12.01.18

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Google Keeps Reminding the World That It’s Part of the Patent Menace Rather Than a Solution to That

Posted in Google, Patents at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Google is no opponent of software patents, either. It plays an instrumental role in LOT Network.

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: Owing to a tip sent by a reader we now have yet more evidence that Google is shameless about taking other people’s ideas and turning them into Google monopolies (patents)

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently rejected/declined a patent award after Google had ripped off Dr. Jarosław Duda (Jarek Duda). We wrote about it several times in recent months. It’s a pretty big deal not just because of the ripoff; it’s a software patent application. Here’s some background:

Writing to us regarding an interactive book from MIT Media Lab, a reader highlighted this new thread (“Google Tried to Patent My Work After a Job Interview”), which “also rises at Reddit,” this reader pointed out in relation to this Reddit thread. Authored by Jie Qi (Berkman Klein Center, MIT Media Lab) is this original post, which refrains from naming Google in the title/headline but makes it perfectly clear who the culprit is:

So we had a call directly with their team. As part of negotiations, they offered to add me as an inventor on the patent application if it meant the application could stand. I said no, because in order for me to be an inventor on they patent they would have to add all the other inventors who have contributed to blending books and electronics—I’m not the only one working on this!

What I didn’t realize at the time is that there’s actually a huge difference between inventor and assignee.

An inventor is the one credited with coming up with the idea for an invention. The assignee actually gets the legal rights to the patent. It’s a bit like how an architect (the “inventor”) may design a house but it’s the home owner (the “assignee”) that gets to live in it, and very often those aren’t the same people. It’s the same situation here: Google ATAP would’ve still owned the patent rights even if I got to be listed as an inventor. Meaning even though I would be on the patent and get credit for the work, I wouldn’t actually get rights to use the invention. Luckily I dodged that one, even though it was by accident!

Next the strange thing was that about a couple weeks into the conversation, Regina left Google ATAP. In the process, she put us directly in touch with ATAP’s senior council, who thankfully agreed to submit all of the prior art we had sent them to the USPTO as prior art for the patent application.

So here they go again at Google, trying to get patents on other people’s ideas. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that Google remains part of the problem. We pointed this out recently in relation to the Google-centric ‘Prior Art Archive’ and prior to that LOT Network [1, 2].

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