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

12.21.08

Patents Roundup (US): Apple Sued, Government Intervenes, Patents Killed by Bilski

Posted in Apple, Law, Patents at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple has just been hit by another patent lawsuit (there are many more), and Apple is far from alone in this. The aggressor is not a patent troll, but the patents seem like trivial software patents that should not have been granted.

The named US patents are 7,130,616, 7,142,934, 7,142,935, and 7,167,765, but we note that the final three are all headed ‘Audio converter device and method for using the same’, have the same abstract and are therefore clearly variations on a theme.

Some Mac sites offer further details.

Samsung has settled with EZ4Media for an unknown amount, Apple Insider said Thursday.

The lawsuit against Apple is similar to one brought by IBM. In that case, the technology company is alleging former executive Mark Papermaster could provide Apple inside information. A court has temporarily ruled Papermaster cannot join Apple’s hardware unit.

Government Steps In

According to this article, a restructuring of the patent system may soon come.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office needs to be overhauled if it is to come to grips with rising backlogs and a perception of declining patent quality, according to a report the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent to President-elect Barack Obama. The report available online calls for sweeping changes in the leadership and structure of the patent office…

The effects of this are unknown and it could certainly be just a lot of hot air. The NSA has just patented snooping, which shows that the government itself is not opposed to software patents. Already, the ITC has stepped up to threaten with another embargo.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to investigate three patent complaints — about semiconductor circuits, camera phones and flash memory chips — that could lead to products being banned from import into the U.S.

Microsoft too has already used the ITC to threaten a competitor with an embargo over patents dispute.

In Re Bilski Slaughters Patents

We have discussed this case in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33]. The decision was used back in November in order to fight software patents, but the outcome is not yet known. On the other hand, in the pharmaceutical industry, this ruling is assassinating patents already.

A set of pharmaceutical process patents for ‘evaluating and improving the safety of immunization schedules’ (Classen v. Biogen et al.; see US Patents 6,420,139; 6,638,379; 5,728,385; 5,723,283) were held to be invalid due to unpatentability. The decision was appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but was upheld with a terse citation to In re Bilski (which decision we discussed here).

There are some more details here:

For example, although Bilski states that a process claim is “surely” patent-eligible under section 101 if it complies with the machine-transformation test, this cannot be literally correct with respect to a naturally occurring biological process. Photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide and water into sugar, and in Bilski the Court specifically points to chemical reactions as the sort of physical transformation that will render a process patentable, but a claim directed to photosynthesis would clearly violate Supreme Court precedent which bars the patenting of natural phenomena.

Some people were angered by the loss of their imaginary intellectual property, whose value is turning to that of just paper. Here is another new analysis of this “post-Bilski era”.

The In re Bilski (545 F.3d 943 [Fed. Cir. 2008]; here’s a PDF of the decision) court decision placed significant new limits on so-called “process” or “business method” patents, which possible implications for many software patents.

The EEF asks, “Is it Patentable?”

Two months ago, in In re Bilski, the Federal Circuit rejected the notion that anything that produces a “useful, concrete, and tangible result” is potentially patentable. Instead, to be patent-eligible, an idea must be “tied to a particular machine or apparatus,” or it must “transform a particular article into a different state or thing.” (To qualify for a patent, it also has to meet various other requirements, such as being novel.)

As to transformation, the court noted that not just any transformation will do. The transformation “must be central to the purpose of the claimed process,” and the “articles” transformed must either be “physical objects or substances” or “representative of physical objects or substances.”

Very gradually but surely, the system is changing, but is it correcting itself quickly enough?

Supreme court

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

What Else is New


  1. Organising Techrights

    We're tidying up the site so as to make it easier to find past material (by clustering topics programmatically)



  2. Links 26/5/2019: GNOME 3.33.2 and OSS Catchup

    Links for the day



  3. Much Ado About Senators Tillis and Coons (Who Failed in 2017 and in 2018)

    The patent microcosm is attempting to buy laws that supersede the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) and remove/weaken U.S.C. § 101 as well as PTAB while their blogs and sponsored 'articles' serve as lobbying vehicles



  4. European Patents Are Eventually Being Revoked. But at Great Expense to Everyone Except Law Firms.

    European Patent EP2724461 is revoked; but the cost of this chaos, which included an invalid embargo, could well be measured in billions, not millions



  5. Team Campinos Will Try to Make It Difficult to Go on Strike (But Won't Manage to Prevent It)

    The European Patent Office has a long and growing tradition of failing to respect staff's rights, including the right to go on strike (over violations of other rights of staff)



  6. Links 25/5/2019: Wine 4.9 Released, FreeBSD 11.3 Beta, Telegram Launches Fift

    Links for the day



  7. Links 24/5/2019: PostgreSQL 12 Beta 1 and Rust 1.35 Released

    Links for the day



  8. EPO Strikes Further Diminish Chances of UPC Ever Materialising (in Any Shape or Form)

    The EPO crumbles under the weight of its own corruption while an increasingly-insane Team UPC pretends all remains normal and a patent trolls-friendly system is ready to take off



  9. EPO Allegedly Becoming Insolvent (Pretext for Cuts), So Staff Gets Punished While Management Takes the Jackpot

    The corporate 'logic' at the EPO follows the "shareholders' value" propaganda line as if the EPO is a private company looking to maximise revenue rather than serve the public



  10. EPO President Still Not Obeying Courts' Rulings

    Federation of International Civil Service Associations (FICSA) sent a message to António Campinos yesterday (the same day SUEPO publicly made a call for strike)



  11. António Campinos Has Run Out of Time and EPO Staff is Going on Strike (Skipping Mere Protests)

    European Patent Office strikes are to resume; as SUEPO recently put it, people have come to accept that EPO leadership has not really changed and none of the underlying issues is being tackled



  12. Links 23/5/2019: Elisa 0.4.0, OpenSUSE Leap 15.1 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 22/5/2019: Mesa 19.0.5, Huawei and GNU/Linux, Curl 7.65.0, End of Antergos, Tails 3.14, ownCloud Server 10.2, Firefox 67.0

    Links for the day



  14. Quality of Patents is Going Down the Drain and Courts Have Certainly Noticed

    Uncertainty or lack of confidence in the patent system has reached appalling levels because heads of patent offices are just striving to grant as many patents as possible, irrespective of the underlying law



  15. EUIPO and EPO Abuses Growingly Inseparable

    'Musical chairs' at CEIPI and the EPO/EUIPO (Battistelli, Archambeau, Campinos) as well as joint reports never fail to reveal the extent to which EPO abuses are spreading



  16. Links 21/5/2019: China's GAFAM Exit, DragonFlyBSD 5.4.3

    Links for the day



  17. Links 20/5/2019: Linux 5.2 RC1, LibreOffice 6.3 Alpha, DXVK 1.2.1, Bison 3.4 Released

    Links for the day



  18. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  19. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  20. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  21. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  22. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  23. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  24. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  25. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  26. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  27. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  28. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  29. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  30. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts