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. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  2. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  3. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  4. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  5. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  6. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  7. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  8. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  9. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  10. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  11. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  12. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  13. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  14. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge



  15. Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

    Links for the day



  16. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)

    French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong



  17. Microsoft, the Back Doors Company, is Gradually Dying and Trying to Embrace the Competition

    The world is leaving Microsoft's common carrier (Windows) behind, so Microsoft, which is shrinking, tries to conquer Free software and GNU/Linux



  18. Battistelli's Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić's Many Criminal Charges Don't Exist

    Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug's reputation



  19. Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

    Links for the day



  20. Strategy of Litigation With Patents Has Collapsed Since SCOTUS Ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank

    The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour



  21. Patent Lawyers Can't Help Rewriting Alice v. CLS Bank History

    The league of patent lawyers -- people who profit at the expense of software producers -- keeps brainwashing the public about the patentability of software (both the rationale and the potential)



  22. Myths and Hype About Patents

    Distortion of history and fabricated reports about patents in the corporate media leave many people confused and ultimately unable to make rational judgment



  23. Large Corporations, Including Microsoft Allies, Call for Abolition of Software Patents

    The calls for ending all patents on software are getting louder and patents as a whole are de-emphasised as a business strategy



  24. Links 17/1/2015: Lennart Poettering in Headlines, Mageia 5 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  25. Links 16/1/2015: Chapeau 21, Tails 1.2.3

    Links for the day



  26. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Releases, Ubuntu Phone Delays

    Links for the day



  27. Links 15/1/2015: KDE Plasma 5.2 Beta, Elive 2.5.2 Beta

    Links for the day



  28. Google Has Eliminated Microsoft's Dominance in Operating Systems, Microsoft Resorts to Propaganda, Child Exploitation, and EEE

    As Linux becomes the dominant kernel at Windows' expense Microsoft pulls old tricks including media manipulation, AstroTurfing, co-opting schools (making Windows obligatory for future generations), and EEE (embrace, extend, and extinguish)



  29. Microsoft -- Like David Cameron -- Attacking the Computer Security Industry

    Microsoft's latest moves that help expose its real policy when it comes to computer security and people's privacy



  30. Working to End Oracle's and CAFC's Inane War on Interface Reuse

    The US Supreme Court may soon start dealing with a legal assault on Android and in the process hopefully end the notion of copyright on APIs


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