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

05.18.19

Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 10:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watchtroll

Summary: Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he’s the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it

VoIP-Pal (or VoIP-Pal.com because it could afford an Internet domain), which we’ve mentioned here before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is back. As someone put it not too long ago: “A patent troll play is still a patent troll play. Regardless of the exchange it is on. And VPLM is very clearly a patent troll play. The fact the CEO spends money on fees to keep this POS current, when there are no revenues, just adds to millions more shares need to be diluted. And with the anti-dilution clause also means more shares for himself.”

It’s similar to Finjan.

“Malak, a troll, has called the whole American patent system “corrupt” because it calls him out for his trolling.”Well, Emil Malak, the CEO of VoIP-Pal.com, a notorious patent aggressor/troll, has gotten lots of puff pieces from Watchtroll, a site sympathetic to all patent trolls (it does not even call them that). Malak was cheering for corrupt Donald Trump and against patent sanity in yesterday’s article, whose title was about as trollish as him: “President Donald Trump Should Investigate the Corrupt Patent System and Passage of the AIA” (no kidding).

The site has gone MENTAL. They actually publish things like these, irrespective of the consequences. They also habitually engage in judge-bashing and science-bashing antics (and yes, they did it once again this past week). We don’t wish to entertain or even link to this piece but only to point out that the new editor of Watchtroll failed to (fore)see the ramifications of publishing such crap for really crappy people.

Meanwhile, contrariwise, “Judge Alsup Slams Patent Troll For Basically Everything,” as this headline put it. It’s actually a copy of an article from Mike Masnick.

“Glad to see someone taking time to understand,” AntiSoftwarePat wrote. Mike Masnick didn’t even focus on his personal views but the views of a very famous judge (high-profile cases).

Mike Masnick covered the outbursts of Judge Alsup against Uniloc — outbursts that we mentioned in passing earlier this month. Putting aside the fact that 35 U.S.C. § 101 likely extinguishes most of this patent troll’s USPTO-granted patents, there are many other things to be criticised:

That brings us to a more recent case, involving notorious patent troll Uniloc — a company we’ve written about a bunch in the past, mainly for its buffoon like attempts at patent trolling. This includes suing over the game “Mindcraft” (the trolls were in such a rush to sue, they didn’t notice it was actually “Minecraft”), and a weak attempt to patent basic math. All the way back in 2011, we wrote about Uniloc getting smacked down by the Federal Circuit for pushing a ridiculous way of calculating patent damages.

It appears that in the intervening years, Uniloc hasn’t given up any of this. The company keeps buying up more patents and suing lots of companies — including Apple, which it has sued multiple times. One of those lawsuits was filed back in 2017. In response to this lawsuit, Apple argued that Uniloc didn’t actually hold the right to sue over the patent. Ridiculously, Uniloc demanded most of the details be blacked out, arguing that it was “confidential.”

[...]

A few other areas where Uniloc sought to hide info, Alsup dismisses by pointing out that a “boilerplate assertion of competitive harm fails to provide a compelling reason to seal.”

And that’s not all that Alsup appears displeased with Uniloc over. Remember earlier when I talked about Uniloc running into trouble years back for using a nutty formula for trying to calculate damages? Well, Alsup notes that redacting all this info might help Uniloc hide “reasonable royalties” from being used in damage calculations, and calls out “vastly bloated figures.”

The realisation that patent trolls lack credibility and morality is very widespread. SCOTUS mentions the term “patent troll”, as do the Federal Circuit and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). We’re not sure about the ITC, but the former Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) spoke of patent trolls all the time after she had come from Google (commonly a target of such trolls). The above from Alsup is a nice addition to a long series of rants from all levels of the system. Malak, a troll, has called the whole American patent system “corrupt” because it calls him out for his trolling.

05.16.19

Stanford’s NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NPE Litigation Database

Summary: As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it’s important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it’s free to access/use

THE courts system in the United States may be in flux (Donald Trump makes it a lot worse in a lot of ways), but for the time being it continues to reject software patents. Every single 35 U.S.C. § 101 case we come across (and put in our daily links) seems to result in invalidation. This has, predictably, harmed patent trolls (who depend on such patents).

