Illustrating the The long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship shared by Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Steven Appleton, long time CEO of Micron technologies (Idaho) is worth notice.
If you look at opensecrets.org under the "who gives" tab, lobbing spending database section and retrieve the client data of Micron technologies you will find that Micron had retained the lobbying services of DC firm Walker, Martin & Hatch from 2003 through 2006 paying the firm a total of $390,000. http://www.opensecrets.org/lobbyists/clientsum.asp?year=2003&txtname=Micron+Technology
As it happens, this firm was founded by Jack Martin, a "veteran" of Senators Hatch's Senate staff and Scott D. Hatch, Orrin Hatch's son, Laird Walker, the third partner is another longtime associate of the senator. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Walker_Martin_&_Hatch http://www.walkermartinhatch.com
Another benefit Orin Hatch has gained from this relationship is the direct investment of billions of dollars into the Utahan economy with the population of the MI foundry in Lehi Utah. Mi is a Micron and Intel joint venture producing NAND Flash memory. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635192665,00.html
As we all know the FTC started investigating allegations that Rambus was abusing their JEDEC membership to subvert the standard setting process on the behest of Micron and Hynix that are in fact stanch antagonists of Rambus.
As it happens, Senator Orrin Hatch is the ranking member of the Antitrust, Competition Policy and consumer rights subcommittee within the Senate Committee of the Judiciary and was the Chairman of the Committee of the Judiciary for many years in the last decade or so.
The Antitrust, Competition Policy and consumer rights subcommittee jurisdiction is " Oversight of antitrust law and competition policy, including the Sherman, Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts; (2) Oversight of antitrust enforcement and competition policy at the Justice Department; (3) Oversight of antitrust enforcement and competition policy at the Federal Trade Commission; (4) Oversight of competition policy at other federal agencies." http://judiciary.senate.gov/subcommittees/110/antitrust110.cfm
Not only Senator Hatch was and still is in a position to give Steve Appleton political assistance with the FTC persecution of Rambus and by that promoting Micron's business goals and Appleton's personal interests.
Orin Hatch with his political, democratic Counterpart and the current Chairman of the Committee of the Judiciary, Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) are aggressively promoting a highly controversial patent reform legislation in his capacity as head of a judicial panel with jurisdiction over copyright, trademark and patent law that was officially christened by Senate Judiciary, Committee Chairman at the time, Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) on March 17, 2005, this initiative also comes on the behest of Steve Appleton among other big technology corporations and trade associations.
Below is a quote from hatch.senate.gov site where he says:
"The proposed patent changes are important for many companies heavily reliant on patent protection, including Micron Technology Inc., which announced a joint venture that will invest $3 billion to $5 billion in Lehi. The new venture is expected to bring 1,850 jobs with an average pay of $50,000 to Utah County. Yet companies like Micron face many frivolous patent challenges that cost millions to fight through drawn-out court battles. “Today’s patent litigation system is a lottery, and everyone wants to hit the jackpot,” said Steve Appleton, Chairman, CEO and President of Micron. “This bill brings balance back into the system. We’ll be able to shift millions of dollars from litigation to innovation — which translates into providing more jobs at facilities such as the one in Lehi.” http://hatch.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=1642
This patent reform is overwhelmingly pro big-business and is designed to relive the likes of Micron from the likes of Rambus, Micron being an entrenched, capital spending conscious, memory commodity producer and Rambus being a small, innovative, patent dependent startup, introducing new revolutionary technology into the established, memory industry ecosystem.
Almost all the proposed changes are pro big-business; almost totally fulfilling the established, industry players' wish list, but the worst proposed change in the proposed bill will make it more difficult to seek court injunctions against alleged infringement, by that it will encourage lawbreaking by rewarding intellectual piracy which is prevalent in all high tech industries. Injunctive relief is vital in order to equalize the playing field when smaller inventors compete against larger enterprises with better funding.
Micron as well is Microsoft and many other large corporations, supporting this reform has a vested interest in weakening patent protection and enforcement by that diminishing the threat companies like Rambus pose to their intellectual piracy practices and market hegemony.
Even if any isolated point mentioned above can be adequately explained in itself, the aggregate illustrated by connecting these points can surly be perceived as an extremely disturbing state of affairs when money and political favors exchange hands and innocent companies and individuals suffer the consequences.
The stench of corruption surly emanates from Idaho, Utah and DC.
All of the above is JMO