03.15.17

Gemini version available ♊︎

More Good News About the US Patent System Crushing Software Patents While the Reformer, Michelle Lee, Stays

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Something positive for a change

Reading newspaper

Summary: A quick roundup of patent cases in the US and what these mean to growing optimism about the practicing industry, not a bunch of parasitic firms that prey on and tax the practicing industry

TECHRIGHTS has been emphasising for nearly a decade now that low patent quality leads to patent trolls or gives them greater strength. If one removes software patents, that will immediately knock out a large majority of patent troll lawsuits. To a certain degree, in the US at least, this is already happening, thanks largely to Alice.

“Another example of the value of Alice in improving patent quality & protecting businesses from trolls,” United for Patent Reform wrote this week about this article, which was mentioned here before. To quote a portion again, it’s about Microsoft’s patent troll which was a ticking time bomb until several years back:

After staying quiescent for years, IV [Intellectual Ventures] opened up a barrage of lawsuits to enforce its patents in 2010. But the companies that decided to stand up to IV rather than buckle under have been faring well, as judges have found the patents that IV has chosen to enforce in court less than impressive. It’s a telling sign about the giant patent-holder’s collection. Given the opportunity to pull just about any patent out of its huge collection, one would assume the company would choose the best of the lot. But much of it appears to be exactly the kind of easy handouts from the dot-com boom era that have been called out by critics of “patent trolls.”

Never forget Intellectual Ventures’ very strong ties to Microsoft, and to Bill Gates at a personal capacity. A lot of people choose to forget this or simply don’t know. Intellectual Ventures also has literally thousands of satellite firms, based on numerous reliable reports. This is very relevant in light of our previous post. Microsoft runs an expensive and extensive trolling operation which is being used to coerce (or exercise control over) a lot of companies out there. It’s a form of blackmail: do as we tell you or someone out there will come and burn your house/business (e.g. patent trolls). Microsoft now offers the equivalent of ‘protection’ money, in the form of “Azure IP Advantage”, equivalent to “peace of mind” back in the Novell days (one decade ago).

Thankfully, as the above report shows, Intellectual Ventures is not so successful (so far) and there have been both layoffs (since about 3 years ago) and departures of top executives. Intellectual Ventures is basically rotting. It wouldn’t have rotten if it weren’t for decisions like Alice, which some fear the Trump administration has a financial incentive to overturn (Trump’s family business). IP Watch has just caught up with the ‘news’ about Michelle Lee (it’s not really news that she keeps her jobs; Nobody ever said otherwise, except the patent maximalists’ propaganda mill, which had been hoping and trying to oust her in favour of trolls-friendly candidates). To quote IP Watch:

A letter made public only by a United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request confirms that Michelle Lee remains the director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), ending a mystery that has been curiously kept secret since President Trump took office over 50 days ago.

One might ask, why do we care so much about Michelle Lee? Well, we have written more than a dozen posts about her since Trump’s inauguration because we noticed a malicious lobbying campaign to remove her, primarily because she did not tolerate trolls and was reasonably OK with the demise of software patents. For those who may be wondering where we stand right now, it’s still looking good. As of this week, software patents proponents take note of software patent being invalidated, with holders relying on wasteful/futile appeals. To quote this one example: “Patent Owner Brief Appealing Invalidation of Email Patent under Alice/101: https://dlbjbjzgnk95t.cloudfront.net/0901000/901132/document%20(27).pdf

That’s unlikely to change. See this new article titled “Fed. Circ. Affirms Nixing Of Email Patent Under Alice,” which says a “district court had found the asserted claims of Network Apparel Group LP’s patent to be invalid…”

Even a district court found the patent to be invalid. District courts are typically more tolerant of software patents than the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Here is another new report from the same site:

Fed. Circ. Affirms Medical Billing Patent Invalid Under Alice

The Federal Circuit on Monday affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s rejection of an application for a patent on a method of electronically transferring patient medical records over a network, saying the concept is abstract and therefore not patent-eligible under Alice.

In a per curiam opinion, the three-judge panel said the claims of inventor Angadbir Singh Salwan’s U.S. Patent Application Number 12/587,101 are unpatentable because they cover the abstract idea of billing insurance companies and organizing patient health information.

See the trend? The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is crushing software patents and, as happens about 80% of the time, CAFC reaffirms its judgment. Dennis Crouch is trying to put an end to that or at least slow that down as it makes him increasingly redundant/obsolete. Yesterday he chose to cover a particular CAFC/PTAB case because challenged patents were not invalidated, for a change (as happens only about 20% of the time). Here’s an except:

That suggests to me that the case is over with the patentee winning the IPR.

Claim Scope: I’m still somewhat confused about whether the claim structure used here is proper under the law. 35 USC 112 states that “A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.” In my mind, one element of claim 12 is that it is a “method” and claim 21 is a “machine . . . configured to perform the method.” As such, claim 21 cannot itself meet the method limitation of claim 12.

Well, there are far, far more such cases where CAFC agrees with PTAB and invalidates patents; we suspect that Crouch just doesn’t want to highlight such cases; maybe he picks edge cases or exceptional scenarios for the purposes of open inquiry. Whatever it is, let it be clear that software patents are in an unprecedented crisis in the US and this is hurting firms which choose to just sue rather than innovate.

“In the more than two years since the Alice decision,” Industry Week wrote yesterday, “courts have held many software patents invalid as claiming nothing more than an abstract idea.”

Let it stay that way.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  2. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  3. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  4. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  5. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  6. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  7. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  8. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  9. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  10. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  11. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  13. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  14. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  15. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  16. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  17. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  18. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  19. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  20. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  21. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  22. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  23. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  24. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  25. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  26. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  27. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  29. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  30. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts