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

05.03.19

In the Courts, Where Patents Are Assessed Independently, Geeks Are Winning the Battle Against Parasitic Litigation Firms

Posted in America, Patents at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All we see from the “big litigation” lobby these days is court- or judge-bashing

Trump and Iancu

Summary: Mockery of courts and disdain for the law come not from productive industries but from unproductive ‘industries’ that are doing nothing but patents and litigation; they have completely and undeniably lost the argument

LAST month we published the Internet Association's comments on the "Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance", which sought to work around or overcome 35 U.S.C. § 101 (similarly, bypassing the courts, EPO President António Campinos works around the EPC to grant software patents in Europe).

“The patent zealots have nothing left but court- or judge-bashing.”There are troubling signs that the litigation lobby will try anything it takes to work around the law. Weeks ago we mentioned Coons et al coming back with their ludicrous (and old) pile of papers. TechDirt’s founder has just commented on it, but we don’t believe these comments are even necessary anymore. They have been trying it for years and it always fails. They keep renaming and rebranding the same pile of papers. This time too it’s already off the headlines; completely. Like UPC.

In Mike Masnick’s own words:

For most of the history of Techdirt, we’ve talked about what an incredible mess the US patent system has been. There are many, many reasons for this, but a big one was that for decades, the appeals court that handles all patent cases, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (or CAFC), kept expanding what it considered to be patentable subject matter, and the Supreme Court completely ignored the issue. This culminated, ridiculously, in the State Street decision, which massively expanded what was considered patentable software (before that there was software covered by patents, but it was very, very limited). What made this situation truly hellish for innovators, is that (1) the software world was exploding with all different kinds of apps, and (2) almost no software was documented in the very few areas where patent examiners look for prior art: mainly, other patent applications and scientific journals. There was no need to document software in those places, because (1) when most people recognized software shouldn’t be patented, very few even tried, and (2) why would you?

That resulted in a perfect storm in which patent trolls rushed in to fill the void. Tons upon tons of ridiculously broad patents were filed (or older ones were dug up and “repurposed” for use in trolling). Then it just became a shakedown game of numbers. Find companies doing something vaguely like what’s broadly and oddly described in your patent, tell them they’re infringing — and offer to “settle” for less than the cost to win in court.

The tide started to change over the last decade and a half or so, in part because of a few changes to the law, but more importantly, the Supreme Court started to wake up to the fact that the CAFC had gone rogue and had massively rewritten patent law. And then over a period of about a decade, case by case by case, the Supreme Court smacked down CAFC. Two of the biggest such smackdowns came in the Mayo Labs ruling in 2012 which rejected medical diagnostic patents, and the Alice ruling in 2014, which rejected patents on software that performs “generic functions” (which is basically all software).

The patent zealots have nothing left but court- or judge-bashing. We’ve just noticed that Paul Morinville is once again attacking US courts (in Watchtroll, as usual) just shortly after losing in the Federal Circuit (an appeal of a decision from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB)). Watchtroll is a toxic site which attacks science and justice. We refuse to even link to it any longer. James Nurton (formerly of think tank Managing IP, now writing in Watchtroll) has a new headline there: “Iancu Calls on Federal Circuit to Fix Section 101 Problem” (Iancu the Trump flunky is just another Battistelli, wrongly thinking he ‘bosses’ the courts). Curiously enough, corporate media, especially in the US, loves talking about corrupt Trump appointments… except that of Iancu, whose firm had worked for Trump before he got the job at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Nurton, as it turns out, cites a think tank of litigators, funded by corporations like Microsoft. “Speaking at the 27th Intellectual Property Law & Policy Conference at Fordham Law School on April 25, Mr. Iancu said the interpretation of Section 101 is “the most important issue of substantive patent law currently”…”

Bristows (Annsley Merelle Ward) is still writing about it in IP Kat (twice more yesterday [1, 2]), pushing the agenda of patent trolls and law firms, as usual. And Managing IP is, as usual, only asking lawyers (of trolls in this case, an Ericsson proxy) for their views on Unwired Planet v Huawei. “By taking a FRAND showdown between Unwired Planet and Huawei,” said the summary, “the UK Supreme Court can show that it’s not afraid to make bold decisions on global disputes if others won’t, lawyers tell Managing IP…”

They never bother asking technical people. When James Nurton worked there they were doing lots of puff pieces for him, including UPC propaganda and ‘interviews’ with softball questions.

In more positive news, Josh Landau (CCIA) says there’s a bill in the making to discourage patent trolls. Massachusetts State Sen. Eric “Lesser and Ehrlich hope to protect innovation against fraudulent and bad faith assertions,” he wrote yesterday. This one would actually protect technical people:

Across the United States, two-thirds of all states have introduced legislation that targets bad faith patent assertion by entities like MPHJ and Shipping and Transit. Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser and State Rep. Lori Ehrlich are trying to make Massachusetts the most recent state to join this club.

Lesser and Ehrlich recently re-introduced their bad faith assertion bill that would allow victims of bad faith patent assertions to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and other costs incurred in defending themselves from a bad faith assertion. By allowing recovery of defense fees against these sorts of plaintiffs, Lesser and Ehrlich hope to protect innovation against fraudulent and bad faith assertions.

As usual, there’s a silent war between technical people and lawyers in “Home of the Brave” (where you have to be brave to create something as extortion may be around the corner). At the moment geeks have the upper hand.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks

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 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

    Links for the day



  2. Yes, Master

    When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)



  3. Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

    The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn't stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice



  4. [Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who's Included in the Bombings

    Supremacist agenda disguised as "tolerant and inclusive" is still objectionable supremacist agenda



  5. Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

    Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, July 07, 2020



  7. Links 8/7/2020: Huawei’s GNU/Linux PC, Sparky 5.12, and Endless OS 3.8.4 Released

    Links for the day



  8. [Humour] Television Channels That Don't Speak of Real Looting But Participate in Looting

    People may need to look beyond (or outside) the television screen to grasp what's going on



  9. (Software) Freedom is Elusive Without the Ability to Concentrate

    Software is consuming people's minds; to make matters worse, people have become so attached to such software that they're unable to see it and get away from it (they associate that software with "social life")



  10. Monopolies Erode Freedom, Freedom Erodes Monopolies

    "There are so many reasons that GitHub makes projects less free."



  11. Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

    Links for the day



  12. [Humour] IAM Ranked Top for Quality of EPO Propaganda

    Contrary to what the European Patent Office (EPO) keeps saying, patent quality is slipping very fast in Europe (based on the EPO's own analysis!) but patent trolls-funded publishers deny that



  13. When They're Done With Patents on Foods and Recipes They'll Have Patents on Fashion, Taste and Smell

    The mental dysfunction — an infectious condition — that says everything in the world must be patented should be resisted; it overlooks the fact that patents were introduced to protect/promote actual invention, not thoughts, feelings, nature and art



  14. [Humour/Meme] IBM's Money is Unhealthy to the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    IBM will never be happy as long as RMS (Richard Stallman) has a say in the FSF — directly or indirectly — or even in the GNU Project, both of which he himself created back when IBM was the biggest monopolist



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, July 06, 2020



  16. Never Let IBM/Red Hat Lecture Us on Morality

    Ethics and morality should not be taught by those who themselves need a lesson; in the meantime we're losing the courage to speak freely and those who commit atrocious acts like it a lot better that way



  17. [Humour/Meme] Wear the Red Hat as the Open Org Becomes Openwash

    IBM is changing Red Hat and not for the better; sooner or later IBM will become another Microsoft and changing from one to the other will be like swapping 'masters'



  18. IBM is Imposing Non-Free, Privacy-Infringing Tools and Patent Tolls on Red Hat Staff

    There are signs that Red Hat under IBM will be more like assimilation to IBM, not IBM assimilating to the 'Red Hat way' or the so-called 'open org'



  19. They Tell the Free Software Community That It is Racist While Saying Nothing at All About Trump's Racism (Because He Gives Them Government and Military Contracts)

    While their president compares 'foreign' people to a virus (using innuendo, dog whistles and racist rhetoric reminiscent of the Nazi era) the big US corporations (American surveillance giants) turn their attention to rather innocuous words inside people's code (which almost nobody sees anyway)



  20. LibreOffice 'Personal Edition' Seems Like a Marketing and Communication Fluke

    Had LibreOffice developers (and the Document Foundation) communicated these changes more openly, they would have averted/avoided some of the FUD



  21. It Almost Feels Like Microsoft Has Already 'Bought' Canonical

    Canonical's disturbing trajectory and betrayal of the community continue unabated; one can easily get the impression that Ubuntu exists to help Microsoft at some level



  22. Update to GNU Project Bleeding into Microsoft

    Update



  23. Microsoft is Going to Get Tired of Whining About “GAFA” and Accept That It's Just as Bad If Not a Lot Worse at Privacy

    Microsoft is being treated by the US government as if it's not abusing anything, let alone people's privacy; if anything, this demonstrates the degree to which Microsoft infiltrated or 'vendor-captured' regulatory branches



  24. Links 6/7/2020: LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, MX-19.2 KDE Beta 1, Linux 5.8 RC4

    Links for the day



  25. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section: Linux is Full of Problems and It Loves/Embraces Software Patents

    Software patents promotion and GNU/Linux FUD; your daily dosage of 'news' from the tabloid known as ZDNet...



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, July 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, July 05, 2020



  27. Links 5/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Mate Beta and GNOME Gingerblue

    Links for the day



  28. Technological Progress? Only If We Assume The Wrong Things...

    When we're told that we're all dumb we're being given increasingly dumb technology (and they tell us dumber is better)



  29. Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely -- and More Over Time -- by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

    The Linux Foundation‘s growing role in spying or the focus on data-mining operations is an eternal reminder or warning that the Foundation follows power and money, not freedom or ethics (it began as a salary-paying venture, crowdfunding among large corporations which conduct mass surveillance)



  30. Sharing is Caring, as Those Who Share Usually Care

    Going back to our human roots, people who cooperate and collaborate are vastly more likely to survive and thrive; Free software is almost guaranteed to become the norm when/once everyone demands it (proprietary software is too divisive, supremacist and even racist)


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