An atmosphere that encourages paranoia and extreme caution does not offer an incentive to move forward
Summary: A quick review or overview of today’s patent news, or supposed news as presented by patent law firms that strive to attract more demand for their services
“While the Supreme Court has not definitively ruled on it,” says this new ‘analysis’ from a patent law firm. “the majority of federal courts have found that a company’s unilateral refusal to license its patents does not violate Section 2 of the Sherman Act.” This so-called ‘analysis’, i.e. shameless self-promotion or marketing, is titled “Unilateral Refusals to License Intellectual Property”. They are actually talking about patents, not “Intellectual Property” [sic] which is a vague term that lumps together trademarks, copyrights, patents and sometimes trade secrets.
Imagine a world where there are millions of “live” (still valid, not expired) patents in many countries which enable cross-border actions through collaborations (Patent Prosecution Highway, Unitary Patent etc.), then picture some small businesses which can barely afford going to court to defend themselves from even a single infringement charge/allegation. What kind of world would that be? Certainly a good world for patent litigators. Patents would, therein, be tools of corporate destruction (small companies are extremely vulnerable) or raiding of large companies by settlement. Patent trolls face no risk (of being sued) as they have virtually no products. Large companies often use trolls as satellites for this reason. Apple, having quite recently lost to patent troll that got a lot of money from Apple (and prior to that from Microsoft), just lost another case, this time to Network-1 Technologies, not VirnetX. As MIP put today, “Apple will pay Network-1 Technologies $25 million to settle subsidiary Mirror World Technologies’ patent litigation in the Eastern District of Texas” (capital of patent trolls). The patent trolls-funded IAM ‘magazine’ bemoans this verdict where a troll/parasite received ‘only’ 25 million dollars. Apparently a settlement for as much as 25 million dollars means “depressed patent licensing market,” at least if one trusts IAM, which is funded by nasty actors like MOSAID (Microsoft troll and satellite).
“There is still a major battle over patent policy and the perception of patents’ value.”On the brighter side of things, the demise of software patents means that a lot of patent trolls are not longer capable of blackmailing companies (it’s riskier against large companies which can afford going to court, whereupon the asserted patent/s would be invalidated). Some don’t even bother trying anymore. “Buyer beware,” says a new article from Forbes today (titled “Yahoo’s Patents Are a Pile of Junk, Report Says”). “Little has gone right for Yahoo, which is one reason the flailing tech giant decided this spring to sell off the bulk of its patent portfolio.” We saw similar reports last week and last month. After Alice, a landmark 2014 decision, Yahoo’s patents (a lot of business methods and software) would no longer have any value.
Also see “Companies Considering Purchase of Yahoo! Excalibur Patent Portfolio Face Major Risk, According to TurboPatent” and “Nearly Half Of Yahoo Excalibur Patent Portfolio Likely Invalid, Unenforceable, Data Suggests”. In Twitter, one person told me that “most software patents are piles of junk. Worked on decommissioning 1 Y! [Yahoo] product based on a patent.”
Speaking of buyouts, IAM, which now bemoans China's patent bias (as if the West does not have the same kind of bias), points to this press release from Thomson Reuters and says it “point[s] to Asia’s rising IP star”, whatever that means (they’re trying to encourage more patent activity in east Asia, as usual).
There is still a major battle over patent policy and the perception of patents’ value. The more patents come into existence, the lesser the value of each pertinent patent. The battle is fought between those who profit from patent maximalism and those who are victims of such maximalism. Guess whose side IAM stands for… follow the money. █
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Summary: Some of the past week’s patent stories grouped together for easier absorption (sans the patent lawyers’ bias)
IAM ‘magazine’, which glorifies patent stockpiling and litigation (follow the money), basically continued to promote stockpiling of patents earlier this week. It’s about USPTO registration, which IAM uses to reinforce the notion of patents as “ownership” and innovation. Nicola from IP Kat, who is often sceptical of patent maximalists (she’s one of their best writers on such topics), linked to this paper and said: “The key finding is that, “55% of triadic patents are commercialized. We also find that 17% of all triadic patents are not commercialized but are at least partially for preemption, though only 3% of all triadic patents are purely preemptive patents.” Preemption is patenting for strategic purposes, rather than commercial. (You could argue the two are one and the same, but the paper focuses on preemptive non-use, as in strategic patenting with no intention to use the patent.) The paper goes into much more detail, but the punchline is that nearly half of triadic patents are not used, but ‘strategic’ patenting may be less prevalent than popular discourse would have you believe.”
“Patenting without boundaries devalues pertinent patents and harms confidence in patents.”What we appreciate about Nicola is that in spite of backlash in the comments (probably from patent lawyers) she continues to insist that when it comes to patents, more is not necessarily merrier. Patenting without boundaries devalues pertinent patents and harms confidence in patents. That’s just overpatenting. This is particularly true when it comes to software patents, which often correspond to very old ideas being implemented on a computer, on a device, over the Internet and so on. According to this new puff piece, for example, “Viridity Energy secures patent for transport-based energy storage software,” which probably corresponds quite loosely to something like the first software patent ever to be granted in the US (granted to Martin Goetz using the guise of “transport”). Software in general isn’t adequately protectable by patents but by copyright and there is no single patent that covers an entire computer program (there is no one-to-one correspondence and a single program can potentially infringe on thousands of software patents these days). We sure hope that the EPO won’t be gullible enough to believe otherwise.
Moving on a little, GoPro, which Microsoft extorted using patents earlier this year, becomes aggressive with patents of its own. As Digital Trends put it: “After Polaroid manufacturer C&A Marketing Inc. sued GoPro for copying the Cube’s design last year, GoPro is turning the tables, saying that it’s the Cube that is using GoPro’s patented technology. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, GoPro alleges that the Polaroid Cube copies two patents owned by the action-cam giant.”
“…when Apple wants to remotely control your phone, microphone, cameras etc. (or allow others to gain such control) it’s OK “because copyrights!””GoPro may be aggressive with patents, but no company these days is nearly as aggressive as Apple, which sees its empire devoured by Google with Android. Apple is now pursuing patents on censorship, as quite a few sites correctly note. Rick Falkvinge (Pirate Party founder) correctly went with the headline “Apple patents technology enabling police to prevent iPhones from filming police abuse”. One article had the headline “Apple gets patent for remotely disabling iPhone cameras, raising censorship fears”, but many of the other articles about it (literally hundreds if not thousands of them) were so terrible that they repeated Apple’s talking points. Poor reporting took Apple’s word (at face value) on how cameras being hijack would be used; when Apple wants to remotely control your phone, microphone, cameras etc. (or allow others to gain such control) it’s OK “because copyrights!” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72]. How misleading. These lies dominated the media and made Apple’s patent look like “protecting artists” rather than censoring photographers (who are themselves artists). See the article “The New iPhone Might Shut Off Next Time You Try to Film the Police in Public” for better perspective, unlike advocacy sites of Apple patents. This one said: “The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 44 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover an Apple invention that pointed to the coming indoor GPS trend that is about to come to market first with the Lenovo-Google Tango smartphone this fall. In our report covering the Lenovo phone we pointed to a feature that will be introducing augmented reality. To a certain degree this is covered in today’s granted patent. Apple’s technology discusses working with venues like a museum that could provide visitors with guided tours and beyond on a future iPhone. In 2014 we posted a report titled “Apple and Google Headed for an Indoor Location Services War,” and indeed they are with Lenovo-Google taking the first shot. The second aspect of today’s granted invention caused a massive roar from techies who were upset with the camera being able to block smartphone video recording at concerts.”
Speaking of Apple, IAM insinuates that iPhone sales ban in China is a bad thing (suddenly IAM thinks patent assertion is bad, probably because China isn’t paying IAM) and MIP says “Apple’s latest China setback could encourage patent trolls”. “The Beijing IP Court has ruled that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus infringe the design patent of a Chinese-made smartphone, in a case that one IP lawyer believes could provide inspiration to patent trolls,” MIP writes. Well, if they are so supportive of patents, why is this bad when China uses patents? A bit of hypocrisy here, no? On the other hand, IAM published “Fujifilm’s Chinese pharma patent licensing deal marks a milestone in its IP-driven transformation” and “Qualcomm’s licensing model will be “destroyed” if it can’t win key China case, says its ex-Asian patent director” (also about china). So a monopoly abuser wishes to conquer China with patents that China doesn’t care for and IAM takes the side of the monopolist. How predictable. Moving further east to Japan, watch how IAM promotes/grooms Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll (which came from Microsoft originally). IAM wrote: “Earlier this month, we learned that Intellectual Ventures (IV) is spinning out its Invention Development Fund (IDF) into a separate entity. The news was confirmed by Paul Levins, who has been head of IV’s Australia and New Zealand operations and is the Asia and Europe programme director for IDF, while speaking on a panel at IPBC Global 2016 in Barcelona. As I understand it, this process has been underway for a few months and is still ongoing – but this has not stopped IDF from doing deals.”
“We see more of the same bias coming from patent lawyers’ (supposedly ‘news’) sites, which prefer to treat all patents as necessary and those that sue companies as “doing the right thing” (irrespective of merit or benefit to science, technology, and society).”The word troll isn’t even mentioned in this article (nor is it mentioned in this new article about the patent troll of Ericsson, which now goes to Asia for some shakedown, extortion, blackmail or whatever). WatchTroll only puts the word troll in scare quotes, reflecting the same kind of bias. We see more of the same bias coming from patent lawyers’ (supposedly ‘news’) sites, which prefer to treat all patents as necessary and those that sue companies as “doing the right thing” (irrespective of merit or benefit to science, technology, and society). “Amicus Briefs Due Soon in Supreme Court Copyright and Patent Cases,” one such site said after it suggested how to destroy small companies using patents. “A tactic sometimes used by a well-established competitor against a startup is to accuse the startup of patent infringement,” the article said. “Unless the startup has deep pockets, it cannot really afford to defend a patent lawsuit…”
This is why patent trolls are particularly problematic for small companies. Sometimes patent trolls are just proxies/satellites of large companies. If only more patent lawyers’ sites cared to cover the subject… █
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A weak and/or incompetent EPO would harm everyone in the world
Summary: A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe
THE EPO has become a subject of considerable debate and focus here. It started around 2014 after we had primarily focused on the US patent system, the USPTO.
For those who have not been reading the site since its inception, here is a short introduction.
I had been a GNU/Linux advocate well before this site existed and an opponent of software patents (not patents as a whole) for a little longer than that. People who have themselves developed software don’t find it difficult to understand why copyrights, not patents, are suitable protection for one’s work (protection from plagiarism, misuse, misattribution, and so on).
The earliest goal of the site, back almost 10 years ago, was to end the software patents assault by Microsoft against GNU/Linux and Free software in general — an assault which began if not publicly culminated with the Microsoft/Novell patent deal. Novell took several years to decline after this deal and ultimately, unsurprisingly, Microsoft grabbed Novell’s own software patents, in a joint takeover along with Apple, Oracle, etc. These companies do not want Linux and Android to succeed, not without them being heavily taxed by the proprietary software oligopoly (Microsoft, Apple and Oracle still have ongoing patent/copyright fights against Android).
Apple’s attack on Linux (through Android) officially began in 2010, whereupon we wrote a great deal about Apple and shortly afterwards Oracle joined this war. It had already shown some hostility towards Red Hat, just shortly before the Microsoft/Novell deal in 2006.
For those who are not yet seeing a pattern, let it be spelled out clearly; the rise of Free software and GNU/Linux gave power to new actors such as Google, which made proper use of Free software in order to build back- and front-end stacks (databases, operating systems, AI, Web servers and so on). This meant that gadgets-selling giants, database giants, operating systems giants/monopolies etc. that were and still are proprietary (e.g. iOS, Mac OS X, Oracle, Windows) needed to either crash/crush emergent forces or tax them, using either patents or copyrights (this goes back to 2003 with the Microsoft-backed SCO assault on Linux).
Right now, in 2016, the aforementioned issues are unresolved. Microsoft is still attacking Linux (but more cleverly, with shrewdly-worded announcements that brand/frame patent settlements as bundling deals), Apple still has several patent cases against Android OEMs, and Oracle refuses to give up even after 6 years in the courtroom (against Android through Google). The cause of utmost importance here deals not only with software patents anymore but also with some design patents (Apple v Samsung) and copyright on APIs (Oracle v Google).
About 8 years ago we expressed concerns about software patents in Europe due to FRAND lobbying (from companies like Microsoft) and Brimelow’s loophole “as such”. We thereafter didn’t keep a close eye on the EPO for quite some time. Not much seemed to happen, but new kinds of abuses started to emerge and these seemed to be related to the resurrection of the “EU patent” or “community patent”, this time under a new kind of name and marketing (equating maximalism with union, unity, universality etc.) accompanied by/with repression of staff and suppression of critics. Even the staff union of the EPO, which had existed for several decades, came under unprecedented (even outside the EPO) attacks.
The reason we now focus a great deal on the EPO is that we have reasonably good understanding of the matters involved. We also have many articles on the subject, which helps us create a cohesive story with a lot of cross-referencing. Our goal now is to help other people (EPO insiders as well as politicians who are outsiders) gain an equally good understanding of why the EPO’s management must be chopped laterally and replaced en masse. It is the only way to save the EPO right now. Delegates that make up the Administrative Council probably have a good grip on the current situation, but they are afraid (or tied up by Battistelli’s hand on the budget), so they are not likely to do anything. The EPO needs somewhat of a revolution and strikes/demonstrations are steps towards that.
In the coming days we shall have a lot to write about the EPO and we will devote plenty of time and resources to ensure this historic period in the EPO is properly documented. We welcome feedback from readers and we hope that new material will continue to flow in. Now that everyone in the UK (and increasingly beyond) talks about “Brexit” it looks like Battistelli will definitely fail to deliver on his promises. He will be remembered not as a pioneer manager who compromised the rule of law for some ‘necessary’ reform but as a ruthless tyrant that shattered the EPO’s reputation for many years if not decades to come.
The EPO will outlive Battistelli and it is everyone’s job, especially at the EPO, to fight for patent quality (i.e. defy Battistelli’s ‘productivity’ obsession or lunacy). Remember that patent offices live or die (or make or break if not perish) based on the value or perceived value of their granted patents, i.e. examination that increases certainty in a court of law. Being an ENA graduate, Battistelli perhaps hopes that his predecessor will be left to deal with the aftermath of his atrocious policies (brain drain, low patent quality, reputation problems). Then the blame might be misplaced. A retired Battistelli would have little or nothing to worry about, but what about patent examiners who are far from retirement? How about retired examiners whose pension will be at risk? Given some upcoming Battistelli ‘reforms’, many people’s pensions are already at risk. This is just bad for Europe’s competitiveness across many sectors (medicine, chemistry, physics, telecommunication and many more). As patents get granted and assigned not just to European applicants (only the employees of the EPO are European), this may also means innovation will happen in the courts (lawyers’ strategies with patent trolls) rather than in the laboratories. Patent monopolies that are granted for the sake of being granted (artificially elevating some measure of EPO ‘output’) rather than to promote innovation can retard human progress as a whole. █
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Samsung has the power to put an end to a controversial type of patents that are similar to software patents
Slide to unlock: novel or medieval?
Summary: A couple of new developments in Apple’s dispute about the ‘design’ of Samsung’s Android phones, which emulate extremely old concepts in digital form
WE are definitely not friends of Samsung (never have been), but some of its patent cases in recent years (especially against Microsoft and Apple) have had profound implications/impact.
“How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place?”Here is Professor Mark Lemley sharing his “brief for 50 IP professors on design patent damages in the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court case” (local copy to ensure it endures the test of time). This is one of several such cases that involve Apple and Samsung. Florian Müller wrote that this is about as absurd as Microsoft’s patent bullying “over tiny arrow”. To quote the relevant part: “This is one of the patents Microsoft is presently asserting against Corel. Last summer I reported on Corel drawing first blood by suing Microsoft over a bunch of preview-related patents. A few months later, Microsoft retaliated with the assertion of six utility patents and four design patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation named one of Microsoft’s design patents-in-suit the “stupid patent of the month” of December 2015 because it merely covered the design of a slider. But that patent isn’t nearly as bad as U.S. Design Patent No. D550,237, which practically just covers a tiny arrow positioned in the lower right corner of a rectangle. If you look at the drawings, particularly this one, note that the dotted lines mark the parts that aren’t claimed. What’s really claimed is just a rectangle with another rectangle inside and that tiny graphical arrow in the bottom right corner.”
“This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist.”How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place? It’s not surprising that USPTO patent quality has declined so badly and so quickly and there are new patent quality studies regarding the USPTO. Will any similar studies look closely at EPO patent quality as well?
According to an Apple advocacy site, patents on design might not reach SCOTUS after all. This is bad news to all who hoped that SCOTUS would put en end to design patents once and for all.”Samsung Electronics welcomes support for overturning U.S. court ruling in Apple case,” said this new article, which along with others said “Justice Department Urges High Court Overturn Award to Apple Over Samsung Smartphones”. This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist. As Müller put it: “Reading all amicus briefs in Samsung v. Apple (design patent damages). Momentum behind call for reasonableness is very impressive.” It looks very likely that if the SCOTUS rules on this, it will help demolish many design patents by extension, in the same way that Alice at SCOTUS put an end to many software patents in the United States. “A federal appeals court awarded about $500 million in damages to Apple for design patent infringement,” recalled one article, demonstrating just how much money can be at stake due to one single patent. “Design patent owners shouldn’t get 100% of the profits when only 1% of the product infringes, EFF tells court,” according to the EFF’s Twitter account and accompanying blog post that says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to reverse a ruling that required Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from smartphones that infringed three basic design patents owned by the iPhone maker.
“Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits.”“The $399-million damage award against Samsung, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit, should be thrown out, EFF told the court in an amicus brief filed today with Public Knowledge and The R Street Institute. Forcing defendants to give up 100% of their profits for infringing designs that may only marginally contribute to a product’s overall look and functionality will encourage frivolous lawsuits and lead to excessive damage awards that will raise prices for consumers and deter innovation.”
Don’t fall for the corporate media’s narrative of Apple as the victim even when software patents are to blame. Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits. We hope that Samsung will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court (more expensive to Samsung but collectively beneficial to all) and eventually win. The net effect might be the end of many design patents in the US. Those patents so often threaten GNU/Linux or Android products, as we have repeatedly shown here over the years. Will Samsung do a public service here? █
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Summary: A look at some of Samsung’s ongoing high-profile patent cases which involve Apple
“The Samsung case [one of several ongoing cases] is particularly interesting,” said Standard Law the other day, “because it turns on the “non-discrimination” prong of RAND. Little case law on what ND means.”
RAND (or FRAND) is an anti-Free software (FOSS) loophole. It’s how proprietary software giants like Apple and Microsoft every so often try to exclude FOSS while calling this reasonable, non-discriminatory and fair (i.e. a series of euphemisms, one longer than the other). In practice, RAND is means UnReasonable and Discriminatory, sometimes UnFair too (FRAND). It’s typically about software patents.
“RAND (or FRAND) is an anti-Free software (FOSS) loophole.”“In a statement to Patently-O,” it has just been said, “Samsung argued that “If the current ruling is left to stand, it would value a single design patent over the hundreds of thousands of groundbreaking technology patents, leading to vastly overvalued design patents.” The itself brief cites Professor Rantanen’s 2015 essay for the proposition that the high damage is likely result in an “explosion of design patent assertions and lawsuits.””
In the mean time, another (new) article by Jason Rantanen explores CAFC appeals — a stage that Samsung has already been through. It will soon reach the Supreme Court (the design patent case at least).
Sharing Samsung’s Supreme Court brief, one said a few days ago that we now have access to “Samsung’s Supreme Court brief addressing the question of whether section 289 of the Patent Act requires the disgorgement of the defendant’s total profit from sales of design patent infringing products, or only the profit attributable to the infringing component.”
“For all we know, not a single case at SCOTUS will present the chance/opportunity to challenge software patents, or override Alice as a precedent.”Patently-O still keeps track of new Supreme Court patent cases and there is a new short article by Dennis Crouch which zooms in on one particular case. He wrote: “On remand from the Supreme Court vacatur, the Federal Circuit has reaffirmed its prior NuVasive decision and – in the process limited the reach of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision of Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1920 (2015).”
For all we know, not a single case at SCOTUS will present the chance/opportunity to challenge software patents, or override Alice as a precedent. The case of Samsung is about design patents and one new article says that “in the next five years the chances are this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. So what has this continuing battle demonstrated about patent law?”
