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. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  2. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  3. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  4. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  5. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  6. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  7. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  8. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  9. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  10. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  11. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  12. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  13. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  14. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  15. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  16. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  17. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  18. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  19. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  20. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents



  21. EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

    ree speech when it's needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO's management by 'sanitising' comments



  22. Caricature: Bygmalion Patent Office

    The latest cartoon regarding Battistelli's European Patent Office



  23. Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China's HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

    Links for the day



  24. Under Battistelli's Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

    How the EPO's Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)



  25. New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent 'Professionals' and Their Self Interest

    Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna's latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives



  26. Money Flying to Private Companies Without Tenders at Battistelli's EPO (by the Tens of Millions!)

    Extravagant and cushy contracts to the tune of tens of millions of Euros are being issued without public scrutiny and without opportunities to competition (few corporations easily score cushy EPO contracts while illusion of tendering persists -- for small jobs only)



  27. Patent Examiners and Insiders Acknowledge Profound Demise in Patent Quality Under Battistelli

    By lowering the quality of patents granted by the European Patent Office Battistelli hopes to create an illusion of success, where success is not measured properly and is assessed by biased firms which he finances



  28. Jericho Systems Threatens Alice, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Threatens the Patent Trial and Appeal (PTAB)

    A look at the two latest threats to those who helped put an end to a lot of (if not most) software patents in the US



  29. How the Halo Electronics Case Helps Patent Trolls and How Publications Funded by Patent Trolls (IAM for Instance) Covered This

    A Supreme Court ruling on patents, its implications for software patent trolls, and how media that is promoting software patents and patent trolls covered it



  30. Patent Lawyers' Fantasy Land Where Software Patents Are Suddenly Resurrected Even When They're Not

    A quick glance at where the debate over software patents in the United States stands and how profiteers (such as patent lawyers) not only mislead the public but also bully the messengers


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