08.06.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

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

Posted in America, Patents at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Colour letters

Summary: 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

THE limitations in terms of patent scope sometimes seem farcical because both the EPO and USPTO promote loopholes/ways around these limitations. Courts don’t.

“There have been lots of EPO tweets in favour of software patents (disguised by buzzwords like “AI”) since Campinos took over.”Commercials disguised as articles are again being pushed by a site that recently wrote about António Campinos, who says he will continue to pursue patent maximalism, not patent quality. The term "AI" is nowadays being used by the EPO to promote software patents in Europe (without explicitly mentioning the term “software patents”). There have been lots of EPO tweets in favour of software patents (disguised by buzzwords like “AI”) since Campinos took over. Not a good sign at all. The new commercial disguised as an article says:

Dr Susan Keston of HGF tells IPPro about her new promotion, the landscape of software and computer-implementation, and AI patent applications

Well, “AI patent applications” are just software patent applications and “computer-implementation” (with a dash) makes no sense at all unless they’re alluding to “computer-implemented inventions”, a misleading EPO term for “software patents”. Either way, this is part of a trend that we’ve been writing about for over a year. Applicable to Europe and the US alike (with slight variations in the terms used), what we have here is a game of words. Below we focus on the US; we’d rather set aside EPO coverage.

“Why getting patents is smart for domain name companies” was the headline of this article from last week. It’s very bad advice in the post-Alice world because software patents are very weak now. So who’s behind such advice? As usual, it’s the shameless self promoters. To quote: “As a bit of background, I once worked in the intellectual property group of a Fortune 500 company. My job was to license non-patented software technology for commercialization, but I also saw the inner-workings of patent programs.”

“Applicable to Europe and the US alike (with slight variations in the terms used), what we have here is a game of words.”So what we have here is a site about domain names promoting abstract patents in this domain; but the person who wrote the article is no domain expert, just a patent profiteer, as usual.

Also on the subject of domain names, here we have another commercial disguised as an article (same site as above) about someone who “counsels companies in domain name disputes and software litigation.”

This is not necessarily about patents (more likely trademarks), but it mentions PTAB as follows: “He represents clients in false advertising, breach of contract, and defamation cases and has previously been involved in cases before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and the US Patent and Trademark Office.”

They make a hiring an actual ‘news’ item; this is part of a problem we used to speak of. Sites that claim to provide news about patents are actually stuffed by the world’s law firms (litigation industry) and their PR. This problem extends to the USPTO itself. It now actively promotes the Blockchain hype, leading to articles such as this, which says: “U.S. retail giant Walmart has applied for another patent, which describes the management of smart appliances using blockchain technology, according to an application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office August 2.”

“As we’ve already noted above, more and more companies just call their software “AI”, knowing patents on such software would likely be worthless in courts (but enough to fool examiners).”Well, these are software patents disguised using buzz/hype. “The USPTO has published blockchain-related patent applications coming from six major technological companies,” said another article from last week. Just like in China. Published days ago was a page titled “The 2018 White Paper on China’s Blockchain Industry and the Question of How to Protect Intellectual Property Rights for China’s Game-Changing Technology” (overlap in hype).

As we’ve already noted above, more and more companies just call their software “AI”, knowing patents on such software would likely be worthless in courts (but enough to fool examiners). See last week’s article “Despite Pledging Openness, Companies Rush to Patent AI Tech” and also mind these statistics (“Machine Learning” being a branch of “AI”): “I identified 21 PTAB Decisions Directed to Machine Learning Patent Applications Since 4/1/2018. The PTAB Affirmed Examiners’ 101 Rejections in 16 Cases and Reversed in Only 1 Case. 5 Cases Had No 101 Rejections.”

So the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is wise enough to know — in the context of inter partes reviews (IPRs) — that such patents are abstract and thus bunk. The Federal Circuit would likely agree.

It is quite frankly tiring to see all these buzzwords flooding the media, perhaps in an effort to pass off old ideas as more innovative than they really are. Forbes, we might add/stress again, has become quite a patent propaganda site. Their so-called ‘bloggers’ and writers are patent extremists and some are patent trolls (literally). As a new example of that, see an article titled “Before You Begin The Patenting Process, Read This” (blocked behind a spywall, as usual).

