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02.10.18

The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) Speaks Out in Support of Patent Quality and AIA/PTAB in the United States

Posted in America, Patents at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIIA often promotes and helps proprietary software

SIIA logo

Summary: SIIA, whose attacks on Free software we covered here before, actually expresses strong support for enforcers of Alice (the likes of PTAB), hence the elimination of many software patents

THE USPTO has, in recent years, leaned towards science and technology at the expense of the ‘lawsuits pipeline’ (or litigation ‘industry’). This is what every patent office should strive to achieve if its goal is to foster innovation, not a bunch of blood-sucking leeches like patent trolls and their representatives.

The PTO now enjoys a lot less clutter and better processing of applications, too. According to Patently-O‘s post from this afternoon: “Median pendency is now down to about 25 months from filing and only about 10% of these newly issued patents were pending for > 4 years.”

That’s a positive thing.

Ken Wasch, who describes himself as “the president and CEO of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), a trade association for the software and digital content industry,” calls on Director Iancu to protect high patent quality and guard PTAB. From today’s opinion piece: (third such piece as recently as 5 days ago at The Hill; we mentioned the other two earlier today)

The AIA’s enactment reflected a bipartisan recognition that these poor-quality patents represented a threat to American innovation and a burden on American industry. The AIA has not eradicated the problem of poor patent quality and the related problem of patent trolls, but it has certainly helped.

From the software industry’s perspective (and we are not alone in this), the AIA’s reforms have been an enormous success. The act addressed this problem by allowing the patent office to, on limited grounds, revoke patents that should not have been granted in the first place.

The petitioner’s task is front-loaded: All of the relevant evidence has to be included in the petition, and the patent office will only take a serious look if there is a “reasonable likelihood” of invalidity.

The evidence consists of printed material intended to demonstrate that the patent issued to an invention that’s obvious. After hearing all the evidence, if a panel of patent experts believes that the office made a mistake in issuing it, they invalidate the patent.

This procedure, called inter partes review (IPR) has a balanced record of rejecting bad patents and upholding good ones. Although it has affected a small percentage (less than half a percentage point) of the roughly 2.8 million patents currently in force, this procedure has been enormously successful.

It’s reassuring but not surprising to see that even front groups of proprietary software companies support the patent reform. They — like Free software developers — want PTAB to stay and for software patents to stay away.

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