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12.19.17

PTAB Bashing in the US and the Attack on the Boards of Appeal in Europe All About Lowering Patent Quality

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How low can the bar go?

Manhattan

Summary: The aspiration to lower patent quality in order to saturate the space with patents and lawsuits is what controls exist for; but those who profit from lots of patents and lawsuits want these controls obliterated

THE USPTO‘s appeal boards are essential. The Board is known as PTAB, but it’s actually like a bunch of small tribunals. Like BoA at the EPO. They help ensure high patent quality and scare those whose patents are of low quality.

A few hours ago a law firm published this timely article (“The EPO Raises The Bar On Plausibility When Assessing Inventive Step: T488/16 – Dasatinib”).

This is why Battistelli attacks the Boards of Appeal. They raise the patent bar. The Office perpetually lowers it. The Boards also serve to highlight systematic decline/intentional reduction of quality at the Office (if work can be done at a high volume; the Boards have been grossly understaffed and under-equipped by the EPO; even their office space shrank a lot). From the new article:

On 1 February 2017 the Board of Appeal of the EPO upheld the revocation of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) patent for anti-cancer drug dasatinib due to a lack of inventive step. It is common for post-published data to be taken into account by the EPO when such data supports a technical effect rendered plausible by the application. In this case the Board decided that the original application did not make it plausible that the dasatinib had any useful properties, i.e. any technical effect. As a consequence, the post-filing data could not be taken into account when assessing inventive step and the patent was revoked for merely claiming an obvious further organic compound.

This finding raises the bar on whether a patent specification makes it plausible that a technical problem has been solved and could have far-reaching effects for the patentability of pharmaceutical and other inventions.

It’s no secret that patent quality at the EPO nosedived. Not a single insider publicly claims otherwise.

In the US, by contrast. patent quality seems to have improved. Even when the USPTO grants a patent, that patent may soon be invalidated by PTAB or by a court. That’s just happening so much these days that litigation frequency has gone down considerably. This is bad news for nobody but trolls, patent law firms, and opportunists whose patents are bunk.

Watch Sunday’s intellectually dishonest spin from Watchtroll. They just can’t stop PTAB-bashing. They do it all the time. Here’s Watchtroll trying to shift outcomes such as Alice in favour of patent trolls while slamming AIA (which birthed PTAB): “The America Invents Act (AIA) has laid waste many of the advantages of being an innovator, but the Supreme Court is currently considering the constitutionality and propriety of some of the more troublesome aspects of the AIA.”

Nonsense. This is like weapons manufacturers bemoaning peace and stability. They just need feuds for income. In absence of conflict, they’ll try to create some.

PTAB was also mentioned by Marie McKiernan the other day. This is being cited by the patent microcosm, including high-profile PTAB bashers. To quote:

As we discussed in May, PTAB decisions are a primary source for guidance regarding what constitutes a “printed publication” under § 102, because the PTAB faces the issue so frequently. Since that post, the PTAB has continued to define the scope of what is or is not a printed publication. In most instances, where the issue was contested, the PTAB found the petitioner failed to prove a document was a printed publication.

[...]

These PTAB decisions serve as an invaluable source of guidance for an issue often commonly contested before the PTAB, and their lesson continues to be that more evidence should be provided. In many instances, although the petitioner provides some evidence pointing toward the public accessibility of the alleged prior art, the evidence falls short of demonstrating that the document is a “printed publication.” When it comes to proving that a reference is a printed publication before the PTAB, less is not more.

Parties should take heed of the PTAB’s approach. Before filing their petitions, petitioners must think of all potential avenues of dissemination to connect all the dots between the prior art, its publication, and how that translates into public accessibility. Patent owners should not shy away from attacking petitioners’ evidence.

Owners? Attacking? Seriously biased spin.

PTAB bashing is in some sense akin to Battistelli’s attacks on the Boards. It’s intended to help reduce the patentability bar and facilitate more feuds (something a system like UPC would depend on).

PTAB bashers have also promoted these lies from the American Enterprise Institute (even the headline a lie, suggestive of outcome that won’t happen). The American Enterprise Institute is basically a pressure group for the maximalists; it’s just cleverly named. It cites Watchtroll as its source. That’s like Daily Caller citing Fox News. Here is what it says about Oil States: “So how will the case shake out? It’s difficult to tell at this stage, but Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog asserted after the argument that “a 9-0 decision that ratifies the constitutionality of IPR proceedings seems quite unlikely.” And a panel he interrogated also sounded divided. We’ll likely have to wait until June for the ruling, but Patent Office trials now seem more endangered than before.”

Not by a long shot. Even patent professionals are already accepting that SCOTUS, based on the hearings so far, leans towards PTAB.

Sadly, PTAB bashing continues to thrive in blogs of such extremists, whereas companies which create products are mostly apathetic and silent. The media is therefore dominated by PTAB-hostile voices, sometimes even a bunch of cowboys.

Today’s Report From the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organisation ‘Tackles’ the Most Important Issue: Judge Corcoran

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lying about the nature of the case and its supposed ‘closure’

one hand washes the other (and both wash the face)
Idiom

Summary: The Administrative Council, whose job is to govern the Office, seems to be engaging in a rather disturbing ‘coverup’ job, which merely reinforces popular perceptions that Battistelli controls his so-called ‘bosses’

THE EPO is not honest, to say the least and to put it politely. Apart from the usual #IPforSMEs nonsense and some other fluff, there’s still nothing in the EPO’s timeline about the Judge. Nothing. Not even about last week’s meeting. At all! Isn’t that odd?

They find time to brag about paying German media for PR (“Together with @Handelsblatt Research Institute we looked at #4IR”) and corrupting academia for UPC lobbying (“Experts from the University of Colorado, London School of Economics”). They also wrote about holidays today (“We’d like to remind you that the EPO offices will be closed from 23.12.2017 to 1.1.2018 inclusively”), neglecting to say that EPO management canceled 3 holidays this year!

These are all tweets from today. Still nothing at all about the scarce media coverage of EPO scandals. Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze of JUVE have just published this article about the scandals. The headline is something along the lines of “Disciplinary case at the European Patent Office: Pyrrhic victory for suspended judge” and the opening paragraph says:

Jahrelang durfte ein irischer Richter seinen früheren Arbeitsplatz beim Europäischen Partentamt nicht betreten, weil Behördenchef Benoît Battistelli ihm Hausverbot erteilt hatte – doch seit voriger Woche ist der Mann wieder als Mitglied der Beschwerdekammern beim Europäischen Patentamt (EPA) tätig. Damit hat der Präsident der Beschwerdekammern, Carl Josefsson, zwei Urteile des Verwaltungsgerichts der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILOAT) umgesetzt. Dieses hatte angeordnet, den Richter wieder einzusetzen. Allerdings wird er wohl nur noch wenige Tage bis zum Jahresende seine Richtertätigkeit ausüben. Denn der Verwaltungsrat verlängerte seine Amtszeit nicht.

Based on a rough translation, there’s not much in there (which we have not covered before). It says that according to an internal statement, Josefsson gave the judge the house access rights on 11 December. He then resumed his work. The judge had always asserted his innocence and, unlike before the decision of the board of directors, the judge is no longer open to re-entering the ILOAT. He now has to go through the lengthy internal complaint path first.”

Tough ‘luck’. eh?

So it’s far from a solved issue.

Now watch what the EPO said some hours ago (here and also here). To quote the minutes in full:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 154th meeting in Munich on 13 and 14 December 2017 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).

The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. In the ensuing discussion the Council welcomed the very positive results the Office was expecting for 2017, praised the management and staff for their achievements and encouraged all to progress in terms of social dialogue. The Council further noted the oral reports by the chairpersons of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and the Budget and Finance Committee on their recent meetings.

A series of elections and appointments was then on the agenda:

– the Council elected Gerard BARRETT (IE) as deputy Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. It further appointed Viktor LUSZCZ (HU) to the Boards of Appeal Committee;

– in the case of the RFPSS Supervisory Board in its new composition, the Council appointed with effect from 1 January 2018 its two own representatives and one alternate, as well as the four external expert members and one alternate, including the new Chairman Michel LIND;

– the Council also decided on appointments to the new Appeals Committee of its Chair, Paul MAHONEY, the two deputy Chairs and two further members. It also appointed the Chairman, Markus MOHLER, and the members of the Council Disciplinary Committee, all with effect from 1 January 2018;

– and finally, the Council decided on a number of appointments and re-appointments as technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal and as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board.

In respect of legal affairs the Council adopted in particular the Office proposals on fees for 2018-2020 under the existing working agreements on search co-operation.

Turning to personnel policy matters the Council conducted a general debate on the orientation paper submitted by the Office, regarding modernisation of the employment framework. It supported the principle of introducing more flexibility and expected the strategic, legal and financial outcomes of the discussion to be reflected in the concrete assessments and proposed modalities the Office would submit in early 2018.

The Council also addressed a number of financial matters. Firstly, it unanimously approved the draft budget for 2018 as well as the budget estimates for the four following years. In particular it endorsed the related Office proposals regarding a substantial reduction in PCT fees and online filing fees and the increase in the appeal fee. It also approved the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and further measures in the field of pensions.

In a closed session, the Council took a final decision in a disciplinary case against an employee appointed by the Council – a case which had attracted significant public attention. This decision was taken with due regard to all relevant elements. The Council expressed its satisfaction at having closed the case. In particular, it underlined its expectation that now – after a long period of intense debate – legal peace would be restored.

Council Secretariat

What’s most relevant at the moment is that last paragraph. It says that the matter is resolved (“closed”), but it’s far from resolved; hence the statement is very misleading.

People at IP Kat (3 comments so far) noticed the above and one said:

Hmmm. “Final” decision? Curious that they do not say what that was or on what grounds it was taken. I expect we will see this heading to the ILOAT yet again… The expression of an expectation that “legal peace” will be restored takes some chutzpah, too.

It’s another lie from the EPO. We’ve lost count. They’re not credible or trustworthy anymore. Not even the AC.

Here’s the next comment:

AC, through its wise and respectable chairman, based on infallible information provided by the President of the Office, has decided that the ILOAT decissions are confidential, and that therefore neither staff, nor staff representation may discuss these descissions, and the implication that staff does not have access to any judicial remedies.
Therefore nobody can confirm that Mr. C has been, based on new confidential documents provided by the accuser, which has due to its confidential nature not been communicated to the accused, who has NOT been invited to present his view of the case, and in absence of the accused and in absence of anyone representing the accused, suspended again.
But since the President of the Office was not present in the room (after he presented the CONFIDENTIAL, allegedly non-public ILOAT decissions, and the lessons to be learnt), when the AC made the vote, the ILOAT decissions and its implications have been fully recognised.

There is, in the new procedure, by decission of the AC, no procedural flaw present.

The incredible amount of lying from the EPO and the AC is worrisome. The coverup attempts from the EC are troubling and the silence from ILO isn’t helpful, either. Is this the best Europe can do when abject injustice is up on display?

Links 19/12/2017: Mesa 17.3.1 RC, Mozilla Apologises, Builder 3.27 Progress

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open Source Funding Conundrum in 2018

    Over the years, I’ve watched first hand as enterprise-centric companies took open source technologies and found ways to make millions (and sometimes many millions) by providing trustworthy support. But what about those open source applications that lack enterprise level financial backing, how are the developers of these applications supposed to pay their bills?

    In this article, I’m going to address one of the biggest issues facing those who want to see non-enterprise open source software – funding.

  • Open Source Software Is a 2017 Success Story

    As 2017 draws to a close, we look at some of the reasons why the use of open source software is growing and will continue to grow in the year ahead.

  • Best open source ecommerce software

    A solid ecommerce platform can help smooth out the whole shopping experience for your customers, from click, to cart to payment.

    From massive corporations to sole traders, ecommerce platforms can meet the needs of most businesses, and those that don’t are constantly improving operations to keep up with the fierce competition.

    So, why go open source? If you want total control and absolute customisation, open source software lets you inspect, copy and alter that software to make the perfect package for you.

  • Mastodon makes the internet feel like home again

    So, why Mastodon? The new social media service is a non-profit, open-source project that has attracted many Twitter refugees over the last year, including myself. Founder Eugen Rochko (gargron@mastodon.social) wrote in March that Mastodon was aiming to learn from the “mistakes” of Twitter and be an inclusive, decentralized microblogging platform. The result is a social media service where users actually feel comfortable being themselves, as opposed to a performative, more sarcastic version of who they actually are.

  • 4 notable open source projects at local maker faire

    The Rochester Mini Maker Faire is an annual event that takes place at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. Each year, makers, creators, artists, and others from upstate New York and beyond show their crafts and creations to the community. Open source tools are popular at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, where you’ll find countless Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, and open source-powered projects and creations.

  • PowerfulSeal: A testing tool for Kubernetes clusters

    Bloomberg has adopted Kubernetes, the open source system for deploying and managing containerized applications which has gained a great deal of industry momentum, in its infrastructure. As a result, systems are becoming more distributed than ever before, running on machines scattered around the globe and across the cloud. This means there are more moving parts, any of which could fail for a long list of reasons.

    Systems engineers want to feel confident that the complex systems they’ve built will withstand problems and keep running. To do that, they run batteries of elaborate tests designed to simulate all sorts of problems. But it’s impossible to imagine every potential problem, let alone plan for all of them.

  • Events

    • Pittsburgh Technology Council co-hosts xTuple Open Source ERP Roadshow

      xTuple open source ERP ended their 2017 series of on-the-road events at the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC), the largest regional tech trade association in the nation. The open-forum discussion focused on digital marketing strategies for manufacturers using next generation business management software, including xTupleCommerce, the online Customer Web Portal.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox users are ticked after Mozilla secretly installed Mr. Robot add-on

        If you use Firefox instead of Chrome, do you do so because you prefer Mozilla’s stance on privacy? Some loyal Firefox users and even employees were up in arms after Mozilla surreptitiously installed the add-on Looking Glass last week. It didn’t happen to all Firefox users, but the ones affected did not give the browser permission to install it.

      • Update: Looking Glass Add-on

        Over the course of the year Firefox has enjoyed a growing relationship with the Mr. Robot television show and, as part of this relationship, we developed an unpaid collaboration to engage our users and viewers of the show in a new way: Fans could use Firefox to solve a puzzle as part of the alternate reality game (ARG) associated with the show.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Release Candidate Will Arrive Just in Time for Christmas Testing

      LibreOffice 6.0 just exited beta testing and the development cycle will continue this week with the first Release Candidate, which should be available to download by the end of the week as The Document Foundation plans a third bug hunting session just before the Christmas holidays, on December 22, 2017.

      “On December 22 we will have an international Bug Hunting Session (BHS), testing the RC1 (first release candidate) of LibreOffice 6.0,” writes Mike Saunders. “You can download, try out and test this RC1 version – and if you spot any bugs, let our QA (Quality Assurance) community know.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Switching Distro’s

      Obviously I still use FreeBSD on the desktop; with the packages from area51 I have a full and modern KDE Plasma environment. We (as in, the KDE-FreeBSD team) are still wrestling with getting the full Plasma 5 into the official ports tree (stalled, as so often it has been, on concerns of backwards compatibility), but things like CMake 3.10.1 and Qt 5.9 are sliding into place. Slowly, like brontosauruses driving a ’57 Cadillac.

      In the meantime, I do most of my Calamares development work — it is a Linux installer, after all — in VMs with some Linux distro installed. Invariably — and especially when working on tools that do the most terrible things to the disks attached to a system — I totally break the system, the VM no longer starts at all, and my development environment is interrupted for a bit.

  • Programming/Development

    • Pipenv – The Officially Recommended Python Packaging Tool

      Yesterday, we published a beginners guide to manage Python packages using PIP. In that guide, we discussed how to install pip, and how to install, update, uninstall Python packages using pip. We also discussed the importance of virtual environments and how to create a virtual environment using venv and virtualvnv tools. However managing multiple environments using venv and virtualenv tools is tedious task. No worries! There is an another python package manager named pipenv, which is the new recommended Python Packaging tool by Python.org. It can be used to easily install and manage python dependencies without having to create virtual environments. Pipenv automatically creates and manages a virtualenv for your projects. It also adds/removes packages from your Pipfile as you install/uninstall packages.

    • An odd test failure
    • Builder 3.27 Progress (Again)

      As normal, I’ve been busy since our last update. Here are a few highlights of features in addition to all those bug fixes.

    • Builder IDE Becoming More Capable In GNOME 3.28

      The GNOME Builder development environment has already been working on many new features for next year’s GNOME 3.28 desktop environment while even more features are now on track.

      Work already being addressed is improved Flatpak support, pseudo-terminal support in the build pipeline, improved search, better CMake and Meson build system integration, support for unit tests, and more.

      Lead GNOME Builder IDE developer Christian Hergert has written another status update on his latest improvements for the project.

    • Compiler to convert Go language to JavaScript

      Developers wanting to use the Google Go language, aka Golang, for web programming can try the beta open source Joy compiler, which promises—when it reaches production release—to turn Go code into JavaScript code.

      With Joy, idiomatic Go code will be translated into JavaScript that will work in every browser (as ECMAScript 3 code, with ECMAScript 5 code on the roadmap as well), the open source project claims. It also means JavaScript developers will be able to use Go’s type system and tools. Joy project creator Matthew Mueller says the Go-to-JavaScript translation work is about 90 percent complete.

Leftovers

  • Two Brothers Shipwreck Added to National Register of Historic Places

    A diver examines an anchor at the Two Brothers shipwreck site, located on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, hundreds of miles northwest of Honolulu. Two Brothers was captained by George Pollard Jr., whose previous Nantucket whaling vessel, Essex, was rammed and sunk by a whale in the South Pacific, inspiring Herman Melville’s famous book, Moby-Dick.

  • Security

    • Hackers use NSA exploits to mine Monero

      Zealot campaign used Eternalblue and Eternalsynergy to mine cryptocurrency on networks.

      Security researchers have found a new hacking campaign that used NSA exploits to install cryptocurrency miners on victim’s systems and networks.

      They said that the campaign was a sophisticated multi-staged attack targeting internal networks with the NSA-attributed EternalBlue and EternalSynergy exploits.

    • NSA Cyberweapons Help Hackers Mine Cryptocurrency

      Hackers are using leaked NSA cyberweapons to mine cryptocurrency over vulnerable servers.

      The weapons can be used to take over Windows and Linux systems, and download malware that can mine the digital currency Monero, according to security provider F5 Networks.

    • Linux And Windows Machines Being Attacked By “Zealot” Campaign To Mine Cryptocurrency
    • How the Zealot Attack Uses Apache Struts Flaw to Mine Crypto-Currency

      Network security vendor F5 has discovered a new attack that makes use of known vulnerabilities including the same Apache Struts vulnerability linked to the Equifax breach to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.

      F5′s threat researchers have dubbed the campaign “Zealot”, which is also the name of a file that is part of multi-stage attack. The Zealot files include python scripts that trigger the EternalBlue and Eternal Synergy exploits that were first publicly disclosed by the Shadow Brokers hacking group and were allegedly first created by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) linked Equation Group.

    • HP’s Keylogger Not a Keylogger, Says Synaptics

      HP has recently come under fire for allegedly bundling a keylogger into its drivers, allowing the company or cybercriminals who could hijack it to record every keystroke of the user.

      But Synaptics, the company that builds and provides TouchPads for HP and other OEMs on the market, says the keylogger in question isn’t actually a keylogger, as it was implemented solely with the purpose of serving as a debug tool.

      In a security brief published recently, Synaptics says HP isn’t the only company that offers drivers with this debug tool included by default, but all OEMs featuring its hardware.

      “Each notebook OEM implements custom TouchPad features to deliver differentiation. We have been working with these OEMs to improve the quality of these drivers. To support these requirements and to improve the quality of the experience, Synaptics provides a custom debug tool in the driver to assist in the diagnostic, debug and tuning of the TouchPad. This debug feature is a standard tool in all Synaptics drivers across PC OEMs and is currently present in production versions,” the firm says.

    • Google: 25 per cent of black market passwords can access accounts

      The researchers used Google’s proprietary data to see whether or not stolen passwords could be used to gain access to user accounts, and found that an estimated 25 per cent of the stolen credentials can successfully be used by cyber crooks to gain access to functioning Google accounts.

    • Data breaches, phishing, or malware? Understanding the risks of stolen credentials

      Drawing upon Google as a case study, we find 7–25\% of exposed passwords match a victim’s Google account.

    • NSA Mark Sedwill calls for increased cyber security investment to thwart Russian hackers
    • New Monero Mining Campaign Uses NSA Exploits

      Security researchers have spotted a new multi-stage attack campaign using NSA exploits to infect victim machines with Monero mining malware.

      The attack begins by scanning for vulnerable servers: specifically ones that are still open to the Apache Struts flaw (CVE-2017-5638) which led to the infamous Equifax breach, and CVE-2017-9822, a DotNetNuke (DNN) content management system vulnerability.

      If a Windows machine is detected, the attackers deploy two NSA-linked exploits leaked by alleged Russian state hackers the Shadow Brokers earlier this year.

    • Remember WannaCry Ransomware Attack? This Country Has Been Publicly Blamed By The U.S.
    • Liberating SSH from Logjam leftovers

      A recent Request for Comment at the Internet Engineering Task Force calls for SSH developers to deprecate 1,024-bit moduli.

      RFC 8270 was authored by Mark Baushke (at Juniper Networks but working as an individual) and Loganaden Velvindron (of Mauritian group Hackers.mu) in response to demand for a response to the 2015 Logjam bug.

      Logjam, discovered by Johns Hopkins cryptoboffin Matthew Green, would let a state-level actor attack Diffie-Hellman cryptosystems using 1,024-bit primes.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Whether or Not the Presidents Change, the Generals Remain Connected’

      What just happened and what will happen in Honduras are painfully unclear right now. There’s still no resolution to the November 26 presidential election, in which opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was leading when the electoral commission—controlled by allies of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez—suspended the count for a day and a half, citing technical problems, only to resume it and declare that Hernandez had, in the meanwhile, overtaken his opponent and won. Hardly surprisingly, this was met with public protest, in turn met by a state crackdown. We hear at least 11 people have been killed by security forces, and there’s a public curfew, which at least some police are reportedly refusing to enforce.

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Repeats the Constitutional Travesty Committed Against Japanese-Americans in World War II

      On Dec. 8, 2017, a lawyer for the U.S. government stood before a federal appeals court to defend President Donald Trump’s third attempt to ban immigrants and visitors from predominantly Muslim countries. He argued that while there may be legal limits on presidential power to ban noncitizens from the United States, the courts should still defer to the executive branch, taking Donald Trump’s word for it that he is no longer intent on banning Muslims from the United States.

      The judges might have asked, “What is the historical precedent that supports President Trump’s position on the travel ban?” None of them asked that precise question, but the President himself gave a chilling answer when he proposed the ban: Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 Supreme Court decision upholding Executive Order 9066, which banished Japanese Americans from their homes and forced them into prison camps. The Korematsu ruling came down 73 years ago today and the lessons from it could not be more relevant.

    • U.S. blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack

      The Trump administration has publicly blamed North Korea for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year.

    • US declares North Korea the culprit behind devastating WannaCry ransomware attack

      The US has declared North Korea the perpetrator of the widespread and financially devastating WannaCry ransomware cyberattack that rapidly spread across the globe in May, hitting hospitals, companies, and other critical institutions in countries around the world. The announcement came in the form of an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal authored by President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert.

    • US destabilising South Asia: NSA Janjua

      He said the world community needs to recognise Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism as the country suffered the most as compared to other nations. “Pakistan has suffered a lot in the war on terror both in terms of lives lost and damage to economy, but international community has not looked upon our sacrifices in this war with a positive attitude,” Nasser complained.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Trump and WikiLeaks: Five things to know

      The revelation this week that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign has added a new wrinkle to the competing probes into Russian interference.

      Legal experts say the development is likely to intensify scrutiny of Trump’s eldest son, who is already under the microscope for a controversial June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

      Separately, a pair of senators revealed Thursday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had received correspondence about WikiLeaks prior to the election. They said Kushner has not yet turned over those documents to congressional investigators.

      Here are five things you need to know about Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The World’s Top Banana Is Doomed and Nobody Can Find a Replacement

      In June, a team of European researchers traveled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.

      The scientists traveled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards. They were tantalized by images circulating online, purportedly taken by locals, that depict a towering banana corm, several stories high, with leaves about 5 yards long.

    • Local councils go plastic free

      Mendip District Council has voted to go NSUP (No Single Use Plastics) last night 19th December by passing the following motion:

      ‘That this council will become a ‘single-use plastic free’ council by phasing out the use of ‘single use plastic’ (SUP) products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in a council activities, where it is reasonable to do so, by April 2018 and to encourage our facilities’ users, local businesses and other local public agencies to do the same, by championing alternatives, such as reusable water bottles.’

  • Finance

    • Brexit is an economic catastrophe – the sooner it is dumped the better

      Eighteen months on from the Brexit referendum, the story that the ‘people have spoken’ is only one version of the truth. There was only a very small majority for leaving the EU: more than 16 million people were on the electoral register but did not vote, and a further 2 million were not even registered. It is now evident that many of those who voted to leave had no idea what this entailed, or the likely costs. Surveys confirm that enough people have now changed their position that, if there was a second referendum, a majority would now vote to remain in the EU.

      But both the Government and the Labour opposition seem determined not to have a second referendum, despite the mounting evidence of the massive destruction Brexit will cause to the British economy. There is a daily record of companies preparing to leave the UK and establish themselves elsewhere in the EU. Cumulatively, the impact on GDP, employment and the public finances are going to be extremely large and yet these costs are simply shrugged off as if they were obviously worth enduring.

    • The GOP Tax Plan Will Complete the Destruction of America’s Middle Class Wealth

      The wealth of America’s middle class, under siege for four decades, is now hanging on life support. That life will end if the basic Republican tax plan, as now envisioned by House and Senate majorities, ever becomes law.

      By “middle class,” we mean America’s “Middle 40,” that stratum of American households that has more wealth than the nation’s poorest 40 percent and less wealth than the nation’s most affluent 20 percent.

      In 2001, according to the Federal Reserve’s recently released Survey of Consumer Finances, the most systematic official survey of who owns what in the United States, the nation’s Middle 40 held 15.2 percent of the country’s wealth.

