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

06.11.18

Post-AIA, Post-Alice/§ 101 USPTO Still Granting Software Patents in Defiance of the (Case)Law

Posted in America, Patents at 12:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nationality or sovereignty defined by one’s patent scope; the danger is, by granting patents in error they associate their patents with weak enforceability

Some questions

Summary: The patent microcosm, which looks for new ways to patent algorithms (in spite of Alice), actually dooms the US patent system by filling it up with invalid patents — software patents that are just waiting to be thrown out by courts which can better assess subject matter (no financial incentive to grant aplenty)

THE LITIGATION climate the US became renowned/notorious for is no more; at least as far as patent litigation is concerned. As we said yesterday, a lot of the litigation drifts eastwards to Europe and China, owing to patent maximalism at the EPO and SIPO. It’s estimated that this year — by year’s end — the USPTO will have marked a decline in patent filings.

“We are sadly seeing a failure to reject software patent applications, which eventually perish somewhere like the Federal Circuit or Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — at a vastly higher cost!”The improving patent quality is good news; it’s bad news to lawyers, but they’re just a tiny minority or a non-producing, unproductive niche. Based on yesterday’s advertisement of an upcoming “webinar” of theirs, they’re trying to come up with new patenting tricks (getting patents on what otherwise would get rejected). The Practising Law Institute (PLI), a patent maximalists’ group, will cover “35 U.S.C. Sections 101/102/103″ and “35 U.S.C. 101: The Complete Guideline Breakdown of Alice, Myriad and Mayo” (basically what places restrictions on abstract patents). There’s also this upcoming “webinar” about rejections and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which acts as a front for IBM in promoting software patents, has this “webinar” about patents on nature/life. IBM’s Manny Schecter has meanwhile said: “Inventions can be implemented in hardware or software; both should be patentable” (in the US).

“Watch this new list of newly-granted patents; some of them sound like classic software patents. We already know that such patents, even if granted by the patent office, may perish in courts (or even PTAB).”“Software requires hardware (i.e. non-physical) to run,” I told him, “so focus on the hardware, leave abstract patents out…” (he never replies)

We are sadly seeing a failure to reject software patent applications, which eventually perish somewhere like the Federal Circuit or Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) — at a vastly higher cost!

The other day we became aware of this new lawsuit by USAA [1, 2]. The underlying patent sure sounds like a software patent. To be invalidated soon? Here are the details:

USAA has filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Wells Fargo for unspecified damages, alleging Wells has infringed on USAA’s remote deposit capture patents.

More than a year ago, San Antonio-based USAA, which says it is the inventor of remote deposit capture, started to seek licensing fees from banks using the technology.

“We’ve been abundantly patient with Wells Fargo,” Nathan McKinley, a USAA vice president and its head of corporate development, said in an interview Friday. “Now is the time for us to get the court’s assistance.”

There’s nothing seemingly physical in this so-called ‘invention’. The lawsuit may go nowhere, but maybe its sole purpose/intention is to increase the pressure on Wells Fargo (to abandon this feature or shell out money).

2020NOW, based on this new press release, is pursuing patents only for the sake of litigation. Expect lawsuits to come:

20/20NOW, the pioneer and innovator of Ocular Telehealth, has initiated legal action and other efforts to protect its patents against infringement. 20/20NOW has filed a lawsuit in New York Eastern District Federal Court against Digital Optometrics, claiming infringement of 20/20NOW’s intellectual property. The company also intends on filing for a Post Grant Review of Digital Optometrics Patent with the U.S. Patent Office. The company is confident that the recently issued Digital Optometrics Patent will be found invalid.

We actually found this under “software patents” (we do not look randomly at patents); they aren’t necessarily patenting anything physical here. Here’s another new example, this time from Acuant. “The patent focuses on remote image acquisition and the processing of ID documents,” it says (classic software patent?). “Acuant currently has more than 20 issued patents.”

But so what? Are these all valid? Have these ever been proven in a courtroom? Watch this new list of newly-granted patents; some of them sound like classic software patents. We already know that such patents, even if granted by the patent office, may perish in courts (or even PTAB). Several days ago we saw Jorge Sagastume giving bad advice as though software is still patentable. He wrote:

Depending upon the reason behind your need to hand your software to someone else, you may wish to take measures to protect your intellectual property. Patents can be used to protect the factual aspects of software, while software copyright can be used to protect the “artistic” side of things, including your code. While handing your code to another party is a relatively common behavior in the software world, it never hurts to be prepared, to be aware of the risks and to protect yourself throughout the process.

It’s really not clear what Sagastume meant by “factual aspects of software” (it sounds like mumbo-jumbo), especially as we know that software as a whole is abstract and thus patent-ineligible, e.g. under Alice.

We keep watching these things closely because ideally examiners will just stop issuing software patents; then and only then will PTAB and other tribunals not be demonised for simply applying the law as examiners ought to have done.

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. The Linux Foundation is Not About Linux

    Linux Foundation (LF) objectives/missions do not resemble what the Open Source Development Labs, Inc. (OSDL) was founded to accomplish; this puts at grave threat the very raison d'être of both GNU and Linux



  2. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation Needs to Define “Support”

    Part of an ongoing series of articles we do about the Linux Foundation



  3. Dimitris Xenos on Unconstitutional Supranational Arrangements for Patent Law: Leaving Out the Elected Legislators and the People’s Participatory Rights

    A new paper from a British scholar proves to be timely because of the EPO's violations of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and failed push to force-feed Europe with the unconstitutional Unified Patent Court (UPC)



  4. The Campinos-Battistelli Strategy is Working: Patent Trolls Are Coming to Europe!

    It cannot be any less obvious that today's European Patent Organisation (and Office) works for patent offices and for those who pay these patent offices (law firms) rather than for science, technology and the public (including the European public)



  5. Links 25/3/2019: Linux 5.1 RC2, Nano 4.0, PyPy 7.1

    Links for the day



  6. Links 24/3/2019: Microsoft Does Not Change; Lots of FOSS Leftovers

    Links for the day



  7. Just Published: Irrational Ignorance at the Patent Office

    Iancu and his fellow Trump-appointed "swamp" at the USPTO are urged to consult academics rather than law firms in order to improve patent quality in the United States



  8. Microsoft Paid the Open Source Initiative. Now (a Year Later) Microsoft is in the Board of the Open Source Initiative.

    The progression of Microsoft entryism in FOSS-centric institutions (while buying key "assets" such as GitHub) isn't indicative of FOSS "winning" but of FOSS being infiltrated (to be undermined)



  9. Jim Zemlin's Linux Foundation Still Does Not Care About Linux Desktops

    We are saddened to see that the largest body associated with Linux (the kernel and more) is not really eager to see GNU/Linux success; it's mostly concerned about its bottom line (about $100,000,000 per annum)



  10. Links 23/3/2019: Falkon 3.1.0 and Tails 3.13.1

    Links for the day



  11. The Unified Patent Court is Dead, But Doubts Remain Over the EPO's Appeal Boards' Ability to Rule Independently Against Patents on Nature and Code

    Patents used to cover physical inventions (such as engines); nowadays this just isn't the case anymore and judges who can clarify these questions lack the freedom to think outside the box (and disobey patent maximalists' dogma)



  12. Patent Law Firms Still Desperate to Find New Ways to Resurrect Dead Software Patents in the United States

    There's no rebound and no profound changes that favour software patents; in fact, judging by caselaw, there's nothing even remotely like that



  13. Links 22/3/2019: Libinput 1.13 RC2 and Facebook's Latest Security Scandal

    Links for the day



  14. Why the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) Cannot Ignore Judges, Whereas the EPO Can (and Does)

    The European Patent Convention (EPC) ceased to matter, judges' interpretation of it no longer matters either; the EPO exploits this to grant hundreds of thousands of dodgy software patents, then trumpet "growth"



  15. The European Patent Office Needs to Put Lives Before Profits

    Patents that pertain to health have always posed an ethical dilemma; the EPO apparently tackled this dilemma by altogether ignoring the rights and needs of patients (in favour of large corporations that benefit financially from poor people's mortality)



  16. “Criminal Organisation”

    Brazil's ex-President, Temer, is arrested (like other former presidents of Brazil); will the EPO's ex-President Battistelli ever be arrested (now that he lacks diplomatic immunity and hides at CEIPI)?



  17. Links 21/3/2019: Wayland 1.17.0, Samba 4.10.0, OpenShot 2.4.4 and Zorin Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Team UPC (Unitary Patent) is a Headless Chicken

    Team UPC's propaganda about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has become so ridiculous that the pertinent firms do not wish to be identified



  19. António Campinos Makes Up Claims About Patent Quality, Only to be Rebutted by Examiners, Union (Anyone But the 'Puff Pieces' Industry)

    Battistelli's propagandistic style and self-serving 'studies' carry on; the notion of patent quality has been totally discarded and is nowadays lied about as facts get 'manufactured', then disseminated internally and externally



  20. Links 20/3/2019: Google Announces ‘Stadia’, Tails 3.13

    Links for the day



  21. CEN and CENELEC Agreement With the EPO Shows That It's Definitely the European Commission's 'Department'

    With headlines such as “EPO to collaborate on raising SEP awareness” it is clear to see that the Office lacks impartiality and the European Commission cannot pretend that the EPO is “dafür bin ich nicht zuständig” or “da kenne ich mich nicht aus”



  22. Decisions Made Inside the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Lack Credibility Because Examiners and Judges Lack Independence

    The lawless, merciless, Mafia-like culture left by Battistelli continues to haunt judges and examiners; how can one ever trust the Office (or the Organisation at large) to deliver true justice in adherence or compliance with the EPC?



  23. Team UPC Buries Its Credibility Deeper in the Grave

    The three Frenchmen at the top do not mention the UPC anymore; but those who promote it for a living (because they gambled on leveraging it for litigation galore) aren't giving up and in the process they perpetuate falsehoods



  24. The EPO Has Sadly Taken a Side and It's the Patent Trolls' Side

    Abandoning the whole rationale behind patents, the Office now led for almost a year by António Campinos prioritises neither science nor technology; it's all about granting as many patents (European monopolies) as possible for legal activity (applications, litigation and so on)



  25. Where the USPTO Stands on the Subject of Abstract Software Patents

    Not much is changing as we approach Easter and software patents are still fool's gold in the United States, no matter if they get granted or not



  26. Links 19/3/2019: Jetson/JetBot, Linux 5.0.3, Kodi Foundation Joins The Linux Foundation, and Firefox 66

    Links for the day



  27. Links 18/3/2019: Solus 4, Linux 5.1 RC1, Mesa 18.3.5, OSI Individual Member Election Won by Microsoft

    Links for the day



  28. Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Continue Their Patent War, Including the War on Linux

    Microsoft is still preying on GNU/Linux using patents, notably software patents; it wants billions of dollars served on a silver platter in spite of claims that it reached a “truce” by joining the Open Invention Network and joining the LOT Network



  29. Director Iancu Generally Viewed as a Lapdog of Patent Trolls

    As Director of the Office, Mr. Iancu, a Trump appointee, not only fails to curb patent trolls; he actively defends them and he lowers barriers in order to better equip them with bogus patents that courts would reject (if the targets of extortion could afford a day in court)



  30. Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts