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

12.11.12

USPTO Sued as the System Collapses Under the Weight of Trolls, Monopolists, and Lawyers/Politicians

Posted in Patents at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The core of this problem requires striking at the root

USPTO building

Summary: The cartel office (USPTO) has become the target of some of its victims, who see their system abducted by bureaucrats and self-serving non-practising blood-sucking leeches

THE USPTO has become the shadow of corporations, cast upon by those in power to repress the creative population. The patent system in the US is rotting because too many lousy patents are granted, often to trolls that hide behind shells and destroy the economy.

The troll known as “Clouding IP LLC” strikes again, joining the likes of Lodsys, which is also suing some more:

There are all kinds of patent trolls making outrageous claims about the technology they “own,” but there’s no question that Lodsys is one of the most infamous. Last year, Lodsys explained how it was generously offering to let the iOS and Android app developers of the world continue to do business—if they pay a patent tax of 0.575 percent of their revenue.

Lodsys gets some patents from Intellectual Ventures, the biggest troll which uses many shells for litigation. This is the largest such cartel and it is backed by ruthless businessmen like Bill Gates. Here is an interesting new report about changes that would impede that racketeering operation:

Figuring out the specifics of Intellectual Ventures’ frighteningly enormous patent portfolio has always been next to impossible. Its roughly 8,000 U.S. patents and 3,000 applications are assigned to an assortment of 1,276 shell companies, few of which have Intellectual Ventures in their name, according to a study published in January in the Stanford Technology Law Review. Nor is the company alone in playing shell games with its portfolio: Devices to mask patent ownership are the exception rather than the rule for companies with a business model of asserting IP rights.

The USPTO, the principal facilitator of such extortion, considers changing its rules due to that. Another bit from the group of Bessen [1, 2] estimates the cost of trolls. To quote:

Today it is perfectly legal for companies to buy and sell the rights to unlimited numbers of ideas, a company is not required to have any interest in making these ideas a reality. It is perfectly legal for companies to sit on patents and wait for others to create before either suing the creator or charging licensing fees. The following pair of quotes is pulled directly from the promotional material on the website of just one prolific patent troll:

“$2 Billion+ cumulative licensing revenue”

“70,000 IP assets acquired and nearly 40,000 in active monetisation programmes”

In fact it is not just legal, patent trolling is an industry on a colossal scale. According to research recently published by Boston University School of Law, last year patent trolls won a cool $29 Billion. One of the most worrying findings of research in to patent trolls is that the mere threat of a suit is enough to put the frighteners on and make creators pay up:

Another parasite, Vringo, got Nokia patents after Microsoft had taken over and then attacked Google. Here is a financial report about it:

This article provides a unique discussion of broad economic conditions in software, energy, human labor, and patents. The discussion highlights upside and downside characteristics in the patent space, and argues software patents are overvalued relative to other industries. The article then provides an investment conclusion of selling Vringo (VRNG) shares and buying Lightbridge (LTBR) shares.

To bypass the macro discussion, scroll down to the bold heading containing the text “Dump Vringo”

Software is hot.

Investors are concerned about bubble-like conditions. Inside this bubble float software patents, gaseous substances which have been reified as solids in public perception. A crescendo of such reification is scored by the America Invents Act, which introduced “first to file” priority, overturning the “first to invent” principle which has been around forever. Instead of inventions, patents themselves are now the property; in a classic sense of reification, words have stolen the identities of the ideas they describe.

We are taking the word “property” far too literally, as if the government had announced a race for land, as if patents were a hard asset like real estate. Fiat currency is a far more appropriate analogy. Patents are inflated and deflated at the whims of politicians, and frequently counterfeited by artistic lawyers in a game of litigation shakedowns. A land run among investors in this now-crowded space occurs atop thin ice.

Paul Kedrosky shows that patent trolling pays well:

Doing useful stuff is apparently for chumps: A portfolio of patent trolls vs the S&P 500 in 2012 pic.twitter.com/ghv3uKEl

The USPTO made this legal and now its head leaves in shame (its heads come from the cartel it protects), having lost some public arguments:

The patent community has had plenty to talk about with two recent actions by David J. Kappos, the Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

On November 20, 2012, in an address to the Center for American Progress, Director Kappos gave a full-throated defense of software patents in response to recent public criticisms of software patents stemming from the so-called “smartphone patent wars.” As part of the defense, Kappos recounted several recent efforts to improve overall patent quality, including the quality of software patents. (Read a summary of those efforts here). Then on Monday, November 26, 2012, Kappos announced to USPTO staff that he would be stepping down as Director in early 2013. (See reports here and here.) According to news reports, USPTO deputy director Teresa Stanek Rea will assume the role of acting director upon Kappos’ departure in 2013. Kappos’ resignation seemed to catch a number of commentators by surprise and the USPTO has not yet provided further details or an official release.

USPTO is said to be preparing for lawsuits over its bad practices which pro-fascism politicians like Leahy try to take global:

Congress has passed a bill that would implement two patent law treaties to help American businesses expand into foreign markets, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today.

Stop giving the corruptible, corporate-serving USPTO more power abroad. This lets software patents expand. And not just software in fact. For instance, citing the article “Bill Gross Patents Way To Count”, Mike Masnick slams yet more USPTO-granted patents, saying:

I’m reminded of that, after seeing Dealbreaker’s headline about how world famous mutual fund investor, Bill Gross, of PIMCO, has patented the methodology for his bond fund — or, as Dealbreaker correctly points out, he “patented a way to count.” Indeed, the patent in question, US Patent 8,306,892 is somewhat hideous, describing not much more than the concept of an algorithm that weights regions based on GDP.

Here is more from Masnick:

The next big case to pay attention to concerning software patents appears to be the CLS Bank v. Alice Corp. case, which is being reheard “en banc” (by the full slate of judges) at the federal circuit court of appeals (CAFC). The short version of the case is that it involves a patent over the idea of software that conducts a “shadow transaction” to make sure that there are enough funds to complete a real transaction, before allowing the real transaction to go through, thus minimizing “settlement risk” (the risk of the deal not actually being completed). Should that be patentable? Well, that’s part of the argument. The district court tossed out the patent as being simply about an “abstract idea,” which is not patentable, as abstract ideas are excluded from section 101 of the patent act, which lists out patentable subject matter. On appeal, a divided three judge panel overturned the lower court, and said that when you looked at the invention as a whole, it was patentable subject matter under section 101. The full CAFC has agreed to rehear the case, and the amicus briefs are flowing in, as people realize that this case is the next key battleground over software patents.

Of course, as often happens in these kinds of cases, you get amicus briefs with wildly divergent claims. For example, here we’ll show and discuss the briefs from both the EFF and the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Somewhat surprisingly, both of those briefs agree on one thing: that the actual patent in question should be ruled invalid, as in the district court ruling. But that’s about the extent of the similarities between the two — who paint extremely different versions of the world of software patents today. The EFF brief explains how damaging software patents are to innovation and the wider economy while the BSA brief talks about how software patents are the greatest thing ever for innovation. One of these three-letter-acronymed organizations is wrong, and it’s not the EFF.

The EFF is also getting involved now:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the full Federal Circuit today to throw out the dangerous patents it previously held valid in CLS Bank v. Alice Corp, arguing that the court’s earlier decision goes against the law and helps foster the recent dramatic increase in patent litigation. In the amicus brief filed today, EFF proposes that the court require patent owners to claim what they actually invent and nothing more.

“The Patent Act doesn’t protect abstract ideas because it would lead to harmful monopolies on simple ideas, like ways of running a business or cooking a meal,” said Staff Attorney Julie Samuels. “Yet we’re still routinely seeing patents issued based on abstract ideas, and having those patents upheld in some courts. In an environment like this, it should be no surprise that company after company decides to buy a lottery ticket in the guise of a dubious software patent and see if it can hit the jackpot. The Federal Circuit has a chance to help curb this new rash of patent lawsuits.”

The system has been abducted by monopolies. It is time to sue it, abolish it, or whatever it takes, but it won’t be easy when everyone including politicians is bought (bribed). The USPTO is not an independent body; it is controlled by its major clients, i.e. companies like IBM, which also control the politicians. People who call for ending the Federal Reserve are perhaps missing another important institution that needs ending and that’s the USPTO, perhaps wirh the exception of trademarks.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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 20/9/2020: Flameshot Screenshot Tool 0.8, Okular Improvements and More

    Links for the day



  2. Reminder: Vice Chair of the Linux Foundation's Board is an Oracle Executive Who Used to Work for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation issued statements to the effect of opposing Donald Trump, but its current leadership (people from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) is a strong proponent of doing as much business as possible with Trump (even in violation of international law)



  3. [Meme] How to Hijack Linux and Free Software to Make Them Proprietary and Microsoft-Controlled

    Intel keeps outsourcing almost everything (that's not proprietary with back doors, e.g. ME) to Microsoft's proprietary software prison, known as GitHub; to make matters worse, Intel now uses the Microsoft-hosted Rust to develop in Microsoft servers, along with Microsoft, code that promotes Microsoft proprietary software (e.g. Hyper-V) and non-standard 'extensions'.



  4. DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

    (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what's to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy



  5. [Meme] Windows as Dead Man Walking (Patches Accelerate the Death)

    Microsoft is squeezing whatever life is left in its “burning platform” (which is already exceeded in terms of market share by Android) that has a "burning" (bricked) WSL with barely any users and plenty of critical problems



  6. We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

    The Microsoft propaganda machines (notably ZDNet this weekend) are busy portraying Microsoft as a “good company” for censoring words, never mind the actual, meaningful, substantial actions of Microsoft, which is boosting authoritarian people who imprison even babies (for the ‘crime’ of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the border)



  7. High-Profile and Invalid (Invalidated) European Patents Harm the Presumption of Validity of European Patents

    The EPO's 'printing machine' (over-producing patent monopolies) is harming the legal certainty associated with such patents, helping nobody but deep-pocketed monopolists and law firms



  8. Epitaph for (Death of) Patent-Centric Media: Litigation Giant Bird & Bird Nowadays Doing Ads as 'Podcasts' in Think Tank Site 'Managing IP'

    Publishers don't hesitate and openly revel in taking bribes as if it's a badge of honour or importance, allowing themselves to be profoundly corrupted in pursuit of quick cash; we discuss what's happening in sites that pretend to cover patent news (but actually drive agenda of litigation giants, to the detriment of actual innovators)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 19, 2020



  10. Links 20/9/2020: 4MLinux 34.0 Released, September Release and EndeavourOS for ARM

    Links for the day



  11. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  12. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…



  13. Coming Soon: Microsoft Leaks (Which Microsoft Pressured Medium to Suppress and Promptly Unpublish)

    Microsoft is no ordinary company; exposing it is like dealing with the Mafia or some drug cartel in Mexico, but we're able to publish truths about Microsoft nonetheless (their notorious intimidation and silencing attempts have always failed against us)



  14. Dishonest Corporations -- Like Smug Politicians -- Pretend to be Something They're Not

    Corporate lies dominate the media, having been crafted by unethical marketing departments with their photo ops and hashtags



  15. GNU is Also a Brand, But It Boils Down to Philosophy and Principles, Not Greed or Corporate Identity

    Why the goal of GNU should be freedom rather than so-called 'world domination' (the objective of large firms with shareholders)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 18, 2020



  17. Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

    Links for the day



  18. One Year Later Richard Stallman Needs to be Un-cancelled and Attention Turned to the Real Perpetrator of MIT Scandals

    The sheer hypocrisy, treating Stallman as the real nuisance to MIT when it was in fact Bill Gates who trafficked money through convicted sex criminals (to MIT); justice needs to be belatedly restored



  19. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section Isn't About Linux But About Microsoft

    ZDNet's so-called 'Linux' section isn't really about GNU/Linux; it's just the site's usual Microsoft propaganda, bought and paid for by Microsoft



  20. Debian's Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  21. More EPO Disclosures: An Explanation of How an EPO Survey Plots to Dismantle the EPO's Staff

    Dismantling the Office for the benefit of a bunch of private companies (taking over various duties of EPO staff) seems like the management's goal; included in image form (and text) below is today's publication. There's a PDF with text (not OCR) but it contains metadata.



  22. Forced Confessions and Thought Control in Debian

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  23. [Meme] You Cannot Elect/Vote Corporations Out of Power (Eternal Vigilance is Required)

    Based on early polls, Biden will be president-elect in about a month and a half; but it’s important to remember that the election (if honoured by the current tenant of the White House) won’t be the end of corporate abuse of power in the same sense that driving Microsoft out of business won’t miraculously mean that Free software ‘won’ (we have a lot more to confront still)



  24. Debian Volunteers Disallowed and Forbidden From Talking About Politics (Unlike Debian's Aristocracy That Handles All the Money From Sponsors)

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  25. Political Compass for Free Software (and Those Who Attack Software Freedom)

    With RMS (the father of the movement) betrayed from multiple angles (OSI, Linux Foundation etc.) it’s probably important to depict what’s going on, quasi-politically speaking



  26. Richard Stallman Has Not Changed His Tune at All

    Richard Stallman's (RMS) principled views regarding software go back to the days of zeroes and ones; his position 35 years ago was almost indistinguishable from today's position



  27. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 17, 2020



  28. Keith Packard: Richard Stallman Was Right (About the GPL)

    A 2020 video (before lock-downs) from the brain behind X11 and various lesser-known projects



  29. The Quandary of 'Ethical' Sponsors and One's Ability to Criticise Them (Otherwise It's a Potential Bribe in Exchange for Censorship of Critics)

    When Free software advocacy groups are indebted to companies that greatly harm people's freedom (including privacy) we have to ask ourselves questions regarding morality and ethics because money isn't inherently evil, it depends who or where it comes from (on what implicit conditions)



  30. When Attempting to Run for Debian Project Leader (DPL), Only to Realise the Process is Rigged (and Censored) to Protect Past Leaders

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News


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

Recent Posts