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04.28.18

Canada Has a Patent Trolls Problem and the Federal Government Intends to Start Tackling That

Posted in America, Patents at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Problem if not epidemic

Federal government to announce ‘patent troll’ crackdown as part of national IP strategy

Summary: Productivity in Canada suffers from a growing abundance/prevalence of patent trolls and to improve productivity the Canadian government seems eager to crack down on this nuisance

THE country north of the United States is very large, but its population is not so large and there aren’t many technology firms there (compared to some other countries). Those which are based in Canada, usually in the big cities, are pursuing patents at the USPTO, not CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office), and as many Canadian companies operate in the neighbouring country, the United States, the ramifications of lawsuits are very real. We’re not unfamiliar with it. We’ve covered plenty of examples over the years.

“It can start with WiLAN (mentioned here earlier this year and even about 8 years ago), not to mention BlackBerry.”Canada’s government is beginning to recognise the issue. It can start with WiLAN (mentioned here earlier this year and even about 8 years ago), not to mention BlackBerry.

Canada, according to the mainstream media, will “announce [a] ‘patent troll’ crackdown as part of national IP [sic] strategy” (that’s their headline).

For subscribers only at the time of publication, it’s now open access and it says:

The federal government plans to clamp down on “patent trolls” and help train Canadian innovators to compete more effectively against global tech giants as part of its intellectual-property (IP) strategy to be unveiled Thursday.

The strategy, details of which have been obtained by The Globe and Mail, will be announced at an event in Ottawa to commemorate World Intellectual Property Day.

It is already being hailed as a success by former Research In Motion chairman and co-chief executive Jim Balsillie, Canada’s most vocal and persistent advocate for government to step up efforts to equip Canadians with the tools necessary to operate in a global economy increasingly shaped by patented technological advances.

“This is a first step towards an innovation strategy,” said Mr. Balsillie, whose former company settled a lawsuit filed against it by patent holding company NTP Inc. in 2006 by paying NTP US$612.5-million.

The Globe and Mail’s report seems rather unique as we did not find similar reports at the time. Like Australia, which has some commonalities with Canada (except the weather), Canada seems to be adopting a saner patent strategy. Productivity should be paramount and trolls clearly and patently reduce productivity.

“Like Australia, which has some commonalities with Canada (except the weather), Canada seems to be adopting a saner patent strategy.”Over the past week we’ve found many news stories about patent activity in Canada — a lot more than usual in fact.

“Canadian toy maker files patent suit against Mattel in US district court,” one report in the Canadian media said. The gist of it:

Canadian toy maker Spin Master Corp. is suing industry giant Mattel, Inc. in California in the next stage of a high-stakes battle to defend its rights to a patented mechanism used in its Bakugan transforming robots.

Canadian news such as this may have become rather common.

Bogus software patents (of Canadian companies) have again shown up in the media. This firm seems to act more like patent trolls, having chosen a big target:

A small Canadian software company on Thursday lost a bid to revive a U.S. patent infringement lawsuit seeking $65 million in damages from remote computing giant Citrix Systems Inc.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision denying a motion for a new trial 01 Communique Laboratory Inc made after a jury found Citrix did not infringe one of its patents, rejecting 01 Communique’s claim that it was prejudiced by the trial judge’s evidentiary rulings.

So CAFC generally and categorically rejected these patents. Software is not patentable. These patents are worthless.

Regarding Toronto-Dominion Bank, see what Canadian media said only yesterday. It is specifically about software patents:

The large number of software patents that TD Bank has made over the past few years leads me to believe that TD Bank is treating the tectonic shift the industry is about to face as an opportunity to get the leg-up on its peers through patented technological applications that will give the company a durable competitive edge over peers that will be inclined to follow suit.

Given the immense disruption that technology is going to have on the financial services industry, TD Bank realizes that to protect its business from disruption, it’s going to need to double-down on tech, whether it’s through filing patents to protect innovative new tech applications or through the acquisition of smaller FinTech firms for their talent pools.

Canadian companies, as we have shown in past years, are already suing in Texas. Very far from the Canadian border; probably as far as one can get from it! Now watch this news about Jim Banowsky from Microsoft becoming General Counsel of AmpThink, which has offices in Dallas (Texas) and Toronto. He has “12 years at Microsoft where he was a Senior Patent Attorney,” says the press release. “Jim’s patent work includes extensive experience with software patents…”

“Whatever or whichever side one might take, it’s pretty clear that Canada has become fertile ground for hostile sorts of actors, including some of the world’s very large patent trolls.”Yes, those patents that are worthless and Microsoft uses to extort Linux companies. Microsoft is a criminal enterprise when it comes to patents because it blackmails a lot of companies — a subject we’ll cover in our next post. But remember that Microsoft was sued by the Canadian firm called i4i. So sometimes it’s also on the receiving end of so-called ‘trolls’.

Whatever or whichever side one might take, it’s pretty clear that Canada has become fertile ground for hostile sorts of actors, including some of the world’s very large patent trolls. They are not beneficial to Canada and they tarnish their national image.

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