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Microsoft Patents Politics

Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System 495

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-ecosystems dept.
Xerolooper writes "What would the world be like if everyone could enjoy the same patent system we use in the USA? From the article: 'A senior lawyer at Microsoft is calling for the creation of a global patent system to make it easier and faster for corporations to enforce their intellectual property rights around the world.' They have already attracted opposition from the open-source community and the Pirate Party. According to the article, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will be meeting in Geneva on the 17th and 18th of September."
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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

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  • nightmares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) * on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:38PM (#29290967)
    ...why does it seem like every nightmare I have relating to patents and copyrights comes true?
    • by capnkr (1153623)
      Not to worry. Even if MS whipped out their absolute best fat-wallet, arm-twisting, favor-calling lobbyists and somehow got this concept generally accepted inside America, there are plenty enough people outside the US who are wise to the ways of The Vole who would keep this from being able to happen on a worldwide basis.

      Thank Deity...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        there are plenty enough people outside the US who are wise to the ways of The Vole who would keep this from being able to happen on a worldwide basis

        You mean like they did with OOXML?

    • Re:nightmares (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:54PM (#29291235) Homepage Journal

      How about we clean up the patent system inside the US before we push our system outside of the US?

      Seriously, almost everything Microsoft has ever owned or claimed to own properly belonged under COPYRIGHT law. They may hold a small handful of valid patents - like, keyboard and mouse, maybe?

      MS needs to shut up and go sit in the corner, or surrender most of their patents as an example of how things SHOULD be.

      • Re:nightmares (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stormwatch (703920) <<rodrigogirao> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:57PM (#29291283) Homepage

        How about we clean up the patent system inside the US before we push our system outside of the US?

        You mean, like... abolishing the whole "intellectual property" bullshit?

        • Re:nightmares (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:09PM (#29291457) Homepage Journal

          "You mean, like... abolishing the whole "intellectual property" bullshit?"

          Actually, no. I really believe that patents are justified, but they are being terribly abused. Likewise with copyright. With either one, if I come up with a truly original idea, I feel that I should be permitted to make money from it, for a period of time. No competition, it's all mine. For a LIMITED period of time, of course. Certainly no longer than a decade. 5 years, 7 years, 10 years max.

          And, I really believe that if patents and copyrights were regulated in such a way, people would accept them.

          My two cents, anyway.

          • Re:nightmares (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Rei (128717) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:11PM (#29292279) Homepage

            There are actually some admirable parts of the US patent system. For example, disclosure. You can disclose your product in the US up to a year before you file your patent. In Europe, there's no grace period. What the lack of a grace period means in practice is that startups that don't know any better get bitten while established companies don't. A grace period also lets startups try to raise money to fund development of their product before you have to fork out $10k to get it patented. In general, that aspect of the US system is small business friendly.

            In terms of software, while it used to be really bad, I think US patent law is moving in the right direction -- it looks like ultimately they'll allow software patents, but they're going to have to be a *lot* less general and a *lot* more in depth. Which is a good thing. I think all patents should have a shorter term, especially software patents (these days, if you can't turn a profit in 5-10 years, you're not going to -- and the public domain is more important than ever). But that's no reason to throw out the system altogether.

            I've taken a much softer stance toward our patent system after I got involved with it in the process of starting a business. Now our trademark system... ugh, don't get me started. I may not be able to trademark my business's name because there's a company that sells Asian videos and eyeglasses under the same name, and they got shoved into the computer catch-all category '9' with me simply because their videos are downloadable online. Everything even tangentially related to computers gets shoved into category 9, but beanwhile, there are separate classes for, for example, "precious metals" versus "common metals" (and all sorts of things like that).

            • Re:nightmares (Score:5, Insightful)

              by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @06:47PM (#29292629) Journal
              Odd, I regard the grace period, and the first-to-invent system of which it is a side-effect, as some of the worst features of the US patent system. The entire point of patents is to encourage disclosure. If you have already disclosed, then society gains nothing by granting you a monopoly on your invention. This system in the USA means that your best bet is often to keep your invention secret, wait for someone else to invent it independently, and only then file the patent. You can even wait until they file the patent (see TI Vs Intel) and then produce notebooks showing that you thought of it first. If you do this in most of the world, it just invalidates their patent application. If you do it in the USA, you get the patent.
              • Re:nightmares (Score:4, Interesting)

                by jhol13 (1087781) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:50PM (#29293325)

                It also makes submarine patents too easy "let's show this new idea on the news and hope someone implements and starts selling it - then patent it".

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by WaywardGeek (1480513)

                  I filed a huge patent in 2000 that the patent office felt was six different inventions, not just one. It was a lot cheaper for me to file it all at once, which is why I did it that way. By US patent law, each individual part can be filed one at a time, after the previous one has been reviewed and dealt with by the patent office. I still have two parts pending review.

                  I'm not sure I needed a submarine patent, but I sure got one!

          • Re:nightmares (Score:4, Insightful)

            by sqldr (838964) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @03:00AM (#29296375)

            "if I come up with a truly original idea, I feel that I should be permitted to make money from it,"

            What if you came up with that idea whilst trying to solve a problem, only to find that someone solving the same problem came up with the same idea, patented it, but then didn't personally phone you to point out that solving that problem is now illegal, and just sues you for doing the world a favour?

        • Re:nightmares (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Haxamanish (1564673) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:24PM (#29291645)
          "If I had to answer the following question, 'What is slavery?' and if I should respond in one word, 'It is murder', my meaning would be understood at once. I should not need a long explanation to show that the power to deprive a man of his thought, his will, and his personality is the power of life and death. So why to this other question, 'What is property?' should I not answer in the same way, 'It is theft,' without fearing to be misunderstood, since the second proposition is only a transformation of the first?" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon [wikipedia.org], "Qu'est-ce que la propriété?" 1840 (Translation: "What is Property?", Cambridge University Press 1993, page 13)

          So we need another transformation now: "What is intellectual property? It is thought control."
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Absolut187 (816431)

          How in the hell does this hyperbole deserve +5 insightful?

    • Stop sleeping, now.

    • Because my "blackraven nightmaremaker 1000" (TM) works.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:41PM (#29291005)

    How about the companies give us something first - like a push for a global taxation system, so that companies cannot just set up shell offices in tax havens, or threaten to leave a country/state because some other country/state has cheaper taxes?

    But that'd be unfair of course. To the companies I mean.

    Obviously one system doesn't fit all - unless it's something that benefits the companies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Or, how about drop corporate income tax and just tax the real payers directly. Why do corporate incomes have to be double taxed? Tax the corporation, then tax the individual who actually takes home the income.

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:06PM (#29291419)

        Because corporations are legal persons, so should pay taxes just like all other people do.

        If you want to abolish corporate personhood, then sure, we can abolish corporate taxation too. But you can't count corporations as just proxies for individuals in one case, and not in another.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tanktalus (794810)

          And here I thought that the whole idea of "no taxation without representation" would mean something. Corporations are being taxed, but do not get to vote. In many countries, that may make sense. But in the country whose existence was catapulted by the Boston Tea Party [wikipedia.org](*), there does seem something untoward going on.

          (*) Yes, I know that wasn't "the" deciding factor, nor the final act. But, as wikipedia says, it was a key event, and the reasons for it seem apropos for mentioning in this context.

          • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:23PM (#29291625)

            There are plenty of people who're taxed but not able to vote. Non-citizen permanent residents, those under 18, convicted felons, etc., all must still pay taxes. Do you propose exempting them all from taxes as well?

            • by xigxag (167441) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:37PM (#29291815)

              And furthermore, corporations do get representation through their right to hire lobbyists and establish political action committees. Let's not kid ourselves. In any reasonable interpretation of the notion, any major corporation gets far more "representation" than the average natural person, despite being barred from voting.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by SETIGuy (33768)

            And here I thought that the whole idea of "no taxation without representation" would mean something. Corporations are being taxed, but do not get to vote.

            If you think corporations aren't getting representation you must not be from this planet. Yay! First Contact!

        • by MarkvW (1037596) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:24PM (#29291649)

          That's just silly. Of course you can count a corporation as a proxy for an individual in one case and not in another.

