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

11.25.09

Patents Roundup: More Ridiculous Patents, Qualcomm Permitted to Abuse, Human Rights Step in as Overhaul Debated

Posted in Apple, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Y]ou’re creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason.”

David Kappos (currently head of the USPTO) speaking about patents

Tired USPTO eagle

USPTOSummary: News from the US patent office seems to suggest that no substantial improvements have been made to this system

T

HE US patent system is a mess. There, it’s said and done. The way to fix it is to change the application/review process and also to remove many old patents that should have never been granted in the first place. It is almost infeasible given the existing backlog which has already turned the USPTO into a laughing stock in some people’s minds.

Dissatisfaction with this patent system is not just a pet peeve of Free software supporters. President of the FFII, for instance, has just shared what he calls “The sad patent story of Lexra processors.” An Apple patent which we mentioned here before is another good example of this. Even a vocal software patents fan (Gene Quinn) hates this patent and Slashdot reveals that Google has just patented displaying patents.

“Google has actually managed to patent displaying patents. The USPTO issued US Patent No. D603,866 to six Google inventors for their ‘graphical user interface for display screen of a communications terminal.’ Among the six inventors is the guy who introduced Google Patents. Ironically, Google Patents can’t seem to find the new Google patent for Google Patents.”

Amazing, eh? Two days ago we wrote about Amazon and its patent on online gift delivery. As Mike Masnick puts it, “USPTO [Is] Convinced By Amazon That Online Gift Giving Patent Is Legit”

Amazon continues to aggressively pursue variations on its “one-click” patent, even as it is repeatedly held up as an example of how screwed up the patent system has become. In the latest story, found on Slashdot, a patent application for method of buying gifts online was originally rejected under the CAFC’s recent Bilski rules because the invention “may be performed largely within the human mind.”

Where does this insanity end? According to reports from the European technology press (Britain), the EU Commission has just dropped its investigation into Qualcomm’s abuse with patents. How come?

THE EU HAS DROPPED its four year investigation into Qualcomm after companies that had been moaning about the chipmaker charged excessive royalties on its technology patents withdrew their complaints.

The Commission said that since all complainants have now withdrawn their complaints, it was not worth wasting more time and money on the investigation.

Was Qualcomm punished at all? This should also be probed by a US-based (and maybe Asia-based) agency. Qualcomm is based in San Diego, California. This happens to resemble the patent ambush from Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

IP Watch has this new article about a culture of sharing that once existed.

Dining on fresh fish beneath a golden sunset overlooking the Mediterranean beneath which lie the remains of the ancient Library of Alexandria, the conversation turns to the invention of written language. A light-hearted debate breaks out between an Egyptian and a Syrian over the origins of the first alphabet several thousand years ago, but is left for the time being when the Syrian asserts, “We invented the alphabet, you invented writing.”

Records show Egypt’s primary role in the development of written language as a way to disseminate ideas, and it is still advancing knowledge access, as evidenced by its world-class Library of Alexandria and several recent activities and publications. In some cases, library officials are out front on international policy issues related to access to knowledge.

Also from IP Watch we have this good article bearing the headline “Time For Human Rights To Enter Into IP Policy Dialogue, Panel Says” (“but they’re still only *talking* about it,” argues Glyn Moody).

Ensuring the right to development should become more integral to debates over intellectual property policy, said members of a panel last week. The World Intellectual Property Organization Development Agenda will play a crucial role in ensuring this integration if it happens, they added.

Moody also wrote about a new comparison between software copyright and software patents.

What’s interesting here is that this position – preferring copyright rather than patent protection – comes from small to medium-sized software companies, but aligns with that of the free software world, which depends on copyright for the efficacy of its licences, but cannot accommodate patents, because they act as a brake on sharing.

There are alternative routes to offering developers “protection” that some of them crave. A “20-year monopoly” on some mere ideas (to borrow the words of the man in charge of the USPTO) is not the way forward, it’s a farce. It’s an impediment to science and economics, according to many studies.

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

3 Comments

  1. saulgoode said,

    November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Gravatar

    The US patent system is a mess. There, it’s said and done. The way to fix it is to change the application/review process and also to remove many old patents that should have never been granted in the first place.

    The way to fix the patent system, with regards to software patents at least, is for the courts (or the legislature, if necessary) to assert that it is not illegal to write computer programs which simulate patented devices and processes. You want to write a simulator for that new ceramic internal combustion engine with microwave ignition? Go right ahead. How about a program that simulates a new manufacturing process for liquid microprocessors? Again, there should be no problem with that — after all, the purported reason for providing patents is so that the general public can learn from the invention and share their understanding of it with others.

    Now consider how this would apply to a spuriously granted software patent on, say, converting inputted numeric data representing an audio wave into the frequency domain, removing some of those frequencies, and outputting the result (i.e., MP3 audio compression). If the courts pronounced that “simulating” this algorithm within a computer program was to be consider fair and legal use, no one could be penalized for actually “implementing” the software patent (software is always either simulation or pure mathematics). Existing software patents could be left to languish until they expire, and no new software patents would be sought because the “inventor” would never be able to profit from his patent.

    Problem solved!

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Yes, but:

    1. In Re Bilski may already have the necessary effect
    2. Unless challenged or invalidated, patents can still be used for extortion or intimidation (without a test in court), especially when bundled in large numbers
    3. Smart lawyers know how to blur the gap between hardware and software

    “[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, IAM: Microsoft to have 50,000 patents within two years, Phelps reveals

  2. uberVU - social comments said,

    November 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Identica by schestowitz: More Ridiculous #Patents , Qualcomm Permitted to Abuse, Human Rights Step in as Overhaul Debated *http://ur1.ca/gid5…

What Else is New


  1. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  2. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  3. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  4. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  5. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  6. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  7. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  8. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  9. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  10. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  11. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  12. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  13. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  14. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  15. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  16. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  17. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  18. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere



  19. Links 15/2/2017: Linux 4.9.10 and Linux 4.4.49

    Links for the day



  20. Claude Rouiller (ILOAT) and ILO Rulings Effectively Disregarded by the European Patent Office

    The compositions of kangaroo courts at the EPO continue to be absurd, in spite of a ruling from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which insisted that change must be made following a lot of mistrials



  21. National Law Journal Believes That Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Would be Opponent of Patent Reform

    Whispering campaign surrounds Neil Gorsuch's alleged or perceived views on patents, and in particular the America Invents Act (AIA) which brought the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a serial invalidator of software patents, owing to Alice (a Supreme Court decision)



  22. Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU) is a Lobby Group for Software Patents and Patent Maximalism

    An introduction to what the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding really is, what it is for, and who is behind it



  23. The European Patent Office Looks More and More Like the Sicilian Mafia Every Day

    Battistelli has constructed or pulled together a Mafia-like family inside the EPO, where all those who protect the 'King' (or Don) are rewarded and the rest are removed with prejudice



  24. EPO-Connected Writers Are Using Alternative Facts or Fake News to Promote the Unitary Patent in British Media

    The misuse of publications for the purpose of lobbying by Battistelli and Team UPC (a small group of opportunists looking to exploit change that they themselves introduce) is worth noting, for its frequency is on the rise again



  25. Microsoft Has Not Managed to Blackmail Huawei Over Android and GNU/Linux, But Its Trolls/Satellites Are Trying

    The story of Huawei gets more complicated, even though software patents are losing their teeth and notorious patent trolls are altogether losing their patents



  26. IBM Has Become an Enemy of GNU/Linux and a Loud Proponent of Software Patents

    IBM's poisonous policy on patents, which has long been incompatible with Free/Libre software, has gotten even worse and the company now takes the lead in lobbying for patenting of software



  27. Leaked: European Patent Office a Fire Hazard Waiting to Cause Tragedy (Possible Deaths)

    The EPO has known for a while that is was not in compliance with regulations, but as usual -- flaunting immunity and impunity -- nothing happened



  28. For Valentine's Day, Battistelli Learns to Stop Worrying and Love to Lie

    Battistelli lies about patent quality once again, incidentally on the very same day that serious leaks regarding patent quality got published (and need distracting from)



  29. India Cites Public Interest in Patent Case Where Embargo Attempted Against Local Drugmaker

    India turns away a foreign corporation that attempts to use patents to shut down (or destroy the business model of) an Indian company



  30. Links 14/2/2017: Linux Lite 3.4, GNU Health 3.0.6

    Links for the day


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