Patently up to something...
By Ann Bridges
US indictments against China’s Huawei Technologies for theft of intellectual property (IP) used in advanced 5G communication networks are only part of the story.
According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s Erik Schatzker, the FBI also suspects Huawei of stealing patented nanodiamonds-based technology from Akhan Semiconductor. Diamond coatings harden smartphone glass covers and are utilized in defense applications like laser weapons, thus prohibited from export by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
All cutting-edge technology relies on obscure minerals named rare earths. The US and the rest of the world (ROW) are not pursuing patents using these critical elements. Yet China powers ahead with its Made in China 2025 initiative to attract a high-technology manufacturing base, encouraging innovative firms to stay close to its breakthrough metallurgical development.
ThREE Consulting’s James Kennedy commissioned a world-wide rare earth patent filings survey (see graphs). “US policymakers believe technology leadership is our country’s greatest strength, both economically and for our national security,” he noted. “Patent filings are a reasonable proxy of potential next-generation weapon systems and other technology that could be in China’s pipeline.”
80,000 rare earth patents from 1950 - August 2018
Kennedy concludes due to China’s accelerating rate of filings – increasing 250 percent from 2011 to 2018 – Chinese companies can employ legal strategies to undermine or nullify existing non-Chinese rare earth patents, resulting in overall control of technology.
Silicon Valley legend and global IP expert Bob Zeidman agrees. “While the U.S. has been weakening its patent system with incoherent court decisions and the America Invents Act of 2011, China has been strengthening its patent system. I personally have testified on cases where Chinese companies stole IP and it appeared that the Chinese government encouraged it. This new emphasis on patents by China should make international companies concerned.”
While China dominates rare earth patents, based on total filings China still lags the US. In 2018 per capita they filed 0.10% compared to US’ 0.12%. And Bloomberg’s Lulu Yilun Chen asserts there is no need to worry about China’s rising dominance in the area of IP, as these patents are worthless.
Gene Quinn and Steve Brachmann of ipwatchdog.com state, “Given the operation of the IP courts in China it seems rather unlikely that supposedly “weak” patents would be the problem that Bloomberg supposes.” Patent protection is enforced in the country of origin. They assert and Zeidman’s experience supports questionable ability to prevail in China on rare-earth-based cases.
Surfaced video shows YouTube CEO talking about separating “fake” from “authoritative” news
A video has surfaced showing YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki talking about how the video-sharing platform has created "a whole system" to decide what constitutes news and what doesn't, reports Reclaim The Net.
Homeless crisis in Los Angeles is out of control
The number of homeless in Los Angeles County has risen for the third time in four years and local officials claim the state isn't doing enough. There are homeless tents on freeways and underpasses, but the largest concentration of LA's unsheltered population is on Skid Row.
Homeless advocates accuse the officials of using the crisis to further their own political agenda.
Rio de Janeiro’s state governor says the man died following a four-hour long standoff.
The Obamas are releasing their first film, and – surprise! It makes a political statement.
The Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, will release “American Factory" this week after picking it up at Sundance in January. It's the first film from their stable to premiere on Netflix and carries a message about blue-collar workers and the manufacturing industry in the US, reported Politico.
If you could plan a fun event and require that all Dems and Republicans in Congress attend and get along, what would it be?
We have the Congressional Baseball Game...what would your activity be?
Fox News anchor responds to president’s criticism of the network
Fox News' Bret Baier countered President Trump's recent claims about the network on his "Special Report" show on Monday, reported Mediaite.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday after Matteo Salvini, a rising force from Europe’s insurgent far-right, withdrew his support for the government.
New York Times underlines “fear” of white nationalism at Indiana farmers market
Political analyst and accused sexual harasser's book deal sparks criticism
News that Mark Halperin, an ABC News reporter who fell off the radar after sexual misconduct claims, signed a book deal on anti-Trump political strategy, sparked backlash and upset his accusers, reported the Daily Beast.