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


Patent Troll Finjan Manages to Defend a Patent (on Appeal) and the Trolls’ Lobby is Loving It

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Todd M. HughesSummary: Blue Coat (now owned by Symantec) has attempted — and failed — to invalidate all of Finjan’s patents using Section 101/Alice; those who are in the business of trolling view that as particularly good news because the judgment came from Timothy Dyk and Todd Hughes (much younger and appointed a few years ago)

THE USPTO had granted software patents far too easily before Alice, so in recent years we saw a lot of patent trolling from the likes of Finjan (such trolling is drying up over time, owing to courts’ decisions which repel further action).

The high-profile patent trolls and their supporters were glad to see that, for a change, after a case reached the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) the troll got its way. To give one example: “Finjan v Blue Coat Federal Circuit 1/10/18 reverses-in-part because as to 1 of 4 patents, patentee “failed to apportion damages to the infringing functionality”; court also agrees with def that “$8-per-user royalty rate was unsupported by substantial evidence.”

“Just because Alice isn’t applicable in certain cases doesn’t mean much; sometimes that is just the case.”Another one wrote: “The patentable subject matter ruling is interesting, and also because the opinion was authored by Judge Dyk, and joined by Judge Hughes, both of whom have a pronounced history of finding claims ineligible.”

Another proponent of trolls called them “anti-patent jurists” (as if being selective or expecting high quality makes one “anti-patent”). “But didn’t Dyk and Hughes,” he said, “two of the most anti-patent jurists on the Federal Circuit decide that at least some claims were patent eligible under 101?”

“Turns out that this decision is likely to be cited a lot in the future.”They try to personify it… at least they don’t resort to sexual orientation slant like corporate media does [1, 2].

Just because Alice isn’t applicable in certain cases doesn’t mean much; sometimes that is just the case. “Section 101″ isn’t always a winning argument, obviously…

Media of the patent microcosm covered this 3 days ago. It said:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Wednesday upset a $39.5 million award in long-running patent litigation between Finjan Inc. and Blue Coat Systems Inc., causing a San Jose federal judge to throw the brakes on another ongoing trial between the cybersecurity rivals.

Turns out that this decision is likely to be cited a lot in the future. “Finjan v Blue Coat Syst (Fed. Cir. 2018) PRECEDENTIAL,” said the above person. “Claims Directed to Computer Virus Detection Held Patent Eligible under 101; Other Issues in Decision: http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions-orders/16-2520.Opinion.1-8-2018.1.PDF …”

“Finjan sued the enabler of the EPO’s police state (surveillance and censorship), but we ought to leave that aspect aside in the context of patents.”We don’t have much sympathy for Blue Coat in particular; what we see here one evil firm against another evil company (the latter at least makes and sells something). Finjan sued the enabler of the EPO's police state (surveillance and censorship), but we ought to leave that aspect aside in the context of patents.

Nicole R. Townes and Daniel Kiang from Knobbe Martens took the time to write about it. “After a bench trial,” they said, “the district court concluded that one of the asserted patents is directed to patent-eligible subject matter under Section 101.”

CAFC did not agree about all 4 patents. This is the key part: “With respect to patent-eligibility, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that the claims were not directed toward an abstract idea for two reasons. First, the claims were drawn to behavior-based virus scanning which analyzes a downloadable’s code and determines whether it performs potentially dangerous or unwanted operations. This was different than the traditional method of code-matching virus scanning. The Federal Circuit determined that this was an improvement in computer functionality. Second, the results of the behavior-based virus scan are attached to a new type of file which enables a computer security system to perform tasks that it could not do before. Also, the claims recited more than a mere result and provided specific steps of generating a security profile that identifies suspicious code and links it to a downloadable.”

That’s just software patents.

There might even be another trial. To quote: “The Federal Circuit found that Finjan failed to present a damages case for one of the asserted patents that could support the jury’s verdict and remanded for a determination of whether Finjan waived its right to establish reasonable royalty damages under a new theory and whether to order a new trial on damages.”

“IBM — like Microsoft — is literally in the business of fueling patent trolls these days.”What is also interesting about this case is that there are ramifications for Symantec (Finjan is suing just about the whole security industry, except Microsoft, as it is deeply connected to Finjan).

The Symantec connection is explained here in relation to another Microsoft-connected troll, Intellectual Ventures.

The year’s first substantive patent-eligibility decision from the Federal Circuit is a rare victory for the patentee. It is also further evidence that the outcome of an eligibility analysis may be more dependent upon how the analysis is carried out than the actual language of the claims under review.


The Court began by distinguishing Finjan’s claim with those of Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Symantec Corp., where the Court concluded that “by itself, virus screening is well-known and constitutes an abstract idea.” Particularly, claim 1 (as construed) requires that “the security profile includes details about the suspicious code in the received downloadable, such as . . . all potentially hostile or suspicious code operations that may be attempted by the Downloadable.” Thus, “[t]he security profile must include the information about potentially hostile operations produced by a behavior-based virus scan.” In this light, the claimed invention is distinguishable from traditional virus scans that look for previously identified patterns of suspicious code in executable programs.

Here’s a new report which suggests that the above possibley leads to mistrial:

A California federal judge on Wednesday granted Symantec unit Blue Coat’s request for a mistrial in a cybersecurity patent infringement case brought by Finjan, saying a just-issued Federal Circuit decision striking damages in a related case called for a fresh jury, free from certain impressions about damages and willfulness issues.

The presiding judge said she agreed with concerns expressed by Symantec-acquired Blue Coat Systems that the Federal Circuit’s opinion in the prior case affects many of the issues that have been discussed in the current trial…

As we noted in our previous post, IBM was helping the troll last year. IBM — like Microsoft — is literally in the business of fueling patent trolls these days. When these trolls are indebted to IBM and Microsoft they will sue neither; instead, they’re more likely to sue IBM’s and Microsoft’s competitors. That may be an implicit if not explicit part of their agreement.

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 20/3/2018: GStreamer 1.14.0, Freespire 3.0, Endless OS 3.3.13

    Links for the day

  2. BIO, MDMA and PhRMA Are Pushing the PTAB-Hostile STRONGER Patents Act While IAM and Patently-O Continue to Bash PTAB

    The patent microcosm, which compares the Board to the above (crude analogy from Judge Rader and other patent extremists), is still trying to kill inter partes reviews (IPRs), in effect overlooking its own hypocrisy on the matter (they don’t want patent justice, they just want to metaphorically ‘shoot down’ the judges)

  3. 35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to 'Sell' These Anyway

    The assertion that software patents are still worth pursuing in 2018 is based on carefully-constructed spin which mis-frames several court decisions and underplays/downplays/ignores pretty much everything that does not suit the narrative

  4. Battistelli's EPO Became Extremely Reliant on China for Distraction and on Endless Supply of Applications (Supply Which Doesn't Exist)

    Discussion about the EPO granting machine (or patent-printing machine) and figures the way EPO management would rather the public won't ever see them; the concept that China means redemption for this patent system is as laughable as always

  5. The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

    The USITC/ITC, which mostly serves to impose embargoes (sometimes in shocking defiance of PTAB decisions), is being invoked by a firm connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures

  6. Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

    Software patents are being used for leverage, but only those which were likely granted before Alice and only in courts at districts somewhere around Texas

  7. Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

    Links for the day

  8. From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent 'Industry' Sells Software Patents

    The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month's (or last year's), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

  9. Patent Maximalists Keep Coming Up With New Terms and Buzzwords to Bypass the Practical Ban on Software Patents

    The fightback against Section 101 and the US Supreme Court (notably Alice) seems to concentrate on old and new buzzwords, such as "Software as a Medical Device" ("SaMD") or "Fourth Industrial Revolution" ("4IR"), which the EPO recently paid European media to spread and promote

  10. News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

    Infomercials are still dominant among news about patents, in effect drowning out the signal (real journalism) and instead pushing agenda that is detached from reality, pertinent facts, objective assessment, public interest and so on

  11. Blocks and Paywalls Won't Protect the Patent Trolls' Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

    Joff Wild and Benoît Battistelli have much in common, including patent maximalism and chronic resistance to facts (or fact-checking)

  12. China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

    China now targets other Asian countries/firms -- more so than Western firms -- with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

  13. UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

    While the EPO is collapsing due to mismanagement the boosters of Team Battistelli would rather deflect and speak about Brexit, which is itself partly motivated by such mismanagement

  14. European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Rina Ronja Kari is the latest MEP attempting to compel the Commission to actually do something about the EPO other than turning a blind eye

  15. Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

    Links for the day

  16. TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

    A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

  17. PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent 'Industry' That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

    The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it's supporting sham deals (or "scams") and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

  18. The Patent 'Industry' is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn't Like the Decisions

    Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they're willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

  19. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent 'Industry' in the Process

    A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

  20. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  21. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  22. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  23. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  24. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  25. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  26. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  27. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  28. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  29. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  30. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years


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