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09.11.10

“The USPTO Has Blown Smoke and Lived in a World of Denial and Obfuscation”

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nina Paley on patents
Credit: Nina Paley [via FFII]

Summary: BNET publishes strong criticism of the USPTO and what seems like a patent troll called Soverain Software LLC proves his point

IN HIS NEWEST essay, “Patent Office Admits the Truth: Things Are a Disaster”, Erik Sherman rips apart the USPTO and suggests removing software patents:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, under its new director, David Kappos, has finally begun to seriously address transparency of information with a new data visualization dashboard. The big lesson? As a number of people who watch the organization have thought, for years — years — the USPTO has blown smoke and lived in a world of denial and obfuscation.

[...]

Perhaps the answer is to drop technologies like software patents. By the time the six years have gone by, what you could have protected is likely already swept into industrial-sized dust bins. It’s particularly true of smaller companies, as a large-scale study found that high costs often deter companies from getting patents.

The USPTO probably knows that those newly-issued patents it stamps are worthless, beneficial mostly to monopolists, and a treasure to patent trolls which do the exact opposite of spurring innovation. It’s time to shine some light on the USPTO and let examiners see for themselves what they are doing to their surroundings, especially those who approve patent monopolies on mathematics and life-saving drugs/biology.

Here is the latest patent blunder, taking place in the Eastern District of Texas, as usual: [via]

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has ruled against online retailer Newegg Inc. in a patent infringement law suit over shopping cart software and other related e-commerce applications.

This afternoon judge Leonard Davis ruled against Newegg and in favor of Chicago-based Soverain Software LLC in a case filed three years ago. Soverain Software LLC, which sells transaction management technology, filed suit against Newegg Inc. and other big web merchants in November 2007. At the time Soverain Software accused Newegg, CDW Corp., Systemax Inc., Redcats USA and Zappos.com of infringing on three of its patents that cover the underlying technology that e-retailers use to handle purchases and payments, as well as for their online shopping carts.

It’s tempting to say that it’s a patent troll. Earlier this year an article said that “Soverain denied that it is a “troll,” pointing to its flagship product, Transact, which it has sold to customers in 25 countries. Citing pending litigation, the company declined to comment further.”

Patent offices have a role not in providing jobs to more lawyers. These offices were originally created to advance science, clearly not to be detrimental to it.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

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