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

12.03.17

Patents Roundup: Federal Circuit, Domino’s Pizza, Roku, and W3C Patent Policy

Posted in America, Patents at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hello

Summary: A potpourri of coverage regarding patents, assembled over the past week in an effort to highlight trends and developments

THE USPTO has reluctantly become a battleground between people who care about science and people who just care about litigation. Don’t fall for the recent media scam that frames it as a rift between “tech” and “pharma”. It’s nothing like that at all.

Recently, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed that patents are not just a corporate welfare system. As Patently-O put it last week:

Normally, patent infringement liability stems from an infringer using all-elements of a claimed invention. However, a quirky provision found in 35 U.S.C. 271(f)(1) creates liability for exporting some components of a patented invention. Particularly, the statute requires export/supply of “a substantial portion of the components.” In its 2017 Life Tech decision, the Supreme Court interpreted this provision — holding that: export of a single component of a multicomponent invention could not meet the “substantial portion” threshold requirement. Namely, one component cannot be a “substantial portion of the components.”

On remand, the Federal Circuit has issued a new opinion in the case — this time affirming the district court judgment that patentee (Promega) failed to prove infringement under 271(f)(1) as required by the Supreme Court decision.

One problem with this analysis though – according to Promega is that – for some of the infringing kits, “it was undisputed at trial that LifeTech supplied more than one component. . . Taq polymerase and primer pairs.” In a footnote the Federal Circuit dismissed this argument – finding that Promega had not proven particular damages regarding these 2-component exports and thus had no right to collect any damages for the infringement.

Words like “damages” are misleading. They’re a misnomer. It’s like calling patents “assets”, “property” and so on. Words like “owned” or “stolen” are also frequently misused. How about “Intellectual Property” or “Intellectual Property Rights” (IPR)? Complete nonsense. Proprietary software for patent maximalists (only available to ‘customers’ of Apple and Microsoft) has just been described as “Much-Needed Tools for Inventors to Protect Intellectual Property” and this page is so filled/saturated with buzzwords and misnomers that it’s ludicrous. Yet this is the type of stuff that has shown up in the news this past week…

“Words like “damages” are misleading. They’re a misnomer. It’s like calling patents “assets”, “property” and so on. Words like “owned” or “stolen” are also frequently misused.”What else did we see? Watch this patent trial update from CBS and pay attention to what’s at stake. We did not read the individual patents, but it certainly sounds to like software patents which should be null and void. To quote a portion:

The Federal Court of Australia has postponed a patent infringement trial between Domino’s Pizza Enterprises and Precision Tracking, with the presiding judge agreeing that in the interest of fairness, additional time should be provided to Domino’s to prepare for the trial.

Precision, a small Chippendale, Sydney-based technology company claiming to be the creator of the Domino’s GPS driver tracking system, initiated legal proceedings for alleged infringement of innovation patents filed in October 2014 and August 2015.

Precision, based on its Web site, is definitely not a patent troll. There is an actual product, but Australia does not permit patents on software and this might become an issue/liability to Precision. We are not against patents as long as they are not covering abstract ideas (like algorithms/mathematics). There are plenty of things we do not bother scrutinising.

“SecureLogix Corp.,” according to this, “filed a patent for a biometric authentication system for mobile and real-time communication.” This might be a software patent, but closer scrutiny is needed (of the patent and respective product). There are new examples from Apple, from MyDx, from Flex Logix [1, 2] and from Medicrea which certainly seem strictly connected to physical and inseparable devices. So these will likely be fine. Compare these to this press release [1, 2, 3] which is itself admitting “processing technology and software patents” (in a country where these are not allowed). “Element Data, Inc., a decision support software platform that harnesses artificial intelligence and machine learning has acquired the assets and six patents of Auguri Corporation,” it says. How many of these patents are pure software and thus invalid (or to be unvalidated if tested in court)? These patents are software patents and thus worthless.

