11.05.18

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The US Patent and Trademark Office Continues Granting Abstract Software Patents Because of Buzzwords

Posted in America, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those are fake patents, as per SCOTUS, and should never be granted in the first place

Summary: A quick look at some new patent grants and why they appear to be bogus, based on a superficial interpretation of the promotional press releases

THE granting of software patents based on buzzwords is a real problem. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) actively advertises some of these buzzwords, especially in the wake of 35 U.S.C. § 101 when applicants need to disguise algorithms (for fear of the Federal Circuit, district courts, and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs)).

Over the past week we’ve seen press releases about stuff like “advanced data analytics solutions and drone-based data gathering tools and services…”

It sure seems like Jim Loveland misuses the term “AI” to get fake (bogus) patents on abstract things and this isn’t the first. “When we founded Loveland Innovations, I saw a tremendous potential for drones and artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the roof and property inspection world,” said Jim Loveland.

Stuff associated with drones is patentable if physical (although widespread adoption of drones didn’t happen until a few years ago due to several decades’ worth of a notorious patent thicket). As for “AI”? That just means algorithms.

Another new example of that speaks of passing data to a device. Definitely sounds like bogus software patents, but the USPTO is stamping away anyway. Helps bring money to the Office, right? “CleveMed has been issued a new patent (US Patent No. 10,076,269),” it says, “entitled “Devices and methods for sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment.” The patent covers technologies that enable data transfer from home sleep apnea therapy to the cloud through software apps on patient’s cell phones or other personal smart devices such as wearables.”

So combining algorithms with some vaguely-described “smart” “devices” makes code patentable? Nope.

On October 31st Jeff O’Neill published an analysis of grant rates at the USPTO; sadly, Watchtroll was the platform for publication (Adriana Burgy, Tom Irving and Stacy Lewis have also chosen it as a platform just because of its reach). So this is what Watchtroll said about the USPTO: “The lack of outcome consistency among patent examiners is a known issue that the USPTO is working on improving, and this article presents visualizations to help diagnose areas for improvement.”

That’s because some continue to grant fake software patents, whereas others do not. Make examination stricter and consistency as well as certainty will go up. We could go on and on analysing press releases about newly-granted patents, nitpickin any that look obviously abstract. But it’s a very time-consuming activity. All we can say is, the USPTO needs to become more strict; stricter rather than more lenient as Iancu wants it to be.

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