          Corporations are treated as proxies for individuals when it comes to distributing profits. They are not treated as proxies for individuals when it comes to distributing liabilities.

          Corporations are regulated quite differently than individuals are because they have the potential to do much harm as well as much good.

          Corporations are a creation of the State. The State can define and redefine them as it sees fit.

          • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @12:51AM (#29295689)

            Who cares about huge profits. You worry about you. The profits are what is required to incentivize those that will work the 14 hour days, to do so. The shareholders elect who they think best fits the roll. If they think the CEO is being overpaid they can sell their shares. Or vote no on the retention bonus.

            What is boils down to is grumbling jealous slashdotters that want a piece of the action without a piece of the labor. Again-- you worry about you. Taxing the corporations does nothing but make it more expensive to operate. If their profits are lower, they cannot consider hiring more people to expand their operations.

            Tax the people getting the paychecks. Quit trying to flipping take over every single piece of society that hasn't been completely mauled by the government's hands yet.

    • Cue the "But being fair to the consumers wouldn't be maximizing profits for the shareholders!" apologists.

    • ...like a push for a global taxation system

      You. Are. High.
    • You'd never get a "fair" system where the biggest banks/corporations/trusts aren't exempt. This would simply streamline the process for these corporations to get around tax laws. Not only that, but any tax is going to be passed onto the consumer.

      What we should really have is to get rid of the need for so much tax money to conduct the business of government.

      People need to stop falling for politicians who bribe them with their own money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by BlueStrat (756137)

        What we should really have is to get rid of the need for so much tax money to conduct the business of government.

        People need to stop falling for politicians who bribe them with their own money.

        Oh, if only that would happen! That is exactly spot-on.

        But as long as we allow the government to seize so much wealth, politicians will continue to use this method to increase the governments' power, and citizens will fall for it if for no other reason than in desperation to try to get enough of their wealth back from

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by BlueStrat (756137)

          Moderated "Funny"??

          Just...wow.

          Well, that confirms it. If anyone needed any more proof that Slashdot moderators were hitting the crack pipe, that should have done it.

          Put the pipe down and back away, before you hurt yourself.

          Just say "no" to drugs. They're bad for you, mkay?

          Strat

  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:42PM (#29291029) Journal

    While we're at it.

    - No more than 7 years on a patent. No extensions. No exceptions.
    - No patenting of algorithms
    - Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

    • - No more than 7 years on a patent. No extensions. No exceptions.

      If something was known when I was a kid, I should be allowed to use that knowledge as a grown-up. 7 years would put that in the middle of high-school, sounds about right.

      - Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

      Why? What does this solve? Patents are theoretically supposed to promote progress; how does making them unavailable to things with a research budget accomplish this?

    • by rm999 (775449)

      I was with you until that last one. That idea is just stupid.

      Company patents are developed on their time and resources. They are often built off of dozens of peoples' efforts. This is one of the benefits of companies - they allow people to collaborate and then share profits (either through part ownership or salaries).

      Your idea would set back innovation quite a bit.

    • by Grond (15515) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:20PM (#29291595) Homepage

      No more than 7 years on a patent. No extensions. No exceptions.

      I'd love to see the economics research behind that number. Must have been a lot of work determining the optimal patent term. I suspect it'll be no trouble getting published. Or, as is more likely, was that arbitrary number pulled out of the air?

      As for 'no extensions. no exceptions,' what about delays brought about by the patent office? Surely you wouldn't penalize the inventor for bureaucratic incompetence?

      No patenting of algorithms

      Algorithms are already unpatentable. An algorithm, alone, is not useful, and so it fails the requirement of utility. What is patentable is, according to the Federal Circuit, the use of an algorithm tied to a particular machine to accomplish a useful result. I suspect the Supreme Court will probably overrule the Federal Circuit and allow the patenting of the practical application of algorithms.

      I can think about PageRank [wikipedia.org] all day long and accomplish nothing. But if I apply PageRank to pages on the internet and use it to optimize searches, then it becomes a patentable invention [google.com].

      Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

      This is already the case in the US. Patents can be assigned to companies, but only individuals can apply for and receive them.

      I suppose you meant that companies should be prevented from owning patents at all, but that would be pointless. Employees would simply be required to license the invention to the company exclusively. It would only add transaction costs.

      • by syousef (465911) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @02:11AM (#29296113) Journal

        I'd love to see the economics research behind that number. Must have been a lot of work determining the optimal patent term. I suspect it'll be no trouble getting published. Or, as is more likely, was that arbitrary number pulled out of the air?

        Just as arbitrary as the current numbers, you troll.

        As for 'no extensions. no exceptions,' what about delays brought about by the patent office? Surely you wouldn't penalize the inventor for bureaucratic incompetence?

        So in your model bureaucratic incompetence is inevitable. Fantastic.

        This is already the case in the US. Patents can be assigned to companies, but only individuals can apply for and receive them. ...and plenty of employment contracts stipulate that you MUST assign them. Effectively the company owns the patent, which should never be the case.

        Algorithms are already unpatentable. An algorithm, alone, is not useful, and so it fails the requirement of utility. What is patentable is, according to the Federal Circuit, the use of an algorithm tied to a particular machine to accomplish a useful result. I suspect the Supreme Court will probably overrule the Federal Circuit and allow the patenting of the practical application of algorithms.

        Are you done defending a system that gave us patents on such brilliant algorithms as "one click"?

        I suppose you meant that companies should be prevented from owning patents at all, but that would be pointless. Employees would simply be required to license the invention to the company exclusively. It would only add transaction costs.

        Unless of course you make such exclusive licensing illegal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tempest69 (572798)
      This nails the pharmaceutic research hard. By the time the drug is approved, the patent is up.

      Admit it, retirement is better with Viagra.

      Storm

  • Borg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orzetto (545509) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:42PM (#29291031)
    The Bill Gates as Borg icon was never more appropriate.
  • Deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:43PM (#29291039)

    If you reduce software patent terms to 5 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      And no grandfather clauses.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      No, there should be a software paterm term of 100 years ... the prison term for anyone who tries to file a patent on mathematics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

      If you reduce software patent terms to 5 years.

      With the recent Bilski ruling, it seems like the term on software patents has been reduce to 0 years.
      My money is on that ruling being the motivator for MS to make this call for "global harmonization" - as they are one of the largest holders of software patents they are looking for a way to get Bilski invalidated through the backdoor.

  • by Rob Riggs (6418) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:44PM (#29291059) Homepage Journal
    Do I get a representative vote in WIPO?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Silence! Guards! Have this man cut in half! Send one half to the slug breeding caves and the other to the sun! Patent suffrage isn't extended to the likes of half burned up corpses bloated with slug eggs! Wahaha! Wahahaha!

      Wait what? We don't have a worldwide empire yet? Well what can we do to him? Nothing? Well fine.

      To answer your question, when the glorious day comes. No, you won't get a vote. Now get out of here!

    • by pilgrim23 (716938)
      Silly! whadda think you are... a Trial Lawyer? take your medication and turn the TV up louder...
  • What we should do is have a first to file system (like the rest of the world) instead of the first to invent. This would eliminate thousands of hours scientists spend on notebooks.

    This encourages companies to share instead of keeping ideas locked up in notebooks and getting patents later.
  • Like hell? (Score:5, Informative)

    by spyfrog (552673) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:47PM (#29291109) Homepage

    The world would be like hell.
    I can't understand how you can live with your patent system and please don't export that shit to us other!

  • What if (Score:3, Funny)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:47PM (#29291119)
    corporations were more sensitive to regional preferences? What if companies respected laws as reflecting regional morals rather than lobbying with all their power for whatever is best for them?
  • Cause and Effect? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:48PM (#29291121) Journal

    Is this because the Canadian firm (i4i) hit it big on an American company (Microsoft) with their patent trolling?

    Do they think this is going to make it better? Now its going to be a MASSIVE convoluted state of patents EVERYWHERE and everyone will be stepping on someones toes. The idea of a Patent Law being forced across the ENTIRE PLANET is ridiculous.

    We haven't even reached World Peace, how do you expect to enforce Patent Laws in warzones, 3rd world countries, embassies?

  • by lobiusmoop (305328) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:50PM (#29291151) Homepage

    Not exactly the most IP-compliant country in the world, and pretty much has the USA over a barrel economically right now from the look of things.

  • Global laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fractal Dice (696349) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:51PM (#29291189) Journal
    I assume all the same logic applies to global labor laws, a global minimum wage and global tax rate?
  • by 99luftballon (838486) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:52PM (#29291191)
    At least pick one that works.
  • by jdgeorge (18767) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:53PM (#29291215)

    The Pirate Party's opposing it? Well, then, if they're on the case, problem solved. Woohoo!

  • The lawyers are coming, the lawyers are coming... I mean this has got to be a near orgasmic dream for the lawyers.
  • But, now crossing the line into cartoonish super-villainy.
  • by Grond (15515) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @04:56PM (#29291271) Homepage

    A unified patent system would actually benefit individual inventors, small businesses, and startups more than established players with deep pockets. Right now if one wants to file for patent protection in every country with a patent system worth the name it costs ~$200,000 in filing fees alone, to say nothing of attorney and translation costs. The lifetime maintenance fees of that single patent will be well into the millions. Even only filing in the 'big three' of the US, Europe, and Japan typically costs well over $100,000 in government fees and attorney fees.

    For a big company like Microsoft, that's just the cost of doing business. But that $200,000 is a huge amount of money to a startup, to say nothing of an individual garage inventor. Globalization and the internet mean that an inventor can sell an invention to people all around the world for far less than it would have cost 20 or 30 years ago. Protecting that invention all around the world, however, is often prohibitively expensive for all but the most well-funded, established companies.

    It's true that companies like Microsoft would also benefit from lower filing costs, but small companies and individual inventors will benefit much more. It will also mean less money wasted on lawyers, as a single attorney in a single country can handle the whole process instead of having to use attorneys all over the world. And of course it will mean less duplication of effort in government as patent offices share resources. Right now there is an enormous duplication of effort as each application in each country is met with the same prior art, which is overcome with the same arguments. This is a tremendous waste of both government and applicant resources.

    • I generally agree with what you are saying, but you are missing two little tiny things:
      1) You don't need a patent to sell a product.
      2) If you are already making and selling a product, no one can jump in and buy a patent for it and try to sue you (well, they can try). You should have prior art and proper documentation of when you invented and started selling said product just in case. The patent will get canned and lawsuit will rule in your favour.

      Disclaimer: IANAL.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Grond (15515)

        You don't need a patent to sell a product.

        That's true, but for a lot of kinds of products it helps a great deal or is a practical necessity. This is true of anything that is easily reverse engineered and especially true of anything that is substantially cheaper to make than to develop. Pharmaceuticals are the classic example, but it's also true of commonplace inventions like coffee cup sleeves [google.com], for example.

        If you are already making and selling a product, no one can jump in and buy a patent for it and try

    • by marco.antonio.costa (937534) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:51PM (#29292037)

      What makes you think that a global system would be cheaper?

      Bigger bureaucracy == more expensive bureaucracy.

  • hhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha!!!!

    I'm sorry, a world full of countries that won't cooperate on most things is supposed to start because Microsoft wants them to?

    Too funny.

    • by sdpuppy (898535)
      Well, you never know, maybe this idea from Microsoft will bring about world peace...

      Excuse me, I just sprayed my soda all over my keyboard

  • by Absolut187 (816431) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:01PM (#29291339) Homepage

    Yes, what we need is an international patent cooperation treaty.
    You could file an application with an international searching authority, have an optional preliminary examination of your claims there too, and then enjoy streamlined examination in various countries around the world based on the international examination authority's findings.

    Oh wait, we already have that..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_Cooperation_Treaty [wikipedia.org]

    Does MS really think its going to get better than that?

  • One Size Fits All (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Throtex (708974) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:03PM (#29291365)

    I wholeheartedly support a correctly implemented patent system in industrialized nations. Although not all inventions fall into this particular category (and we can go on and on all day about those that don't), a number of very valuable inventions require massive investments of time and money to develop and perfect. Without any assurance of the ability to recover for these investments, people would be hard-pressed to engage in them in the first place. Think, most obviously, pharmaceuticals.

    A uniform patent system would require poorer countries to adhere to patent norms that would be inherently contrary to their own interests. If you have nothing to protect, and it is absolutely to your advantage to take, why should you be forced to follow along? It makes no sense to ask developing nations and others with no need for a patent system to obey the restrictions earned elsewhere. And, here's the important thing, these two completely different levels of protection can in fact peacefully co-exist. The market will correct. If a poorer country absolutely needs a particular drug developed which no other country needs, maybe then they would find use in patent or patent-like protections. Until then, it's silly to impose our will on others.

  • How about one currency, one set of laws to rule all? How about a world king while we are at it?

  • by DaveGod (703167) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:19PM (#29291583)

    I expect every nation that thinks it is going to host the HQ of any such organisation will be all for it. But not so much when they realise the entire patents system would be controlled by foreign nations. At an individual level, I don't give a shit what is patented in the US. Unless I do something over there, you don't have ANY claim to authority over me. But if my country has chosen to patent that specific thing then OK, I'll respect that, I use my authority as a citizen to grant them that authority over me (by that same token, I quite rightly do not have any say over what is patented in the US).

    A patent is an agreement between an "inventor" (sadly, needing to use the term very loosely) and society. The inventor offers details of the invention in return to society granting the inventor specific rights for a specified period of time. Therefore it follows that the society upholding the rights be the one agreeing to it, as closely as practicable.

    I see plenty arguments here that favour the inventor, but nothing to restore balance by favouring society - unless you accept "enrich public knowledge" (knowledge that they cannot do much with) or "encourage competition" (competition in submitting patents that is).

    Furthermore the national system works quite well in limiting excessive scope. Presently it is only worth an inventor obtaining a patent in a country he has some intention to trade in. With a global system, he would obtain a patent whether he intends to trade there or not.

  • Ugh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dskoll (99328) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:24PM (#29291641)

    The problem is that if a global patent system were devised that were more sane than the US system, the US would say "screw you; we won't tolerate this violation of our sovereignty" and continue with it's own broken patent system.

    So a global patent system is guaranteed to be no better than the US system, and likely to be worse.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @05:52PM (#29292061)
    Neither patents nor copyrights nor indeed any other laws would not exist or have any weight without the military might of nations to back them up. For those of you out there who maintain the pleasant fiction of "international law" just remember that at any time a sovereign nation can always appeal to the court of last resort, or as Cicero put it: silent enim leges inter arma [wikipedia.org]. International law is a useful fiction that nations maintain as long as it suits common interests. However, it has no force without the sword, and the willingness to use the sword, to back it up.
  • by thedbp (443047) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @07:00PM (#29292787)

    Just another example of a huge corporate entity using their power and influence to try and do end-runs around governments, thereby subverting the will of the people in democratically elected nations.

    That is much of what international trade law is designed to do: remove barriers that prevent industry from having to respect the will of the populace they are either a) exploiting via cheap labor and substandard environmental practice, or b) selling overpriced nonessential garbage made at the expense of people thousands of miles away to.

    New world order, same as the old world order. Power is king, and they know what's best for you. Now shut up and be happy.

  • by Wolfier (94144) on Wednesday September 02, 2009 @10:55PM (#29295013)

    The trolls that does nothing except buy up patents for future extortion.

    Make patents non-transferable, or TAX the transfer of patents, heavily. Like, at 100%, unless an exchange of patents is involved.

    This would create considerable obstacle for the lawyer companies that game the system.

  • And you wonder why.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPam.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Thursday September 03, 2009 @05:54AM (#29297157) Homepage

    Plenty of posters wondered why people were cheering the i4i patent ruling over microsoft...

    This is exactly why, if they get screwed enough by the current system in the us then maybe they will stop trying to push that same flawed system on other people.

  • Big heads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jandersen (462034) on Thursday September 03, 2009 @06:46AM (#29297383)

    I think it is rather bigheaded of people to think that the world would automatically opt for an American model - other countries have a view on these matters too, you know. We can be very sure that China will weigh in heavily on this matter.

The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.

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