04.13.16

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New Software Patents From Google, Microsoft and Apple, Plus New Lobbying From David Kappos (Paid by Microsoft and Apple)

Posted in America, Apple, Google, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Kappos demonstrates that laws are up for sale in the US, even patent laws

David Kappos
Source: David Kappos 2013 interview

Kappos PAI
Kappos-led group, funded by large corporations but conveniently not named Partnership of Megacorporations

Summary: Software patents are not going away just yet because companies such as Microsoft, Apple and IBM (which Kappos came from) use their money for lobbying, essentially buying legislation

THE other day we wrote about patents on driving, the context being (in part) Google’s initiative, which made the news this past week, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. Google is trying to patent driving [1, 2], which brings up all sorts of legitimate questions about patent scope and prior art (humans already drive cars and have driven cars for many years). These are undoubtedly software patents. They affect my area of research, which is computer vision/machine vision (purely software/mathematics), not signal processing (hardware slant to it).

“If Kappos has any dignity left, he will go hide under a rock and not reinforce the perception that the patent system he worked for is deeply corrupt.”According to other news (“Microsoft patents end-to-end encryption”), the NSA surveillance pioneer wants a monopoly on encryption [1, 2, 3, 4], in relation to an operating system that’s the antithesis of encryption (mass surveillance in real time).

Meanwhile we also learn that Finjan, a Microsoft-connected patent aggressor, carries on suing Symantec. As a software patents proponent put it: “Finjan Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNJN), the parent of wholly-owned subsidiary Finjan, Inc., announced several weeks ago that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) issued the final rulings on attempts by Symantec Corporation’s (NASDAQ: SYMC) to invalidate 8 different Finjan’s patents through inter partes review (“IPR”).”

So, in this particular case, PTAB did not eliminate software patents, for a change. Cause for celebration among patent lawyers, but what does it mean to everybody else? Apple patent aggression with software patents is still, according to this news, a ‘thing’ as “this latest patent is more software orientated.” A lot of the patents Apple has been using to attack Linux (or Android) have been software patents or design patents, which are inherently similar to (or a type of) software patents.

Now that software patents are generally under attack and face an existential threat in the US (SCOTUS already killed many of them with Alice and it might soon do the same to design patents because of Apple’s aggression) the former USPTO Director, David Kappos, rears his ugly head again. He now works as a lobbyist for IBM, Microsoft, Apple etc. and disgraces the USPTO as he currently receives money to change laws in favour of these clients (that’s a form of “revolving doors” corruption, turning/converting his influence/connections into money). As this lawyers’ site has just put it: “The former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Monday called for the abolition of Section 101 of the Patent Act, which sets limits on patent-eligible subject matter, saying decisions like Alice on the issue are a “real mess” and threaten patent protection for key U.S. industries.” What he means by “real mess” is that it creates uncertainty for clients of his, such as IBM, Microsoft, and Apple. This is a continuation of something that we noted here before. If Kappos has any dignity left, he will go hide under a rock and not reinforce the perception that the patent system he worked for is deeply corrupt.

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