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Apple, Microsoft, IBM team to form pro-patent lobbyist group

updated 10:39 am EDT, Thu April 3, 2014

Group wants stronger patent protections for all

Apple, in conjunction with IBM, Microsoft, and others not in the technology industry have created The Partnership for American Innovation. The group's first goal is lobbying the US government to alter the trajectory of patent reform. Former US Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) Director David Kappos is a senior advisor to the group.

"As director of the USPTO, I saw first-hand the significant role the patent system plays in encouraging inventors, promoting investment in innovation, and creating jobs," Kappos said. "Now is not the time to gamble with America's innovation engine -- once patent protections are eliminated, they cannot be restored."

The members of the PAI believe that the American economy is best served by a strong patent system that protects what the group calls "high-quality innovation in all fields of technology," and that the USPTO must be properly funded to effectively process patent applications and issue only high-quality patents.

"It is in our country's best interest to have a patent system that rises above short-term interests, and creates long-term gains for all sectors of the economy. We must move beyond rhetoric that 'the system is broken and trolls are bringing businesses to a complete halt' to a discussion of calibrated improvements for what is actually the best patent system our planet has," Kappos said.

Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM, Microsoft, and Pfizer have all allied themselves with the group. The group is at loggerheads with Google, which has widely argued that software is or should be un-patentable, as it built its Android program largely by borrowing from Java.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    No, what Apple and the others want is to block obviously needed patent reform. Read a software patent and you'll see how utterly meaningless it is. It talks in vague terms about doing something with electronic gadgetry, but never commits itself to one particularly way to achieve that goal (i.e. Amazon's one-click patent). Just like you can't copyright an idea but only a particular expression of it, you shouldn't be able to patent a result, only one narrow way of achieving that result. In practice, that means you can copyright software but not patent a software black box that's defined only by its results. I fought Google over its book settlement, but in this dispute, my sympathies are entirely with it.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 11-03-09

    Originally Posted by NewsPosterView Post

    Apple, DuPont, Ford, GE, IBM, Microsoft, and Pfizer have all allied themselves with the group. The group is at loggerheads...

    All giant, successful companies of yesteryear that are fighting to stay relevant by clinging to the way they used to do things in the past. The business model of the future is looking to be very different. Google is leading the way to shatter that old-world thinking.

  1. Lynn_Fredricks

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-25-06


    The problem is that they are not just clinging to how things used to be done in the past. The problem is reinterpretation of the past and rubber stamping by a bureaucracy that doesn't help, advise or interpret.

    Expressing some "real world" concept that already exists into software, or would be an obvious, non original modification, is the abuse and reinterpretation. These things are not original expressions at all.

    These same companies supported the first-to-file modification, which is the ultimate betrayal of innovators who are not large corporations with hordes of on-staff legal advisors.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    It remains to be seen if Apple et al will push for software patent reform within the group -- as they have a long record of doing so outside of it -- or not, Inkling. The company is clearly in favor of IP patents, but its CEO testified before Congress that the present implementation and enforcement are completely broken. We'll see what happens with this group.

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