12.28.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

The Demise of Patent Trolls and Software Patents in the US Continued in 2018

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: With patent trolls’ bankruptcy filings, advocates’ departures and a decline in the number of granted US patents we’re seeing a sort of recession if not depression in the patent microcosm; that being the case, we’ll shift our focus to other things in 2019

THE year 2018 was a positive one for the US patent system if one skips the parts about Iancu’s controversial remarks and moves at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Iancu has already made himself enemies among scientists and technologists, unlike law firms.

“Iancu has already made himself enemies among scientists and technologists, unlike law firms.”Watchtroll’s Quinn, who is connected to Iancu, is stepping down as editor after 2 decades. His site will stagnate and we’ll no longer link to it. Patently-O‘s Crouch is barely writing anymore (maybe less than half what he did before) and he has just pointed out that the number of granted US patents decreased (as we expected) but not sufficiently as many fake patents like abstract patents are still being granted, contributing to the bubble associated with worthless patents (presumed to have value). “The USPTO has indicated that it “remains in normal operating status” despite the Federal Government funding crisis,” Crouch added.

In 2018 we saw SCOTUS ruling in ‘our’ favour and 35 U.S.C. § 101 wasn’t sabotaged in spite of many efforts. As a result of that, litigation ‘businesses’ perished. Here’s a report from Ruth Simon about one patent troll that we’ve covered here before: “Shipping & Transit LLC sued more than 100 mostly small companies in 2016, making it the largest filer of patent lawsuits that year. But when the Florida company recently declared bankruptcy, it valued its U.S. patents at just $1.

“Its demise followed three cases where companies fought back and were awarded legal fees after Shipping & Transit decided not to pursue the patent claims against them. Judges in the cases awarded a total of more than $245,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs to businesses in 2017.”

“Seeing that Watchtroll bashed SCOTUS at least 3 times this month (we’re omitting links, but the bashing is even in those headlines), it’s hardly surprising that Quinn steps down. All they have left is judge-bashing and court-bashing.”This “bankruptcy filing,” United for Patent Reform wrote, “shows how effective patent reform has been, and how it must continue.”

It will. The EFF wrote: “Lobbyists for patent trolls and patent lawyers keep seeking to roll back the Supreme Court’s crucial Alice decision. We expect those bills to keep coming in 2019, but we’ll be there to fight against them.”

By “lobbying” they also mean bribery by patent trolls, who are still a threat (incidentally, Microsoft patent trolls Intellectual Ventures and Finjan both lost important cases earlier this month). From the corresponding EFF post:

In 2018, technologists and users continued to be plagued by abstract, ridiculous software patents. The good news is there are more ways than ever before to fight back against those patents—some of them pretty effective.

Unfortunately, patent trolls and abusive patent owners are working overtime to knock down those recent improvements, and bring the patent system back to the proverbial “bad old days.” Before the Alice v. CLS Bank decision—four years old as of last June—it could cost millions of dollars just to convince a court to invalidate a single abstract patent. That was true even when those patents clearly described aspects of everyday life, like running a contest, displaying a menu with pictures, or teaching a foreign language.

Lobbyists for patent trolls and patent lawyers keep seeking to roll back Alice, promoting terrible legislation like the STRONGER Patents Act. Such proposals weaken our systems to challenge bad patents, and will hurt U.S. entrepreneurs and send innovation overseas. Despite that, we expect bills like that to come back in 2019, and we’ll be ready to fight back on behalf of startups and innovators.

Patent owners are pushing to neutralize Alice through the courts, as well. The most recent attempt is a case called Berkheimer v. H-P, in which a panel of Federal Circuit judges ruled that patent eligibility under Alice can require a full trial. This makes Alice much harder and more expensive to apply and, in our view, is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Last month, we asked the Supreme Court to take up the case and consider overturning Berkheimer.

Joe Mullin has meanwhile named “Stupid Patent of the Month”; the USPTO is making a farce of itself by granting these laughable software patents. As Mullin put it:

We’ve written many times about how the patent system is a poor fit for software. Innovation in the U.S. software industry happens despite, not because of, the thousands of software patents that are granted each year.

But software is not the only industry where patents make very little sense. In the 1990s, the Federal Circuit opened the door to patents on methods of doing business. While the Supreme Court tried to undo some of that damage, financial institutions are still hit with patent lawsuits. Many of these suits come from trolls that don’t produce anything. And yet, just as in the tech sector, there are some financial companies that keep heading back to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking a 20-year monopoly on some tactic or another.

This month, we’re highlighting U.S. Patent Number 10,147,140, which was recently granted to BNY Mellon Bank. The first claim of the ’140 patent uses a lot of financial jargon to describe an extremely simple process: checking social media for a particular event or statement, then making a trade based on that “investment triggering content.” One example of that: making a trade because someone put a hashtag in a tweet.

Even if this was a new product idea or investment strategy, it is not a new invention. The trend of stock market trading has been clear now for decades: automated trading has become faster and more computerized each year. BNY Mellon Bank did not invent computerized trading, social media, or anything else remotely technical. Rather, its patent proposes the idea of trading based on a social media event.

One can expect that a simple inter partes review (IPR) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) would eliminate it; the Federal Circuit would likely not even consider an appeal.

In 2019 we intend to cover USPTO matters less than in prior years. Seeing how things are going, we feel like goals have been fulfilled. Iancu is not a judge and he’s very limited in what he can do except grant even more bogus patents. Eventually the courts call the shots. Seeing that Watchtroll bashed SCOTUS at least 3 times this month (we’re omitting links, but the bashing is even in those headlines), it’s hardly surprising that Quinn steps down. All they have left is judge-bashing and court-bashing.

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. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  2. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  3. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  4. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  5. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  6. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  7. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  8. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  9. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  10. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  11. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  12. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  14. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  15. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  16. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  17. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  19. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  20. [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…”



  21. 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



  22. 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)



  23. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

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



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

    Links for the day



  25. [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



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

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  27. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  28. 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.



  29. 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



  30. 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


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