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

02.11.19

The American Software Patents Lobby Has Died

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 12:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No comment necessary

Watchtroll comments

Summary: Voices of US law firms (i.e. patent maximalists) have become quieter and rarer; applications for US patents have decreased in number, patent litigation numbers have collapsed entirely, and patent maximalists have moved on

FOR FIVE HOURS over the past weekend I monitored news about patents worldwide, spending much of the time assessing outcomes of cases (the Federal Circuit in particular), new patent grants from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs). It seems like the only “good” news patent maximalists have had was one or at most a couple of instances of PTAB overturning an application’s rejection (examination level, akin to appeal or opposition). It’s just about the lowest form of a “win” for them and it is quite revealing. We also saw some law firms bringing up Berkheimer one year later, as expected. I saw quite a few court outcomes against software patents and just about nothing for (in favour of) them. Links are omitted because, as we said at the end of last year, we would rather not focus much on the US anymore; the critical issues are at the European Patent Office (EPO). As for east Asia, Korea and Japan have curtailed software patents somewhat, whereas China creates additional appeal courts, perhaps having realised that many Chinese patents lack merit, hence safety nets for defendants are needed.

Last night we saw this new comment in IP Kat, which suppresses discussion about EPO scandals. It’s about getting around the EPC to patent things which were clearly not meant to be worthy of a patent (or eligible for one):

Article 53(c) EPC does not allow the patenting of methods for treatment, which is what a use claim would be.

To compensate, the legislator initially introduced what is now Article 54(4) EPC and, with EPC 2000, added Article 54(5) EPC. These provisions allow the patenting of a known “substance or composition” for a new first or second medical use. In these particular cases (only), a new use does make the product new (and potentially inventive).

A few hours ago a succinct reply was posted.

An expansion of the scope of patents has always been problematic; we see this in the domain of software patents; António Campinos (or Team Campinos) nowadays refers to such patents as “AI” or “blockchain” or whatever, adding to Battistelli’s “4IR”, “ICT” and Brimelow’s (or predecessors’) “CII” etc.

We intend to focus a lot more on this subject in the coming year if not years. As a software developer myself, the subject matters to me and I have a reasonably OK grasp/understanding of it (technically, not legally). It’s worth noting that software patents proponents have been muted. They’ve willfully become mute if not also deaf (to courts’ arguments against such patents). Watchtroll seems to be dying. The front page of the site reveals no comments (open to all, unlike other sites), at least on the past few posts (weekend) and I reckon they’ll be another shelved domain in a few years. The patent maximalists will need a career change (like this site’s founder, who stepped down from his role last month after 20 years). He started a job at some law firm.

IAM has meanwhile mostly vanished behind an aggressive paywall, its Twitter account sees not much activity, and fellow patent maximalism sites have become either entirely dormant or rarely active (once in a few months). Patent Docs is about 70% ads now. Patenty-O? Ha. Barely active compared to a year or two ago. Its latest post deals with a case that concerns not software but dental stuff. “This approach here is properly seen as a patent drafting trick rather than an improved disclosure or invention,” it says. In broader context:

In the first decision in this case, the district court considered the claims, specification, and prosecution history and found that the claims should be interpreted to require a double pass — even though not expressly required by the claims. Because the accused infringers only used a single-pass, non-infringement was then an easy finding.

On appeal, the Federal Circuit has rejected the narrow claim construction. As is its process, the court began with the claim language — finding that ” at least based on the plain language, the claims are not limited to a repeated desmear process.” Moving then to the specification, the court found no “clear and unmistakable disclaimer” of the claim scope covering a single-pass method. For the court here, the deciding factor appears to be the patent attorney’s care in drafting the specification. Here, the specification calls double desmear “one technique” that the invention “can be carried out” and “for example” rather than calling the approach “the invention.”

This approach here is properly seen as a patent drafting trick rather than an improved disclosure or invention.

The bottom line is, we’re extremely pleased to see software patents defeated in the US and proponents of software patents ‘moving on’ to other things. We shall therefore focus more on Europe.

