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As Expected, Misleading Coverage Regarding Software Patents in the Wake of McRO v Bandai Namco

Posted in America, Patents at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reuters and Software Patents

Summary: How media which is dominated or steered by patent law firms covered the McRO v Bandai Namco case, and why it’s bound to mislead a lot of people into thinking that software patents are OK

YESTERDAY we wrote about how patent law firms had turned rather nasty against anyone who enforces Alice and trashes software patents in lieu with the law. These firm are losing the battle, so now they play dirty. As far as we are aware, the McRO v Bandai Namco decision was first reported on by IAM and quickly thereafter mentioned by pro-software patents people (along with the misleading headline). In a nutshell, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) defended a few software patents (or just one single patent!) in one rare case (less than 10% of the time do we see such an outcome at CAFC), so patent maximalists make a lot of noise and try to amplify the message (whilst ignoring the decisions they dislike because it’s not supportive of their agenda and ‘sales’). We expect to see a lot more articles about McRO v Bandai Namco because it is good marketing of their ‘services’ (or ‘products’). They are hoping — inter alia — to help their large clients’ agenda.

“These firm are losing the battle, so now they play dirty.”“Don’t Assume an Abstract Idea” was the headline at Patently-O today. It said: “In an important Eligibility case, the Federal Circuit has ruled that MRCO’s software patent claims are eligible — rejecting District Court Judge Wu’s judgement on the pleadings that the non-business-method claims are invalid as effectively claiming an abstract idea. In my 2014 post in the case I wrote that the case may serve as an opportunity fo the Federal Circuit “to draw a new line in the sand.””

“Federal Circuit rules software patents valid in McRO v Bandai Namco” was the headline in MIP. The truth of the matter is, the Federal Circuit did not rule software patents valid but only very particular patents (or patent), in one single case (it almost always finds software patents invalid). As long as the US Supreme Court does not rule again on software patents (and as we noted here before, no such case is pending at all right now), Alice still stands, it is very much applicable, and software patents are effectively or generally dead. CAFC must follow the lead of the Supremes (Justices). That’s just how the law works.

“We expect to see a lot more articles about McRO v Bandai Namco because it is good marketing of their ‘services’ (or ‘products’).”The following headline (shown at the top) from Reuters is basically a lie. Software makers (developers) don’t want software patents; few oligarchs that own large software monopolies may want them (e.g. IBM and Microsoft), but not actual software makers, people like yours truly. “Animation patent saved, software makers exhale,” says the headline of this report, but every software maker (coder) out there is probably mortified by the idea that patent trolls with their software patents can use this decision to bolster their campaign of intimidation (patent shakedown). This is the same spin as found in the seminal headline from IAM — spin which strives to convince us that software makers actually want software patents. It’s a lie.

Speaking of software patents, watch the details of an upcoming event where software patents lobbyist David Kappos (and former USPTO Director) will share the stage with the current Director who reportedly denies fraud at the USPTO. “Michelle Lee has testified before a House of Representatives committee amid accusations of USPTO examiners claiming unsupported hours,” MIP wrote. In addition, the chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board will be there. To quote IAM: “Joining keynote speaker USPTO Director Michelle Lee will be the chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, David Ruschke, ex-USPTO Director David Kappos and former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul Michel. Alongside them will be senior representatives from companies that are closely involved in the ongoing patent reform debate, including Google, Johnson & Johnson, Qualcomm, Bristol-Myers Squibb and IBM. Also in the faculty, we have lead counsel in two of the pivotal Supreme Court patent cases of the last decade – KSR v Teleflex and Cuozzo v Lee – as well as several high-profile patent investors.”

“This is the same spin as found in the seminal headline from IAM — spin which strives to convince us that software makers actually want software patents. It’s a lie.”This seems like a corporate lobbying event, much like that EPO-supported pro-UPC event that IAM set up in the US earlier this year. We don’t know what will be discussed in this event, but certainly it’s so expensive to attend that it will essentially shut out dissenting views, just like Managing IP recently did (a pro-UPC lobbying event, as we noted last night). The
EPO tends to pay published to sell out these days. Sometimes it works.

Taking note of the arrogance and the audacity of the patent microcosm, see this new article by Robert Sachs, a proponent of software patents. Yesterday he wrote: “Of course, one can say that the Federal Circuit is bound by precedent and has no choice but to follow the Supreme Court. This is true but fails to grasp the problem: The Federal Circuit does not even recognize that the Supreme Court’s definition is wrong. There have been no dissents by the Federal Circuit raising this issue. Instead, they apparently believe that the Supreme Court is correct, and thus only raise other concerns about the application of the Mayo test.”

This is part one of a newly-published series (maybe paper) and when Sachs says that the “Federal Circuit does not even recognize that the Supreme Court’s definition is wrong” he basically flings another nonsensical attack on Alice/Mayo, much like Kappos and other interresants. Over at Patently-O, Professor Crouch goes with the headline “Patent Venue at the Supreme Court: Correcting a 26 Year Old Legal Error” and it’s basically a rant which relates to the VENUE Act — a subject which we covered here before.

“East Texas has been somewhat of a cesspool of patent trolls with their ludicrous software patents and they enjoy favourable treatment from the courts there.”Crouch does not say “patent trolls” but instead speaks of East Texas. He wrote: “Patent litigation continues to be concentrated in a small number of venues. This case is potentially a big deal because it could eliminate this concentration — especially patent cases in the E.D.Texas. Both the PTO and Congress appear in favor of venue reforms, but statutory reforms will likely wait until the Supreme Court decides TC Heartland.”

Well, any such reforms are sorely needed and the sooner, the better. East Texas has been somewhat of a cesspool of patent trolls with their ludicrous software patents and they enjoy favourable treatment from the courts there. It’s time to stop this.

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