07.04.17

Ignore So-Called Professional Advice From Patent Law Firms and Share Information

Posted in America, Patents at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Science before profit

Science before profit

Summary: A roundup of patent news and supposed ‘advice’ from firms whose sole motivation is to increase the number of patents irrespective of patent quality and effects on science

THE US patent system is moving away from software patents (some attempts to revive these notwithstanding) and now is a good time to highlight bad advice from firms that profit from software patents — without actually writing a single line of code!

IdeaJam, which was last mentioned here 7 years ago (in the comments), has returned to the headlines [1, 2]. These people seem to be rebranding/reinventing themselves (and their company) as more of a “patent platform” which targets “startups” or “entrepreneurs” — even though these are often the most convenient target for trolling; they can’t afford or don’t have the incentive to legally defend themselves in court. “Oldenburg said the service protects users ideas,” according to one of those promotional articles, “by automatically privatizing and encrypting documents. Users can manage their privacy settings, and choose to share with certain collaborators. And unlike services like LegalZoom, which can help supply patent documents, Oldenburg said IdeaJam goes beyond that, connecting users with others who may be able to help build their business.”

Small businesses need to crowdsource and pool resources (the above articles speak of “crowdfunding”), not bicker over patents. But companies that are in the business of “patents” don’t want people to think that way…

About a month ago The Independent (UK) published this article titled “How a free-for-all on patents could help build a sustainable future” — a piece which encouraged publication of one’s ideas, asserting that a sharing economy works better. Here is a portion:

To sustain the the population of 9.7 billion expected by 2050 the world is going to need innovations that make careful use of available resources, both human and environmental. Key industry sectors such as energy, water, agriculture and transport are already under pressure to move to more sustainable methods of production and consumption. However, there are barriers in the way.

One of these lies in how the world manages the creation and ownership of inventions and ideas. The the protectionist approach to intellectual property, designed to protect and prolong the lifecycle of existing technologies and allow innovators to capture the profits from their creations.

The Independent expresses views that many people agree with. The patent microcosm, however, is very nervous about such a mindset. It might make the microcosm obsolete.

Consider this recent ad in the form of an ‘article’ by Elaine Bergenthuin, managing partner at De Beer Attorneys. “Why register or patent?” is the title and it’s more or less a placement from a patent law firm which profits from patent chaos, i.e. patent maximalism. Local press too publishes the habitual glorification of patents, typically software patents. Why is that? Why are these treated as trophies in spite of the ebbing/declining potency of such patents? Who’s hoping for software patents anyway? Certainly not software developers.

A lot of the advocacy of software patents continues to come from lawyers’ media with headlines such as “Is Software Patentable? Recent US Case Law Offers a Glimmer of Hope,” insinuating that such patents bring “hope” rather than desperation. Truth be told, parasitic firms like this author’s wish software developers to actually believe that they need software patents and that software patents still have merit; forth they come with totally meaningless statements like, “as inventors know, software can implement methods which are technical solutions to technical problems.”

That’s nonsense. It doesn’t even say anything. This is pure marketing. Here is another new example from lawyers’ media. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP says that “prohibition on patenting abstract ideas has been applied extensively to patents and patent applications on software and business methods.”

They basically oppose this, as one can expect. Elsewhere in the news we find this press release which says “Leonard has extensive technology leadership experience and is the co-inventor of four software patents.”

He cannot be “co-inventor of four software patents.” Because nobody “invents” a patent. People invent things and sometimes they pursue a patent, but the patent itself is not the invention.

The world desperately needs proper patent journalism. Right now we have the patent ‘industry’ writing or ghostwriting the news.

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