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UN Wades Into Patent War Mess

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-other-news-nokia-apple-samsung-rim-motorola-google dept.

Patents 178

Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC is reporting that the worldwide, tangled mess of IP litigation has come to the attention of the UN's International Telecommunication Union. The agency has announced it will be holding talks aimed at reducing this massive drag on the digital economy. Good luck."

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Thank goodness! (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40580959)

If there's one organization I think of when it comes to taking effective, decisive, timely action - it is the United Nations.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40580979)

How well do you expert an organisation like the UN to function? I personally like that it exists because of the idea it represents, but I can see how people would consider it a waste of time and effort because it isn't often effective (as far as i can tell through the media).

Re:Thank goodness! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40580995)

Democracy is the worst possible way to govern, except for all the alternatives.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581067)

I suppose you mean this as an argument against the UN? Because it's not democratic at all. Most of the governments represented are not democratically elected, and their influence on the UN is based on economic/military power (veto, extortion by withholding funds) rather than the population they pretend to represent.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581167)

Actually I meant to say that the UN will never be effective, decisive or timely, because that's not part of democracy. Then again, I know very little about UN, other than it was supposed to be where all governments go to agree on how to be civil to each other.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581691)

I read this to mean that you believe democracy is not good, but all other alternatives are even worse? Ok, what does this have to do with the topic?

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581747)

Democracy works on a small scale. Not the massive scale like the United States. At the most basic level, there are too many tiers of hierarchy, brutally killing efficiency more with every tier.

Re:Thank goodness! (3, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582157)

Yeah- Kings are so much better! So efficient!

Heres the thing about government: I _want_ them to be inefficient, there is very little good that comes from government directly. They're the lube that allows society to exist and function. It _should_ take a lot of time and effort for them to implement sweeping, possibly destructive changes upon the people it governs.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582281)

I don't want an inefficient government. I want a transparent government and a vigilant citizenry.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581005)

How well do you expert an organisation like the UN to function?

I think the OP was pretty clear that he doesn't :P

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581027)

I like the idea the UN says it represents but not the reality. It's in fact like the political wing of NATO. It's the US lead club of the winners of the WWII. And all the worst offenders have the most power and even veto right in the security council. And if by some miracle a decision can be made, the big fuckers promptly go ahead and ignore it. And don't pay their membership fees etc. It's a sad joke.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581507)

I personally like that it exists because of the idea it represents,

That idea wouldn't be 'kleptocracy' would it?

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582225)

I personally like that it exists because of the idea it represents,

You like the idea of slowing down the process of strong nations imposing their will on weak ones and applying a thin veneer of civilization to it?

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40580999)

I thing they practically invented wading through red tape, so what's not to like about them?

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581037)

yeah, and it's totally authorised by the US Constitution that an outside organisation like that can control sovereignty and the law of the country.

Re:Thank goodness! (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581051)

Yes, it is. Article II, Section 2, clause 2. Perhaps you should read the Constitution sometime. Or are there too many big words in it for you?

Re:Thank goodness! (3, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581093)

Treaties? Treaties are not laws of the land, they do not supersede the laws of the land.

UN CANNOT tell USA to go to war, only Congress has the power to declare war. Of-course that would be Constitutional, what happens today is not.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581105)

The UN has never declared war for the US. The UN has requested assistance from the US, which the CinC of the US armed forces provided, according to the powers vested in him by the Constitution. Why do you hate the Constitution?

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581205)

according to the powers vested in him by the Constitution

- oh? So when did USA declare a war last time? I hear it was WWII that was declared and never since, so why do YOU hate the Constitution?

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581479)

- oh? So when did USA declare a war last time? I hear it was WWII that was declared and never since, so why do YOU hate the Constitution?

2003.

Re:Thank goodness! (3, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581491)

Wrong.

The only wars US Congress declared were in:
* 1812
* 1846
* 1898
* 1917
* 1941, 1942.

Re:Thank goodness! (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581569)

It's easier to just call it a defensive action, or peacekeeping, or anti-terrorist campaign. The word 'war' has such a bad image.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581689)

FWIU, Iraq was a declared war. (Why, is beyond me) In a declared war power is "essentially" stripped from congress and placed in the lap of the sitting president. That's why we have the patriot act and all other kinds of bullshit.

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582347)

Wrong. There was never a declaration of war, there was 'authorisation' from Congress, but no declaration, it was unconstitutional.

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581127)

Explain the role of the UN in the Korean War.

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581183)

It is irrelevant, the US Congress did not declare the war, the US people did not authorise the war, the war was illegal, it does not matter what UN said at all, what matters is that US government went into the war illegally.

you're an interesting crackpot troll (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582349)

apparently, your experience in the soviet bloc has led to some wackjob views on capitalism

however, as per your last comment, you still retain the tribalism of the old soviet bloc: korea, red!

how come the soviet economic policies have left you so scarred, but the soviet imperialism is something you still are aligned with, according to your last comment?

isn't soviet imperialism as equally destructive as it's communist ideology?

you don't see that. so you're some sort of eternal propaganda victim

strangely enough, you remind of ayn rand, whose own derangement on questions of capitalism, because of her formative years in the soviet bloc like you, led her to embrace an equally febrile and shrill fundamentalist extremism on what capitalism means

anyway, keep spamming slashdot. i guess as a captain of industry you can afford the time (!?)

Re:you're an interesting crackpot troll (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582367)

Your entire comment is made of straw.

USA must have declared the war in Korea for it to be legal, that is the question, everything that you are talking about is an irrelevant sideshow.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581515)

they do not supersede the laws of the land.

Well they do and they should. It's called norm hierarchy. If they didn't, then countries could sign treaties then pass a law saying they're not going to abide by the treaty they just signed. If you don't like a treaty, you should either not sign it or denounce it publicly not say "it is only binding for lesser countries".

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581551)

countries could sign treaties then pass a law saying they're not going to abide by the treaty they just signed.

- they don't even have to pass a law like that, they can simply ignore the signature on that worthless document, because that document is not actually law of the land.

It actually happens all the time, countries sign treaties and break them, simple example of US breaking a number of treaties [huffingtonpost.com] .

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581771)

No it isn't the law of the land, it sits above the law of the land per the norm hierarchy. If it didn't as you seem to want to then no one would trust the US signature and no country would make deals with the US. And if they did, they would stop abiding to them as soon as the US would stop abiding to them.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582175)

That is certainly what happened with the League of Nations. Wilson was a key negotiator and proponent, but when he got home the Senate told him to suck on it.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582141)

WTF? If Congress creates domestic laws enacting a treaty, then the treaty becomes US law. Beyond that the Senate has a constitutional role in ratification.

What were you doing during civics class, sticking pencils up your nose?

Are you nuts? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581095)

No article of the constitution grants law making or regulatory authority to any foreign power. How did you get that idea from the clause authorizing the president the to make treaties with the consent of congress? Are you insane?

what is a treaty? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581119)

It involves a foreign power dictating terms you agree to bind American behavior to. Like a law, or a regulation.

Re:Are you nuts? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581135)

I must be. A treaty has force of law. Law has the ability to make more laws (called "regulations" to differentiate from the manner in which laws are passed). The Constitution doesn't grant law making or regulatory power to private companies. However, we have piles of such laws on the books now, with UIL, IIHS, and NECA all making laws/regulations. Congress has the power to pass a law enabling a "foreign" (as in non-governmental) entities to make law. They have for years. But so many seem to be ok with that, until such time as laws are used in the same way in a manner you don't like. We joined the UN via treaty (signed and ratified), so I'm curious how you think the power to enter treaties is not related to the "power" given to the UN, or roman_mir's insane assertion that the US has no legal relation to the UN, despite a properly signed and ratified treaty.

