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07.23.17

IBM and Watchtroll, Together With Microsoft, Among the Driving Forces for Resurgence of Software Patents

Posted in America, IBM, Law, Microsoft at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Lumbergh: If you could grant me a software patent, That Would Be Great!

Summary: A look at who keeps lobbying against Alice and where/how; also our assessment of why such lobbying won’t be getting them anywhere any time soon

AS PROMISED in our previous long post, here are some details about the lobby against Alice (i.e. for software patenting). The USPTO continues granting such patents, but in our previous post we showed that almost none of these can “survive” the courts. In other words, there’s a great disparity between granting and assertion in this domain. Certainty is extremely low for software patents.

“So he basically frames the rejection of software patents as “discrimination”. Amazing.”IBM and Watchtroll are probably the worst culprits when it comes to the lobbying; even more so than Microsoft. Here is IBM’s Manny Schecter‏ citing Watchtroll/Gene Quinn (quite frequent an occurrence and Schecter‏ also habitually writes for Watchtroll). “The patent system should not discriminate against certain technologies,” he wrote.

So he basically frames the rejection of software patents as “discrimination”. Amazing.

Watchtroll said: “Alice Who? Over Half the U.S. Utility Patents Issued Annually are Software Related!”

“Software is everywhere. But that does not mean that everywhere technology is used it boils down to software.”Terms like “software related” are nonsensical. Benjamin Henrion already responded to them with , “you mean it does not fit some technologies?”

Software is everywhere. But that does not mean that everywhere technology is used it boils down to software. Yet that’s the kind of ‘logic’ software patents proponents are attempting to leverage. The underlying article IBM links to is from a patent attorney, i.e. part of the patent microcosm.

“Microsoft too is among those trying to change the law in the US, in order to allow software patents chaos to resume (Microsoft’s blackmail relies on that).”“It is time to define the term ‘Abstract Idea’,” Watchtroll added. It couldn’t get any more obvious; they want Alice struck down under the guise of “clarity” that IBM pays David Kappos to play with.

It’s despicable. Microsoft too is among those trying to change the law in the US, in order to allow software patents chaos to resume (Microsoft’s blackmail relies on that). As this recent report put it: “The issue’s importance to biopharmaceutical companies was illustrated March 15 by an unlikely source—an executive from the software industry–which often has been at odds with the biopharma sector on Section 101. Speaking on the topic, Microsoft Corp.’s David Jones said, “The people having the hardest time, as much as we complain about software, are the ones with gene patents.””

Further down it refers to the IBM-led IPO initiative by stating: “The IPO proposed three new parts of Section 101. Section 101(a) would read: “Whoever invents or discovers and claims as an invention any useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or any useful improvement thereto, shall be entitled to a patent for a claimed invention thereof, subject only to the exceptions, conditions and requirements set forth in this Title.””

“Will all that lobbying manage to warp the debate though?”So it is crystal clear that they are still attempting to resurrect abstract patents, including software patents. Having said that, a lot of the above is from May and June (John T. Aquino’s article is from May) and things have been quiet since then. Back in May there were many articles like “IPO, AIPLA and ABA IP Section Propose Legislative Fixes for Section 101″, “AIPLA offers proposals to alter section 101″ and “AIPLA On Board with Statutory Reform of 101″. A month later there was almost nothing about it and in July there was nothing at all. It’s like they vanished. We should not, however, assume that they stopped trying. Arguably, what they worked on at the time (and to a certain degree did accomplish) is this notorious bill, the “STRONGER Patents Act” which is going nowhere (not even patent extremists like IAM believe it will ever materialise).

Will all that lobbying manage to warp the debate though?

“More reports that Examiners in 3600 are being instructed to conduct less stringent Alice analyses,” Patent Buddy wrote. Have they ‘scandalised’ Alice enough to have it de-emphasised? Well, maybe only at the patent office, but not the courts. The USPTO does not decide what patents will be upheld by judges. Back in May, patent attorney Mark Summerfield wrote about the subject and regarding a particular case, J Nicholas Gross (also patent microcosm) said: “In contrast to PTO, Fed judges continue to rely on principle of “no preemption” to deem patents eligible under 101…”

“The patent microcosm is focusing on exceptions to the norm, i.e. cases where software patents are miraculously upheld (even if by a low court).”Well, they actually do their job correctly. Even if examiners continue to grant software patents, judge will throw these away, merely reducing confidence in US patents and damaging the credibility of the US patent office.

The case at hand is Tecsec Inc. v Adobe Inc. and Mercedes Meyer wrote about it that “EDVA [Eastern District of Virginia] DENIES 12(B)(6) ELIGIBILITY MOTION – claims on 4 patents do not preempt and are inventive; Tecsec Inc. v. Adobe Inc. (5/23/17)…”

So it’s yet another one of many cases where software patents are ruled invalid.

Regarding another Tecsec case, Tecsec Inc. v International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Docket Report wrote this: “The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff’s encryption patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the asserted claims were not directed toward an abstract idea.”

As noted in our previous report, this was the sole case (which we are aware of so far this summer) where software patents were tolerated, and these were only tolerated by a low court. The patent microcosm is focusing on exceptions to the norm, i.e. cases where software patents are miraculously upheld (even if by a low court).

“It seems clear that their last remaining hopes are on this piece of legislation that is already being opposed and condemned even by large corporations…”Is there much of a future (or any) to software patents? Well, that “STRONGER Patents Act” (misleading name) is dead in the water and we expect the momentum of the above lobby to have already been lost in the midst of SCOTUS rulings. We oughtn’t, however, lose sight of the lobbyists. The last thing they want is visibility (when they do their dirty deeds). A vocal software patents ‘lobbyist’, Steve Lundberg, is going mental over the demise of “medical”-washed software patents and other vocal ‘lobbyists’ seem equally perturbed. They can’t seem to get their way. Steve Lundberg is starting to sound like Bill Lumbergh with: “If you could grant me a software patent, That Would Be Great!”

Here is what he wrote:

One of the most disturbing stats related to medical software innovation. Inexplicably, it has been targeted as constituting largely only “abstract ideas” not worthy of patenting. This is another strong indication that the U.S. patent system is sorely in need of a legislative solution to the Section 101 problem that is now a runaway train on course to do major damage to the U.S. patent system and U.S. competitiveness in the technical software arts.

A couple of months later the Bill Lumbergh-like Steve Lundberg wrote in favour of stuff like “STRONGER Patents Act” (promoted also by Bastian Best).

It seems clear that their last remaining hopes are on this piece of legislation that is already being opposed and condemned even by large corporations (except the likes of IBM and Microsoft, which like to shake down companies and extort them for ‘protection’ money).

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