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Tech Firms and Regulators Meet At UN About Patents 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the talk-talk-talk dept.
another random user writes "Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and others tech firms met with regulators and patent officials in Geneva to discuss changes to intellectual property laws. The event follows a flurry of lawsuits involving smartphone makers. It is set to focus on how to ensure license rights to critical technologies are offered on 'reasonable' terms. Companies are split over whether they should be allowed to ban rivals' devices if they do not agree a fee. The talks have been organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency responsible for ensuring phone-makers agree standards so that their devices can interact with each other."
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Tech Firms and Regulators Meet At UN About Patents

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:42PM (#41614143)

    My guess: none.

    Why? They have severely contrasting views.

    My point? Nothing is going to change when your approach is biased.

    • One thing we can be sure of: any company earning less than $1B/year is going to be shut out of future intellectual property rights. It'll all be owned by the oldest, least innovative firms, and the rest will have to pack up and go home, because they wont be allowed to legally innovate.

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:02PM (#41615725)

        Looking at the history, they will innovate and invent in countries not constrained by these rules. It's going to be rise of the New World yet again, only this time in the East instead of West.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Looking at the history, they will innovate and invent in countries not constrained by these rules. It's going to be rise of the New World yet again, only this time in the East instead of West.

          But they aren't innovating now, and they theoretically could be. Why not? What's preventing them, culturally or societally, and why is that going to change?

          • by Luckyo (1726890)

            Innovating and inventing is harder then copying. It's the same as what happened with US in the early industrial revolution. They copied Old World until there was little to copy, then they found themselves with solid manufacturing base and engineering expertise to move to much harder inventing and innovating.

            It's known as "the most efficient approach".

            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              OK, but China has copied so much stuff they have years worth of old crap lying around that nobody wants to buy. Hell, they copied whole cities, and they're lying around with no one to buy them. Now what?

              • by zlives (2009072)

                wait for some one to come up with city burying technology,
                copy
                profit!?

              • by Luckyo (1726890)

                You seem to suggest that US didn't copy cities during its own build up. It did. Not to extent of chinese today due to lack of imaging technology back then, but it certainly copied architecture a lot.

    • by dwater (72834)

      Nokia's getting pretty small these days.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        Nokia's getting pretty small these days.

        yeah so small that apple is paying them hundreds of millions yearly... so what do you think their stance on the issue is going to be?

    • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @02:47AM (#41616711)

      The root problem isn't patents.

      It never was, that is a mere symptom of the same corruption of big business ass-raping the government and forcing it to give out goodies to their lobbyists.

      Get business out of government and everything else will take care of itself. Keep business in government and no solution is going to work anyway.

      • by Bigby (659157)

        You couldn't be more right. This is collusion by said companies to keep others out of the market. These companies love regulation and want a patent system that makes sure Joe Nobody can enter the market.

        The populous thinks that we can get business out of government by controlling election spending, controlling "dinners" with politicians, etc... There are only 2 ways to remove business from government:

        1. Shrink government so there are fewer benefits available to lobbying.
        2. Algorithmic online/remote rando

  • Fox.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:48PM (#41614189)

    .. say hello to the hen house.

  • by kiriath (2670145) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:51PM (#41614209)

    They can come up with something that will keep the patent BS from happening... I understand a need for some form of patent system, but what we've got and what we need are dramatically different things.

    It's a step... but it's a long way from a step in the right direction.

    • Re:Let's hope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @06:59PM (#41614265)

      This is not a step. Note the players involved: big, moneyed interests. They will probably say "maximum patent licensing cost is $10M/year per licensor" and be done with it. Two birds with one stone -- no more infighting amongst themselves, while small, disruptive players are barred from the market place.

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      I understand a need for some form of patent system

      Care to share what exactly benefits do we get from one? Just like early patents [wikipedia.org], or ones in the times of Edison, they don't seem to foster innovation but are a tool to fill coffers of companies they're granted to, with plenty of revenue shared with whatever king or ruler happens to grant them.

