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09.04.16

Death of Software Patents Almost Everywhere Except the Eastern District of Texas

Posted in America, Patents at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United States District Court for the Eastern District of TexasSummary: The Eastern District of Texas is being defended by overzealous supporters of software patents as the US continues to slash software patents, citing Alice/Section 101

THE USPTO is belatedly (well overdue) working on patent quality and enraging the patent microcosm. As one patent attorney put it the other day, “I’m looking for a link to the MA Dist. Ct decision invalidating patents w/101/Mayo. It is outrageous.”

“Reform or no reform, Congress or no Congress, the courts are doing their job and after the Supreme Court ruled on Alice and Mayo so much has changed for the better.”What makes him say “outrageous” is probably a good thing. It’s just not good for his job, that’s all. His job is more secure if patents are easier to get, i.e. if patent quality declines even further. Looking at some of the latest gossip from IAM, they recall the nearly defunct patent reform in the US (never seriously revisited after last year’s summer vacation) and say: “Ever since the summer of 2015 when the possibility of a vote on the Innovation Act was killed in the House of Representatives, patent reform has remained firmly on the back burner in the US Congress. There has been some discussion around the prospects of venue reform with one bill introduced in the Senate aimed at stopping the kind of forum shopping which means that the vast majority of patent cases are heard in Eastern Texas, but that hasn’t gone anywhere as yet. And with the election just around the corner, most don’t expect anything to happen before the next Congress gathers early next year.”

Reform or no reform, Congress or no Congress, the courts are doing their job and after the Supreme Court ruled on Alice and Mayo so much has changed for the better. Even CAFC, the evil ‘genius’ that came up with software patents several decades ago, is now swatting them like flies (this court is where software patents simply come to die).

“What’s interesting in Hospira v Cubist is the mass invalidation of patents (three in one fell swoop).”Suffice to say, we are not against patents in general. In fact, we tend to only focus on software patents, as we always have done. This new trial in the case of Pure Storage [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], for example, isn’t worth entertaining here, except for reasons that are separate from patent scope (for example, the claim of damages and $14M verdict, which is probably far too much). For a more relevant example see the case against Cubist. It was covered by IP Kat and cited by us a few days ago. Now there is this followup that says: “The IPKat posted a report earlier this week of the case Hospira v Cubist, in which three patents belonging to Cubist were revoked by Mr Justice Carr. A kind reader commented expressing the opinion that the reasons for finding the third patent invalid seemed a little thin. This aspect of the judgment is actually very interesting and was rather glossed over in the earlier post, and so this Kat would like to revisit the topic to look at this one aspect in a little more detail.”

What’s interesting in Hospira v Cubist is the mass invalidation of patents (three in one fell swoop). Is the era of excessive patent litigation in the US over? Is it being reduced to sane levels? Whatever it is, we are increasingly optimistic about the US patent system (unlike the EPO where things keep getting worse).

“As we noted earlier tonight, at long last the USPTO seriously considers Section 101.”The patent law firms just can’t help trying to resurrect software patents which are effectively dead. It’s fun for us to watch. Last week’s article, “Roadmap to Software Patent Eligibility” by Joe Bird of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, was basically more of the same. The patent law firms are grouping and scratching their collective heads in an effort to work around Alice. Not even corruption of the former Director of the USPTO (official-turned-lobbyist) has helped them undermine Alice.

As we noted earlier tonight, at long last the USPTO seriously considers Section 101. The USPTO’s examiners once again failed to deny a software patent (here is an article about this MacroPoint patent), but that does not mean that US courts will tolerate it. A paper with a stamp on it is not a court order or decree. There are famous trolls in this domain of MacroPoint and if it attempts to actually sue some firm/s we can expect them to risk losing this patent.

“It’s quite likely that all these software patents are next to worthless now.”Speaking of trolls, watch how patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures get mentioned in this Adapt IP tripe. To quote from Yahoo! Finance: “Family Systems has also built many of the patented features into its’ Verbol Voice software prototype that include sophisticated features complimentary to leading services such as WhatsApp.” They’re talking about software patents and say that “[t]his patent portfolio has been cited by companies including Google, Intellectual Ventures, IBM, Chacha Search, RedHat, Microsoft, Xerox, Oracle, HP and SnapChat.”

Cited in what context? And many of the above are proponents of software patents if not patent trolls (IBM and Microsoft sure act like it now). When were these patents cited? Before or after the Alice effect? It’s quite likely that all these software patents are next to worthless now. They’re just a bunch of papers in frames (or without frames).

“Bear in mind that’s a Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) ‘court’, which is notoriously corruptible (the district even advertises its plaintiff-friendly biases).”Speaking of the Alice case and trolls, how about the “post-Halo” world, as MIP put it just before the weekend? We covered the Halo case earlier this year (basically, US patent courts gave a gift to patent trolls) and because of it “[a] jury award to Imperium IP of $6.9 million has been trebled to $20.9 million by an Eastern District of Texas judge [....] In the first case in which enhanced damages were on the table in the Eastern District of Texas since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Halo v Stryker, Judge Mazzant ruled that Samsung owes plaintiff Imperium IP Holdings treble damages.”

Bear in mind that’s a Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) ‘court’, which is notoriously corruptible (the district even advertises its plaintiff-friendly biases). Watchtroll (IP Watchdog), publishing through Steve Brachmann, a “freelancer [writer] for more than seven years,” is belittling the problem with the rocket docket of patent trolls in Texas (EDTX). Here he is presenting misleading figures to make it seem like there’s no problem with Texas. To quote: “This isn’t the only judicial vacancy which Capitol Hill has been unable to fill in recent days, however. As of Tuesday, August 30th, statistics published online by U.S. Courts indicated that there are 93 total federal judicial vacancies affecting the U.S. system of courts. This includes 32 vacancies which are considered to be judicial emergencies. A judicial vacancy at a district court is considered an emergency when weighted filings are in excess of 600 per judgeship, or the vacancy exists for more than 18 months where weighted filings range from 430 to 600 per judgeship, or the vacancy is at any court with more than one authorized judgeship but only one active judge. U.S. district courts have a total of 72 vacancies, 28 of which are judicial emergencies.”

“But Watchtroll — being the biased site that it is — is selling/delivering an agenda again.”Anybody with half a clue would be able to tell that this is selective use (or cherry-picking) of statistics. We previously showed some statistics about the great role of EDTX in the patent trolling epidemic. But Watchtroll — being the biased site that it is — is selling/delivering an agenda again. We previously mentioned the demise of patent law firms (see NASDAQ’s “Another Intellectual-Property-Law Firm to Close”), with important press coverage soon to be affected by spin/press releases (looking like reputation laundering or distraction from the real news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) and certainly they realise that their last remaining haven might be EDTX with its crooked ‘court’ system (barracks of the trolls).

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