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08.20.17

Patent Scope Recognised as Essential For Patent Quality, But Software Patents Continue to be Granted

Posted in America, Australia, Patents at 8:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…not that courts tolerate these patents (if one can afford fighting them in court)

A lionSummary: Patents that are toothless, clawless lions are being accumulated by companies that should know various courts would scrutinise these enough to rule them invalid

THE number of software patents at the USPTO is hundreds of thousands. And these are the ones that aren’t expired yet. It’s a bubble. It’s madness. No way any software developer (or even software firm) can keep track of this many patents, which is one of many reasons such patents aren’t desirable.

Suffice to say, software patents are being ‘dressed up’ as something they’re not. As this news article from South Africa put it four days ago, it’s widely known that the “existence of patents may actually stifle innovation in key sectors, for example in software…”

This article is about patents on life-saving medicine — an area in which prominent US lobbyists (including the Podesta Group) bully South Africans, on behalf of large US corporations, obviously. From the article:

In the case of medicines, the mere existence of patent protection may lead to the high price of lives being lost, as in our recent history, when millions of South Africans could not afford antiretroviral treatment for HIV, and as in the present day, when few can afford the impossible burden of new, life-saving treatments for cancer.

The other day we also saw this article about Singapore, noting correctly that they may need to limit “patent regime to spur innovation and improve the quality of patents granted…”

“What sort of loopholes exist? We already named words like “device”, “car”, “phone” and phrases like “over the Internet” or buzzwords such as “cloud”, “AI” etc.”Because patent quality matters. Not the number of patents. It should be about quality, not quantity. Singapore should stop issuing/granting software patents and patents on business methods, not just on genome (or anything about DNA). To quote: “One of the package’s most important steps is to follow decisions in the landmark cases of Association for Molecular Pathology v Myriad Genetics, from the US, and Australia’s D’Arcy v Myriad Genetics by clarifying that Singapore believes isolating DNA” is not patenable.

Only the crazy EPO has decided to become the world's laughing stock by granting patents on genome. As we said earlier today, the EPO also gave a green light/loophole to software patenting — something which examiners we heard from vehemently object to but are pressured (from above) to accept.

What sort of loopholes exist? We already named words like “device”, “car”, “phone” and phrases like “over the Internet” or buzzwords such as “cloud”, “AI” etc.

These are the new tricks.

Buzzword overload and media hype, accompanied by marketing from large companies, brought back an old buzzword from the dead. Now it’s “AI” everywhere; for whose benefit? It’s not a new concept and it’s a broad area which pertains to statistics and maths (at the lower level). I did my doctorate on it.

“It’s a shame the above companies/people don’t know that software patents are a waste of time and mere paper, mostly because these are worthless in courts.”It’s disturbing to see just how often these days patents get painted as “AI” to hide the fact that they’re on software and maths. Here is a new example [1, 2] (only days old) which speaks of an “AI techniques to identify individual attacker behavior and to judge the severity of combinations of such behaviors.”

There’s an illusion of novelty and illusion of it not being abstract, but courts in the US repeatedly reject such patents (the USTPO continues to grant them, under the assumption a buzzword like “AI” can bypass tests). It’s all just software. How about this other example from last week’s news? Malicious patents that are not only on software but also for surveillance? Surely Alice makes these patent-ineligible. Here’s another new one, which speaks of “pioneer[ing] in patented physical, cyber and biometric technologies…”

“Will examiners learn to stop all these tricks and loopholes? They’re being ambushed and bamboozled by law firms whose main skill (or so-called ‘service’) is confusing examiners into granting what they should not.”Well, biometrics are software. There’s a device for scanning, sure, but much of the work is done by maths. Is “biometric” another one of those buzzwords that are now being used to disguise software patents? It’s a shame the above companies/people don’t know that software patents are a waste of time and mere paper, mostly because these are worthless in courts. Maybe some dishonest lawyers talked them into it. Here is another example, this one saying that “BOS GLOBAL Holdings PLC managing director hailed as a “remarkable achievement” the granting of two Australian patents protecting its workplace productivity software.”

Well, as we noted here earlier this month (citing an Australian law firm), the Australian courts don’t tolerate software patents, so this too is a waste of time and money.

Will examiners learn to stop all these tricks and loopholes? They’re being ambushed and bamboozled by law firms whose main skill (or so-called ‘service’) is confusing examiners into granting what they should not.

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