, since they milk it as much as they can.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 7 2004 21:40 utc | 5

Well, try as I might I still can't find that link it's been moved or something, maybe here's why: CIA Funds Research Into Internet Surveillance and chatrooms including blogs

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 7 2004 22:02 utc | 6

Strategy to Piratize the WWW?

Posted by: jj | Dec 9 2004 2:14 utc | 7

Enclosure, that is a good one.

Which leads me to the following question:

Economists say, that people people are rational and choose the best alternative among all others. When they choose the work in sweatshops as opposed to rice paddies, because it gives them a better income. (Brad DeLong had such an example some time ago). Therefore we should not boycott third world sweat shops.

Basicly I agree, but this common sense model does not take into account all the impact of Enclosure-like situations, which do happen in reality and take away the rural income alternative. They cause the migration to cities in search for a (any) job.

Which one is the main cause of sweatshop labour?

Posted by: MarcinGomulka | Dec 9 2004 2:22 utc | 8

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