      • Re:Let's hope (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:41PM (#41614555)

        Patents are, I think, supposed to give you a limited time monopoly in order for you to share your technological process with everyone else. This is to combat the rest of us being unable to reproduce your product after you've passed on; an example being the process in making some stained glasses are apparently lost to ages. This should mean that in order to be granted a patent your process should be:-

        Non-obvious - your patent shouldn't be part of natural progression.
        Difficult to reproduce - It shouldn't be resonably possible for someone else to copy your idea just from seeing the end product.
        Be a viable trade secret - as in, if patents didn't exist, you should still resonable be able to maintain your monopoly, possibly forever.
        Be a working product - use it or lose it.

        Obviously thats nothing like how the system works as the vast majority of patents are wielded against people who have seemingly implemented an idea without prior knowledge of the other patent existing. This would also pretty much make design ideas unpatentable. Put shortly I guess the two problems are a) the length of term and b) the bar of what is an accepted patent.

        Of course, if you believe patents are working as intended, you probably disagree on the why they exist. Personally I don't think anyone should be granted any monopolies unless it somehow benefits the commons.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If your product can't be released without giving away the patent without having to reverse engineer it, then that patent is not patentable.

          Patents were the opposite to trade secret. Exposure of the trade secret was paid for by the monopoly grant.

          If it can't be kept a trade secret, then it can't be patented.

      • Re:Let's hope (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kiriath (2670145) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:35PM (#41614911)

        In a perfect world a patent system would protect the 'little guy' who invented something awesome and wants to safely 'shop it around' to the 'big guys' who have the potential to release it. It should be a tool that allows and promotes the drive to 'get something patented' for mere mortals.

        Like I said, what we've got is a far cry from what a patent system should be... and this is probably not the best way to make any good changes but it is a step.

  • Abolish (Score:3, Informative)

    by Meneth (872868) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:00PM (#41614267)
    It's simple: get rid of them all.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I really don't have a problem with reasonable patents. Excessive patents like we have today are the problem. Be right back, patenting stupidity. Then off to become a patent troll...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I really don't have a problem with reasonable patents.

        The problem is there is simply no way to define a "reasonable patent" in objective fashion. It's all hand waving. Real world property has very well defined boundaries, "ideas as property" have almost none and the PTO's attempt to define those boundaries for the entire universe of ideas are a sad joke. Even the boundaries of the class of ideas that are patentable is arbitrary.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Be right back, patenting stupidity.

        Way too much prior art there. :-P

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the UN should tell the USA to get lost until they pay their fees,
    its not as if their patents are valid anywhere else but the USA, its an internal domestic problem thats hurting only themselves, which as far as the rest of the world is probably a good thing

    • Motorola just had to pull out devices from Germany. This is not a local issue, this is a GLOBAL problem for consumers and companies alike.

    • the UN should tell the USA to get lost until they pay their fees

      The US is not paying those fees becuase its telling the UN to get lost on its inaction on Syria, Iraq, Central Africa, Yugoslavia... I have to say I don't feel very charitable to idiots either.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Perhaps that's because in some cases the UN knew better?

        Action wasn't needed in Iraq in 2003 at least, action in Iraq led to a few orders of magnitude more civilian deaths, and allowed Syria and Iran to spread their influence (Saddam was a major limiting factor on their power ambitions there). Note how the same time Iran started increasing it's nuclear ambitions was pretty much the exact same time the US and it's allies had crippled Iraqi military capabilities?

        I agree UN inaction on some things is indeed a

        • Perhaps that's because in some cases the UN knew better?

          LOL!!!! Oh, you're serious....?

          • by Xest (935314)

            LOL!!!! Oh, you're a fucking ignorant typical American fuckwad who knows jack about the world and still to this day thinks intervention in Iraq was somehow a good thing.... ?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why is the company holding the largest number of worthless patents not at the discussion table? It's unfathomable.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @07:55PM (#41614635) Homepage

    It can never happen right. They want "reasonable" terms? That's not exactly something you can lock down. The problems are not because of something no one can completely agree with everyone else means. Apple is "unreasonable" and yet a judge has recently ruled that Apple's notion of reasonable is unreasonable.

    If they can't fight nicely, it's time to take away their weapons. It's as simple as that.

  • The oddity is that there is no international treaties about patents. They are only backed by national laws. The ITU will not be able to talk about what is patentable, for instance.
    • by Dynedain (141758)

      STFU and learn how to use google before spouting off:

      Here's just one example of a ratified patent treaty. [wikipedia.org]

      • by manu0601 (2221348)
        That treaty says that patent application in a given state is not restricted to nationals: foreigners can file patents and enjoy the same protection as nationals. It does not create international patents: the inventor has to file patents in each state it wants to enjoy IP protection. And patent filing is still subject to local law of each state, which may forbid software patents, for instance.
        • by Dynedain (141758)

          The example I provided is the first of many treaties that cover patents. Most patent treaties essentially say "if you want us to respect patents filed in your country, you have to respect patents filed in ours".

  • This feels much like watching those bad horror movies where it feels like main character is either intentionally ignoring you, or is really stupid.
  • By its very nature, a "standard" should be free for anyone to implement.

    If I can do a better job of implementing a standard than you can, then I win. Until you leapfrog me, of course, and that's what we call innovation and progress!

  • by dgharmon (2564621) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @08:51PM (#41615007) Homepage
    "It is set to focus on how to ensure license rights to critical technologies are offered on "reasonable" terms".

    US tech firms lean on UN to legalize stealing stuff from companies and then selling it back to them under RAND terms ..

    What is Wrong with RAND? [groklaw.net]
  • Prove your patent is so genuinely innovative that no one is likely to have come up with this during at least half, if not all, of the patent term being asked for (allow patents to be applied for with a shorter term of the applicant's choosing). Failure to prove means no patent.

    The idea of patents in the first place was an incentive to invent or disclose the invention because we would have lacked these innovations without such incentives. Today, very few patents would fit that idea. Today, we only need ve

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      There's an error in you statement "puts a drag on the courts" is a, 'erm', patently false claim. In fact patents bloat the legal system with profits, basically laws written by lawyers to promote the fiscal future of lawyers.

      If they are truly seriously about resolving patent issues that will not let any lawyers any near those negotiations. Reality is of course those negotiation will be just chock full of lawyers, pretending to represent their clients whilst in reality they will be focused on ensuring thei

  • by msclrhd (1211086) on Wednesday October 10, 2012 @11:21PM (#41615815)

    To my knowledge, Computer software is the only industry that has both copyright (source code, graphics, music, etc.) and patents (design concept) applicable to it, and therein lies the problem. Trademarks are independent of these two as they apply to brand identity.

    You don't have patents in the fiction world, you have copyright law on the published text. You are free to have tree men in your story as long as you don't call them "ents". Likewise having a story about wizards in school, or vampires, or other story elements. Otherwise, if story elements/concepts were patentable we would not have as many varied stories we do have.

    The same applies to paintings/drawings, TV shows, films, music and other creative arts. You don't have the makers of Armageddon and Deep Impact sueing each other over who has rights to the asteroid impact disaster movie, instead you have two different interpretations of that concept.

    With the creative arts, you can take themes and ideas from other works and use them in a different way in your own work. So you have many paintings in the impressionist style, each artist giving their own interpretation on what that means.

    • You don't have patents in the fiction world, you have copyright law on the published text. You are free to have tree men in your story as long as you don't call them "ents". Likewise having a story about wizards in school, or vampires, or other story elements. Otherwise, if story elements/concepts were patentable we would not have as many varied stories we do have.

      The same applies to paintings/drawings, TV shows, films, music and other creative arts. You don't have the makers of Armageddon and Deep Impact

  • The difficulty is allowing Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and Samsung to operate freely, yet still use SPLs (Stupid Patent Lawsuits) to keep smaller companies from eroding their well-earned oligopoly.
  • My only question is who is representing consumers in this meeting of powers that be? Oh, wait, consumers don't have power... they are merely cattle.

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