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

07.24.16

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GAO logo

Summary: Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents

Regarding the “EPO and USPTO,” one reader told us over the weekend, there is some curious text which is worth examining/scrutinising further. Just before the weekend we wrote about GAO's input, which mostly chastised the USPTO over patent quality. A closer look reveals even more about the subject.

“This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this.”Here are direct links to the report/s [1, 2]. One reader asked us, “did you get these documents?” These were mentioned very quickly by good blogs like Patently-O, so we noticed them very promptly and commented on these based on concise coverage, not based on a thorough reading of the entire text. “The EPO had no comments on the draft,” our reader told us. “In GAO-16-490,” for example “see e.g. p.25-28 on quality / time, effect of “corridors” (high grades -> higher production), also GAO-16-479: see p.21-22…”

To quote from the text: “The Government Accountability Office has released two reports: one suggesting the USPTO should define quality, reassess incentives and improve clarity; the other suggesting the USPTO should strengthen search capabilities and better monitor examiners’ work…”

This helps highlight existing problems and there is a lot that the EPO can learn from this. To quote one new comment about the EPO: “Some weeks ago the Central Staff Committee [CSC] published a paper about overcapacity and reducing stocks, they also mentioned the contracts for examiners. I heard that a director in The Hague sent a mail to his examiners in which he disproved all the numbers as given by the CSC, showing that their publication was misleading. Does anyone have a copy of this mail? Some facts would be useful for this discussion!”

If anyone has a copy, please send it to us. There is a growing (and legitimate) concern about patent quality at the EPO, especially after Battistelli took over and derailed various processes, not just oversight, appeals, etc.

“With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive.”Based on WIPR‘s coverage of the GAO report, “most patent cases involve software-related inventions [...] that are easy to “unintentionally infringe” (this does not surprise us as we have been arguing this for years).

IAM too (an EPO mouthpiece) responded to these findings regarding USPTO patent quality being so low, reaffirming what we have said for a decade or more.

To quote IAM: “The recent report on USPTO patent quality by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) would not have made for easy reading at the agency. That said, its leadership presumably knew what was coming long before they saw a draft of the report prior to its general release. The office knows it has a problem with quality – raising the standard of grants wouldn’t have become such a banner issue of Director Michelle Lee’s time in charge if it didn’t.”

“They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.”With PTAB and Alice there has already been a turn for the better, but not every outcome is positive. Watch this new article by Ricardo Ochoa of PretiFlaherty. Weeks later, well after the Bascom case, patent law firms still exploit an exceptional case for software patents promotion. If they wish to be honest, they will admit that software patents are neither justified nor easy to defend in a court, as per evidence which exists everywhere.

WatchTroll, the most vocal proponent of software patents out there, wrote today about Alice. Here is a key sentence: “Those who have been involved in patent prosecution going back 12-15 years will recall that after the initial rush of business method patents began, in about 2002, the Patent Office instituted what they referred to as “second pair of eyes” review. Under no circumstances could a patent be issued on anything that related to a computer-implemented invention unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners. It certainly sounds like that is what is happening once again.”

It’s about time too. They would not grant a “computer-implemented invention [CII is another term or euphemism for software patents] unless and until it had been approved by two separate patent examiners,” but still, what guidelines would these examiners follow? The USPTO has not been exactly enthusiastic about altering the rules in lieu with Alice. We wrote about the latest changes a week ago and these probably give too much weight to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which is where software patents came from in the first place.

As Benjamin Henrion (FFII) put it earlier today, “why should programmers respect patent law? we should benefit from free speech, not patent censorship.”

As Deb Nicholson from the Open Invention Network (OIN) put it not too long ago, as per this report about her talk (“The state of software patents after the Alice decision”):

Combating software patents—and other abuses of the patent system, like design patents—is a long-term process, Nicholson reminded the audience. OIN runs several programs it hopes will protect free-software developers from the ills of bad patents, such as its Linux patent pool, the License On Transfer Network, and Defensive Publications.

But Nicholson told the crowd there are other ways they can help improve the patent landscape in the long term, too. They can contribute to the campaigns run by non-profit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Free Software Foundation, she said. Both are working to oppose the software-oriented provisions in the TPP, for example, among their other activities.

Individuals can also be powerful advocates for change within their own companies, pushing them to embrace a defensive, rather than offensive, approach to patents. And they can support the pending patent-reform legislation to lawmakers. Finally, they can continue to advocate for free and open-source software. The more we collaborate together, Nicholson said, the less we’ll want to sue each other.

The problem is though, as we last noted just over week ago, OIN does virtually nothing to stop software patents. Given the companies that formed it and steer this massive aggregate, it’s not hard to see why. They want to keep their cake (software patents) and eat it too.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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. Links 12/7/2020: KDE Plasma 5.20 Preview and Elive 3.8.14 Beta

    Links for the day



  2. [Humour] The 'Orange One' Does Not Respect Judges Either

    More than two years after taking over the European Patent Office (EPO) António Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal of the EPO



  3. The Systemd Song

    Speak out about IBM's strategy before we're all using GNU/Linux distros 'barcoded' with systemd



  4. Monopoly (or Vendor Lock-in) is Not Modularity

    IBM cannot totally control the kernel, Linux; IBM's control over GNU/Linux may be worth even more than what it paid for Red Hat as that's the key to overpriced support contracts and the general direction of development (important trends such as file systems and various low-level stacks)



  5. The Internet Archive Doesn't Forget, Whereas the Internet and the Web Forget Very Fast

    World Wide Web history is grossly undervalued and preservation of such history (e.g. by the Wayback Machine) is taken for granted by far too many people; the robber barons of today benefit the most from erosion of collective memory as they get to rewrite the past to suit their present and future interests



  6. Environmentalism and Free Software Can be Viewed as Closely Connected and Help One Another

    Modest lifestyles are an overlapping pattern in the Free software community and green activists; there's room for alliances and collaboration, bettering society by reducing consumption and discouraging voyeurism



  7. Free (as in Freedom) Software + Social Control Media ≠ Free Speech

    Speaking through middlemen and private platforms is bad enough (that gives others unjust power over speech); to claim that because the underlying platform is free/libre software it therefore becomes a non-issue is also dishonest



  8. António Campinos: President or Quasi-Autocratic Corporate Puppet?

    The culture of oppression — and censorship of evidence of oppression — is what today’s EPO is all about; the EPO learned how to better avoid (or block) negative publicity without actually changing its ways; and due to unprecedented speech restrictions you won’t hear that from SUEPO



  9. The Media Continues to Ignore Corruption of António Campinos

    António Campinos has Croatian scandals on his lap; the obedient media, however, refuses to even talk about it (or uses COVID as an excuse to write nothing on the subject, as some journalists have told us)



  10. A Call for Patent Sanity

    The public's call for reform is motivated by improved understanding of today's debased patent system and how out-of-order (detached from its original mission statement) it has gotten; patent maximalism, if it does not completely unravel this whole system, severely discredits it



  11. Declassified US Army Field Manuals Explain Microsoft's Public Relations Strategy (Similar to Selling Imperialism to the Occupied)

    The misuse of public broadcast to brainwash the public is well understood and thoroughly exploited by both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation (which sells this ridiculous lie that the world’s richest people speak for and fight for the poorest, i.e. those impoverished by endless greed)



  12. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, July 10, 2020



  13. Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

    Links for the day



  14. Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

    Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)



  15. Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

    Links for the day



  16. European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It's Actually a “Scam”

    Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory "licensing" (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune



  17. Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News (Updated)

    Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find



  18. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 09, 2020



  19. Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

    Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead 'on behalf' of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others' grievances to further advance their financial agenda)



  20. Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

    Links for the day



  21. [Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

    The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!



  22. The News is Never 'Slow', It's Just Journalism That's Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

    A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it's very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational



  23. Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn't Ban You It'll Shut Down Everyone's Account (One Day)

    It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)



  24. Microsoft's Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

    Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit 'charity' via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they've moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux



  25. Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, July 08, 2020



  27. Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  28. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  29. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  30. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda


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