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11.17.15

Patent Boundaries in the US and the Risk of Europe Repeating the Mistakes of the US

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent systems without boundaries become utterly meaningless, ripe for abuse

Fence

Summary: Software patentability and other undesirable patents in the US (as viewed by various Web sites), plus some timely commentary about the lessons the EPO must learn from the mistakes of the US, where patent trolls are now a massive epidemic

THE wrath of patent lawyers is rather telling. They are upset that Alice is ruining their so-called ‘business’ and they attempt to find workarounds, urging fellow patent lawyers to do the same. Gene Quinn, one of the loudest proponents of software patents, is still quite loud about it. These patent lawyers and boosters of software patents openly express their sheer worry about where things are going for software patents (hence their parasitic business) after Alice. It’s expected. “One might think,” Quinn writes, “that just about everything that can be said about Alice has already been said, but that is unfortunately not the case.”

“They are striving to change the status quo by changing perceptions.”Actually, what we appear to be seeing since the ruling (nearly a year and a half ago) is thousands of patent lawyers babbling about it and saturating the media with spin. They are striving to change the status quo by changing perceptions. Watch Quinn speaking to other boosters of software patents so as to spread yet more pro-software patents views in the media, just like IAM does.

No doubt the USPTO still allows patents on some software, including some in my research area, imaging technology. To quote this one new blog post, “USPTO Awards Additional Patent to E-ImageData Relating to its Digital Microform Imaging Technology. In a new development in the patent and trademark world, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued an additional U.S. Patent to E-ImageData relating to its digital microform imaging technology (U.S. Patent No. 9,179,019). E-ImageData is a renowned name in the field of Imaging Data Technology which is powering most prestigious libraries and private companies across the globe.”

“What does the presence of so many patent trolls tell us about the US patent system?”Notice how quickly the patent numbers are rising (approaching 10 million). It’s not bizarre given that around 92% of patent applications in the US are eventually accepted. This just serves to show how ludicrous it has become and the EPO under Battistelli goes down a similar route right now (patents on life too are being accepted, not to mention software patents).

There are new debates about patents’ impact on or correlation to the US economy. These will be focused on patent trolls. What does the presence of so many patent trolls tell us about the US patent system? This new blog post says that “Texas Emerges as the Favorite Place for Patent Trolls this Year” (as usual). To quote: “Texas Emerges as the Favorite Place for Patent Trolls this Year. Patent trolling is common but emergence of nearly half of all patent case filings from a single federal court district in a remote part of the country is something that is uncommon and unusual. But, same is the case with East Texas which has emerged as the single largest battle ground for most of the patent infringement lawsuits filed by various players and companies in the United States. According to reports around 44 percent of patent lawsuits have been filed in the Eastern District of Texas Court alone in this financial year which is a point to consider.”

“We are going to say a lot more about patent scope in Europe and its impact.”The sad thing is that there is hardly any talk anymore about US patent reform and the SCOTUS has just formally sided with patent monopolies by rejecting an appeal. To quote yesterday’s report from Reuters: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal filed by manufacturers of liquid crystal displays that are contesting claims that they infringe on a patent held by Eidos Display.”

Where does it all leave us? Well, we spoke to a former EPO patent examiner, who told us it had become a big issue. This examiner wanted to send us a scanned version of Chapter 3 from the following recent book, which he thinks should generally interest us. “The title says it all,” said this person, “Exclusions from Patentability — How Far Has the European Patent Office Eroded Boundaries?”

We are going to say a lot more about patent scope in Europe and its impact. We shall do so some time in the near future. There are currently more urgent articles about the EPO in our pipeline.

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