“Every single 35 U.S.C. § 101 case we come across (and put in our daily links) seems to result in invalidation. This has, predictably, harmed patent trolls (who depend on such patents).”“I’m pleased to announce the Stanford NPE Litigation Database,” Prof. Lemley wrote this week. “We have coded every patent plaintiff in every suit from 2007 through 2017 into one of thirteen different categories. The database is open to anyone who wants to do research on patent litigation.” It can be found here (NPE Litigation Database). It was mentioned here in passing earlier this week after Prof. Risch had mentioned it.

Patent trolls are on the decline/demise, but they haven’t gone away. The patent extremists try hard to pave the way for their comeback.

Case of point? Watchtroll speaks of “House IP Subcommittee Discusses Section 101” in yesterday’s roundup about U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) matters and discussions in the Congress/House. Coons et al might try to change things, but they have no support and Joe Mullin of the EFF has just issued a call for public input. This is a third year/attempt to screw the patent system on behalf of patent trolls and this year too it has already fallen off the news/headlines (same as in previous years around the same time). To quote Mullin:

There’s no published bill yet, but Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have published a “framework” outlining how they intend to undermine Section 101 of the U.S. patent law. That’s the section of law that forbids patents on abstract ideas, laws of nature, and things that occur in nature.

Section 101’s longstanding requirement should be uncontroversial—applicants have to claim a “new and useful” invention to get a patent—a requirement that, remarkably, Tillis and Coons say they will dismantle.

In recent years, important Supreme Court rulings like Alice v. CLS Bank have ensured that courts give full effect to Section 101. That’s given small businesses a fighting chance against meritless patents, since they can be evaluated—and thrown out—at early stages of a lawsuit.

Check out the businesses we profile in our “Saved by Alice” page. Patent trolls sued a bike shop over message notifications; a photographer for running online contests; and a startup that put restaurant menus online. It’s ridiculous that patents were granted on such basic practices—and it would be even more outrageous if those businesses had to hire experts, undergo expensive discovery, and endure a jury trial before they get a serious evaluation of such “inventions.”

Listen to our interview with Justus Decher. Decher’s health company was threatened by a company called MyHealth over a patent on “remote patient monitoring.” MyHealth never built a product, but they demanded $25,000 from Decher—even before his business had any profits.

Why is the Tillis-Coons proposal moving forward? Pharmaceutical and biotech companies are working together with lobbyists for patent lawyers and companies that have aggressive licensing practices. They’re pushing a false narrative about the need to resolve “uncertainty” in the patent law. But the only uncertainty produced by a strong Section 101 is in the profit margins of patent trolls and the lawyers filing their meritless lawsuits.

As we said weeks ago, the media barely mentions this anymore and it’s going nowhere, just like in 2017 and 2018. Quite frankly, we believe that merely ignoring this would be the better approach. There’s no headway and any sort of coverage would likely seem beneficial to this dying/zombie legislation proposal, which we sometimes compare to the UPC.

The EFF can now cite data from the NPE Litigation Database to put together its case for Section 101 and PTAB. The people behind the database are not in favour of software patents.

05.15.19

False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hope street

Summary: Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions

35 U.S.C. § 101 remains strong in the United States. Courts follow it. There are new examples. Some were publicised earlier this week; we posted two batches of daily links yesterday (double the usual) and we no longer deal with the matter as meticulously as last year because EPO affairs are more urgent than the USPTO‘s.

“Long story short, even if we ignore racketeering and extortion ‘behind the scenes’ (that’s the majority of troll activity) and only focus on what becomes public (actual lawsuits), trolls still dominate.”In the previous post we quickly noted that António Campinos continues granting European software patents because like the man who gave him the job he does not care about patent quality, only quantity. Maybe he strives to be like China, where patent filings exceed a million per year.

