08.29.16

Let Them Eat Patents

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…as if anyone with an idea/invention can afford them.

Let Them Eat Cake
Reference: Let Them Eat Cake

Summary: A reality check regarding software patents and regarding those who truly benefit from an expensive patent system with an even more expensive litigation process/proceedings

THE USPTO is cracking down on software patents. Like TTIP lobbyists, patent lawyers will never publicly admit this. It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).

Proponents of software patents seemingly resort to unrelated cases now, such as this patent. It’s about Mayo, not Alice, as it is not a software patent. The patent attorney writes “US Pat 8,586,610, administration of iloperidone; Survived 101/ Mayo Attack,” once again reusing these loaded words (like “attack” and “survive”, even when the “survivor” is the patent aggressor/plaintiff and the “attacker” is actually the defender/victim). Nice reversal of narrative, right? Like George Bush “defending” himself in Iraq and Ukraine “attacking” Russia…

“It was the same in Europe while UPC hype was all the rage (before Brexit effectively killed it).”Elsewhere in today’s news, we learn that “Prescient has received 13 patents on its software,” but software patents are pretty worthless right now. They just get invalided in the courts and the boards (and these are the ones whose holders actually believe have a chance, hence asserting them; the rest — or the untested patents — are likely easier to invalidate once scrutinised/challenged).

A pro-software patents site, Watchtroll, yesterday published this piece by Anthony de Andrade and Venkatesh Viswanath. It’s quite a shot in the foot actually as it serves to legitimise the site’s idealogical opponents. It shows that ‘global’ patents (applied for separately in several jurisdictions) is not for startups but for the richest people (or huge corporations). To get a patent virtually everywhere in the world (where it techncially matters) “an applicant would require $296,233 to file National Phase applications in said jurisdictions and maintain the applications” (renewal fees).

$296,233, eh?

“So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?”For one. Single. Patent!

So much for protecting the ‘little guy’, eh?

This reminds us of Apple’s patents in the EPO — patents which Battistelli is totally clueless about. Remember that Apple is possibly the world’s richest company (by many criteria that are commonly assessed by major publications) and watch what it’s applying for now: “Apple filed for patent on unauthorized user biometric data collection system (AppleInsider) — If an “unauthorized user” (read: thief) uses an iPhone equipped with this technology, the device could capture a photo and fingerprint of the user for use by law enforcement. Not exactly rocket science to understand how this might be used by law enforcement remotely to assure a particular contact (read: target) is in possession of an iPhone, either. Keep an eye on this stuff.”

The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime. To quote AppleInsider: “An Apple patent application published on Thursday describes a method of storing an unauthorized user’s biometric information, which can help strengthen security management or assist in device recovery and criminal prosecution in the case of a theft.”

“The Apple advocacy sites offer spin by reinforcing the idea that it’s OK because it will only be used against crime.”“Even as Apple contemplates surveillance software to catch thieves’ fingerprints,” IDG wrote, “it is also reportedly planning to redesign the physical elements of its devices that would make that approach possible.”

As usual, being an Apple story, it was all over the news (we saw more than dozens — perhaps hundreds — of articles, e.g. [1, 2]) and it was all praises and cheerleading, hardly criticism, just like that time Apple patented remote disablement of a phone’s camera (a ‘gentler’ form of kill switch that already exists).

“Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple.”It takes sheer disregard for privacy and human rights to do what Apple expresses a desire to do here. It’s not at all innovation, just a lot of hype. If Apple had to spend a quarter of a million dollars getting a patent on this stupid ‘idea’ in every technologically-developed country, it would just be slush funds to Apple. Apple is suing companies (using patents) for billions. What about the mythical ‘little guy’? The patent system just isn’t for the ‘little guy’. Maybe it was a long time ago, but not anymore. See these comments in Reddit, one of which says about patent examiners: “They probably spend a lot more time digging themselves out from under the mountain of Apple / Samsung forms.”

This is, in essence, what the patent systems have turned into. To quote a comment that we mentioned yesterday (regarding the EPO), “Member States must decide very quickly if they wish to throw away more than 40 years of success, and replace it with a system that no longer rewards innovation, but instead becomes simply a tool for large corporations to dominate by means of their financial muscle.”

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