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

11.21.17

PTAB Inter Partes Reviews (“IPRs”) Are Essential in an Age When One Can Get Sued for Merely Mocking a Patent

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reexaminations (akin to but not identical to IPRs) can help weed out “stupid patents” like the one below

US patent 6368227 B1
USPTO patent ‘quality’ (US 6368227 B1)

Summary: The battle over the right to criticise particular patents has gotten very real and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fought it until the end; this is why we need granted patents to be criticised upon petitions too (and often invalidated as a result)

THE USPTO, prior to some recent reforms, had been granting a lot of dubious patents on software — patents which were later invalidated by PTAB, the appeal board which is half a decade old (US patents typically last two decades).

“GEMSA wrote to EFF accusing us of “false and malicious slander.” It subsequently filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction from a South Australia court purporting to require EFF to censor itself.”
      –EFF
We are very gratified to see PTAB’s growth and the crackdown on software patents. Earlier today I saw this press release about a new software patent on brain segmentation (my field of research). Do examiners seriously think that computer vision is anything but software and reducible to mathematics? Did words like “brain” and fancy jargon like “dynamic atlas” make them think that this is not an algorithm? This is where PTAB comes handy and such “stupid patents” (as the EFF calls them) get invalidated as though they were never granted.

Yesterday we saw this press release about Axon potentially losing its patent lawsuit (patent aggression against a practising rival [1, 2) after intervention by PTAB. To quote: “The U.S. Patent Office previously had rejected Axon’s attempts to invalidate Digital’s Patent No. 9,253,452 (the “’452 Patent”) through two separate petitions for inter partes review (“IPR”). This was Axon’s final attempt to invalidate the ‘452 Patent before the Patent Office. Despite its loss before the Patent Office, Axon desperately sought to convince the Court to maintain the stay of the litigation to avoid answering to Digital and a jury for its willful infringement of Digital’s ‘452 Patent. On Friday, November 17, 2017, the Court rejected Axon’s request and lifted the stay of the litigation. In ruling on the motion regarding the stay, the Court found that the evidence submitted by Digital “weigh heavily against continuing the stay of the ‘452 patent” and that “the Court denies Defendant’s [Axon’s] request to continue the stay of this case with respect to the ‘452 patent.” The Court has set a hearing for December 14, 2017, to discuss a schedule for moving the case forward to trial.”

“We declined and filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a declaration that EFF’s post is protected speech.”
      –EFF
This is not about software, but still, it’s interesting to see if PTAB can defuse and disarm the aggressor. It’s no secret that many of the millions of US patents (a total which exceeds 10 million) are of questionable quality, especially those that have not yet expired (because the patent bar was lowered).

PTAB is very scary to patent trolls and other aggressors, whose apologist Dennis Crouch tries hard to help. This week, as usual, he travels almost 150 years back in time to scrape something which looks like an argument against PTAB. As a reminder, Crouch spent a great deal of time trying to discredit and/or slow down PTAB (his PTAB-bashing posts were almost a daily occurrence some months back) ahead of a Supreme Court’s decision on it. Shortly before this, Crouch wrote about these ridiculous design patents that we mentioned a month ago and said:

I previously wrote about Columbia Sportswear design patent verdict and damages award against Serius. The patent – D657,093 – covers a wavy-pattern as part of a heat reflective material. Post trial, the court has now issued an emergency Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) enjoining Serious from initiating a reexamination of the design patent — finding that the reexamination could improperly “avoid the jury’s verdict in this case.”

Just look at that design. It’s outrageous that a patent would be granted on that and any sane reexamination would immediately invalidate the patent.

Zach Snyder patent

“Just look at that design. It’s outrageous that a patent would be granted on that and any sane reexamination would immediately invalidate the patent.”The worrying thing is, if one is big and wealthy enough (like the EFF) and decides to criticise ridiculous patents, there’s a risk of getting sued. It happened several times to the EFF and, as we’ve covered before, the EFF eventually won the case (albeit at a great expense, namely legal fees). To quote TechDirt, which is itself subjected to a SLAPP lawsuit: “GEMSA, perhaps not surprisingly, declined to show up in the California court, leading EFF to move for default. A magistrate judge initially recommended against this, arguing that the court did not have personal jurisdiction over GEMSA. EFF asked the court to try again, and in a extraordinarily detailed and careful ruling, Judge Jon Tigar rejects the magistrate’s recommendation and gives EFF the default judgment it sought. We’ve complained in the past that often the problem with default judgments is that courts are only too willing to just grant them if one party declines to show up for the case. This is not one of those situations. Tigar goes out of his way to explore pretty much every possible argument that GEMSA might have for why the court shouldn’t have jurisdiction, for why the SPEECH Act should not apply and for why EFF’s post may have been defamatory. And one by one by one, he points out why GEMSA is wrong and EFF is right. I won’t repeat all the reasoning here, in part because there are so many different elements, though it’s a fun and quick read in the filing.”

The EFF has just written about it as well: “A federal judge has ruled that EFF need not obey an Australian injunction ordering EFF to take down a “Stupid Patent of the Month” blog post and never speak of the patent owner’s intellectual property again.

“It should be OK to criticise patents that should not have been granted, but in a country as litigious as this (the US is notorious for litigiousness) the above legal action can cause “chilling effect”; it would lead organisations such as the EFF to fear of “slander” (defamation/libel) lawsuit when stating the simple truth.”“It all started when Global Equity Management (SA) Pty Ltd (GEMSA)’s patent was featured as the June 2016 entry in our Stupid Patent of the Month blog series. GEMSA wrote to EFF accusing us of “false and malicious slander.” It subsequently filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction from a South Australia court purporting to require EFF to censor itself. We declined and filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a declaration that EFF’s post is protected speech.”

It should be OK to criticise patents that should not have been granted, but in a country as litigious as this (the US is notorious for litigiousness) the above legal action can cause “chilling effect”; it would lead organisations such as the EFF to fear of “slander” (defamation/libel) lawsuit when stating the simple truth.

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. Judge Corcoran Got His User ID/Desk Back (as ILO Asked), But Cannot Perform Actual Work

    The latest update regarding Patrick Corcoran, whose 3-year ordeal is far from over in spite of ILO's unambiguous rulings in his favour



  2. The End of Software Patents and PTAB's Role in Enforcing That End

    Software patents are fast becoming a dying breed and the appeal board (PTAB) of the USPTO accelerates this trend, irrespective of patent immunity attempts



  3. No, China Isn't Most Innovative, It's Just Granting a Lot of Low-Quality Patents

    Patent extremists are trying to make China look like a role model or a success story because China grants far too many patents, spurring an explosion in litigation



  4. Battistelli-Campinos Transition Will Be a Smooth One as the Administrative Council Remains the Same and the Boards Still Besieged

    A rather pessimistic (albeit likely realistic) expectation from tomorrow's meeting of the Administrative Council, which continues to show that no lessons were learned and no strategy will be altered to avoid doom (low-quality patents and stocks running out)



  5. Links 12/12/2017: New BlackArch ISO and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  6. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  7. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  8. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  9. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  10. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  11. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most



  12. The European Patent Organisation Refrains (For Nearly a Week) From Speaking About Battistelli's Abuses as Judged by ILO Tribunal

    The EPO's silence on the matter of Patrick Corcoran is deafening; to make matters worse, the EPO continues to pollute media and academia with money of stakeholders, with the sole intention of lobbying and misleading news coverage (clearly a disservice to these stakeholders)



  13. Carl Josefsson Lets Judge Patrick Corcoran Come Back to Work at the EPO

    After initial reluctance to obey/respect the rulings from the ILO (security staff declining access) there is official permission for Patrick Corcoran to enter and resume work (following 3 years of injustice against him)



  14. Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin



  15. Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

    Links for the day



  16. Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO 'House Ban' is Finally Lifted

    Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it's now clear when and how long for



  17. Raw: Battistelli's Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

    An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal



  18. Raw: Conflicts of Interest of EPO Vice-President

    An old EPO concern regarding structural collisions and mixed loyalties



  19. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Are Increasingly Active and Microsoft is Selling 'Protection' (Azure Subscriptions)

    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  20. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  21. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  22. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  23. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  24. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)



  25. Next Director of the USPTO Parrots Talking Points of Patent Extremists and Their Lobbyists

    The next USPTO boss (still subject to official confirmation) may be little more than a power grab by the litigation and patenting 'industry', which prioritises not science and technology but its own bottom line



  26. Raw: Three Years for 'Justice' (to be Disregarded by Benoît Battistelli) at ILO and Over a Decade at the EPO

    The delays associated with ‘justice’ at the EPO (usually neither justice nor compliance with rulings) have become so extraordinary that immunity should long ago have been stripped off and Battistelli et al been held accountable



  27. Raw: Scuttling of the General Advisory Committee and Battistelli Stacking the Deck to Have 'Yes Men' as Representatives

    How the EPO broke down resistance to Battistelli’s oppressive policies not only at the Council, disciplinary committees and auditory divisions but also staff representation (symptomatic of Battistelli’s notion of justice)



  28. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Will Endure Supreme Court Test and Overcome the Tribal Immunity “Scam”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), based on the latest news, is still winning the argument and justifying its existence/importance



  29. Phones/Mobility (Trillion-Dollar Market) May Have Become Infested and Encumbered by Aggressive, Dying Companies

    The tough reality that new entrants/entrepreneurs are facing now that a few dying giants look to "monetise" their patents rather than create anything



  30. Links 9/12/2017: Mesa 17.3, Wine 3.0 RC1, New Debian Builds

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts