EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

Posted in America, IBM, Patents at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ginni Rometty

Summary: The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit

HAVING just covered the PTAB-dodging "scam" which the Mohawk tribe participates in, we now turn our attention to PTAB bashing or to shameless lobbying by the patent ‘industry’. The EPO has already marginalised its equivalent of PTAB, known as the appeal boards, in order to reduce patent quality, so why not the USPTO too?

“Manny Schecter, IBM’s patent chief who is friends with Watchtroll, is already lobbying the likely new Director of the USPTO.”Watchtroll is attacking PTAB again. It does this almost every other day. It has done this many dozens of times if not over a hundred times. Who or what is Watchtroll? This is basically a bunch of lawyers trying to destroy technology companies. Just look at who writes for them and who the founder is. His sidekick Paul Morinville is one of the radicals who burned stuff in unauthorised protests on USPTO premises and two days ago he too joined his ‘master’ in attacking PTAB. His headline speaks of a “failed PTAB experiment,” but actually, it has been exceptionally successful when it comes to squashing bad patents which should never have been granted in the first place. Technology companies certainly support and appreciate PTAB! We wrote a lot about that. There are very few exceptions to this, notably IBM. “IBM continues to push for legislation to abolish Alice and restore swpats [software patents] in the US,” Benjamin Henrion (FFII) wrote a few days ago. This does not surprise us because IBM is nowadays a lobbyist for software patents and it habitually attacks small(er) companies with large-scale patent lawsuits. Manny Schecter, IBM’s patent chief who is friends with Watchtroll, is already lobbying the likely new Director of the USPTO. In what platform? None other than Watchtroll (soon to be promoted by Patently-O, increasingly conjoined with Watchtroll).

Here are some portions from what Schecter wrote, citing the villainous Chamber of Commerce (it would not be surprising if it’s a front group to IBM too):

At long last, the next Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been revealed. My congratulations to Andrei Iancu of Irell & Manella on his nomination to lead the USPTO. I recently wrote about the direction the next leader of the USPTO will need to provide[1] and the U.S. patent system remains at an important crossroads. Assuming Director-designee Iancu’s nomination is eventually confirmed, he will have the opportunity, through a variety of channels, to meaningfully influence the path of the U.S. patent system going forward.

In the 2017 U.S. Chamber report on Global IP[2] the U.S. patent system fell from the best in the world to tenth, equal with the patent system in Hungary. The Chamber report explains that the post-patent grant challenge proceedings created under the America Invents Act adds substantial costs and uncertainty, and the Court’s narrow interpretation of patentability of biotech and computer-related inventions puts the U.S. in a disadvantageous position as compared to international standards. Clearly there is work to be done to restore the competitiveness of the U.S. patent system. Unfortunately, there is currently a lack of consensus in the U.S. on how to proceed. Patent subject matter eligibility is prime among the substantive issues for which legislation has been proposed, but to date no legislation has been formally introduced. Many of the major IP associations have published resolutions urging legislation to amend 35 U.S.C. 101, but work to build consensus continues .[3]

So he is bashing AIA, which brought PTAB into existence. This isn’t new or unexpected from him. The truth of the matter is, as IBM sues all sorts of companies the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) often comes to the victims’ rescue. We habitually name new examples, which this guy continues to keep abreast of [1, 2]. The latest:

  • Startup Perigen can’t get patent on fetal monitoring machines thx 2 PTAB random (mis)application of Alice precedent: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016002806-08-30-2017-1 …
  • PTAB finds 2-page long, kitchen sink patent claim by IBM as just an”abstract idea” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016003153-08-24-2017-1 … guess War&Peace also abstract?

IBM is a big patent bully, so PTAB invalidating its software patents and stopping its aggression is a good thing. But not in the eyes of the above patent maximalist, who is right now attacking the EFF in a patent trolls’ site (Dominion Harbor), only to be promoted by other patent maximalists, including patent trolls.

Spotted the pattern yet? Notice who’s attacking PTAB.

