What Appears Like News Sites or Blogs About Patents and ‘IP’ Got Polluted by Lobbying That Peddles Corporate Agenda
“The major media-particularly, the elite media that set the agenda that others generally follow-are corporations “selling” privileged audiences to other businesses. It would hardly come as a surprise if the picture of the world they present were to reflect the perspectives and interests of the sellers, the buyers, and the product. Concentration of ownership of the media is high and increasing. Furthermore, those who occupy managerial positions in the media, or gain status within them as commentators, belong to the same privileged elites, and might be expected to share the perceptions, aspirations, and attitudes of their associates, reflecting their own class interests as well. Journalists entering the system are unlikely to make their way unless they conform to these ideological pressures, generally by internalizing the values; it is not easy to say one thing and believe another, and those who fail to conform will tend to be weeded out by familiar mechanisms.”
Summary: Another timely walkthrough (journey through the past week’s supposed news) which demonstrates how several self-acclaimed/self-proclaimed “news” sites and even “blogs” operate (which helps explain why they don’t cover EPO scandals among other inconvenient — to them at least — realities)
WE NOW know that Michelle Lee is definitely the Director of the USPTO (it's officially confirmed now), so sites like IAM and Watchtroll are obviously not happy (IAM is a special case, or a case apart, which we debunk regularly). They spent a lot of effort casting doubt, attacking Lee, and even promoting replacements to her (even though she had not been fired). We will never forget what they tried to accomplish; neither should Lee.
“Therein lies the power of lobbying.”Shedding of doubt and uncertainty where there was none to begin with is a classic lobbying tactic and even Joe Mullin fell for it. He asked “Who’s in charge?” even when we already knew it was Lee and those who cited Mullin said “a FOIA request which could have been fulfilled by answering the simple question “Who is the office’s acting director?” Instead, the patent office asked for a delay until March 10, citing a section of the law that allows for delay in “unusual circumstances.””
There was no legitimate basis for doubts about her place (secured by default) other than her face not yet showing up on the official site (after Trump’s inauguration, whereupon many other faces disappeared from the site too). She was still effective in her position and signed documents accordingly. There was nothing mysterious about it. There was no scandal.
“Watchtroll is a very malicious site.”Therein lies the power of lobbying. And lots of that lobbying, as even TechDirt pointed out at one point, could be traced back to Watchtroll — a site that attacked Lee so often that we’ve lost track of the number of times.
Watchtroll (a.k.a. “IP Watchdog”)
Watchtroll is a very malicious site. It not only promotes software patents; it promotes patent maximalism, litigation maximalism, and basically a whole lot of chaos. Watch this latest nonsense from Watchtroll. It’s just incredible! This headline and the entire premise of this Watchtroll ‘article’ is completely bunk (not just false), and this is the latest example of low-quality lobbying for software patents, composed by one whose qualification is just writing (not a technical person by any stretch of imagination). With all sorts of events and other peripheral activities, Watchtroll is more than just a blog now. It’s akin to a pressure/attack/front group. IBM seems eager to use these ‘services’, no matter how nefarious. It pays off to — or there’s plenty of money in — being malicious.
“IBM seems eager to use these ‘services’, no matter how nefarious.”To break down the latest software patents brainwash, it’s just some incoherent nonsense with absolutely no connection between one thing and another. The author was just picking something random from the news (with the buzzwords of the day, “AI”), then wrongly asserting that it shows a need for software patents, even if the UK-IPO does not grant software patents. Here is an except: “Of course, not every step the government can take is a positive one, especially if it’s a backwards step, and nowhere is this more painfully apparent than in the United States. At the same time that our own federal government is evincing a great deal of skepticism as to the patentability of subject matter important to the AI sector, namely software, other nations are moving ahead with plans to improve intellectual property protections for such innovations. For example, new patent examination guidelines set to go into effect in China during early April will increase patent eligibility for software and business method inventions.”
“It pays off to — or there’s plenty of money in — being malicious.”AI moves forward in spite of patents, not owing or thanks to them. But never mind all those pesky ‘facts’ and “so called judges”. What Watchtroll is after is just some “alternative facts” or gross misinterpretations. That’s just the usual from them (when they’re not busy attacking the Director of the USPTO, the Justices, various judges and also appeal boards whose work they don’t tolerate).
Watchtroll is actually a symptom of a much broader problem. A lot of so-called ‘news’ is not at all news but PR and lobbying. The other day at IP Watch, typically a good site, we saw this guest ‘article’ from “Content Manager at Morningside IP” (apparently that’s an actual job title). She wants us to think that the whole world is about patents (guess what “IP” stands for; not patents) and here is one portion of her “content”:
If you want to know where technology is headed, a great place to look is in a patent application database like the USPTO. One of the qualifications for getting a patent granted is “novelty,” which means new, similar innovations won’t appear anywhere else. Once enough data is collected from the database, it can be used to map out and predict unique advancements in specific areas of technology.
How many things are being developed outside or irrespective of patent offices? In the field of software almost everything! So this Content Manager would be better off looking at source code in sites such as Github, rather than take the risk of willful infringement (far higher damages if found guilty) that examination/surveying of granted patents would entail.
“Why do readers out there think there is barely any coverage of EPO scandals other than in Techrights?”We are very much saddened to see the state of so-called ‘IP’ blogs and several months ago we wrote a long rant about it. There are barely any sites at all countering that sort of nonsense; Groklaw no longer operates and few good sites like Against Monopoly seem to have gone defunct quite some time back.
Why do readers out there think there is barely any coverage of EPO scandals other than in Techrights? It just doesn’t suit their business model, it does not attract advertisers and they would rather reprint “guest” posts or “sponsored” articles. It’s a lot less risky, especially from a legal standpoint. There is no money in ideology, unlike PR/marketing/advertising.
Yesterday we showed how Managing IP had set up yet another -- far from the first -- lobbying opportunity for Team UPC (that’s big money right there, with visitors paying £995 + VAT to enter) and days ago the site wrote about designs cases (not just patents), taking a short break from supposed “endorsements” of law firms and people in “IP” (we have to wonder how they turn this “endorsement” system into money, and the same goes for IAM). There was plenty of that recently and we needn’t necessarily link (feed) to it!
“There is no money in ideology, unlike PR/marketing/advertising.”Managing IP also wrote about this Sprint verdict (gigantic $140m patent case), but the above author, Joe Mullin, did a far better job covering it. He is at least balanced. To quote: “Sprint has been filing patent lawsuits over VoIP for more than a decade now, and the company may have just scored its biggest payout yet. On Friday, a jury in Sprint’s home district of Kansas City said that Time Warner Cable, now part of Charter Communications, must pay $139.8 million (Verdict Form) for infringing several patents related to VoIP technology. The jury found that TWC’s infringement was willful, which means that the judge could increase the damage award up to three times its value.”
$139.8 million in one single case. Sites like IAM would likely hail/praise it as some sort of fantastic “success story” and proof of “innovation” or whatever, rather than what it really translates into (rich people getting a lot richer).
Even IP Kat, which we once respected, appears to have devolved into a part-time front group of Team UPC, Bristows in particular (even as recently as one week ago). It no longer covers EPO scandals and some people are not entirely tolerant of the explanations/excuses. To quote some comments, “This smacks Of a dishonourable Retreat,” the following poem said:
Of a dishonourable
Some people are so angry at IP Kat for letting EPO management (basically crooks) off the hook that the write a comment like this (not sufficiently grateful to Merpel for what she did do)
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”.
Shame on you, Merpel. It’s impossible not to lose all respect.
“I feel as well betrayed to see a major help leaving us,” another person wrote, “while Eponia goes deeper into its Orwellian  world…”
As EPO employee, I have mixed feelings, which cannot be understood by someone from outside I guess.
I am very thankful to The Kat for sharing well documented, precise news with a british humor. We found necessary that the outside world, and in particular the IP-world understands what the situation.
I feel as well betrayed to see a major help leaving us, while Eponia goes deeper into its orwelian world: cameras everywhere, spy softwares on our computers, a kafkaian investigation unit, directors going mad if the world “quality” is whispered, heavy recruitement despite a files shortage preparing a future all in “flexibility”, examiners working on short term contracts and distress in every corners. We are not allowed to speak.
It is not an article in one generalist newspaper per semester, which will help broadcasting the situation.
Dear Kat, I understand that you want to take some rest but WE NEED YOU.
“I cannot understand you stop covering the EPO news,” another person wrote. Are you a IP and European blog?”
Well, that’s self-censorship after intimidation (on the face of it). To quote the entire comment:
one of the commenters consider the examiners to dig their own grave. It is easy to say when you rest comfortably on your couch not knowing what it means to work in a toxic environment everyday year in year out. Even a first class IP blog like IPkat is giving up commenting the terrible situation of Eponia (pressure? threats?), how is staff supposed to have sufficient means to say no to the sick, delirious demands we get from the management? Staff is suffering and every day adds a little more, up to the day where one gets a serious illness, depression, burn out or in the worst cases commits suicide.
IPkat, I cannot understand you stop covering the EPO news. Are you a IP and European blog ? If so, not mentioning the EPO anymore simply means we are not doing your duty of informing about IP news.
Renaming your blog IPkat “passionate about IP (except EPO – too dangerous) ” would be more appropriate.
There are more comments to that effect, but it ought to suffice for now.
We used to believe, however briefly and perhaps naively, that Professor Dennis Crouch was reasonably balanced, but that has changed recently, and the last straw was reached with his anti-PTAB diatribe (negative posts in the face of improved patent quality). Earlier this month his blog wrote about CAFC as follows:
In a non-precedential opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the district court’s confirmation of the arbitration award with the minor exception of interest calculation. Here, the arbitrator awards are powerful becaues they can only be overturned based upon quite “demanding standards” involving “manifestly disregard the law.” A portion of the award included what appears to be post-expiration royalties. However, the Federal Circuit held that the manifest-disregard standard is so high that even those damages cannot be vacated (one of the five patents has not yet expired).
Another new post by Dennis Crouch spoke of the same court’s history overruling lower courts (in one particular aspect), as they rightly should (including Alice these days):
This decision by Judge Moore recalls the Federal Circuit’s long history of rejecting district court claim constructions and also highlights Judge Moore’s formalistic approach to claim construction.
Now watch the blog referring as “reasonable” (as in RAND/FRAND) to payments of a ‘mere’ $30,000,000… for just two patents. To quote:
The Nebraska jury found Sprint liable for infringing Prism’s patents and awarded $30 million in reasonable-royalty damages. U.S. Patent Nos. 8,127,345 and 8,387,155.
Patents at $15 million apiece? Against just one single company? It doesn’t take a genius to see that something is seriously wrong here. How about the patent troll whom we wrote about last week, after he had made about $50 million from just one invalid patent?
“As is often the case in life, those who survive in the long run are those well funded (or greased up) by people who look to gain something from interjected bias and agenda, either lobbying, shameless self-promotion, self-censorship, or a wider combination of several/all those things.”I truly miss Groklaw myself; this is the one site about so-called ‘IP’ which I knew was written by a legal professional (paralegal) who in no way had a stake in any corporation covered, nor in advertisers. As is often the case in life, those who survive in the long run are those well funded (or greased up) by people who look to gain something from interjected bias and agenda, either lobbying, shameless self-promotion, self-censorship, or a wider combination of several/all those things. It’s a sordid world with sordid, submissive corporate media. █
“If the media were honest, they would say, Look, here are the interests we represent and this is the framework within which we look at things. This is our set of beliefs and commitments. That’s what they would say, very much as their critics say. For example, I don’t try to hide my commitments, and the Washington Post and New York Times shouldn’t do it either. However, they must do it, because this mask of balance and objectivity is a crucial part of the propaganda function. In fact, they actually go beyond that. They try to present themselves as adversarial to power, as subversive, digging away at powerful institutions and undermining them. The academic profession plays along with this game.”