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05.07.17

How the Invalidation of Software Patents Has Helped Victims of Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Patents at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Alicestorm” is what patent maximalists like to call it because it’s stormy to patent predators

Alice

Summary: The ongoing collapse of a lot of software patents in the United States enables defendants to protect themselves from trolls, or sometimes altogether avoid/dodge litigation

THE ARGUMENT that patent trolls rely on software patents has been repeated here for about a decade and defended using other sites, including some which examined the underlying cases and corresponding patents. We believe that in order to tackle patent trolls we must concentrate on eliminating all software patents.

Thankfully, owing to Alice and then § 101​ (more about this later tonight), software patents are dropping like flies. More software patents have in fact just been trashed in the US, as reported in “3D Camera Exposure Patent Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101​” earlier this month. To quote:

The court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s 3D camera exposure patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter. “A patent claim that recites a solution to a problem but not the means of achieving it is not drawn to patent-eligible subject matter…”

There are other such cases, slightly older cases, which we will revisit later tonight. These serve to show the continuing trend. Software patents are definitely not coming back, at least not any time soon (because the US Supreme Court isn’t picking any cases that can overturn Alice and thus alter § 101​). We are gratified to see this, but at the same time we see a massive lobbying campaign to thwart Alice and its effect on § 101. We report about this every week and will deal with the subject in isolation later on.

The noteworthy news, based on this new article from Forbes (behind a malicious spywall, as usual), is that Alice helps a great deal against patent trolls. As this new anti-trolls campaign put it: “Founder of @gustly Daivd Rose explains how the section 101 & Alice rulings helped him beat a #patenttroll…”

Here is a relevant portion:

Using Courts In The Fight Against Patent Trolls

[...]

But the bigger question answered by the ruling was that the computer implementation component was not enough to validate a patent. Still avoiding the term “software”, the Supreme Court ruled that just because you can make a computer do it, does not…

The word “software” has become a ‘dirty’ word in the sense that mentioning it is a risk leading to loss of a patent (invalidation), but a lot of these patents do boil down to algorithms and are thus abstract, ineligible. Sometimes PTAB, not just the courts, help formally extinguish such patents, as we shall show later on…

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3 Comments

  1. FIAR Radio said,

    May 8, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Gravatar

    Alice is not nearly as busty as that!

    tisk tisk, Roy.

    FIAR Radio Reply:

    I’m mostly kidding btw, good job

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    That’s the only “Alice” image I was able to find which was legally free to use (I’m very careful with copyrights). I had to ask my wife if it’s not too crass to use it. It’s OK because it depicts Alice without all that legal barbwire.

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