Patents - Innovation (was Re: [Fsfe-ie] Charlie McCreevy)
seth.johnson at realmeasures.dyndns.org
Sun Aug 15 08:46:47 CEST 2004
Seth Johnson wrote:
> I think there's a course of action on software patents at the following
> link, one that McCreevy is intimately involved in.
> This is a meeting setting up performance indicators while talking about
> "improving the flow of funding for innovative enterprises and new
> entrepreneurs to foster employment" and "facilitating the creation of
> innovative companies and taking full advantage of R&D effort."
> I think we should start something where we get economic and political
> analysts to comment on the uncritical use of the number of patents as an
> indicator of innovation and research. We can target that analysis to
> These indicators are used by somebody in government. Who? Whatever they
> use them for, can be subject to incisive criticism.
> The outcome would be to show how software patents stifle innovation, and
> perhaps that this indicator is a false indicator that only shows that
> they've encouraged foreign investment in a way that stifles innovation.
Well, my recommendation to target the performance measures looks more astute
to me today. In the following article, the new EU president Barroso is
moving lickety-split on his own tack regarding the Lisbon Strategy for the
There's a link to Commissioner responsibilities in that article that returns
I presume it would indicate something of his strategy. The article points
at the roles of various people. It appears that it would be good to
determine where Gunter Verheugen (Germany), assigned to Enterprise and
Industry, stands on SW Patents, particularly as the article says he's good
for both large and small businesses. He will also coordinate the
Competitiveness Council. It would
also be good to see if we can't hook up SW patents with the role of Louis
Michel (Belgium), whose assignment to Development and Humanitarian Aid is
apparently a counterbalance to Peter Mandelson, the Trade Commissioner from
What I'm talking about in the following is, we need to convey to the folks
who devised the performance measures for the Lisbon Strategy, that simply
counting "technology patents" as a measures of innovation, failing to make
the distinction that SW patents establish a thoroughgoing constraint on
innovation, is not going to work as an objective measure for the "voluntary"
Lisbon Strategy. In describing the distinction and its implications, we may
do well to play to Verheugen, and to the evident "balancing" between Michel
and Mandelson. This is very important, because I believe it is this
overarching strategy, and this measure in particular, which probably
accounts for the implacable indifference of these folks to assertions of
democratic principles of governance, as they pursue a "fact-based,"
business-like approach to governance.
We really should analyze this indicator and relate our insights to it, and
try to hold it to the standards of objectivity and attaining of the Lisbon
Looking up the Lisbon Strategy, I find that it employs the same "patents"
measure for innovation that I noted in my previous email McCreevy was
involved in with respect to a meeting of ECOFIN that seemed to be relevant
to the Nice Treaty:
This is the EU's Lisbon Strategy page, with "current news" links:
A short definition of the Lisbon strategy is here:
The definition refers to an "Open Coordination" method introduced with the
Lisbon Strategy, an approach that uses "soft law" (strong guidelines) to get
consensus and develop indicators. We should appeal to this method, as well
as the principles that the measures are supposed to be objective, and that
the Lisbon process is voluntary, in asserting that SW patents need to be
distinguished and analyzed in terms of the implications of such a radical
change to establishing private exclusive rights to abstract methods.
Current performance rates are here:
The Innovation measure doesn't break out "patents" as a separate measure.
According to this page, they are failing, and the Lisbon goals are regarded
I got that link from the following analysis page from the Centre for
European Reform, which basically asserts methodological "staying the
course," and of course makes no mention of the problem with measuring
innovation in terms of patents:
The fact they are failing means we can say they would likely improve their
performance rates by correcting the constraint on innovation built into
The following March 2004 link says Ireland and Sweden are the heroes of the
That page has a link analyzing the progress of the Lisbon Strategy by the
Centre for European Reform
(http://www.eu2004.ie/templates/document_file.asp?id=8668), on page 15 of
which they explicitly use the patents indicator, saying "The relatively low
number of patents that European companies file at home and abroad reveals
how the EU still fails to keep pace with the US. European companies filed
161 patents per million of population at the European Patent Office (EPO) in
2001, while US firms took out 170. The gap is far larger at the United
States Patent Office, where US companies filed 322 patents per million of
population, compared with just 80 by European businesses."
The following link is about the March meeting of the Competitiveness
It quotes the Council as saying "At the heart of this challenge is the
promotion of conditions which foster investment, innovation and greater
competition. The regulatory regime must not only be fair and effective but
must be proportionate and avoid stultifying enterprise." It seems to me
that patents of abstract processes that happen to be contained in certain
devices, will surely stultify enterprise.
This is a link from some SME representatives calling for a stronger role for
Here are pages on the Lisbon process for Norway, the Czech Republic and
> > (At the following link, I believe we observe McCreevy attending an Ecofin meeting in 2000 setting up the Nice Treaty, which the Irish public rejected by a referendum that was subsequently overridden. They list a set of performance indicators here, which includes a simple item: patents under "Innovation and Research.")
> > > http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ecofin/ACF717B.htm
> > 2301st Council meeting
> > ECOFIN
> > Brussels, 7 November 2000
> > President : Mr Laurent FABIUS
> > Minister for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry of the French Republic
> > < SNIP >
> > FOLLOW-UP TO THE LISBON EUROPEAN COUNCIL AND PREPARATION FOR THE NICE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
> > COUNCIL CONCLUSIONS
> > The importance of significantly improving the flow of funding for innovative enterprises and new entrepreneurs to foster employment was highlighted in the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, which asked "the Council and the Commission to report by the end of 2000 on the ongoing review of EIB and EIF financial instruments in order to redirect funding towards support for business start-ups, high-tech firms and micro-enterprises, as well as other risk-capital initiatives proposed by the EIB".
> > The Council welcomes the Commission's communication on review of Community financial instruments for enterprises, including the steps envisaged to improve coordination, and supports the need to adapt the Community financial instruments in line with the new knowledge based economy.
> > The Council estimates that there is a need to stimulate the new knowledge based economy and the entrepreneurial spirit in the European Union by facilitating the creation of innovative companies and taking full advantage of R&D effort. In particular, the Council notes that there still remains a noticeable financing gap for very early stage technology-based companies. Therefore the Council considers that, within the present budgetary framework, Community instruments should be refocused on earlier phases in the innovation cycle, addressing identifiable market failures.
> > < SNIP >
> > STRUCTURAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS: AN INSTRUMENT FOR STRUCTURAL REFORMS DRAFT COUNCIL REPORT TO THE NICE EUROPEAN COUNCIL
> > The Council discussed a draft report prepared by the Economic Policy Committee on structural performance indicators. This report had been requested by the Lisbon European Council and it took account of a Commission communication on the same subject. The purpose of these indicators is to be able to assess progress made in economic and social reforms more objectively in the four priority areas developed in Lisbon, namely employment, innovation, economic reform and social cohesion. The report also contains general indicators on the economic context.
> > As suggested by the Commission, the Council agreed on a global list of indicators which were common to the Council and the Commission. This list did not pre-empt the, no doubt shorter, list of indicators which would be taken to illustrate the Commission's synthesis report to the Stockholm European Council.
> > At the close of the discussions the Council decided to submit the report to the Nice European Council together with a note from the Presidency summarising the comments made by the delegations on the number and the type of indicators.
> > These structural indicators are listed in Annex.
> > < SNIP >
> > (I've snipped the indicators, except under Innovation and Research. It appears that they are simply taking the number of patents as an direct indicator!)
> > New list of INDICATORS
> > General economic background indicators
> > List of 28 indicators
> > I. Employment
> > II. Innovation and research
> > 1. Public expenditure on education
> > 2. R&D expenditure
> > 3. ICT expenditure
> > 4. Level of Internet access
> > 5. Patents
> > 6. Exports of high-technology products
> > 7. Venture capital
> > III. Economic Reform
> > IV. Social Cohesion
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DRM is Theft! We are the Stakeholders!
New Yorkers for Fair Use
[CC] Counter-copyright: http://realmeasures.dyndns.org/cc
I reserve no rights restricting copying, modification or distribution of
this incidentally recorded communication. Original authorship should be
attributed reasonably, but only so far as such an expectation might hold for
usual practice in ordinary social discourse to which one holds no claim of
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