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France To Launch a National Patent Troll 179

Posted by samzenpus
from the got-to-get-them-all dept.
zoobab writes "France is creating a state sponsored patent fund, FranceBrevets, which primary focus will be to sponsor, acquire and license patents in the ICT (read software patents) sector. The patent fund is at the initiative of the minister of Research, Valérie Pécresse, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and digital economy, Eric Besson. The primary target of the fund is to collect licenses on those patents, which is already seen in France as the biggest patent troll of the country. France is also supporting the European Unitary Patent, which is seen by many at the final attempt to validate software patents in Europe."
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France To Launch a National Patent Troll

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  • Godwin (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:44PM (#36419582) Journal

    You remember the Third Reich? Get rid of the racism and the sense of urgency, and you basically have the EU in a couple of decades. If I think of the number of freedoms I've lost both this and that side of the Pond since 1995, I wonder whether it's immoral to carry on being productive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FatdogHaiku (978357)
      Mr. Galt, is that you? I'm not a big "Randophile" but sometimes current events remind me of Atlas Shrugged.
      • Re:Godwin (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:53PM (#36419992)

        Hah, I thought I might be the only one..
        I remember reading Atlas Shrugged back in the '70s, thought it was right-wing crap (can I add, the next thing I read was the Illuminatus! trilogy)
        Re-read it in the early '80s, still thought it was right-wing crap.
        Re-read it in the '90s (mostly to give me a set of references to take the piss out of a Randiot I had the misfortune to deal with at the time), it worried me that some of it was starting to make sense. Still regarded is as mostly right-wing crap, but with valid points.

        Re-read it a couple of times in the early '00s. Unfortunately, some parts of it almost exactly described my then current situation apropos my employer and my contributions to the 'system'. I'd hate to admit this, but it was a bit of a factor in me getting out of the field of employment I was engaged in.

        The more I do look at the world, the more I think she was right, but with the wrong 'enemy' - she had an obvious bee in her bonnet regarding 'commies' which made her a bit blinkered.

        Like the characters in the book, I'm currently employed doing something which (just) pays the bills, but it's not in my 'specialist' area of employment - that which I used to get paid silly money for doing (but which others were getting even sillier money for 'exploiting') which is now my 'hobby'. This wasn't a conscious decision, it was a couple of years later that I actually made the connection with the book.

        (and no, I've not yet in the 30 odd years I've owned a copy of the book managed to get through Galt's diatribe...it's like all the damn songs in the LOTR trilogy, I promise myself the next time I'll really read through it, but t'other part of the brain which knows better always wins and I skip it/them - and I still maintain Atlas Shrugged is mostly right-wing crap.)

        • Re:Godwin (Score:5, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @05:56PM (#36420272) Journal
          Ayn Rand's philosophy is so annoying because it is partly correct, partly idiotic......on the one hand, yes, it's a good idea to take care of yourself and not be a 'leech' on society.......on the other hand, she was so opposed to charity to a ridiculous degree. Really, sometimes people are down, and you don't have to kick them. It won't destroy society if you help them out a bit.
          • by GauteL (29207)

            "Really, sometimes people are down, and you don't have to kick them. It won't destroy society if you help them out a bit."

            Indeed. Some people thrive from help when the are down and go on to do good things with their lives. Also some people turn into leeches when they are helped. Most of the arguments regarding welfare states, unemployment benefits and the like comes down to disagreement about what the ratio between the two groups are and what ratio leads to a better society and is morally acceptable (*).

            The

          • by tomtomtom (580791)

            It's not "charity" if it's someone else's money you're giving (through taxes) or if you do it because someone else tells you that if you don't then you're a "bad person" (or going to hell or whatever).

        • Right wing? When has individual liberty been "right wing" ? Seems like a liberal concept to me. John Locke anyone?

    • I think you meant to post this comment over at www.dailymail.co.uk. They probably have some tips for recognizing Doodlebugs. Hint - listen for a buzzing noise.

    • You don't think the EU has serious racism? Look at how well the anti-(Roma,Arab,Turk,Slovak,Russian) parties do in elections. I'm conservative, but the increasing influence of the far right on European politics is a little alarming.
    • Would you care to elaborate which singel freedom you lost?

      The freedom to settle everywhere in europe?
      The freedom to transfer money into every country of europe?
      The freedom to own land/houses everywhere in europe?
      The freedom to work everywhere in europe?
      The freedom to be a private owner (share holder) of a company everywhere in europe?

      Comparing the EU with the Third Reich is imho a hugh insult to the survivors of the Third Reich.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Well said, the GP is a fucking idiot blaming Europe for these things, when the problems stem from national governments.

        Look at BT's spying on it's customers with Phorm, the British government white-washed it and it had to be the EU that stepped in and told them it wasn't acceptable.

        Look at any number of human rights cases where the ECHR has done the right thing where national governments wouldn't.

        Look at all the pro-consumer stuff like limiting mobile telco roaming profits which were rediculously high and g

        • Well, to be honest Sarkozy only behaves like any US president does, after all he has similar power and also similar limits. As a person he likes to make grand gestures and to talk big, but I doubt he is truly a danger for anyone.
          OTOH Berlusconi is certainly the most corrupt politician in Europe since Giulio Andreotti. Considering that he is a "North Italian" and the Mafia is stemming from the south (well, simplified ;D) it is really astonishing how deep he let Italy sink in the public opinion of the rest of

      • You're listing the freedoms that the Reich wanted to grant the ethnically favoured across Europe, yes?

        • No, I'm listing the freedoms we have in europe as I don't get why our parent is comparing europe with the third reich.

  • Finality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:45PM (#36419590)

    France is also supporting the European Unitary Patent, which is seen by many at the final attempt to validate software patents in Europe.

    Correction : this will only be the final attempt if it succeeds. Otherwise, stand by for many more.

    • by pieterh (196118)

      Ironically, the French patent establishment largely launched the notion of 'intellectual property' [digitalmajority.org] in the late 18th century.

      This has been a long, long fight between the patent lobby and the rest of society. The sad thing is no-one really represents society, today, except civil society groups. Government has long become a tool for big business to get laws it thinks it needs, and the big software business (often, US firms like MSFT) still believes (wrongly) that it needs software patents.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:49PM (#36419604)

    Easy to create in the thousands, being nothing more than a sheet of paper and can be sold for billions.
    France is getting onboard early to dampen austerity measures from the last bubble.

  • Shrug? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by medcalf (68293) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:50PM (#36419614) Homepage
    Well, given that we (in the US) currently have a government that thinks "Atlas Shrugged" is a great story about how to run a railroad, I suppose it will be a while before stuff like this gets sorted out. And it probably won't be pleasant.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, given that we (in the US) currently have a government that thinks "Atlas Shrugged" is a great story about how to run a railroad

      We should make it a test for anyone standing for office - if you think that Atlas Shrugged is great then you're banned.

    • by lennier (44736)

      Well, given that we (in the US) currently have a government that thinks "Atlas Shrugged" is a great story about how to run a railroad, I suppose it will be a while before stuff like this gets sorted out. And it probably won't be pleasant.

      Ah yes, that train story about how running a red signal light is perfectly safe [tvtropes.org].

  • At least IV has two things going for it:

    1. It's a private company, so if it fails it fails on its own dime (rather than getting millions of tax dollars infused into it)
    2. It actually sponsors some new research.

    This just sounds like a real, outright troll. It doesn't even convert the revenues into more research money.

    • by rmstar (114746)

      At least IV has two things going for it:

      1. It's a private company, so if it fails it fails on its own dime (rather than getting millions of tax dollars infused into it)
      2. It actually sponsors some new research.

      As to 1: it is raising a tax on you by patent licensing. Moneywise it is the same thing, the difference is that since it is a private company, you have no vote on the matter.

      As to 2: the French gov. sponsors a shitload of research, orders of magnitude beyond what IV will ever be able to do.

      Also, if th

  • Welcome to 1984 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @03:59PM (#36419684) Homepage Journal

    Animal farm wants their president back. As a French national this makes me question my nationality. Between three strikes patents and this I wonder whether France truly got rid of the Nazis? Sad thing is there are so many other 'first world' nations that are also following this trend of returning to medevial times.

    • Between three strikes patents and this I wonder whether France truly got rid of the Nazis?

      Holy sense of proportion... I don't think anyone's biggest complaint about the Nazis was their attitude towards intellectual property.

      • Re:Welcome to 1984 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by medcalf (68293) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:50PM (#36419968) Homepage
        Of course not, but tyranny is tyranny, and tyrants act like tyrants. When you give them control, they grab for more. Europe and the US are both heading down this slope, which will have a bad end if not reversed.
        • I would argue that not all tyrants are the same, and some forms of tyranny are perhaps better than others.
        • by KDR_11k (778916)

          The Nazis were a mixture of tyrants and the mob, their approach to intellectual property was to subject your company to Gleichschaltung (intimidate, arrest or assassinate its leaders and replace them with peons of the party).

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        The attitude towards imaginary property isn't the biggest complaint about the French government either.

      • by JSG (82708)

        For goodness sake, you have a seven digit ID here - stop being so insightful.

        You should be writing up bollocks under the subject line of "Welcome to 1984" or something.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Nazism was a bus that some people got on and rode for all it was worth. Several interests in this country including William Davis (who was nailed to the wall for it) and Prescott Bush (who was permitted to keep a million dollars and use it to found an empire that culminated in the placement of a total idiot in the white house... so far) and let us not forget IBM made awfully big piles of money off ol' Adolf's attempt to exterminate every Jew but himself. Hell, a relative of mine watched a shot-down Zero sin

    • You're not alone. Over here, we have SWAT team raids against people for selling raw milk.

      If you ever felt you 'missed out' not living in the dark ages, I think you'll be getting your opportunity real soon now.

  • by Teun (17872) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:08PM (#36419750) Homepage
    It really makes you wonder under what stone these politicians live.

    The whole world witnesses the stagnation to software development caused by the incessant court battles about software patents in the USofA and then they want a similar system!

    But then most of them are probably lawyers by trade so they see opportunities...

    Lets hope other nations like the Germans can stop this nonsense taking hold in EU legislation.

    • I think it's more an issue of the deepness of pockets than the size of stones.

    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      That might work - the Green party in Germany is on the rise in a major way. They poll at around 20% of the votes and have picked up their first governorship in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. They are opposed to software patents and patents on genes and their positions have become a lot more influential in Germany, now.
      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Also the German economy is heavily based around small and medium sized businesses, software patents would be able to cripple that and wreck the country's economy.

    • You have to ask if you have learned?

      Why should the primary goal of a society be innovation?
      I don't ask that sarcastically. Seriously... you speak of stagnation in software development as though that is the end of the argument.

      For politicians and arguably for most of the population... things like jobs, security, power, wages... matter a whole lot more.

      Looking at society, lawyers provide much more job security and long term employment than software developers. Expect more strangling pieces of legislation th

  • by Cochonou (576531) on Sunday June 12, 2011 @04:38PM (#36419906) Homepage
    As far as I know, software patents are not recognized in France.
    See for instance here [www.inpi.fr].
  • It is totally unethical for a government to enact legislation to create a tax on innovation in the form of patents and then turn around and gather all the patents for itself. This is a guarantee that poor quality patents will be issued and subsequently bought by the French government who will no doubt make it a criminal act to not pay them the innovation tax. If France adopts this it will destroy that sector of the French economy. But what else would you expect of the French, experts at shooting themselves
  • This whole Patent and Intellectual Property craziness is because the politicians run out of ideas how to increase employment and Gross National Product.
    They see that they lost the battle of keeping manufacturing and other jobs into their countries, slowly all the money creeps toward the BRIC countries.
    What the politicians will be left with is the doom scenario that is unfolding in the Arabic countries round the Mediterranean and the creep of that scenario to the weak European economies round that same Medit

  • by HuguesT (84078) on Monday June 13, 2011 @01:32AM (#36422742)

    Of course on Slashdot patents=bad ; and of course as well no one is going to read the Fine Article, particularly if it is in french. The google "translation" and the various interpretations in english people have put out are not helping. Nowhere in the article is it written that this institution will massively collect stupid patents for little money and sue companies like Microsoft.

    First you have to admit that patents have at least on principle some validity. Someone has an idea for a commercial new product, describes it in a patent and get some limited protection. It is totally unfair of large company to read such patents and implement the idea at a lower cost without paying licenses.

    The idea here is to allow small-to-medium companies to benefit from patents as well. While a small company can certainly file for patent, they do not have the resources to defend them in court or otherwise, so basically they are more or less moot, except as bargaining chips for acquisition. The French government puts out a lot of money (think NSF-like grants but also industrialization grants) and they are not seeing as many industrial success as hoped. One reason, they reason, is that small companies cannot defend their ideas against larger companies, both in Europe and overseas. Other nations have government-based patent protection. Do you think the CSIRO patents for 802.11a/g [engadget.com] were trolling?

    So this institution will help small-to-medium French companies defend their portfolio. The initial idea is no to collect patents but to propose services. Indeed they will put together defensible cases by polling patents in some cases, but the stated aim is to get licenses income for the companies, not for this new institution by itself. This is not the same as trolling I think.

    Essentially the French government doesn't want to see its industrialization monies get wasted too much. What's bad about this ?

    • by devent (1627873)

      "First you have to admit that patents have at least on principle some validity. Someone has an idea for a commercial new product, describes it in a patent and get some limited protection. It is totally unfair of large company to read such patents and implement the idea at a lower cost without paying licenses."

      No that is not how patents are working. With patents (not the BS business or software patents) you have a working machine, not just an idea. I can come up with thousands of ideas every day, should I be

  • My excitement dwindled after the title.

  • It's a "Patent Tgoll"

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