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


Where Opposition to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB, AIA) Has Come From Over the Past Week If Not Year

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Follow the drops of oil

Cato Institute and Koch Brothers Reach Agreement - The New York Times
Reference: Cato Institute and Koch Brothers Reach Agreement – The New York Times

Summary: The push against PTAB, a relatively short time before the much-anticipated Oil States decision, appears to have lost momentum; but those who persist are almost always linked to patent maximalism

QUALITY assurance is essential when it comes to patents. That is the whole essence of patent examination — something which EPO management conveniently overlooks when it turns the EPO into another INPI. The USPTO, by contrast, enjoys scrutiny from PTAB, which basically reassesses granted patents and sometimes patent applications too. PTAB helps assure that people who were granted patents have confidence in enforceability (or lack thereof). Spurious expenses, notably court/lawyers’ fees, are being spared. Sounds good, no? Well, not to patent maximalists. The lawyers want a lot of fights because they profit from these fights.

“Spurious expenses, notably court/lawyers’ fees, are being spared. Sounds good, no? Well, not to patent maximalists.”This post glues together recent developments related to PTAB, which we expect to be further cemented into the system when SCOTUS rules on Oil States (possibly weeks if not a few months from now).

Several days ago Professor Rantanen (University of Iowa) spoke of a “symposium, Administering Patent Law, [which] is co-sponsored by the Iowa Law Review and the center I direct, the Iowa Innovation, Business and Law Center.”

“The concept of post-grant patent challenges isn’t a novel one, nor should it be controversial.”Rantanen also mentioned Melissa Wasserman's joint paper on why examiners at the USPTO grant low-quality patents which then help patent trolls. More recently she co-authored a paper with Christopher J. Walker. It was about PTAB and it has just been reposted under a slightly different title (“Situating PTAB Adjudication Within the New World of Agency Adjudication”) at Patently-O, again by Jason Rantanen, who wrote three posts there (in just one day) mostly for self-promotional purposes. One of those revealed slight bias — albeit the sort of bias one might expect from Patently-O, which keeps bashing PTAB for at least a year now (we watch these trends closely as we strive to understand and track the money flows).

“Suffice to say, just because someone questions the legitimacy of a patent does not mean that the patent is instantaneously illegitimate. There’s a process for that and it is improving over time.”The concept of post-grant patent challenges isn’t a novel one, nor should it be controversial. The EPO had practiced it for decades (although years ago, under Battistelli, this concept came under attack in defiance of the EPC). The other day we saw this article about US patent number 9,738,929. Arguing over whether the USPTO granted a bogus patent (which happens a lot unfortunately, due to patent maximalists who ruined the system), here is the outcome boasted about in a press release:

ONT had sought to dismiss Pacific Biosciences’ complaint for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 9,738,929 by alleging that the patent’s claims recite ineligible subject matter. A hearing on the matter was held on February 27, 2018 and the ruling by Judge Stark was issued on March 22, 2018. In its ruling, the Court disagreed with ONT’s contentions and also took note of the inconsistent statements made by ONT in front of the U.S. International Trade Commission and in prosecuting ONT’s own, later-filed patent applications.

Suffice to say, just because someone questions the legitimacy of a patent does not mean that the patent is instantaneously illegitimate. There’s a process for that and it is improving over time. PTAB has in fact expanded panels to actually improve confidence and oversight when it comes to patent assessment, but Watchtroll is such a dishonest site that it now claims the very opposite, attributing that to extremists like itself/himself (who profits from such lies). Some say that we should just ignore Watchtroll, but it’s important to see what prominent anti-PTAB sites are saying and occasionally debunk their arguments.

Watch what a Koch-funded think tanker, Adam Mosoff, said a few days ago. Mosoff, who links to Cato (Koch), tweeted: “GREAT READ in @RegulationMag by Professor Jonathan Barnett: How evidence shows that stable & effective property rights in patents are important & why this matters for US innovation economy in 21st century object.cato.org/sites/cato.org… #OilStates #PatentsMatter @CatoInstitute”

“Kochs like to piggyback a pseudo-libertarian sentiment to engender and spread hatred for any sort of government regulation.”It’s not hard to imagine who signal-boosted this. Not only those making a career out of lying for billionaires but also the patent maximalists, such as Ania Jedrusik, who wrote: “There’s no firm basis to assert that the #patent system is regularly issuing low-quality patents or that technology markets are stuck in a morass of patent claims that will frustrate #innovation…”

Kochs like to piggyback a pseudo-libertarian sentiment to engender and spread hatred for any sort of government regulation. This isn’t new. It’s a well-recognised pattern of their lobbying fronts, including Cato. Their meddling in Oil States isn’t surprising either. They have a lot of money at stake.

“In the vast majority of cases PTAB actually (re)affirms examiners’ rejections based on (citing) Section 101.”Thankfully, some of the above is being challenged. FFII Sweden’s Bosson responded with: “What would that benchmark look like? We know from history that regions outside patent systems have been prosperous. East vs West coast US for instance. Now we have Alice vs pre-Alice.”

FFII’s André Rebentisch‏ then said: “The litmus test is: does it involve software? I haven’t seen a non-trivial patent in the field.”

“Exactly,” Bosson replied. “My experience is that pretty much all software parents are abstract methods on math discoveries or information re-organization embedded in patent-babble complexity. Have helped kill one recently – at high cost.”

Don’t tell that to patent lawyers though; they hardly know what software is and how it works, having never written even a simple computer program. Watchtroll attempted to claim that he did, but when asked to name it he ran away and blocked me, hoping to spare himself this embarrassment. He’s no programmer, he fails to explain what computer programs are, yet he constantly promotes software patents. It’s all about money to him.

“Patent maximalists such as IAM and Patently-O are obviously not happy, but what can they do short of attacking judges’ credibility (something that they already do on occasions)?”An online friend of his keeps complaining about rejection of such patents. This one too is no programmer, yet always happy to promote software patents and block those who practice software (like myself). He wrote about a “50 Page Rejection of a Neology Patent after IPR–at least no 101 rejection…” (it’s Section 101 which scares them the most; we’ll cover that separately)

This patent maximalist is citing this PDF [PDF] from the PTAB-hostile Anticipat, selectively choosing a case where, according to him, “PTAB Reversed Examiner’s [Section] 101 Rejection of Claims in SAP Patent Application; Some Good Arguments Presented by SAP Counsel…”

In the vast majority of cases PTAB actually (re)affirms examiners’ rejections based on (citing) Section 101. The same goes for CAFC cases that look into PTAB rejections based on Section 101.

Patently-O has long attempted to change the status quo on IPRs, CBM and so on.”Patent maximalists such as IAM and Patently-O are obviously not happy, but what can they do short of attacking judges’ credibility (something that they already do on occasions)? IAM posted this sponsored rant about CAFC and Patently-O wrote about a case where “the district court followed the PTAB and ruled that the claims were invalid as indefinite.”

Sometimes this PTAB-bashing blog shows (for a change) courts and PTAB in agreement. Most of the time, however, it chooses to highlight dissent. This one is about a laughable patent. Under “AIA Trials” it says that “the Federal Circuit agreed that Sarif’s claim construction position of no-means-plus-function was “well supported” – despite ultimately losing the case.”

On another day it wrote about CBM (Covered Business Method) in relation to AIA. To quote some background:

In the America Invents Act (AIA), Congress created two primary new forms of challenging issued patents in an administrative trial setting before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The more popular form is Inter Partes Review while Post Grant Reviews have seen less interest. The comparative popularity appears to stem primarily from the fact that IPRs can be used to challenge any issued patent — including pre-AIA patents and patents issued years-ago. PGRs, on the other hand has two important timing limitations: (1) PGRs are only applicable to post-AIA patents (effective priority date > March 2013); and (2) a PGR petition must be filed within 9-months after the patent grant. That said, IPRs have a comparative downside: While a PGR may challenge patent claims on any patentability ground (except best mode), IPRs are limited only to anticipation and obviousness challenges based upon prior patents and published prior art.

The Covered Business Method Review (CBM) program is added as a layer atop IPRs and PGRs. CBMs can only be used to challenge patents directed to financial, non-technological business methods. However, like PGRs, those CBM patents can be challenged on any ground (including eligibility, enablement, and indefiniteness). Further, like IPRs, CBM petitions can challenge any patent regardless of its filing and issuance dates.

Patently-O has long attempted to change the status quo on IPRs, CBM and so on. Patently-O is all about patent maximalism, i.e. more software patents, patents on business methods etc. It yearns for the old days of patent trolls’ freedom to sue and blackmail everyone.

“It’s actually the Berkheimer nonsense which is “making a comeback,” having been misinterpreted and misused by the patent microcosm for about a month now (we wrote nearly a dozen articles and rebuttals about it).”“Business methods making comeback on appeal at the Board,” Anticipat exclaimed some days ago, “Citing Berkheimer PTAB panel holds Examiner must show evidence…”

It’s actually the Berkheimer nonsense which is “making a comeback,” having been misinterpreted and misused by the patent microcosm for about a month now (we wrote neatly a dozen articles and rebuttals about it). Anticipat writes:

We have previously reported on the very low reversal rates of abstract idea rejection within tech center 3600, home of business method art. Indeed, over the past few months, the reversal rate has been about 12%, as shown on the Anticipat Research database. But the Federal Circuit has recently pushed the Alice test closer toward patentees, and the Board appears to be following their lead. This is shown in a pair of recently-decided appeals involving business method applications


The PTAB will continue to side with Examiners in affirming many abstract idea rejections of business method applications. But the recent reversals show that a compelling argument lies in the novel arrangement of claim elements. This is especially compelling if the Examiner has not established on the record that these elements are conventional or routine.

So that last paragraph almost directly contradicts the headline and, much as we expected, Berkheimer has made virtually no difference.

But why let facts of even statistics get in the way of ‘good’ agenda? Anticipat goes further with some revealing numbers. Notice the part about Section 101:

We recently reported that the top patent firms (by registered practitioner as featured on a Patentlyo post) pursue ex parte appeals very differently. This, despite apparent equal knowledge of the benefits of pursuing an appeal to further prosecution. While this finding is interesting, pursuing an appeal and winning on appeal are two different things. Here we report on the differences in appeal outcomes along the three firms Finnegan, Fish & Richardson, and Knobbe Martens.

As brief background, we have found that average reversal rates among the various grounds of rejection to be quite stable. In a recent post, we reported that across the entire USPTO, Section 101 has about a 20% reversal rate on appeal, Sections 102 and 112 hover at about 50%, and Section 103 is around 33%. To look at these firms’ outcomes, we used Anticipat’s Research database and Practitioner Analytics.

Got that? Section 101 reversals are at a mere “1 in 5″. So why even bother?

“PTAB actively enforces Section 101 and there are rarely exceptions to that.”The other day a patent maximalist noted that “PTAB Affirmed Examiner’s 101 Rejection for MasterCard Claims for Making a Sale/Payment with a Mobile Device,” citing a new PDF from Anticipat. This is quite frankly the usual; to suggest that there’s a point trying to work around the law is to basically mislead clients. PTAB actively enforces Section 101 and there are rarely exceptions to that. We’ll say more about Section 101 in later posts, especially misuse of Berkheimer as precedent.

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 13/8/2018: Linux 4.18 and GNU Linux-libre 4.18 Arrive

    Links for the day

  2. PTAB is Loathed by Patent Maximalists Because It Can Potentially Invalidate Thousands of Software Patents (More Than Courts Can Handle)

    The US patent system has become more resistant to software patents; courts, however, are still needed to invalidate such patents (a potentially expensive process) because the USPTO continues to grant these provided some fashionable buzzwords/hype waves are utilised (e.g. "facial recognition", "blockchain", "autonomous vehicles")

  3. Gene Quinn and 'Dallas Innovates' as Couriers of Agenda for Patent Trolls Like iPEL

    Failing to hide their real purpose and malicious agenda, sites whose real purpose is to promote a lot of patent litigation produce puff pieces, even for patently unethical trolls such as iPEL

  4. Software Patents, Secured by 'Smart' and 'Intelligent' Tricks, Help Microsoft and Others Bypass Alice/Section 101

    A look at the use of fashionable trends and buzzwords to acquire and pass around dubious software patents, then attempting to guard these from much-needed post-Alice scrutiny

  5. Keep Boston (and Massachusetts in General) From Becoming an Infestation Zone for Patent Litigation

    Boston, renowned for research and innovation, has become somewhat of a litigation hotbed; this jeopardises the state's attractiveness (except perhaps to lawyers)

  6. Links 12/8/2018: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mesa 18.1.6 Release Notice, New Linux Imminent

    Links for the day

  7. Thomas Massie's “Restoring America’s Leadership in Innovation Act of 2018” (RALIA) Would Put the US Patent System in the Lions' (or Trolls') Mouth Again

    An anti-§ 101 and anti-PTAB bill from Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) strives to remove quality control; but by handing the system back to patent trolls he and his proponents simply strive to create more business of litigation, at the expense of innovation

  8. EPO-Style Problem-Solution: Tackling Backlog by Granting Lots of Low-Quality (Bogus) European Patents, Causing a Surge in Troll/Frivolous Litigation

    The EPO's lack of interest in genuine patent quality (measuring "quality" in terms of speed, not actual quality) may mean nothing but a litigation epidemic; many of these lawsuits would be abusive, baseless; those harmed the most would be small businesses that cannot afford a legal defense and would rather settle with those who exploit questionable patents, notably patent trolls

  9. Links 11/8/2018: PGP Clean Room 1.0, Ring-KDE 3.0.0, Julia 1.0

    Links for the day

  10. Propaganda Sites of Patent Trolls and Litigators Have Quit Trying to Appear Impartial or Having Integrity

    The lobbying groups of patent trolls (which receive money from such trolls) carry on meddling in policy and altering perception that drives policy; we present some new examples

  11. Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Still Try to Undermine Inter Partes Reviews (“IPRs”), Refusing to Accept Patent Quality

    The patent maximalists in the United States, seeing that the USPTO is moving away from patent maximalism, is desperate for a turnaround; prominent patent maximalists take it all out on PTAB

  12. The Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement is Paralysed, So Team UPC is Twisting Old News

    Paralysis of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) means that people are completely forgetting about its very existence; those standing to benefit from it (patent litigation firms) are therefore recycling and distorting old news

  13. Patents as Profiteering Opportunities for Law Firms Rather Than Drivers of Innovation for Productive Companies

    A sample of news from yesterday; the patent microcosm is still arguing about who pays attorneys’ fees (not whether these fees are justified) and is constantly complaining about the decline in patent litigation, which means fewer and lower attorneys’ fees (less work for them)

  14. Links 9/8/2018: Mesa 18.2 RC2, Cockpit 175, WPA-2 Hash Cracking

    Links for the day

  15. Patent Maximalists -- Not Reformers -- Are the Biggest Threat to the Viability of the Patent System and Innovation

    Those who strive to infinitely expand patent scope are rendering the patent system obsolete and completely losing sight of the very purpose of the patent system, whose sanity US courts and lawmakers gradually restore (one ruling and one bill at a time)

  16. WeMove.EU Tackles Low Patent Quality at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The breadth of European Patents, which now cover even nature itself, worries public interest groups; Team UPC, however, wants patent scope to expand further and António Campinos has expressed his intention to further increase the number of grants

  17. Links 8/8/2018: KDE Neon for Testing, New LibreOffice Release, Dart 2.0

    Links for the day

  18. Links 7/8/2018: TCP Vulnerability in Linux, Speck Crypto Code Candidate for Removal

    Links for the day

  19. PTAB Needs to Expand and Become More Accessible to More Challengers of Wrongly-Granted Patents

    Challenges to US patents at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) are helping to raise the bar for litigators; those who value the quality of patents should welcome rather than condemn PTAB and PTAB ought to be expanded to facilitate more scrutiny of granted patents

  20. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Precedents Might Make District Courts (Outside Texas) More Sceptical of Patents

    As patent lawsuits scatter around the United States (not as concentrated around Texas anymore) there's a real chance of turnaround in terms of outcomes; we look at some recent cases

  21. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) is Cleaning Up the United States' Patent System

    The highest patent court (bar the US Supreme Court, SCOTUS) is rejecting a lot of patents, not only software patents; this is long overdue and is bad news to patent lawyers (not to companies that actually create and sell things)

  22. Racing to the Bottom, the António Campinos-Led EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents, Just Like China

    The EPO is being transformed into 'SIPO Europe', a dangerous gamble which would leave European firms more susceptible to frivolous litigation and generally reduce the value of previously-much-coveted European Patents

  23. Arista Shows How ITC Injustice (Embargo Before Facts Are Even Known) Harms Smaller Businesses, Helps Monopolists

    Arista Networks Inc. (Arista) has just given up, but only after years of legal bullying from Cisco, which imposed embargoes using questionable patents that should never have been granted by the USPTO

  24. Links 6/8/2018: Linux 4.18 RC8, Pinguy OS 18.04.1, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08, Thunderbird 60

    Links for the day

  25. Playing With Words and Buzzwords in a Landscape of Software Patents Rejections

    The efforts to get patents on software granted nowadays increasingly rely on synonyms and vague/nebulous buzzwords, such as "AI"; examiners ought to be aware of this because PTAB and courts would almost definitely reject all of these patents

  26. Jury Trials and Apple's Latest Bitter Affair With Patents

    Almost 150 million dollars to WiLAN, Canada's largest patent troll, owing to another jury trial in California

  27. Agenda and Lies From Watchtroll Make It Into the Bill of Rohrabacher, the “Inventor Protection Act”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is being demonised using falsehoods or patently false numbers, which are pushed into various news feeds by the anti-PTAB lobby (representing the interests of patent trolls and aggressors as well as their lawyers)

  28. Attributing Negligible Differences to Whatever Suits the Loudest Opponents of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has limited/restricted patent grants based on 35 U.S.C. § 101, adding to a number of factors which contribute to statistics in litigation and appeals; but the anti-PTAB lobby wants us to believe that there's a resurgence for patent maximalism (the very opposite of what's really happening)

  29. The Anti-PTAB Lobby Still Predicting Doom and Gloom, as Usual, Despite PTAB's Year-Over-Year Growth

    A gradual increase in the number of inter partes reviews (IPRs) in spite of fee hikes; the anti-PTAB lobby is still latching onto anything it can in search of scandals, trying to discourage filers

  30. Understanding of Microsoft’s Patent Strategy Requires Scrutiny of the Patent Trolls It's Connected to

    As Microsoft's strategy appears to be arming patent trolls and then selling 'protection' from them we must still keep abreast of the actions of Microsoft-connected trolls and especially their lawsuits (because these are visible)


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