Despite its Alphabet’s (Google) motto “Don’t be evil”, the EU has just tagged them with a 200+ billion dollar fine for abusively using their search service to prioritize preferred listings .
Like the other four giant digital platforms whose wealth, power and data enormity are invitations to abuse their virtually users, Google will dispute the EU fine (and its additional order giving Google 90 days to present their plan to reliably clean up their act)
On its surface, this news item may be of remote interest to TTO’s and US patent holders. But as foreign venues clamp down on big tech their need to maintain bottom-line growth may heighten their abusive conduct here in the US. US Pro-patent interests are painfully familiar with the political clout of the big tech oligopoly. Will the US follow EU’s lead? So far Congress and SCOTUS are allowing themselves to be persuaded by big tech’s words, not their deeds.
At AUTM’s excellent presentation before a standing room only crowd of Hill staffers yesterday, Steve Sasalka referenced the US Chamber’s recent US 10th place world rating of patent strength. This is the result of recent anti-patent activities by Congress, the Courts, and the past administration. The AUTM panel outlined the latest reports
commissioned by AUTM and BIO showing the economic contributions of research universities. Steve was flanked by two startup panelists whose operating technology was based on academic research. Both were quiet, straight forward entrepreneurs, clearly not Hill advocates and were thus very persuasive. One of them startled this listener however when with calm and matter-of-fact earnestness he said that Europe was now a preferred patent venue over the US.
In a recent economic report The Manhattan Institute’s Economic E21 Report said:
“The nature of invention and patent activity has changed, but the factors identified in this paper are still important. Access to markets, ideas, and capital give inventors the tools they need. Openness to new ideas allows their innovations to flourish. Creating an environment conducive to innovation, and making use of existing innovation hubs, is important for bolstering economic growth and upward social mobility.”
(The “innovation hubs” link above is to an NIH study.) This is an honest and typical policy report. In fact, the pro-patent side of our on-going patent policy congressional struggle with US tech titans is supported virtually everywhere except in our nation’s Capitol.
Too many patent policymakers are still “fogged-in” by the troll narrative, patent law complexity, and the lure of big tech campaign support needed to get reelected. Hill staffers treat their visits like job interviews. The policy is simple. What AUTM launched on the Hill yesterday was detailed but stated the very simple reality that patents must be reliable or they will not attract the private sector investment needed to commercialize them and such commercialization creates the jobs Members expect when they appropriate $130 billion annually to fund basic science.
Home state universities must repeat and repeat that message to their congressional delegations. There is no other way to penetrate the political fog and avoid being swallowed by it unless we keep repeating the simple truth. AUTM made a good start yesterday. The ball is now in our court.