10.06.17

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China May be the World’s Last ‘Safe Haven’ of Software Patents

Posted in Asia, Patents at 3:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Eastern District of Texas has gone East

China's trolls

Summary: China’s tolerance of software patents is now the exception rather than the norm and the net effect is patent trolls flocking to China, just like they did in the Eastern District of Texas

THREE days ago we mentioned Quiptel and its bad strategy. To quote this new article: “Quiptel’s technology and software patents will aim to drive the company’s primary business focus” (even though software patents are toothless where it is).

We try hard to think of anywhere in the world where software patents still have legitimacy. Australia recently moved away from these, Japan is getting stricter, and the US has changed a lot since Alice. Last night Forbes published “Why It’s So Hard To Patent Computer Software” (it’s hard to get these patents and it’s even harder to enforce software patents in a court of law right now).

The new reality is, software patents have become a thing of the past (unless one goes to China or merely threatens with them, as trolls do). Nations seem to be coming to grips with the fact that software developers don’t want such patents; it’s a bunch of law firms that pursue such patents.

Now that china is moving towards software patents (while the rest of the world is abolishing software patents) the CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office publishes this new article which contains the following section about software.

In April 2017 the revised Guidelines for Patent Examination came into effect and the means for drafting software-related or computer-implemented claims have since become relaxed. According to the revised guidelines, computer-readable media carrying program instructions – which were previously excluded from patent protection – have become patent eligible. In addition, claims seeking to protect an apparatus comprising a memory in which computer-executable instructions are stored and a processor configured to perform actions on execution of the instructions are now acceptable.

We are very gratified to say that our focus may need to shift to China, in order for Chinese authorities to understand just how misguided and unproductive the policy would turn out to be. Already, many patent trolls and patent assertion activities move to China (which is increasingly favourable to the plaintiffs). This may be good for a bunch of law firms, but it’s destructive to China’s productive economy and raises uncertainty for companies operating (or producing) in China. We presume the change in policy was the result of heavy lobbying by the legal ‘industry’ in China.

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