More low-quality patents would certainly mean more frivolous and baseless litigation. Patent trolls can exploit such patents to receive “protection money” without ever going to court or filing a lawsuit. They just make threats. On some occasions they do in fact proceed from threats to actions. Statistics published earlier this week (by RPX) show that the majority of new patent lawsuits get filed by trolls. It’s always the case. They are the majority of lawsuits; they make nothing at all; all they do is blackmail companies/people and sometimes sue. Lex Machina also has some new data. As Michael Risch put it yesterday: “I did want to drop a brief note that the Stanford NPE [trolls] Litigation Database appears to be live now and fully populated with 11 years of data from 2007-2017. They’ve been working on this database for a long while. It provides limited but important data: Case name and number, district, filing date, patent numbers, plaintiff, defendants, and plaintiff type. The database also includes a link to Lex Machina’s data if you have access.”

Long story short, even if we ignore racketeering and extortion ‘behind the scenes’ (that’s the majority of troll activity) and only focus on what becomes public (actual lawsuits), trolls still dominate. They do nothing for innovation and a lot against it. Sometimes they’re stopped without them even filing a lawsuit, owing to Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs).

“They’ve stooped rather low to generate pretense of “good news” or “hope”.”The upside is, software patent are nowhere near making a comeback and litigation numbers continue to fall, owing largely to 35 U.S.C. § 101 . Anticipat has just published some new spin, echoed by the likes of Janal Kalis; Anticipat’s folks are lying by omission, as usual, or intentionally spinning the numbers. They don’t count IPRs but instead focus on mere patent applications i.e. not actual US patents. They’ve stooped rather low to generate pretense of “good news” or “hope”.

Likewise, here in Europe, the chronic liars from Bristows (this time Edward Nodder) want us to think the dead UPC is suddenly resurrected because “change is [made] the training required to qualify as a patent attorney” in one small country with not so many European Patents (low on a per capita basis, too). The blog has been silent for so long, so here’s what they said yesterday (and will probably pay other sites to syndicate):

The Austrian parliament has reported here that it adopted amendments to the Patent Attorney Act on 9 May 2019. One change is to the training required to qualify as a patent attorney. Currently there is no requirement to have studied law at university, the legal knowledge being acquired through practical training. Under the new requirements, law (including Austrian and European) must have been studied at a university (the course content to be governed by a decree), and the duration of practical training will be shorter.

And that’s it; from the above Bristows came up with “Austria’s change to patent attorney training will enable representation in UPC” (their headline). This has nothing to do with UPC, but when Team UPC is ever so desperate they might even mistake EPC for UPC. Or focus on Austria, which does not even register on the EPO’s chart (warning: epo.org link) based on number of patents. Germany got 20,804 patents last year, compared to 535 in Austria (that’s 0.4% of the total at 127,625).

05.11.19

Making the Patent System About Productive Actors (Again), Not a Bunch of Law Firms and Trolls

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Law firms like the one Iancu (on the left) came from, after it had worked for Donald Trump (on the right)

Trump and Iancu

Summary: The US patent system is going out of shape and out of tune, just like the EPO when Battistelli came to it, dismantling the rule of law and even judges whom he did not like

TECHRIGHTS has often focused on EPO scandals, USPTO reforms, and in recent years the new Director, whose agenda is similar to that of António Campinos. President Campinos, appointed by Battistelli (through pressure on the Council), pushes hard for software patents in Europe (under misleading buzzwords), whereas the latter, Iancu, keeps acting like Battistelli by ignoring 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw (similar to EPC being shunned) while pushing buzzwords. There’s a growing similarity if not overlap across the Atlantic. It got a lot worse when Trump gave Iancu this job under controversial circumstances (nepotism). He wrongly assumes that he can assert control over judges and ignore input from USPTO stakeholders, who strongly oppose his position and policies. When we say stakeholders we don’t mean law firms but actual companies and creators, engineers, designers etc. (those were, after all, the intended stakeholders of the USPTO when it was set up).

“When we say stakeholders we don’t mean law firms but actual companies and creators, engineers, designers etc. (those were, after all, the intended stakeholders of the USPTO when it was set up).”Where do we go from here? Well, we must observe and respond to the situation. The eventuality isn’t predetermined and may very well depend on what the public does. Iancu, for instance, is already coming under fire from stakeholders and even courts. As our readers certainly know, the EPO comes under weekly/daily fire even from its very own staff (salaried by the EPO).

At the moment, in 2019, the US patent office and the main European patent office, the EPO, are both controlled by clueless and dishonest people. One need only consider what events they attend and who they speak to. They don’t care about science and technology. They wrongly assume that their offices exist just to grant as many patents as possible, giving rise to as many lawsuits as possible. Just before the weekend, for instance, we saw Christian Camarce and Karen Wong-Chan (Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C.) celebrating PPH, the Patent Prosecution Highway. In practice, putting patent trolls on the “highway” (PPH) so that they can blackmail more people more quickly and more efficiently isn’t what science and technology need; quite the contrary. The risk associated with rushed patent examination (and prosecution) discourages investment and causes greater uncertainty. As this law firm itself has explained:

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program accelerates examination among participating patent offices. The PPH program first began as a trial program between the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in 2006, to avoid duplicate work efforts and expedite patentability decisions between patent offices. [1] Since then, the program has grown to include over 40 patent offices, including the European Patent Office (EPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), and Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). This article discusses a brief overview of the PPH program and surveys PPH activity in participating patent offices.

[...]

The above discussion indicates that the patent offices with the most PPH activity are the JPO and USPTO, with the JPO being the office of earlier examination receiving the most PPH requests and the USPTO being the office of later examination receiving the most PPH requests. The EPO, KIPO, CNIPA, and CIPA also receive a significant number of PPH requests. Thus, for applicants seeking patent protection in these jurisdictions, the PPH program may be a viable vehicle to obtain patents faster than by standard examination.

But at what expense? Accuracy of course. There’s less time for appeals and objections, for instance. In the age of 35 U.S.C. § 101, moreover, American examiners are eager to also allow patents that ought not exist in the first place. Iancu is egging them on, making leeway for ignoring caselaw.

“At the moment, in 2019, the US patent office and the main European patent office, the EPO, are both controlled by clueless and dishonest people.”Just before the weekend, Josh Landau (CCIA) spoke of “working to ensure that unclear patent claims—claims which fail to serve their intended purpose of providing public notice—are considered invalid.”

Landau, like his implicit EFF allies, is growingly upset at Iancu’s lies and distortions. Here’s the context of this latest rant of his and some conclusions:

Amgen’s patent required a process with three separate steps. Sandoz’s process was a single step process that performed the same general function. But Amgen claimed that Sandoz infringed under the doctrine of equivalents, a patent law doctrine that allows a patent owner to assert infringement that goes outside of the literal scope of the claims.

[...]

Even if a patent claims one way of doing something, not just the result, if the language of the claims is unclear or impossible to understand—or even to understand easily—then members of the public are faced with the choice of either avoiding an area of technology they might well be entitled to use, or else engaging in that area and running the risk that they do infringe a valid claim.

USPTO Director Iancu often refers to “certainty” and “predictability” when discussing § 101. But those same concerns—the ability of the public to have certainty and predictability as to what a patent means—are far too often not part of the discussion. This week, the Federal Circuit again highlighted this problem. Their future case law should do the same, working to ensure that unclear patent claims—claims which fail to serve their intended purpose of providing public notice—are considered invalid.

None of the above is yet unheard of; we’re seeing more and more arguments like these and ours predate the actual appointment of Iancu (when he was only nominated and way before his attacks on 35 U.S.C. § 101 back in January). Yesterday, perhaps belatedly, Patently-O wrote about the case that we had included in daily links for quite some time, asking (in the headline) the famous old question, “What happens when Patents Are Later Invalidated?”

“Iancu is egging them on, making leeway for ignoring caselaw.”It’s about 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The huge industrial and societal cost of fake patents being granted (and there’s never justice at the end; only the lawyers benefit at everyone’s expense) is described in the context of this case, even in the words of patent maximalists:

The basic question here is whether the late-stage invalidity in T-Mobile can be used to cancel Sprint’s adjudged liability. So far, the courts have sided with Sprint, although it was important for Sprint’s case that it took pains to slow-walk its post-appeal activity (request for rehearing and petition for certiorari) so that the case still had some life by the time the T-Mobile decision was released.

June 23, 2017 – the Federal Circuit invalidated the patents in the T-Mobile decision. June 27, 2017 (two business days later) – Sprint filed a R.60(b) motion for Relief from Judgment based upon the Federal Circuit’s binding authority “that the patent claims underlying that judgment are invalid as unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” The district court complied and set-aside its prior verdict and the Federal Circuit affirmed — finding no abuse of discretion.

As part of the Sprint timeline, it is notable that the Federal Circuit issued its mandate in May 2017 (before the T-Mobile invalidity decision). After the T-Mobile decision, Sprint unsuccessfully requested that the Federal Circuit recall the mandate. However, the court did issue a statement that recall was “unnecessary” because the “mandate does not alter how the district court should decide the preclusive effect of the T-Mobile ruling, which did not exist in May 2017.”

Another important element here a big question about whether the T-Mobile invalidity applied to all of the claims at issue in Sprint (the Federal Circuit retrospectively said yes).

Will the cost of this injustice be taken into account or only USPTO revenue? SUEPO very well grasps the idea/impact of externality and has spoken about it publicly for a number of years. We very much appreciate SUEPO (i.e. European patent examiners) for that. Why don’t USPTO examiners/patent clerks do the same?

“SUEPO very well grasps the idea/impact of externality and has spoken about it publicly for a number of years.”As pointed out by Benjamin Henrion last night, far too many patents are being granted. “China just allows patents on pretty much everything,” I responded to him. “My longstanding theory is that they flood the system of WIPO with junk so as to discredit it, making it obsolete (almost 1.5 million filings per year! More than the world COMBINED!)”

Henrion had also responded to another dumb piece from Watchtroll, titled “Independent Inventors to USPTO: We Are All Underrepresented in This Patent System”

“They labeled all software patent owners as patent trolls,” he quoted from it, adding: “Rightly so. Software developers deserve freedom of programming, not interference from the state in between them and their keyboard [] Small software patent trolls says they don’t have a voice at the USPTO: “Like many software patents post-2014, my first attempt to enforce my rights was defeated this past October.””

“Blogs sympathetic to the agenda of Iancu are running out of steam and it’s no wonder that the supposed ‘bill’ or ‘fix’ from Coons et al (against PTAB and Section 101 etc.) hasn’t been mentioned in a long time. It’s silently dying, just like in past years.”When Watchtroll’s Eileen McDermott talks of “Independent Inventors,” I’ve told him, she means not inventors but people who have a patent and want to sue someone who actually does, not says, something. The term “inventor” became wildly misused like “patriot” and other nonsense. Giving them something like PPH is only exacerbating matters.

We don’t want to link to Watchtroll. We stopped doing that about 5 months ago. We’re still adding new cases and case outcomes to daily links, without necessarily commenting (for lack of time mostly). Like we said last week, many blogs have become inactive. Remember Docket Report? It suddenly stopped completely (last summer). There are other such examples. Blogs sympathetic to the agenda of Iancu are running out of steam and it’s no wonder that the supposed ‘bill’ or ‘fix’ from Coons et al (against PTAB and Section 101 etc.) hasn’t been mentioned in a long time. It’s silently dying, just like in past years.

05.09.19

Illegal Software Patents and Patent Trolls Well Served by European and American Patent Offices But Not Courts

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

Charles Darwin

Summary: Patent offices are departing from the rule of law; first it was the EPO and now it’s the USPTO under Donald Trump’s appointees, chosen based on nepotism

THE previous post alluded to EPO President António Campinos and his promotion of software patents in Europe (the European Inventor Award 2019 made such patents a contender for an award). But the EPO never speaks of or uses the term “software patents”; even “CII” is gradually being deprecated in favour of buzzwords like “4IR” and “AI”.

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Day one was rounded off by #SearchMatters first panel discussion. A lively expert debate and really interesting questions from the audience tackled the issue of AI future developments in the context of #patent searches”

When the EPO says “AI” (as in this case) it means illegal software patents — so in essence it leverages buzzwords to break the law, or to violate the EPC.

Here’s another EPO tweet from yesterday: “The next opportunity to visit the EPO will be in Munich. If you want to know more about the EPO’s approach to #artificialintelligence”

Two things to point out here: 1) “AI” does not make software patents acceptable. They break/violate the law, EPC and beyond (caselaw included). 2) Guests at the EPO are subjected to illegal surveillance, so why visit? The EPO’s violations of domestic and international laws have always gone unpunished.

Meanwhile, a vocal patent attorney (Kalis) says that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications…”

He means software patents (which 35 U.S.C. § 101 trashes) disguised using buzzwords like “AI” for a fake sense of ‘novelty’. “Over the Past 24 Hours,” he adds, “the PTAB Posted a Lot of New Decisions. They Have Reversed a Lot of Examiners’ 101 Rejections and Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications. Scroll down for the decisions. They are Posted in Several Groups.”

Among the examples: “The PTAB Affirmed a 101 Rejection of Machine Learning Claims in an AI Patent Application: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2018005866-04-03-2019-1 …”

“AI” nonsense again. Even at PTAB…

“Patent Trolls want to destroy PTAB & 101 so they can issue all the Software Patents they like,” a critic of software patents wrote this week.

This is part of the trend, where PTAB is the equivalent of the EPO’s Boards coming under attack. This attack has been ‘harmonised’ along both sides of the Atlantic. The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also participates in this attack. Yesterday Watchtroll published under the headline “Iancu: USPTO Guidance Gets 101 [35 U.S.C. § 101] Right; Time for Courts to Follow Suit…” (American Battistellism)

Actually, the vast majority of public comments (submitted to the USPTO) said it was wrong. The USPTO nowadays has its own Ajit Pai, however, so he is lying about public input. Almost all the comments received by the USPTO disagree with him, but here he is trying to tell courts what to do.

In addition, Watchtroll (which he’s close to) still issues personal attacks on PTAB judges all the time. That’s because trolls dislike justice (it stands in the way of their extortion). Benjamin Henrion quoted Iancu from the above (which we prefer not to link to directly): “In the end, all three branches need to be rowing in the same direction on something like 101″ (which translates [to]: “we need a law to make software patents great again,” as Henrion put it).

Also published on Wednesday by the EFF’s Alex Moss was this update about patent troll Uniloc:

Patent owners shouldn’t be allowed to keep basic facts about their patents secret—especially when they initiate litigation in courts, which are presumptively open to the public. Uniloc is one of the worst examples of such a company: it doesn’t make any products, but sues lots of others that do. Then, it hides its licensing agreements while demanding fees from hundreds of other companies that make products supposedly covered by the patents in their vast portfolio. But those secretive tactics may finally be coming to an end: a federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Uniloc must unseal documents about how it licenses its patents.

In 2018 alone, Uniloc filed more than 170 patent infringement lawsuits against a wide array of technology companies that make products we all use. EFF has fought repeatedly for the public’s right to access court documents in patent cases, and we moved to intervene in Uniloc v. Apple—where Apple is arguing that Uniloc doesn’t have the right to sue—because the basic facts of patent ownership should not be shrouded in secrecy.

At an earlier hearing on Apple’s motion to dismiss Uniloc’s whole case, Judge Alsup called out Uniloc’s wildly improper sealing requests, saying, “There is no way this deserves to be under seal.” He then denied all of the sealing requests, and gave Uniloc a short time to appeal before making the documents public. We hoped that would change Uniloc’s approach to sealing, and afterwards, the company did file public versions of some of the sealed documents. But it still sought to hide information that there was no basis to seal, like the names of companies they had licensed. So EFF renewed its motion to intervene and opposed Uniloc’s motion for reconsideration.

An author from a patent maximalists’ publication said (quoting the above judge): “Judge Alsup unloads: “Patent holders tend to demand in litigation a vastly bloated figure in ‘reasonably royalties’ compared to what they have earned in actual licenses. … There is a public need to police this litigation gimmick via more public access.” https://www.almcms.com/contrib/content/uploads/documents/403/16984/Uniloc-v.-Apple.Alsup-motion-on-reconsideration1.pdf …”

Uncensored Alsup: patent holders are charlatans and frauds. Who other than Iancu defends the trolls? The other Trump appointee, Makan Delrahim. Appointed by the same con man who appointed Iancu (from the firm that used to serve his business). What a “swamp”. As Josh from CCIA put it yesterday: “Delrahim again on his “exercising your patent rights should never be an antitrust violation” while completely ignoring the context—when you’ve made commitments as part of an industry-wide coordinating agreement, it can be an antitrust violation to fail to uphold them.”

There’s a toxic state of affairs when the officials in charge are in the pockets of patent trolls and law firms rather than science and technology. This is the case both in Europe and in the United States (under Trump).

05.07.19

Even IAM Admits That When It Comes to Patents It’s Quality That Counts, Not Quantity

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So why did it lie for Battistelli? (EPO PR firm paid IAM)

Battistelli and IAM

EPO and IAM

Summary: Low-quality patents meet empty stares from actual judges who assess these patents’ merit (or lack thereof); what lies ahead is a bubble of patents imploding

JOURNALISM barely exists anymore. A lot of publications are like corporations-led think tanks whose agenda-setting is the product (or service). This is especially true in the area/domain of patents. IAM profited a lot from generation of lies for the European Patent Office (EPO) — lies about quality of European Patents and lies that Battistelli kept citing all the time. But quality of these patents has collapsed; stakeholders talk about this cautiously (for fear of repelling present and future clients) and even the EPO’s own examiners talk about it in secret (SUEPO talks about it), for fear of getting sacked after telling the truth.

Deep inside, IAM knows it is a lying operation/propaganda mill. It very well knows its business model and sources of revenue (we wrote about it before, it boils down to patent aggressors, trolls and law firms). “Patent quality, not quantity, is what really counts,” says a headline this week; it’s about FRAND/SEP (misnomers), but one can extrapolate from that. Quoting IAM:

In an article published by IAM in June 2017, Via Licensing president Joe Siino estimated that of the 160,000 plus declarations covering all ETSI standards, just over 2,000 were truly standards essential.

How many of these 2,000 aren’t valid? Or wouldn’t hold water if tested in court? What about those other 160,000? How many are abstract for instance? Today’s EPO, more so under António Campinos, openly promotes software patents in Europe while calling them “CII”, “4IR”, “AI” etc. It’s part of a global trend. Patent extremists from the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), for example, will later this week promote software patents (not legitimate in the eyes of American courts) under the guise of “Artificial Intelligence” (“AI”). Even Microsoft’s Jessica Meyers is in there:

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) will offer a one-hour webinar entitled “AI: Protecting Inventions in China, Europe and the U.S.” on May 9, 2019 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (ET). Jessica Meyers of Microsoft, Andreas Holzwarth-Rochford of Jones Day, and Roger Shang of Alibaba will address how to approach the challenge of obtaining Artificial Intelligence (AI) patent protection in three major jurisdictions, as well considering when the alternative of trade secret protection could be a better course to take, and consider various litigation scenarios, including the ongoing dispute in China between Zhizhen Network Technology and Apple that relates to Apple’s Siri voice assistant app.

Notice the trend? Every piece of software is being framed as (or falsely marketed as) “AI” — an issue that more and more people have become aware of.

Gene Quinn of Watchtroll meanwhile says (earlier this week) that “Alice Five Years Later: Hope Wanes as 101 Legislative Discussions Dominated by Big Tech” (that’s part of the site’s disregard for science and technology as opposed to the litigation ‘industry’).

Actually, it hasn’t been 5 years. Quinn gets his facts wrong, as usual. SCOTUS Blog says judgment was issued July 21st (unanimous, 9-0), with Opinion dated June 19th, 2014. So we’re more than a month away. Quinn keeps moaning about 35 U.S.C. § 101 because when you’re a patent troll and/or work for one (like Quinn) 35 U.S.C. § 101 may be the end of your career. His Watchtroll career ended 4 months ago.

We should also note that the above blog post is the first time in days that an article at Watchtroll actually gets any comments (their blogs are stagnating and hope runs out). Back to the issue of quality, what we’re going to see in the coming years is a set of courts knocking out bad patents to the point where fewer patent holders will even bother filing lawsuits. This, in turn, will discourage filers of patents as well. It’s just a big bubble in a slow-motion explosion.

05.05.19

2019: The Year Patent Zealots’ Blogs Have Mostly Collapsed

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Traffic and activity slid to near zero levels, with few and rare exceptions

Centerville Slide

Summary: The collapse of the patent ‘industry’ (or the patent bubble bursting in the United States) has meant that many English-speaking sites that cover patents are no longer active (or barely active)

TECHRIGHTS is rightly said to have been deeply focused on EPO affairs for nearly 5 years — a subject that it covered before albeit not on a daily basis like USPTO affairs (there were far more patent lawsuits in the US, often over abstract software patents). Back in 2014 I made the choice to focus on EPO scandals because what I saw there was just unbelievable. I didn’t realise just how rotten things had become in Europe, even in circles that involve top scholars, highly-educated examiners with doctoral degrees (managed by corrupt politicians and bankers like António Campinos). Over the past few years I saw further resurgence of software patents in Europe under the guise of “AI”, “IoT” and so on (over a dozen such buzzwords) — a subject we shall revisit in our next post.

“Many patent blogs have shut down or have become totally inactive.”2014 was a very different year. Remember that SCOTUS ruled on Alice in the middle of the year and 35 U.S.C. § 101 took some time to take hold at the Federal Circuit and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). It wasn’t until 2017 that it became almost impossible to defend software patents in courts or in inter partes reviews (IPRs). In 2018 even district courts, inspired by courts above them, adopted a similar pattern. As soon as 2019 started a Donald Trump flunky attempted to work around caselaw, costing him every remnant of credibility. He’s now widely condemned in the technical community and the overwhelming majority of comments received by the USPTO (consultation ended about a month ago) were very negative. But there’s another aspect almost nobody dares mention. Another casualty is the so-called ‘media’ (more like think tanks) of patent trolls and aggressors. Days ago I noticed that the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, now pays Twitter to “promote” its lousy tweets (which hardly receive any public interaction otherwise). I’ve noticed it a lot lately… they literally pay for readers (money or subsidy coming from the patent parasites who fund IAM). Watchtroll is still rotting away like IP Watch (now defunct). IP Watch at least published some useful things, sometimes. Watchtroll is just a megaphone of patent trolls’ agenda and change of editor did not mean boom for the site; perhaps quite the contrary. Patent zealots liked the site for its bombastic, strident, at times blowhard tone. It’s mostly gone now. Just like traffic to that site. We observe it closely but don’t link to it. It’s gradually dying. As for Patently-O? Hardly active. Patent Docs? Same. About half the activity it used to have a year or two ago (‘post density’ halved).

“In recent years I’ve been receiving many threats of lawsuits for merely exercising my free speech rights.”Our prediction is that more patent zealots will move on in their lives and maybe change careers. Many patent blogs have shut down or have become totally inactive. Deep inside they know it; they can feel it; they’re finished. The founder of Watchtroll got a ‘real job’ and stepped down as editor after 20 years. Just a symptom or a data point — a sign of a broader trend.

Based on what we've been hearing, Europe is approaching a similar ‘boiling point’ — some signs of which are the collapse of the UPC (more on that in the next post) and courts across Europe tossing out European Patents. The tendency of offices (in China/Asia, Europe, US/America) to just hand out lots of low-quality patents in a rush belatedly faces public and legal backlash. The geeks are winning this debate, whereas lawyers mostly lie. In recent years I’ve been receiving many threats of lawsuits for merely exercising my free speech rights. If they can’t sue over patents, they’ll try to make themselves feel productive by baselessly (no solid legal basis) threatening to sue their critics.

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.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts