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


Instead of Worrying About Alice, the Patent Microcosm Ought to Accept That Software Patents Have Been Rendered Obsolete by Software Copyrights

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They are still trying to come up with loopholes around Alice

An Ontological Model for Determining Section 101 Patent Eligibility under Alice
An Ontological Model for Determining Section 101 Patent Eligibility under Alice [PDF]

Summary: While it is widely recognised — at least among technical people — that it is not worth pursuing patents on software (courts if not examiners would crush hopes of assertion/enforcement), the patent microcosm continues to sing a different tune in order to sell services

TECHRIGHTS soon enters its twelfth year. It’s a milestone because the site has run nonstop throughout these years. Software patents were always the primary issue. Here we are at the end of 2017 and as we noted some days ago, the higher courts in the US (including the Federal Circuit) have effectively ended software patents. Those which were granted by the USPTO don’t make it far; upon challenge, sometimes citing Alice, these patents get discarded. Throughout 2017 the high courts were very consistent on this.

“Here we are at the end of 2017 and as we noted some days ago, the higher courts in the US (including the Federal Circuit) have effectively ended software patents.”The patent microcosm, which got accustomed to making money from software patents, keeps moaning that abstract patents are rejected outright. Get used to it.

Rather than accept defeat and pursue something else, these stubborn people try to utilise and master new ‘tricks’; they want to pursue software patents in spite of Alice, irrespective of what courts (with expert testimonies and other scrutinisers) may inevitably say.

DLA Piper LLP’s Larissa Park has just published this article in which she insinuates that software can be patented. Not so constructive an advice…

“The patent microcosm, which got accustomed to making money from software patents, keeps moaning that abstract patents are rejected outright.”Software is not patentable. It’s no longer worth pursuing in the US. Want some software patents in spite of it? Then go to China…

Want to protect software developers from plagiarism? Then rely on copyright instead. It already does the job pretty well, for both proprietary and Free/libre software developers. Enforcement or compliance is accomplished differently, but it works. To quote Park:

If your product or service involves software, you should explore the possibility of filing for and obtaining a software patent. While copyright can protect your actual code from being copied; copyrights cannot prevent others from independently (i.e., without copying) developing the same software. On the other hand, a patent can permit you to exclude others from practicing the functional aspects of the software claimed in your patent, even if the other party independently developed the software. See our corresponding article on patents.

The federal government grants patents on new, useful and non-obvious inventions. While features and functions of your software may be new and non-obvious, the biggest hurdle to obtaining patent protection can be overcoming the useful requirement, that is, whether your new and nonobvious software is even eligible for a patent.


Software can be protected with copyright and trade secret. As noted above, copyright will protect you from someone copying your actual code. However, you will not be protected if that person independently develops his or her own code that performs similar functions. More details on copyright protection can be found in our corresponding blog post on copyrights. Trade secrets can protect the structure and methodology of your software, but will require you to implement confidentially procedures to keep the material secret. Once the information you are attempting to protect with a trade secret becomes public, it will no longer be protected by trade secret law. More details on trade secret protection can be found in our corresponding article on trade secrets.

Park is correct only in the sense that software can be reimplemented to work around copyright issues, e.g. in a different programming language. The issue she fails to address, however, is that in a world with hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of software patents developers won’t be able to safely write any code at all. Since she and her colleagues rarely (if ever) claim to have developed software, perhaps the reality of it conveniently evades them*. Moreover, they may simply not care about software development at all; for them, the important thing is maintaining litigation and an atmosphere of hostility. They profit from it.

“Since she and her colleagues rarely (if ever) claim to have developed software, perhaps the reality of it conveniently evades them.”What’s also absent (or lacking emphasis) in the article from Park is Alice. In the dawn of 2018 it makes absolutely no economic sense to invest in software patents; companies should, instead, form a strategy around copyrights (or copyleft). The world is changing and one must move on with the times…

The new journal article at the top is Alan Gocha’s paper on “Section 101 patent eligibility under Alice.” Patently-O mentioned it a few days ago and so did a few other people. To quote Patently-O:

Alan Gocha’s new article focuses on patent eligibility and provides “an ontological model for determining section 101 patent eligibility under Alice.” I think the most important contribution that Gocha makes is to categorize abstract ideas into those that are “inherently abstract” (preexisting fundamental truths) from those that are only “temporally abstract” (longstanding practices).

Alan Gocha is not a software developer but an attorney or law professional. So these people tend to speak of software from a more philosophical or theoretical perspective, not practical or professional. Gocha, in this paper of his, repeats the patent microcosm’s talking points, e.g. that there’s lack of “clarity” or “clarification”. Gocha says that the “Supreme Court and Federal Circuit [two of the most software patents-hostile courts nowadays] case law can be synthesized to provide a comprehensive set of rules to help guide the Alice analysis.” It’s an effort to find new loopholes, that’s all it is.

“The patent microcosm likes to demonise technology companies as if law which leans towards technology companies is an abomination — almost as though the law is intended to protect the lawyers rather than developers.”“Test Wording” is the title of one section, which says that “[a] claim is directed at an abstract idea if a theoretical being that has errorless and unlimited computative capacity could essentially duplicate the claimed invention in its mind.”

That can be done with any algorithm; the author then alludes to “non-tangible ideas for which can be entirely performed in the mind—i.e. purely cognitive processes” and again — this applies to virtually any algorithm, which can be tackled/solved using pen and paper.

We recognise that it’s hard for the patent microcosm to let go; it probably made billions of dollars (altogether) from the terrible decision to permit software patents since decades ago; but things have changed and the way software gets developed and distributed changes very rapidly owing to the Internet. These people ought to focus on copyright/copyleft if they want to remain relevant. The paradigm is inherently different (even if they still refer to it by the misleading term “IP”), but this is what software developers actually want. The patent microcosm likes to demonise technology companies as if law which leans towards technology companies is an abomination — almost as though the law is intended to protect the lawyers rather than developers. That’s just sheer Hubris.
* Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) got very irritated after he had claimed that he writes code and once asked for proof of it he was unable to produce or even name any. Instead, he blocked me to avoid further interaction. In other words, it’s unlikely that he ever wrote any computer program and he continually demonstrated that he does not understand how computers even work. Actual software developers started mocking him for it and he could not deal with it. If these are the sorts of people who lobby the hardest for software patents, we are in serious trouble. They lack the most basic understanding of digital operations and tools, such as compilers, assemblers, interpreters, and processors.

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. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, October 14, 2019

  2. [ES] El Kernel de Linux está introduciendo Open Source Privative Software

    Linux, el kernel, continúa su trayectoria o el camino hacia convertirse en software propietario de código abierto (OSPS).

  3. Linux Foundation Board Meeting

    More sponsored keynotes and tweets — like more sponsored articles (or “media partners”) — aren’t what the Linux Foundation really needs

  4. Links 14/10/2019: Linux 5.4 RC3, POCL 1.4, Python 3.8.0

    Links for the day

  5. This Week Techrights Crosses 26,000 Posts Milestone, 3 Weeks Before Turning 13 (2,000+ Posts/Year)

    A self-congratulatory post about another year that's passed (without breaks from publishing) and another milestone associated with posting volume

  6. No Calls to "Remove Gates" From the Board (Over a Real Scandal/Crime), Only to "Remove Stallman" (Over Phony Distraction From the Former)

    Jeffrey Epstein's connections to Bill Gates extend well beyond Gates himself; other people inside Microsoft are closely involved as well, so Microsoft might want to cut ties with its co-founder before it becomes a very major mess

  7. “The Stupidest [Patent/Tax] Policy Ever”

    It’s pretty clear that today’s European patent system has been tilted grossly in favour of super-rich monopolists and their facilitators (overzealous law firms and ‘creative’ accountants) as opposed to scientists

  8. Meme: Software Patents at the EPO

    The evolution of “technical effect” nonsense at the EPO

  9. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 13, 2019

  10. Firm of Microsoft's Former Litigation Chief Uses Microsoft-Connected Patent Lawsuit Against GNU/Linux (GNOME Foundation) for New Breed of FUD Campaigns

    The patent troll of Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold has fed a patent troll that's attacking GNU/Linux and a firm owned by Microsoft's former litigation chief says it proves "Open Source Software Remains a Target"

  11. "Widespread Adoption" (Did You Mean: Takeover by Monopolies?)

    "Quite a few of them are people that would rather replace David with Goliath, just because he's bigger. Quite a few are already taking money from Goliath."

  12. Links 13/10/2019: Red Hat CFO Fired and KDE Plasma 5.17 Preparations

    Links for the day

  13. Bill's Media Strategy Amid GatesGate

    There are many ways by which to game the media’s news cycle — an art mastered by the groper in chief

  14. Hard-Core Micro-Soft

    The word "core" is increasingly being (mis)used to portray user-hostile proprietary software as something more benign if not "open"

  15. Free Software Timeline and Federation: When Free Software Advocacy/Support is a Monopoly Expansion Becomes Necessary

    Support for Software Freedom — like support for Free software (think Red Hat/IBM and systemd) — should be decentralised and compartmentalised to make the movement stronger and adaptable

  16. Projection Tactics

    The corporate media hasn't been doing its job lately; it has systematically defamed the wrong people, perhaps in an effort to distract from 'big fish'

  17. Meme: Richard Stallman Irrelevant

    Saint IGNUcius — Richard Stallman — just isn’t the Saint Bill Gates is

  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 12, 2019

  19. Links 13/10/2019: Mastodon 3.0, GNU Binutils 2.33.1, and the Road to KDE Frameworks 6

    Links for the day

  20. The New York Times About the Real Epstein-Software Scandal (Nothing to Do With Stallman)

    The media is belatedly catching up with and covering the real MIT scandal which extends far beyond MIT

  21. Openwashing Reports Are on Hold

    The need to stress Software Freedom and shun all that "open" nonsense has quickly become apparent; some of the people who oppose Stallman turn out to be "Open Source" proponents who don't even value freedom of expression (free speech)

  22. Support the GNU Project and Support Free Speech

    Techrights is loyal to Software Freedom and those eager to promote it; it cannot, however, support those who don’t support free speech

  23. Today's EPO is Working for Patent Trolls and the 'Aye Pee' (IP) 'Industry' Instead of Science

    The EPO is making allegiances and alliances with groups that represent neither science nor businesses but instead push for monopolies, litigation and extortion; lawlessness appears to have become the EPO's very objective instead of what it intends to tackle

  24. The Campinos Car Crash

    The EPO is crashing and we know who’s to blame other than Battistelli

  25. Software Patents (or Monopolies on Algorithms) Are Not 'Property' and They're Not Even Legally Valid

    The EPO insists that it's OK to grant patents on just about everything and propaganda terms are being leveraged to justify this dangerous attitude

  26. The EPO's Universal Patent Injustice Concealed With Polyglottic Tricks

    The EPO is fooling nobody; it's desperate to hide the very simple fact that Battistelli did something illegal and over the past few years every decision issued by the EPO was legally invalid (as per the EPC)

  27. Microsoft Tweets in Linux Platforms

    This observation about the Linux Foundation seems very appropriate (and true) now that Linux.com’s sole editor is (re)posting Microsoft tweets (shades of Jono Bacon)

  28. Links 12/10/2019: Rspamd 2.0, Kdenlive 19.08.2, Plasma Mobile Progress, FreeBSD 12.1 RC1

    Links for the day

  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, October 11, 2019

  30. MIT Scandal in a Nutshell

    What happened a month ago, explained using a meme

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