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Microsoft Pushes For Single Global Patent System

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-about-ecosystems dept.

Microsoft 495

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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nightmares (5, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29290967)

...why does it seem like every nightmare I have relating to patents and copyrights comes true?

Re:nightmares (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291077)

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:nightmares (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291451)

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 (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291551)

I see you're an optimist.

It's not that there are "enough" people outside the US who are wise enough to keep this from happening, it's whether there are the right unwise people in the right positions to be convinced to enact it anyway. Microsoft does not need to convince everyone outside of the US. They only need to convince the lawmakers in other countries. That is a much smaller target zone, one that they have enough money to achieve. It's now a matter of whether they want to spend that much money or not.

Re:nightmares (5, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291235)

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 (5, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291283)

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 (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291457)

"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 (4, Interesting)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:nightmares (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291349)

Stop sleeping, now.

Re:nightmares (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291469)

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

Re:nightmares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291519)

well, they can just fuck themselves

Global patent system? (5, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Global patent system? (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291249)

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.

Re:Global patent system? (5, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Global patent system? (2, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291605)

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.

Re:Global patent system? (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:Global patent system? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291647)

Also, FWIW, pass-through income being taxed at both the pass-through point and the ultimate destination isn't unique to corporations. If I earn $1,000,000 this year, and then give $500,000 of it to my brother, I must pay taxes on the full $1,000,000, and my brother must pay taxes on the $500,000, so the $500k is double-taxed.

Re:Global patent system? (5, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Global patent system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291481)

[sarcasm]I wasn't aware that an employee could take home any of the company's money at any time! Wow, this is revolutionary![/sarcasm]

Maybe because not all of the money the corporation makes goes into the pockets of employees? Some of it gets used to buy things. Some of it gets used to pay rent on offices. Some if it gets stored for the future. And on, and on, and on.

Re:Global patent system? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291251)

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

Re:Global patent system? (1)

Flea of Pain (1577213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291317)

Wait wait wait...MS is pushing for this? Shortly after they were told MS Office was patent infringing and could no longer be sold in certain areas of the US? Seems like a bit of a shotgun blast to the foot if you ask me...

Re:Global patent system? (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291441)

'A senior lawyer at Microsoft is calling for the creation of a global patent system...

Just wonder...did they patent this idea?

Re:Global patent system? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291473)

...like a push for a global taxation system

You. Are. High.

Re:Global patent system? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291517)

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.

What shall I get a patent for... (0, Troll)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291021)

O, I know! I'll patent the dot. I will get rich sleeping with all people of the world buying licenses from me!

Re:What shall I get a patent for... (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291147)

It may be confusing at first, but people will eventually get by without?

Re:What shall I get a patent for... (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291393)

We'd just switch to the comma, A lot of search and replace involved, but,, doable,

Re:What shall I get a patent for... (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291535)

Be careful, lower-case 'I' and 'J', exclamatyon poynts, and semy-colons also have dots in them,

Re:What shall I get a patent for... (2, Funny)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291381)

O, I know! I'll patent the dot. I will get rich sleeping with all people of the world buying licenses from me!

You, sir, are a five-digit slashdot user. There ARE no people sleeping with you, much less people sleeping with you who are buying licenses to use a period. (That's because I have patented the period, which I license to people for less than what you charge for "the dot". And I license it to half the population for a very small amount. If you are one of the people who hasn't paid your period license, contact me ... those cramps are the "crippleware" version you downloaded for free.)

Re:What shall I get a patent for... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291673)

You, sir, are a five-digit slashdot user. There ARE no people sleeping with you

I am a five-digit /. user, and my wife sleeps with me every night.

Looks like you'll have to come up with another excuse why you can't get laid. :)

We need this. the patent systems works *so* well. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291025)

I'm sure the current patent system is such a marvel that we need to magnify the effects of it world wide. Think of it: an unknown patent in an unknown country will be worth decades of lawsuits and trillions of dollars, instead of the mere years of lawsuits and millions of dollars we see now.

Push for proper patent reform (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291029)

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

Re:Push for proper patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291141)

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

Let's add copyright to that too.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291153)

Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

I am curious how this will affect things. Of what benefit will this be to the patent process?

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291261)

I see it as this:

It stops companies from paying people to just create patents for the hell of it.
(Employee A gets Salary X, while company gets Y royalties from patent).

Gives the "first use" to the patent creator. He can choose to sell it, sit on it, or try and start his own business based on it.

This didn't really answer your question.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291549)

Okay, but what of this scenario?

Company pays Employees A, B, and C for true R&D. They come up with some sort of patentable thing. If they patent it in their names, according to your explanation it's completely his, although the company funded the development of it. So A, B, and C can pick up and create their own company.

So logically companies would need some kind of patent rights.

I agree with the other AC that said something needs to be extended to copyright as well. I like the 7 years thing, but I think extensions should be allowed, so long as it is currently in use. This eliminates the Mickey Mouse argument, as Disney could renew it indefinitely. Rights could not be transferred, and can only last until the death of the owner (So Mickey Mouse can last until Disney is dissolved, and "Thiller" would be public domain now.)

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291315)

- 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?

Re:Push for proper patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291425)

...with the physical invention stored in some warehouse to be inspected by anyone who wants to take a look at the implementation of the patent (ie: no patents on non-tangible items---or stuff that hasn't been implemented yet).

Re:Push for proper patent reform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291459)

So your solution in a misguided attempt to promote the power an individual inventor exerts over his invention is to *remove that person's right to assign his property interest*? Seems logical ...

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291465)

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.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (2, Insightful)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291559)

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

That will only work for toy inventions. It takes 3 to 5 years to simply build a 1.0 product. By the time the product is out the door, you have only 2 to 4 years to make any profit.

No patenting of algorithms

Say goodbye to a lot of software inventions. Why should other fields of technology enjoy patent protection, but not software?

Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

Or at least 10% of the returns of a patent must go the inventor. That's a whole lot better than the $1,000 to $3,000 inventors make today.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291683)

That will only work for toy inventions. It takes 3 to 5 years to simply build a 1.0 product. By the time the product is out the door, you have only 2 to 4 years to make any profit.

Tough. The field moves fast, get used to it.

Personally I'd rather abolish patents completely.

Say goodbye to a lot of software inventions. Why should other fields of technology enjoy patent protection, but not software?

We don't have software patents in europe currently, and are doing perfectly fine anyway, thank you very much.

As a programmer who ostensibly might benefit from them, I don't want them. I don't think it would do me, nor the industry any good. It would just create more stupid lawsuits along the lines of Microsoft is involved in right now. And I don't see where's the benefit of wasting money on litigation, when useful coding could be getting done instead.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291591)

- Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

But corporations are legal persons.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (3, Informative)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291595)

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.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291611)

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

Seven years from filing or from issue? It makes a difference. Currently the terms are up to 20 years from filing, but only if the patent holder pays all of the maintenance fees (currently $980 3 years after patent grant, $2,480 7.5 years after grant, and $4,110 11.5 years after grant). The only "extensions" currently available are those that the patent holder gets under certain circumstances when the government is somehow at fault for the delay (e.g., a special extension for pharmaceuticals that can't be marketed until they get through the long FDA approval process, or extensions for when the PTO examiners reject claims, but the rejections are reversed on appeal).

- No patenting of algorithms

Abstract algorithms already aren't patentable. Get away from the abstract and into the nitty-gritty of application and patent law becomes a lot more interesting. Keep an eye on Bilski v. Doll [patentlyo.com] if you want to see where the line on patentability is going to fall.

- Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

Patents are not awarded to companies in the United States. They are awarded to individual inventors. The inventors can assign their patent rights to companies, which arguably gives the company owners and managers an additional incentive to hire inventors.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291635)

Amen my Brotha!

I don't really mind the idea of a global patent system, which of course individual countries can opt to utilize. What I object to is the idea of simply copying our current system and expanding it to the global level.

Of course I don't really object to the idea of a world government either so long as it is founded and governed on the principles of human rights being sacrosaint. And I don't really care if it's based on our government or not so long as it's run properly. Nationalism is in my opinion a waste of energy when there are bigger fish to fry.

Re:Push for proper patent reform (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291661)

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

Overly generous.

The tradeoff I'd suggest is: You are not allowed to file a patent until your invention is actually in a usable state. Once it is in a usable state, your patent lasts at most 1-2 years.

The advantage to this is, you can do whatever you want as long as you keep it secret (NDAs, etc). However, this does not prevent a competitor from independently coming up with the same idea, so you have an incentive to actually get it to market. And once it hits the market, you have 2 years to turn a profit -- at least in high tech, if you didn't do that in two years, you're Doing It Wrong.

Obvious example: iPhone. Google disabled multitouch on Android because of patent concerns. The iPhone was crazily successful in its first two years, so I think we can safely say Apple's got a return on their investment. Even in the incredibly unlikely event that a multitouch Android today could completely wipe out the iPhone, I doubt very much that Apple would be any less likely to build their next killer gadget. As it is, that particular feature, now blindingly obvious in hindsight (and it wouldn't make the Android an iPhone-killer, either), is unlikely to be anywhere but the iPhone for the next twelve years.

The above is simplified and likely somewhat wrong (it's doubtful Apple has patents that completely kill multitouch, just restrict it somewhat), but you see the point. Even seven years is far too long. Seven years ago this month, the Phoenix browser, a "browser-only" fork of Mozilla, was released. In other words, seven years encompasses the entire lifetime of Firefox, from back before it was called Firefox, right up to before it was forked from Mozilla.

Think about it. Suppose Opera held a patent on tabbed browsing back then. That would mean Firefox 3.0 would only just be introducing that "new" feature -- assuming there were enough people still maintaining it, rather than simply using Opera.

No patenting of algorithms

Pretty much eliminates software patents. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it's an interesting problem -- can we then patent software, but not hardware? Could we patent, for instance, a Verilog program? (Is that software or hardware?)

It might have some interesting implications, too -- for instance, if a patent only applied to a hardware implementation, that might push more codec implementations in hardware, which might actually help open source software -- you'd then have a choice of interfacing with the hardware (you bought it, you should have a license to use it), or reimplementing the codec in software (not vulnerable to patents since it's an algorithm).

Patents to be awarded to individuals only, not companies

I'm not entirely sure what this accomplishes.

Consider one scenario: I invent something. I have nowhere near the resources to actually develop this idea. So I patent it and sell it to a company, and they build it.

Now, suppose I can't sign over the patent. Would any company touch it? Certainly, they'd be much more cautious -- even if they hire me, the second I leave the company, I take the patent with me, and their product dies.

But those are just arguments against -- I really have no idea what your argument for this rule is.

Borg (5, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291031)

The Bill Gates as Borg icon was never more appropriate.

Deal. (4, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291039)

If you reduce software patent terms to 5 years.

Re:Deal. (3, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291065)

And no grandfather clauses.

Re:Deal. (2, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291181)

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

Four little words: (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291043)

Kill. It. With. Fire.

Re:Four little words: (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291297)

We'll have to nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

So. Uh. (0)

arhhook (995275) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291047)

Any ideas as to what we could do about something like this?

No Patents Without Representation! (5, Interesting)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291059)

Do I get a representative vote in WIPO?

Re:No Patents Without Representation! (3, Funny)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291211)

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!

Re:No Patents Without Representation! (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291227)

Silly! whadda think you are... a Trial Lawyer? take your medication and turn the TV up louder...

This isn't a bad idea... (1, Interesting)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291089)

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.

Why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291107)

... want something that bad? Have you SEEN what our patent office has been doing?

Like hell? (4, Informative)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291109)

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 (2, Funny)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 4 years ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291121)

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?

Re:Cause and Effect? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291593)

The idea of a Patent Law being forced across the ENTIRE PLANET is ridiculous.

It's not any more (or less) ridiculous than the idea of patent law in general. Besides, there's Berne convention already, so there is precedent.

I really don't see how this idea is bad if you aren't against patents in general. Surely it makes sense to have a level playing field, just as with copyrights, and to make it so that you don't have to file patent in all 160 countries?

And if you object to patents in general, then this doesn't really change things for you, so making a stand against this particular case doesn't make much sense.

Re:Cause and Effect? (3, Informative)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291631)

I thought that I read that i4i actually produces software, and hence is not a patent troll.

Good Luck with China (4, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291151)

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.

Enjoy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291165)

What would the world be like if everyone could enjoy the same patent system we use in the USA?

Sadists...

And where would cases be tried? (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291179)

The U.N., or some similarly toothless entity?

What about non-signatory countries? I mean, good luck extraditing me to the Hague from, say, Uganda. Hell, getting a U.S. citizen extradited to face international justice is a pretty unlikely proposition (unless the U.S. citizen has pissed off the U.S. Gooberment, of course).

Doesn't matter to me, soon I'll be rich. There's this guy over in Nigeria, he's got a bunch of money he has to get out of the country and needs my help . . .

Re:And where would cases be tried? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291357)

"Doesn't matter to me, soon I'll be rich. There's this guy over in Nigeria, he's got a bunch of money he has to get out of the country and needs my help . . ."

