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

06.15.13

Still Missing the Point of Patent Scope (Patents on Mathematics and Nature) as the Problem in the United States

Posted in Law, Patents at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Passing a law for the sake of “doing something”

Obama signs health care

Summary: Examples of some new reports that deal with the suggested patent reform in the US and why it is misguided

The debate about software patents in the US is more or less dead or marginalised. Everyone is talking about patent trolls instead. Masnick and other folks noticed that too and they — like us — emphasised that Obama is evading the broader issues. Here is a more optimistic take on it:

When we wrote about President Obama’s plan to deal with patent trolls, we noted a few areas where it was a bit weak and could be improved. In particular, the lack of an independent invention defense and using independent invention as evidence of obviousness would be quite useful in stopping abuses of the patent system. However, I’m a bit confused by Christopher Mims’ complaints about Obama’s patent plan being useless against patent trolls. I think Mims is a bit confused. He claims that there are two real problems with the patent system, and this plan addresses neither: (1) the patent office is understaffed and there’s a backlog of patents and (2) the fact that we grant software patents at all.

The second bit is actually true, as Obama will allow companies like Oracle, Apple and Microsoft to continue attacking Linux with software patents. This is not the solution. How about the recently-concluded Versata case [1, 2, 3] which has just been concluded? Neither company is a troll. To quote a new article:

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled that Versata Software’s patent claims against SAP be cancelled as they are ‘unpatentable’.

Versata filed a lawsuit against SAP in 2007 alleging that the German firm’s pricing software infringed a number of its patents.

This is a case where patent scope — not scale of the plaintiff — ends spurious litigation. SAP is not even a US-based company. The USPTO‘s granting of patents is the problem. Here is another report which says “Versata can appeal and SAP has yet to get a $345 million judgment overturned” (no need for any penalties here).

Mr. Feld, a longtime opponent of software patents, was recently distracted by the debate about trolls. Here he is writing again about trolls:

I’ve been asserting for at least six years that patent system is completely broken for the software industry. I’ve given numerous examples, dealt with the issue first hand as patent trolls have tried to extort many of the companies I’m an investor in, and I’ve had many public discussions about the topic.

On my run on Sunday, I listed to This American Life – When Patents Attack… Part Two! It is easily the best and most detailed expose I’ve ever heard on this issue. If you care to really understand how patent trolls work, spend an hour of your life and listen to it.

Why not focus on patents’ scope? This is what he has done for ages. The problem is the patent system, not just litigation (which is the consequence of improper scope). As one person correctly put it: “It’s not just entrepreneurs who bear the direct costs of the dysfunctional U.S. patent system, but consumers as well.”

Here is another new article which focuses not on patents but on litigation. It says: “Patent trolls are the bad guys of the moment. They’re the outfits that buy patents and then sue companies that supposedly infringe on them. Last week, the White House announced a bunch of initiatives to thwart them. Trolls don’t actually make the products covered by those patents. But because patent litigation is expensive and time-consuming, most companies that are prey to a patent troll lawsuit choose to throw money at the trolls to settle even if they think they’d win in court. The result is that the trolls are nearly unstoppable whether their patents are legitimate or not.”

The solution is to explore why those patents are issued in the first place and consider banning such patents. Patent trolls are most commonly using software patents, but nobody seems to be pointing that out. Just look at the status quo in nations without software patents.

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. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  2. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  3. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  5. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  6. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  7. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  8. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  9. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  10. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  11. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  12. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  13. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  14. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  15. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  16. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  17. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  18. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  19. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux



  21. Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

    Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office



  22. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

    A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations



  23. The Royal Norwegian Department of Labour on the Right of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers to Strike

    The role of bureaucrats from Norway in defending (or not) the rights of EPO workers -- rights that the EPO's management is actively trying to deny and punish for



  24. Michael Silver Back to Acting as Gartner's Microsoft Agent, Promoting Vista 10 Based on False Promises

    Vista 10 in the headlines as its marketing propaganda zones in on false perceptions around cost, aided in part by longtime foes of GNU/Linux such as Gartner, especially its Microsoft-embedded elements (Michael Silver and co-workers)



  25. Despite Media Propaganda About Security, Microsoft Windows Remains the Least Secure Operating System, by Design

    Amid highly misleading security-centric reports that rely on Microsoft's bogus number of vulnerabilities (Microsoft already admitted hiding many of them) Techrights presents recent news about Windows 'security'



  26. Canonical Goes to Bed With Company That Sues Linux Using Software Patents and Copyrights (Through SCO)

    Despite Microsoft's continued assault on GNU/Linux, Canonical is foolish enough to give Microsoft control over many Ubuntu instances



  27. Links 22/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Shaping Up, LibrePlanet 2015

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part VI - Propaganda Wars Against Free Software Facilitated While Media Control is Secured and Abused

    How Microsoft systematically lies to the public, including decision-makers and officials who can be tricked into choosing proprietary software, thinking it is in fact "open"



  29. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part V - Dumping and Surveillance to Counter GNU/Linux Insurgence

    Microsoft makes false claims about future versions of Windows (with more surveillance) becoming 'free' in order to stop migrations to GNU/Linux



  30. Microsoft Hates Linux - Part IV - Deleting, Attacking Android/Linux From Within

    Microsoft 'loves' Linux so much that it is trying to get on top of Linux and then delete Linux


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