11.04.18

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Software Patents Proponents Abound: IAM, IBM, Kappos, OIN and Microsoft

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of lobbying for software patents and against Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs); the big players are still eager to strangle the whole domain with thousands of lawsuits, armies of lawyers, and tens of thousands of US patents of questionable quality/validity (enough to keep their rivals hobbling and fearing)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues granting some software patents. And sure, not many or any of them have much of a chance in courts. Especially not high courts like SCOTUS or even the Federal Circuit. Just look at their track record.

“Over the past week there have also been reports about another Microsoft-funded patent troll suing almost all of Microsoft’s rivals in this space (security).”The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, is trying hard to change that. Patent aggressors pay IAM for the effort and days ago they promoted software patents in an event called Software IP. Guess who opened the event: IBM, the new (soon to be confirmed) owner of Red Hat. Let that sink in for a moment. It’s actually not surprising as it’s consistent with IBM’s stance on the matter.

“Brian Kuhn from @IBM delivers this year’s keynote address,” IAM declared. At around the same time David Kappos, who had worked for IBM before he became the Director of the USPTO (he’s now more like a lobbyist of IBM), got boosted by the front group misleadingly named “Innovation Alliance” (hint: it is not about innovation but litigation, it should be named accordingly but “Litigation Alliance” sounds bad). Kappos is a paid lobbyist for software patents — he is paid by patent powerhouses including IBM and Microsoft — both companies being feeders of patents trolls. Their tweet said: “Fmr. @USPTO Dir. Kappos and Judge Michel: Congress needs to pass legislation that redefines #patent eligibility standards to overrule recent #SupremeCourt decisions #PatentsMatter @MorningConsult https://morningconsult.com/opinions/supreme-court-patent-decisions-stifling-health-care-innovation/ …”

It’s basically that same old rant of theirs about SCOTUS. The “Innovation Alliance” then went on to bashing PTAB, which is consistent with the above agenda of lowering the patent bar. This anti-PTAB alliance, boosted by radicals who created anti-PTAB groups, is doing anything it can think of to slow down or obliterate PTAB. As we recently noted, however, based on the numbers, PTAB remains strong and “PTAB petition filing in the third quarter of this year was the highest since the second quarter of 2017,” according to Michael Loney’s latest tally.

Going back to IAM and its IBM-led (keynote) event, here they are writing about Northrop (to be mentioned later in the week in the misleading article from IAM, promoting abstract/bunk patents) [1, 2, 3, 4]: “Northrop – clearly given the amount of money we have in place we’re bullish on patents and software patents although still dealing with some unpredictability in the system [..] diligence process is definitely more robust when there are a lot of software patents in a portfolio [...] having diversity in your portfolio (such as in terms of geography) allows you to blunt some of the impact of Alice [...] I think the negative impact of Alice can be overplayed a bit. It got rid of some really bad patents and is cleaning up the system a little bit…”

A lot if not all software patents are not desirable to the software domain. At all. It isn’t as though there were programmers in that crowd though. It was an echo chamber of lawyers/attorneys. Someone called Pierantozzi is quoted/paraphrased as saying “there’s more confidence, less uncertainty [in software patents] especially in portfolios that are tied to technology…”

Keith Bergelt, a former US diplomat who worked in patent ‘monetisation’, was there too and he’s paraphrased as saying “having Microsoft as a licensee [in OIN] is symbolically important and it’s important for the entire community…”

If only they stopped feeding patent trolls — something OIN can do virtually nothing about. It’s worth reminding ourselves that Bergelt succeeds a person from IBM, who was the first head of OIN. In fact, OIN still is a very IBM-centric group.

A few days ago an article was published with the headline “Microsoft Wants to Make Peace with the Open Source Community” (then stop feeding patent trolls and financing firms that smear FOSS).

One Microsoft-connected patents troll that repeatedly attacked GNU/Linux firms (including Red Hat quite a few times) is still busy suing, based on this new report:

Cook Medical has won a successful dismissal of a patent infringement claim brought by Endotach, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Group.

Endotach’s appeal was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which affirmed the US District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s summary judgement that Endotech’s US patent (5,122,154) was invalid under section 102 of the US Patent Act.

Cook was originally sued by Endotach in 2012 at which point the patent had already expired.

[...]

The Supreme Court held that the equitable defence of laches no longer applied to cases where the alleged infringement occurred during the statutory period.

Over the past week there have also been reports about another Microsoft-funded patent troll suing almost all of Microsoft’s rivals in this space (security). As we noted before, there’s this press release and shallow press coverage. Exactly one month ago they got a patent back in play and they’re still as aggressive as ever while Microsoft carries on stockpiling new patents (examples in [1, 2]).

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