Good luck with that dude. His widow wrote to me this morning. Looks like I'll have his money AND his woman.

Global laws (5, Insightful)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291189)

I assume all the same logic applies to global labor laws, a global minimum wage and global tax rate?

If you're going to have a global patent system (4, Insightful)

99luftballon (838486) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291191)

At least pick one that works.

You can take your 1-click patents.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291197)

and put em were the sun won't shine.

Ah, already handled. (3, Funny)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291215)

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

So what's wrong.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291219)

... with having the same system all over the globe instead of having a multitude of systems ?

Too late (1)

97cobra (89974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291223)

Too late. I've already patented a Global Patent System.

Now pay up Bill.

The lawyers, the lawyers (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291241)

The lawyers are coming, the lawyers are coming... I mean this has got to be a near orgasmic dream for the lawyers.

Not Just Evil (1)

BabyDuckHat (1503839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291253)

But, now crossing the line into cartoonish super-villainy.

Oh God NO!!!! (1)

techprophet (1281752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291255)

If I pinch myself, will I wake up? *OUCH!!!* Nope, still a nightmare.

Advantages for Inventors and Small Businesses (5, Interesting)

Grond (15515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291271)

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.

Re:Advantages for Inventors and Small Businesses (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291491)

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:Advantages for Inventors and Small Businesses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291679)

no one can jump in and buy a patent for it and try to sue you (well, they can try). and bankrupt you before you can even afford to go to trial by defending yourself...

Re:Advantages for Inventors and Small Businesses (1)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291555)

A unified patent system would actually benefit individual inventors, small businesses, and startups more than established players with deep pockets.

A handful of patents are not worth much against the thousands of patents the small investor may be potentially violating.

ha! (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291279)

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.

Re:ha! (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291479)

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

With respect to J. R. R. Tolkien (1)

SlipperHat (1185737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291281)

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

I agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291309)

I agree totally that there whould be one single unified patent system for the entire world! And the US system is NOT the one that it should be based on, instead something that allows fewer things to be patented and allows something similar to fair use as well.

If this happened... (1)

phlegmboy (1067452) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291321)

We would be comepletely fucked, especially if Macro$lut, crApple and other malevolent beheamouths such as them manage to get their greedy, rapacious, self absorbede snouts in that particular trough.

Patent Cooperation Treaty (5, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291339)

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?

Re:Patent Cooperation Treaty (1)

Throtex (708974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291553)

All those national phase entry fees add up. But yes, PCT is already a pretty good system. Not sure what more cooperation we could ask for or expect. Maybe the JPO can issue Office Actions in English? (j/k)

One Size Fits All (2, Insightful)

Throtex (708974) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

One world government (1)

negatonium (1103503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291395)

No joke, I see the the inevitable end of all this is that the world will be dragged kicking and screaming to an eventual worldwide government. Nobody is going to like it. The masses will fear loosing their voice but will accept it because it will be the only way to have a chance at reining in these huge multi-national behemoths. The corporations will fear being out muscled by an entity even larger than they but will acquiesce because, as in this story, they will see it as the only way to keep from bleeding from a thousand cuts.

Re:One world government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291521)

The way things are going, the New World Order is more likely to be a corporation than a government.

Re:One world government (1)

RileyBryan (1475681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291589)

This would be like winning a thousand battles in world war 3 in terms of creating a unified world government.

I have a better/simpler/cheaper plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29291495)

Eliminate software patents from the few countries foolish enough to have introduced them. Then the rest of the world can commit to doing nothing, which will also be cheap to implement.

As a compromise, make them last for 5 years, with 1 year before coming into force, during which anyone can submit candidates for "prior use" to help the patent examiners with their considerations.

One world order (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291529)

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

Re:One world order (2, Funny)

Sumbius (1500703) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291655)

How about a world king while we are at it?

Great, now you are giving them even more ideas!

Sure, if my country controls it (4, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

I thought you said Microsoft didn't like patents (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291599)

Almost every time there is a story about Microsoft getting/applying for a new patent, I see upmodded comments saying that Microsoft doesn't like patents either, they are just playing along. This seems to suggest otherwise.

Ugh. (5, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

riiiiight (1)

elloGov (1217998) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291663)

single = susceptible to corporate manipulation

Harmonisation (1)

MM-tng (585125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29291695)

Here we go again. We don't want software patents. Best harmonisation is scrap it all. Get rid of the overhead, lets just try that for the coming 10 years and see what is best.

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