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 19/4/2019: PyPy 7.1.1, LabPlot 2.6, Kipi Plugins 5.9.1 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/4/2019: Ubuntu and Derivatives Have Releases, digiKam 6.1.0, OpenSSH 8.0 and LibreOffice 6.2.3

    Links for the day



  3. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  4. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  5. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  6. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  7. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  8. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  9. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  10. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  11. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  12. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe



  13. A Linux Foundation Run by People Who Reject Linux is Like a Children's Charity Whose Management Dislikes Children

    We remain concerned about the lack of commitment that the Linux Foundation has for Linux; much of the Linux Foundation's Board, for example, comes from hostile companies



  14. Links 15/4/2019: Linux 5.1 RC5 and SolydXK Reviewed

    Links for the day



  15. Links 14/4/2019: Blender 2.80 Release Plan and Ducktype 1.0

    Links for the day



  16. 'Poor' (Multi-Millionaire) Novell CEO, Who Colluded With Steve Ballmer Against GNU/Linux, is Trying to Censor Techrights

    Novell’s last CEO, a former IBMer who just like IBM decided to leverage software patents against the competition (threatening loads of companies using "platoons of patent lawyers"), has decided that siccing lawyers at us would be a good idea



  17. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 2)

    Calls for papers (CfP) and who gets to assess what's presented or what's not presented is a lesser-explored aspect, especially in this age when large corporate sponsors get to indirectly run entire 'community' events



  18. Patent Maximalists Are Enabling Injustices and Frauds

    It's time to come to grips with the simple fact that extreme patent lenience causes society to suffer and is mostly beneficial to bad actors; for the patent profession to maintain a level of credibility and legitimacy it must reject the deplorable, condemnable zealots



  19. Further Decreasing Focus on Software Patents in the United States as They Barely Exist in Valid Form Anymore

    No headway made after almost 4 months of Iancu-led stunts; software patents remain largely dead and buried, so we’re moving on to other topics



  20. Links 13/4/2019: Wine 4.6 and Emacs 26.2 Released

    Links for the day



  21. Links 12/4/2019: Mesa 19.0.2, Rust 1.34.0 and Flatpak 1.3.2 Released

    Links for the day



  22. Caricature: EPO Standing Tall

    A reader's response to the EPO's tall claims and fluff from yesterday



  23. The EPO is Slipping Out of Control Again and It's Another Battistelli-Like Mess With Disregard for the Rule of Law and Patent Scope

    The banker in chief is just 'printing' or 'minting' lots and lots of patents, even clearly bogus ones that lack substance to back their perceived value



  24. Global Finance Magazine Spreads Lies About the Unitary Patent and German Constitutional Court

    Alluding to the concept of a "unified European patent," some site connected to Class Editori S.p.A. and based in Manhattan/New York City tells obvious lies about the Unified Patent Court (UPC), possibly in an effort to sway outcomes and twist people's expectations



  25. New Building as Perfect Metaphor for the EPO Under the Frenchmen Battistelli and Campinos

    The EPO is in "propaganda mode" only 9 months after the latest French President took Office; the Office is seen as dishonest, even under the new leadership, which routinely lies to the public and to its own staff



  26. Links 11/4/2019: Twisted 19.2.0 Released, Assange Arrested

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Still Wasting Budget, Paying Media and Academics for Spin

    EPO money continues to flow like water into hands that are complicit in legitimising the EPO's management and policies; this highlights the grave dangers of lack of oversight at the EPO, not to mention lawlessness or lack of enforcement



  28. Links 10/4/2019: Microsoft's GDPR Trouble, New Fedora 29 Images

    Links for the day



  29. Linux Magazine is Run by Advertisers, Not GNU/Linux (and It's Hardly the Exception)

    Advertising is big money — so big in fact that publications no longer care what’s true but instead focus on what text brings them more income (from advertisers, of course)



  30. Guest Post: The Linux Foundation (LF) is “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 1)

    Proprietary software giants with their sponsorships and gifts are more like Trojan horses or parasites striving to infect the host; how can the LF be protected from them?


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts