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

12.31.17

Patent Trolls ‘Business’ After TC Heartland: It’s Very Tough!

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 12:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TC Heartland v. Kraft
Reference: TC Heartland v Kraft

Summary: The latest activities inside and outside the courts show that TC Heartland became a considerable barrier to trolling and aggressive tactics of trolls have shifted to (or been aimed at) their critics

THE USPTO‘s evolving attitude towards software patents (post-Alice) is noteworthy. Section 101 is making a real difference. After TC Heartland (covered here many times before, e.g. [1, 2]) companies try to find ‘artistic’ ways to push patent litigation to crooked court districts. They often rely on software patents granted before Alice; that’s where PTAB comes handy.

The other day we saw this docket report about an attempt to bypass TC Heartland and shift lawsuit venue based on the location of a rented server (many servers are located in Texas for various business reasons). To quote:

The court granted defendant’s alternative motion to transfer for improper venue because a rented server did not qualify as defendant’s regular and established place of business.

This won’t work. TC Heartland was quite clear about this. When companies (or trolls) rely on outdated and low-quality software patents it’s not surprising that they try moving litigation to Texas. For instance, this new press release says that some company “expanded its core merchant processing services to include enterprise-grade, patent-protected software and intellectual property…”

Well, “patent-protected software” means not much after Alice; copyrights do, but not patents…

It seems as though their only hope now is judges like Gilstrap, who famously disregards the Supreme Court, not just on Alice but also TC Heartland.

People recall (citing this outline) how Michelle Lee got bullied out of her job by the patent microcosm and the patent trolls’ lobby, adding the reference to TC Heartland and alluding to trolls as “NPEs” while mentioning China. To quote: “2017 has been a year of headlines. From Michelle Lee stepping down as the Director of USPTO to the law changing decision in TC Heartland. From NPEs divesting their interests in diverse business models to China’s relatively new IP Priorities, and lot more”

Well, “China’s relatively new IP Priorities” are a recipe for patent trolling. In China, as it turns out, it’s now Shenzhen (as well as Beijing and Shanghai) that facilitates the litigation ‘business’ (patent trolls). As Chinese media put it the other day:

Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen Tuesday set up a financial court and an intellectual property (IP) court.

[...]

In 2016, courts in Shenzhen adjudicated on 14,887 IP cases of first instance, or one 10th of the nation’s total. In the first eleven months, Shenzhen courts handled 23,639 financial dispute cases of first instance, twice the number in the same period last year.

Maybe they just wish to become the next Texas. Good luck with that. It’s self-harming.

In the US, by contrast, trolls are a dying breed. William Bozeman, for example, was mentioned by the Conservative media the other day. It’s in relation to his patent battle against the Federal Reserve System, which paints Bozeman as nothing but a troll. Here are some portions from the Washington Times:

William Bozeman, an independent inventor with a colorful history, says he used to have a good relationship with the Federal Reserve System and even helped improve its fraud detection efforts.

[...]

The Fed described Mr. Bozeman as an opportunist, trying to demand money for technology he didn’t invent.

Mr. Bozeman said he is being bullied by the secretive central bank and that the Fed is trying to run up his legal bills by filing all the complaints in an effort to make him go away.

If he never implemented this thing on his own, then it makes him an opportunist. There are various companies out there, especially in Texas area, which do nothing but litigation. They aren’t doing well. Dominion Harbor is a patent troll which felt so hurt by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that earlier this year it ran an anti-EFF series (not just a single article). Nowadays it promotes other parasites and says: “We’re not running out of good ideas. We just need to get better at implementing them…”

Dominion Harbor never implemented anything whatsoever, so this statement is laughable. Patent trolls feel the pinch and publicly attack the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) as well as yours truly (they did a whole podcast about me, in which they lied endlessly about me). But don’t worry about the EFF; they’re doing just fine. They’ve just done an annual roundup of their activity and wrote:

This year was once again active in terms of patent law and policy. Throughout it all, EFF worked to protect end user and innovator rights. We pushed for a rule that would end the Eastern District of Texas’ unwarranted dominance as a forum for patent litigation. We also defended processes at the Patent Office that give it the opportunity to correct mistakes (many, many mistakes) made in issuing patents. And we fought to prevent new patent owner tactics that would increase consumer costs.

We are very supportive of the work the EFF does on the patent front these days. We habitually see “Electronic Frontier Foundation” in publications like VentureBeat and TechDirt (reposted again some days ago [1, 2]) and the public sentiment too is changing. If it carries on like this, not only will the Supreme Court acknowledge that patent trolls are a problem (some Justices already call them “trolls”) but will also weed them out in future rulings.

As a closing word, I’d like to disclose that I received a nasty letter from a highly notorious patent troll. I might publish it some time in the near future. As Ray Niro has already demonstrated, heavy-duty trolls have no qualm about attacking their critics, even if these critics are bloggers. They drag the critics to court. The EFF has been sued quite a few times by now for merely criticising particular patents.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Greenwashing to Distract From the EPO Breaking the Law, Rigging Justice and Its Own Courts

    The so-called 'Haar case' ends as expected; the EPO won't even deal with the question of legality, instead throwing it aside as "inadmissible" while bombarding the media with puff pieces about being "ethical", "social" and now "green"



  2. Linux.com Has Become a Microsoft Promotion Site Under Linux Foundation-Appointed Staff

    The sole editor of Linux.com (after the layoffs of all staff) is a 'true believer' in the 'new' Microsoft and one who uses Linux.com to promote his personal site where he offers PR services



  3. Links 22/7/2019: SUSE Gets CEO From SAP, MuQSS 0.193 Scheduler, VLC Bug

    Links for the day



  4. Links 22/7/2019: Linux 5.3 RC1, GNU Hyperbole 7.0.3, DebConf19

    Links for the day



  5. Don't Kick the Puppy That is Suing Linux Using Patents While Bribing Officials, Threatening Critics and Hijacking the Linux Foundation

    Jim Zemlin is protecting the "puppy" (to use his own analogy), Microsoft, while getting paid about/almost a million dollars per year (about the same amount of money Microsoft pays his PAC)



  6. EPO Gradually Becoming the World's Most Permissive (Low Patent Quality) Patent Office by Consciously Violating the EPC

    Today's European Patent Office is making innovation a lot harder for Europeans; it limits what people can freely do, e.g. what computer code they can implement, and only lawyers are loving it



  7. Tweets Are Not Journalism But Succinct Unverified Hearsay; Time to Treat Them Accordingly

    Childish public discourse can be attributed to SMS-sized nonsense posted in a hurry by career provocateurs, not grown-ups (becoming a waste of time for actual reporters who spend hours/days correcting the record after these go 'viral'); this is killing responsible journalism, necessitating a rethink



  8. The Web is Not JavaScript

    Simple sites respect visitors; rather than and instead of exploiting them or passing burdens to user-end browsers we should focus on text and links — the very core components of hypertext as opposed to bells and whistles



  9. Links 21/7/2019: DXVK 1.3.1, GameMode, Mutter 3.33.4

    Links for the day



  10. Links 20/7/2019: Weston 7.0 Alpha, Nageru 1.9.0

    Links for the day



  11. Companies That Collapse Because the European Patent Office (EPO) Gave Them Fake Patents in a Hurry

    False hopes and false promises won’t do any favours to European Patents, whose legal certainty suffers because Campinos and Battistelli measure nothing but ‘production’ (quantity) rather than quality of patents



  12. Slack Committed a Very Major Crime That Can Cost Many Billions If Not Trillions in Damages for Years to Come

    The inevitable has happened to Slack, which no longer deserves to exist as a company; moreover, the people who ran the company must be held criminally accountable



  13. Demand for European Patents Will Continue to Decrease If a Lot of European Patents Turn Out to be Invalid, Worthless

    The EPO's abandonment of patent justice and quality (in pursuit of so-called 'production' targets) is likely to doom the Office as the whole or render it vastly less relevant to the rest of the world



  14. 35 U.S.C. § 101 Still in Tact in the United States and Software Patents Rot Away

    The United States, where the number of granted patents decreased last year, becomes more productive; there are more signs that patent maximalism (patent litigation, patent scope etc.) has receded



  15. Links 19/7/2019: Deepin 15.11 and GNU/Linux Back on GPD MicroPC

    Links for the day



  16. Violence is Not Free Speech and Laws Exist Against Violence

    Free speech is certainly under attack and the debate is being framed within the context of Nazism; but this overlooks the fact that there are actual death threats and calls for genocide in the mix



  17. Links 19/7/2019: Oracle Linux 8.0, Latte Dock 0.9 Beta and PCLinuxOS KDE Darkstar 2019.07

    Links for the day



  18. Why Does Jim Zemlin Publicly Congratulate Microsoft?

    The signs aren't particularly encouraging when one considers that the leadership of the Linux Foundation is a fan of Microsoft and sometimes connected to Microsoft



  19. 2 Days Later (Case in Progress) and Still Media Silence About G 2/19

    The very legitimacy of years' worth of rulings and the EPO's abusive attacks on judges are under the microscope; but the media isn't paying any attention, perhaps deliberately



  20. The 'Linux' Foundation is Acting Like a Microsoft ISV Now, Commitment to Linux and FOSS Deteriorates Even Further

    The Linux Foundation has just announced a new Microsoft-funded initiative that's pushing GitHub and CLAs (passing copyrights on code to corporations)



  21. Links 18/7/2019: OPNsense 19.7, Krita 4.2.3 and KDevelop 5.3.3 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Index: G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)

    G 2/19 (Enlarged Board of Appeal, EPO)



  23. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 4: G 2/19 - Faites Vos Jeux…

    "Josefsson needs to bring in the “desired result” for his political masters in the Administrative Council if he wants to be in with a chance of reappointment."



  24. Media Not Interested in G 2/19, Which Demonstrates Patent Justice is Nowadays Impossible at the EPO

    The EPO spreads patent injustices to other countries and courts; the media is miraculously enough not interested, almost as though there's a coordinated blackout



  25. Librethreat Database Updated

    Database which keeps track of variants of attack vectors on Free/libre software now includes two more forms of threat



  26. A Look Back (and Forward) at Friendly Programming

    Historical perspective on computer languages and how to do better



  27. Red Hat's Freedom Reduced to Just Online Partner Enablement Network (OPEN) and Microsoft as a Close Partner; Canonical's Ubuntu Just an 'App' for Windows?

    Free software is being snapped up by proprietary software giants and patent bullies that treat it as little more than an 'add-on' for their proprietary offerings



  28. Linux Foundation Apparently Celebrates Sysadmin Day With a Microsoft Windows Site!

    The Linux Foundation shows ‘love’ to actual GNU/Linux (the real thing) by apparently rejecting it and badmouthing it



  29. EPO Looney Tunes – Part 3: The Legal Line-up for G 2/19

    The deck appears to have already been stacked for G 2/19, a decision on EPO judges' exile to Haar (veiled disciplinary action/collective punishment by those whom the judges are supposed to 'oversee')



  30. Links 17/7/2019: VirtualBox 6.0.10 and Mageia 7.1 Releases, Mint Betas

    Links for the day


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