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10.01.17

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Still Defended by Technology Companies and Heckled by Those Who Tax Them

Posted in America, Patents at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Trolls’ Absolute Barrier?

Barrier

Summary: The great success of inter partes reviews (IPRs), dealt with by the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), frightens those who make a living from litigation; we take a closer look at the stance of PTAB opposers and what motivates them

THE USPTO grants far too many patents, as we noted in our previous post. Moreover, as we last noted yesterday, tribes are being used to shield patents from quality control. Not only the Mohawk people are playing a role (for Allergan) [1, 2]; now it’s about patent trolls, too.

The battleground is now divided into two; on the one side we have companies that actually create something, whereas on the other we have serial litigators (who create nothing). One side wants PTAB (and habitually petitions PTAB), whereas the other is utterly afraid of PTAB (and compares PTAB staff to murderers).

CCIA, which is funded by technology companies for the most part, continues to write in defence of PTAB. It’s basically an eliminator of bad patents, notably software patents. 5 days ago it wrote about IPR successes and mentioned a patent troll:

Water Filtration System flow diagramAPTWater makes water treatment systems that clean up polluted groundwater and wastewater. You’ve probably never heard of APTWater. I hadn’t, nor had a friend who lives near their headquarters and works on water issues.

Of course, that didn’t stop a patent troll from suing APTWater over their wastewater treatment technology. APTWater wasn’t the only one sued—at least two other water treatment companies were sued as well.[1][2]

But instead of being forced to litigate to defend itself, or taking an unfavorable settlement offer, APTWater responded by filing a petition for inter partes review (IPR). Using IPR, APTWater succeeded in achieving a quick (and likely reasonable) settlement from the patent troll after the PTAB determined that the patents were likely invalid.

To extremists like Watchtroll (IP Watchdog) this is bad news because they front for trolls. In many cases, depending on how one classifies a troll, their clients are trolls. It was only a couple of days ago that they attacked PTAB again. They do this several times per week and are working on this more closely with Patently-O, another site which more often than not pushes the agenda of trolls. The subtle PTAB-bashing blog posts continued at Patently-O last week. Dennis Crouch was cherry-picking cases of Federal Circuit dissent and wrote about other Federal Circuit cases such as NobelBiz v Global Connect.

Expect a lot of these subtle PTAB-bashing blog posts. The patent trolls’ lobby wants to demolish patent reform and put an end to PTAB.

Will they succeed?

It seems very unlikely, especially considering the recent record of the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Moreover, Christopher Beauchamp — as Crouch pointed out the other day — says that PTAB’s actions (“the AIA-trials”) are “constitutionally proper”. To quote:

Prof. Christopher Beauchamp has added further to the historical analysis relevant to the question of whether it the AIA-trials – trial-like administrative patent revocations – are Constitutionally proper.

[...]

One of Beauchamp’s most interesting conclusions here is that the early (i.e., pre-Bill-of-Rights) revocation proceedings should probably be seen as creating a break from prior English tradition. Thus, for patent revocation, the focus should be on the jury right as contemplated by the repeal process found in Section 5 of the 1790 Patent Act, which allowed for any member of the public to seek cancellation. Unfortunately for clear resolution of the Oil States question, the original Patent Act is ambiguous as to whether the repeal should be tied to a jury trial.

There seems to be no strong basis for reversing or taking away PTAB and it seems very unlikely that SCOTUS (in its current form) will believe the trolls’ lobby and stop IPRs.

Recently, IP Watch published two articles about it from Steven Seidenberg and one from Dugie Standeford . All are behind a paywall. The first one says: “The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear arguments in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, a case involving a patent on a device used for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). After the patent was granted, Greene’s petitioned for, and was granted, an “inter partes review (IPR)” by the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). After losing at the board, Oil States asked the high court to determine that IPR, which is used to analyse the validity of existing patents, is unconstitutional because it takes away private property rights by denying Art. III jury trials.”

The second article speaks again about Oil States. Seidenberg said this on Thursday:

Initially, the lawsuit was widely viewed as a waste of time. The suit asserted a strained legal argument that already had been rejected twice by federal appellate panels, in 1985 and 1992. Yet this lawsuit, Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, has now reached the US Supreme Court. So later this term, the high court will decide whether the US Constitution prevents the US Patent and Trademark Office from ever striking down issued patents.

Seidenberg’s second article (the following day) argued that “[s]hould the Court rule against the USPTO, it would dramatically alter the US patent system in favor of patentees, give a big boost to patent trolls, and damage innovation in the US…”

This is what everybody knows. But not everyone is against trolls; in fact, sites like IAM and Watchtroll are strongly in favour. To quote the entire summary:

Does the US Constitution prohibit the USPTO from striking down issued patents? That question will be decided by the US Supreme Court later this term. Should the Court rule against the USPTO, it would dramatically alter the US patent system in favor of patentees, give a big boost to patent trolls, and damage innovation in the US. The ruling also would make the US an outlier among major industrialized countries – turning it into the only such nation where patents could not be challenged in administrative proceedings.

Also on Thursday, Josh Landau (CCIA) explained why PTAB, which already eliminates many patent trolls, is desirable to companies (not law firms).

Here is part of his analysis:

The PTAB determined that the petition showed the POI patent was likely invalid. POI filed substitute claims, saying that if the PTAB made a final determination of invalidity, then the substitute claims should be allowed instead. POI did this, instead of asking to amend their existing claims, because if they amended their existing claims, they wouldn’t be able to obtain damages for actions taken before the amended claims issued—meaning they’d get nothing from their ongoing lawsuits against the realty defendants.

POI also tried to get the IPR dismissed because the Texas Association of Realtors had allegedly failed to identify all real-parties-in-interest. They claimed that the realtors themselves, and the National Association of Realtors, should have been named, even though they had no ability to control the IPR proceedings.

The PTAB disagreed with the patent owner (by this time, POI had given up, dismissed their lawsuit, and sold their patents to a patent holding trust) on all fronts. It concluded the Texas Association of Realtors had named all relevant parties. (Although, if the problematic Stronger Patents Act were to pass, that likely wouldn’t have been the case – the Texas Association of Realtors might have been required to list all realtors who pay dues to them. The PTAB also ruled that the existing claims were invalid. And the proposed substitute claims weren’t patentable either, both because they were obvious over the prior art, and because the original patent didn’t actually describe what the claims contained.

More of PTAB means better patent quality. Terms like “patent owner” (above) are not helpful because patents are not owned but are granted as a temporary monopoly. It’s not subjected to the same privileges or protections as actual property. In fact, Canada’s Supreme Court now grapples with a case in which it “has significantly curtailed the ability to challenge a patent monopoly on the basis of an unsubstantiated promise in the patent application that the claimed subject matter of the patent will provide a particular utility.”

The very fact that granted patents are not confirmed as legitimate is why many lawsuits are filed in crooked courts, notorious for their biased judges. Up until recently the lion’s share of patent lawsuits got filed in East Texas, the patent trolls’ docket. This, however, could soon be history. As even IAM cared to admit:

In his comments, [USPTO interim Director] Matal maintained that, with the courts still filling in some of the blanks from the Supreme Court’s ruling, venue would remain a hot topic. “I don’t think the issue has been put to bed,” he said. “I think the district court judges out there aren’t going to walk away from this easily – they’ll continue to try to interpret the venue statute that keeps a broad jurisdiction for them.”

Matal was speaking before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit judgment in In re: Cray, which was issued last Thursday, although he did reference it in his comments. In its decision, the CAFC ruled that the Eastern District of Texas had wrongly blocked a petition by supercomputer manufacturer Cray to have an infringement suit, brought against it by Raytheon, transferred out of the district.

In making its original ruling the East Texas court had proposed a four-factor test to help determine what constitutes a “regular and established place of business” — the part of the US statute which has become the focus for establishing venue since TC Heartland.

“Matal was speaking before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit judgment,” said the above (about the Cray case). He too has found out that patent trolls are on shaky ground (as per SCOTUS), East Texas has a dubious court with an abusive judge, and things ought to change. As another site has put it:

Federal Circuit guidance on patent venue provided when granting a writ of mandamus in In Re Cray made clear that typical work-from-home employee will not create a “regular and established place of business” but it’s possible some remote offices will create venue. Cray will also likely affect Delaware’s recent guidance on venue

Matal was also mentioned the other day by Patently-O, which said there’s an award coming. To quote: “Patents for Humanity recognizes inventions that address global development issues such as medicine, nutrition, sanitation, energy, and living standards. We invite innovators of all kinds to tell their stories of helping underserved communities through the power of technology. Individuals, corporations, nonprofits, small businesses, academic institutions, and government agencies are all welcome to apply.”

Interactions between PTAB and the Federal Circuit have long been explored by Patently-O, which tried to pressure PTAB from above.

A case that we previously mentioned here, Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., is now being recalled by Patently-O in an article about pre-AIA issues and another in which Dennis Crouch just nitpicks easy PTAB decisions where obviously bogus (trivial) patents get invalidated. To quote:

In its obviousness analysis, the Board found that Arakane taught all of the elements of ‘648 patent’s challenged claims and that it would have been obvious to combine them in the way claimed. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed – holding that the Board had made reasonable conclusions both on the facts and the law.

The case includes a couple of procedural findings — importantly the Court permitted (at least in this situation) the PTAB to reach factual and legal conclusions not directly addressed in the petition.

There’s this other new post (from the patent microcosm, as usual) about who should pay the price when patents are deemed invalid by PTAB. Given the source of the failure, usually examination, if it can be proven that the USPTO granted a bogus patent, it should be the USPTO or the bogus patent’s filer paying fees to PTAB, not the petitioner. But currently it doesn’t work this way:

Not so fast. If the case is moot because all of the claims have been extinguished, you may have foregone your ability to pursue discovery to support your claim for attorneys fees in federal court.

MD Security Solutions, LLC sued Protection 1, Inc. for alleged infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7,864,983 concerning a security alarm system. Protection 1 asserted the standard counterclaims seeking declarations of invalidity and noninfringement. A third party (RPX, Corp., a patent risk management company) filed a request for inter partes review seeking to cancel the claims of the ’983 Patent. Protection 1 filed its own IPR as well (which was essentially the same as RPX’s), and also joined in RPX’s IPR. Protection 1 agreed to be bound by whatever happened with RPX’s IPR. The parties in the federal case then jointly asked the Court to stay the case pending the PTAB proceedings.

What’s interesting here is that it’s RPX filing the petition, in this case against what seems like a troll (an “LLC”). RPX is often seen on the side of major patent trolls, so this is somewhat of a reversal.

Buzzwords Are Used to Patent Software in the US, Courts Continue to Reject These, and Alice is Secure

Posted in America, Patents at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s that buzzing?

Fly buzzing

Summary: Buzzwords such as “AI” continue to pave the way to more bogus patents (USPTO grant numbers soar to new record), but the legal system remains resistant to these and Alice — contrary to some misinformation — isn’t at risk from the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

THE focus here has, over the years, moved to Europe, but we still watch the USPTO closely, especially because of patent trolls and software patents (some have dubbed them “software patent trolls” to signify the correlation between the two phenomena).

As another reminder of how patents harm progress in technology (several domains affected and especially software), consider this short report from Phoronix. It is about a patent which is about to expire:

If you need an extra reason to celebrate this weekend, next week the notorious S3 Texture Compression (S3TC) patent is set to expire!

S3TC has been a thorn in the side of open-source graphics driver developers for years. It’s resulted in a nasty wreck that’s long been problematic for both drivers and users from a legal perspective.

Compression is software, obviously. When combined with physical graphics cards (not drivers) — some might falsely argue — it’s then magically “non-abstract” or “hardware”.

The truth of the matter is, the US continues to grant software patents. Not only “hardware” or “device” is the loophole; we previously mentioned “over the Internet”, “on a phone”, “in a car” etc. There’s also that old bunch of buzzwords like “cloud”, “AI”, and “IoT”. They keep coming up with all sorts of new terms that still allude to things which existed decades ago.

According to these latest figures which Patently-O has charted, the USPTO bubble continues to grow. A lot of awful patents are granted. Throwing them out? That’s left for PTAB (the board) and the courts to do.

Consider this new example from Patently-O. “You can read Claim 1 for yourself,” it says, “but my quick review lets me classify the patent as quite low quality; very difficult to infringe; and likely invalid under 101 (abstract idea).”

So the USPTO bubble continues its growth (“Record Year for PTO Grant Numbers” as Patently-O has just put it), even though innovation isn’t peaking or soaring, it’s just patent maximalism.

The main novelty nowadays seems to be marketing and aliasing/terminology. They find new ways to refer to things and we are going to present some examples of that.

Watchtroll, as of 4 days ago, wanted people to bypass the rules to get software patents and then dodge quality control by PTAB. They’re very blatantly open about it; even the headline: “A Revolutionary Approach to Obtaining Software Patents Without Appealing to the PTAB” (in other words, cheat a little).

Watchtroll also attacked Elon Musk on the same day, having done the same to Mark Cuban because he does not agree with Watchtroll’s ‘religion’.

Anyway, pressing on with some loophole examples, last week IP Watch wrote about patents on driving — a subject we covered here before. Lots of software patents are nowadays disguised (for supposed novelty) as “on a car”, pretending it’s all novel because “AI” or physical because “automobile” etc.

These same old buzzwords that are nowadays being used to sneak in patents on software (“AI”, “cloud” etc.) need to be understood by patent examiners. They’re pretty meaningless buzzwords. They don’t even allude to anything so new.

How about this nonsense ‘news’ item which was crossposted in at least three places last week [1, 2, 3]? Just look at it. It speaks of a patent on “Industrial Internet of things (IIoT)” — a concept or buzzword I never even heard before.

To quote: “We’re excited to receive recognition of our innovation and will continue to pursue our goal to create the most advanced Industrial IoT software available, as well as to protect its value with registered patents,” says Avner Ben-Bassat, President…”

Someone wrote to me the following message about it:

*sigh* I’m an automation engineer and hear IIoT all. the. time. And it’s just marketing BS for instrumentation networks that have evolved over the last 25 or so years to encapsulate comms in IP. It is not a new concept.

And the patent in the press release you linked to is BS too. Plant performance systems have been deployed for about 20 years as well. Rockwell probably has prior art and maybe even patents that are close to or already expired for example.

A few days ago, in the EFF’s “Stupid Patent of the Month” series, the EFF and friends berated the use of the term “AI”. They explained how the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) is misused in the pursuit of software patents, or at least that’s we see between the lines. To quote:

We have written many times about why the patent system is a bad fit for software. Too often, the Patent Office reviews applications without ever looking at real world software and hands out broad, vague, or obvious patents on software concepts. These patents fuel patent trolling and waste. As machine learning and artificial intelligence become more commonplace, it is worth considering how these flaws in the patent system might impact advances in AI.

Some have worried about very broad patents being issued in the AI space. For example, Google has a patent on a common machine learning technique called dropout. This means that Google could insist that no one else use this technique until 2032. Meanwhile, Microsoft has a patent application with some very broad claims on active machine learning (the Patent Office recently issued a non-final rejection, though the application remains pending and Microsoft will have the opportunity to argue why it should still be granted a patent). Patents on fundamental machine learning techniques have the potential to fragment development and hold up advances in AI.

As a subset of software development, AI patents are likely to raise many of the same problems as software patents generally. For example, we’ve noted that many software patents take the form: apply well-known technique X in domain Y. For example, our Stupid Patent of the Month from January 2015 applied the years-old practice of remotely updating software to sports video games (the patent was later found invalid). Other patents have computers do incredibly simple things like counting votes or counting calories. We can expect the Patent Office to hand out similar patents on using machine learning techniques in obvious and expected ways.

Why are such “stupid” patents being granted at all?

Why are such patents being glorified?

A week ago this news site praised a lady, saying that “Hoover was awarded one of the earliest software patents” as if such patents are a source of pride (Martin Goetz certainly loves his first-ever software patent). The general consensusview of software patents is very negative. It’s typically the patent maximalists who promote these, along with patent trolls.

The other day Bryan Lunduke wrote: “Perhaps the solution is in the complete abolishment of computer hardware and software patents” (in a mainstream publication).

In contrast to this, the patent ‘industry’ published self promotion in AOL, ending with a completely shameless ‘plug’:

As I said, it’s not that you can’t get a software patent, but it may not be the best solution. Your best bet is to go over your options with an intellectual property attorney.

LawTrades can connect you with a qualified IP attorney that can answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. Our marketplace of attorneys differs from traditional law firms because they don’t have the outrageous overhead and you will have direct access to your attorney.

Software patents are a waste of time and money in the US. That’s because the courts almost always discard them these days. But law firms don’t want to say this. It’s not good for their business. If software patents are no more, or at least not effective, then they might have to change jobs. Here is a press release from 5 days ago that says “Bednarek began his career in the early 1980s as patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, examining some of the first software patents granted by the agency.”

These patents, a few decades later, are not just expired. Patents like these are considered to be an impediment to free speech and are being invalidated almost every day. Is there any upcoming threat to Alice. Well, some want us to believe so, having published (just a few days ago) an article titled “SCOTUS to decide whether Alice-focused case is ripe for review”

There are claims that this case might lead to Alice being reconsidered/revisited (which we strongly doubt), but looking at the actual substance of the case, it’s that same old case which we said isn’t about software and is only being framed as software by those who intentionally twist the facts and attempt to undermine Alice that way. To quote:

The US Supreme Court could decide to take on a case that re-visits the landmark 2014 Alice v CLS Bank decision, which rocked the computer software patent industry.

Synopsys, an electronic design automation company, petitioned the court to “examine whether an otherwise revolutionary technological breakthrough is not an ‘inventive concept’” under the second step of Alice “merely because the court believed the breakthrough could theoretically be implemented without a computer”.

It stems from a dispute with rival Mentor Graphics, which Synopsys accused of infringing US patent numbers 5,530,841, 5,680,318, 5,748,488, and 6,836,420, relating to logic circuits.

Even if the Supreme Court was ever to deal with this case, it’s nothing like Alice. It’s a lie.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, this new article speaks of the decline of the doctrine of equivalents (covered here recently) two decades down the line:

Some recent Federal Circuit decisions as well as a petition to the Supreme Court suggest the doctrine of equivalents is not dead in the US, despite a declining number of decisions referencing the doctrine since Warner-Jenkinson in 1997

The number of US patent decisions referencing the doctrine of equivalents has been falling for two decades.

In the UK Supreme Court, in the meantime, patent scope on is the line, so 3 patent maximalists (Kingsley Egbuonu, Michael Loney and James Nurton) weigh in, also in relation to the doctrine of equivalents (partly in relation to the UK, but the EPC is mentioned as well):

The Supreme Court’s decision in Actavis v Eli Lilly introduced a doctrine of equivalents and arguably also established a doctrine of prosecution history estoppel in the UK. Over the following 19 pages we look at the law across Europe, and the impact the decision might have.

As usual, it’s behind a paywall, so only the patent microcosm will read this, rendering the rest of us unable to properly scrutinise it.

China Advertises Itself as a Friend of Patent Trolls, Google’s Patent Leadership Headless

Posted in Asia, Google, Patents at 8:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The gold rush has gone east

China's trolls

Summary: The Chinese are becoming a lot more plaintiffs-friendly while at the same time granting an incredible amount of low-quality patents, paving the way to the same chaos the United States is trying to move away from

THE WORLD is changing. The patent ‘industry’ in the US is starting to become jealous of China because the world’s new patent trolls hub is China. Changes at the USPTO have meanwhile helped suppress trolls in the United States and we tried hard to prevent trolls from coming to Europe (the UPC which the EPO lobbies for threatens to do just that).

“They’re becoming more friendly to trolls, to put it simply.”Looking at the EPO’s mouthpiece, IAM, the other day it said that the “Beijing IP Court has published a report on patent litigation statistics since its establishment in November 2014. The headline figure is an amazingly high winning rate for plaintiffs, which should send a positive message to both Chinese and foreign rights holders who wish to enforce patents in the court.”

They’re becoming more friendly to trolls, to put it simply. We have been covering many examples over the past couple of years.

Recall what HP does in China, as we covered the subject a week ago. Here they go again:

Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-sharing service that has attracted over $10 billion in funding from some of the country’s biggest tech firms, has made its second foray into the transactions market for US patents, assignment records show. The Beijing-based company completed a deal with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) in early September, just a few months after Uber bought a portfolio from the same source.

Got it? It does not specify what the deal was about, but either way, as we noted last week, HP’s patents are turning into weapons now. As for Uber, there’s an ongoing patent dispute with Google’s (or Alphabet’s) Waymo. According to Joe Mullin, “Judge Alsup’s advice to press covering Waymo v. Uber: pay attention to which side knocks all the engineers & technical people off the jury.”

This new post from Richard Lloyd, a proponent of trolls and software patents, Google’s patent head has not yet been replaced. To quote:

More than a month on from this blog breaking the story that Google patent chief Allen Lo was departing for Facebook, and it’s still unclear who is set to replace him. Over recent weeks, however, speculation in Silicon Valley has mounted around two possible internal candidates: Jeremiah Chan, who is legal director, global patents at the company, and head of patent transactions, John LaBarre.

Chan leads the portfolio management team at Google where he’s responsible for the strategic development of its patent portfolio, operations and data science. Prior to that he was head of operations and analytics, a part of the patent group that had Lo’s strong support. At a time when the use of big data techniques have become more prevalent in the space, Chan has become something of a pioneer at a company that unsurprisingly is pushing the envelope on bringing new approaches to patent analysis and portfolio management.

Chan joined Google in May 2012 from JDS Uniphase Corporation, a manufacturer of fiber optic networking equipment, where he oversaw the IP function. Prior to that he was an attorney at Fish & Neave in New York and the Valley.

In spite of his name, Chan appears to have grown up in the US and he used to work in the marketing sector.

Battistelli’s Club Med at the EPO – Part V: Portugal’s “Golden Visa” Scheme for Angolan Nationals

Posted in Africa, Europe, Patents at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money

Summary: Some new revelations about Portugal’s “Golden Visa” scheme — a subject which has been circulating in the news in recent weeks

TODAY we continue the series about the EPO, Portugal, and Angola. In part 1 we highlighted an upcoming EPO deal, in part 2 we explained how that relates to French/Portuguese EPO leadership, and in parts 3 and 4 we wrote about corruption in Angola and possibly its patent office, respectively. We remind readers that the father of the likely next EPO President was born in Angola.

Today, in part 5, we deal with something fresh from the news.


Here are some links to recent articles about Portugal’s “Golden Visa” scheme which a Portuguese MEP has described as “another very dangerous avenue to import additional corruption and criminality into the EU”.

The recent revelations expose the way in which the scheme is being used by allegedly corrupt individuals from countries with close links to Portugal including Brazil and Angola.

This article from 12 days ago says: “Euro MP Ana Gomes has been a vociferous opponent of the scheme – championed by former deputy prime minister Paulo Portas – since its inception.

“She told the BBC back in 2014 that it potentially opened the doors to “all sorts of corrupt even criminal organisations… and it might be another very dangerous avenue to import additional corruption and criminality into the EU”.”

Another article from around the same time is calling it “Portugal’s golden visas” (in the headline). Angola is mentioned as follows: “Others named in the document are relatives of the Angolan vice-president, Manuel Vicente, who until 2012 was the chief executive of the country’s state energy firm, Sonangol. Vicente, once tipped to be the next Angolan president, this year faced allegations that he tried to bribe a Portuguese magistrate in order to suppress an investigation into corruption at Sonangol.”

We wrote a lot about Sonangol in previous parts.

“Leaked list of Golden Visa applicants released” is another detailed article about this. Here are some portions from it:

The documents focus on Latin American and Angolan nationals who have received a Golden Visa after buying a property in Portugal for €500,000 or more in exchange for permanent residency.

[...]

As for Angolan applicants, Portugal long has been used as a convenient laundry for stolen money with Angolan vice-president, Manuel Vicente, and family members receiving Golden Visas.

Vincente, who until 2012 was the chief executive of the country’s oil company, Sonangol, faces jail time after bribing a Portuguese magistrate in order to drop an investigation into his property purchases.

[...]

Other recipients of Golden Visas named in the leaked documents include:

[...]

João Manuel Inglês is an Angolan colonel and aide to Gen Manuel Helder Vieira Dias, better known as Kopelipa, head of the Angolan military and one of the most powerful figures in Angola. Inglês, who was accused in a US class action lawsuit of being a figurehead for Kopelipa and two other Angolan ruling figures, applied for a Portuguese golden visa in 2013. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Pedro Sebastião Teta, the Angolan secretary of state for IT, applied for a golden visa in 2013. The following year he was reported to own 30% of a company called Impulso Angola, which was awarded a contract by the government to map the country’s mineral resources. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Sebastião Gaspar Martins, the executive director of Sonangol’s Brazilian arm, sought a Portuguese golden visa in 2014. He has been cited as a possible successor to Vicente as vice-president. Martins declined to comment on the golden visa.

Some of these names may become more relevant to us in the future.

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