Value comes from scarcity, not overabundance (or a ‘paper economy’)
Summary: The ludicrous notion that an economy will become more competitive/attractive because of a large pile of overestimated papers is challenged by a series of bubbles which benefit nobody and eventually implode
A DECADE ago when we wrote about CSIR it was a top filer in India's patent office. CSIR has since then more or less imploded, as covered here before [1, 2], essentially acknowledging that it had wasted public money on a worthless patent bubble.
CSIR’s sheer failure has just become the subject of yesterday’s article from Dr. Glyn Moody, a mathematician-turned-journalist who writes:
Last December, we wrote about China reaching a rather questionable milestone: filing one million patents in a single year. As Techdirt has pointed out repeatedly, more patents do not equate to more innovation, so simply filing huge numbers of patents means very little in itself. The government of India has just found this out the hard way. As The Hindu reports, CSIR-Tech, the commercialization arm of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has had to shut down its operations.
As a reminder, very recently the US Chamber of Commerce tried hard to shame India into patent maximalism. It seems clear, however, that the US Chamber of Commerce (a corporate lobby, not a federal thing, sometimes known as CoC) is pressuring every country to grant a lot more patents, including the United States itself!
As IP Watch puts it today, CoC is now shaming the USPTO, in an effort to manipulate it:
The signers argued that the USPTO is not dependent on taxpayer funding, and that the patent fees which it collects in fact provide a source of revenue to the federal government.
The letter also raises concern that the hiring freeze will cause the US to fall behind other countries in granting patents. The letter states that the USPTO has fallen from #1 to #10 in its ranking by the US Chamber of Commerce Global Intellectual Property Center, and that China’s patent office is issuing patents faster than the United States.
So what? China issues a lot of lousy patents on everything under the Sun and it’s already becoming a litigation hub, which helps nobody except law firms. This use of “China” for propaganda purposes was recently seen quite a lot within the camp of software patents lobbyists [1, 2] and was last mentioned this morning.
The problem with patent maximalism or overpatenting is that it creates perceived value out of thin air and the only ones who profit from that are homeopaths-like ‘wizards’ who wish us to genuinely believe something becomes “innovative” only as soon as some patent gets granted. It doesn’t work that way. █
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If radical sites like Watchtroll hate PTAB so much, then it means PTAB must be doing something right
Summary: PTAB’s growth, which has accelerated so far this year, serves to invalidate more patents which were erroneously granted and — as expectedly as can be — the patent maximalists are losing their minds
EARLIER TODAY, PTAB watcher Michael Loney published some new figures, stating in his summary that the “Patent Trial and Appeal Board petition filing in the first three months of 2017 was the largest quarterly filing figure ever.”
“Why does the patent microcosm think it’s suitable/ethical for a parasitic element to give instructions to judges who govern the system?”Earlier this year something similar was shown and therefore the patent ‘industry’ tries to slow PTAB down. PTAB scares them because it makes them obsolete!
Earlier today we wrote about law firms that essentially or in effect pay for "access" to PTAB judges — something which Managing IP seems to be facilitating/soliciting. Why does the patent microcosm think it’s suitable/ethical for a parasitic element to give instructions to judges who govern the system?
“PTAB proponents are typically honest businesses, whereas PTAB opponents are the patent microcosm and abusive elements whom they service.”Earlier today, Mr. Loney (based in New York, unlike Managing IP) wrote about the latest lobbying opportunity, quoting (outside the paywall): “Speakers at a recent Managing IP event called for the PTAB to give more precedential opinions to reduce inconsistencies between different panels, and identified gaps that the Board should address”
There seems to be a campaign to weaken/defang PTAB, along with a malicious campaign to oust the Director of the USPTO, as we last noted this morning. This is the kind of nonsense that is being promoted by IBM and its ilk (people like David Kappos and the IBM-led IPO task force). Today we saw this article of a person from the Antonin Scalia Law School, in which he calls PTAB “death squad” and opponents of patent maximalism “junk science”. It was promoted by IBM’s patent chief, who isn’t even shy to endorse radical elements like patent trolls, serial patent bullies and those whom they fund to wage their battles for personal gain at the expense of those who actually produce things (Watchtroll included). Here is a portion from this article, pinned at the lobbyists’ press:
Making matters even worse, Ms. Johnson applauds the innovation-killing administrative tribunal known as the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB is rightly criticized as an out of control bureaucracy destroying patents at an alarming rate. One former federal judge called the PTAB a “death squad,” and the head of the PTAB cheerfully embraced this designation.
The real victims are the individuals, universities, startups and small businesses — the sources of new innovation in this country — that are undercapitalized and cannot afford the prohibitively high costs in court and the PTAB of defending their productive labors against pirates (especially when these pirates are well-funded and large corporations).
What a horrible inversion of narratives. In reality, the above are those hurt the most by software patents and those most in need of PTAB.
Each time we spot PTAB haters it merely serves to reinforce the idea that PTAB does the right thing. PTAB proponents are typically honest businesses, whereas PTAB opponents are the patent microcosm and abusive elements whom they service. Thankfully, at least for the time being, PTAB is growing. Efforts to destabilise/disrupt this status quo, however, are ongoing and are very visible. We track these efforts very closely and report in order to thwart these. █
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Also see: UK software companies oppose Unitary Patent ratification
Douglas Carswell, who opposes the UPC, is now an independent politician
Summary: Barriers to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are becoming rather obvious upon proper inquiry and investigative journalism by Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze from Juve
TEAM UPC and Team Battistelli (the cabal which controls the EPO, including the Council) lie to us all the time about the UPC, which they themselves are preparing, steering, reporting on, and pressuring politicians to sign (based on sheer lies). It’s appalling to watch and evidently patent practitioners outside Team UPC don't swallow the lies (even based on recent surveys).
“It certainly looks like the appalling quality control at the EPO, in conjunction with the deliberate understaffing of the appeal boards, would gear everything up for a UPC nightmare (except for the prosecution/litigation industry, which profits at the expense of both claimants and defendants).”A new report in German, composed by Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze, correctly points out that Britain did not ratify in March (in spite of immense pressure and misinformation from Team UPC). It does not look like the people in London are ever going to ratify, no matter what Team UPC is saying.
Earlier this week someone wrote: “What makes you think that there will be no more “fixes” pulled out of the bag to ensure that the UPC is used to an adequate extent? The examination policies applied by the EPO’s management in recent years appears to have been custom-made to plump up the pool of potential cases. It is not hard to imagine a few more policies of a similar ilk emanating from the creative minds of that management…”
It certainly looks like the appalling quality control at the EPO, in conjunction with the deliberate understaffing of the appeal boards, would gear everything up for a UPC nightmare (except for the prosecution/litigation industry, which profits at the expense of both claimants and defendants).
“…Team UPC has been lying to us and people from the inside, the Johnsons included, are not at all sure about ratifying something that is inherently incompatible with Brexit and is not at all desirable to British businesses.”An automated translation of the article from Klos and Schulze can be found here, but we prefer not to comment too much before a native German speaker produces a translation, which we would greatly appreciate. Nobody has volunteered yet.
