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02.24.17

Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUEPO is vindicated, again

Els Hardon

Summary: The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts

THE stories we have published about the EPO are approaching 2,000 in number and we spent thousands of hours on these. One reader told us the other day that these stories are having an impact. To quote:

Knowing that the management reads your blog, I suggest to disseminate some information that may accelerate the deliverance process. For instance, this information: I have recently observed in the Isar headquarters of the epo in Munich a remarkable change in the atmosphere, a kind of feeling you may have when the war is nearly at end, or at the end of a reign. The minions are preparing the departure of Sun king Bat (sounds pretty north-Korean!). Of course they are younger than the capo and may want to stay after his departure to further milk the cow. All they need is a “Persilschein” – denazification certificate- to show that they were on the proper side in spite of the situation. In our digital era this is no longer a problem: all “classified” /compromising documents circulating in the office (and there are many!!!!) are instantly photographed and sent to the “cloud”. Thank you google for your google disk and thank you to all companies producing these amazing smart-phones. I guess that after the departure of the capo, the rain coming from the cloud is likely to be a storm of …. Sun King Bat will then appreciate the difference between immunity and impunity.

Can anyone relate to the above? Either way, yes, we do have a lot of documents coming. They’re in the pipeline, just waiting for the right timing (and relevance) to come out. This assures accountability, even if belated accountability.

The other day we found ourselves criticised in an anonymous comment at IP Kat. Someone claimed that no brain drain was going on, refuting what many insiders have said anonymously (in public) and told us directly. Brain drain is not just about retirements but about many early retirements, not counting a lot of unjust dismissals of veteran (experienced and valuable) staff. Here is what the comment said:

@Rasputini @Techrights
I see my comment has attracted the attention of Dr Roy from Techrights.
The hundred examiners leaving is not a sign of brain drain nor has it anything to do with the current management.
It is simply a result of an aging population and the recruitment policies 30 years ago.
I’ll try to explain so that even Dr Roy can follow, should he have a mind willing to understand:
1) we have about 4200 examiners
2) examiners start on average when they are about 30 years old at the EPO
3) the average (pre-) retirement age is currently about 60 years old
4) on average examiners therefore work during 30 years at the EPO
5) on average, 4200/30=140 examiners will therefore retire per year
The 100 current retirements is lower than average since 30 years ago we recruited less. The number will even drop a bit in the next 5 years, then rise up to 200-250.
No magic, no brain drain, no terror management driving people away. Just demography.
And with 200-250 yearly retirements in the near future, no risk of overcapacity at all, quite the contrary I’m afraid.

It didn’t take long for people to refute the above, for example with the following comment:

30 years ago, the EPO had less than 2000 employees, some of them having been there since the time of the IIB. Normally 1 out of 30 or 40 would reach the retirement age which sums up to a natural turnover lower than 67 per year, all staff included. The actual number of staff leaving is more than twice this number. Statistically speaking, a brain drain at the EPO cannot be denied.

Dismantling an argument that suggested we were wrong about brain drain, “anxious attorney” wrote:

Moreover the EPO started with accepting only new examiners from national offices. So elder people. A few years after the start of the EPO also patent attorneys up to 40 years old could apply for a job at the EPO. Many of them older people. More years later also relatively young people finishing their studies at a university could apply. However preferred were people with some years of technical or research experience, so also older ones. Anonymus (1)here above made a very rough calculation, missing a lot of important factors. Anonymes(2) made a better analyses.

Denying that there is EPO brain drain seems rather strange to us as it is so obvious for insiders to see. It has gone on for more than a year and internal numbers (which were privately shared with us) confirm it as an undeniable fact. We did not publish names of people, mostly for privacy reasons (they’re not high-profile public figures).

The problem is now further exacerbated as Battistelli’s management receives a 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders. The following comment is a remark about what it means for “national offices” (NPOs) and what this may, in turn, mean for EPO pensions:

A happy almost ex-examiner-to-be:
After much trouble and pain actually trying to do my work, I’ve at last seen the light. I am now able to see the convincing arguments of the applicant. All of them. Thank you Mr french. I can work 4 times faster now and everyone is happy. My cupboards are almost empty but I can start dealing with patents from other technical areas. “Flexibility is much appreciated”, I was told. They are right: I go even faster now that I search & examine medicaments, locks, reactors, filters, telephones, glassware, cosmetics, oled tv. I am such an expert in all these fields: I immediately spot the convincing arguments. I was given last week a larger container for my stamp ink. What I have problem to understand is why they keep asking for patents from us. Oops. They stopped? They now apply directly to national offices? Who could have guessed? What I am going to do now? Who is going to pay my pension? What pension? What EPO? Thank you Mr french. Thank you.

What happens at the EPO, due to the above “Mr french” (Battistelli), can only be described as a disaster, although that word might be an understatement. Board 28 already called it a "crisis" one year ago and has since then done absolutely nothing to correct it. It is therefore, in a sense, complicit. As one person put it yesterday in Twitter, “The complicity is of all member states who see, know and don’t act.”

“No interest by media in other nations,” the person wrote in relation to EU IPO too, “what a shame.” In our view, large media organisations too have been somewhat complicit, even if by intentional inaction (turning a blind eye).

02.23.17

The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Haar mentality

YOU CAN'T HAVE ILL STAFF IF YOU CONTROL THE DOCTORS and punish for absence

Summary: The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

It’s becoming very hard not to be (or at least feel) sick at the EPO. Sick of Battistelli; Sick of his goons like those blindly loyal deputies and the overzealous Investigative Stasi; Sick of his many scandals and the fact that he miraculously remains in charge after all that*. Sickness has, for many people (a growing number of them) at the Office, become a ‘way of life’. They feel utterly sick coming to work at the EPO, but they must hide it or simply decide to end their EPO careers for good. Issue pertaining to health of workers will occupy a lot of our time and space in the coming months. We have a lot of material about that. It’s a scarcely explored matter, at least in the public domain (the media rarely mentions it at all). It helps explain at least some of the many suicides. So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it. They’re what a classic sceptic would dub “coverup” or “diversion”, or an attempt to cast uncertainty and doubt like oil giants notoriously do. Internal documents, by contrast, explain how sickness leaves got reduced, not because people are any less sick (or less often ill) but because they’re terrified to stay home when they fall ill; they must pretend to be healthy, even when they clearly are not. This kind of phenomenon was explained here before and will be revisited in the future. It’s a deadly combination, akin to lack of sleep (sleep deprivation experiments are well documented in scientific literature), deficiency of exposure to sun/light and so on.

“So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it.”Depressed, helpless, hopeless people whom we hear from/speak to are evidently exhausted, both mentally and physically. They project outwards some of the symptoms experienced in overly demanding production lines (my wife used to work in Taiwan where this was common). It’s incredible that outsiders were never allowed to properly study (and also publish) data on it, but as we shall show at a later point, the Office is actually aware of this issue (e.g. an epidemic of upper limb disorder, which spectacularly enough inflicts nearly half of all the staff!). And that’s putting aside esteem issues, high stress levels that are associated with coronary problems, problems with family/marriage etc.

Leaked to us this week was the following important document, “Mandate for Working Group on the improvement of working conditions and well being” or, as our source titled it, a “quick guide on how to make sick staff sicker”.

Have a look (click to zoom):

Making staff sick
Large-sized version

This is just a draft paper about invalidity. It was “produced some 5 years ago in a brainstorming meeting,” our source told us. Elaborating on what is shown or the context, our source expanded as follows:

Generally, there is one other point you are well aware of but I would like to emphasise: The unfairness and inequality of a “legal” system. Each time the office launches a bullying action, in particular against sick staff, invalids among others, they hit the persons who are in the weakest position to defend themselves. The internal “rules”, the ILOAT imposes legal notices that are acrobatic for most persons in good physical condition, but unbearable for sick or invalid staff. You may spend, hours, days or months in addition to fairte [sic] amounts of money for your lawyer but the office hires the most expensive ones and have troops of jurist to defend themselves. Therefore no chance there.

Invalids are let alone in the dark with the management shooting on persons without defense. These guys are at war and use warriors’ techniques to defeat what they consider their enemy. Invalids are their easiest and weakest prey.

Last but not least, I have developed a strategy to try to get rid of the nefarious clique. I utterly respect all those who try to enforce their rights by claiming them in front of tribunals. This may or may not work in democracies, but at least there is a chance that you get a favourable judgment, if you can afford it. SUEPO has tried many actions in front of many tribunals without an inch of success. SUEPO officials are also profoundly pacifists, which I admire, but sounds pretty naive to me.

In part 5 (there are plenty more parts to come) we intend to share some more information on what should, in my humble opinion, be approached from a criminal angle. How many people need to be systematically bullied and sometimes be driven to their death before the psychopath in chief loses his immunity and gets put — himself — before a tribunal, maybe somewhere like The Hague where he so happily and flagrantly shows off his immunity?
_____
* The parallel realities of Battistelli were described in a comment 3 days ago as follows (we see/hear these lies repeated occasionally, even as recently as days ago by an official in Bavaria):

Neutral persons should confirm that Battistelli´s decisions are right (or not).

Mr.Battistelli tells the world outside the EPO that everything is going well inside the EPO. Quality and production are top. Only a few troublemakers are against him and his reorganisations. Most of the EPO personel and one of the unions accept or even love him and his decisions. His decisions are all right and not in conflict with any law he said. No decision of him is against human rights. His values are democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person.

When this is true, why does he not accept that independent persons analyse the situation in the EPO and confirm that he, Battistelli, is right and doing everything well. Then the ¨troublemakers¨ have to stop. Or is there something he has to hide?.

Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Business, Government Work To Bring Down ‘Dangerous’ UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines – And Change The Debate In Geneva

      Calling it flawed and narrow and seemingly threatened by its contents, the leading United States business group and US government IP specialists are working to limit the impact of a recent United Nations report that made recommendations for the decades-old problem of ensuring affordable medicines reach people when they are under patent in a way that does not threaten innovation. One step in countering the UN report? Change the discourse in Geneva and elsewhere.

      [...]

      The IP Attaché program places US diplomats in many offices around the world “to advocate US positions on intellectual property matters for the benefit of US stakeholders,” as stated in a program brochure. They not only raise issues with foreign governments and provide training and raise public awareness, but they also help US stakeholders doing business in foreign markets. The main focus is foreign laws, foreign courts, and IP enforcement.

    • German-Backed Report Lays Out Strategy For R&D Into New Antibiotics

      In the face of the lack of attractiveness of investing in research for new antibiotics for the pharmaceutical industry, and the general lack of funding for research and development for novel antibiotics, a new report commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health calls for countries to take action. In particular, the report proposes a global union for research and development, a global research fund, and a global launch reward. And access and pricing are key components of the strategy, it says.

      The report [pdf] titled, “Breaking through the Wall – A Call for Concerted Action on Antibiotics Research and Development,” was written by the Boston Consulting Group for the German Federal Ministry of Health.

    • Side Event On UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Next Week At WTO

      As the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting next week is expected to discuss the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines next week, a group of developing countries is convening a side event to engage in discussion with members of the panel. The report included several direct recommendations to WTO members.

      The side event [pdf], organised by Bangladesh, Brazil, India, South Africa, the Secretariat of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and the South Centre, is scheduled to take place on 1 March.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorism Denial on the Left

      At the end of last year I attended a large conference of social science academics and researchers in Melbourne. Speaking on a plenary panel in front of hundreds of attendees was the director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australia’s primary refugee advocacy organisation. He opened the plenary by describing the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers, decrying the cruelty of Australia’s policy of offshore detention toward refugees, and the need for a more humane approach. He pointed out that funding for refugee services had been cut by a seemingly callous government that was indifferent to the plight of refugees. These are all legitimate — if familiar — points in the debate about this topic. However he then went on to say that all of this was happening whilst we spent billions of dollars on a “fictitious war against terror”.

    • What’s With The Assumption That Criticism Equals Hate?

      Take the term “Islamophobia.” It is anything but phobic to fear that pernicious Islamic ideology — which calls for the death or conversion of “the infidel” and a world without individual rights — will have negative effects on our society and our lives.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • South Korea presidential candidate calls for ‘WikiLeaks’ operation

      A South Korean presidential candidate known for his left-leaning populist views is proposing a government-run operation similar to WikiLeaks, the international organization that publishes classified information on its website.

      Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam and a politician with the liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, appeared to be suggesting a new policy, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

      Lee, 52, said South Korean government staffers who leak information to the press should be protected before they are fired.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • First national ‘bee map’ charts their decline – but hopes to stem the trend

      Scientists have compiled a map detailing wild bee activity across the US, but the picture it paints isn’t great.

      It’s no secret that bees are struggling to stay aloft. The precise reasons are up for debate, but many experts agree that a perfect storm of pressures from pesticide use, the rise of monocrop agriculture, declines in natural habitat, and global warming are squeezing many bee populations out of existence.

    • Standing Rock Under Siege: Officials Begin Arresting Protesters

      Law enforcement officials began arresting protestors at the Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, just after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, hours after the deadline Gov. Doug Burgum set for the camp to clear contractors can finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Protestors vowed to stay as long as any Standing Rock Sioux tribe elders wanted to stay.

      Several activists and media organizations broadcast Facebook Live feeds from a scene that is shaping up to be a bitter end to months-long resistance to the pipeline. As of 6 p.m. ET, thousands of people watched Facebook Live streams that showed protesters braving the snow, sleet and rain to make one last stand against what they see as desecration of the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. While violence appeared minimal, BuzzFeed News reported one man broke his hip while clashing with police on Highway 1806.

    • Police begin arresting, removing last DAPL protesters

      Hundreds of police in riot gear and carrying night sticks arrested several of the final Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remaining on federal land in violation of orders to vacate by the governor. Protesters consider the land to be indigenous property, Standing Rock, under treaty.

    • Last Remnants of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Are Engulfed in Flames

      Some of the last remnants of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp went up in flames Wednesday as opponents of the project set fire to makeshift wooden housing as part of a leaving ceremony ahead of a government deadline to get off the federal land.

      The camp has been home to demonstrators for six months as they tried to thwart construction of the pipeline. Many of the protesters planned to go peacefully, but authorities were prepared to arrest others who said they would defy the deadline in a final show of dissent.

      About 150 people marched arm-in-arm out of the camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway. It was not clear where they were headed. One man carried an American flag hung upside-down.

  • Finance

    • New WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Seen Benefiting Developing Nations, Global Trade

      As of 23 February, the following WTO members have accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey

      As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates.

      Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.

      The Hill has identified the stances of 240 DNC members, either through their private responses to a survey circulated over the past week or from public endorsements.

      Out of those who responded, Ellison leads with 105 supporters to Perez’s 57. The remaining major candidates have less than a dozen supporters each, while more than 50 DNC members remain undecided.

    • More Than 90 Percent of U.S. Opposed to Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban According to AI Research

      The vast majority of Americans are opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, according to new research that significantly contrasts with traditional polling on the subject.

      Research by BrandsEye, an artificial intelligence data analysis firm, showed that 91 percent of Americans were critical of Trump’s recent executive order on immigration in conversations on social media. The findings highlight the limitations of current opinion polls, according to the firm’s CEO, which generally found opinion to be more evenly divided. A Reuters/Ipsos poll at the end of January found that 49 percent of people agreed with the order, while 41 percent disagreed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      Political correctness gone wrong can yield surprisingly worrying results. A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • Kenya’s Censorship King: Head Of Film Board Accused Of Overstepping

      Ezekiel Mutua is the head of Kenya’s film board. He’s really just supposed to rate films and other media. But over the past year, he has undertaken a censorship crusade expanding his mandate into the Internet, music and even forcing the cancellation of a lesbian speed-dating event.

    • Skepta fans angered over censorship of Brit Award performance
    • Brit Awards 2017: Skepta Performance Censorship Sparks Social Media Backlash

      Brit Awards viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday’s (22 February) live show, after Skepta’s performance was heavily censored.

      The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage during this year’s ceremony, performing his song ‘Shutdown’, taken from his Mercury Prize-winning album, ‘Konnichiwa’.

      However, despite the fact that Skepta’s performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word “pussy”.

    • Universities and the Threat of Censorship

      During the last few years, we have witnessed a very worrying period for free-speech within universities. In 2015 alone we witnessed 30 universities banning newspapers, 25 banning songs, 10 banning clubs or societies, and 19 worryingly banning speakers from events. Not only that, we have witnessed various feminists, human-rights advocates and LGBT-Rights defenders indicted as encroachers of acceptable propriety and consequently indicted as ‘unfit for a speaker platform’.

    • Techdirt’s Readers Kept This German Comedian Out Of Prison

      Remember Jan Böhmermann? The guy who caused a major diplomatic spat back in April when he read out a satirical poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the notoriously thin-skinned Turkish president, on a German comedy show?

      Usually, what happens on Central European state-run TV stays on Central European state-run TV. Not this time. “Erdogate” went massively viral: there were protests in the streets of Istanbul. Techdirt covered it at length. Even a guy named John Oliver did a segment on it.

      Now Erdogate’s back in the news, with a number of media outlets reporting that a German court just permanently enjoined Böhmermann from reciting his own poem. Sucks for him, right? Actually, no. Bad as it is, things are usually a hell of a lot worse for people in his position.

    • Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint

      Unless the Supreme Court decides to weigh in on this long-running SLAPP lawsuit (highly unlikely — and unlikely to be appealed to that level), it looks like it’s finally the end of the line for Dr. Edward Tobinick and his quest to silence a critic of his questionable medical practices.

    • Students speak out against censorship

      The recent incident at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly appears to be galvanizing Chinese from diverse backgrounds. Earlier today, we reported how the second open letter voicing support for the newspaper has been signed not just by journalists but by lawyers, academics, artists, writers, students, migrant workers and others.

      This afternoon another open letter surfaced on Chinese social media, this time attributed to students at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University. The letter, which includes the names of 18 signers identified as students of the university, bears the title: “Today, We Are Not Without Choices: An Independent Call from Sun Yat-sen University Students on the Southern Weekly Incident.”

    • Vice goes inside Syria to show what media censorship really looks like

      Inspired by President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, the press frequently invokes the specter of ominous reality control as exercised by the bad guys in George Orwell’s “1984.”

      No surprise, book sales are through the roof even if many journalists may not have actually read the classic they cite. But, forget Trump: if you want truly odious propaganda in action, which makes Conway look like a Franciscan Sister, check out Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

      A recent Vice Media dissection of the situation is part of Friday night’s 5th season premiere of Vice’s newsmagazine show on HBO. It’s a two-part episode, featuring “Assad’s Syria,” which is fronted by correspondent Isobel Yeung, and “Cost of Climate Change,” hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith.

      It’s all very strong, especially Yeung’s effort that entailed dangerous reporting throughout Syria. For sure, there has been great reporting in the country. But this goes well beyond much of the sporadic American media accounts, which have tended to focus on the battle over Aleppo and the nation’s unceasing humanitarian disaster resulting from a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

    • Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

      A group of prominent music groups including the RIAA has asked the Copyright Office to help solve the “broken” and “ineffective” DMCA law. The current takedown provision results in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole, they say, arguing that automated piracy filters are the way forward.

    • Google Report: 99.95 Percent Of DMCA Takedown Notices Are Bot-Generated Bullshit Buckshot

      Google, being the search giant that it is, has been banging the drum for some time about the silly way the DMCA has been abused by those that wield it like a cudgel. Here at Techdirt, we too have described the many ways that the well-intentioned DMCA and the way its implemented by service providers has deviated from its intended purpose. Still, the vast majority of our stories discuss deliberate attempts by human beings to silence critics and competition using the takedown process. Google, on the other hand, has been far more focused on statistics for DMCA takedown notices that show wanton disregard for what it was supposed to be used for entirely. That makes sense of course, as the abuse of the takedown process is a burden on the search company. In that first link, for instance, Google noted that more than half the takedown notices it was receiving in 2009 were mere attempts by one business targeting a competitor, while over a third of the notices contained nothing in the way of a valid copyright dispute.

    • Google: 99.95% of Recent ‘Trusted’ DMCA Notices Were Bogus

      In comments submitted to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation, Google has given the DMCA a vote of support, despite widespread abuse. Noting that the law allows for innovation and agreements with content creators, Google says that 99.95% of URLs it was asked to take down last month didn’t even exist in its search indexes.

    • Why The DMCA’s Notice & Takedown Already Has First Amendment Problems… And RIAA/MPAA Want To Make That Worse

      The Copyright Office’s study concerning Section 512 of the DMCA (the notice-and-takedown/safe harbors part of the law) had its second comment period end this week — which is why you’re seeing stories about how the RIAA is suddenly talking about piracy filters and notice-and-staydown. Via our think tank arm, the Copia Institute we filed our own comments, pointing out the already problematic First Amendment issues with the way the current notice-and-takedown system works. Remember, there’s a very high standard set by the Supreme Court before you can take down expressive content.

    • New MTRCB chief says no to censorship

      Don’t be fooled by the cool and calm demeanor, Rachel Arenas is tough as nails and seems raring to pursue her new job as the chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

      At first glance, Arenas, a former representative of Pangasinan, seems more than primed to face the intrigues that come with the territory.

      [...]

      A long-term objective is to “revisit the law” governing the MTRCB. Specifically, she is looking into the different bills that have been filed in Congress, that pertain to the board’s mandate. “Our Technical Working Group is in the process of reviewing the bills and drafting our comments,” she explained.

    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Age Censorship Law
    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Actor Age Censorship Law
    • Judge blocks California law that allows actors to delete their age from website
    • ‘Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship’
    • Censorship and art don’t mix
    • London’s first alt-right art show since Trump’s election to be met with protests
    • Benefactor of controversial LD50 art gallery denies interest or involvement in its activities
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sen. Wyden Wants Answers From New DHS Head, Introducing Legislation To Create Warrant Requirement For Border Phone Searches

      There aren’t many rights extended to anyone in the “Constitution-free zones” we like to call “borders.” You may have rights 100 miles inland, but the government’s needs and wants outweigh citizens’ and non-citizens’ rights wherever immigration officers roam. According to the Supreme Court, warrants are required for cell phone searches. But neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court rulings apply within 100 miles of the border, where the government’s needs and wants are considered more important than the protections they can avail themselves of everywhere else in the country.

      Senator Ron Wyden is looking to change that. Rather than cede more ground to the rights-swallowing concept of “national security,” Wyden is looking to change the laws governing the “Constitution-free zones.”

    • Federal Bill Introduced To Add A Warrant Requirement To Stingray Deployment

      House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, along with his Senatorial counterpart Ron Wyden, is tackling something he promised to act on after he was finished excoriating the leaky Office of Personnel Management for ruining the lives of millions of Americans: Stingray devices.

    • Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command
    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir allegedly helped NSA spy programme XKeyscore, new Snowden documents reveal
    • Peter Thiel company reportedly helped NSA spy program
    • Palantir has a couple of new software for spy agencies, here are some details
    • New details emerge about Palantir’s custom software for spy agencies
    • NSA denies ‘blanket’ spying on spectators and athletes at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

      The National Security Agency has denied it indiscriminately spied on spectators, athletes and others who attended the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

      The denial came in a document filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Utah, where a group of Salt Lake City residents filed a complaint in 2015 alleging the U.S. government engaged “in widespread, indiscriminate communications surveillance, interception, and analysis, without warrants and without probable cause” during the Games that took place just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    • NSA denies spying on everyone in SLC during the 2002 Olympics
    • Coalition Slams DHS Plans To Demand Social Media Passwords

      Starting last summer, we noted that the Department of Homeland Security had quietly tested the waters to expand the information it requested of travelers entering the United States, to “optionally” include social media handles. By December it was officially in place. And then, just days into the new administration, the idea was floated to expand this program even further to demand passwords to social media accounts.

    • Tinder boss predicts AI will find your matches within five years

      Sorry about that. But more and more it seems that developers are looking at ways to use AI to find you that special someone. 420 Friends, which launched this week is a dating app that specialises in finding you that special someone.

    • The Ousting Of Trump’s National Security Advisor Shows Just How Dangerous ‘Lawful’ Domestic Surveillance Is

      Those who thought the domestic surveillance Ed Snowden exposed was perfectly acceptable and lawful are finding it much harder to stomach with Trump in charge. The Lawfare blog, which routinely hosts articles supportive of government surveillance activities, has taken on a new tone over the past few months. The lesson being learned: if a power can only be trusted in certain people’s hands, then it really can’t be trusted in anyone’s. This belated realization is better than none, but one wonders if the drastic change in tone would have followed an election that put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

      That’s not to say the first month of Trump’s presidency has borne any resemblance to a “peaceful transition of power.” The federal government isn’t just leaking. It’s hemorrhaging. Underneath the recent ouster of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is something disturbing.

      What’s disturbing isn’t the surveillance — although in “normal” circumstances it might be. Flynn was dumped because recorded phone calls captured him discussing sanctions with Russian officials. This domestic surveillance isn’t unheard of. The fact that this information — including the content of the calls — was leaked to the public is more notable.

    • When the NSA Feared Psychics Could Make Cities Lost in Time and Space

      A classified government document opens with “an odd sequence of events relating to parapsychology has occurred within the last month” and concluded with an alarming question about psychics nuking cities so that they became lost in time and space. If this sounds like a plot out of science fiction, it is – but it’s also a NSA memo from 1977.

      The first “event” raised by the NSA note is a CIA report which mentioned KGB research into parapsychology. According to this, the KGB used hobbyists and non-governmental researchers to talk to western scientists. This allowed the KGB to collect useful information without putting themselves into a position to accidentally leak confidential information to westerners. According to the NSA note, this tactic yielded “high grade western scientific data.”

    • NSA will continue to disclose zero-day bugs under Trump… for now [Ed: Repeating what the NSA says (stenography) even though it is already, under Obama too, hiding serious flaws and exploits these]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee blames Donald Trump for his extended incarceration in U.S. jail

      Yee made his first appearance at an immigration court in Chicago on 30 Jan. The blogger claimed that the American authorities backtracked on their promise to release him from the American jail after his first hearing. His next hearing is set for 7 March.

      Yee landed in Chicago O-Hare Airport on 16 Dec with a tourist visa and was detained by the US authorities when they discovered text messages between him and a US-based Singaporean activist, Melissa Chen, about his bid for political asylum in America.

    • PNG Customary landowner: SABL exploits human rights

      Customary landowner Anna Sipona from Malmal Village in west Pomio said the SABL is a strange concept to the people of Pomio that promotes human rights abuse.

      Representing the silent majority in the affected villages in west Pomio, Sipona said the SABL issue is not just about land and logging but about the human rights of women and children.

    • Need for PNG parliament to enact whistle blower legislation

      Justice Ambeng Kandakasi highlighted this recently when handing down a decision on a case involving a “whistle blower” who was sacked by his superiors.

    • Danish man who burned Quran charged with blasphemy

      A man who filmed himself burning the Quran has become the first person to be charged under Denmark’s blasphemy law in 46 years.
      The 42-year-old filmed himself burning a copy of Islam’s holy book in his back yard in December 2015. He then posted the video on the anti-Islamic Facebook group, “Yes to freedom – no to Islam” along with the words, “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”

    • Another ‘Terrorist’ Swept Up By The FBI, Which Had To Purchase $20 Of ‘Terrorist’ Supplies To Keep The ‘Plan’ In Motion

      Perhaps no entity generates more fake news than the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Several times a year, a press release is issued announcing the bust of a so-called terrorist. Almost invariably, the “terrorist” has been handcrafted through the relentless intercession of undercover FBI agents.

      [...]

      Undercover agents began working with/on Hester shortly after this arrest. Seizing on his anti-government social media posts [good lord], the agents told Hester they could put him in touch with someone with direct terrorist connections. This “direct connection” was just another FBI agent. It was the FBI that suggested acquiring weapons. And it was the FBI who chose to take Hester seriously, despite his nonexistent terrorist group (“the Lion Guard”) sporting a name that had been pulled from a cartoon his children watched.

      It was also an FBI agent who suggested that even thinking about planning a terrorist attack was an irrevocable act — and that entertaining second thoughts about committing acts of violence would be rewarded with acts of violence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Missouri The Latest State To Let Telecom Monopolies Write Awful, Protectionist State Law

      21 states have passed laws hamstringing the rights of local communities when it comes to improving broadband infrastructure. Usually dressed up as breathless concern about the taxpayer — these bills have one purpose: protect the telecom mono/duopoly status quo — and the campaign contributions it represents — from the will of the people. Countless towns and cities have built their own next-generation networks, usually because nobody else would. But these bills, usually ghost written by ISPs for politicians with ALEC’s help, either ban locals from making this decision for themselves, or saddle these operations with enough restrictions to make them untenable.

  • DRM

    • Mashable Says You Shouldn’t Own What You Buy Because You Might Hurt Yourself

      The news site Mashable has apparently decided that you, the general public, are simply too dumb to actually own the stuff you thought you bought because you might just injure yourself. We’ve written about so-called “right to repair” laws and why they’re so important. There are a variety of issues, but the most basic one here is about property rights. If you buy something, it’s supposed to be yours. It doesn’t remain the property of whoever first made it. And they shouldn’t then be able to deny you the ability to tinker with, modify, or repair what you bought. However, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff (last seen here being completely clueless about the importance of anonymity online because he, personally, never could see a reason why someone might want to speak truth to power without revealing who they are), has decided that because you might be too dumb to properly repair stuff, the entire “right to repair” concept “is a dumb idea.”

      The article can basically be summed up as “I have a friend, and her iPhone wasn’t repaired properly, so no one should be able to repair your iPhone but Apple.” Really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • China’s Latest Target For Online Crackdown: Live-Streaming Foreigners

        Perhaps the Chinese government feels that it has the domestic population sufficiently under control now that it can move on to tightening up the rules for foreign visitors.

      • 8 things hidden in 400 pages of copyright secrets

        Much of the content, including arguments from key players, is redacted.

      • Former RIAA Executive Attacks Fair Use

        This week has been dubbed fair use week by a whole bunch of organizations (mostly universities and libraries) as a chance to celebrate the usefulness and wonder that is fair use in protecting free speech, enabling creativity and inspiring innovation. As we’ve said many times in the past, fair use is an incredibly important concept — if often misunderstood — so it’s good to see these organizations working together to better educate the public on why fair use is so key.

        However, not everyone is so enthralled with fair use. The MPAA and RIAA are apparently so frightened by fair use that they, and some of its friends, have been posting weirdly uninformed screeds against fair use over the past few days. Some are more silly than others (such as one that tries to claim that the MPAA has never been against fair use, ignoring that the MPAA’s long-time boss Jack Valenti once declared — totally incorrectly — that fair use wasn’t in the law), but let’s focus on the one that comes straight from a former RIAA top exec.

UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team UPC still distorts the facts, as if the end justifies the means

UPC Dead

Summary: Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe’s throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC

THE EPO‘s management is eager to ram the UPC through, having decided to replace the Boards’ location, keep them understaffed and perpetually scared, etc. The management calls it “reform” but it’s actually an overhaul which serves the patent microcosm and large foreign corporations; it would be an enormous, historic disaster. It needs to be stopped, both by EPO insiders (not Team Battistelli) and outsiders.

Decision T 2561/11

An EPO-friendly legal firm wrote the other day (earlier this week) about decision T 2561/11 from the Boards, noting that “the EPO Board of Appeal found an Appeal to be admissible despite certain omissions in the Notice of Appeal. In particular, the Notice of Appeal failed to mention the Appellant’s name and address, and was alleged not to contain a request defining the subject of the Appeal, both requirements of Rule 99 EPC.”

“In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.”Since then, as was covered here before, the EPO got even stricter, not when it comes to patent scope but when it comes to signatures etc. It further complicates the process not of patent-granting but merely the bureaucracy. In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.

Douglas Carswell in Motion to Bury the UPC in the United Kingdom

Putting aside the war on the Boards — a war long fought by Battistelli — how about the war on British law, or the pretense that Brexit is magically compatible with UPC (it’s not)? Dr. Luke McDonagh, who had repeatedly explained why the UPC is untenable here, said it is “interesting that Carswell seems all on his lonesome in putting this UPC motion forward – what is the Tory position?”

“Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician.”“Be interesting to keep an eye out on this UPC EDM by UKIP’s Douglas Carswell this week,” Max Walters from the Law Society Gazette wrote.

Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician. He is hence pretty mainstream and he comes from a high-profile family of famous doctors of medicine. His defection to UKIP is pretty recent and wasn’t motivated by nationalism, racism and so on (the stereotypes).

“Her Master’s Voice,” Margot Fröhlinger

“Founded doubts regarding a legal UPC with UK after brexit,” wrote another person the other day, “IP system need certainty…”

“Is this the first time that [the EPO's] Mrs. Fröhlinger is not 100% certain in public about UK participating in UPC after Brexit?”

That’s what Christopher Weber wrote before noting that “it’s just an old article preceding the UK’s intent to ratify that I mistook for a later statement. My bad.”

But nothing has technically changed since then. In fact, the person who expressed intent to ratify has since then been sacked or resigned. We also did a long series explaining why ratification makes no sense and even if it ever happened, it would not be sustainable, in particular after Brexit. Here is that series again:

What’s noteworthy about Fröhlinger’s remark is that she has always been “her master’s voice” (Battistelli’s echo chamber) and rejected simple facts when it suited Battistelli’s agenda [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], as pointed out here before. Fröhlinger is in many ways an extension of if not part of Team Battistelli, wherein lying has become banal and routine.

The Rain in Spain…

Meanwhile, fake news about Spain is being spread again (we have seen a lot of fake news about the UPC recently, e.g. [1, 2]) and Team UPC is trying to connect it to Brexit (there is no connection). This one tweet, linking to Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar from Bristows LLP (some of the worst liars out there), says: “Will the Spain joins the UPC System and the Unitary Patent? Brexit can make Spain changes his mind…”

“Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.”Nonsense. First of all, none of this is news; Francisco Moreno has already demonstrated that it goes a couple of years back. And what does the self-serving Bristows base its ridiculous headline on? “The motion [which] will be debated in the Committee on Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of the Spanish parliament).”

But the party behind this motion has already spoken about it and attempted it before. Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Toxic cocktail (or "dangerous mix")

Toxic cocktail

Summary: An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide

THE mistreatment of EPO workers who go through a temporary (not even permanent) illness is a widely known problem. We keep hearing about it from more and more people who if not themselves got subjected to this kind of abuse know someone (or someones) who did. This series, by itself, has already managed to unearth more suppressed facts and taboos — observations that would get one sacked if publicly aired/expressed. People do not wish to speak about these things without strict assurance of anonymity.

The other day we received some interesting statistics.

“Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse.”
      –Anonymous
“More than 250 persons are receiving an invalidity pension,” one person told us. “I don’t have (yet) figures about the persons under house arrest due to their illness. I’ll try to find them. Invalids are systematically bullied. Their benefits are changed without, or at a short, notice. Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse. “What is coming next?””

Two years ago we wrote about them, as did the media which merely alluded to them. Some end up committing suicide, which isn't too shocking given the way they are treated (some allege that they cannot even help refugees in their spare time).

“The Office succeeded in deteriorating the health condition of some of them,” the above person told us, “by introducing without notice and without any kind of explanation a reform of the invalidity benefits as from January 2008 (changed again in 2015, effective as from January 2016). With that change many invalids had problems with the local tax authorities. The Office declared the benefits to be exempted from the local tax (they changed from a pension to an allowance). Of course without consulting the respective tax authorities in each country. The moron-in-chief Battistelli was at the time head of the French delegation at the AC and shouted (to be actual: trumpeted) that his country would NEVER recognise the newly introduced invalidity pension as being tax-free.

“No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come…”
      –Anonymous
“Do you understand what all this means to a person receiving invalidity benefits? No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come: as some countries didn’t accept the tax-free nature of the invalidity pension they had to pay taxes. Pretty normal every does [sic]. Except that they paid twice… Very “generously” again the Office proposed to reimburse the paid taxes…. at a cost. The condition was to sign a contract to go to their tax consultant, to disclose every penny of your income (your partner may work as well), to spend hours if not days, months discussing with them. And on the top of that once you were reimbursed the local tax office considered the reimbursement as an additional income. The obviously unqualified managers of the Office never heard of exponential progression. According to my calculations with such a system one would have to declare an income of about 10.000.000 € a year in 15 years from now for a real income being 7% of that amount, the rest are the accumulated reimbursements. Not bad! But what if the office says “FU”? They then abolished the system and replaced it with another fully incomprehensible system; inquiries for explanations remained unanswered.”

In future parts of this series we are going to dive a little deeper and expose some documents which help illuminate how bad things have become. As was repeatedly noted, by more than one source in fact, these policy changes are directly responsible to quite a few suicides, not that tragedies only count when a person’s tragedy culminates in death. There is a lot of suffering associated with what the EPO is doing and since there is no proper justice system, there is no hope, either.

02.22.17

The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s driving the patent maximalists nuts!

PTAB impotence

Summary: The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene

WE are very gratified to see the USPTO improving patent quality by means of appeals, or by revisiting and reassessing already-granted patents. There has been a lot of news about that this past week and below is an outline.

CSIRO/CRISPR

We previously wrote a number of articles about CSIRO and CRISPR, which served to demonstrate unjust patents that went against public interests, sometimes at the expense of the public. Well, PTAB, based on this new blog post, finally — one might say belatedly — takes on CRISPR and the patent parasite, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), which earned a lot of disdain/notoriety for its patent strategy. “The gene-editing tool CRISPR,” IAM wrote, “is in the process of transforming the life sciences industry.”

“We certainly hope that PTAB will somehow take public interests into account, but that’s not how PTAB works.”IAM means privatising and monopolising, even by means of lawsuits. The promotional and defensive language carried on as follows: “Perhaps not surprisingly with such a revolutionary technology still in its relative infancy, a dispute over patents between universities and research institutes that have been at the forefront of its development, erupted over just who owns some of the foundational IP.”

Maybe nobody? Especially given that money for this work came from the public?

We certainly hope that PTAB will somehow take public interests into account, but that’s not how PTAB works. It assesses patents not on ethical grounds but based on the guidelines/laws/rules.

Watchtroll Still at It… Denying Facts

Watchtroll’s PTAB bashing is nothing new (see screenshot at the top). The site continued with this bashing today (factually-flawed and structurally-incoherent drivel that’s akin to fake news). According to this new article, which is based on statistics from the first day of the month, “Federal Circuit PTAB Appeal Statistics” suggest that in addition to the all-time high for PTAB in January, CAFC agrees with PTAB ~80% of the time. It means that PTAB is doing its job capably and correctly. To quote from Lexology: “Through February 1, 2017, the Federal Circuit decided 161 PTAB appeals from IPRs and CBMs. The Federal Circuit affirmed the PTAB on every issue in 125 (77.64%) of the cases, and reversed or vacated the PTAB on every issue in 13 (8.07%) of the cases. A mixed outcome on appeal, where at least one issue was affirmed and at least one issue was vacated or reversed, occurred in 14 (8.70%) of the cases.”

“Put in simple terms, PTAB maintains its ability to crush bad patents and CAFC generally agrees with PTAB in 77.64% of the cases it looks at. “The statistics for 2016 were very similar, as we noted here before (the exact number was 77.4% rather than 77.64%, so the increase is marginal). Put in simple terms, PTAB maintains its ability to crush bad patents and CAFC generally agrees with PTAB in 77.64% of the cases it looks at.

ImmunoGen Case

Based on more news, PTAB continues to smash patents to pieces, and CAFC agrees, as usual. To quote:

After the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found claims of ImmunoGen Inc.’s U.S. Patent No. 8,337,856 nonobvious, non-practicing entity Phigenix, Inc. appea​led to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Federal Circuit dismissed the appeal, finding that Phigenix lacked standing to appeal because it had not established it had suffered an injury in fact.

Prior to filing its inter partes review petition, Phigenix was engaged in litigation with a third company, Genentech, Inc., over a Phigenix patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,080,534. Phigenix asserted that the ’534 patent covered Genentech’s manufacture and sale of a drug, Kadycla. Genentech produces the drug under a “worldwide exclusive license” from ImmunoGen for the ’856 patent. As part of its efforts to commercialize its own patent portfolio, Phigenix filed the petition for inter partes review of the ’856 patent, alleging claims 1–8 were invalid as obvious over various prior art references.

Depomed Case

CAFC is again (as usual) agreeing with PTAB that Depomed’s patent should be invalidated, based on this new report:

The Federal Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trial Appeal Board’s decision in an America Invents Act inter partes review that Depomed’s patent on extended-release drug technology is invalid as obvious, saying the board’s conclusion is backed by substantial evidence.

Novartis Case

There is another high-profile ‘case’ (petition rather) in the pipeline. Here are the details from the news:

Days after rejecting a challenge from Roxane Laboratories to a patent related to Novartis’ blockbuster cancer drug Afinitor, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed recently to review the patent based on a challenge from another generic drugmaker, Par Pharmaceutical.

In a Feb. 15 decision, the PTAB found that Par Pharmaceutical Inc. had shown the patent was likely invalid as obvious. Par, which was previously sued for infringement, filed a petition seeking inter partes review last summer.

TradeStation Case

Justice does not seem plausible and is not perceived as legitimate when the outcome is always the same (like FISA rubber-stamping), so there are also exceptions. Here, for a change, “PTAB Follows Fed. Circ. Lead, Upholds Trading Patent” and to quote:

A split Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Friday followed the lead of the Federal Circuit and upheld a Trading Technologies International Inc. electronic trading patent, finding it was not invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling.

In a 2-1 decision, the PTAB said TradeStation Group Inc. and IBG LLC had not shown why it should break from the appellate court’s Jan. 18 decision, when the court ruled that a judge correctly found this and another Trading Technologies patent covered technological improvements, not abstract ideas…

PTAB Scares the Patent Microcosm

It’s no secret that patent maximalists, unlike actual companies that make things, hate PTAB. In general, PTAB can help save/defend practicing companies, to whom patents are still a two-edged sword. Here we have a law firm asking (seeking attention from potential clients), “Can Your Patent Be Invalidated Without a Trial?”

“As there is no foreseeable case at the SCOTUS which involves software patents, we are pretty certain that there will be no challenge to Alice any time soon.”Well, yes, and many software patents are already as valuable as nothing at all. They are toothless. Trying to litigate with them would benefit nobody except lawyers at both sides. In that sense, such patents may be even worse than none at all. But to quote the above: “Patent owners should be keeping a close eye on a case that may come before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that could potentially block challenges to patent validity outside of the courtroom. Cascades Projection v. Epson and Sony 1 asks the court to decide whether the rights granted by a patent are public or private and, in turn, if those rights are capable of being revoked without access to a jury trial.”

We wrote about it earlier in the month. These are edge cases or rare exceptions; thus, promoting these to prospective clients is rather disingenuous and misleading. Or as one might call it — marketing!

SCOTUS Defends CAFC and by Extension PTAB

One interesting case that we spotted today in the news involves a company called Big Baboon (real company name!) and its unusual attempts to challenge patent scope etc. at the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Software patents are still dead/dying after Alice, so Big Baboon attempted another angle and failed. To quote:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a petition by a Silicon Valley software company asserting that the Federal Circuit has routinely imputed patent law claims into lawsuits that challenge the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s procedures in order to exert jurisdiction over the cases.

The high court declined to hear Big Baboon Inc.’s Oct. 10 petition for writ of certiorari, which argued that it was in the public’s interest that the justices stop the appellate court from the “ongoing and palpable” harm it…

This is good news. As there is no foreseeable case at the SCOTUS which involves software patents, we are pretty certain that there will be no challenge to Alice any time soon. There is also no indication from the Trump administration that AIA (which brought PTAB) will be in any sense revoked/undone.

Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

Posted in America, Patents at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When they say “fix” they mean the very opposite of it

Randall R. Rader
Photo from Reuters

Summary: The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn’t liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed

“Twenty patents,” this new report says. “That’s how many patents were invalidated in only three decisions in the last few weeks alone.” The report, titled “The Supreme Court’s Impact on Patentable Subject Matter,” is behind walled gardens (or paywall), but it shows just how desperate the meta-industry of patents is becoming. Confidence in abstract (esque) patents is eroding because of Alice (and Mayo to a lesser degree).

“Confidence in abstract (esque) patents is eroding because of Alice (and Mayo to a lesser degree).”Longtime readers of ours know that we are not against patents, not inherently or even intrinsically. We believe that quality control for patents is essential; otherwise we have just a cash cow controlled by few monopolists, granting millions of patents on anything conceivable and denying free (as in freedom) innovation.

We are amused to see this new piece from Quinn IP Law (not IP Watchdog‘s Quinn, but a similar attitude); it’s titled “The 20 Year War On Patents: When Will It End?” (sounds like a headline from IP Watchdog/Watchtroll) and it is, as usual inverting narratives of the offensive and defensive. In reality, for a number of decades, patents attacked (as in “war”) ordinary people and small companies; the system wasn’t “under attack” but actually attacking, using patents. Unlike Quinn’s portrayal (he puts it misleadingly, painting litigation/prosecution as “defense”), the reality is that the system is belatedly changing, having failed to fulfill its original goals.

“The matter of fact is, trolls use software patents most of the time; some have estimated 70% of the time (depending on how one classifies these patents and adds them up).”Quinn wrote that the “Federal Circuit’s 1998 State Street Bank decision was a sweeping departure from precedent and opened the floodgates to so-called business method patents, leading to a significant outcry against “bad patents.” Also, out-of-control patent troll litigation gave birth to the anti-troll movement, which further fueled the fires of an anti-patent backlash, resulting in judicial and legislative action amounting to arguably the most significant pendulum swing against patent rights in US history. Many of the resulting changes were necessary to address these problems, but how far have we gone, and when will it end?”

The matter of fact is, trolls use software patents most of the time; some have estimated 70% of the time (depending on how one classifies these patents and adds them up). So the two aforementioned issues are closely connected.

Joining the likes of Quinn IP Law, we now have Gene Quinn’s Watchtroll (promoter of software patents and trolls), calling the the patent system to be “fixed”. The “Swamp” of Watchtroll, which can’t help attacking the USPTO Director who cleaned up a lot of the mess, says “fix the patent system” but actually it means break the system (again, like in the Reagan days). They’re trying to hijack terms like “fix” (or “reform”) to mean the very opposite of it!

“Facts are not on their side, but money is on their side and if they can afford to repeat their lies many times in a lot of different publications, then they might actually, successfully, fool some politicians.”They also latch onto that China nonsense (it’s granting patents on every silly thing). To quote one example: “While we have damaged our patent system, China has strengthened theirs. Today, China leads the world in new patent filings.”

That’s not strengthening, that’s weakening. They lower their standards and have merely become a platform for opportunists such as patent trolls. The other day, Watchtroll also published this article titled “How to Fight Low Quality Patents Related to Commoditized Technology that Threaten Innovation”. It did speak about trolls as follows:

The most successful patent trolls tend to be those with the sharpest noses for weakness. They sniff out low quality patents and hit legitimate businesses where they’re vulnerable in order to make money without doing the actual work of innovation.

And incidentally, they typically use software patents, which Watchtroll can’t help promoting every other day.

The likes of Watchtroll and that greedy bunch of self-serving maximalists are thankfully enough losing the battle. That is why they have grown so desperate and are now painting a revocation of a fix (regression) as a “fix”. Facts are not on their side, but money is on their side and if they can afford to repeat their lies many times in a lot of different publications, then they might actually, successfully, fool some politicians. Right now they try to get Rader installed as USPTO Director. If the “Swamp” had a human face to it, he is it.

Report From Yesterday’s Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Report from an anonymous contributor

Bavarian Landtag EPO debate

Summary: A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)

The motion concerning the situation at the EPO which was proposed by the Freie Wähler group in the Bavarian Landtag was debated at the 54th session of the the European and Regional Affair Committee which took place on Tuesday, the 21st of February, 2017.

The session which was open to the public was chaired by Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU) and co-chaired by Georg Rosenthal (SPD).

“The session which was open to the public was chaired by Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU) and co-chaired by Georg Rosenthal (SPD).”The debate on the EPO motion was preceded by an informal briefing (“Informationsgespräch”) about EU matters by two representatives of the EU, Richard Kühnel and Tobias Winkler which kicked off at 12:30. Kühnel is a former Austrian diplomat and the EU Commission’s Head of Representation in Germany.

Winkler is head of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Munich which by a curious coincidence is housed on the ground floor of the EPO’s Isar Building at Bob-van-Benthem-Platz.

During the information briefing with the EU officials, EPO problems already started to rear their ugly head when one of the Freie Wähler group, Dr. Hans Jürgen Fahn, referred to the EPO motion which was scheduled for discussion later in the afternoon.

“Winkler is head of the Information Office of the European Parliament in Munich which by a curious coincidence is housed on the ground floor of the EPO’s Isar Building at Bob-van-Benthem-Platz.”Dr. Fahn asked Mr. Kühnel to explain the position of the EU Commission in relation to the situation at the EPO. He noted that the EU Commission had observer status on the Administrative Council. He also referred to the fact that an MEP from the Freie Wähler, Ms. Ulrike Müller, had submitted a question to the EU Commission and had received a rather vague answer which left nobody any the wiser about where the Commission stood and what, if anything, it intended to do about the problems at the EPO.

When grappling with Dr. Fahn’s question, the normally eloquent Mr. Kühnel appeared to be stuck for words and seemed visibly uncomfortable. He attempted to wriggle his way out of the awkward situation by referring to the fact that EU Commission only had observer status on the Administrative Council and didn’t have any vote. Although technically correct, his answer is disingenuous because if the EU member states (27 or 28 depending on whether the UK is included …) agreed to take a common line on EPO matters then they would command almost 75% of the votes on the Administrative Council.

“When grappling with Dr. Fahn’s question, the normally eloquent Mr. Kühnel appeared to be stuck for words and seemed visibly uncomfortable.”After the information briefing on EU matters concluded there was a brief discussion about a number of other items on the agenda relating to local Bavarian issues.

Shortly after 14:00 the debate on the EPO motion was opened. The motion was introduced by Gabi Schmidt (Freie Wähler) who noted that nothing had really changed since the last time the Landtag had discussed the situation at the EPO in June 2016.

The Freie Wähler were ably supported by the Green Party represented by Christine Kamm.

“Some observers had the impression that he was just parroting off a script that had been drafted for him by Battistelli’s legal wizards and witches in the DG5 propaganda department.”The motion was opposed by Mr. Walter Taubeneder, the rapporteur for the majority CSU. Mr. Taubeneder went through a list of points including the recent judgment from the Dutch Supreme Court and recent decisions from the ILOAT and somehow managed to conclude from all this that everything was rosy at the EPO and that Mr. Battistelli was doing a fine job and that EPO staff had no valid reasons for complaining about anything. Some observers had the impression that he was just parroting off a script that had been drafted for him by Battistelli’s legal wizards and witches in the DG5 propaganda department.

The second largest party in the Landtag, the SPD, was strangely quiet during the debate and did not attempt to make any contribution.

Susann Biedefeld who had made a spirited speech during the previous debate in June 2016 seemed to be absent and was sadly missed.

Some people were wondering whether or not the local Bavarian SPD had received orders from the party headquarters in Berlin to keep out of the debate.

“Some people were wondering whether or not the local Bavarian SPD had received orders from the party headquarters in Berlin to keep out of the debate.”Despite the lack of any contribution from the SPD, towards the end of the debate, the SPD vice-chairman of the committee Georg Rosenthal made a short statement indicating that his party would support the motion.

The chairman of the committee, Dr. Franz Rieger (CSU), closed the debate by noting that the majority CSU did not support the motion resulting in its rejection.

Although the motion failed to secure majority backing at the committee stage, the story doesn’t end here because the matter will now go forward for discussion in a plenary session of the Landtag estimated to take place in about six to eight weeks time.

“But whatever the final outcome may be, Gabi Schmidt and her parliamentary colleages from the Freie Wähler and Christine Kamm from the Green Party deserve praise for their persistence in refusing to let the matter rest.”Unless the CSU decides to change course in the meantime, it is very likely that the motion will be defeated when it is put to a vote in front of the Landtag as already happened once before in June last year.

But whatever the final outcome may be, Gabi Schmidt and her parliamentary colleages from the Freie Wähler and Christine Kamm from the Green Party deserve praise for their persistence in refusing to let the matter rest.

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