07.14.15

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As Demise of Software Patents (and More) in Line With Alice/Section 101 Accelerates, Hashtag #AliceStorm Introduced to Highlight Examples

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In Lieu of Decades of Bad Practice

Bilski Blog chart
Credit: Bilski Blog

Summary: The so-called ‘AliceStorm’ is eliminating software patents (and other abstract patents) at an alarming (to patent lawyers) rate

LAST WEEK we wrote about Michelle Lee's remarks on patent law, conjoined with the report about the Alice case beating Microsoft's patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. Lee’s remarks were important because she is now the leading face of the USPTO (no matter her job title) and Alice is killing software patents very fast, impeding Microsoft’s attacks on Free software in the process. It was only four days ago that we last cited a new example where Alice slaughtered software patents, paving the way (by citation or argument/strategy) for future legal cases where software patents are at stake. This is one of the most fantastic developments that Techrights has seen in nearly a decade and if Groklaw was still active, it too would be jubilant (it partly celebrated the Alice ruling in News Picks, coming back to life after less than a year of total silence).

“Lee is finally recognising that everything has changed and therefore the USPTO needs somewhat of an examination overhaul, for courts almost always disagree on software patents granted by the USPTO.”Michelle Lee now claims that the USPTO needs more Section 101 guidance, based on this patent lawyers’ site. Lee is finally recognising that everything has changed and therefore the USPTO needs somewhat of an examination overhaul, for courts almost always disagree on software patents granted by the USPTO. Just look at the statistics.

According to Patent Buddy, this new ruling [PDF] is yet another victory. “Another case where application of Alice/101 to kill patents has jumped the fence from business methods to software,” to quote Patent Buddy, who added: “We are seeing 101/Alice rejections for everything from MRI devices to adhesives!” According to another new find from Patent Buddy, “US Pat. 6728877 and 7346766 Killed with 101/Alice in Summary Judgment in Lawsuit Against Lenovo by Tranxition in Oregon Dist. Ct.”

This isn’t being overlooked, except by patent lawyers who probably hope that nobody will pay attention. They cherry-pick the few cases where software patents somehow survive. Here is a software patents’ booster whining about this. He wrote: “Deals are still being done in the software patent world, but patent valuation is significantly less than even just a few years ago.”

It’s hardly shocking.

“The Alice/101 Kill Rate Is Accelerating,” Patent Buddy added, linking to a “MUST READ From Bilski Blog” where Robert R. Sachs coins (or advertises) the word/hashtag “AliceStorm”. To quote Sachs: “In just the first ten days of July, there have been ten decisions on patent eligibility—more decisions in first ten days of any month since Alice was decided last year. At this pace, we could see some twenty to thirty decisions this month. #AliceStorm is accelerating.”

It sure looks like even some of the most respected legal blogs (like Bilski Blog in this case) recognise that software patents are weakened by Alice orders of magnitude more often then they were weakened (or invalidated) by the famous Bilski case (it did happen albeit very infrequently).

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