Team UPC, according to the translation, recently “expressed concern that too few states have confirmed the provisional applicability.” The technical terms would be different if adequately translated, but the overall message is that Team UPC has been lying to us and people from the inside, the Johnsons included, are not at all sure about ratifying something that is inherently incompatible with Brexit and is not at all desirable to British businesses. █
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Back to medieval mentality and censorship of truth about questionable statistics
Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO), desperate to save face while patent applications cease to be properly examined, turns to post-truth “alternative facts” and outright distortion of numbers
THE IMAGE above helps explain the atmosphere among EPO workers, who are unable to grasp why their managers would lie so blatantly and so much. Wasn’t the EPO supposed to be a friend of researchers, as it last proclaimed yesterday? Doesn’t the EPO value proper research and statistics? Well, judging by how it presented the latest ‘results’, Battistelli’s EPO is overtly anti-scientific and hostile towards facts/truth. Recall the following posts from last month (among more):
Not even the USPTO ever resorted to such shameless lies. How does the EPO expect to maintain or earn respect? As testament to the unpopularity of the EPO, recall this Juve survey. How unpopular is the EPO these days? Watch the EPO’s forums, which were last promoted earlier today by the EPO; Not a single forum post/reply in 4 days! Most forums have been entirely untouched since 2016 (if not earlier years). It’s abandoned. It’s a ghost town.
What about EPO news? Nothing. Almost nothing for at least a week, except the occasional brag (usually press releases) about patents that should never have been granted, such as this one from today. It says: “According to the EPO, the patent will formally grant on May 10, 2017. The EPO’s decision to grant this patent follows its March 24, 2017 notice of intent to issue the patent, which was not challenged by any third party. This European patent will be nationalized in, and cover, approximately forty European countries, including Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands. As provided by relevant European legislation, third parties will have nine months from the issue date to oppose the patent in the EPO.”
This was bundled together with all sorts of other new articles about CRISPR, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], but none mentioned the EPO. The very fact that the EPO is willing to grant monopolies on genome makes the EPO look worse than ever (even the USPTO denies such patents). Will any staff of DG3 remain at Haar in order to bury this bogus patent as soon as possible? Battistelli has done everything he could to ensure they're paralysed and unable to demonstrate (and thus object to) the chronic decline in patent quality.
The above image contains all the English text.
This “unbelievable statistical manipulation from management,” as someone put it, shows the management “converting 54% into 7.73%.”
The two passages written in German say: “If the renowned legal journal JUVE reports that 54% of industry representatives are no longer happy with the quality of our patent process, then we should be worried” and “at the end of November 2016 JUVE surveyed the patent departments of 168 international technology companies… 24 companies completely answered the survey, a response rate of 14.3 percent” (translation errors may still be possible).
For those who have watched the EPO closely over the past few years and especially the past few months, such lies would not seem too shocking. They’ve lost all credibility. Earlier today the EPO wrote: “The world’s most inventive minds come together for a celebration of their achievements on 15 June.” (link to
One might expect scientists to attend, but even reckless frauds are coming and receiving awards. Not to mention Battistelli, whose awards come from himself…
Fraudsters as “inventors”?
Lies as “statistics” and “research”?
Assembly line as “science”?
This is really characteristic of everything that is wrong with the EPO these days. The boss of the EPO has no scientific background at all and he only started flirting with so-called ‘IP’ 10 years before his retirement age. █
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Related: Battistelli’s European Patent Office Broadens FTI Consulting Contract to Undermine the Media, Wastes Millions of Euros
Summary: Now that patent trolls are spreading to Europe and the EPO promotes the trolls-friendly UPC we cannot turn a blind eye to the role played by IAM, a de facto voice not just of patent trolls but also Benoît Battistelli [1, 2]
THE Director of the USPTO, who is under attack from the patent microcosm including IAM (they try to oust her by spreading false rumours and fake scandals), did a decent job curtailing patent trolls — so much so that the world’s largest patent troll (Intellectual Ventures, or IV for short) is collapsing and the firm of the original patent troll is now defunct.
One can be sure that sites like IAM will sob for the trolls and attack those who stop the trolls. IAM exists for this purpose (not just to lie for Battistelli, whose PR firm supplies IAM with money of EPO stakeholders). Here is yet another new puff piece from IAM — a puff piece that happens to reveal that IAM was speaking to the horrible troll Nathan Myhrvold (the world’s most notorious patent troll). That says a lot about IAM. Here are some key parts:
It was making a bet on the long-term importance of innovation and IP, a fair wager in an economy where companies derived more and more value from their intangible assets. In 2006 IV founder Nathan Myhrvold described IP to IAM as “the fate of the US economy”, pointing out that the two were inextricably linked. “In 10 years patents will be even more important than they are now,” he said.
IV is not about to disappear — as this blog pointed out on Tuesday, continuing to focus on its own innovation efforts through its labs and possible spin out companies makes a lot of sense; while from an assertion point of view, it is in many ways becoming a far more potent force, seeding its IP into a wide range of licensing vehicles as well as focusing on its own efforts. If the decision to pull out of the market was driven by investors, you have to wonder just how happy, in the long term, those backers are going to be with the prospect of more IV assets being litigated in court.
As we pointed out here before, IV has literally thousands of satellite firms (for litigation by proxy) and it is passing patents to them. Microsoft, one must remember, holds the strings to IV. Bill Gates is very close to Nathan Myhrvold, who came from Microsoft, and Microsoft supplies money to IV.
Not only Microsoft is operating via trolls like IV. Ericsson too is doing this and as we pointed out last week, Ericsson’s patent trolls officially became a ‘thing’ in Europe (earlier this month). Now it’s done in the US, Germany, and even in the UK, as the following new analysis points out:
This case began in 2014 when Unwired Planet, a U.S.-based patent assertion entity, sued Google, Samsung and Huawei for infringement under six UK patents (corresponding actions were filed in Germany). Unwired Planet claimed that five of the asserted patents, which it acquired from Ericsson in 2013 as part of a portfolio comprising approximately 2000 patents, were essential to the 2G, 3G and 4G wireless telecommunications standards developed under the auspices of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Because Ericsson participated in development of the standards at ETSI, any patents shown to be SEPs would necessarily be encumbered by Ericsson’s FRAND commitment to ETSI.
WiLAN, a Canadian troll whose function is similar to that of Unwired Planet, is now alleged/accused (by IAM) of having connections to Samsung.
According to court documents seen by IAM, Polaris Innovations – the WiLAN-controlled entity which holds the Qimonda patents – originally filed suit against Kingston Technology, a US manufacturer of data storage devices, in February 2016. Polaris alleged infringement of six of its patents relating to dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) technology by numerous Kingston products.
Polaris IP (not Polaris Innovations) was mentioned one decade ago by Patent Troll Tracker (who was unmasked by Ray Niro before he died). We don’t know if there is a connection, but the other firms actually produce something.
We are sad but not surprised to see IAM continuing its malicious agenda of promoting patent trolls. For the EPO’s President to brag about IAM, the de facto voice of patent aggression and trolls, says quite a lot about today’s leadership of the EPO with its UPC ambitions. As someone told us just over an hour ago, under the UPC “one kind of applicants who will continue to apply en masse are the patent trolls.” No wonder IAM spreads fake news to promote the UPC. █
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Having already flung multiple false rumours at Michelle Lee, Watchtroll does it again, this time aided by IAM
Watchtroll is a bullying campaign whose goal is not justice but patent maximalism, i.e. self/personal gain
Summary: The aforementioned lobbying and foul play, striving to get rid of the USPTO Director who helped PTAB succeed, trolls fail, and patent quality improve
THE USPTO has been under attack by a whispering campaign and a witch-hunt led by patent maximalists, including Watchtroll and IAM. They are eager to install their own cronies and destroy any progress that has been made reforming the patent system.
“Sadly, Watchtroll’s campaign against Michelle Lee continues.”Watchtroll is now complaining about Alice (yet again, maybe the thousandth time), as if the death of software patents was a bad thing. It says “data shows that the US Supreme Court’s decision in Alice has crushed much of the nascent financial technology (fintech) patent market and affected software package sales rates.”
