Fortune Magazine Commentary Lacerates BigTech for Spending More on Legal Than R&D

A bastion of business coverage of large corporations since the 1920s, Fortune Magazine, lambasted BigTech companies because they “acquire and kill competitors and copy other companies’ products.”

Contributed by Drew Johnson, conservative and former national director of Protect Internet Freedom, who is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, the piece states that “These tech leaders were once in the business of actually inventing things. But these days, these colossal companies shore up their supremacy by other means.

“They acquire and kill competitors and copy other companies’ products, sometimes spending more on legal battles than research and development”

This un-documented point may be meant facetiously, but it is well-taken. Tech companies’ ability ability to thwart innovation they deem disruptive to their business model or inventions that they may be infringing with expensive legal challenges is well-documented.

Most of these highly successful companies bottomline would be untouched had they taken a fair and reasonable license. Once the are on the line for potential damages, however, they often dig-in their heels.

Essential Protections

Strong IP protections are essential to our economy as a whole, it was stated in Fortune. Nearly 30% of all jobs in the United States are in IP-intensive industries, from motion pictures to software to biotechnology. According to data from the USPTO, nearly 40% of U.S. gross domestic productcomes from these industries.

America’s tech giants have achieved an astounding level of market dominance, says Johnson. Google accounts for about 90% of web searches globally, Amazon controls 44% of the e-commerce market, and Apple reports more revenue from its iPhone than the rest of the smartphone industry combined.

Addressing abuses by companies that routinely infringe the IP rights of others, be they patents, copyrights or trademarks, can and should come from all sides of the political spectrum.

The commentary cites Google’s recent loss to Sonos in a major patent litigation case as reason for optimism.

Last month the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Google is in violation of five Sonos patents relating to smart speakers. In July a Hamburg Higher Regional Court upheld a preliminary injunction filed by Sonos against Google.

“However, if tech giants continue to steamroll smaller companies,” the article concludes, “much of this economic activity could disappear.”

One hopes that the IP rights discussion does not become politicized like practically everything else. Addressing abuses by companies that routinely infringe the IP rights of others, be they patents, copyrights or trademarks, can and should come from all sides of the political spectrum.

The full Fortune commentary can be found here.

Image source: protocol.com

 

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