08.04.17

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Software Patents Are Not Potent in Courts and Are Not Good for Marketing Purposes Either (They Cause Alienation)

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: To Save Face, USPTO Ought to Stop Granting Software Patents Altogether

Summary: The status of software patents in the United States (and to a large degree elsewhere as well), especially in light of software’s transition into a sharing modality

WE can never stress strongly enough that even though the USPTO grants software patents, rarely will such patents turn out to be useful. These are hardly enforceable, except by patent trolls which prey on the poor (incapable of affording legal defense or even a petition to PTAB). They essential bypass the legal process.

“These are hardly enforceable, except by patent trolls which prey on the poor (incapable of affording legal defense or even a petition to PTAB).”“To obtain a software patent it is necessary to show that the effect of that software goes beyond a mere operational advantage,” Ruth Wright wrote yesterday, “and has some technical impact.”

Well, this might be a convenient loophole for walking past (or bypassing) examination, but what about prosecution? Experience suggests that even if such patents get granted, they will likely be invalidated (i.e. rendered WORTHLESS) in the courts.

“Experience suggests that even if such patents get granted, they will likely be invalidated (i.e. rendered WORTHLESS) in the courts.”Just because people can manage to be granted software patents does not mean that these patents are worth the effort and money. This is especially true after Alice. As we showed last month, during the summer it seemed like not a single software patent had ‘legs’ in the higher courts. It’s usually Alice that’s invoked to eliminate them. Nevertheless, there are press releases like this one from yesterday where patents on software are shown off. This one example is a company that says it “delivers two-factor and multi-factor authentication utilizing patented software-based grids to convert static passwords/PINs into secure one-time passwords or PINs (“OTPs”).”

“Now that Free/Libre software is becoming so prevalent, such patents are becoming ever more worthless in the “licensing” sense.”That’s just a software patent. It looks like it’s mostly used for marketing purposes (“patented software-based grids”), as Steph from IP Troll Tracker pointed out a couple of years ago. Patents for the sake of vanity are not only a waste of time but also a waste of money. Now that Free/Libre software is becoming so prevalent, such patents are becoming ever more worthless in the “licensing” sense.

Consider this article from yesterday which said patents “in coding [are] often enforced to the detriment of the community at large.”

Here is the relevant part in full:

For a long time free and open source software was a niche seen by many as a threat to major software developers and large corporations who wished to enforce stricter intellectual property rights. Although patents and intellectual property rights were originally designed to protect the rights of the creators, in coding this is often enforced to the detriment of the community at large.

This means that — just as IAM put it some days ago (in its latest issue) — Free/Libre software is here to stay and those who try to leverage software patents would merely stain their name and harm their reputation. Look what happened to Microsoft and IBM, for example.

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