Again come out the PTAB bashers, who simply want software patents and a patent trolls resurgence, piggybacking SCOTUS by lobbying to abolish PTAB. There was a long article about this in Blooberg a few days ago. This long article by Tony Dutra did a reasonably OK job explaining that it’s the patent microcosm against those who actually make stuff. To quote some portions from the article:

Stakeholders have filed 31 friend-of-the-court briefs reviewing petitioner Oil States Energy Services LLC’s (OSES) argument that a patent is a private property right that can only be revoked by a federal court, not by the PTO ( Oil States Energy Servs., LLC v. Greene’s Energy Grp., LLC , U.S., No. 16-712, briefs filed 8/31/17 ). Companies and individual inventors with patents contend that patent rights include the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial, which is not provided for in a PTAB proceeding before administrative patent judges.

On the other side are the Silicon Valley heavyweights and generic drug manufacturers that have used IPR proceedings as a way to avoid the higher hurdle for showing patent invalidity in court. A federal judge and jury must presume the patent is valid and require clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. The AIA set up the IPR proceeding without the presumption of validity, with the challenger’s burden of proving invalidity by an easier standard, the preponderance of the evidence.

Counterarguments by Greene’s Energy Group LLC, the successful challenger to OSES’s U.S. Patent No. 6,179,053, which relates to protecting wellheads during fracking, and the U.S. Office of the Solicitor General, are due by the end of October. Several more amicus briefs supporting the AIA’s constitutionality are expected then as well.

The court has not yet set a date for oral arguments, but it should be before the end of this year, with a decision before June 2018.

Dutra then mentions the disgraced/corrupt judge, Randall Rader:

Critics often call the PTAB a “death squad” because of the high rate of patent claims that it kills, but the phrase was originally used to describe the constitutional questions about the board’s role.

Former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall R. Rader coined the term in 2013, before any IPR was decided. He meant it in a way that underlies the constitutional argument, that it is wrong to have the PTO with “7,000 people giving birth to property rights”—referring to the patent examiner corps—while PTAB judges are “acting as death squads, killing property rights.”

And finally:

IPLAC lays out the question in terms of the PTO’s rights as to follow-on action after a patent issues. Prior to the AIA, the Patent Act gave the PTO no such rights, according to the association’s brief. But the AIA changed the nature of the PTO’s ongoing involvement. From the implementation date, the PTO’s grant is better characterized as only an “issue-from-examination … while-subject-to-further-processes-of securement,” IPLAC said.

Not a bad article overall. Compare that to the usual PTAB/IPR bashing from Dennis Crouch. Days ago he wrote: “As a placeholder – I’ll note here that the pending en banc case of In re Aqua Products regarding amendments during IPR Proceedings is still pending before the Federal Circuit.”

“Companies that make stuff like PTAB.”Crouch spent a great deal of effort earlier this year trying to compel the Federal Circuit to step on PTAB's toes. Follow the money and the interests and it’s abundantly clear what the motivations are…

Companies that make stuff like PTAB. This isn’t a subjective observation.

Companies (or firms) that just make lawsuits hate PTAB. The evidence is out there for all to see (e.g. in the form of amicus curiae briefs, pretending to be the highest court‘s “amici”).

Some law firms have grown so afraid/wary of PTAB that they apparently have such a thing as “PTAB chair”. See this new article from a patent maximalists’ news site:

Scott McKeown (right) has joined Ropes & Gray as partner in Washington, DC, and as chair of the firm’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practice.

Maybe they should focus more efforts on applying for better patents (quality rather than quantity); then, PTAB would not be a concern to them and their clients.

To close this on a more positive note, have a look at the CCIA’s Josh Landau with his analysis of Oil States, claiming that the PTAB’s IPRs have saved over $2,000,000,000 in just 5 years. Here’s a portion from Landau’s good article:

This Saturday, September 15, 2017, marks the five-year anniversary of the first filing of an inter partes review. We’ve seen nearly 7,000 post-grant reviews filed since then, a Supreme Court case dealing with IPRs, and there are a pair of IPR Supreme Court cases up this term. [Oil States] [SAS]

Over the next few weeks, I’ll tell you about particular stories where inter partes and covered business method patent reviews have curtailed abusive litigation and allowed smaller companies to defend themselves even if they might not have been able to fight a full-fledged patent lawsuit.

But today I just want to step back and look at the effects of the inter partes review system as a whole. One of the reasons IPR was created was to “provid[e] a more efficient system for challenging patents that should not have issued; and reduc[e] unwarranted litigation costs and inconsistent damage awards.” (Page 39-40 of the House Report on the AIA.)

All in all, the IPR system has been incredibly effective at achieving these goals—I estimate that the implementation of inter partes review has helped plaintiffs and defendants avoid at least $2.31 billion in deadweight losses by providing an efficient system for challenging patents.

This benefit is purely based on avoiding deadweight loss from legal fees; it does not account for the benefit of preventing transfers from defendants to plaintiffs based on patents that should have been invalidated. The financial data used in this analysis is based on publicly available data, as well as some data derived from the 2017 AIPLA Economic Survey. Unfortunately, this survey is not publicly available; where possible, I have linked to open summaries of the data contained in the survey.

We certainly hope that Justices can tell apart parasites from producers. At the moment, with very rare exceptions, all those who oppose PTAB basically oppose science and technology. All they want is more and more litigation, blackmail, and threats (which merely drain money out of the productive economy).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  2. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  3. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  4. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  5. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  6. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  7. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  8. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  9. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  10. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  11. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  12. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  13. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  14. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

    Links for the day

  15. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

    Links for the day

  16. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  17. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  18. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

  19. Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

    South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

  20. EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

    Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

  21. Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as 'Nazis', Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

    Demonising one's opposition or framing it as "fascist" is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

  22. Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

    The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

  23. Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

    Links for the day

  24. EPO Patent 'Growth' Not Achieved But Demanded/Mandated by Battistelli, by Lowering Quality of Patents/Services

    Targets at the EPO are not actually reached but are being imposed by overzealous management which dries up all the work in a hurry in order to make examiners redundant and many European Patents worthless

  25. Doubt Over Independence of Judges at the EPO Clouds Reason in Deciding Regarding Patents on Life

    With the growing prospect of a Board of Appeal (BoA) having to decide on patentability of CRISPR 'innovation' (more like explanation/discovery), questions linger or persist about judges' ability to rule as they see fit rather than what some lunatic wants

  26. Patent Academics and CAFC Make a Living Out of Patents, But Both Must Begrudgingly Learn to Accept That Patents Went Too Far

    A look at academic pundits' views on the patent system of the United States and where the Federal Circuit (a high patent court) stands on these matters after the US Supreme Court (highest possible court) lashed out at many of its decisions, especially those from the disgraced Rader years

  27. Patent Maximalists Cause a Crisis of Legitimacy for Patent Law

    The patent extremists who nowadays equate monopolies on mere ideas to "property" and "rights" gradually cause the public to lose respect for patents, more or less in the same way copyright maximalists (and copyright trolls) cause the population to seek alternatives (both legal and illegal)

  28. We Shall Soon Find Out Where Trump Appointees Such as Neil Gorsuch Stand on Patent Policies

    Staff shuffles at top-level roles will soon reveal what Donald Trump's changes mean to patent law and caselaw

  29. Trump's USPTO Changes Patent Designs, Changes Director/Deputy Director, and Anticipat 'Ranks' Patent Examiners Based on How They Deal With Section 101

    Today's USPTO isn't the same USPTO which was managed by Michelle Lee and anti-PTAB groups (proponents of software patents) have begun profiling examiners based on their stance on abstract/software patents -- a form of neo-McCarthyism

  30. Links 10/3/2018: Amarok 2.9.0, Debian 9.4, Sparky 5.3

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts