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

09.17.18

“Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 1:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On a computer” patents (lacking physical, concrete components and usually lacking novelty)

Singapore marina

Summary: Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the “blockchain” hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent ‘protection’ (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)

THE EPO grants software patents even though it’s not supposed to. So does the USPTO in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) would certainly invalidate these with the Federal Circuit affirming these decisions.

“All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents”We’ve already expressed many criticisms of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), where patent maximalists and even software patents are being tolerated. The same goes for SIPO in China, but not quite the JPO and KIPO in Japan and South Korea, respectively.

Singapore is basically racing to the bottom with software patents, as confirmed only hours ago (“How Singapore Is Fast-Tracking FinTech Patent Applications”). A FinTech patent is just a software patent with a buzzword, yet apparently IPOS is happy to glorify such patents:

The box-office smash hit, “Crazy Rich Asians”, is on everyone’s lips (and social media feeds) nowadays. The Singapore-set Hollywood movie, featuring an all-Asian cast, comically peers into the lives of the one-percenters strutting their stuff in famously up-market Singapore. Love it or hate it, the movie nails one thing for sure: Singapore is a playground for the financially savvy; a haven for financial technology (commonly known as “FinTech”).

In this spirit, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has launched a fast-track patent scheme determined to accelerate innovation for finance sector inventions. This one-year scheme, dubbed the FinTech Fast Track (“FTFT”) initiative, began in April and will end on 26 April 2019. Essentially, FTFT provides for expedited prosecution of FinTech patent applications – a much welcomed initiative for the sector.

[...]

As for the general question, a 2013 Working Paper by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment found that while participation was low, the priority given did speed processes up. As such, the initiative did succeed in accelerating development of clean technologies during the first years after the publication of the patents. As for Singapore, this blogger spoke with several FinTech patent examiners, who noted that to prevent abuse, priority for genuine Fintech patents is protected by trained examiners, who detect patent applications unrelated to FinTech but that are (mis)applied for under FTFT.

There’s no good reason to do this. The same goes for many other digital advancements in the area of finance, including Bitcoin and blockchains. Any “blockchain” patent is just another software patent, yet we keep seeing reports about such patents being pursued and sometimes awarded. Days ago we saw “Hedera Hashgraph, A Blockchain Distributed Ledger Tech Rival, Wants Patent Law Protection” and “Blockchain Market Continues to Grow as Record Number of Patents Were Filed in 2017″ (we covered the subject before).

All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents. They’re a waste of time and paper. NBC Right Now is responsible for the latter article which says this:

According to a research report published by Global Market Insights, the blockchain market size is expected to surpass USD 16 Billion by 2024. The blockchain technology builds a secure record of transactions between two parties, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary. The technology was first applied in cryptocurrency and now, it is widely used in various industry. The market is expected to witness rapid growth as the technology can significantly reduce the cost of operation and enhance efficiency for businesses. As a result, the financial sector is expected to benefit the most from the development of the technology. Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC: VSQTF), Pareteum Corporation (NYSE: TEUM), Seven Stars Cloud Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSC), Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA).

Well, measuring adoption of something in terms of patent applications is lying. It’s hype.

Separately, an article was published to say that “China Accelerates Blockchain Patent Activity” — merely a reminder that China is the only large economy in the world which officially permits — at its own peril — patents on software. To quote the nonsensical sentences which precede it all:

In tech, innovation is everything. In innovation, intellectual property is, well, almost everything — it can be the hardware, the software, the processes that comes from the creative endeavor. You might consider patents a form of competitive advantage.

News came last week that, when it comes to patents tied to the blockchain landscape, Thomson Reuters has found that China, and Alibaba, have had an outsized showing, and seem to be accelerating their patent filing activity.

The said Reuters article was covered here last weekend. What it arguably shows is a bunch of large firms — including banks — looking to guard themselves from competition and therefore creating a patent thicket. How does this contribute to innovation? Moreover, how are such patents not abstract? Many of these firms just stockpile lots of these patents, knowing that if leveraged inside or outside the court ‘in bulk’ they would be hard (and expensive) to invalidate/disprove exhaustively. It’s troubling to see patent offices playing along. We’ve been talking about this for a very long time.