In other news, Nexenta issued a press release [1, 2] in which it boasted 50 patents and PhishMe [1, 2] said that litigation recently resulted in a settlement. The case in the “District of Delaware will be dismissed, and the proceedings pending at the United States Patent and Trademark Office will be terminated,” it said. They got a licence agreement.

Speaking of licence agreements, Roku and TiVo look as though both — not just TiVo — will resort to patent aggression. Based on this post from last week:

Last month, Roku Inc. debuted on the NASDAQ, with its shares skyrocketing 67% from its IPO price at $14 per share. Over the last few weeks, Roku’s stock has continued its ascent, most recently closing at just shy of $40 per share. The company operates a television streaming platform, and allows users to personalize content, and also monetizes its service through ad-supported channels. With the streaming video space becoming increasingly competitive from dominant players such as as Netflix, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon’s Prime Video and its Fire TV Stick, Roku faces stiff competition in terms of user acquisition. Envision IP analyzed Roku’s US patent portfolio to understand the extent of its intellectual property focus, as well as how the company is innovating its platform to differentiate itself from the competition.

[...]

That being said, Roku recently inked a multi-year patent agreement with TiVo, where Roku obtained a license to thousands of Rovi and TiVo patents. While the specific terms of the deal have not been disclosed, in the event that Roku has been granted defensive assertion rights, it may not need to rely heavily on third-party patent acquisitions to bolster its defensive patent portfolio. To that point, we did not identify any instances where Roku has asserted any of its patents, either offensively or defensively (via a counter-suit in response to being sued by a third-party), as of the date of this research.

As a reminder, Rovi is connected to Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll.

Sadly, a lot of decent things are becoming patents-saddled. The other day the W3C released this statement:

In accordance with the W3C Patent Policy, W3C has launched a Web Payments Working Group Patent Advisory Group (PAG) in response to disclosures related to specifications of the Web Payments Working Group; see the PAG charter. W3C launches a PAG to resolve issues in the event a patent has been disclosed that may be essential, but is not available under the W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements. Public comments regarding these disclosures may be sent to public-wpwg-pag@w3.org (public archive). Learn more about Patent Advisory Groups.

We have been writing about the W3C Patent Policy for nearly a decade. They have not yet screwed up on patents like they did on DRM and other controversial matters. We hope it remains this way because any patents pertaining to the Web would definitely be software patents.

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. Links 18/9/2018: Qt 5.12 Alpha , MAAS 2.5.0 Beta, PostgreSQL CoC

    Links for the day



  2. Today's European Patent Office (EPO) Works for Large, Foreign Pharmaceutical Companies in Pursuit of Patents on Nature, Life, and Essential/Basic Drugs

    The never-ending insanity which is patents on DNA/genome/genetics and all sorts of basic things that are put together like a recipe in a restaurant; patents are no longer covering actual machinery that accomplishes unique tasks in complicated ways, typically assembled from scratch by humans; some supposed 'inventions' are merely born into existence by the natural splitting of organisms or conception (e.g. pregnancy)



  3. The EPO Has Quit Pretending That It Cares About Patent Quality, All It Cares About is Quantity of Lawsuits

    A new interview with Roberta Romano-Götsch, as well as the EPO's promotion of software patents alongside CIPA (Team UPC), is an indication that the EPO has ceased caring about quality and hardly even pretends to care anymore



  4. Qualcomm's Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

    Qualcomm's multi-continental patent battles are an effort to 'shock and awe' everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from 'Qualcomm territories'



  5. Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

    Links for the day



  6. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

    PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents



  7. Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

    A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there's little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot



  8. “Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

    Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the "blockchain" hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent 'protection' (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)



  9. Qualcomm's Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

    Qualcomm's dependence on patent taxes (so-called 'royalties' associated with physical devices which it doesn't even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too "thick"



  10. Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around



  11. IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

    The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn't being challenged in echo chamber 'events', set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation 'industry'



  12. Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)



  13. Links 16/9/2018: Windows Plays 'Nice' Again, Elisa Music Player 0.3 Beta and Latte Dock 0.8.1

    Links for the day



  14. Slamming Courts and Judges Won't Help the Patent Maximalists; It Can Only Make Things Worse

    Acorda Therapeutics sees its stock price dropping 25% after finding out that its patent portfolio isn't solid, as affirmed by the Federal Circuitn(CAFC); the only way out of this mess is a pursuit of a vastly improved patent quality, thorough patent examination which then offers legal certainty



  15. Patent Trolls Are Still Active and Microsoft is Closely Connected to Many of Them

    A roundup of patent trolls' actions in the United States; Microsoft is connected to a notably high number of these



  16. Advancements in Automobile Technology Won't be Possible With Patent Maximalism

    Advancements in the development of vehicles are being discouraged by a thicket of patents as dumb (and likely invalid) as claims on algorithms and mere shapes



  17. Battistelli “Has Deeply Hurt the Whole Patent Profession, Examiners as Well as Agents” and Also the Image of France

    A French perspective regarding Battistelli's reign at the EPO, which has not really ended but manifests itself or 'metastasises' through colleagues of Battistelli (whom he chose) and another French President (whom he also chose)



  18. António Campinos Needs to Listen to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) et al to Salvage What's Left of Public Consent for the EPO

    Groups including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Médecins du Monde (MdM) have attempted to explain to the EPO, with notoriously French-dominated leadership, that it’s a mistake to work for Gilead at the expense of the public; but António Campinos is just another patent maximalist



  19. The Max Planck Institute's Determination on UPC's (Unitary Patent) Demise is Only “Controversial” in the Eyes of Rabid Members of Team UPC

    Bristows keeps lying like Battistelli; that it calls a new paper "controversial" without providing any evidence of a controversy says a lot about Bristows LLP, both as a firm and the individuals who make up the firm (they would not be honest with their clients, either)



  20. Links 15/9/2018: Wine 3.16, Overwatch's GNU/Linux (Wine) 'Ban', New Fedora 28 Build, and Fedora 29 Beta Delay

    Links for the day



  21. Max Planck Institute Pours More Water on the Dying Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Max Planck Institute gives another sobering reality check for Team UPC to chew on; there's still no sign of any progress whatsoever for the UPC because even Team UPC appears to have given up and moved on



  22. EPO Seals Many Death Sentences With Acceptance of EP 2604620

    Very disappointing news as EP 2604620 withstands scrutiny, assuring that a lot of poor people will not receive much-needed, life-saving treatments



  23. Links 13/9/2018: Compiz Comeback, 'Life is Strange: Before the Storm'

    Links for the day



  24. Now We Have Patents on Rooms. Yes, Rooms!

    The shallow level of what nowadays constitutes "innovation" and merits getting a patent for a couple of decades



  25. EPO Granted a Controversial European Patent (Under Battistelli) Which May Literally Kill a Lot of People

    The EPO (together with CIPA) keeps promoting software patents; patents that are being granted by the EPO literally put lives at risk and have probably already cost a lot of lives



  26. Links 13/9/2018: Parrot 4.2.2, Sailfish OS Nurmonjoki, Eelo Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Patents on Life at the EPO Are a Symptom of Declining Patent Quality

    When even life and natural phenomena are deemed worthy of a private monopoly it seems clear that the sole goal has become patenting rather than advancement of science and technology; media that's controlled by the patent 'industry', however, fails to acknowledge this and plays along with privateers of nature



  28. Defending the World's Most Notorious Patent Trolls in an Effort to Smear the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an Utterly Poor Strategy

    The 'case' for patent maximalism is very weak; those who spent years if not decades promoting patent maximalism have resorted to attacks on judges, to defense of trolls like Intellectual Ventures, defense of patent scams, and ridiculous attempts to call victims of patent trolls "trolls"



  29. The Belated Demise of Propaganda Sites of the Litigation 'Industry'

    Sites that promote the interests of Big Litigation (patent trolls, patent law firms etc.) are ebbing away; in the process they still mothball the facts and push propaganda instead



  30. Links 11/9/2018: OpenSSL 1.1.1, Alpine Linux 3.8.1, Copyright Fight in EU

    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