China, Communications, Economy, Issues

Intellectual Property: No One Wants to Pay – Everyone Wants to Get Paid

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“Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.”  Francois de La Rochefoucauld exquisitely captured Man’s inherent inconsistency to Man.

Hand in hand with hypocrisy – goes rationalization.  Which an exchange in the flick “The Big Chill” aptly describes thus:

Michael: “Don’t knock rationalization.  Where would we be without it?  I don’t know anyone who can get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations.  They’re more important than sex.”

Sam: “Aww come on – nothing’s more important than sex.”

Michael: “Oh yeah?  Have you ever gone a week without a rationalization?”

Immediately prior to this, actor Jeff Goldblum’s Michael perfectly describes the hypocrisy-rationalization nexus:

“I’m not even claiming that people always think they’re doing the right thing.  They may know they’re doing something dishonest, insensitive or manipulative – but they almost always think there’s a good reason for doing it.  They almost always think it will turn out for the best in the end.  And even it just turns out best for them – because by definition what’s best for them is what’s best….Really all that’s happening is I’m trying to get what I want.  Which is what everybody does.”

What brings at once to mind a 17th Century French writer and two 20th Century Hollywood writers?  Looking at a Web News search for “patents.”

The world of intellectual property (IP) is rife with hypocrisy – and rationalizations therefore.  Full of people who incessantly steal other people’s IP – while proffering ridiculous assertions to justify their heists.  And all the while – they are doing everything they can to stop other people from stealing their IP.

The hypocrisy – is brazen and blinding.  And the rationalizations – are predictably ridiculous.  Containing bizarre assertions like:

The Bizarre Regulatory Idolatry of the Patent Lobby: “(There) has been a presupposition by their counterparts on the Left that rights come from government, rather than being innate or natural. In the case of rights such as free speech, assembly, or property rights generally, such an assumption is indeed quite problematic, and worthy of pushback from the Right.  But if you wanted to find a clear-cut instance of a specific property right that is granted arbitrarily by the government, rather than merely being recognized as natural by it, you couldn’t do much better (or worse) than the patent system.”

Get that?  So what you say is a protected natural right – but the thoughts you formulate that predicate what you say (and do, and create) are not?  That’s…ridiculous.  To say that everyone else has equal rights to – and an equal share of – your IDEAS is so juicy a rationalization, it is positively dripping with hypocrisy.

In the IP World, the hypocrisy-rationalization nexus is embodied by people who take IP very seriously when it’s theirs – and totally un-seriously when it isn’t.  We recently catalogued computer giant Apple’s IP dystopia.  They’re suing Samsung to get paid for their patents – and suing Qualcomm to get out of paying for Qualcomm’s.

But a quick scan of the Web provides an avalanche of this nonsense.  To snag a few at random….

Microsoft Sues Corel In Office Software Patent Battle

Corel Software Sues Microsoft for Software Patent Infringement

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Microsoft Sues Motorola Over Wi-Fi, Video Patents

Motorola Unit Sues Microsoft in Patent Case

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Huawei Sues Samsung over Patents

Samsung Sues Huawei Over Patent Infringement

And it isn’t just U.S. companies.  Heck – whole countries do it.  China is world-renowned – for stealing per annum close to $400 billion in IP.  That is MASSIVE IP theft.  Now-President Donald Trump routinely made China’s heists an issue while running for the office.

But does China take its own IP seriously?  What do you think.

International Patent Applications from China Surge in 2016: “The number of international patent applications from China hit about 43,100 in 2016, an increase of 44.7 percent from the year before, the State Intellectual Property Office said Wednesday.  By the end of 2016, China had about 1.1 million domestic invention patents, becoming the third country in the world to surpass the 1 million benchmark, after the United States and Japan.”

Shocker.

So when next someone offers some ridiculous rationalization – in defense of their ridiculous hypocrisy – remember this evidentiary cavalcade.

And the human nature behind it.

This is a guest post by Seton Motley Founder and President of Less Government

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