12 November 2008

The Chinese Overlords of Intellectual Monopolies

This looks tiny:

A Chinese Internet company has sued Microsoft for patent infringement over its use of RSS* in Windows Vista.

Wang Jianbo, chairman of China E-commerce Info Tech Company, said his firm applied for a patent on RSS services in 2005 and was granted patent ZL 2005 1 0022721.3 in December 2007 from China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Wang says Microsoft adopted RSS technology in Vista without his company's authorisation.

It's actually huge. Here's what is going on.

In the 19th century, America was a by-word for piracy of British ideas. In the 20th century, as its industry developed, it embraced intellectual monopolies, and became the most fervent advocate of maximalist legal regimes.

In the 20th century, China was a by-word for piracy of American ideas. In the 21st century, as its industry developed, it embraced intellectual monopolies, and became their stoutest defender. The news story above is but the trickle that presages the torrent.

Soon, America will be deluged with such suits, as China tries to leverage its huge industrial power. The consequence? America will become one of the most fervent advocates for *minimalist* intellectual property regimes. Yes, you read that correctly: just wait.


bengeminii said...

Good points.

Got me thinking.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks. That's what it's all about....

Anonymous said...

Poetic justice indeed. There was a big row in the RSS world a couple of years ago when MS appeared to be engaging in attempted theft-by-patent again:


In fact, Yahoo! filed similar theft-by-patent apps. on fundamental RSS (and their Gowers review submission was appalling) but they seem to have some (rather hypocritical) friends.

Glyn Moody said...

Thanks for the link.

kozmcrae said...

Yes, companies who live in glass skyscrapers shouldn't play with wrecking balls.