Re:Are you nuts? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582189)

What do you think any treaty is? It is the surrender of some sovereignty.

Re:Thank goodness! (2)

Ducon Lajoie (30475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581115)

Actually, the International Teleocmmunications Regulations [itu.int] , revision of which fall within the ITU mandate, are one of the few binding treaties out there.

Of course, as pointed out below, US constitution is much more deferential, in theory, to the enforceability of treaties to which the US is a signatory in local law, so not really something constitution-loving Americans can be genuinely offended by...

Re:Thank goodness! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581125)

Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Roman_mir, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head.

"Our very way of life is under siege," said Roman_mir, whose understanding of the Constitution derives not from a close reading of the document but from talk-show pundits, books by television personalities, and the limitless expanse of his own colorful imagination. "It's time for true Americans to stand up and protect the values that make us who we are."

According to Roman_mir—an otherwise mild-mannered husband, father, and small-business owner—the most serious threat to his fanciful version of the 222-year-old Constitution is the attempt by far-left "traitors" to strip it of its religious foundation.

"Right there in the preamble, the authors make their priorities clear: 'one nation under God,'" said Roman_mir, attributing to the Constitution a line from the Pledge of Allegiance, which itself did not include any reference to a deity until 1954. "Well, there's a reason they put that right at the top."

"Men like Madison and Jefferson were moved by the ideals of Christianity, and wanted the United States to reflect those values as a Christian nation," continued Roman_mir, referring to the "Father of the Constitution," James Madison, considered by many historians to be an atheist, and Thomas Jefferson, an Enlightenment-era thinker who rejected the divinity of Christ and was in France at the time the document was written. "The words on the page speak for themselves."

According to sources who have read the nation's charter, the U.S. Constitution and its 27 amendments do not contain the word "God" or "Christ."

Roman_mir said his admiration for the loose assemblage of vague half-notions he calls the Constitution has only grown over time. He believes that each detail he has pulled from thin air—from prohibitions on sodomy and flag-burning, to mandatory crackdowns on immigrants, to the right of citizens not to have their hard-earned income confiscated in the form of taxes—has contributed to making it the best framework for governance "since the Ten Commandments."

"And let's not forget that when the Constitution was ratified it brought freedom to every single American," Roman_mir said.

Roman_mir's passion for safeguarding the elaborate fantasy world in which his conception of the Constitution resides is greatly respected by his likeminded friends and relatives, many of whom have been known to repeat his unfounded assertions verbatim when angered. Still, some friends and family members remain critical.

"Dad's great, but listening to all that talk radio has put some weird ideas into his head," said daughter Samantha, a freshman at Reed College in Portland, OR. "He believes the Constitution allows the government to torture people and ban gay marriage, yet he doesn't even know that it guarantees universal health care."

Roman_mir told reporters that he'll fight until the bitter end for what he roughly supposes the Constitution to be. He acknowledged, however, that it might already be too late to win the battle.

"The freedoms our Founding Fathers spilled their blood for are vanishing before our eyes," Roman_mir said. "In under a year, a fascist, socialist regime has turned a proud democracy into a totalitarian state that will soon control every facet of American life."

"Don't just take my word for it," Roman_mir added. "Try reading a newspaper or watching the news sometime."

(with apologies to theonion.com)

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581173)

It seems you have not heard the UN was for a significant part set up by the US.

So it would be really weird if the US as the biggest reason for the present patents mess would refuse to cooperate in finding a solution.
These things take time so don't hold our breath...

Re:Thank goodness! (-1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581211)

Doesn't matter. Nowhere in the Constitution is it allowed for the war to be started by president or any organisation, the war must be declared by Congress and all wars US went into since WWII were illegal wars.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581531)

Sorry but the subject is not war.

