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's and Bill Gates' Biggest Patent Troll (Intellectual Ventures) Suffers Setback and Nokia is Dead While Patents Scattered to Microsoft Patent Proxies

    Microsoft's patent collectors (trolls) are to have a feast with Nokia patents while Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft's largest patent proxy, continues to attack companies including Motorola



  2. Patent Racketeering Continues With Nadella: Motorola the Latest to Join the FUD Campaign

    Nadella continues Ballmer's campaign of intimidation and alienation, showing that nothing has changed at Microsoft, not even the FUD



  3. Links 23/4/2014: GNOME Maps Application, LG in Headlines

    Links for the day



  4. Links 22/4/2014: More GNU/Linux Gains, Syria Updates

    Links for the day



  5. Links 21/4/2014: New Games for GNU/Linux, Some NatSec Politics

    Links for the day



  6. Site Focus for The Remainder of the Year

    What we plan for the rest of 2014 and why



  7. Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

    Links for the day



  8. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  9. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  10. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  11. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  12. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  13. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  14. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  15. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  16. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  17. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  18. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  19. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  20. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  21. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  22. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  23. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  24. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  25. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  26. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  27. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  28. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  29. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  30. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day


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