      The new century has not been kind. By 2016, that share had dropped to 10.6 percent, a figure that leaves the entire Middle 40 — about 128 million Americans in all — sharing slightly less wealth than the 32,000 exorbitantly wealthy individuals who make up the nation’s richest .01 percent. In other words, each American in that top .01 percent holds as much wealth as 4,000 of the Americans in the Middle 40.

      Those provisions in the GOP tax plan that reduce the tax benefits that come with mortgage interest and property tax payments and increase the effective tax homeowners pay when they sell their homes will depress the wealth of the middle class much more than the wealth of the wealthy.

    • House Set to Pass Tax Bill Benefiting Wealthiest Americans, Despite Protests

      The House of Representatives is poised to pass a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code today that will overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The bill would also end the federal health insurance mandate, endangering the Affordable Care Act, while opening up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On Capitol Hill, hundreds of protesters flooded the offices of lawmakers Monday in civil disobedience protests. Among those arrested was Cincinnati resident Megan Anderson, who uses a wheelchair and has a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Anderson says the tax bill will lead to Medicaid cuts that could shorten her lifespan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have just passed a tax bill that would devastate graduate research in the United States. Hidden in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a repeal of Section 117(d)(5) of the current tax code, a provision that is vital to all students who pursue master’s degrees or doctorates and are not independently wealthy.

    • Pushing Russia’s Buttons

      Assume for a moment that the popular allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election are all true. How should the US government retaliate?

      Short answer: it shouldn’t (any more than it already has). If the Kremlin sneakily helped Donald Trump to victory, then it is likely that our government’s longstanding and provocative “punishment” of Russia largely motivated the interference. To reduce the chances of something so appalling from happening in future elections, we should therefore move to relieve the dangerously high tensions that have been mounting between the US and Russia for decades.

      For détente to succeed, leaders in the US must try to understand and allay Russia’s legitimate security concerns. That begins with acknowledging the deep Russian trauma caused by World War II, a tragedy to which the Soviet Union lost hundreds of towns and more than 20 million people in less than a decade. Given the depth of that horror, the US should appreciate why Russians today get squeamish when foreign powers start flexing their muscles on Russia’s western border.

    • The President Plays with Matches

      Once again the country watches in horror as firefighters struggle to contain blazes of historic voracity — as we watched only a couple of months ago when at least 250 wildfires spread across the counties north of San Francisco. Even after long-awaited rains brought by an El Niño winter earlier in 2017, years of drought have left my state ready to explode in flames on an increasingly warming planet. All it takes is a spark.

      [...]

      The crazy comes so fast and furious these days, it’s easy to forget some of the smaller brushfires — like the one President Trump lit at the end of November when he retweeted three false and “inflammatory” videos about Muslims that he found on the Twitter feed of the leader of a British ultra-nationalist group.

      The president’s next move in the international arena — his “recognition” of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel — hasn’t yet slipped from memory, in part because of the outrage it evoked around the world. As Moustafa Bayoumi, acclaimed author of How Does It Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, wrote in the Guardian, “The entire Middle East, from Palestine to Yemen, appears set to burst into flames after this week.” Not surprisingly, his prediction has already begun to come true with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon, where U.S. flags and posters of President Trump were set alight. We’ve also seen the first rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and the predictable reprisal Israeli air attacks.

    • Special Counsel Robert Mueller Obtains Trump Transition Emails

      Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained tens of thousands of emails from members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team, adding to speculation about whether more indictments could follow in the wake of the arrests of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and two other former Trump officials. Axios reports the emails include documents from seven different accounts, including one operated by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. At the White House Sunday, President Trump blasted Mueller’s move, saying the situation was “not looking good.” But Trump said he has no plans to fire Mueller.

    • Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates

      Over the course of our nation’s history, we have faced inflection points — times when we had to decide who we are as a country and what we stand for. Now is such a time. Beyond policy disagreements and partisan gamesmanship, there is something much more fundamental hanging in the balance. Will we remain faithful to our country’s core values?

      Our founding documents set forth the values that make us who we are, or at least who we aspire to be. I say aspire to be because we haven’t always lived up to our founding ideals — even at the time of our founding. When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were being enslaved by their fellow Americans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone
    • Watchdog Group Calls for Reform to Cook County Assessor’s Office

      A nonpartisan government watchdog group Monday announced it will push for reforms to the Cook County assessor’s office, citing Chicago Tribune/ProPublica Illinois findings that call into question the accuracy and fairness of the county’s property tax assessment system.

      The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonprofit advocacy group, called for oversight of the assessor’s office, an explanation from Assessor Joseph Berrios of the methods his office used to value property and a plan to address inequities.

      If the assessor’s office fails to take those steps, the group said the county should create an independent board to increase transparency and improve fairness and accuracy.

      “We think these are some pretty basic measures that are absolutely necessary for the assessor’s office to engage in,” ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune said in an interview.

      In urging change, the group cited reporting from “The Tax Divide” series, which launched in the Tribune in June and has continued this month in partnership with ProPublica Illinois.

    • MYANMAR GOVERNMENT SAYS IT AUTHORIZED JOURNALISTS’ ARREST

      Myanmar’s presidential spokesman said Monday that the president authorized the arrest last week of two Reuters reporters for allegedly violating the state secrets act.

      Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 after police accused them of violating the Official Secret Act, which is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, for acquiring “important secret papers” from two policemen. The police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where abuses widely blamed on the military have driven more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

    • Accused NSA leaker’s lawyers to appear in court again

      Tuesday, the lawyers for an accused NSA leaker are back in a Richmond County federal courtroom.

      Two hearings are being held for Reality Winner.

      Her attorneys are seeking more classified documents from the government to help them in building their case.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Open Garden wants to give you tokens for sharing your internet connection

      Open Garden launched its mesh networking platform at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012. Since then, the company has gone through a few iterations and found unexpected success in its Firechat offline messaging service. Now, it’s ready for the next step in its evolution. The company now wants to make it easier for anybody with an Android phone to share their Wi-Fi connections with anyone who is nearby. And to incentivize people to do so, the company plans to launch its own Ethereum token (called OG…) in early 2018.

    • Open Garden Launches Decentralized ISP For Internet Sharing

      Open Garden Inc. announced today the launch of a new Internet service. Unlike traditional, centralized ISPs, where one large retailer delivers service, Open Garden is a peer-to-peer network that will grow to millions of crowdsourced providers. Participants download the Open Garden app from Google Play to get started – no additional hardware is required to build the network. The Open Garden app enables all users to turn their Android phones into Open Garden hotspots and securely share their WiFi connections with anyone nearby. In early 2018, Open Garden will launch its own cryptocurrency, an Ethereum token called OG, that enables each user to earn tokens in exchange for sharing their bandwidth.

    • Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False

      A core Republican talking point during the net neutrality battle was that, in 2015, President Obama led a government takeover of the internet, and Obama illegally bullied the independent Federal Communications Commission into adopting the rules. In this version of the story, Ajit Pai’s rollback of those rules Thursday is a return to the good old days, before the FCC was forced to adopt rules it never wanted in the first place.

      “On express orders from the previous White House, the FCC scrapped the tried-and-true, light touch regulation of the Internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement,” Pai said Thursday prior to voting to repeal the regulations.

      But internal FCC documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request show that the independent, nonpartisan FCC Office of Inspector General—acting on orders from Congressional Republicans—investigated the claim that Obama interfered with the FCC’s net neutrality process and found it was nonsense. This Republican narrative of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet, then, was wholly refuted by an independent investigation and its findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.

    • Governments Must Provide More Transparency In Trade Negotiations, Coalition Says At IGF

      The Internet Governance Forum Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet, a group formed in 2016, held its formal inaugural meeting today and adopted a resolution on transparency in trade negotiations, in particular on trade rules that affect the online and digital environment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Hypothesis alone Does not Make the Results Obvious

      For obviousness analysis, the first consideration is typically the scope-and-content of the prior art. Any reference used must qualify as prior art under Section 102 and must also be considered analogous or pertinent. The key prior art reference – Hendrix discussed the pharmacokinetics and use of plerixafor – but was focused on use of the drug in HIV treatment. The district court excluded Hendrix – finding that it was not analogous art since one of skill in the art would not have been looking for this type of drug in researching stem cell mobilization. On appeal, the Federal Circuit did not review that particular holding – instead finding that even if considered pertinent to an obviousness analysis, it still would not be sufficient to render the claim invalid.

    • Trademarks

      • Starbucks Trademark Dispute Brewing Over Bull Pulu Tapioca Logo

        Opposed mark (see below) designating goods of tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 32 and retail or wholesale services for tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 35 was applied for registration on May 10, 2016 by a Japanese individual. As a result of substantive examination, JPO granted a registration on October 28, 2016.

    • Copyrights

      • “The Commercial Usenet Stinks on All Sides,” Anti-Piracy Boss Says

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has responded to last week’s Usenet related raids. The Hollywood-backed group describes Usenet as a refuge for pirates of all ilks, with uploaders, site owners and resellers working in tandem to facilitate copyright infringement. “It’s stinking on all sides,” Kuik says.

      • The Truth Behind the “Kodi Boxes Can Kill Their Owners” Headlines

        This week, tabloid headlines screamed that so-called “Kodi Boxes” are a threat not only to the entertainment industries, but also to life itself. Claiming that devices could kill their owners due to electrical safety standards failures, we took a look at the actual report. Forget just throwing set-top boxes in the trash, it looks like anything electrical without a brand name needs to be discarded immediately.

Bavarian Regional Parliament Talks About the EPO’s Outrageous Decisions to Simply Disregard International Courts

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gabi Schmidt

Summary: German politicians are still awed to discover that right there in Bavaria people claim to be exempted from the law and get away with snubbing court orders (without any consequences)

ONE week ago we complained that German media helped cover up rather than cover the latest EPO scandals. Prior to that SUEPO also linked to this original page in German (now it has English and French translations), quoting Gabi Schmidt and a colleague. Gabi Schmidt is no stranger to these scandals and she spoke about them before [1, 2, 3, 4].

Here is the English translation from SUEPO:

10.12.2017

FREIE WÄHLER, the Free Voters, demand immediate reinstatement ofsuspended judge at European Patent Office

In the name of a state governed by law: Geneva judgment must be implemented immediately

Munich. The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich is refusing to reinstate a judge of the Boards of Appeal who had been wrongfully suspended. The Office executive is continuing to refuse the judge access to his workplace, and is so preventing him from exercising his role as an independent judge. An action which contravenes two rulings by the chambers of last instance at the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT) of 6 December 2017.

For the FREIE WÄHLER, the Free Voters in the Bavarian Regional Parliament, this action is intolerable. Peter Meyer, Vice-President of the Provincial Parliament and member of the Constitutional Committee, sees this as a serious infringement of the free and democratic constitutional system of Germany: “The fact that the EPO executive is refusing to implement two indisputable judgments is simply beyond belief. It is inherent in our democratic process and our status as a state governed by law that a judgment which has been promulgated is binding on the authority which is to implement it. This foundation stone is now being simply torn away by an international organization based in Munich.”

Gabi Schmidt, Member of the Regional Parliament and member of the Parliament’s European Committee, has long been drawing attention to the intolerable situation of the staff at the EPO. But with this new development a new dimension has been reached: “Up to now, the EPO staff have still been able to count on the fact that decisions which are wrongful under labour law will be put right by the ILOAT in Geneva. Now it seems that not even recourse to law can help.”

The refusal to implement the judgment is particularly disturbing because it involves a member of the independent Boards of Appeal. For Meyer, this is going to have consequences for patent protection in Germany which still cannot be foreseen: “If the arbitrary suspension of judges and the refusal to respect judgments which run contrary to this is allowed to hold sway in the European Patent Office, we can no longer speak of independent Boards of Appeal. Germany has an obligation in this case, as a signatory to the European Patent Convention and as the host country of the European Patent Office, to press for the restoration of conditions which comply with the law. There is a favourable opportunity to do this now, since with Christoph Ernst a German now occupies the Chair of the Administrative Council. Ernst is a ministerial executive in the Federal Ministry of Justice.” Otherwise, Meyer says, the legal principles and values of the Basic Law are utterly called into question.

“We shall continue to fight in support of the demands of the staff, and strive to ensure that the EPO management can no longer hide behind their immunity as an international organization. We shall be raising this scandalous performance as an issue next week in the Bavarian Regional Parliament”, declares Schmidt.

If the EPO wasn’t so corrupt under Battistelli, none of this mess would have happened. A lot of the mess is the symptom or a side effect of trying to brush things under the rug.

CERN Staff Association Condemns the European Patent Office (EPO) for Disobeying ILO/ILOAT Judgments

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO has become militarised and imperialistic, not scientific

Airplane

Summary: People at the cutting edge of science (in Switzerland) are not tolerating the EPO’s decision to disregard Tribunal rulings from Switzerland (an international tribunal, ILOAT)

ABOUT an hour ago the staff union of the EPO (SUEPO) wrote: “Letter of support sent on 13 December 2017 by Mr. Ghislain Roy, President of CERN Staff Association and by Mr. Joël Lahaye, External Relations to the Staff Union of the European Patent Office in Munich” (main EPO ‘branch’).

It’s a PDF, so we’ve decided to reproduce the English part of it:

Meyrin, 13 December 2017

Dear Colleagues,

With this letter, the CERN Staff Association wishes to assure you of its full support to you in the battle you have been waging for several years now to uphold your trade union rights, as well as the rights of the entire personnel of the European Patent Office (EPO) regarding the respect and enforcement of ILOAT judgements.

Once again, we are appalled by the fact that the EPO does not enforce a judgment of ILOAT, which it has itself chosen and recognised to settle disputes between the Organization and its officials.

This practice of the Organization is completely unacceptable and must be strongly denounced. Such a practice is not worthy of a responsible leadership at the helm of a European Organization, which must lead by example and be irreproachable in the application of the law that governs it.

We can only express our solidarity with the staff union representatives and the EPO colleagues. We are, and always will be, stronger together.

On behalf of the CERN Staff Association,

Joel Lahaye
External Relations

Christian Roy
CERN Staff Association President

As a reminder, this isn’t the first time CERN expresses its shock. See for example:

Will representatives from the international banks speak out too? They did before…

Secrecy Surrounds the Fate of Patrick Corcoran, Even AMBA is Being Kept in the Dark by Carl Josefsson

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (AMBA) cannot provide certainty of independence or anything remotely like it

A secret

Summary: The AMBA Committee speaks out, revealing the depths of the EPO’s secrecy over the Corcoran case, which seems more serious the more one looks at it (Corcoran is the one being defamed, yet he’s being accused of defamation)

THE scandals won’t end this way. They will only deepen. Earlier this month we showed Carl Josefsson's message, which assured that Judge Corcoran would be allowed back into the Board, in lieu with the ILO’s ruling. We then heard all sorts of rumours, some of which were later confirmed.

The Administrative Council (AC), chaired by Ernst, had a meeting less than a week ago. It talked about Corcoran, but this was done strictly behind closed doors, apparently with gag orders as well. The Register wrote about this extreme secrecy last Thursday and today the following comment was posted:

It is almost 1 week now since the AC discussed (in camera) the case of the suspended judge. Am I the only one to wonder why there is no publicly available information regarding the AC’s decision on his status?

There does not even appear to be a report about any aspect of the AC’s meeting. If I didn’t know better, I would find this highly suspicious.

What kind of image does the AC hope to project? It’s just covering up Battistelli’s abuses again.

The following message is circulating today:

Dear amba members.

As a consequence of the ilo decisions the committee wrote an email to Carl Josefson [sic] on 8 December 2017 in which it set out its hope that he would be able to influence the Administrative Council at its meeting last week to take a positive view on Patrick Corcoran’s reappointment. We met with Carl last Thursday and he informed us that a decision had been taken in the disciplinary case and that, as regards reappointment, due to confidentiality obligations he was unable to provide further information. At present we have no details on what the administrative council decided I. [sic] The disciplinary case. The amba committee regrets that the administrative council did not take a decision to reappoint Patrick Corcoran, as the consequence of this is that the case will continue to be a burden to everyone involved.

The amba committee.

So Josefsson is in effect gagged. Wonderful!

And Josefsson actually thought about kick-starting the UPC? With this sort of shambolic state of affairs? It’s not acceptable.

Here is another longer comment that was posted earlier today.

It says: “The journalist could then, for example, speak to Techrights in order to independently confirm that they have received “threats” from the EPO’s lawyers that were aimed at “taking down” certain reports about the EPO.”

We already posted original letters pertaining to this. We did that a long time ago. Similar things happened in Croatia. These aren’t conjectures but verified facts. Here’s the full comment:

To be frank, I have no idea what the pseudonymous, public comments were. Chances are they were made on this blog, though.

The point that you make about going to a journalist is an important one. However, I am not sure that you appreciate the enormous difficulties (due to the complete lack of independent oversight, the activities of the internal “Stasi” and the draconian disciplinary rules and procedures) that EPO employees face in doing this… or in generating even the smallest scintilla of interest for an “independent journalist” in a story about the EPO.

The topic of the present discussion is a perfect case in point. Apart from an article in the Irish Times – which is understandable in the circumstances – the ILO judgements have received attention only from the usual suspects, that is, a smattering of “specialist” (legal or technical) websites. Why is this?

It is not as if it would be hard for a journalist to independently confirm (eg by reading the Enlarged Board and ILO decisions, as well as the “defamation” actions in Germany and Croatia) important details relating to the present case. Those details would include, for example, official rulings holding that the President has threatened the independence of the EPO’s judiciary and that he had a conflict of interest that meant he should never have been involved in the case in the first place.

The journalist could then, for example, speak to Techrights in order to independently confirm that they have received “threats” from the EPO’s lawyers that were aimed at “taking down” certain reports about the EPO. They might also make further investigations to establish whether other “publishers” have received similar letters from the EPO’s lawyers.

In short, it would be very easy indeed for such a journalist to put together a strong (ie readily defensible) story that contains some “shocking” revelations and that could pose difficult questions for the EPO’s management and the AC.

So why is it that no such stories have ever been published in the “mainstream” press? Are we to assume that the world of patents is just too “niche” for the general public to have even the slightest interest in stories that have profound implications for the rule of law in Europe?

That’s a very fair question. We brought that up before.

I’ve been covering patents for well over a decade and even though I’m not trained as a lawyer (my background is technical) I understand many of the key concepts and cases. I spent a lot of my life doing that. I had to learn this out of necessity.

Another new comment says this:

“It is however worth noting that there was no firm and public denial by Mr Corcoran of the facts which were held against him.”

And that’s because the rules introduced by Mr. Battistelli – with the approval of the AC – forbid any individual under investigation to discuss the case with anyone – smart move to isolate the accused person while Mr. Battistelli can talk about “weapons and nazi memorabilia” in the press.

The same applied to the suspended and then fired Staff Representatives.

In EUROPE.

It’s actually far worse. As we pointed out in 2015, the EPO got together with Dutch and German journalists in order to defame Mr. Corcoran. It’s him who should be suing them for defamation, not the other way around. But the “them” might be immune from prosecution/discovery, unless it’s the publishers whom he should sue. They gave away his nationality, which in turn made his identity pretty obvious to insiders. They also revealed information from an ongoing ‘investigation’ (this itself is a violation) and peppered the ‘reports’ with words like “Nazi” (falsely accusing people of Nazism in Germany is a very serious matter). The so-called ‘journalists’ should be questioned for their participation in what — as we noted at the time — was akin to journalistic misconduct, similar to what incredibly wealthy accused rapists do with cooperative journalists to smear/intimidate the accuser/s.

French and Korean Patent Trolls

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) looks elsewhere for ‘action’

IAM THE VOICE OF PATENT TROLLS

Summary: Now that the United States is suppressing the rackets of patent trolls we are hearing more about patent trolls in other parts of the world

THIS morning we found IAM speaking about the French patent troll known as Technicolor. We wrote about it several times before, as did IAM (a proponent of such trolls).

Technicolor is failing as a whole (many layoffs) and is hoping to offload the trolling unit in order to extort/blackmail more companies such as Samsung (South Korea). As IAM put it today:

The discussions are at a sufficiently advanced stage that Technicolor has suspended all ongoing licence negotiations. That is why the French company had to tell investors now – its IP business is going to generate significantly less cash flow by year-end than expected. If all goes as planned, the new owner of Technicolor’s portfolio will be resuming talks with those prospective licencees after the deal closes sometime in 2018.

Samsung will not be among those prospective licencees, as Rose also announced a settlement of French and German litigation against the Korean smartphone maker. Technicolor will be keeping the royalty flow from that deal, Rose said, but it will provide an important data point in putting a price tag on the patent business as a whole.

So Samsung has already shelled out ‘protection’ money, though only after the troll sued in two European countries. Imagine how much worse it would be under UPC.

What can Korean firms do to protect themselves?

The national, government-backed patent troll of Korea, Intellectual Discovery (ID), goes the way of the dodo. It did not help protect firms such as LG and Samsung. It turned out to be a useless pile of patents. Yesterday IAM got excited by the prospect that trolls will be fed these patents:

A USPTO assignment recorded two weeks ago reveals the fund’s latest apparent patent sale. ID transferred a portfolio of patents related to audio coding and processing to a US entity called Unified Sound Systems Inc. The package includes 30 assets in all, counting eight US and three Chinese grants. Unified Sound is a recent creation with no patent history or associated names – its listed address is a residence in San Leandro, California. ID acquired the patents in 2015 from the tech transfer arm of Seoul’s Yonsei University.

The patent sale occurred around the same time that ID sold a patent portfolio covering camera lenses to Compact Lens Technologies LLC, which appears to be a subsidiary of Texas-based IP business IP Valuation Partners. It is not known whether the two October sales were cash only or privateering plays; but the latter is definitely part of the ID playbook, as exemplified by its monetisation agreement with DSS. That was the last deal done on former CEO Kwang-jun Kim’s watch; if these more recent transactions are structured similarly, it is a solid indication that ID doesn’t plan on litigating on its own behalf anytime soon.

So yes, they are feeding trolls now. IAM openly compares Korea’s Intellectual Discovery to Intellectual Ventures (which IAM loves). To quote:

Then again, ID’s current direction does not seem all that different from that of Intellectual Ventures. IV has stopped buying patents, and gone into selling mode. Many of the portfolios it has divested have been snapped up by NPEs and then litigated. As executives from IV have explained, licensing conditions are tough but there is demand for whole portfolios purchases. Moreover, operating companies may become more receptive to buying assets if they can see many of them are being sold off to NPEs who may later target them.

What a terrible thing. What’s worth noting here is that Korea and Europe now participate in a trend that’s dying in the US, namely patent trolling. Will China become the capital of patent trolls? Or can Battistelli beat China to it by destroying the EPO and erecting the trolls’ wet dream (UPC) instead? Many people suspect that Battistelli still wants to be the king of the trolls’ court (UPC). We recommend the three articles below.

Related/contextual:

  1. Battistelli’s Home Country, France (Where He is a Politician in Defiance of the Rules), is a Patent Troll
  2. French Giants Resort to Patent Trolling While Battistelli Attracts Patent Trolls to Europe
  3. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

Dr. Siegfried Broß Says UPC is in Constitutional and Democratic Grey Area, Abuses at the European Patent Office Contribute to That

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Broß has been writing lengthy articles on the subject

Bross article page

Summary: Warnings about the inherent problems with the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are stressed amid Constitutional complaints/backlash in Germany — almost certainly a fatal blow to “unitary” anything any time soon

LESS than a month ago (28th of November, 2017) there was a ceremony of the firm Cohausz & Florack in Munich. At the opening of the event there was a speech which has just been mentioned by UPC boosters like Christopher Weber and then FFII. UPC is mentioned about 3 dozen times and for preservation purposes (these things tend to vanish years down the line) we’ve made a copy of the translation (the copyright is the speaker’s). The FFII picked this paragraph from pages 16-17: “If we now look more closely at the Unified Patent Court, we need to consider the following issues individually. To start with, we need to point out that the planned Agreement on the Unified Patent Court within the EU is destined not to succeed from the outset because it is predated by quite fundamental misconceptions. This agreement does not cover patent law per se, but rather the patents granted in accordance with the European Patent Convention. At first look, there may be nothing to objectionable about this. However, if we consider the constellation professionally and objectively with some critical distance, we notice that the Agreement is only intended to afford judicial protection within the EU if a patent application was successful in accordance with the European Patent Convention. Conversely, no access to the EU’s Unified Patent Court is intended for failed applicants in proceedings before the European Patent Office. This finding throws up various questions and casts the whole project into a constitutional and democratic grey area.

There are many more things in these pages (especially the second half) which slam the UPC as a concept. Not entirely surprising, especially given the speaker. There are serious violations of the law and the principles of law at the very heart of the EPO. Broß spoke and wrote about these issues many times before (in journals, news sites, television and more).

Speaking of these violations, check out the last comment in IP Kat. Having written about whistleblowing for nearly a decade, I know that Judge Corcoran’s speech is protected and moreover, what he said wasn’t so different from what a lot of EPO staff was saying (and circulating) at the time. Battistelli and his Croatian bulldog just needed a convenient scapegoat at the time — someone whose life they can destroy to scare all the rest.

On your first reason, if public comments amount to a disciplinary offence, then the fact that they are pseudonymous doesn’t change that. The issue is what the comments say, not whether the public can identify who made them.

On your second reason, whistleblowing may sometimes be justified to expose serious wrongdoings in the public interest, but pseudonymous comments on the internet would not be the right way to go about it.

Where someone has serious allegations and evidence to back them up, but there is effectively no internal channel, it may be justified to take them to a reputable investigative journalist. Such a journalist would check the facts before publication, and protect the source. A report in a reputable newspaper would consequently be much more believable and much more likely to achieve results.

While I’ve not seen the comments made in the present case, the pseudonymous nature and absence of independent checking would make it difficult to determine whether they were justified by hard evidence. Or were they merely repeating allegations made elsewhere and stating opinions? Or possibly a mixture of all these?

Just remember that, as we wrote on Thursday morning, the Corcoran affair serves to show that at the EPO the criminals try to criminalise those who speak about their crimes. A system so chronically incapable of introspection would be characteristic of small dictatorships in Africa, certainly not Bavaria.

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