A couple of days ago we included a link to this exploration of Douglas Goodyear and that connection to Microsoft. We have also been exploring Microsoft’s use of the United States government to push software patents into the European Union.
Now comes the following, thanks to our reader who E-mailed a headsup that says “Most Important: Software Patents in the EU through the back door tried again.” Here is the urgent message from FFII:
Brussels, 13 May 2008 — European Commissioner McCreevy is pushing for a
bilateral patent treaty with the United States. This Tuesday 13 May in
Brussels, White House and European representatives will try to adopt a
tight roadmap for the signature of a EU-US patent treaty by the end of
the year. Parts of the proposed treaty will contain provision on
software patents, and could legalise them on both sides of the Atlantic.
“TEC talks are the current push for software patents. The US want to
eliminate the higher standards of the European Patent Convention. The
bilateral agenda is dictated by multinationals gathered in the
Transatlantic Economic Business Dialogue (TABD). When you have a look
who is in the Executive Board of the TABD, you find not a single
European SME in there”, says Benjamin Henrion, a Brussels based patent
The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) which comprises EU and US high
level representatives put a substantive harmonisation of patent law on
its agenda. Substantive patent law covers what is patentable or not. The
attempt to impose the low US standards on Europe via the Substantive
Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) process utterly failed at the World
Intellectual Property Organisation. Also progress in the WIPO B+
subgroup (without development nations) could not be reached.
This is why it is so important to watch the movers and to keep abreast of those who set trends. Novell is among them, but let’s not forget Microsoft’s own patent trolls.
Nathan Myhrvold [formerly of Microsoft] may not have done much of note yet with Intellectual Ventures, but he sure is good at getting press attention.
And here Myhrvold is either outright lying or he’s ignorant (he can let us know which one). First of all no one has ever said that patent litigation is threatening to stop all innovation. They’ve just said that it is slowing the pace of innovation. And there’s plenty of evidence to support that, despite Myhrvold’s claim that there’s none. James Bessen and Michael Meurer just came out with a whole book detailing much of the evidence, and David Levine and Michele Boldrin also have a book with even more evidence. Did Myhrvold simply not know about these? Or is he lying to PC World?
I’m sure Myhrvold is a smart guy — and he may truly believe that he’s helping inventors and changing the world — but he’s either being purposely misleading or he’s ignorant when it comes to patents and how they interact with the economy.
Also of interest: watch what Microsoft patent application Bruce Schneier wanted to share with his readers, as well as some initial responses to it.
Note that Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie are co-inventers.
Unless there are details of the implementation in the application, it isn’t very original; there have been many slightly different versions of this in science fiction literature for decades.
Posted by: billswift at May 13, 2008 07:25 AM
What has Bill Gates ever invented? Not sure why he would get an ‘invent’ credit on anything. Acquire acquire. Not that he’s not great at exploiting that, but I don’t know that I’ve really heard of anything he has invented himself.
Posted by: jk at May 13, 2008 07:38 AM