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The US Supreme Court Might Soon Tighten Patent Scope in the United States Even Further, the USPTO Produces Patent Maximalism Propaganda

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Interesting timing as the USPTO has just come under criticism from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for issuing far too many patents

GAO logo

Summary: A struggle brewing between the patent ‘industry’ (profiting from irrational saturation) and the highest US court, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)

The Supreme Court in the US (SCOTUS) has contributed a lot to woes for patent lawyers and a relief to software developers. It is abundantly clear that Mayo and Alice are being taken quite seriously by lower courts, especially the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC).

“In short, this is just self-serving USPTO propaganda, serving perhaps to distract from the recent GAO report which chastised the USPTO for patent maximalism.”It is not hard to see that patent lawyers are frightened and mortified by SCOTUS and CAFC, both of which have been limiting patent scope more so than district courts and the USPTO (trying to just maximise its own income rather than provide a service*). Design patents may be next to be axed by the US Supreme Court, as we noted earlier this year (in summertime) and various maximalists of patents speak about it, including Watchtroll [1, 2] (the Kool-Aid of patent law firms if not somewhat of a lobbying site).

“USPTO publishes new estimates of “IP-Intensive” industries, spin results,” according to KEI (very good Web site by the way). “We have seen same spin in Europe,” Benjamin Henrion wrote. To quote all the key points about this think tank-esque activity:

USPTO has just published its new estimates of “IP-intensive” jobs for the US economy. The report is titled: Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update, and is available as a PDF file here. USPTO press release here:

I took a quick look at the report, and below are some initial bullet points:

1. In the new USPTO study of “IP-intensive” jobs, 85 percent are included because of trademarks.

2. Just 14 percent of the “IP-intensive” jobs involve patents.

3. 20 percent of so called “IP-intensive” jobs involve copyright industries.

4. Just 2 percent of the “IP-intensive” jobs involving patents are in the pharmaceuticals sector.

5. According to USPTO, less than 1 percent of all “IP-intensive” jobs are in the pharmaceutical sector.

6. USPTO’s top three “IP-intensive” industries are:

Grocery stores: 2.6 million jobs
Computer systems design: 1.8 million jobs
Management consulting: 1.4 million jobs

7. According to USPTO, a “majority of patenting firms are in the services and wholesale sectors.”

8. According to USPTO, the “Sound recording Industries” only provide 23.5 thousand jobs which is 0.0008 of all “ip-intensive” jobs.

9 Almost none of USPTO’s copyright sector jobs benefit from long copyright terms.

In short, this is just self-serving USPTO propaganda, serving perhaps to distract from the recent GAO report which chastised the USPTO for patent maximalism. Our next post will look more closely at the software patents lobby.
* This new blog post from a patent maximalist (and longtime proponent of software patents for Bristows) says that there is “presumption of validity under US patent law,” but patent validity for pre-Alice patents is a joke because USPTO approved almost every application and by some standards it's estimated that as much as 92% of applications eventually led to a grant. To quote the maximalist, writing about ChIPs Global Summit: “The panel also noted that the presumption of validity under US patent law assists the patentee in showing that they have something of real value and that the burden of proving that the patent is invalid falls on the other side. However, in reality if we took a poll, many would comment that there are a lot of weak patents out there. It was suggested that perhaps the focus therefore should be on patent quality so that the presumption of validity and the standard of evidence to rebut that presumption (clear and convincing) is actually appropriate. Just because a patent has survived one patent challenge does not mean that the patent is necessarily stronger. If the patent has survived a challenge in front of a really good judge, then the panel noted that that may deter opponents. However, in reality, that decision is not binding on anyone who is not party to that case. Those parties will try a different tactic before different judges in a different forum. This is of course correct – it is not fair to an absent party to be faced with the bias of a decision in a case they had no right to participate in. There cannot be a time bar for bringing a challenge to a patent in district court as potential litigants and controversy may not be in existence at the time of the first action.”

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