07.19.18

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Some US Patents’ Quality is So Low That There’s a Garden Clearance/Fire Sale

Posted in America, Patents at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Allied Security Trust (AST) is trying to offload many of them, the deadline being tomorrow

Australia and America

Summary: Rather than shoot worthless patents into orbit where they belong the Allied Security Trust (AST), collector of dubious patents [1, 2], will try to sell them to gullible opportunists and patent trolls (even if the said patents would likely perish in courts)

THE USPTO spent decades granting a lot of poor-quality patents (like those the EPO nowadays grants, due to Battistelli’s policies). Many of these patents will never be tested in courts (the vast majority will have expired without any court action), so it will be hard to tell just what proportion of these patents is bunk. There are no reliable estimates of that.

“Many of these patents will never be tested in courts (the vast majority will have expired without any court action), so it will be hard to tell just what proportion of these patents is bunk.”Many companies sell their patents in bulk, usually to patent trolls. Some get sold because the patents are about to expire, whereas others are sold due to a company’s bankruptcy. The term “fire sale” comes to mind. As Wikipedia defines it: “A fire sale is the sale of goods at extremely discounted prices, typically when the seller faces bankruptcy. The term originated in reference to the sale of goods at a heavy discount due to fire damage. A fire sale may or may not be a closeout, the final sale of goods to zero inventory. Fire sales are said to occur in the financial markets when bidders who value assets highly are prevented from bidding on them, depressing the average selling price below what it otherwise would be. This lowering of the price can cause even further issues because it may be inaccurately perceived as signaling negative information.”

“Many companies sell their patents in bulk, usually to patent trolls.”The abundance of US patents isn’t something to necessarily be celebrated; what really matters is how strict or lenient patent examination is; when it comes to patents, journalism or ‘articles’ these days are just a ‘shopping list’ of patents, e.g. this from RichmondBizSense: “Local patents for 7.18.18″ (yesterday)

Or this one from patent propaganda sites like “Dallas Innovates”/“Dallas Invents” series: “Dallas Invents: 97 Patents Granted for Week of July 10″ (this is the latest of many)

“Worthless patents are currently being sold by a parasitic entity, AST, using buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence” and “Internet of Things” (typically software patents).”It’s nothing but a copy-paste job; they make no effort to assess or explain these patents.

Worthless patents are currently being sold by a parasitic entity, AST, using buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence” and “Internet of Things” (typically software patents). Bring in the garbage trucks. They’ve just advertised these [1, 2] as follows:

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Automotive / Transportation Services
Blockchain
Internet of Things / Connected Devices
Smart Home
Software / Web Services
Wireless

The deadline is tomorrow. How many patent trolls will pick up patents in there? How many can be voided by Section 101?

Watchtroll’s guest writer, Alex Poltorak, wrote on July 12th about US patent number 10 million, which is likely bunk/bogus as per Section 101. To quote:

Last month, the U.S. Patent Office issued patent number 10,000,000. This historic occasion calls for rethinking our patent system and the future of American innovation.

In the past, such an event would have been a cause for celebration, a testimony to our ingenuity. Back then, patents were valuable assets, protecting and incentivizing innovation. A valid patent gave its owner the right to stop infringers in their tracks. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

Yes, not because of “bad courts” but because of bad patents — patents that should never have been granted, right? That silly celebration of 10 million patents could also be seen in Sioux Falls Argus Leader two days ago, courtesy of “Jeffrey Proehl [who] is a registered patent attorney with Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. in Sioux Falls.” Obviously he’s just marketing himself. It’s not really journalism, it’s PR.

“How many patent trolls will pick up patents in there? How many can be voided by Section 101?”Thankfully, software patents and other abstract patents have lost their ‘teeth; it’s like they are zombies or just “dead” (the term used by patent maximalists) because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) belatedly applies the law through inter partes reviews (IPRs). Here’s a new example of it, just published by Law 360:

PTAB Nixes 2 Customer Service Software Patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has struck down two patents covering customer service software, finding that a California-based company’s patents are invalid as obvious.

In two final written decisions issued Monday, the PTAB ruled that tech company LivePerson Inc. had shown that 17 claims across two patents owned by rival [24]7.ai. Inc., formerly known as 24/7 Customer Inc., are both rendered obvious by a combination of earlier inventions.

Might this be a cautionary tale for those who still pursue software patents because the patent maximalists ‘pull a Berkheimer‘ or speak of the fictitious “Berkheimer Effect”? As we’ve shown here many times before, Berkheimer has not had a profound effect. Iancu the Trump appointee attempted to use it to weaken PTAB, but virtually nothing has changed. Denver Business Journal has just reported that he spoke in Denver, but other than that he has been keeping a really low profile lately. Ellie Mertens, a writer for the patent maximalists’ media, says that Berkheimer did have an effect, but her article is behind a paywall, so we’re unable to see what source or data she’s citing. The summary says:

New data reveals that findings of invalidity and the success of 101-based motions to dismiss have dropped since Berkheimer, the most important subject matter eligibility case of 2018

It’s only “the most important” in the eyes of patent maximalists who attempted to exploit it for their personal agenda (as did Iancu). Unless we actually see some hard data to support the above hypothesis, we’ll just continue to assume that Alice, together with TC Heartland and Oil States (also this year; far more important than Berkheimer), mean that software patents are bunk, courts that tolerate such patents are less accessible, and PTAB is free to invalidate them, based on the latter two decisions from SCOTUS, respectively. Berkheimer is just one among many Federal Circuit decisions.

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