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

07.18.13

Patent Scope Still the Topic to Focus on, and Not Just in the United States

Posted in Asia, Patents at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Japanese

Summary: A look at the legitimacy of software patents around the world, especially where technology is being made

TECHRIGHTS has spent a considerable amount of time covering software patents in the EU and in NZ. But what about Asia, where almost all of the world’s electronics are being manufactured?

The battle between Apple and Android is mostly a one-sided/one-edged sword battle where Apple keeps throwing patent lawsuits at Android backers and the Android camp, collectively, defends itself from unmerited aggression. In the process, Android keeps gaining market share/strength and Apple’s relative share of the market is diminishing, not to mention the public image of Apple (yes, it is noticeably damaged). The big winners are from Taiwan and Korea right now.

“The big winners are from Taiwan and Korea right now.”As Apple's patent chief leaves it seems like things are improving somewhat. The world’s leader right now is not Apple but a giant company from Korea. There is no litigation going on until next month, but patents increasingly play a role in the battle over operating systems’ domination. What will patent policy in Asia shape up to become?

Patent policy in Korea, a former part of the Japanese empire (since a century ago), has always baffled a bit. There is hardly any patent coverage from there and Apple chooses to fight in Japan more than it does in Korea. The US, the current emperor in Korea, tried to spread software patents to Korea [1, 2, 3], but it wasn’t so obvious whether it succeeded (not like ActiveX succeeded there). The patents lawyers/boosters try to shed light on software patents in east Asia. A Taipei-based law firm shares the following about China, Taiwan, and Japan. “In China,” says the author, “rules and methods for mental activities are not patentable, so a claim that describes an algorithm, mathematical rules, or computer program “as such” may not be patented. However, software that (a) uses a technical solution to (b) solve a technical problem concerning (c) a law of nature may comprise patent
eligible subject matter. Of course, once subject matter passes that three-part test, it still must satisfy the basic requirements for patentability – novelty, non-obviousness and usefulness – the same as in the U.S.

“If a claim in China recites both rules for mental activities and technical features, the examination guidelines state that the claim may be patentable, but the guidelines fail to define technical solutions and problems and it is unclear whether the technical aspects, on their own, are required to satisfy the novel, non-obvious and useful requirements. For example, in the U.S., the prohibition against patenting abstract ideas cannot be circumvented by appending trivial technical activity. It is unclear whether the same is true in China with respect to technical aspects and, if so, how one determines whether the technical aspects are sufficient.”

About Taiwan, which is basically part of China, the Taipei-based author says: “In Taiwan, software is also patentable, provided the claims recite a technical solution that utilizes laws of nature. To qualify as technical, the solution must (a) use technical means to (b) resolve a technical problem, (c) achieving a technical effect. So long as the claimed software is tied to a machine or apparatus, there should be no difficulty satisfying the technical means, so challenges usually relate to the technical problem and technical effect.”

When it comes to Japan, it’s all pretty obvious. They, like the US, are the biggest software patents boosters. The author says: “Japan’s Patent Act also defines a patentable invention as any highly-advanced creation of technical ideas utilizing laws of nature. Non-patentable subject matter includes laws of nature and natural phenomena, inventions that violate laws of nature or natural phenomena, that fail to utilize laws of nature, artistic works, and techniques that can be gained by personal skill.”

“The USPTO has hardly any limitations on software patenting, whereas almost any other place does limit or altogether bans them.”In summary he lumps in Korea and says that “while it appears that China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan all prohibit the patenting of software, as such, they allow it when the claims recite the use of software working in concert with specific hardware, particularly when the invention resolves a technical problem and achieves a technical result.”

Bear in mind that this comes from a patent lawyer in a blog which actively advocates software patents, so this might not be the full story. The USPTO has hardly any limitations on software patenting, whereas almost any other place does limit or altogether bans them. We need to fix this by banning software patents everywhere. And as noted the other day, it is scope which should be the subject of focus, and not just in software. In the US, patents are now being granted on forms of life, as Myriad still makes evident:

For years, Myriad Genetics has had a monopoly on testing two key genes related to breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2. But the Utah company’s dominance was supposed to end last month. Doctors’ groups, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation, took their legal challenge against all patents on genomic DNA to the Supreme Court and won a unanimous decision.

The wrong course of action is to lose sight of patent scope and focus on plaintiff scale. Matt Levy at Patent Progress falls into the agenda of the White House [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], which rather than limit scope is putting all the attention/focus/emphasis/weight on trolls. Here is a new example of litigation from a troll whose actions would have been stopped by banning the patents. To quote: “An Ottawa-based patent-licensing firm named Wi-Lan is one of several patent-licensing operations that claims to own patents relating to wireless Internet. Wi-Lan filed a lawsuit against 22 companies over Wi-Fi back in 2007. In 2010, the firm went to East Texas to sue others, claiming it owned patents critical to the data transmission standards in mobile phones. Later that year, it also sued anyone who makes cable modems.”

This is a real troll, but look at the patents, consider scope. Hate the game, not the player. This game is rigged. Unless or until the government of the US recognises this (hard when massive corporations control the government) nothing is going to improve.

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. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  2. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  3. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation



  4. US Supreme Court Did Not End Apple's Patent Disputes Over Android (Linux), More Cases Imminent

    An overview of some very recent news regarding the highest court in the United States, which has been dealing with cases that can determine the fate of Free/Open Source software in an age of patent uncertainty and patent thickets surrounding mobility



  5. Links 15/1/2017: Switching From OS X to GNU/Linux, Debian 8.7 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Number of New Patent Cases in the US Fell 25% Last Year, Thanks in Part to the Demise of Software Patent Trolls

    Litigation and prosecutions that rely on patents (failure to resolve disputes, e.g. by sharing ideas, out of court) is down very sharply, in part because firms that make nothing at all (just threaten and/or litigate) have been sinking after much-needed reform



  7. America Invents Act Improved Patent Quality, But Right Wingers Threaten to Make It Worse Again

    The past half a decade saw gradual improvement in assessment of patents in the United States, but there is a growing threat and pressure from the patent microcosm to restore patent maximalism and chaos



  8. PTAB -- Not Deterred by Courts -- Continues to Invalidate a Lot of Software Patents

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to make progress reforming the patent system by eliminating a lot of patents and setting an example (or new standards) for what is patent-eligible after Alice



  9. EPO Abuses Come Under Fire From Politicians in Luxembourg

    Luxembourg is the latest nation in which concerns about the EPO's serious abuses are brought up not only by the media but also by politicians



  10. Constitutionality as a Barrier and Brexit Barriers to UPC Keep the Whole Pipe Dream Deadlocked

    The UPC is still going nowhere fast, but the demise (or death) of the UPC as we know it must not be taken for granted



  11. Links 14/1/2017: Wine 2.0 RC5 and AryaLinux 2017 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Links 13/1/2017: Linux 4.9.3 and Linux 4.4.42

    Links for the day



  13. Brexit Means No UPC (Unified Patent Court)

    Now that Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson's brother, is officially declared the new minister for intellectual property in the UK everything that Lucy Neville-Rolfe wrote is as solid as paper bag on a rainy London day



  14. Patent Trolls and Software Patents: CloudTrade, Patent Practitioners Density, and Via Licensing

    Software patents armament from a British company, charted concentration of the patent microcosm in the United States, and US-leaning patent trolls that prey on China



  15. Patent Maximalism -- Like Copyright Maximalism -- Relies on Misconceptions and Mass Deception

    The latest examples of discussions about patent scope, courtesy of those looking to benefit financially by pushing such monopolies to the max



  16. Software Patents Still Promoted by IBM and Its Lobbyist (and Former Employee) David Kappos, in Defiance of Much-Needed US Patent Reform

    While the corporate media celebrates IBM as though it's some kind of 'champion' for hoarding patents that it then uses to attack companies which actually grow



  17. Brexit/Trump Effect: Patent Systems With Institutional Corruption and Nepotism

    Rumours about Britain's head of patents (and copyrights etc.) being the brother of the Brexit campaigner and Foreign Minister; meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, rumours suggest that the corrupt judge Rader might be the next head of patents in the United States



  18. Links 11/1/2017: X.Org Server 1.19.1, GitHub's Atom 1.13

    Links for the day



  19. The Patent Microcosm is Already Sucking up to Donald Trump in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Everyone's Expense

    Four new examples of patent maximalists embracing/adopting the pseudo-populist slogan to advance their goals of increasing litigation (which they profit from) and undermining PTAB (which made patents great in the quality sense)



  20. Patent Quality in the United States Can Only be Assessed at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Courts

    The travesty of patent offices in the US and China, where the goal or the accomplishment is measured in terms of the number of patents rather than their quality



  21. Gradual Collapse of Microsoft's Extensive (and External) Patent Trolling Operations

    The President of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (patent troll) leaves and the founder of Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest peripheral patent troll, joins Sherpa Technology



  22. No End to Battistelli's Witch-hunts Against the Media, Against Staff, and Against Politicians

    Rumours about the fate of people who are (or have been) criticising Battistelli's reign of terror at the EPO



  23. Links 10/1/2017: Synfig 1.2, Kodachi Linux 3.7

    Links for the day



  24. With Help From the US Supreme Court (Key Cases), Patent Trolls Are Going Away

    The demise of patent trolls in the United States, a trend partly attributable to Alice and other Supreme Court decisions, will likely accelerate soon (later this year) as the future of the Eastern District of Texas courts is at stake



  25. Patent Maximalism on Display: Patent Aggressor IBM Celebrated in the Media

    The patent lust at IBM, which is suing if not just shaking down companies using software patents, earns plenty of puff pieces from the corporate media



  26. FFPE-EPO, the EPO Management's Pet/Yellow Union, Helps Union-Busting (Against SUEPO) in Letter to Notorious Vice-President

    In a letter to Elodie Bergot (as CC) and Željko Topić, who faces many criminal investigations, FFPE-EPO ringleaders reveal their allegiance not to EPO staff but to those who perpetually attack the staff



  27. Links 9/1/2017: Civilization VI Coming to GNU/Linux, digiKam 5.4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 9/1/2017: Dell’s Latest XPS 13, GPD Pocket With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  29. Update on Patent Trolls and Their Enablers: IAM, Fortress, Inventergy, Nokia, MOSAID/Conversant, Microsoft, Intellectual Ventures, Faraday Future, A*STAR, GPNE, AlphaCap Ventures, and TC Heartland

    A potpourri of reports about some of the world’s worst patent trolls and their highly damaging enablers/facilitators, including Microsoft which claims that it “loves Linux” whilst attacking it with patents by proxy



  30. Mark Summerfield: “US Supreme Court Decision in Alice Looks to Have Eliminated About 75% of New Business Method Patents.”

    Some of the patent microcosm, or those who profit from the bureaucracy associated with patents, responds to claims made by Techrights (that software patents are a dying breed in the US)


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