01.30.16

The Greedy USPTO Leaves Loopholes, “Per Se”, for Patenting of Software in the United States Despite the Alice Case

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No loopholes “as such”, just loopholes “per se”

USPTO subject matter

Summary: The US patent office, USPTO, is still trying to sidestep rulings from the law setters in the United States, probably because of greed and no quality control motivations

THE United States’ Supreme Court was pretty clear about abstract patents and the USPTO very begrudgingly took this into account, only after courts have time after time thrown in the wastebasket patents granted by the USPTO, where quality control is worse than black comedy (is any examination being done at all or just stamping for a fee?).

“Unsurprisingly, in this extremely unregulated system, the patent office does the very minimum to realign as per court rulings and it leaves many loopholes for patenting of abstract software ideas.”Based on this page about “Patent Subject Matter Eligibility”, the USPTO does not want to actually obey the law as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Unsurprisingly, in this extremely unregulated system, the patent office does the very minimum to realign as per court rulings and it leaves many loopholes for patenting of abstract software ideas. The term “per se” is mentioned at least 5 times in this page and Benjamin Henrion (FFII) rightly said that the “USPTO is abusing the “per se”, as the EPO has abused “as such” to render software patentable at the end” (these words are like vague exceptions to each rule).

“Patents,” wrote a patents-centric person, “New entrant in § 101 (subject matter eligibility) tome. When do they update MPEP?”

Henrion, who will speak about similar issues pertaining to software patents in Europe tomorrow in Brussels, responded to the above by saying “that’s written by legalese guys that want to exploit loopholes.”

“USPTO is abusing the “per se”, as the EPO has abused “as such” to render software patentable at the end”
      –Benjamin Henrion
Another person who opposes software patents wrote: “Interpreting the Law to serve themselves? In order to obtain fees?”

Henrion later called it “EPO style power money grab” (recall how the EPO does this).

They are rendering software patents “acceptable” (or implicitly allowed) so as to grab more power and money at at the expense of citizens. This is just wrong. It shouldn’t be done. These organisations have .org and .gov domains, but they operate like greedy corporations and serve the greediest corporations, not citizens.

Writing about the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), this pro-software patents site (of patent lawyers) wrote yesterday that CAFC “Did Not Abuse Its Discretion To Allow Defendant’s § 101 Defense After Alice; Claims for “Anonymous Load Shopping” Using Generic Computer Technology Are Abstract And Unpatentable.”

It also said that “the plaintiff moved to strike the re-asserted invalidity defense under §101 as not made with good cause and as unfairly prejudicial. The defendant argued that the change was made in view of the Supreme Court’s §101 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, which was decided two months before the final invalidity contentions were served. The district court agreed that the Alice decision was sufficient cause to re-assert the §101 defense in the final invalidity contentions. The district court later granted summary judgment of invalidity under §101. The plaintiff appealed.”

As can be seen here, the USPTO grants patents on software, but as per Supreme Court rulings, these patents are ruled invalid. This means that the USPTO no longer does what’s lawful and the wordings above (“per se”) help show that it’s not even interested in obeying the law. It just wants to exponentially grow the number of granted patents (the number doubled in a matter of a few years!).

This extreme greed means that a patent bubble is being created (leading to incorrect valuations of some companies) and it will inevitably explode/burst, causing a lot of damage to the US economy. It wouldn’t be so bad for patent lawyers when it finally happened.

Australian patent lawyers, in the meantime, try to figure out how to patent software in the US and in Australia. Lawyers’ media has just published “Business Method and Software Patent Eligibility: Australian and U.S. Standards” and it says:

RPL held that “[i]t is not a patentable invention simply to ‘put’ a business method ‘into’ a computer to implement the business method using the computer for its well-known and understood functions.” Stated another way, the computer cannot be “a mere tool in which the invention is performed,” but rather “must involve the creation of an artificial state of affairs where the computer is integral to the invention . . . .” The inventive aspect (“ingenuity” as termed by the Australian court) must be “in the way in which the computer is utilised,” not in the scheme, plan, or process that is being implemented.

At first blush, this sounds similar to the guide posts present in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. The Supreme Court held that “a mere instruction to ‘implement’ an abstract idea ‘on a computer’ . . . cannot impart patent eligibility.” Instead, citing prior cases, Alice held that the invention may be patent eligible where it “improve[s] the functioning of the computer itself,” or “effect[s] an improvement in any other technology or technical field.”

More and more places around the world, including Europe, rule/deem software patents invalid, at least when they reach the courts. It’s time for the public to pressure patent offices and patent lawyers whom they interact with (all for the accumulation of money), demanding that they stop ignoring the law. They shouldn’t be pursuing software patents. They are a big part of plenty of today’s problems. If patents are being compared to “products” and maximisation of “sales” (to clients/customers, not applicants) is the goal, no wonder we ended up in an increasingly horrible, sordid mess.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  2. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  3. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  4. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  5. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  6. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  7. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  9. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  11. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  12. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  13. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  14. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  15. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements



  16. Links 25/10/2020: GNU Taler's IETF Milestone, RISC OS 5.28 and New Ubuntu Community Council

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 24, 2020



  18. Links 24/10/2020: GDB 10.1, Kodachi 7.4, Wine 5.20

    Links for the day



  19. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  20. The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

    We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM's past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing



  21. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars



  22. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020



  23. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."



  24. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)



  25. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)



  26. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States



  27. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020



  29. Links 23/10/2020: 'Groovy Gorilla' Everywhere in the News

    Links for the day



  30. For Better 'Tech Rights' in the United States (and the World at Large) the 'Orange Man' Needs to Go

    With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale


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

Recent Posts