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

12.24.17

2017: The Year Software Patents Died Even in the Court Which Started Them

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 1:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents (1968 — 2017)

Room that's dying

Summary: Software patents are a dying breed as high US courts tackle them, IP Australia pretty much bans them, and UPC goes the way of the dodo

THE emergent reality that software patents are somewhat of “a thing of the past” was reaffirmed this year by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which had introduced/affirmed these patents in the first place. When even CAFC says “no!” that ought to really mean something. What will 2018 bring? We don’t know for sure, but PTAB will likely get more backing, this time from the Supreme Court. Alice will not be challenged by the Supreme Court.

Software patents and UIs are not patentable or at least not assert-able in a court of law. Apple should know that, but it keeps pursuing such patents based on these new reports. These patents are bunk, they’re worthless now. Why bother? Are these just ‘trophies’ or something to be used/sold in bulk? Digimarc has just just claimed to have been “rank[ed] third for its patent portfolio in the computer software category,” even though the criteria/yardstick is ludicrous, as are these patents. Those are software patents, i.e. worthless patents. Some of today’s software patents have been ‘dressed up’ using buzzwords like “AI”. There’s even this article about it in Korean media, which asserts that South “Korea Files Third-largest Number of AI Patents” and continues:

South Korea has filed the third-largest number of patents and the seventh-largest number of dissertations related to artificial intelligence (AI) technology over the past 12 years, according to a state-run information and communications promotion agency. The country has the base to take off in the AI sector in terms of sheer bulk.

According to information technology (IT) industry sources on December 21, the Institute for Information and Communications Technology Promotion (IITP) said its finding is based on AI-related technologies applied to patent bodies in the United States, Japan, China, the European Union and South Korea from January 2005 to September of this year. The U.S. ranked No. 1 in terms of AI patents, followed by Japan, South Korea, Germany, China, France, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Kingdom and Taiwan.

But so-called ‘AI’ is a branch of algorithms and is thus unlikely to withstand the scrutiny of a court, not just in the US but also in Korea (similar restrictions). We believe that China remains more or less the only resort/stronghold left for such patents. Even Australia, long regarded as a haven for software patents, changed its policy. We wrote about it earlier this year and last year. IP Kat wrote about the changes last week, but the author/blogger neglected to cover the fact that IP Australia is getting tougher on software patents, instead focusing on the innovation patent system:

They were meant to be the cheaper, faster alternative to standard patents, intended to protect lower level or incremental inventions and promote innovation by SMEs. Yet just like the petty patent system which came before it, the innovation patent system is set to be abolished (or rather ‘phased out’). An innovation patent provides fast protection and lasts for 8 years from the filing of the application. An innovation patent must meet the same novelty test as a standard patent, but only needs to possess an ‘innovative step’ (a lower threshold than the ‘inventive step’ required for a standard patent). The PC recommended that the innovation patent system be abolished because it does not achieve its objectives and protects innovations that are of low social value.

The proposed amendments will take effect 12 months after the amending Act receives Royal Assent – most likely some time in 2019. The proposed amendments mean that IP Australia will no longer be able to (1) grant an innovation patent on an application having an effective filing date on or after the day the amendments take effect or (2) certify a claim of an innovation patent having a priority date on or after that day (an innovation patent must be certified before it can be enforced). The current regime will continue to operate for existing applications. Also, the existing rights to file divisional applications and convert a standard patent to an innovation patent will remain for any patent/application that was filed before the amendments take effect. So fear not, innovation patent enthusiasts – there will still be innovation patents in effect for up to 8 years after the amendments commence.

The bottom line is, China strengthened patenting of software (and all sorts of other things), whereas everywhere else in the world — including the US (birthplace of software patents) — these patents are on their way out. With the UPC collapsing, the EPO‘s ambitions of spreading software patents to every country in the EU will collapse as well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  2. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  3. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  4. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  5. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  6. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  7. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  8. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  9. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  10. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  11. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day



  12. Weaponising Russophobia Against One's Critics

    Response to smears and various whispering campaigns whose sole purpose is to deplete the support base for particular causes and people; these sorts of things have gotten out of control in recent years



  13. When the EPO is Run by Politicians It's Expected to Be Aggressive and Corrupt Like Purely Political Establishments

    António 'Photo Op' Campinos will have marked his one-year anniversary in July; he has failed to demonstrate morality, respect for the law, understanding of the sciences, leadership by example and even the most basic honesty (he lies a lot)



  14. Links 16/6/2019: Tmax OS and New Features for KDE.org

    Links for the day



  15. Stuffed/Stacked Panels Sent Back Packing After One-Sided Patent Hearings That Will Convince Nobody, Just Preach to the Choir

    Almost a week ago the 'world tour' of patent lobbyists in US Senate finally ended; it was an utterly ridiculous case study in panel stacking and bribery (attempts to buy laws)



  16. 2019 H1: American Software Patents Are as Worthless as They Were Last Year and Still Susceptible to Invalidation

    With a fortnight left before the second half of the year it seems evident that software patents aren't coming back; the courts have not changed their position at all



  17. As European Patent Office Management Covers up Collapse in Patent Quality Don't Expect UPC to Ever Kick Off

    It would be madness to allow EPO-granted patents to become 'unitary' (bypassing sovereignty of nations that actually still value patent quality); it seems clear that rogue EPO management has, in effect, not only doomed UPC ambitions but also European Patents (or their perceived legitimacy, presumption of validity)



  18. António Campinos -- Unlike His Father -- Engages in Imperialism (Using Invalid Patents)

    Despite some similarities to his father (not positive similarities), António Campinos is actively engaged in imperialistic agenda that defies even European law; the EPO not only illegally grants patents but also urges other patent offices to do the same



  19. António Campinos Takes EPO Waste and Corruption to Unprecedented Levels and Scale

    The “B” word (billions) is thrown around at Europe’s second-largest institution because a mischievous former EUIPO chief (not Archambeau) is ‘partying’ with about half of the EPO’s all-time savings, which are supposed to be reserved for pensions and other vital programmes, not presidential palaces and gambling



  20. Links 15/6/2019: Astra Linux in Russia, FreeBSD 11.3 RC

    Links for the day



  21. Code of Conduct Explained: Partial Transcript - August 10th, 2018 - Episode 80, The Truth About Southeast Linuxfest

    "Ask Noah" and the debate on how a 'Code of Conduct' is forcibly imposed on events



  22. Links 14/6/2019: Xfce-Related Releases, PHP 7.4.0 Alpha

    Links for the day



  23. The EPO is a Patent Troll's Wet Dream

    The makers of software and games in Europe will have to spend a lot of money just keeping patent trolls off their backs — a fact that seems to never bother EPO management because it profits from it



  24. EPO Spreading Patent Extremists' Ideology to the Whole World, Now to South Korea

    The EPO’s footprint around the world's patent systems is an exceptionally dangerous one; The EPO amplifies the most zealous voices of the patents and litigation ‘industry’ while totally ignoring the views and interests of the European public, rendering the EPO an ‘agent of corporate occupation’



  25. Guest Post: Notes on Free Speech, and a Line in the Sand

    We received this anonymous letter and have published it as a follow-up to "Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF"



  26. Links 13/6/2019: CERN Dumps Microsoft, GIMP 2.10.12 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/6/2019: Mesa 19.1.0, KDE neon 5.16, Endless OS 3.6.0 and BackBox Linux 6

    Links for the day



  28. Leaked Financial 'Study' Document Shows EPO Management and Mercer Engaging in an Elaborate “Hoax”

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) lies to its own staff to harm that staff; thankfully, the staff isn't easily fooled and this whole affair will merely obliterate any remnants of "benefit of the doubt" the President thus far enjoyed



  29. Measuring Patent Quality and Employer Quality in Europe

    Comparing the once-famous and respected EPO to today's joke of an office, which grants loads of bogus patents on just about anything including fruit and mathematics



  30. Granting More Fundamentally Wrong Patents Will Mean Reduced Certainty, Not Increased Certainty

    Law firms that are accustomed to making money from low-quality and abstract patents try to overcome barriers by bribing politicians; this will backfire because they show sheer disregard for the patent system's integrity and merely lower the legal certainty associated with granted (by greedy offices) patents


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

Recent Posts