EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.15.16

Patents Roundup: SCOTUS, CAFC, and Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Removing software patents from the US patent system still not on the agenda in Washington

US Capitol

Summary: A quick overview of some news of interest from the US patent system, where software patents are still on the agenda (but not their official elimination)

SCOTUS

SEVERAL sites recently analysed cases destined (or likely) to reach SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court. Here is one such example. It doesn’t appear as though SCOTUS will entertain the question of software patentability any time soon, so the impact of Alice will stand unshaken/unchallenged.

“It doesn’t appear as though SCOTUS will entertain the question of software patentability any time soon, so the impact of Alice will stand unshaken/unchallenged.”It sure seems like a lot of practicing firms no longer pursue software patents to the same degree as before, neither in the courtroom nor in the patent office. The patent system itself, just like justice, is too slow and expensive. See this new article which says “Judge Indira Talwani emphasized the importance of timely intervention in any patent infringement suit, in a recent opinion out of the District of Massachusetts. In this case, an exclusive licensee of several patents was not permitted to intervene in a patent infringement suit, largely because its motion was filed many months too late.”

When patent cases take years to be settled (or decided on by a court) it contributes a great deal to uncertainty, not just legal costs, e.g. lawyers’ fees. Surely the lawyers and the courts love this a great deal. It’s what gives them job security.

Federal Circuit

“When patent cases take years to be settled (or decided on by a court) it contributes a great deal to uncertainty, not just legal costs, e.g. lawyers’ fees.”The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has contributed to the demise of patents on software in the US. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which introduced software patents in the first place and sometimes interacts with PTAB, has been the subject of focus in several recent posts from Dennis Crouch. Today he wrote that the “USPTO Stall[s] Implementation of Federal Circuit Decisions,” noting that “[a]ccording to Tam’s pi-day filed mandamus action, however, the USPTO Director has indicated that she will not comply with the Court’s until all potential appeals have been exhausted or expired. As such, the USPTO continues to refuse to publish the mark in the Official Gazette.”

Yes, great ‘justice’ right there.

Another very recent post from Crouch said that the Federal Circuit actually expressed reluctance to accept patents on certain computer games. To quote:

In reviewing the application, the Examiner Layno (Games art unit 3711) rejected these card games patents as ineligible under Section 101 – noting that the claim is “an attempt to claim a new set of rules for playing a card game [and thus] qualifies as an abstract idea.” The Patent Trial & Appeal Board affirmed that ruling – holding that “independent claim 1 is directed to a set of rules for conducting a wagering game which . . . constitutes a patent-ineligible abstract idea.” The particular physical steps such as shuffling and dealing are conventional elements of card-gambling and therefore (according to the Board) insufficient to transform the claimed abstract idea into a patent eligible invention.

It is good and increasingly reassuring to see that CAFC, under additional pressure from PTAB, sees the light on software patents and thus limits them.

Bizarre Patents

A lot of abstract patent applications are being accepted as valid in the US and even rather trivial ones (which children can come up with) end up being accepted by the USPTO, where quality control basically got thrown out the window. Earlier today we saw MIP talking to people whose business is patenting seeds/plants/life and then suing companies (or threatening to sue them). “A new patent shows how airfares may one day depend on your girth,” said this very recent headline as well and speaking of games, here is an article by Joe Mullin about a topic which he covered before and we thereafter mentioned. “Defendant Jordan Gwyther,” Mullin claims, “has said that the litigation could threaten the future of his favorite hobby: live action role-playing, or “LARPing.” Gwyther and his fellow LARPers recreate medieval battles, wearing armor and using foam weapons to stage fights in local fields and parks.”

“Crouch has just tackled the question of prior art, but when examiners are overworked and compensated for grants more than for rejections, does it surprise anyone that almost every US patent application ends up being successful?”Patents on games are probably a step too far, especially when they involve virtual equivalents of something that existed for many centuries (if not millennial timescale). Crouch has just tackled the question of prior art, but when examiners are overworked and compensated for grants more than for rejections, does it surprise anyone that almost every US patent application ends up being successful? The EPO is now aping this trend, quite unfortunately.

Software Patents

Over in the US, where Amazon has some of the world’s most notorious software patents (Amazon is trying to do the same in Europe), Amazon is now seeking patent monopolies on biometric authentication. Biometrics are passwords you basically cannot change, but Amazon patents the misguided idea nonetheless. See some of today’s headlines, such as “Amazon Wants the Patent for Pay-By-Selfie”, “Amazon seeks patent for buying items with a look”, and “Amazon Wants the Patent for Pay-By-Selfie” [1, 2, 3].

“These aren’t “Americans” but multinational corporations that are based in the US.”As one article put it, “Amazon has filed a patent application to allow users to pay for items by taking a selfie. The tech giant argues the move would improve people’s security as they carry out more and more tasks online.”

Amazon also works closely with the CIA ($600 million computing deal), so sending Amazon many of personal, grainy photos isn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do.

“Americans file more patents in Australia than Australians!” screams a new headline today, but is anybody surprised? These aren’t “Americans” but multinational corporations that are based in the US. How many of these patents are on software?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

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. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  2. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  3. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  4. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  5. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  6. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  7. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  8. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  9. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  10. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  11. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  12. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  14. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  15. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)



  16. Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

    Links for the day



  17. Bad Advice From Mintz Levin and Bejin Bieneman PLC Would Have People Believe That Software Patents Are Still Worth Pursuing

    The latest examples of misleading articles which, in spite of the avalanche of software patents in the United States, continue to promote these



  18. Patents Are Not Property, They Are a Monopoly, and They Are Not Owned But Temporarily Granted

    Patent maximalism and distortion of concepts associated with patents tackled again, for terminology is being hijacked by those who turned patents into their "milking cows"



  19. SoftBank Group, New Owner of ARM, Could Potentially Become (in Part) a Patent Troll or an Aggressor Like Qualcomm

    SoftBank grabbed headlines (in the West at least) when it bought ARM, but will it soon grab headlines for going after practicing companies using a bunch of patents that it got from Inventergy, ARM, and beyond?



  20. Technicolor, Having Turned Into a Patent Troll, Attacks Android/Tizen/Linux With Patents in Europe

    Technicolor, which a lot of the media portrayed as a patent troll in previous years (especially after it had sued Apple, HTC and Samsung), is now taking action against Samsung in Europe (Paris, Dusseldorf and Mannheim)



  21. Michelle Lee is Still “in Charge” of the US Patent System

    Contrary to a malicious whispering campaign against Lee (a coup attempt, courtesy of patent maximalists who make a living from mass litigation), she is still in charge of the USPTO



  22. Our Assessment: EPO Wants a Lot of Low-Quality Patents and Low-Paid Staff With UPC (Prosecution Galore)

    The European Patent Office seems to be less interested in examination and more interested in facilitating overzealous prosecution all across Europe and beyond; The Administrative Council has shown no signs that it is interested in profound changes, except those proposed by Battistelli in the face of growing resistance from staff and from ordinary stakeholders



  23. Links 16/2/2017: HITMAN for GNU/Linux, Go 1.8

    Links for the day



  24. Yet More Complaints About the European Patent Office in the Bavarian Regional Government

    Some German politicians do care about the welfare of EPO staff, a lot more so than the EPO's management that is actively crushing this staff



  25. EPO Staff Representatives to Escalate Complaint About Severe Injustices to the EPO's Secretive Board 28

    In a new letter to President Benoît Battistelli it is made abundantly apparent -- however politely -- that Battistelli's gross abuses could further complicate things for Battistelli, who is already embroiled in a fight with his predecessor, Roland Grossenbacher



  26. New Survey Reveals That High Patent Quality, or Elimination of Bad Patents, is Desirable to Patent Holders

    A new survey from Bloomberg BNA and AIPLA reveals that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which still grows in prominence, is supported by people who have themselves gotten patents (not those who are in the bureaucracy of patents and self-serving politics)



  27. Open Patent Office is Not the Solution; Ending Software Patents is the Solution

    Our remarks about the goals and methods of the newly-established Open Patent Office and what is instead needed in order to combat the menace that threatens software development



  28. New Scholarly Paper Says “UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Could Mean That the Entire (Unitary Patent) System Will Not Go Into Effect”

    A paper from academics -- not from the patent microcosm (for a change) -- provides a more sobering interpretation, suggesting quite rightly that the UPC can't happen in the UK (or in Europe), or simply not endure if some front groups such as CIPA somehow managed to bamboozle politicians into it (ratification in haste, before the facts are known)



  29. Patent Trolls Update: Rodney Gilstrap Maintains His Support for Trolls, MPEG-LA Goes Hunting in China, and Blackberry Hits Nokia

    A roundup of the latest news about patent trolls and what they are up to in the United States, Europe, and Asia



  30. Guest Post: EPO, an Idyllic Place to Work

    The true face of the EPO as explained by an insider, recalling the history that led to the negative image and toxic work atmosphere


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts