Summary: A look at some of last week’s patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)
AFTER many years of bitterness (over loss of focus in the media) we may finally write more about patents and will occasionally return to our old “Patents Roundup” series. The goal is to debate not “trolls” but the real issues with the patent system — issues that are much broader than patent trolls.
“Cisco sheds its set-top box business to Technicolor for $600m,” according to this new article. “Additionally,” wrote the author, “the pair have signed a long-term patent cross-licensing agreement though neither company has said which patents are involved.”
This is what’s known as a “thicket” and it helps remove competition from the market unless it is very well funded. By buying this business (Technicolor will have it all) and having just got these patents, Technicolor can now exercise yet more control, using patents, over its competition.
Patent lawyers who persistently and openly promote software patents are clearly nervous about Alice/Section 101 because it kills software patents almost all the time (in high-profile cases). Watch this latest ‘damage control’ from IP Watchdog. It’s quite funny to watch actually.
After the ruling in the Alice case, what kind of software developer still tries to patent software? The billionaires’ fan press, Forbes, presents this story titled “The Nuts And Bolts Of Scaling A Company”. In it there’s propaganda: “Of course, now that the software is developed, she has filed patents.”
Yes. “Of course”. That’s what everyone should do, based on billionaires’ media. She decided to waste time and money because lawyers bamboozled her. Maybe the likes of Forbes (personification of people like Donald Trump) also bamboozled her. See  below. The Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ is now comparing “Government-Enforced Monopolies” (patents) to ‘Free Market’. These super-rich people have no sense of shame, have they? To them, class war (looting by the oligarchs/plutocrats) is ‘Free Market’.
Anyone who still tries to patent software in the US clearly paid no attention to Alice and the subsequent rulings. Patent valuation for such patents sank, as even proponents of software patents (patent lawyers) care to admit. The only people to profit from such nonsense are lawyers.
Voip-Pal Patenting VOIP
According to this news, Voip-Pal.com Inc. is now busy patenting software, even where software is not patentable. “They controlled nodes in Canada, London and Denmark,” says the article, “used to prove the validity of their concept which was later patented.”
Why patent it? What’s the point? Is it even legal to patent software where they operate?
We recently wrote about Fitbit coming under a barrage of lawsuits. Well, Fitbit itself is hoarding a growing number of so-called ‘wearable’ patents. An article about this, which uses the “intellectual property rights” propaganda term in the headline, was published the other day. “But not everything “clever” can be patented,” it noted. Well it can, in the US, even when it’s not clever. Ask Sun’s engineers. They openly mocked the system for accepting just about every patent application and granting patents for about 92% of them, according to more recent statistics.
Another new article about Fitbit says: “According to Park, the secret to its success has been the combination of hardware and software, as well as distribution” (not patents).
If that is the case, then how come Fitbit continues to hoard patents? It arguably needs these for defence from sharks and aggressors such as Jawbone. In a perfect world, no such patents would be granted in the first place.
Scott Walker and Patent Lies
Scott Walker is a horrible — if not corrupt — politician. He gained notoriety in recent years (we have mentioned him almost a hundred times in our daily links) and this new article about him says:
Green Box said it held seven patents, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office lists no patents granted or assigned to Van Den Heuvel or the company.
As is often the case when it comes to Scott Walker, lies are the ‘norm’.
Medical-marijuana patents may soon be granted because, according to this report, a company “filed two provisional U.S. patent applications for cannabis extracts” (so basically patents on banned drugs).
JDate, based on [2-5], is now misusing software patents to attack the competition, hoping to drive it out of business. Remind us again how software patents supposedly promote innovation? There is also some bizarre trademark bullying, with JDate claiming ownership of the letter “J” (which stands for Jewish in this case). See the articles below for the gory details. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Those folks at the Wall Street Journal are really turning reality on its head. Today it ran a column by Robert Ingram, a former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, complaining about efforts to pass “transparency” legislation in Massachusetts, New York and a number of other states.
This legislation would require drug companies to report their profits on certain expensive drugs, as well as government funding that contributed to their development.
This would eliminate all the distortions associated with patent monopolies, such as patent-protected prices that can be more than 100 times as much as the free-market price. This would eliminate all the ethical dilemmas about whether the government or private insurers should pay for expensive drugs like Sovaldi, since the drugs would be cheap. It would also eliminate the incentive to mislead doctors and the public about the safety and effectiveness of drugs in order to benefit from monopoly profits.
Today, Forbes unearthed a lawsuit from late last year that Jewish dating site JDate’s parent company filed against an app called JSwipe (also aimed at Jewish folk). It’s over the use of the letter J. The case is set to pick up again next month.
Jdate, the popular dating service responsible for more Jewish hookups than a bottle of Manischewitz, is playing hardball in the dog-eat-dog world of nice Jewish match-making.
Jdate’s parent company, Spark Networks, discreetly filed a lawsuit late last year against Jswipe, the ‘Tinder for Jews’ dating app, claiming intellectual property over the letter “J” within the Jewish dating scene (the company refers to the branding as the “J-family”).
Over the sounds of the packed crowd at the lower level of Noho hotspot “Acme,” on Tuesday evening, one phrase could consistently be heard: “I work in real estate.”
Additionally, Jdate claims it owns the patent on software that “confidentially determines matches and notifies users of mutual matches in feelings and interests.” Jswipe, like Tinder, notifies users when their romantic interest ‘swipes right’ on their picture, violating Jdate’s patent.