India is possibly the world’s largest software powerhouse
Summary: The shaming and manipulation of India for the purpose of imposing Western software patents on Indian software developers is a never-ending battle and a tactic embraced by shady sites like IAM
THE one country which did a spectacular job not just at software development but also denial of patents on software is India. Suffice to say, patent maximalists aren’t happy about it. Here is IAM calling for software patents in India, a country which is globally known for resistance to the patent microcosm (standing up to pharmaceutical patents and software patents for instance).
“A lot of those pushing for software patents in India are actually foreign monopolists.”“It will take more than tax breaks to encourage valuable IP growth in India’s software and biotech industries” says the headline from IAM (not reporting but lobbying, as usual). Pursuing software patents even though it’s not legal (India forbids these) is just so common a routine at IAM that only days ago it published this “report” from Indian law firms that try to be ‘clever’ about it and dodge the rules. The latest bit of lobbying says: “filing figures organised by technological field (see table below) suggest that appetite for trying to obtain patents on computer-related and biotech inventions in the country has been dropping off in recent years, while applications on mechanical inventions have grown substantially (though it is possible that some re-categorisation under ‘Other fields’ may also be at play here). Again, this doesn’t mean that Indian innovation in these areas is on a downward trend. But it perhaps gives an indication of how domestic and foreign companies alike value Indian patents – and that is something that they almost certainly factor in to their decisions about making R&D investments in the country.”
A lot of those pushing for software patents in India are actually foreign monopolists. Infosys, an Indian giant, is against these and the only Indians we ever see speaking for software patents are lawyers/attorneys. IAM is their megaphone. █
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Not only classic patent trolls are collapsing/folding
Picture contributed by a reader in 2008
Summary: The fantasy which is building a company on a foundation of patent revenue (like a patent troll) is quickly going away, as even some of the most notorious patent aggressors (companies that are failing in the real market and thus turn to patents) begrudgingly and inevitably find out
THE patent microcosm (people whose profession is just patents, not science and/or technology) is on the retreat. It is retreating from many fronts and it is sometimes willing to publicly acknowledge this. Sometimes it just resorts to insulting the Director of the USPTO, Michelle Lee ([1, 2, 3, 4] (as if she is in some ways comparable to the crooked EPO management).
The patent microcosm will lose a lot of people. The reason for their anger is the demise of their profession, or the bursting of the patent bubble. Below we present some of the latest examples.
Reading IAM (with a sceptic’s hat on) can be handy because looking past the spin and the damage control, it is clear that the patent microcosm suffers brain drain that goes all the way up to the top. After Creative had become a patent troll, as we explained here last year, its legal head finally — one might say belatedly — jumps ship (ignore IAM’s lipstick on this pig). We suppose that the litigation strategy didn’t work out as expected. To quote, “Anan Sivananthan has stepped down as associate vice president and head of legal after spending 17 years with the company in order to join the Singapore IP practice of Bird & Bird.”
So no more patent trolling for him?
Recently, as we covered here as recently as last month as a matter of fact, Psyhogeos left Microsoft, only months after Horacio Gutierrez had left. The significance of this is very high; it shows Microsoft’s trolling operations failing. Microsoft’s patent blackmail, using software patents as a weapon of choice, is not yielding any major gains and rumours in recent press reports say that there are more layoffs imminent (the company’s own troll entity’s chief left recently, possibly with more departures to come). It means that attacking Android OEMs with patents — something that Creative too has been doing — is a losing strategy. Here is the latest about the demise of Microsoft’s trolling operation:
There was more evidence last week of ongoing challenges for patent licensing when two giants of the tech world published their latest quarterly results.
Patent licensing, though, did not fare so well, as the software giant saw a 25% decline in revenues due to a drop in licensed units and licence revenue per unit.
As we have seen in other recent quarters, Microsoft’s royalty stream is slowing thanks to falling smartphone sales and decreases in the average price of a device. The Redmond-based tech company doesn’t split out the numbers for it IP business, so we don’t know exactly how much it brings in, but it is understood to have been as high as between $2 billion and $3 billion.
In other words, licensing is important for Microsoft (especially with regards to overall profitability), but it is not as a critical determinant of the company’s fortunes as it can be for others. Plus, as we have seen under new CEO Satya Nadella, the Windows giant has changed tack as its looks to forge new and develop existing business relationships, of which licensing agreements can be a useful part.
Microsoft is basically just a giant patent troll, especially in the area of mobile devices.
Another patent troll, one that Microsoft is a member of (see background in our wiki), is imploding. “IAM understands that RPX co-founder John Amster has stood down as CEO of the defensive patent aggregator,” it said the other day.
Great news again.
But wait, there’s more…
IAM, which adopts propaganda terms like ‘efficient infringement’ (to describe innocence from patent infringement), writes about Microsoft’s LinkedIn and its love of patents (the above mentions the takeover of LinkedIn as well). Is LinkedIn about to become a patent troll like the company that’s buying it for spying purposes? Will Microsoft shake down Twitter using patents in the same way IBM did? Maybe it’s premature to predict this, but either way, here is IAM’s editor about “Trump, IBM, LinkedIn”, accompanied with the propaganda terms:
While many in the US IP community hope that the arrival of President Trump will herald a new era in which patents become the valuable, enforceable assets they once were – and so-called ‘efficient infringement’ is consigned to history – hope is all they have at the moment.
Trump’s patent policy (or lack thereof at this stage) will be the subject of a later post.
Fitbit Falls on Its Patent Sword
There is yet another new example of patent abusers losing big. Not too long ago we wrote about Fitbit chickening out of a patent war which it itself had started. It turns out now, based on a quick/concise tweet from Tim Bradshaw, that “Fitbit fell 16% today after slashing its outlook & cutting jobs. At $1.3bn it’s now worth less than GoPro ($1.5bn)” (links to an article behind paywall).
Well, remember that Fitbit was the company that attacked its rival with patents and then ran away from the battle that it had created, saying that its RIVAL was financially weak! So perhaps it was just a projection tactic. It turns out that it’s Fitbit that’s utterly weak (financially). Here is a new report about it which is not behind paywall:
Fitbit Inc. will eliminate about 110 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, and said fourth-quarter results won’t meet analysts’ estimates amid declining demand for its fitness trackers.
Fitbit expects to report that it sold 6.5 million devices in the quarter ended Dec. 31 2016, with revenue of $572 million to $580 million, the company said in a statement Monday. Analysts were expecting $736.4 million, on average. Fitbit forecasts revenue in 2017 of $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion. Analysts had estimated $2.38 billion. Official results are due to be released Feb. 22.
Fitbit wanted to live by the (patent) sword and it fell on its sword. It didn’t help Fitbit when it attacked competitors using patents. It just made the company look foolish and now it is suffering. Money went to lawyers rather than salaries or R&D. █
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Summary: In spite of the gradual death of software patents, those who profit from them maintain the illusion that everything is alright, IBM hoard them and attacks with them, law firms mislead small and vulnerable businesses to entice them into these worthless ‘assets’
A LOT of time has passed since we last covered the USPTO, but it doesn’t mean that it’s all good news. The other day, for example, we warned that a terrible person, Randall Rader, wants to become the Director of the USPTO (still a self-serving hopeful, in spite of the widely-covered scandals) and software patents, which have been stubbornly pushed forward by Mr. Rader, are now dying, more so — or a lot faster — since he got the boot (or resigned in disgrace from CAFC).
What’s Up is Down?
On a couple of occasions in recent days the article “Software Patents Get Struck Down After Alice” got bumped up. To quote one copy of this new article:
Many software-oriented patents are being struck down as a result of Alice and Section 101. Some people say this leaves legal departments with more budgets to sue competitors more than they have in the past.
This is bizarre ‘logic’ and facts do not support it. First of all, the demise of software patents has led to far fewer lawsuits, as has been repeatedly proven by several different data sources (we covered these). Secondly, if your existing patents (never mind new ones that are harder to be granted) are less potent, what is the point or motivation for suing?
One large firm that continues to be aggressive with software patents is IBM. It not only applies for a lot of patents but it also attacks with them (by “attack” we mean suing small rivals that can barely defend themselves, unlike the patent microcosm which describes invalidation of bogus patents as an “attack” — inverting the narrative).
As we noted here a month ago, IBM is now cloudwashing all sorts of dubious patents (trying to pass them off as novel using buzzwords like “cloud” — a word which in itself does not make them eligible). IBM is basically a thug company; it’s a company that collects these (hoarding) for the purpose of litigation and shakedown in bulk (Microsoft does the same thing and targets vulnerable companies like TomTom amid deep financial issues). IAM, which fancies litigation and bullying (proudly so), called it “Big Blue’s new groove” in its latest issue, but we just call it anything but “groove” or groovy. It’s despicable and it makes IBM look fiendish.
Citing the Gartner Group (a dubious firm), the following new article mentions patent trolls but calls them “NPEs”, just as it cloudwashes software patents. Have a look:
Cloud Computing: Software Patent Claims and the Risks to Service Availability
As the public cloud services market continues to mature and grow – up from $178bn in 2015 to $209bn in 2016 according to research company Gartner – the concentration of computing resources into cloud data centres is increasingly attracting the attention of NPEs as a target for patent litigation. At a time when data security and privacy risks are front of mind for cloud service providers (CSPs) and their users, the intellectual property (IP) risks to cloud service availability posed by NPE patent claims are rising up the business agenda.
NPEs (Non-Practising Entities) are businesses that assert patents through litigation to achieve revenues from alleged infringers without practising or commercialising the technology covered by the patents they hold. NPEs are uniquely well placed to monetise their patents at each stage of the litigation cycle. They have access to capital and all necessary forensic and legal resources; and an NPE doesn’t practise its patents so is immune to a counterclaim that a defendant might otherwise be able to bring against a competitor, or a cross-licence that the defendant could otherwise offer.
The term “cloud” is meaningless rubbish that alludes to particular server arrangements. It’s not a growing market; not necessarily; it’s just an exercise in rebranding and liars for hire (Gartner) exploit this kind of nonsense to make their false predictions a self-fulfilling prophecy (by merely redefining what “cloud” means as they go along). The second part alludes to “cross-licence”; this is what IBM is trying to accomplish, with a money flow going into IBM’s coffers without them lifting a finger. One might therefore start to describe IBM as somewhat of a large patent troll, akin in fact to Microsoft’s (more on that in a separate post, scheduled for later today).
Insulting the Intelligence of SMEs
It is troubling to see that IBM’s patent aggression is making a comeback (it’s not entirely new) and it’s saddening to see that using all sorts of buzzwords attorneys and their clients are hoping to receive new software patents. Marks & Clerk, a proponent of software patents (obviously, as they profit from it!), recently said that the EPO now makes it easier to get software patents (than at the USPTO). The other day the firm advised small companies to pursue patents and it alluded even to software patents. To quote the relevant part (with our remarks in square brackets]: “An invention doesn’t even need to be a product to be considered patentable [in other words, a troll too can pursue patents]. Many people think that software is unpatentable. That is incorrect [depends where]. If software achieves a technical effect and is new and inventive, it is patentable. The most famous example of a software patent is the patent that covers Google’s “Page Rank” algorithm (i.e. the algorithm which powers Google’s search engine and which transformed the company into a tech unicorn) [but that’s an old patent predating Alice]. You or your business might have developed exciting software which does something that no one else has thought of. A patent might be just what’s needed to convince investors that your concept is the “next big thing” or alternatively provide you with an asset that can be sold or licenced for additional revenue [or waste of money, paid to lawyers at Marks & Clerk who cannot even win a case over software patents].”
That’s putting aside the fact that a small (practicing) firm’s chances of successfully suing a giant like IBM are slim, unless getting sued by IBM (in retaliation) is something it thinks it can afford. █
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By refusing to play a role in investigation and enforcement (against the EPO’s flagrant disregard of the law), in spite of overwhelming evidence, the Dutch authorities have made themselves increasingly liable
Summary: The unaccountability of Team Battistelli, emboldened by immunity even in the face of criminal charges, makes one wonder if Europe has created a ‘monster’ in the EPO
WE STILL TRY TO CATCH UP with comments in IP Kat, in particular because anonymous posters dump some information about the EPO over there (albeit a lot less frequently since the site stopped covering EPO scandals). There is a culture of censorship and self-censorship at the Office. Techrights, for example, is permanently banned by the EPO and IP Kat was banned for a day, whereupon it stopped covering the EPO scandals (self-censorship). The culture of fear, moreover, leads a lot of the employees to self-censorship and the union has almost gone ‘underground’ (barely any updates, not to mention resignations).
I have been an activist for free speech for a long time; we have in fact received about 35,000 comments in this site and I never deleted even one (even utterly rude and abusive comments). A fortnight ago somebody attempted to silence me with legal threats (this made it into the media [1, 2, 3, 4] and got some comments [1, 2, 3]), but it backfired, just as when the EPO attempted similar tricks. As far as we know, it’s likely that the EPO bullies quite a lot of publications/journalists/bloggers with threats; we know for a fact it also did this to SUEPO. Now it tries to gag staff by a culture of terror and intimidation, as we noted here the other day.
“Latest IU victim,” told us a source regarding this new example, causes so much fear inside the Office that other people are silenced. The Dutch media recently called it the ‘terror’ patent office (Telegraaf) and here is the information we have about it:
I hereby confirm that yet another colleague became victim of the IU. He works in The Hague, and he is not a union leader. There is hardly any SUEPO union leader left, so the IU needs fresh victims to prove their existence.
It is sad that the IU annoys yet another innocent man, a friendly and appreciated colleague, father of 3 kids. EPO staff are increasingly scared. This is mental torture for us all, and the Dutch high court recently decided that it would not protect them.
For Battistelli this must be a sweet dream, using mafia tactics to punish some so that all others shiver and work harder. Sure the administrative council will pay him another fat bonus.
Looking at the latest from IP Kat (comments of course, as IP Kat is too terrified to even mention the subject), we have this:
It is clear that the Dutch court has (conveniently!) overlooked ILO-AT’s judgement 1542, which stated that:
“a complaint is receivable only if it is about an individual official’s status as an employee of the organisation, not about the collective interests of trade unionists”.
Maybe the Dutch Supreme Court ignored ILOAT 1542 because it wasn’t brought to their attention by the lawyers pleading the case?
Another person wrote: “Just as you should never confuse the law with common justice, intelligence should not be confused with common sense. Some of the brightest people in the world have no idea how to cross the road!”
We are very sadden to see the Dutch authorities succumbing to a lunatic dictator like Battistelli and we already wrote about it in the following posts (among more):
The EPO scandals have helped expose serious abuses in international bodies, in Germany (watch what Maas is — or isn’t — doing), in the Netherlands, and by extension in Europe. If EPO is allowed to get away with it and Battistelli’s boss acts like his pet chinchilla, what will the world think of Europe? █
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Reference: Alternative facts
Summary: IAM ‘magazine’ misleads its readers and does a disservice to a potentially large audience with alternative facts about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) — a theoretical system which is stuck in a likely perpetual limbo
THE just-released issue of the magazine (behind paywall) called “IAM” (3 words that are lies, “intellectual”, “asset”, and “management” — all in relation to mere ideas!) puts forth a wild leap of faith by Joff Wild. The headline is “The UPC springs back to life” and it says in the except that “The Unified Patent Court received an unexpected boost in November 2016, when the UK government committed to ratifying the agreement despite Brexit.”
Our rebuttal at the time explained why it made no sense. It was a 7-part series:
Lucy Neville-Rolfe has since then left her job and Dr. Luke McDonagh, who criticised what she had said at the time, will speak about the subject on February 8th (this coming Wednesday), based on this new page and a tweet about his book. “Book launch for ‘European #Patent law & the UPC’ by @DrLukeMcDonagh @CityUniLondon,” it says.
It’s rather ironic that Britain, renowned for a large ‘industry’ of lawyers, was what most likely killed the UPC. Team UPC will likely attempt to redraw it, not withdraw it. █
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