Unless you subscribe to the idea that diplomacy is just war with other means :)

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581561)

My point is that UN doesn't set the law for USA, nor for anybody else.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582073)

Indeed. UN is instead the avenue where people can negotiate treaties under a common framework. When you're negotiating with people from hundreds of different cultures all at once, without an organisation like UN it would be impossible. No one would agree on even how to negotiate, much less be able to produce any results.

This is why UN looks "inefficient" in the eyes of a layman who never really tried negotiating with several parties all from different cultures at once.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582387)

You are missing the point - a sovereign nation shouldn't bother with UN, of-course people join UN to attempt and force others to do as they want, but nobody gives a shit about UN when it's them, who is being forced into something.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581177)

So you'd rather have the patent madness for reasons of pride?

If we shot everyone who's an idiot in the USA, would there be enough population remaining for a single city?

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581199)

What exactly are you saying, that I am pro-patent wars or something like that? How can I be pro-patent wars if I am against patents and against copyrights and have been against them for decades. Of-course on /. [slashdot.org] I have plenty [slashdot.org] comments [slashdot.org] about this [slashdot.org] .

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581239)

I really hope that you get your Libertaria...and then you get sick and are unable to pay for it.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581311)

I do have my 'libertaria', and I have 2 private insurance plans (health insurance and critical illness) but for most visits I pay out of pocket, because of the deductible, but it is what I signed up for.

Re:Thank goodness! (1, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581323)

Oh, and by the way telling somebody:

I really hope that you ... get sick

just proves my point about the people (also the so called 'liberals') and that they shouldn't be allowed to vote in most cases.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581855)

What exactly are you saying, that I am pro-patent wars or something like that?

No, I'm saying that you (plural you, as in your country) apparently can't get this shit sorted out on its own, so everyone else (as in the UN) needs to give you a push.

Just like invading Taliban Afghanistan or Nazi Germany was justified because those people couldn't get their shit together without outside help and were hurting others. No, that's not on the same level, which is why the proper answer isn't a war, but a UN directive.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581361)

Does someone pay you to pose as a right-wing nutjob? Are slashdot that desperate for traffic?

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581383)

Right wing? What the fuck is that?

Is Constitutionality considered 'right wing' today?

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581487)

Everything other than what x - wing people believe in , is considered !x - wing.

Sadly I don't have any wings :-( .

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582005)

Everything other than what X - wing people believe in , is considered TIE - fighter.

FTUFY.

Re:Thank goodness! (4, Insightful)

solidraven (1633185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581149)

Of all the UN-related organisations out there ITU is one of the few that actually takes decisive action on a regular basis. Might take a while until we see results, but ITU won't back down for Apple or Microsoft.

Re:Thank goodness! (4, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582323)

unfortunately it looks like it already has - the investigation is into the use of 'essential' patents (ie boring stuff like GSM and JPEG patents) and not the use of crap like slide-to-unlock or the shape of a rectangle.

In other words, Motorola, who invented useful things, is to be investigated for not letting Microsoft and Apple have them for free, whereas Apple, who had a vague idea on rubbing your finger on a screen in a left-right way, isn't to be investigated at all.

Re:Thank goodness! (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581169)

It's not like anyone else has been moving at any speed towards more sanity in that area.

Re:Thank goodness! (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582183)

The only thing moving us towards more sanity in the area of patent law is reality. The existence of the Internet and free software, and the crater filled legal battlegrounds and minefields of patent wars, have done more to show the perversity of "intellectual property" than any philosophical arguments.

Big organizations are the last to accept a paradigm shift. All the UN is really doing is acknowledging that there is a problem. They're still a long way from seeing that the problem is not the use of patent law, but the core concept of patents themselves: the monopolistic grant of exclusivity. They're thinking they can put a bandaid on the mess, that we can still have our precious patents and all we have to do is agree to play nice with them. That's like saying children can take firearms to the playground as long as they agree not to use them except in an emergency. We'll just tack on a few more safety features and measures so children can safely carry guns.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581613)

I'd imagine you're from the USA... If ever there was a fat bunch of useless weight on the rest rest of the world with no respect for the rule of law (plenty of fox "news") and stupid respect for a non constitutional authority (Dept. of homeland security), it would be the stupid Americans.