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 27/2/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.1, Collabora Office for Phones and Latte Dock 0.9.9

    Links for the day



  2. The Linux Foundation is Deeply Committed to Diversity and Inclusiveness (as Long as You Have Perfect Vision and Use 'Big Browsers' That Spy)

    The Linux Foundation's message of inclusiveness refers only to a particular kind of inclusiveness



  3. Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) - Part I: Year Zero

    People behind the ousting of Richard Stallman (or 'leaders of the coup' as some call them) want a fresh start; but they aren't starting what most FSF supporters have been led to believe



  4. Alexandre Oliva on Diversity Hypocrites

    "Some of them purport to be for inclusion and diversity, but won't hesitate to make fun of someone's poorly-disguised handicap."



  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, February 26, 2020



  6. Alexandre Oliva: Courage is Contagious

    Having a proposal rejected at a conference is nothing unusual, but the surrounding circumstances and the conflicting versions are.



  7. Links 26/2/2020: Cosmo Communicator 2-in-1, FSF Outlines Plans for Code Hosting

    Links for the day



  8. Reminder: At Linux Foundation in 2020 Three Board Members, Including the Vice Chair and Director at Large, Are Current or Past Microsoft Employees

    Sometimes the facts speak for themselves (or pictures speak louder than words)



  9. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 25, 2020



  10. Links 25/2/2020: MakuluLinux LinDoz and Manjaro 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  11. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on FSF Communication Policies

    Surely I, being acting president and then half-acting president, must suck as a manager. I probably do indeed, but it's not so simple.



  12. The EU's EUIPO Will Later Today Help the EPO (Run by EUIPO's Former Chief) Promote Illegal Software Patents

    Propaganda terms such as "intellectual property rights" and meaningless concepts like "technical effect" are being used to promote so-called 'computer-implemented inventions' (software patents by another name)



  13. Growing Acceptance That There's No Future to the UPC System and the Unitary Patent

    There are growing pains and more signs that even key elements of Team UPC move on, accepting the demise of the UPC



  14. Emulating the Linux Foundation's Business Model (Selling Influence)

    LibrePlanet sponsors are presented with benefits of offering money to the event (or to the FSF)



  15. Guest Article: LibrePlanet Attendees Should Demand a Partial Refund

    What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 24, 2020



  17. An FSF That Rejects Its Founder Would Not Remain FSF As We Once Knew It

    It's important to keep the FSF focused on its goals; that won't be achieved by expelling those who insist on these goals



  18. Links 24/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC3, Netrunner 20.01, Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organisations Announced

    Links for the day



  19. Alexandre Oliva's New Article About a Coup

    Some people try to tell me that the criticism I've got, inside the FSF and outside, since the Free Software Sept 11, are not about my being supportive of RMS, but about my making public statements referencing him at all.



  20. Debian Leadership Should Not be 'Shy' of Politics (and It's OK to Admit Palestinians Are Human Beings Too)

    The contemporary tendency to limit people's freedom of speech (e.g. permission to express political views) means that while people may find software freedom they will lose other essential freedoms



  21. New Series: Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    In the interest and motivation of exposing the true nature of things, Techrights will turn its attention to internal affairs at the higher echelons of the FSF, founded more than three and a half decades ago in MIT (where Stallman launched the GNU Project, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and a lot more foundational Free software)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 23, 2020



  23. Links 23/2/2020: PipeWire 0.3 and Osu!

    Links for the day



  24. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on Being Cancelled

    It was reading this that I realized I’d been cancelled myself. In my case, I was painted misogynist and transphobic, and for a post in which I supported women but denounced a crowd of men twisting the feminist cause, that I share, to attack rms, as if he wasn’t a feminist himself; and in which I express curiosity as to what pronoun to use to refer to zero women to paint me as someone who disregards gender identities and their pronouns.



  25. Good People Need to Run for Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board Positions After an FSF Coup Threw in the Towel, Pushing Out the Founder

    "I have been hit, but not knocked out, and my campaign for free software is not over." --Richard Stallman, October 2019



  26. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 22, 2020



  27. Alexandre Oliva's Message About Cancel Culture at the FSF

    Being cancelled is no fun. In my case, it was for standing for a friend who got canceled for defending someone else from an accusation that was later proven false.



  28. Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

    Links for the day



  29. Being Rich Does Not Imply Being Smart (Especially When One is Born Into Wealth)

    Presenting the 'genius' (college dropout, but that does not matter when the yardstick of wisdom is wealth alone), with his own predictions overlaid on top of his photo from the show of Bloomberg (another 'genius' whose supposed brilliance is measured using money alone)



  30. The Rise and Fall of Free Software

    "We simply need to make the movement less corporate, and more grassroots."


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