EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.26.08

Patents Roundup: Government Gets Involved, Software Patents at Risk

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ambushed by Antitrust

The infamous patent ambush from Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] is leading the way to some new developments. First of all, the recent ruling is being appealed.

Rambus appealed the FTC’s ruling and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the FTC in April.

Further to that, there is a referral of the antitrust case to the Supreme Court, whose word on this would set solid precedence.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in a case in which the agency accused memory-maker Rambus of anticompetitive behavior in deceiving a standards-setting body.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in April threw out the FTC’s case against Rambus, in which the agency accused the company of convincing industry groups to declare a standard for the memory used in PCs, servers, printers and cameras without admitting that it owned the patents to those technologies. The FTC Monday asked the Supreme Court to overturn that appellate decision.

Reform in Progress

Also related to the FTC is the following report about an upcoming hearing which may change the way patents get treated.

The US Federal Trade Commission has announced the first of a possible series of public hearings to explore the evolving market for intellectual property (IP). The hearings will be held beginning on December 5, 2008, in Washington, DC. “The patent system has experienced significant change since the FTC released its first IP Report in October 2003, and more changes are under consideration. The courts and patentees are exploring the full implications of Supreme Court and Federal Circuit decisions on injunctive relief, patentability, and licensing issues. Congress has considered sweeping legislative patent reform, and new debates on the appropriate methods for calculating infringement damages have engaged the patent community. New business models for buying, selling and licensing patents have emerged and evolved since 2003. In addition, there is new learning regarding the operation of the patent system and its contribution to innovation and competition.”

The Bilski case, which was escalated up to the top where Bilski’s patenting got defeated, continues to wreak havoc even where software is involved, and that’s a good thing. Here is the latest example.

Halligan’s patent application claims a “programmed computer method” that operates to identify trade secret information. (Claim 119). In essence, the computer program has the common law rules of trade secrets hardcoded, and those rules are applied to determine whether particular information is a “trade secret.” Applying the machine-or-transformation test of Bilski, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) rejected Halligan’s claims as lacking patentable subject matter under 35 USC § 101.

Under Bilski, “[a] claimed process is surely patent-eligible under § 101 if: (1) it is tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or (2) it transforms a particular article into a different state or thing.” To avoid preemption the Federal Circuit emphasized that “the use of a specific machine or transformation of an article must impose meaningful limits on the claim’s scope to impart patent-eligibility;” that “the involvement of the machine or transformation in the claimed process must not merely be insignificant extra-solution activity;” and that the transformation “must be central to the purpose of the claimed process.”

Here is another new review of the book “Intellectual Property and Open Source,” which probably requires radical revision after re Bilski.

Intellectual property is an increasingly important part of our economy, and computer code in particular is presenting IP laws a serious challenge. Is code functional or expressive? Should it be covered by a patent or a copyright? What rights do we consumers have when we purchase a piece of computer software? Intellectual Property and Open Source: A Practical Guide to Protecting Code answers these questions, at least as well as any questions can be answered in this notoriously wishy-washy field of law.

Hardware Miscellany

Like many large companies, Nintendo got sued recently and the following new video tells one side of the story.

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Hardware patents remain an area that we do not cover in this Web site, but here is another report about this sector from the news.

Although there are few official press releases available, it seems that numerous well-known chip manufacturers are arguing about patents apparently involving tungsten metallisation processes.

When it comes to hardware, it’s easier to impose extreme measures like an embargo [1, 2]. It’s actually physical products that are taken to task, not mere knowledge that can be passed around over the wire, even across continents.

Patent Trolls

Amid tremendous pressures in an already-volatile and embattled industry, the patent trolls assault undeterred. Groklaw reckons they want a piece of the bailout money, i.e. taxpayers’ expenses.

In the suit, LML alleges that the defendants infringe U.S. Patent No. RE40220. LML is seeking damages, injunctive and other relief for the alleged infringement of these patents.

RPX, which we mentioned earlier today, continues to receive coverage. The Wall Street Journal beat everyone to it (marginally), including Larry from ZDNet. It’s being described as “defense” against patent trolls although it operates in similar ways to patent trolls.

Thus far, RPX has acquired more than $40 million in patent rights and will hit $100 million in its first year. The company, founded in March, counts John Amster, a former Intellectual Venures and Ocean Tomo executive, and Geoffrey Barker, founder of Cobalt, as co-CEOs.

They arrive from a patent troll [1, 2] and probably create yet another.

The biggest troll buster, Rick Frenkel, is still under attack by the very same vindictive trolls whom he was fighting.

Before departing, I took some time to study up on some of my most-followed cases there. As regular readers know, former Patent Troll Tracker blogger Rick Frenkel was sued by two East Texas patent lawyers after his identity was revealed.

Not much has changed in these lawsuits. The parties in Ward v. Cisco are still fighting over venue, and in Albritton v. Cisco they’re fighting discovery battles, but since I checked up on them anyhow I’ll take a minute to update both cases.

For background, see our notes about the most vicious troll, Ray Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. He attacked his legitimate critic [1, 2, 3], whom we recently mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4]. What an ugly and brutal corner of the industry this must be. it used to be about development, not racketeering and gavels.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. David Gerard said,

    November 27, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Gravatar

    Of course, with 3D printers and fabricators increasing in sophistication, we will in fact be talking about “mere knowledge that can be passed around over the wire, even across continents” when we talk about hardware.

    Hardware patents will soon be as damaging to innovation as software patents are. Don’t think industry isn’t quite aware of this.

What Else is New


  1. The EPO Has Become Battistelli's Circus and the Administrative Council Has Been Reduced to (Illegal) Circus Animals Controlled With 'Treats'

    Battistelli's attack on justice and on the rule of law is debated among insiders who have grown increasingly impatient with the Administrative Council's tolerance of Battistelli and sometimes even Kongstad's amazing complicity



  2. The Latest Lies About the Unitary Patent (UPC) Would Have Us Believe That It's Alive and Well

    How patents-centric sites (some of which are in bed with the EPO) have responded to the 'Brexit' vote and why they're not telling us the truth about the Unitary Patent scam (often created and promoted by the same people who run and/or fund such sites)



  3. EPO Management Bunker: “The Bailiff Who Came to Deliver the Subpoena was Escorted off the Property by Five Security Guards.”

    Battistelli has essentially turned the European Patent Office (EPO) into a barracks, where he continues to enjoy immunity from the rule of law and discourages those who wish to challenge this immunity



  4. Keeping the Guard and Securing Society From Software Patents

    The policies over which Indians and Europeans have kept guard are being 'stolen' by vested interests



  5. Benoît Battistelli Further Weaponises His EPO 'Stasi' With CA/52/16

    A glimpse at what Benoît Battistelli will shortly attempt to do to the EPO, in order to cement his power in the face of growing opposition from many directions



  6. EPO Caricature: Administrative Council Control of Benoît Battistelli

    Another new caricature regarding the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and lack of effective oversight from the Administrative Council (European Patent Organisation)



  7. EPO Caricature: Firing Benoît Battistelli

    The latest caricature regarding the President of the European Patent Office (EPO)



  8. Links 28/6/2016: Red Hat Summit 2016, Hadoop Events

    Links for the day



  9. Today's Media Coverage Says Microsoft Loves Linux, But Today Microsoft Extorted Linux Using Software Patents Again

    Luna Mobile has just been extorted by Microsoft (using dubious software patents, as usual) for using Android/Linux, but Microsoft-influenced media carries on spreading the lie that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  10. New Efforts to Work Around Barriers to UPC in Light of 'Brexit'; Behind These Efforts Are Self-Serving Patent Profiteers

    look at who's trying to work around the latest barriers to the widely-unwanted (by the public) Unitary Patent regime and what is being planned behind the scenes, or behind closed doors (by and for those who stand to profit from the Unitary Patent regime)



  11. Injunction Against Battistelli's Investigative Unit (Known Internally as 'Gestapo') Amid Serious Injustices and Bogus 'Trials'

    SUEPO, the EPO's staff union, steps up its spiel in a case against the "European Patent Organization" as defendant and "SUEPO/VEOB" (Trade Union of the European Patent Office) as claimants



  12. [ES] Con la UPC Muerta por el Resto del Termino de Battistelli, No Hay Razón para que la EPO o el Consejo Administrativo Sigan Manteniéndolo Más

    Pensamientos acerca de lo que pasará al líderazgo de la EPO después de ‘Brexit’ (salida Británica de la EU), lo que sevéramente socava el proyecto más grande de Battistelli el que usaba habituálmente para justificar sus increíbles abusos



  13. [ES] El Caradura Benoît Battistelli Debería Renunciar a Luz de la Filtrada Nueva Decisión en Su Vendeta en Contra de un Juez que se Atrevió a Decir la Verdad (Actualizado)

    Benoît Battistelli continúa quebrando las propias reglas de la EPO, no sólo las leyes naciónales, como una nueva decisión ayuda a revelar



  14. [ES] Cada Vez Más Parece Que Battistelli está Escondiéndo ‘Evidencia’ Falsa y/o Ilegalmente Obtenda de la Unidad Investigativa de la EPO

    El porqué creemos que Benoît Battistelli está cada vez mas desesperado de esconder operaciónes ilícitas de reunir ´evidencia´ lo que eventuálment lo puso a él mismo — no al acusado — en una situación catastrófica situacion que lo puede forzar (esperamos) a us renuncia



  15. Links 28/6/2016: Vista 10 Updategate, OpenMandriva 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  16. Links 27/6/2016: Linux 4.7 RC 5, OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  17. From Alleged Organised Crime to Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Željko Topić's situation in Croatia illuminated by means of recent documents from the authorities



  18. Battistelli May Still be on the Way Out as Pressure Grows in Germany, UPC in Shambles

    Pressure on Battistelli is growing even from within circles that are traditionally protective of him and a long letter is sent to Dr. Christoph Ernst, who some believe will replace Battistelli



  19. Caricature: European Patent Office (EPO) Under Battistelli

    The latest caricature about the state of the European Patent Office (EPO)



  20. Techrights (Almost) at 10: From Software Patents to Novell and to Present Focus on EPO

    A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe



  21. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  22. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  23. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  24. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  25. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  26. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  27. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  28. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  29. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  30. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts