02.29.16

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After Alice, Patent Trial and Appeal Board is Invalidating Software Patents and Other Abstract Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PTAB

Summary: A quick look at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and why patent lawyers, patent trolls (who typically use software patents) and other patent aggressors are afraid of it, more so after Alice (a landmark 2014 case against abstract software patents)

THOSE who are not patent lawyers might not know that PTAB, according to Wikipedia, “was formed on September 16, 2012 as one part of the America Invents Act.”

“Patent lawyers, suffice to say, are growing nervous and comparing PTAB to all sorts of terrible things.”That was less than a couple of years before Alice, which effectively killed many software patents in the US (and shed doubt on the rest). The EPO too has boards of appeal, even though Battistelli seems to be trying to crush them (the unfilled open positions strategy, as the BBC reported on earlier today — the latest round of Tories versus NHS), possibly because of the UPC (some speculations insinuate this). At the same time he opens the door to software patents, which the boards have historically been relatively sceptical/critical of.

According to this new article from the EFF: “Today EFF filed our response brief in the appeal of our successful challenge to Personal Audio’s podcasting patent. Back in April 2015, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruled in our favor and invalidated all of the patent claims we challenged. Personal Audio appealed this decision to the Federal Circuit.”

We covered this at the time (April 2015, just under a year after Alice) and we were pleased with the outcome. Patent lawyers, suffice to say, are growing nervous and comparing PTAB to all sorts of terrible things.

“Watch what a tragedy this has become for business method and software patents.”Consider this MIP article titled “PTAB taking a harder line on CBM institution”. It says: “More covered business method petitions are now being denied institution by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board than granted, with the Board seemingly narrowing what qualifies as a CBM patent” (that’s good, but not for patent lawyers).

Also new from MIP is this article titled “Institutional change: PTAB issues to watch in 2016″. To quote: “PTAB petition filing has increased every year since the post-grant proceedings became available in September 2012. According to figures from Docket Navigator, a record 1,797 petitions were filed last year, up 7% on the 1,677 filed in 2014. Inter partes review (IPR) petitions accounted for 92% of the filing last year.”

Watch what a tragedy this has become for business method and software patents. It’s about time. Let the patent lawyers squirm, twist the facts, and whine…

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