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. Microsoft Layoffs of 2014

    Another quick look at Microsoft's horrible state of affairs and why it has virtually nothing to do with Nokia



  2. Links 22/7/2014: Linux 3.16 RC 6, New UberStudent

    Links for the day



  3. Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

    Links for the day



  4. Longtime Mono Booster Joins Microsoft-linked Xamarin

    Jo Shields almost joins Microsoft, settling instead for its proxy, Xamarin



  5. Linux Foundation Welcomes Patent Aggressor Red Bend Software

    The Linux Foundation's AllSeen Alliance welcomes as a member a company that uses software patents to sue Free/Open Source software



  6. Matt Levy From Patent Progress (and CCIA) Does Not Really Want Patent Progress

    Matthew ('Matt') Levy moved into a foe of patent progress last year, but he still runs a site calls Patent Progress, in which he diverts all attention to patent trolls (as large corporations such as Microsoft like to do)



  7. Attacking FOSS by Ignoring/Overlooking Issues With Proprietary Software

    The biasing strategy which continues to be used to demonise Free/Open Source software (FOSS) along with some new examples



  8. Links 19/7/2014: CRUX 3.1 is Out, CyanogenMod Competes With Google Now

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft's Massive Layoffs Go Far Beyond Nokia; Nokia's Android Phones Axed by Microsoft's Elop

    Microsoft's rapid demise and permanent exit from Nokia's last remaining Linux platform (after Microsoft had killed two more)



  10. Patents on Software Already Being Invalidated in Courts Owing to SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Patents

    The Federal Circuit Appeals Court has just "invalidated a software patent for being overly abstract," says a patents expert



  11. OpenSUSE 'Community' is Crumbling, AttachMSFT Killed SUSE's Potential (Except as Microsoft Tax)

    Not much too see in the land of SUSE and Attachmate, or formerly the company known as Novell



  12. Links 18/7/2014: Slackware Turns 21, Spotify Switches to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/7/2014: Manjaro 0.8.10 Third Update, SIA Migrates to Red Hat

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft's Latest Round of Massive/Bulk/Large-scale Layoffs

    Microsoft boosters are preparing 'damage control' pieces ahead of massive layoffs at Microsoft



  15. Secrecy Allows British Government to be Manipulated by Microsoft for Spyware Behind Closed Doors

    Dependence on malicious software from NSA ally Microsoft is highly dependent, at least in Britain, on government secrecy and vain refusal to comply with Freedom of Information (FOI) requests



  16. Software Patent Applications Already Being Rejected in the US Owing to SCOTUS Ruling, Some Patent Lawyers Are Fuming

    Good news on the software patents front as the USPTO starts rejecting software patent applications, based on patent lawyers' words



  17. Links 15/7/2014: New Plasma, Google Announces Project Zero

    Links for the day



  18. Interest in Free Software Coverage and 9 Months With Tux Machines

    Thoughts about the level of interest in Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and growth of at least some sites that focus on GNU/Linux



  19. White House Backs Away From Appointing Patents Zealot to Top USPTO Position

    Philip Johnson is no longer poised to become the Director of the USPTO, which is basically an establishment that provides protectionism to primarily US-based corporations



  20. Professor James Bessen Presents the Case Against Software Patents After Important SCOTUS Ruling

    The debate about software patents in the Unites States continues, with academia on one side and greedy patent lawyers on the other



  21. Software Patents Demising in the US as Microsoft Patent Attacks on Android/Linux Suffer a Huge Setback

    M-Cam's assessment of Microsoft's bundle of extortion (using software patents) shows toothlessness, irrespective of the SCOTUS decision to effectively annul "abstract" software patents



  22. Links 13/7/2014: KDE Activity Surge

    Links for the day



  23. Pro-Microsoft Spin in Microsoft-Funded News Networks

    The rogue media (misinformation) campaign of Microsoft benefits from networks which have been paid by Microsoft over the years



  24. Cronyism at Play: European Hostility Towards Free/Libre Software Despite Espionage and Moles

    Europe continues to be held hostage with back doors, lock-in, and massive payments to foreign powers, despite evidence that these powers are destructive and hostile



  25. Wirelessly-Controlled Contraceptives and Other Villainous Bill Gates Initiatives

    Remote controls for people's reproductive systems are now in the making and Bill Gates is a prominent investor in the technology



  26. Links 12/7/2014: CrossOver, New Wine

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2014: LXLE 14.04 in Headlines, Plasma 5

    Links for the day



  28. OpenDocument Format (ODF) Still Alive and Kicking

    Caligra, WebODF and various influential nations' departure from Microsoft Office will help famous projects such as OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice make ODF the only international standard for editable documents exchange



  29. The Effect of Corporate Media Bias: FOSS Demonisation and Microsoft Openwashing

    A set of very recent examples where the corporate press produces FOSS-hostile articles (or pro-Microsoft articles) by citing biased sources of convenience



  30. The NSA's Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

    Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)


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