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

06.11.11

Patents Roundup: Unconstitutional Patent Reform, SCOTUS Ruling on i4i and University Patent Rights, More Calls to Abolish Software Patents

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

American flag

Summary: Latest news and commentary on patent monopolies (mostly from the United States)

Supreme Court Signals Pending Patent Reform Is Unconstitutional (by Dan Ravicher, a pro-Free software lawyer, following the i4i decision at the SCOTUS, whose recent decisions have been terrible [1, 2])

“Congress is, unfortunately, on the verge of passing the so-called “America Invents Act” (S. 23 and H.R. 1249) that would change our patent system from the “first to invent” system we’ve had since our founding, to a “first to file” system. This is not only harmful to small entrepreneurs, but it also violates the plain language of the Constitution, which requires patents be granted to “inventors”, not “filers.” To be sure, the Supreme Court just this week reminded us that the Constitution guarantees patent rights shall vest in inventors, not their employers. In a case involving Stanford University, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the very first sentence of his opinion for the Court, “Since 1790, the patent law has operated on the premise that rights in an invention belong to the inventor.” The Chief Justice continued to write, “Although much in intellectual property law has changed in the 220 years since the first Patent Act, the basic idea that inventors have the right to patent their inventions has not. … Our precedents confirm the general rule that rights in an invention belong to the inventor.” Thus, the Supreme Court unquestionably believes that the American patent system is based on awarding patents to inventors. Scholars also agree that changing from the “first to invent gets the patent” system that we have today to a “first to file an application gets the patent” system being considered by Congress would violate the Constitution.

“So one is left to ask, why is Congress about to pass a law that would benefit large corporations, harm small entrepreneurs and violate the Constitution? I don’t know, but maybe if you call your representative (212-224-3121) they can explain it to you.”

SCOTUS makes patent holders happy, upholds $290M Microsoft verdict (by Timothy B. Lee, who is against the patent propaganda machine)

In a New York Times op-ed supporting Microsoft, UCLA law professor Doug Lichtman had argued that changing the standard of proof would “give relief to the countless businesses that today find themselves vulnerable to patents that shouldn’t have been issued in the first place.” A wide variety of companies and public interest groups, including Google, Red Hat, Walmart, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Apache Software Foundation, filed briefs echoing that point. But the Supreme Court decided that whatever the merits of these policy arguments, they couldn’t overrule the text of the patent law and the courts’ long history of employing the higher standard.

Roche Wins as High Court Limits University Patent Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling that limits the patent rights of research universities, threw out Stanford University’s suit against a Roche Holding AG (ROG) unit over methods for testing the effectiveness of AIDS treatments.

Voting 7-2, the justices upheld a lower court’s conclusion that a scientist working at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, transferred his rights to the discoveries to a company whose line of business Roche later bought. Under the court’s reasoning, the transfer made the company a co-owner of three disputed patents.

Investors Speaking Up About Patents Harming Innovation

Dixon points out a key part of the problem is that so many patents are clearly obvious to anyone skilled in the art. He notes that any competent engineer could create what’s found in the vast majority of software patents, and notes that the examiners simply aren’t competent enough to recognize what’s obvious. Dixon, who is both an investor and a long-term entrepreneur, certainly knows these things. What’s amazing to me, honestly, is how few people in Silicon Valley actually think patents are a good idea any more. The system has become so distorted that most of the people they’re supposed to benefit the most don’t want them, but feel compelled to get them due to the system. What a massive amount of waste, leading to a mess that holds back innovation.

Wilson makes one other statement that I thought was interesting. He compared patenting software to patenting music, noting that neither makes sense.

Software patents should be abolished

The entire software industry works like this, and the use of patents is very rare relative to all software that’s written. The market rewards applied innovation, but doesn’t try to artificially inhibit competition. It combines the best parts of capitalism, collaboration, and a vast public domain.

Our industry is booming, innovation is rapid and rampant, and everyone’s making a living. The world could benefit immensely if more industries could innovate as rapidly and significantly as the software industry. We’re doing great, almost entirely without using patents.

The patent balance (Marco Arment is against aiming high like the FFII and FSF)

My sense is that most programmers would now argue against software patents, just as Marco has. We’re 30 years into the software patent system and seeing its downsides: the patent term is way too long for software; too many patents have been issued; and patent extortion is rewarded instead of punished. What’s gone wrong?

[...]

I said at the top that I’m sympathetic to the idea that software patents should never have been allowed. But whether they should have been allowed or not, they are a fact of life today and that’s not going to change. If you think the patent system is out of balance, you should work to put it back in balance, not chase after some fantasy of turning back the clock.

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. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    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