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

01.23.13

USPTO ‘Debate’ Already Rigged by Patent Lawyers

Posted in Patents at 4:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

Summary: Software patents are assumed to be OK and software developers of this world do not participate in debates about it, perhaps because of the way these debates are designed

The problem caused by patent trolls probably receives more coverage than software patents, which are the trolls’ weapon of choice. A trolls tracker spots a trend:

US federal courts are divided into 94 districts. When patent-holders file a lawsuit against a product that’s sold nationwide, they have pretty wide leeway as to where to file their case. That’s allowed for quite a bit of “venue shopping” in patent cases, and several years ago the remote and rural Eastern District of Texas started to become surprisingly popular.

Over time, East Texas became known as a place very friendly to patent plaintiffs and unfriendly to patent defendants, particularly out-of-state or foreign tech companies. Judges there were reluctant to let cases be transferred out of their district, and some patent-holding companies began setting up Texas LLCs in order to better argue that Texas was the right venue for them.

The trends as seen by so-called ‘IP’ lawyers are different. These lawyers would rather focus on legitimising software patents, which help them make money irrespective of the holder (troll or not). One law firm writes:

In a recent blog entry, Director David Kappos of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gave something of a three-month status update after the implementation of several mechanisms of the AIA, including third party prior art submission. As of December 17, 2012, the USPTO has received 270 prior art submissions, which Director Kappos calls “in line with expectations.” Notably, the leading art group for such submissions was Technology Center 3700, which, according to Kappos, “includes many software-related inventions such as those found in electronic gaming devices and medical equipment.”

The debates on software patents in the USPTO are regularly infiltrated by lawyers. We gave many examples in 2012. While programmers are busy writing code lawyers are busy ensuring they keep their middleman role. Law sites prepare to stack the consultation. Here is another example. Where are the software engineers in all this? Here is another example:

Suffice it to say, the patent attorneys disagreed with Mulligan, though they did so earnestly, out of a genuine belief that one can separate out patents covering trivial or commonplace activities from other software patents in a coherent, justiciable way. What I found most striking is that none of the patent attorneys present defended the status quo. Rather, they agreed that the scope of software patents should be radically narrowed. That seems like a good baseline for discussion.

So the author demonises abolition (of software patents) proponents and then takes the side of lawyers by legitimising software patents, the “baseline” as he calls it. It’s as if the only position that’s permissible is that some software patents are “good” and others are “bad”.

Over in Europe we have a similar issue because of the example USPTO sets. The corporate press in the US plays along with the lie that more patents mean more innovation. The source of the claim is one that profits from patents:

The U.S. Patent Office and Trademark Office awards hundreds of thousands of patents each year. This week, IFI Claims Patent Services, a producer of patent databases, released its top 50 ranking of companies awarded the most U.S. patents in 2012.

The Irish press too glamourises software patents this month:

http://www.iriHe joined Microsoft in 1999 as a software developer in Seattle and registered more than 20 patents for inventions in computer security.

In his last role at Microsoft, leading the PM team for the forthcoming Windows 8 Store, he felt the entrepreneurial urge, and left to start app development firm…

Rex Djere has this suggestion for the USPTO:

TLWIR 53: Transforming the Broken U.S. Patent System with Free Software-Style Reforms

In The Linux Week In Review 52, I talked about the need for a Linux Reference System, a GNU/Linux computer guaranteed to work with the latest free software and drivers. In TLWIR 53, I will present some ideas on how to fix the broken U.S. patent system.

Innovation comes from freedom, not restrictions such as patents. It’s common sense for developers. For others it is an unspeakable truth. They want us to believe — by repeating their propaganda line — that more restrictions make greater innovation.

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 19/10/2017: Mesa 17.2.3, New Ubuntu Release, Samsung Flirts With GNU/Linux Desktops

    Links for the day



  2. Some of the USPTO's Most Ridiculous Patents Are Scrutinised by “Above the Law” While Dennis Crouch Attempts to Tarnish Alice

    Controversies over patent scope and level of novelty required for a patent; as usual, public interest groups try to restrict patent scope, whereas those who make money out of abundance of patents attempt to remove every barrier



  3. Microsoft's Software Patents Aggression in Court (Corel Again)

    Microsoft's tendency to not only abuse the competition but also to destroy it with patent lawsuits as seen in Corel's case



  4. The Spanish Supreme Court Rejects the EPO's “Problem and Solution Approach” While Quality of European Patents Nosedives

    European Patents (EPs) aren't what they used to be and their credibility is being further eroded and even detected as such



  5. Europe is Being Robbed by Team Battistelli and the UPC/PPH Would Make Things Worse

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has put litigation at the forefront, having implicitly decided to no longer bother with proper patent examination and instead issue lots of patents for judges and lawyers to argue about (at great expense to the public)



  6. Team UPC Continues to Promote Illusion of UPC Progress Where There's None

    The core members of Team UPC in the UK spread obvious falsehoods in the media, probably in an effort to attract 'business' (consultation regarding something that does not exist)



  7. António Campinos: A True EPO Reformer or More of the Same?

    More unfortunate reminders that Campinos and Battistelli don't quite diverge on the big issues, they're just more than two decades apart in age (but the same nationality)



  8. Juve Has Confirmed That António Campinos is French

    The relationship between Campinos and Battistelli has a nationality aspect to it, not even taking into account the interpersonal connection which goes a long way back



  9. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

    A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position



  10. SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

    António Campinos, who is Benoît Battistelli's chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month



  11. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  12. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day



  13. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part I: Introduction

    Some new details about Mr. Campinos, who is Battistelli’s successor at the EPO



  14. Confessions of EPO Insiders Reveal That European Patents (EPs) Have Lost Their Legitimacy/Value Due to Battistelli's Policies

    A much-discussed topic at the EPO is now the ever-declining quality of granted patents, which make or break patent offices because quality justifies high costs (searches, applications, renewals and so on)



  15. Patent Firms From the United States Try Hard to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), Which Would Foment Litigation Wars in Europe

    The UPC push seems to be coming from firms which not only fail to represent public interests but are not even European



  16. In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

    The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these



  17. IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn't Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO's Expense) Financial Times

    The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll



  18. The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

    Under the leadership of Sharon Prost the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any



  19. SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli's Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

    Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)



  20. Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

    Links for the day



  21. Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

    Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)



  22. Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli's Succession) Are Confirmed

    Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there's little room for optimism and Battistelli's people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO



  23. EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

    Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market



  24. Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

    In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out



  25. Monika Ermert's Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat's Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

    News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)



  26. Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

    VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself



  27. Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

    Links for the day



  28. The Systematic Erosion of Workers' Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

    The legitimacy of the staff's concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)



  29. Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) -- a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe



  30. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

    A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM


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