Government Price Fixing Is Just as Stupid in Europe
Last week I noted in a broader sense yet another new bout of European Union (EU) idiocy.
“The EU’s latest assault on economic activity – is its new proposed assault on the Standard Essential Patent (SEP). What are SEPs?:
“‘An essential patent or standard-essential patent (SEP) is a patent that claims an invention that must be used to comply with a technical standard. Standards organizations, therefore, often require members disclose and grant licenses to their patents and pending patent applications that cover a standard that the organization is developing.’
“Standards organizations are global entities that set global standards for global things. As anti-globalism as I am – some things do require global things.
“The wireless World Wide Web is one such thing. Because every single wireless device everywhere on the planet – uses the same finite wireless spectrum on which to travel. And managing the traffic of 7+ billion people – can get a little tricky.…
“Standard Essential Patents are, therefore, ESSENTIAL.
“If you invent something that helps comply with keeping everything on the Web running smoothly – that something MUST be protected.
“Except the EU is currently looking to strip mine those protections….”
Due to a reality-imposed word limit, I couldn’t get into the specifics of the EU’s idiocy. They are looking to undermine SEPs – but how?
In large part – through the time-worn stupidity that is government price-fixing.
Rather than let the market players determine the value of SEPs? Government in its infinite ineptitude is going to fix the rates:
“(T)he regulations would establish a ‘competence center’ at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to act as a sort of clearinghouse for SEP issues (both technical and economic). The EUIPO does not currently have patent expertise….”
Get that? “The EUIPO does not currently have patent expertise.” But it will somehow manage to establish something they (and only they) deem a patent “competence center.”
Government under the absolute best of circumstances? Is never competent. A bureaucracy that admits at the outset it knows nothing about something? Is absolutely not going to be competent about it.
Then comes the government price fixing:
“The competence center would be tasked with:
- “Maintaining a register of SEPs.
- “Maintaining a database of SEP case law and determinations of ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory’ (FRAND) terms and royalties.
- “Assessing the essentiality of SEPs.
- “Administering aggregate FRAND royalty determinations.
- “Administering individual FRAND rate determinations.
“Importantly, before enforcing its SEPs in any European court (including the Unified Patent Court), an SEP owner would be required to register its SEPs with and obtain an assessment of the fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) rate from the EUIPO (although the current draft includes loopholes that could allow an SEP owner to avoid the latter requirement in certain circumstances).
“SEP registration would be a rather straightforward matter. The FRAND rate determination, however, would be a formal mediation-style process presided by two ‘conciliators’ and involve limited discovery, written submissions, witnesses (including experts) and potentially an oral hearing. The draft places a nine-month time limit on the FRAND rate determination….”
Well that’s great news. The EU Incompetence Center’s rate impositions will be idiotic – but at least they’ll take a long time imposing them.
Of course: As we’ve seen in the United States, these sorts of laws, regulations and bureaucracies are nigh always dominated by government cronies.
“Banana Republics are societies characterized by their starkly stratified social classes and a ruling-class plutocracy composed of the business, political and military elites. The Elites rule over a servile government that abets and supports, for kickbacks and bribes, the exploitation of the rest of society.
“Instead of Dole and United Fruit controlling Honduras, we now have Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and other tech giants controlling Congress and the Executive Branch through unlimited lobbying by groups like the Internet Association, High Tech Inventors Alliance, the Software Alliance, Unified Patents and through direct political donations….
“(T)he only difference between Honduras in 1904 and the United States today is that the new bananas are smartphones and the software they contain.”
“(T)he Director stacks PTAB panels with Judges that are known to hold views on issues in alignment with the Director.”
“(T)he USPTO admits that the Director does not have statutory authority to adjudicate an issue after a panel has been chosen, but argues that the Director can assert administrative authority to intentionally select Judges that will rule diametrically opposite to those Judges originally assigned to the case, thereby stacking any panel the Director chooses to achieve the result the Director wants in any case.”
Gee, I wonder if the corrupt cronyism that has ruined the US patent system – will ruin the EU’s Incompetence Center and their patent price-fixing…?
Of course: I don’t wonder if it will.
Because I know it will.