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

12.06.17

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is Calling for Greater Transparency at USPTO and US Patent Courts

Posted in America, Courtroom, EFF, Patents at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As independence is not enough when there’s no visibility

Judicial independence
Reference: Judicial accountability and independence (UK)

Summary: Digital rights groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation still insist that it is difficult to tackle patents, challenges (e.g. at PTAB) and legal actions given the current tools and publicly available data

THE prevalence of information (Open Access and open data) in conjunction with transparency is essential for justice. It needs to be seen to be assured or verified by independent outsiders. The USPTO wouldn’t rank too badly for open data, but there’s plenty of room for improvement still.

“A lot of people now rely on Google for access to such information (problematic as it demonstrates an element akin to privatisation).”Apple fan sites which keep abreast of Apple’s latest granted patents certainly manage to find out what was approved (this one is from yesterday), but when one only sees the finished ‘product’ it leaves limited room for challenge/opposition. The USPTO has an extensive database and easy-to-search data about granted patents, but little else. A lot of people now rely on Google for access to such information (problematic as it demonstrates an element akin to privatisation).

“As we’ve said since last year, the Board enjoys a 80% approval/reaffirmation rate from the Federal Circuit, so there’s no rift.”What about data other than granted patents? Well, some sites have come into existence to help track dockets and thus patent cases, soon to be used by the EFF, CCIA and so on. The Federal Circuit (CAFC) is hard to observe except when decisions are published (worse than the Supreme Court, SCOTUS, in that regard) and with PTAB dodged using tribal immunity (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe/Allergan) things get extremely dodgy. There are satellite/proxy entities all around the world, designed purely to complicate and therefore whitewash what many have dubbed a “scam” (hard to trace reassignments back to the source, much like money laundering).

Yesterday, this long article by Vera Ranieri (EFF) spoke about how secrecy (or lack of access to information) impacts cases in the Eastern District of Texas and beyond. To quote:

In a promising step toward transparency, the Eastern District of Texas (the court that sees many of the nation’s patent cases) recently announced an amendment to its Local Rules that would require parties to file redacted versions of documents that contain confidential information. Previously, parties would file whole briefs under seal, without any public version being provided, even if only one word or line in the brief was claimed to be confidential. One of the few ways the public could protest against this improper sealing was to attempt to intervene in cases so as to require the parties and the courts to justify the sealing. But members of the public can’t possibly intervene to unseal in every case. This rule change is a step toward greater transparency.

EFF has, in recent years, worked to push back against oversealing, especially in patent cases where improper sealing is practically routine. We successfully intervened in several cases in order to provide greater transparency to the public.

[...]

EFF has also been pushing for greater transparency in the high profile patent litigation between Allergan (a branded pharmaceutical company) and generic companies who wish to make a lower cost version of the drug Restasis. The litigation took on new interest when Allergan announced it had “sold” its patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in an attempt to shield the patents from scrutiny at the Patent Office.

[...]

In both the district court case and at the Patent Office, it is clear that parties are often sealing much more information than the law allows. It is only when challenged do they agree to reveal what should have been public in the first place. While we’re glad there has been greater transparency in the cases mentioned above, it should not take EFF (or anyone else’s) intervention before the courts and parties make public what should have been public all along.

Contrariwise, looking at the patent maximalists at Patently-O, they are taking advantage of access to PTAB/Federal Circuit proceedings to cherry-pick cases and often present the PTAB as rife with disputes, controversy, even scandals. Yesterday the blog wrote about three “PTAB decisions [which] seem inconsistent, but the differences can be explained by the fact that each IPR focused on different prior art references (or combinations thereof). Note here that the patentee loses (claims are cancelled) if a claim is found invalid in any one of multiple IPR proceedings. On appeal, the Federal Circuit consolidated the cases and has ruled against the patentee — affirming the Iron Dome and Dish cancellations, but reversing the Board’s nonobviousness decision from Hulu.”

As we’ve said since last year, the Board enjoys a 80% approval/reaffirmation rate from the Federal Circuit, so there’s no rift. Compare that to the sheer disagreement between the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court, which as far as patents go is extraordinary. The Supreme Court overturned pretty much every single decision from the Federal Circuit.

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 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  2. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  3. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  4. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  5. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  6. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  7. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  8. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  9. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  10. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  11. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  12. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  13. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  14. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day



  15. To Team UPC the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Has Become a Joke and the European Patent Office (EPO) Never Mentions It Anymore

    The EPO's frantic rally to the very bottom of patent quality may be celebrated by obedient media and patent law firms; to people who actually produce innovative things, however, this should be a worrisome trend and thankfully courts are getting in the way of this nefarious agenda; one of these courts is the FCC in Germany



  16. Links 16/3/2019: Knoppix Release and SUSE Independence

    Links for the day



  17. Stopping António Campinos and His Software Patents Agenda (Not Legal in Europe) Would Require Independent Courts

    Software patents continue to be granted (new tricks, loopholes and buzzwords) and judges who can put an end to that are being actively assaulted by those who aren't supposed to have any authority whatsoever over them (for decisions to be impartially delivered)



  18. The Linux Foundation Needs to Speak Out Against Microsoft's Ongoing (Continued) Patent Shakedown of OEMs That Ship Linux

    Zemlin actively thanks Microsoft while taking Microsoft money; he meanwhile ignores how Microsoft viciously attacks Linux using patents, revealing the degree to which his foundation, the “Linux Foundation” (not about Linux anymore, better described as Zemlin’s PAC), has been compromised



  19. Links 15/3/2019: Linux 5.0.2, Sublime Text 3.2

    Links for the day



  20. The EPO and the USPTO Are Granting Fake Patents on Software, Knowing That Courts Would Reject These

    Office management encourages applicants to send over patent applications that are laughable while depriving examiners the freedom and the time they need to reject these; it means that loads of bogus patents are being granted, enshrined as weapons that trolls can use to extort small companies outside the courtroom



  21. CommunityBridge is a Cynical Microsoft-Funded Effort to Show Zemlin Works for 'Community', Not Microsoft

    After disbanding community participation in the Board (but there are Microsoft staff on the Board now) the "Linux Foundation" (or Zemlin PAC) continues to take Microsoft money and polishes or launders that as "community"



  22. Links 14/3/2019: GNOME 3.32 and Mesa 19.0.0 Released

    Links for the day



  23. EPO 'Results' Are, As Usual, Not Measured Correctly

    The supranational monopoly, a monopoly-granting authority, is being used by António Campinos to grant an insane amount of monopolies whose merit is dubious and whose impact on Europe will be a net negative



  24. Good News Everyone! UPC Ready to Go... in 2015!

    Benoît Battistelli is no longer in Office and his fantasy (patent lawyers' fantasy) is as elusive as ever; Team UPC is trying to associate opposition to UPC with the far right (AfD) once again



  25. Links 13/3/2019: Plasma 5.15.3,Chrome 73 and Many LF Press Releases

    Links for the day



  26. In the Age of Trumpism EFF Needs to Repeatedly Remind Director Iancu That He is Not a Judge and He Cannot Ignore the Courts

    The nonchalance and carelessness seen in Iancu's decision to just cherry-pick decisions/outcomes (basically ignoring caselaw) concerns technologists, who rightly view him as a 'mole' of the litigation 'industry' (which he came from)



  27. Links 12/3/2019: Sway 1.0 Released, Debian Feuds Carry On

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft is Complaining About Android and Chrome OS (GNU/Linux) Vendor Not Paying for Microsoft Patents (Updated)

    Microsoft, which nowadays does the patent shakedown against GNU/Linux by proxy, is still moaning about companies that don’t pay ‘protection’ money (grounds for antitrust action or racketeering investigation)



  29. Watchtroll Has Redefined "Trolls" to Mean Those Who Oppose Software Patents (and Oppose Trolls), Not Those Who Leverage These for Blackmail Alone

    The controversial change to 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidance is being opposed by the public (US citizens who oppose American software patents), so patent maximalists like Janal Kalis (“PatentBuddy”) and extremists like Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) want us to believe that the public is just “EFF” and cannot think for itself



  30. EPO's Latest 'Results' Show That António Campinos Has Already Given Up on Patent Quality and is Just Another Battistelli

    The patent-granting machine that the EPO has become reports granting growth of unrealistic scale (unless no proper examination is actually carried out)


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