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 28/7/2014: New Linux RC, Plasma 5 Live in Kubuntu

    Links for the day



  2. Links 27/7/2014: KDE 4.14 Beta 3, KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Apple and Microsoft Are Proprietary Software Companies and the Media Should Stop Openwashing Them

    New examples where proprietary software giants are characterised as FOSS-embracing and FOSS-friendly by gullible or dishonest 'journalists'



  4. Bloomberg's Microsoft Propaganda

    Bloomberg delivers 'damage control' and PR ahead of the layoffs announcement; Microsoft uses Nokia to hide it and Bloomberg helps Microsoft by radically modifying headlines



  5. Frequency of Browser Back Doors in Microsoft Windows is Doubling

    The vulnerabilities which Microsoft tells the NSA about (before these are patched) are significantly growing in terms of their numbers



  6. FUD Entities Entering the FOSS World

    Symantec enters the AllSeen Alliance and Sonatype is once again trying to claim great insecurity in FOSS due to software licensing



  7. Groklaw Back in the Wake of ODF in the UK?





  8. Links 26/7/2014: New Wine, Chromebooks Strong Sales

    Links for the day



  9. Links 25/7/2014: GOG With GNU/Linux, Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day



  10. Links 24/7/2014: Oracle Linux 7; Fedora Delays

    Links for the day



  11. Valerie Strauss Explains Why Gates Foundation's Lobbying for 'Common Core' (Privatisation) is a Swindle That Makes Microsoft Richer

    Continued criticism of the Gates Foundation's lobbying and masquerading, with more journalists brave enough to highlight the corruption



  12. USPTO Officially Sets New Guidelines to Limit Scope of Software Patents in the United States

    Even patent lawyers finally acknowledge that the incentive to file software patent applications has been reduced, as the scope of patents on software has been noticeably narrowed and they are harder to acquire, let alone enforce in a courtroom



  13. UK Government Adopts OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Already Attacks the Government Over It, Showing Absolutely No Commitment to Open Standards

    Only "Microsoft as the standard" is the 'standard' Microsoft is willing to accept, as its response to the Cabinet Office's judgment reveals



  14. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  15. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  16. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  17. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  18. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  19. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  20. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  21. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  23. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  24. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  25. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  28. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  29. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  30. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    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