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

03.11.13

Patent Trolls Increasingly Recognised as an Issue, Taking Attention Away From Software Patents as Key Issue

Posted in Patents at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dodging the main issue, which is monopolies on maths

Logic

Summary: Patent trolls and patent “quality” increasingly targeted rather than the debate about software patenting

There has been a lot of patent resentment recently, all directed at patent trolls and software patents, the trolls’ weapon of choice. There is
this new post from someone whose work is being attacked by a patent troll. It bothers me personally also because it is similar to an Android app I developed; to think that patent trolls can extort such apps is enough to convince myself and other developers that patent trolls and software patents harm everyone in almost every way.

A new style of trolling emerges following general apathy and tolerance towards patent trolls. This one report speaks of a troll scam which uses extortion, but unlike patent trolls, these ones go to prison:

An organization calling itself the “Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency” (ICLEA) recently sent out a batch of copyright infringement notices. One letter reproduced online states that “if this matter is not settled by Friday, March 1, 2013 then you may face serious potential criminal and/or civil charges filed against you. If you are arrested for felony criminal copyright infringement you will be fingerprinted, photographed, and held in jail until you are arraigned in court.” Recipients have been asked to pay various amounts, such as $395 or $495.

Needless to say, this is a scam. Under US law, only the government can indict defendants or throw them in jail. And the scammers seem to have realized that they made a big mistake, as their website now states, “Effective immediately, the Internet Copyright Law Enforcement Agency has ceased operations. Please disregard any notices you received from us, and please do not send us any payments.”

But as a screenshot captured by Fight Copyright Trolls shows, that’s not what the website used to say. Previously, the ICLEA claimed to be “an international organization that helps to enforce copyright laws on the Internet worldwide by informing potential copyright law violators regarding the serious criminal and/or civil liability they may face, and providing them with an opportunity to help them comply with copyright laws.”

I don’t believe that patent trolls should be sent to prison, just bankrupted. “A small company is suing us for patent infringement” says a Dilbert cartoon which can be found here. It sure seems like this whole trolling phenomenon has grown deep into public conscience. Here is a new high-profile trolling case, which CBS reported on as follows:

Maz Encryption Technologies, a Delaware company made up of two former employees of Maz Technologies, filed suits last week against Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Research In Motion (now BlackBerry).

There is a case fought by Function Media, L.L.C. against Google Inc. and lawyers who cover if say: “Function Media sued Google for infringement of three related patents: 6,446,045; 7,240,025; and 7,249,059. The patents involve a system for facilitating advertising on multiple advertising outlets (such as different websites) with different formatting requirements. The district court granted summary judgment that the sole independent claim of the ’045 patent was indefinite and a jury subsequently found that the asserted claims of the ’025 and ’059 patents invalid and not infringed. The district court granted JMOL of validity of four claims but the noninfringement verdict stood. FM appealed several issues including the indefiniteness ruling and raised a challenge based on O2 Micro.”

Here is another interesting article from the same site: “In a 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court has limited the scope of “arising under” jurisdiction for patent cases and held that the Minton’s patent litigation malpractice case does not arise under the patent laws and therefore is not amenable to exclusive federal jurisdiction.”

In a relatively arrogant and rude site of patent lawyers we find someone willing to accuse of faith-based insistence those who actually have academic studies and developers’ voices on their side. Watch this opening paragraph:

Rarely a week goes by these days without the publication of one academic study or another that addresses the “problem” of software patents in the US, often in tandem with a dissection of the cruelties inflicted by “patent trolls”. The conclusions of these studies are almost always variations on the same theme: “Something has to be done because the current regime is stifling economic growth, as companies are afraid to innovate because they may be sued for patent infringement.” These studies are always very precise about the specific problem within the system that they address, but they never seem to provide any evidence that innovation is, in fact, being affected by patents. That just seems to be taken as an article of faith.

The software patenting proponents, or in other words patent lawyers, latch onto Rader, a SCOTUS-glorified lawyer, for advocacy of this whole patent mess. The WatchTroll says “the patent system is far to important to allow bad actors and those with an anti-patent agenda to manipulate the mass-media, public and policy makers into believing that patents are inherently evil and deserving of the blame. Patents are objectively good by any fair and factual assessment of history. We just need to get the message out.”

It’s not about good or bad, it’s about within or outside scope. All software patents, for instance, are bad because they apply to abstract ideas. Meanwhile, the “head of litigation and intellectual property at Twitter” (i.e. a lawyer) promotes something which is not the solution but a hack of some kind, as we covered before. He says: “Even if the company or a future buyer of the patent wants to renege on the promises of the IPA, the inventors can hold them accountable and grant licenses to others. Suppose a company sells the patents to someone who decides to sue others offensively (in violation of the IPA); the inventors then have the ability to grant a license to the person or entity being sued. The license would thus protect the people being sued if the suit violated the promises in the IPA.”

A simpler solution would be to just eliminate software patents. The SHIELD act is an example of addressing the issue in another dodgy way, which IDG promotes as follows:

I’ve said before, and often repeated, that software patents are evil. Ask almost any experienced software product engineer — especially in an open source project — and they’ll tell you software patents are a bug, not a feature. The worst problem they face is patent trolls appearing from nowhere and enaging in a legal shakedown. Even President Obama says, “They don’t actually produce anything themselves. They are essentially trying to leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

But if you take away software patents, then a lot of trolls would go extinct. The SHIELD act is just a hack which assumes the defendant can afford a long trial. Here is what one writer says to provide background:

Last year, the first bill that could take a bite out of the business model of so-called “patent trolls” was introduced. Not much happened with it, but today a reworked bill has been introduced by the same sponsors: Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR). The bill is called the SHIELD Act of 2013, which stands for “Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes

Here is a criticism of SHIELD:

Evidently at least one Congressman feels that the AIA does not go far enough to combat patent “troll” lawsuits. Congressman Defazio of Oregon is sponsoring yet another bill entitled “Saving High-Tech Innovators From Egregious Legal Disputes Act.” The bill, like its 2012 predecessor, proposes that the costs (including attorney fees) of certain types of patent lawsuits should be recoverable from the Patentee once the court finds the patent invalid, or not infringed. The 2012 version of the bill was limited to software type inventions and mandated payment for only frivolous suits.

If they can classify something as “software type”, why grant a patent on it in the first place?

These cases would usually be dismissed provided there is prior art, so why are such patents granted in the first place? Well, it is hard to exhaustively study all software in existence, whereas for hardware it is much simpler because few players can manufacture cutting-edge hardware.

Here’s a new article about how to locate prior art and something in the news about frivolous patent cases:

The law firm of Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer and two of its partners have been hit with more than $200,000 in sanctions for filing a frivolous patent case, opposing an earlier sanctions ruling and, according to a federal judge in Manhattan, wasting the court’s time.

On Feb. 21, Southern District Judge Colleen McMahon (See Profile) ordered the legal team for plaintiff Source Vagabond Systems Ltd. to pay $200,054 in sanctions to defendant Hydrapak Inc.

Those lawsuits show that patent trolling, or the turning of patents into a business model, are a true issues as courts can recognise. In order to properly set up a deterrent they need to find out where those patents come from in the first place. We rarely if ever hear about trolling with hardware patents; statistically speaking, trolling is mostly a symptom of software patenting.

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. Ahead of Supreme Court Decision, the Patent Microcosm is Trying to Scandalise PTAB

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which defends many businesses from bogus patents and patent trolls, comes under fire from protectors of the trolls (or those who profit from patent Armageddon/legal chaos)



  2. Benoît Battistelli's Misbehaviour Condemned the UPC to Death

    Press coverage regarding the cause for Germany's decision to halt UPC ratification, with suspension pending in part owing to the serious abuses in Munich and Berlin



  3. The Patent Microcosm is Pushing Hard to Weaken Alice and Revoke PTAB's Authority Using an Upcoming Supreme Court Case

    Patent profiteers (not inventors) continue their shameful campaign against Alice and PTAB now that software patents are in shambles and many get invalidated without them being used litigiously



  4. News About Patents Dominated by Patent Trolls/Aggressors, Their Press Releases, and Sympathisers

    A collection of news items from yesterday, demonstrating just to what degree the narrative of patent trolls (or aggressors) is being spread by paying for distribution



  5. Amazon's 1-Click Patent Continues to Tarnish the Image of the USPTO and of Patents in General

    Public ridicule and scorn over the shallowness of patents granted in the US is inevitable (Amazon has a patent even on white background in photographs), demonstrating that patent maximalism does nobody a favour, only a great disservice to both patenters and the public at large



  6. Bristows LLP Tries Hard to Maintain the Illusion That UPC is Alive, Using Media Placements and Paid Plugs

    Ever-so-desperate efforts to keep the Unitary Patent (UPC) in headlines, even though nothing is happening and nothing is likely to happen any time soon



  7. Links 22/8/2017: Linux 4.13 RC6, Mesa 17.1.7, Wine 2.15, Android O

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: July 2nd – July 29th 2017

    Many IRC logs



  9. IRC Proceedings: June 4th – July 1st, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  10. IRC Proceedings: May 7th – June 3rd, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  11. IRC Proceedings: April 9th, 2017 – May 6th, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  12. Patent Scope Recognised as Essential For Patent Quality, But Software Patents Continue to be Granted

    Patents that are toothless, clawless lions are being accumulated by companies that should know various courts would scrutinise these enough to rule them invalid



  13. Litigation and Patenting Versus Research and Development

    reminder of who's 'stealing' jobs from engineers and who it is done for (who benefits from mass taxation rather than actual production)



  14. The Federal Circuit Has Become the Go-To Place For Patent Appeals Arising From USPTO Errors

    Patent appeals that come to CAFC as a result of bad Patent Office decisions now outnumber the appeals coming from district courts (an extraordinary situation)



  15. The Truly Odd Concept of Design Patents, Which the US Supreme Court Might Crush Very Soon

    The epidemic of shallow patents, which has already resulted in patents on mere designs, be soon end; but not before an unprecedented gold rush for such patents



  16. Quality of European Patents Has Sunk, Value Diminished

    The trouble associated with declining patent quality at the European Patent Office and early warnings about it from the staff union



  17. The Notorious 1-Click Buying Patent Expired Rather Than Invalidated

    As proof of the fact that many bogus patents (typically on software) are worthless but not invalidated, we now have Amazon's patents reaching their end of life



  18. PTAB Crushes Software Patents and Patent Extremists Are Not Happy About It

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a legal facility which invalidates many software patents, still faces opposition from those who profit from software patents (not software developers)



  19. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Are Almost the Same Problem (Still)

    Apple just got sued again, Microsoft-connected patent trolls continue serial litigation against Microsoft's competitors, and a bike shop gets sued using software patents



  20. Links 20/8/2017: KStars 2.8.1, Fedora Design Interns

    Links for the day



  21. Lack of Independent Judiciary Under the Unitary Patent (Like Boards of Appeal Under Battistelli, in Defiance of the EPC) Will Possibly Kill the Unified Patent Court

    Germany, a key player in UPC negotiations (most patents at stake), cannot proceed to ratification and Britain's expected exit from the European Union further restricts any progress



  22. The Staff Union of the EPO Has Long Warned About Declining Patent Quality

    The quality of granted European Patents (EPs) has been declining sharply and the EPO's staff representatives have warned about it for a long time, only to find themselves severely reprimanded for telling the truth



  23. The EPO's Management Needs a Perception of Security Crisis

    The EPO follows that familiar pattern of writing about every Islamic terror attack in Europe (and in the US too) while media in Munich tells a story where facts are yet uncertain



  24. Links 18/8/2017: Wallpaper of Plasma 5.11, Oracle Liberates Java EE a Bit

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/8/2017: Krita 3.2.0, New Raspbian GNU/Linux OS

    Links for the day



  26. Corruption at the European Patent Office and Systematic Bullying That Leads People to Suicide/Bankruptcy

    A look back at 3 years of intensive EPO coverage and what's coming up next (suppression of truth behind closed doors in the courtrooms)



  27. Supreme Court Decision on TC Heartland v Kraft Food Brands Group Already Vacates the Eastern District of Texas

    Patent trolls are losing their mojo as patent lawsuits drop 21% in the Eastern District of Texas and this collapse is expected to accelerate



  28. Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm Spreads Myths and Defends Patent Trolls, Collectors

    Popular culture myths, such as Edison being a prolific inventor, and what we all ought to know about an actual patent epidemic (vast increase in the number of patents granted, bringing the total to over 10 million in the US)



  29. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Squashes Many Software Patents (Abstract) and §101 Seems Safe From Lobbying by the Patent Microcosm

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), together with the Alice-inspired §101, is an efficient eliminator of bogus patents on software and there is no end to that in sight



  30. Ericsson Hired From the World's Largest Patent Troll and Became a Massive Troll in Europe

    Ericsson's patent aggression campaign (even in Europe) carries on; it turns out the person behind this strategy came from Intellectual Ventures


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