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02.26.17

The EPO’s Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maybe Breitbart has something to offer at the EPO?

EPO in Breitbart

Summary: The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract — and certainly failing to retain — talented examiners

A few days ago we wrote about brain drain at the EPO (rebutting claims to the contrary), having already written a lot about the subject numerous times over the years, e.g. in:

One of our readers decided to weigh in, as he or she did:

About brain drain: of course there is a brain drain! The office was a place where you would start with little professional experience and remain until retirement, at 65. But these were the conditions 20 years ago. Now staff recruited at that time reach the 50 years limit and can leave on pension. I know many at ages between 50 and 60 therefore leaving under “early retirement conditions”. Of course with smaller benefits than retiring with 65, but is money everything? Certainly, not. 15 years of freedom are something valuable. And there are still chances that you can use your professional knowledge somewhere else. Your life is at stake here. What is the value of money if you wake up every morning with the feeling of being trapped in a golden cage or asking yourself if suicide wouldn’t be the best solution?

Unhappiness at the EPO — a subject we shall continue to focus on — has made the EPO a poisonous place to work in. It’s a bad employer to work for. Understandably, fewer people would even bother applying.

Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent prosecutors’ coup: Telling lies to politicians in order to rush them into accepting an undesirable (to member states) system

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Reference: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Summary: The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as “news”, continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year

THE UPC is always “real soon now”. It has been like this every year for a number of years and it’s part of an old and dirty strategy. Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.

“Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.”Wouter Pors, partner of law firm Bird & Bird, was mentioned here many times over the years, for instance when he wrote about Battistelli and the UPC [1, 2]. Pors is not stupid; he’s actually an astute person, so whenever he too resorts to the inevitability brainwash from Team UPC (typically the likes of Bristows play this game) we’re rather disappointed. This new blog post by Wouter Pors (found via UPC proponents) in his pro-UPC site repeats what we’re expecting from shoddy lobbyists, with loaded sentences such as: “How to prepare for the upcoming Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, which are expected to start functioning on 1 December of this year?”

No, they’re not expected to start then (if ever, at all!). That’s just the line echoed by Battistelli’s PR department and Team UPC, which is itself financially-vested in this whole Trojan horse. If they keep repeating these lies, how many people will actually believe them? If we believed all the previous projections and forecasts for the UPC, we would be called foolish, but every prediction we have made about the UPC so far turned out to be true, including back in the days when UPC was called something else.

“Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable.”People must learn to recognise which blogs are little more than UPC propaganda/lobbying sites. There are several of them out there, including some that get co-opted (like IP Kat, at least until recently). Look out there not only for stuff that’s called “UPCBlog”; see these two new tweets [1, 2] linking to this blog post. “UPCBlog” says: “the Spanish Socialist Worker’s party (PSOE) -the opposition party- called on the Spanish government to reconsider joining the unitary patent and the UPC.”

Actually, nothing news here. Even Spaniards has already debunked this.

Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna recently published a paper, taking note of this ugly strategy.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pseudo-intellectuals who lobby for their bottom line (pockets) want PTAB destroyed

Watchtroll's Gene Quinn

Summary: A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting

THE progress made by PTAB, which faces record demand, makes patent maximalists squirm. That in itself is an indication that it is doing the right thing.

Remember the time Watchtroll used words like "impotence" to insult PTAB? That’s a classic! Watchtroll is so angry at PTAB right now that he (the founder) even resorts to bad grammar in the headline, “The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing” (don’t laugh, he may be having a tantrum which isn’t good for his already-questionable health).

“And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…”“The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing,” says one whose entire worldview is broken. What PTAB does is it fixes a problem, but Watchtroll and his swamp now hijack the word "fix" and ascribe it to the tackling of PTAB itself, as we noted the other day. Amazing! Incredible!

What will Watchtroll do next in his efforts to dismantle patent progress? He already shames and spreads false rumours about the Director of the USPTO, in an effort to get her ousted/fired. It’s appalling and it’s painful to watch. And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…

“This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action.”Anyway, in more positive news about PTAB, “MyMail patent [gets] challenged in IPR2017-00967 filed by @unifiedpatents,” according to this new tweet. “For more information, go here…” (original link).

This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action. It’s a good approach, and it is aided by PTAB. This same approach, which was already embraced by the EFF at times, promises to deter if not eliminate some notorious patent trolls. To quote from the site of Unified Patents:

On February 24, 2017, Unified Patents Inc. filed a petition for inter partes review on a patent owned and asserted by MyMail, Ltd. In the IPR2017-00967 petition, Unified challenged the patentability U.S. patent 8,275,863 which teaches methods of modifying a toolbar to facilitate internet traffic.

If your patent is rubbish, don’t expect to change it ‘on the go’ in order to dodge invalidation. As this other new report notes: “Among the changes brought about by the America Invents Act (AIA) was the creation of new post-issuance review proceedings – inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR) and covered business method review (CBM)” and “Amending claims at the PTAB [is] a fool’s errand?”

Well, yes. It barely ever happens. PTAB should invalidate patents rather than allow them to be modified. Patents are not something dynamic that can just be edited as one goes along. We wrote about this before.

To be fair, inter partes reviews don’t always result in success, i.e. invalidation (that would destroy the perception of justice anyway), but the success rate is very high. Here is an inter partes review which involves not software patents. As Law 360 put it the other day:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday declined to review claims in a Chamberlain Group Inc. patent on garage door openers, just a few weeks after the Federal Circuit said that a rival manufacturer had raised a “substantial question of invalidity” with respect to the patent.

PTAB denied two separate petitions from a unit of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. seeking inter partes review of various claims in the patent. The petitioner, One World Technologies, argued that the challenged claims were invalid

So for those who think that PTAB is just blindly eliminating patents, it clearly does not do this. Many of the patents it invalidates these days are software patents and other abstract nonsense. That’s what courts at the highest levels have requested, e.g. in Alice (but not limited to it). Understandably, that’s what most petitions (IPRs) are filed to enforce.

PTAB has made a great first step against patent parasites that want to ‘own’ lives, too. The other day we wrote about the CRISPR case (covered here for a number of years) and it’s still making some headlines. “The eagerly-anticipated ruling from the PTAB of “no interference-in-fact” is a win for the Broad Institute in its CRISPR patent battle with University of California Berkeley. But much wrangling lies ahead over the rights to the gene-editing technology, including a potential appeal and likely licensing disputes,” wrote Natalie Rahhal for MIP.

Thankfully, PTAB expands beyond software patents and now tackles all sorts of patents that are working against public interests and ethics. PTAB, unless patent maximalists somehow manage to stop (or sabotage) it, will bring back patent sanity to the US. See what Patently-O wrote the other day about the promise of “[a] written decision on “every claim challenged””. Patently-O explains that “[t]he basic issue – under the statute, can the PTO (the PTAB acting as the Director’s delegate) institute inter partes review to a subset of the challenged claims? Or, does the requirement for a “final written decision as to every claim challenged” require that the Board grant or deny the petitions as a whole.”

This seems to be a method for slowing PTAB down and proponents of this approach are not too shockingly patent maximalists.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Patents at 7:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This intervention from CAFC can spell doom for some more patent trolls

A business PDA

Summary: Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called ‘business methods’, just like algorithms) and oughtn’t be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)

THE PAST week was an important week for the subject of patents on business methods (CBM, or covered business method), almost a sibling of software patents. There were also many articles on the subject, including this from the mainstream/corporate media (the Wall Street media in this particular case).

“They just mean to say that business method patents may be rubbish and should not be patentable in the first place.”Ignore the expected bias (publication is joined/connected to big banks by the hip) and disregard the weird and almost incomprehensible headline. They just mean to say that business method patents may be rubbish and should not be patentable in the first place. To quote: “The assertion of a patent against Bank of America, GE Capital Corp. and 40 other financial institutions doesn’t make it a financial business method invention vulnerable to attack in a Patent and Trademark Office special proceeding, an appeals court said Feb. 21 ( Secure Axcess, LLC v. PNC Bank N.A. , 2017 BL 51354, Fed. Cir., No. 2016-1353, 2/21/17 )”

Also from the article: “Patent challengers like the special “covered business method” proceeding because it gives them more options to make invalidity charges, such as on whether the invention is patent-eligible. In November, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled against Apple Inc.’s argument that a CBM patent includes one whose invention is “incidental” to financial activity. The court’s 2-1 decision Feb. 21 further limited CBM to be more dependent on what, exactly, the patent holder claimed.”

Michael Loney, a PTAB expert from MIP, covered it as follows, taking note of the relevance to PTAB:

The Federal Circuit has concluded “the patent at issue is outside the definition of a CBM patent that Congress provided by statute” in its Secure Axcess v PNC Bank National Association ruling. Judge Lourie wrote a dissent, backing up the PTAB’s determination

The Federal Circuit has reversed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in secure Axcess v PNC Bank Association.

WIPR‘s article about it was fairly detailed:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) adopted a statutory definition of covered business method (CBM) patents that went too far.

In an opinion handed down on Tuesday, February 21 in Secure Axcess v PNC Bank, the court reversed the finding that a patent owned by internet security company Secure Axcess was a CBM.

Secure Axcess challenged a final written decision of the PTAB that held that its patent was a CBM.

The dispute concerned US number 7,631,191, called “System and method for authenticating a web page”.

Now watch the following CBM review, which involves Ericsson’s patent troll, Unwired Planet LLC. Law 360 had this to say about it:

Unwired Planet LLC urged the Federal Circuit on Wednesday to let stand its November decision that held the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is using an overly broad definition of what qualifies under its covered business method patent review program.

In a brief responding to Google Inc.’s request for an en banc rehearing, the company said the appeals court rightly reined in the PTAB’s authority for reviewing patents directed at financial services, arguing that Google and its tech company amici are inappropriately asking a federal appeals…

Patently-O, in the mean time, wrote about CBM reviews as follows, taking stock of AIA (which brought PTAB): “The America Invents Act created a temporary mechanism (8-year) for challenging certain “covered” business method patents. The program will sunset for new petitions in the “Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patents” (“CBM review”) sunsets on September 16, 2020. The program allows for CBM patents to be challenged on any ground of patentability (e.g., Sections 101, 102, 103, and 112) and is not limited to post-AIA patents.”

This has been a fantastic and very successful program. No business methods should be patentable and the CAFC has been looking into it, in effect (or potentially) axing a lot of patents that should never have been granted in the first place.

Google’s Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent ‘First Strikes’

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From search engine with a ‘cute’ face to patent aggressor with a mean face, in less than two decades

Google search

Summary: Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)

ABOUT 7 years ago I wrote to Google managers whom I knew that they should refrain from hiring patent lawyers, collecting lots of patents, and basically turning the company into a big patent bubble. But this had little effect on the company’s decision; it has since then been taken over by ‘foreign’ (newly-hired) influence.

“We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies.”Google, over time, went from being a patent sceptic to gradually becoming a patent collector. Now, as we feared, Google becomes patent aggressor. Google is gradually becoming a patent bully now, even if it calls itself “Alphabet”, and it’s bad even if the defendant is a company that’s pure evil (as in this case). Even IAM took note of it already; it recalled the BT case which we covered here many times before as follows: “The first and really only high-profile patent infringement lawsuit Google has pursued was against BT – and even that was after BT had transferred patents to a third party which had then used them to sue the search giant. Google quickly filed a counter suit against the British telco and the conflict ultimately fizzled out. So, for a Google business to be asserting now is a very big deal indeed.”

There is already a huge trove of news articles about it, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s everywhere. The effect on the competitor was described yesterday as follows:

When Anthony Levandowski loped onto the stage to accept the Hot New Startup award at an industry awards show this month, the trucker hat perched on his head served as a cringeworthy nod to the millions of drivers his self-driving truck company is poised to leave jobless.

Three weeks later, it is the pioneering engineer of self-driving car technology whose job could be in jeopardy, and the lawsuit he is named in could pose an existential threat to an increasingly vulnerable Uber.

We can no longer say what we used to say — that Google was officially using patents only for defensive purposes or in response to a preemptive attack from other companies. Google is turning ever more evil, even when it comes to patents. It’s a very big deal because Google is probably the world’s largest distributor of GNU/Linux (e.g. Android and Chromebooks).

There will, from now on, be less of a track record to guard and thus less of a deterrent against further such actions from Google. Suffice to say, Google has many sofwtare patents now.

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