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.
  • 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. Links 16/10/2019: Halo Privacy, Ubuntu Release Imminent

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 15, 2019



  3. No, Microsoft is Not an 'Open Source Company' But a Lying Company

    The world’s biggest proprietary software companies want to be seen as “open”; what else is new?



  4. Meme: Setting the Record Straight

    Stallman never defended Epstein. He had called him “Serial Rapist”. It’s Bill Gates who defended Epstein and possibly participated in the same acts.



  5. EPO Staff Resolution Against Neoliberal Policies of António Campinos

    “After Campinos announced 17 financial measures,” a source told us, “staff gathered at multiple sites last week for general assemblies. The meeting halls were crowded. The resolution was passed unanimously and without abstentions.”



  6. Satya Nadella is a Distraction From Microsoft's Real Leadership and Abuses

    "I’m merely wondering if his image and accolades that we’re incessantly bombarded with by the press actually reflect his accomplishments or if they’re being aggrandized."



  7. Raw: EPO Comes Under Fire for Lowering Patent Quality Under the Orwellian Guise of “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI)

    Stephen Rowan, the President’s (António Campinos) chosen VP who promotes the notorious “Collaborative Quality Improvements” (CQI) initiative/pilot, faces heat from the CSC, the Central Staff Committee of the EPO



  8. Making The Most of The Fourth Age of Free Software

    "For better or for worse, we can be certain the Free Software Foundation will never be the same."



  9. FSF is Not for Free Speech Anymore

    The FSF gave orders to silence people



  10. Links 16/10/2019: Plasma 5.17.0, Project Trident Moves to GNU/Linux, NuTyX 11.2

    Links for the day



  11. ...So This GNU/Linux User Goes to a Pub With Swapnil and Jim

    It's hard to promote GNU/Linux when you don't even use it



  12. How to THRIVE, in Uncertain Times for Free Software

    "The guidelines are barely about conduct anyway, they are more about process guidelines for "what to do with your autonomy" in the context of a larger group where participation is completely voluntary and each individual consents to participate."



  13. When They Run Out of Things to Patent They'll Patent Nature Itself...

    The absolutely ridiculous patent bar (ridiculously low) at today’s EPO means that legal certainty associated with European Patents is at an all-time low; patents get granted for the sake of granting more patents each year



  14. EPO Boards of Appeal Need Courage and Structural Disruption to Halt Software Patents in Europe

    Forces or lobbyists for software patents try to come up with tricks and lies by which to cheat the EPC and enshrine illegal software patents; sadly, moreover, EPO judges lack the necessary independence by which to shape caselaw against such practices



  15. Professor Dr. Maximilian Haedicke on Lack of Separation of Powers at the EPO (Which Dooms UPC)

    Team UPC (“empire of lies”) is catching up with reality; no matter how hard media has attempted to not cover EPO scandals (after the EPO paid and threatened many publishers that tried), it remains very much apparent that EPOnia is like a theocracy that cannot be trusted with anything



  16. As Expected, the Bill Gates Propaganda Machine is Trying to Throw/Put Everyone off the Scent of Jeffery Epstein's 'Incestuous' Ties With Gates

    Media ownership up on display; it's amplifying false claims for a whole month, whereas truth/correct information gets buried before a weekend is over



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, October 14, 2019



  18. [ES] El Kernel de Linux está introduciendo Open Source Privative Software

    Linux, el kernel, continúa su trayectoria o el camino hacia convertirse en software propietario de código abierto (OSPS).



  19. Linux Foundation Board Meeting

    More sponsored keynotes and tweets — like more sponsored articles (or “media partners”) — aren’t what the Linux Foundation really needs



  20. Links 14/10/2019: Linux 5.4 RC3, POCL 1.4, Python 3.8.0

    Links for the day



  21. This Week Techrights Crosses 26,000 Posts Milestone, 3 Weeks Before Turning 13 (2,000+ Posts/Year)

    A self-congratulatory post about another year that's passed (without breaks from publishing) and another milestone associated with posting volume



  22. No Calls to "Remove Gates" From the Board (Over a Real Scandal/Crime), Only to "Remove Stallman" (Over Phony Distraction From the Former)

    Jeffrey Epstein's connections to Bill Gates extend well beyond Gates himself; other people inside Microsoft are closely involved as well, so Microsoft might want to cut ties with its co-founder before it becomes a very major mess



  23. “The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

    It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists



  24. Meme: Software Patents at the EPO

    The evolution of “technical effect” nonsense at the EPO



  25. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 13, 2019



  26. Firm of Microsoft's Former Litigation Chief Uses Microsoft-Connected Patent Lawsuit Against GNU/Linux (GNOME Foundation) for New Breed of FUD Campaigns

    The patent troll of Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold has fed a patent troll that's attacking GNU/Linux and a firm owned by Microsoft's former litigation chief says it proves "Open Source Software Remains a Target"



  27. "Widespread Adoption" (Did You Mean: Takeover by Monopolies?)

    "Quite a few of them are people that would rather replace David with Goliath, just because he's bigger. Quite a few are already taking money from Goliath."



  28. Links 13/10/2019: Red Hat CFO Fired and KDE Plasma 5.17 Preparations

    Links for the day



  29. Bill's Media Strategy Amid GatesGate

    There are many ways by which to game the media’s news cycle — an art mastered by the groper in chief



  30. Hard-Core Micro-Soft

    The word "core" is increasingly being (mis)used to portray user-hostile proprietary software as something more benign if not "open"


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