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Businesses Patents The Almighty Buck

The Compulsive Patent Hoarding Disorder ( 38

An anonymous reader shares an article: It takes money to make money. CSIR-Tech, the commercialisation arm of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), realised this the hard way when it had to shut down its operations for lack of funds. CSIR has filed more than 13,000 patents -- 4,500 in India and 8,800 abroad -- at a cost of $7.6 million over the last three years. Across years, that's a lot of taxpayers' money, which in turn means that the closing of CSIR-Tech is a tacit admission that its work has been an expensive mistake -- a mistake that we tax-paying citizens have paid for. Recently, CSIR's Director-General Girish Sahni claimed that most of CSIR's patents were "bio-data patents", filed solely to enhance the value of a scientist's resume and that the extensive expenditure of public funds spent in filing and maintaining patents was unviable. CSIR claims to have licensed a percentage of its patents, but has so far failed to show any revenue earned from the licences. This compulsive hoarding of patents has come at a huge cost. If CSIR-Tech was privately run, it would have been shut down long ago. Acquiring Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) comes out of our blind adherence to the idea of patenting as an index of innovation. The private sector commercializes patents through the licensing of technology and the sale of patented products to recover the money spent in R&D. But when the funds for R&D come from public sources, mimicking the private sector may not be the best option.
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The Compulsive Patent Hoarding Disorder

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  • by Aryeh Goretsky ( 129230 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:55PM (#54099133) Homepage


    I am wondering if this has more to do with the quality of the research being done, as opposed to the patent process itself. While India's CSIR-Tech may have failed, Australia's equivalent entity, CSIRO, seems to have done quite well for Australian taxpayers, such as generating income on from Wi-Fi (some essential component of 802.11n, as I recall).


    Aryeh Goretsky

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:56PM (#54099137)

    By which I mean, someone wants to claim ownership of their creation for the sole purpose of denying others the ability to patent it.

    If there is such a thing, that patenting process ought to be government subsidized and possibly given processing priority.

    • As far as I understand, any form of publication is enough. Somebody else may still get a patent on the same thing, but it should be easy to invalidate it by just pointing to this publication.

  • I guess now we know where the /. moderators live.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) managed to patent-troll the world with their Wi-Fi patent. Maybe India should have asked them for help, or maybe it's better they didn't.

  • by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:59PM (#54099155)

    This summary reads as if written by an "objectivist" patent troll.

  • What country is this where wasting $7.9 million over 3 years of taxpayers money is an issue at all? In the US we waste that every 3 minutes.
  • Privately run? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guises ( 2423402 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @09:23PM (#54099869)

    If CSIR-Tech was privately run, it would have been shut down long ago.

    HA HA! Good one. If CSIR-Tech were privately run, as soon as quarterly earnings showed a decline they would start suing anyone and everyone remotely connected to their patents. As soon as this was shown to more profitable than whatever those scientists had been doing they'd announce a "restructuring" and fire most of them, replacing them with patent lawyers.

    Heh heh, "shut down" ... man, ha. ::wipes away tear::

  • Patents have become another "must-have" item in a scientists resume. It presumably shows you're able to create practical applications from otherwise abstract research results.

    In practice, of course, you can patent pretty much anything you want if you put your mind to it, and the vast majority of granted patents are never implemented in an actual product and never make any money at all. So researchers just jump through another set of hoops to pad their CV with, usually, a completely worthless patent or two.


    • Too bad the actual end result - the patent - is utterly worthless.

      No, the end result is the researcher's career. The patent is simply a byproduct.

    • In practice, of course, you can patent pretty much anything you want if you put your mind to it, and the vast majority of granted patents are never implemented in an actual product and never make any money at all.

      Actually, not exactly. You can try to patent anything you want if you put your mind to it, but the whole approval process is not easy. It is costly and takes a long time. As a result, you wouldn't easily get your invention patented but rather waste your money and time. However, I agree that vast majority of granted patents are useless and/or never implemented...

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday March 24, 2017 @11:06AM (#54102563)

    Why is it *always* necessary to compare a government agency to how an equivalent private agency would run?

    It's really that unbelievably difficult to understand that private business and public services operate in wildly different ways, with wildly different purposes and goals?

    Do people have *any* idea how much things would cost if all government services were for profit? Either virtually every government run service would have to shut down, or be priced to the point where no one but the wealthy would be able to afford them.

    If you want to argue that CSIR isn't fulfilling it's mission, that's fine. Argue away. But to argue that CSIR should be shut down because it isn't make a profit? That's just so mindbogglingly insane that it's not even wrong.

    Why not apply the same criteria to every other government service? DMV? Libraries? Public schools? Roads? Emergency Services? Basic Utilities like water and sanitation? They should all be profitable or shut down! Hell, disband government entirely and make *everything* a for-profit company. You need clean water? Then you won't mind paying $10/gallon for it cause some Martin Shkreli clone wants to line his pockets.

    Suddenly all you people who bitch about taxes being theft will be singing a wildly different tune. Assuming you can sing at all because you will be left financially destitute just trying to not die.

    • What has any of that got to with anything?!?

      No one has said that CSIR should be shut down, did you actually read the article or even the summary?

      Yes if the public schools decide to raise money by renting out their school halls to the public so they can host private events and it turns out that the cost of doing so is greater than the revenue generated they should stop doing that. Are you seriously trying to argue they shouldn't?

      If the DMV decides to set up a stall selling candy bars to the people waiting in

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky