Monday, December 01, 2014

Joff Wild takes on James Bessen and Michael Meurer over "state sponsored patent trolls"

A post by Joff Wild titled Citing non-existent foreign "trolls" to justify US patent reform is despicable dog whistle politics concludes

But here’s the thing: it is just wrong to deliberately misreport and misrepresent. And doing a brief internet search for government sponsored or state sponsored patent trolls shows that there are far too many articles of a very similar type for it to be coincidence. Something is going on; there is a co-ordinated effort to place the threat of evil foreign trolls into the reform debate. And it stinks. If you want change, make the case fairly and squarely. Invoking a non-existent threat supposedly posed by non-American entities to get what you want is dog whistle politics of the basest, most disgraceful kind. Those who do it are basically admitting they have no decent arguments to make. Unfortunately, there is every chance their shamelessness will end up succeeding.

Within the article, Wild singles out Bessen and Meurer:

In the Boston Globe at the start of November, James Bessen and Michael Meurer described them as “firms with no interest in innovation or technology transfer; they hold patents to assert them against innocent businesses to extract some of the profit from genuine innovators”. (...)

n both articles and others, a lot of the same organisations are held up as being examples of this new and damaging phenomenon: France Brevets, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Taiwan’s Industrial Technology and Research Institute (ITRI) and Ruichuan IPR Funds in China. (...)

This blog has already looked at the attempts by Bessen and Meurer to label France Brevets, INCJ and ITRI as trolls. And we have demonstrated that what the two Boston University academics claimed was almost comically incorrect.

IPBiz notes that Demonizing the Enemy is a Hallmark of War . To argue for "patent reform," an effective technique is to present foreign invaders at the gates. Foreign patent trolls are more menacing than mere domestic trolls.

But monetizing patents, whether by domestic or foreign interests, is not the primary issue. Of greater interest is whether or not the scope of patent claims complies with patent law.

If foreign governments are involved in buying up US patents, that is of interest, but not a topic for "patent reform."

As to Bessen and Meurer, this would not be the first time that the popular press has parroted the verbiage of these
out-of-touch academics; see for example from 2008 Forbes pushing the Bessen/Meurer book


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