03.30.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Hope at the End of the Tunnel as More Software Patents Are Squashed in the US

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Where there’s light there may be justice (unlike at the USPTO, where profit trumps justice)

Hope at the End

Summary: A roundup of patent news regarding software in particular, with concerns about quality control both at the USPTO and the EPO

BEGRUDGINGLY but inevitably the USPTO will need to realign as per the SCOTUS‘ rulings and stop issuing abstract patents on software methods. This is definitely going to upset a lot of patent lawyers, but it’s not them who set the rules (they’re not objective as they have their own motivations, usually just money, not science). Gene Quinn has just gone bonkers again. He wants examiners in patent offices to be replaced (almost) by just a filing system and based on today’s IAM-hosted words of 'wisdom', the EPO may be sinking to Turkish patent standards, or looking for middle ground where there’s a “post-grant opposition system” (grant first, ask questions or sort out the mess later).

“What we have in common here is declining quality control at patent offices.”Based on this new article by Jakob Pade Frederiksen at MIP, the EPO’s “Appeal Board condemns examination delay” (that’s the headline). How about more than 12 years? Consider the following paragraph: “While the recently released EPO performance statistics for 2015 show an increase in the number of grants compared to the previous year and a decrease of backlog of searches by two thirds, delay in examination of pending cases is still of concern to some. A recent appeal decision rendered in the field of computer implemented inventions reveals that excessive examination delays do not amuse the Boards of Appeal. More specifically, in decision T 823/11 rendered in December 2015, Board 3.5.07 has ruled that duration of examination proceedings of more than 12 years must be regarded as excessive and amounts to a substantial procedural violation.”

What we have in common here is declining quality control at patent offices. It’s all about the money! And whose? But at the same time the courts compel the offices to admit their errors. Let’s look at some recent court cases. 2 days ago we mentioned Sequenom, which we had also mentioned last year and in 2014. Sequenom, based on this new report (“Sequenom Asks the Supreme Court to Clarify the Limits on Section 101″), is freaking out after SCOTUS eliminated many abstract patents. Based on this patent lawyer, on the other hand, “US Pat 8,180,858, Survived 101/Alice Attack in Delaware” (words like “Survive” and “Attack” make it sounds like “Alice” is a ruthless warrior rather than SCOTUS fixing patent law). “Prior Stats Were 8/10 Alice Kills,” notes the same patent lawyer, still associating software patents that got invalidated (because they’re bogus) with death. To quote the thing in full: “J. robinson of Dist. Ct. of Delaware Rejected 101/Alice Arguments in 4 decisions issued in past week; Prior Stats Were 8/10 Alice Kills” (meaning, the large majority of them are invalided by Alice when properly challenged in a court of law). One software patent can do a lot of damage in the United States; that is what I told this lawyer regarding this tweet (“US Pat 6,928,433, Apple Paid $100M for Infringing; Asserted Against 7 Others”) as it reminded me of other such Apple cases (the patent owner/assignee is Canadian in this case, just like i4i). All in all, wrote this lawyer, “11% of Patent Reexams Appealed to Beijing IP Ct. Were Reversed; 11% of PTAB Decisions Appealed to Fed. Cir. Have Been Reversed.” We actually consider this patent lawyer to be a “good guy” because he is quite honest and looks at the breadth of things, unlike people who read or write IAM ‘magazine’.

“The USPTO wants no legal challenges because hey, who needs quality control anyway?”In other news of interest, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) has just demolished a gaming patent based on the aforementioned criterion. To quote a lawyers’ site: “Under 35 U.S.C. § 101, patent-eligible subject matter is defined as any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, with the caveat that laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patent eligible. The purpose of the exceptions is to prevent patents from preventing access to “the basic tools of scientific and technological work.” The examiner rejected the claims as directed to patent-ineligible subject matter under 35 USC § 101, taking the position that the claims were directed to an abstract idea as the claims attempted “to claim a new set of rules for playing a card game.””

On the other hand, or by contrast, “Computer Modeling Breast Prosthesis Survives 12(b)(6) § 101 Challenge,” said another site, also one that’s in the patent maximalism fold. Speaking of this fold, Lexology has just reposted two articles that we mentioned here some days ago [1, 2]. They amplify the patent maximalists’ messages (usually patent attorneys). Patently-O has been relatively quiet over Easter, but yesterday we found this update about the USPTO, where patent maximalism is embedded because of profit motives. To quote Patently-O: “The U.S. Government has also filed its responsive merits brief. The brief appears to be a joint effort of the Solicitor General (DOJ) and the USPTO and does a solid job of justifying its positions [...] The PTO is looking for a strong decision in this case to effectively shut-down the myriad challenges it is currently facing.”

“They tell us it’s good because “R&D” or something along those lines, neglecting to point out that a lot of Merck’s funding actually comes from taxpayers and the profits get pumped not into “R&D” (or even marketing) but pocketed by billionaires who own the company or have stakes in it.”The USPTO wants no legal challenges because hey, who needs quality control anyway? A lot patent lawyers (or their clients) just want it the easy way; they want to bombard the system with patents (not applications) and not ever face rejection. Wild West. Now there’s a whole new software ‘industry’ dedicated to fooling patent examiners into accepting bogus applications. That’s just another arms race and the potential gains are big (at someone else’s expense). To give this new example from MIP: “A jury in the Northern District of California has ordered Gilead Sciences to pay $200 million in damages for infringing Merck and Ionis Pharmaceuticals patents for compounds and methods used to develop medicines for the treatment of hepatitis C, including Sovaldi and Harvoni.”

So a massive company, Merck, will get to keep its prices artificially high while destroying a smaller company and taking away its money. They tell us it’s good because “R&D” or something along those lines, neglecting to point out that a lot of Merck’s funding actually comes from taxpayers and the profits get pumped not into “R&D” (or even marketing) but pocketed by billionaires who own the company or have stakes in it. So much for ‘innovation’.

Remember what patent offices were conceived and created for. Have we not lost sight of that?

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  2. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  3. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  4. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  5. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  6. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  7. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  9. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  10. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  11. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  12. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  13. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  14. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  15. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  17. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  18. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  19. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  20. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  21. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  22. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  23. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  25. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  26. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  27. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  28. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  29. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  30. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day


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