What is this “patent market”? Patents are not a market. The market actually produces something (other than patents) and sometimes uses patents to restrict competition. Sadly, Watchtroll’s campaign against Michelle Lee continues. Having written almost a dozen attack pieces against her (that we have noticed), it now latches onto PTAB's latest (attempt to appease thugs like Watchtroll), takes a horrifying photo of Lee, and repeats its unverified claim that “[t]he timing of the announcement is curious given that Michelle Lee’s days seem numbered as Director of the Office.”
“IAM, another malicious site that has participated in this lobbying/witch-hunting campaign, amplified this nonsense yesterday.”According to who? Watchtroll itself?
IAM, another malicious site that has participated in this lobbying/witch-hunting campaign, amplified this nonsense yesterday. Patent maximalists of IAM, not just Watchtroll, wrote this:
Interest groups gear up for fight with Trump administration over USPTO budget
In a clear bid to play up a rivalry that Trump is all too aware of, it alleges that this is playing into the hands of China and its voracious patenting efforts.
The one bright spot, according to the lobbyist, is that new Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, “really understands the patent system”. As IP Watchdog reported recently, Ross has been busy interviewing prospective candidates for the position of USPTO Director with former Johnson & Johnson IP executive Phil Johnson and former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader both still in the running. With the budget clouds gathering over Washington DC, whoever is appointed faces perhaps the most daunting task in IP.
What we see here is that same old Chinophobia [1, 2] that the software patents lobby has resorted to quite a lot recently (never mind Lee’s ethnic origins) and then repetition of claims made only by a site of liars and thugs, who habitually spread falsehoods. They are still engaging in a whispering campaign against the USPTO Director, having already spread false rumours against her several months back. It’s not a crime to do this; it’s just unethical and outright nasty. They create scandals out of nothing. They try to make their own prophecies become a reality. Team UPC uses similar tactics.
“They are still engaging in a whispering campaign against the USPTO Director, having already spread false rumours against her several months back.”“PTAB procedure should be free of charge,” Watchtroll got told by Benjamin Henrion. Remember that Watchtroll not only criticises PTAB but also insults it. It just can’t stop harassing Lee, even by spreading bogus conspiracy theories about Google and her. Months ago it said she had resigned, but clearly that was false, as confirmed by an official statement from the administration. The label “fake news” came into existence because of politically-motivated (or financially-motivated) sites like Watchtoll, not irresponsible satirical sites. █
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Whether it’s called “PAX” or “SuperPAX”, it does not solve the issue but merely exacerbates the patent thicket problem
Summary: One last take on the whole “PAX” brouhaha, which is far from a solution to problems we’re all facing in the software world
THE announcement of “PAX” made a lot of headlines/press last week, e.g. in the financial press1. Well, Android-centric sites covered that quite a lot and to a lesser degree GNU/Linux-centric sites did too (like SJVN2). We wrote several articles about that, e.g. [1, 2]. We believe that as long as the USPTO grants software patents there is room for things like “PAX”, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem, which is the patents themselves (on software).
“We believe that as long as the USPTO grants software patents there is room for things like “PAX”, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem, which is the patents themselves (on software).”Jeff Roberts, a writer whom we respect for his firm grasp of these issues, published the article “Google-Backed Patent Network LOT Adds Cisco, Slack” and separately added: “Patent folks: Google-backed LOT adds Slack & Cisco to its non-aggression pact. (how long till @IBM joins too?)”
Well, IBM has already fed some patents into Android OEMs for defensive purposes (at great cost). It would not be shocking if it joined “PAX” sooner or later, even if it has OIN. Maybe there will even be some bridging between OIN and “PAX”, as one defends GNU/Linux (not just the kernel anymore) and another Android, which uses the Linux kernel and some Free software projects that are covered by OIN.
“Well, IBM has already fed some patents into Android OEMs for defensive purposes (at great cost).”“Collective shields don’t work against trolls,” Benjamin Henrion rightly reminded them. This is why we prefer different approaches. We don’t think that patent pools, even if advertised as “defensive”, will ever lead to eradication of deprecation of software patents. █
1 Google Creates Community License to Unify Android Makers (GOOG, MSFT)
Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Google (GOOG) is attempting to create peace in patent litigation.
The Mountain View company launched Android Networked Cross-License or PAX (Latin for Peace), a community license between manufacturers of Android devices that makes their collective patents available to each other minus royalties. “ We call it a community license because all members grant licenses to one another on a royalty-free basis, thereby promoting patent peace within the Android ecosystem,” the company wrote in a blogpost. (See also: Patents Are Assets, So Learn How To Value Them).
Signatories to the patent license include prominent makes of Android phones, such as the likes of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd (SSNLF) and HTC. Collectively, they hold more than 230,000 patents. According to Google, the agreement “materially reduces patent risk.” In other words, this means that members will not sue each other for using Android-related patents in their devices.
2 PAX: Android patent protection consortium formed
OIN was formed in 2005 when Linux was under legal siege from SCO for imaginary copyright violations and then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claimed Linux violated over 200 Microsoft patents. So, IBM, Sony, Phillips, Red Hat, and Novell formed Open Invention Network (OIN) to defend Linux against IP attacks. Since then, many major companies have joined OIN from both inside the technology business, such as Google and manufacturing companies like Damiler.
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Making justice less just and “just about business”…
Summary: Covert activities and lobbying by the patent microcosm, e.g. to promote the resurgence of software patents, as seen in yesterday’s news
THE Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) added to the USPTO an important mechanism of quality control — similar to that which Battistelli at the EPO gradually abolishes.
Using PTAB, for example, one person went against a patent of the Big Pharma/Medicine Cartel (think of overpricing, price gouging etc. against poor, ill people) and last night there were many articles about it, for he claimed that he had lost to a “cabal”.
“So basically, for a fee (a very fee high most probably, quite frankly as usual) patent maximalists can rub shoulders with PTAB judges who can invalidate a lot of patents.”“In the end, lobbying and special interests pay,” he said. “Medicare and U.S. consumers pay the ultimate price for the evergreening of bad patents by the pharma cabal.”
As a bit of background: “While Bass still has one case pending at the U.S. Patent and Appeal Board that he filed under his own name, it appears he’s given up. The coalition hasn’t filed a new case in 18 months and he shuttered the fund overseeing it, the Credes Master Fund, last year.”
PTAB, however, is not too well known for going after medical patents. It typically goes after abstract patents, notably software patents. Published by Managing IP yesterday, a site with pro-UPC and patent maximalism agenda (not just the paywall), was this announcement that said: “Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) judges had some advice for attendees at two Managing IP US Patent Forum events in Silicon Valley and Washington DC in March.”
“It serves to reinforce what Bass said above.”So basically, for a fee (a very fee high most probably, quite frankly as usual*) patent maximalists can rub shoulders with PTAB judges who can invalidate a lot of patents. Isn’t there an ethical issue here? It serves to reinforce what Bass said above.
Watch Fenwick & West still lobbying for software patents (yesterday) and David Crouch, a foe of PTAB and a proponent of software patents, still poking fun at Alice (also yesterday).
“There are special interests and lobbying whose purpose it to crush Alice, make PTAB toothless, and even oust the Director of the USPTO, as we shall show later.”As for Managing IP, yesterday it advertised this event dominated by those trying to thwart Alice/Section 101. “Steve Lieberman,” it said, “partner at Rothwell Figg Ernst & Manbeck, has some advice for those looking to file patents and avoid rejections under Section 101.”
Also outside the paywall: “Speakers at a recent Managing IP event suggested US patents can be drafted to direct them into an art unit that will minimise the risks of 101 rejections.”
Well, make no mistake about it. There are special interests and lobbying whose purpose it to crush Alice, make PTAB toothless, and even oust the Director of the USPTO, as we shall show later. █
* These are in effect payments for “access” (in the lobbying sense) or for influence, sometimes for a speaking position too (preaching to decision-makers, pushing agenda).
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