“Greedy patent offices exploit that to simply disregard the law, including precedents from the US Supreme Court and a directive from the European Parliament.”Over the past week we’ve caught up with numerous other patents, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4], which appear to be software patents. It’s hard to tell without looking at the underlying patent texts. We also continue to see companies that brag about new patents. INNOVENTIONS (“Established in 1984,” according to its press release) has nothing to show except a pile of new patents; it wants people to pay for these patents. Here is another example which speaks of “350 granted and pending patents across 15 countries, demonstrating ClearMotion’s IP leadership position across the globe.”

Patents per se are OK, depending on the domain. Software patents, however, are bogus patents (so says the US Supreme Court) and sadly we see the media not only promoting these patents but also mislabeling them, e.g. “AI”. Greedy patent offices exploit that to simply disregard the law, including precedents from the US Supreme Court and a directive from the European Parliament.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  2. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  3. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  4. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  5. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  7. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  8. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  9. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  10. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  11. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  12. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  13. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  15. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021



  16. Links 25/11/2021: PHP 8.1.0 Released and Linux 5.15.5

    Links for the day



  17. IBM as Master of Hypocrisy

    Free software projects and Free software developers have long been humiliated by corporations of Western misogynists, falsely claiming that the Free software community isn’t inclusive enough (these are shameless projection tactics; as a matter of public record, the exact opposite is true) and even the eradication of supposedly offensive language isn’t something IBM takes seriously



  18. Links 25/11/2021: LibreOffice 7.2.3 and Mesa 21.2.6 Released

    Links for the day



  19. [Meme] So Desperate That Edge Cannot Even Exceed 4% That They Block Rival Web Browsers

    Linux/Android/Free Software/GNU (they go by very many names/brands) may continue to grow to the point where Windows is as irrelevant as Blackberry; this means that Microsoft’s grip on the Web too has slipped — to the point where Microsoft frantically uses 'bailout' money to hijack LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. (it also rebrands almost everything as "Azure" or clown to fake a perception of growth)



  20. Windows Vista Service Pack 11 (Vista 11) Has Failed to Curb the Growth of GNU/Linux

    Windows market share continues to decrease in spite of billions of dollars spent bribing the media for fake hype, especially in light of a new Windows Service Pack (SP), Vista SP 11



  21. Links 25/11/2021: Proton 6.3-8 and Linux Mint Compared to Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  22. 3.5 Years Later the 'Master' of Fedora is Still Microsoft and IBM Cannot Be Bothered to Alter Git Branch Names (Refuting or Ignoring Its Very Own Directive About Supposedly Racially-Insensitive Terms)

    Today we demonstrate the hypocrisy of IBM; years after telling us that we should shun the term "master" and repeatedly insisting it had a racist connotation at least 65 Fedora repositories, still controlled by Microsoft, still use "master"



  23. Changing the Arrangement While News is a Bit Slow(er)

    I've made it easier for myself to keep abreast of things like IRC channels and networks (incidentally, a day ago Freenode reopened to anonymous logins) and I've improved monitoring of the Web sites, Gemini capsule etc. (this video is unplanned and improvised)



  24. Links 24/11/2021: Alpine Linux 3.15 and Endless OS 4.0 Released

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] Jimmy Zemlin Loves Microsoft

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Lying for a living and sucking up to the liars pays off; you get to plunder actual Linux users while leaving Linux morally and financially bankrupt



  26. Links 24/11/2021: PHP Foundation and Flatpak Criticisms

    Links for the day



  27. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/11/2021: Rust Crisis and Team UPC Still Faking 'Progress'

    Links for the day



  29. Links 23/11/2021: New GNU Parallel and Memories of David H. Adler (Perl, Raku)

    Links for the day



  30. In Light of Fast-Accelerating Deterioration -- Sometimes Weaponisation -- Getting Off the World Wide Web (to the Extent Feasible) Makes You Saner and Less Susceptible to Manipulation, Lies

    Almost no sites are speaking about it (probably because they have no presence on the Internet except on the Web), but it's time to motivate more people to get off the Web, for their own good and for society's sake...


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