Re:Thank goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40582205)

Let me guess. You're from either canada or some pussy european country we had to keep the nazis from owning. Sit down and shut the fuck up puss boy.

Pffffft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40580961)

HA!

Less money to patents is more money to sender-pays (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581001)

I for one am not going to forget about that proposal.

SO GAY! 8==D (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581013)

i have to write a speech on myself tomorrow
  so gay
  there is a start

- http://bash.org/?610086 [bash.org]

UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide? (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581029)

Guess how that is going to turn out then ?

Seriously, there are far too many lawyers involved in this mess for them to agree to the self destruction of their livelyhoods (and political ambitions..:) )

Re:UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581081)

Indeed. The only way to actually solve the issues with monopoly rights like patents is to turn them into non-confrontational compensation rights where a third party (such as the patent office) provides compensation due based on usage. Such a system would reasonably have a limited budget, ensuring that the system players have an interest in keeping the quality of compensation rights high as if more rights get granted everyone would get less per use.

But a non-confrontational system would require and support far fewer lawyers, so like you say it's unlikely to happen.

Re:UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581447)

The only way to actually solve the issues with monopoly rights like patents is to turn them into non-confrontational compensation rights where a third party (such as the patent office) provides compensation due based on usage.

No, there is a third way: drop patents completely. Like copyright, they began as ways for a king to get additional funds: by legalizing bribes, so someone could pay to have his competition declared illegal. And like copyright, they never has any purpose that's beneficial to the society at large (despite what their proponents say).

I don't think anyone can say with a straight face that patents promote innovation.

Re:UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581775)

I wouldn't mind dropping patents completely. However, there is a problem that I think needs addressed before anyone takes the idea seriously. Say, I'm a poor man, living on ramen noodles and tap water, and no hope in sight. I invent widget X, which is really useful and would, in a flourishing scenario, make me rich. But if there are no protections, there is nothing keeping MegaCorp Y from just looking at my widget X, and mass producing a version that sells for cheaper than I can even buy my widget parts for. Obviously, mankind still benefits from my idea, but I won't. This isn't a problem, per se, because perhaps we need to get out of the mentality that we will get paid for adding to everyones good, but that totally kills any ambition to ever even try to market my product.

Re:UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582283)

I know of 2 viable alternatives to intellectual property. First is nothing. No patent law, and no other explicit form of encouragement. You would have to make good use of your first mover advantage to benefit from your widget. You may still be able to negotiate a deal with MegaCorp, but they tend to cheat and renege on deals if they think they can get away with it.

If the public feels there ought to be something more, then there is the other alternative, some form of patronage. Rather than trying to restrict access by force of law, so that tollbooths can be placed before all who would use an idea, try a permissive system. Use first, and sort out the compensation later. The small time inventor would help show how popular his invention is, and, after some verification, would receive monies from these organizations that we created specifically to handle this issue. At no point would any user of an idea have to fear being slapped with a penalty, or being dragged into court, which is a penalty all by itself.

Re:UN vs The massed Phalanxes of Lawyers worldwide (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581151)

I'd love to see the UN troops with their blue hats march into the courtroom and tell the lawyers of both sides to back off.

And a nice little red cross tent outside taking care of the wounded lawyers who burned themselves choking on their coffee.

The idea is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581049)

"aimed at reducing this massive drag on the digital economy" and transferring it directly from the taxpayers of the member nations pockets, into the UN's.

Apple??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581057)

Microsoft and Apple are among firms that have called on others not to enforce sales bans on the basis of such standards-essential patents.

Wow.

Singularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581069)

We've been warned of the upcoming so-called singularity [wikipedia.org] , where technology advances faster than we can comprehend. It seems like the patent wars (if they continue) might be delaying its arrival; is that a desirable outcome?

Re:Singularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581229)

Technology is an invented concept, it exists because we will it and make it exist. I think you mean faster than our ability to comprehend the consequences.

It's about time someone stop Google and Samsung (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581071)

Their attempted abuse of standards-essential patents is disturbing. However, I have confidence that the courts will deal appropriately with the problem. It just takes time.

UN 2.0 ??? (0)

just another AC (2679463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581085)

Someone in the UN must feel they are becoming out of touch, only getting involved in the physical world. First "Internet Rights", now IP law reform... what next? UN mandated hackerspaces?

A semi-informed rant (4, Insightful)

Ducon Lajoie (30475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581101)

I think this may actually not be a waste of time. A lot of the mess we see now is due to the inclusion of patented technology in international standards (be they ITU, ETSI, ISO-IEC, ANSI whatever). And the fact that there was so little oversight on this, the validity of patent claims and subsequent licensing, was due to the direct wishes of the telecom/technology companies themselves. The standard bodies were all to happy to accommodate their constituents in this point for years.

Now the companies, and the government who are in the awkward position of depriving their citizens of the latest cell phone because of some obscure patent law issue, are realizing that they are in the process of hanging themselves with the rope they had requested.

This is a very broad issue and the ITU has had a decent track record of elevating previously obscure tech issues into the international policy realm. If anyone expects overnight binding measures to come from this, they are deluded. But raising awareness of the issue and getting the various actors to take a position is the unavoidable first step in resolving any complex issue.

Good luck to them.

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cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... 1.. (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581165)

For some people, the UN could announce a cure for cancer, free unlimited food for everyone, a low-cost solution to global warming and a Mars colony project on the same date, and they would comment with NWO paranoia, evil overlord nonsense and "don't mess with my rights" bullshit.

A huge majority of those comments come from americans. Are you so unconfident that you can't accept someone else besides the "land of the free and the home of the brave" (which has long since turned into a joke to everyone outside the US) as someone setting international agendas?

We have a similar phenomenon over here in Europe, btw. - it is directed against the European Union, which is always blamed for everything that goes wrong, even though at least lately they have made a ton of excellent decisions (rejecting ACTA being the most prominent one). That is in part caused by our coward, corrupt, evil politicians, who abuse the EU to push through laws they want but know would never get popular support for. It goes roughly like that: Come up with law, test it with a few controlled "leaks", notice popular outrage. Publicly call the scapegoat you prepared for a crazy idea and ascertain public that the party line is different. Quietly move law to the EU level and get it passed as an EU directive. A year or two later, dig up old law again and complain how you really don't want to do it, but the EU forces you to...

So I wonder where the anti-UN sentiment in the US comes from?

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581315)

UN along with the prior failed League of Nations was a Rothschild invention.

Since its creation there has been 67 wars by proxy.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581889)

UN along with the prior failed League of Nations was a Rothschild invention.

Sources and evidence or it's a lie.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581493)

For some people, the UN could announce a cure for cancer, free unlimited food for everyone, a low-cost solution to global warming and a Mars colony project on the same date, and they would comment with NWO paranoia, evil overlord nonsense and "don't mess with my rights" bullshit.

A lot of people would comment on that because where do you think most of the money for those programs, or the free food would come from? That's right, the US. We already have enough problems ourselves that we have to fix first.

A huge majority of those comments come from americans. Are you so unconfident that you can't accept someone else besides the "land of the free and the home of the brave" (which has long since turned into a joke to everyone outside the US) as someone setting international agendas?

You know, we here in the US do kind of have cause to be uncomfortable with being controlled by a higher body. I mean, the country itself exists only because Americans got tired of being ruled over by a government that they saw as foreign and insensitive to their needs and only wanted to exploit them to fund it's wasteful wars and other expensive programs.

We have a similar phenomenon over here in Europe, btw. - it is directed against the European Union, which is always blamed for everything that goes wrong, even though at least lately they have made a ton of excellent decisions (rejecting ACTA being the most prominent one).

That is because people don't like to give up sovereignty. By giving up power to a higher regional entity, the "local" (state) governments lose their independence and quite a bit of their power. Look at what is happening in Greece and you can see how people like getting told what to do by an outside power overriding their own sovereignty. The same situation happened in America 150 years ago. Hopefully Europe can avoid the war we were unable to.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581703)

One time Americans brag how lack of federal government contributed to the euro mess and another time they argue that state power is what makes America.

That's called a freedom of the speech. Freedom of thought had been relegated to their favorite news organisation.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581779)

Freedom of thought had been relegated to their favorite news organisation.

You mean Reuters, BBC, and Al-Jazeera English? Because that's where I get most of my news.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581877)

A lot of people would comment on that because where do you think most of the money for those programs, or the free food would come from? That's right, the US. We already have enough problems ourselves that we have to fix first.

I can relate to that argument better than you think, because I'm german and we germans are the ones largely paying for the whole EU thing.

However, we are also profiting from the EU a lot more than the mainstream media or the politicians care to admit.

I wouldn't be surprised if the same would be true for the US. Of course, the facts won't be easily available, because politically, the UN is the perfect scapegoat.

You know, we here in the US do kind of have cause to be uncomfortable with being controlled by a higher body. I mean, the country itself exists only because Americans got tired of being ruled over by a government that they saw as foreign and insensitive to their needs and only wanted to exploit them to fund it's wasteful wars and other expensive programs.

That's pretty ironic because the end result of it all has been that you've created your own government that is insensitive to your needs and only wants to explout you to fun its wasteful wars and other expensive programs.
And give you an illusion of control. When's the last time elections in the US really changed anything?

That is because people don't like to give up sovereignty.

Strawman. They already have. The question is not giving it up or not, the question is solely to whom.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581945)

Strawman. They already have. The question is not giving it up or not, the question is solely to whom.

It is not a strawman, because at least nominally a state government is still beholden to the people of the state, and are supposed to act in the best interests of the people. If they do not, then the people should be able to install a new government that does. In the case of the EU, the state government can no longer operate in the best interest of its people, as it is under the control of the EC and EP. The problem we are seeing is that the strong states in the EC are forcing decisions that best help themselves, or at least gives them greater protection. Politics at every level is a zero sum game, but especially at this level. When these stronger states look out for their own or the regional interests, these weaker states lose by default. Pretty much every commentary says that Greece would be better off on the lira, but for the sake of the EU and the euro they have to stay on the euro.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (2)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582123)

You know, we here in the US do kind of have cause to be uncomfortable with being controlled by a higher body.

Doesn't everyone?

Look at what is happening in Greece and you can see how people like getting told what to do by an outside power overriding their own sovereignty.

Don't be so sure about it. They HATE their complacent and stupid government, but most of them see the Europe as the only way out of the third world. So all in all, quite the opposite of what you're stating.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40582145)

Hey! On the bright side, at least now the ITU is not a little known entity [slashdot.org] , as someone qualified it less than a month ago.

You have to give them that :-) It took only one previous post to come out from the "unknown" territory.

Re:cue anti-UN paranoia commentaries in 3... 2... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#40582369)

The European Union isn't the problem - its the European Parliament or the European Commission. One makes useless shit up and pays vast amounts to their politicos, the other sensibly rejects the crap like ACTA.

Then there's the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice, one lets convicted murders remain in a country because they had a girlfriend and imprisoned drug addicts continue to receive drugs, the other upholds bans on xboxes because Microsoft refused to pay for patents they used.

Its not so simple in the EU you see. That's why there's a lot of calls for reform, and calls to scrap the whole thing are generally misreported.

My humble suggestion for a solution (2)

W2k (540424) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581195)

1) All patents expire after 2 years. If you can't make money from having a 2-year monopoly on an invention, it obviously wasn't very good anyway. 2) Getting a patent costs a €LARGE_AMOUNT of money, which goes into a fund that the government uses to invest into research. 3) No sales bans. The only penatly for "violating" a patent is compensation for actual damages, the burden of proof for which lie on the patent holder. 4) If out of a random sample of five university students in the appropriate field, at least three find your idea obvious and/or trivial to come up with, your patent is rejected. 5) (Very) generous exemptions from the all of the above for non-profits, educational users and independent (non-corporate) inventors.

Re:My humble suggestion for a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581749)

Very good suggestion except that non-profits are a scam and should not be exempt.

So who and what is behind this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581201)

There are a lot of problems with patents. The the existence of trivial patents that should never have been granted is a biggie. The use of these patents by trolls to extract money from a market they didn't help build is another. Next on the list are companies using trivial patents to stop competitors. The role of standard essential patents in these problems is limited. Just look at the patents used by offensive parties in patent cases. If not hidden from view. Rounded corners, specifics of a search function, the way to display information, tapping vs sliding a screen lock widget.

At the same time both Europe and the US are investigating the use of standard essential - and not trivial - patents in these cases. And now the UN kicks in. The same organisation involved in the latest attack on net neutrality. Remarkable. So remarkable you should wonder who is/are behind it. I'm afraid that just might be the parties using trivial patents offensively, that now see Motorola and Samsung bringing in patents that are less trivial as defense. If that is true, forget about the UN doing something about the real problem of standard essential patents: submarining a standard. The current EU, VS and UN involvment is about setting the stage for the trolling game.

Finding Nemo (3, Informative)

scsirob (246572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581209)

This whole patent mess reminds me of the animation movie "Finding Nemo". Somewhere a flock of seagulls attacks, mindlessly screaming "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

This is what the industry is like today. Lawyer driven madness, where everyone is trying to put a claim on any thought that might be remotely original. It is a huge drag on innovation and leads to destruction. I can only hope the ITU will be able to put up a sail between these gullible seagulls and real innovation. Just like in the movie.

Re:Finding Nemo (1)

Eyeball97 (816684) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581617)

D'ya really think they care whether it might be "remotely original"?

The current state of the patent office and the current rounds of litigation would suggest they're not even bothering to pretend any more...

Re:Finding Nemo (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581785)

Putting on my cynical hat, I'd have to question whether or not it has always been like this. Complexity and magnitude have grown, and perhaps the struggle for the oligarchy has swayed more to the plutocrats than the autocrats, but we're still the same cogs in the same wheels, grown bigger.

ITU will soon find this isn't its bailiwick (4, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581431)

Other acronyms are going to quickly get dragged into this, mainly the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) which is much more about this sort of stuff, and possibly the World Trade Organization (WTO) if, for example, Korea were to complain that the US ITC is being overly kind to Apple and should be letting Korean products in.

No to sw, design and business practice patents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581485)

Solved.

Wrong focus on FRAND instead of e.g. round&bla (1)

plankrwf (929870) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581543)

What a pitty they choose to focus on FRAND type of patents, instead of ALL the (mostly) obvious ('software like') patents.
Now, imagine someone suggesting to abolish ALL patents that can be 'worked around' by doing a software change.

Kind regards,
Roel

Wait, what? Have you read the linked article? (1)

g0tai (625459) | more than 2 years ago | (#40581555)

Seems the BBCs spin on this is that Apple and Microsoft are the 'good guys' where Samsung and Motorola are the 'not so good guys' due to their defensive measures with their FRAND patents.

It mentions nothing of the abuse that Apple is giving regarding to block android phone sales due to patent disputes.

Shame the BBC didn't do more in-depth research and give a fuller-laid-out article covering all sides. Not what I expected as a taxpayer to be honest.

Ah yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40581875)

Ah yes. The UN will save us!

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