“It’s going to be interesting to see which companies will oppose Apple’s ludicrous design patents (probably Google and Facebook, judging by what happened before).”The deadline for amici curiae has passed and Samsung can now wait and prepare for this important case that will hopefully determine design patents are out of line. As a bit of background on this: “More than two months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States granted Samsung’s petition for writ of certiorari (request for top-court review) regarding design patent damages, which was supported by Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Tomorrow [last week actually], Samsung has to file its opening brief. At this level of proceeding the parties’ positions, theories and arguments are largely known, but it will be very interesting to see what priorities they set, what case law they can find in support of their positions, and which amici curiae (“friends of the court”) will support them.”
We are still not aware of any information related to this, maybe because the amicis have not yet been published. It’s going to be interesting to see which companies will oppose Apple’s ludicrous design patents (probably Google and Facebook, judging by what happened before).
Speaking of certiorari, Patently-O reports that “Hospira explained that both the district court weighed the secondary indicia of non-obviousness and found them “not sufficiently strong to overcome the showing of obviousness arising from an analysis of the prior art.” To Hospira, the petition was basically a request that the Supreme Court conduct its own factual analysis.”
The very fact that the Supreme Court is not revisiting any software patents cases (so far) may serve to suggest confidence in the Alice case, much to the chagrin of Big Business lobbyists. █
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Publicado en Apple, Decepción, Patentes a las 5:22 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
IAM: el Pravda de IP
Sumario: Una miraada a los ‘reportes’ de la semana pasada de IAM y lo que demuestra acerca de su agenda
Es divertido ver cuan abusivos algunos ¨periodistas¨se vuelven, por ejemplo, cuando las noticias se convierte en propaganda de grupos de presión/cabilderos mientras que tratan de mantener la apariencia o cubierta de “periodismo”. Tal es el caso de IAM, que incluso recibe dinero de los trolles de patentes, así como de los abogados de patentes (cuyos intereses son ampliamente conocidos). IAM no está solo en esta categoría y es lamentable que una gran cantidad de fuentes que se auto-describen de “noticias” se han convertido en portavoces de esos intereses. Es aquí donde Techrights típicamente trata/intenta contra esta caja de resonancia.
El mes pasado escribimos sobre las patentes de software en la conducción y en este momento, usando el término de Apple (“termonuclear“) IAM minimiza el riesgo o la cuestión, afirmando: “Mi conjetura es que a pesar del aumento de litigios en el sector comprendido entre las empresas operadoras y continuó ataques lanzados por NPEs -léase TROLLs-, no vamos a ver lo que vimos en la industria de las comunicaciones móviles “.
“El meollo del asunto es que, IAM promueve(no reporta) más y más patentes, más proprietario, menos compartido, menos paz, y más trolles de patentes, juicios de patentes, etc.”
“NPE” significa trolles de patentes – un término que IAM nunca usa, ya que es finaciado/pagado por ellos. Las patentes sobre el acto de conducir (no es novedad) son un problema real y después de que Tesla renunció a muchas patentes relativas a los coches eléctricos, la ‘revista’ IAM (maximalistas de patentes con disfraz de ‘periodistas’) demuestran que están molesto en este acto que cambia el clima de temor de los litigios sobre patentes. Incluso se dice hace que las empresas Chinas piensen (vean el título “Memo a las compañías nuevas de vehículos eléctricos de China: la esperanza no es una estrategia de IP”).
¿Qué es esto? ¿Prédicar o reportar? Habiendose prestado términos de Apple, IAM también juega con las patentes de diseño, a pesar de ser lo suficiéntemente controversiales para alcanzar a la Corte Suprema. “El interest en patentes de diseño ha crecido reciéntemente,” IAM dice, “particularmente siguiéndo el éxito de Apple en afirmar sus patentes de diseño asociádas con el iPhone y el iPad. Apple descubrió que unas pocas y baratas patentes de diseño fueron tán efectiva contra los smartphones de Samsung en su arsenal de patentes utilitarioas en varias funciones de teléfonos y tabletas.”
“No sean engañádos por IAM. No es realmente un sitio de noticias.”
Actualmente no. El caso todavía no se ha decidido. Incluso el Tribunal Supremo decidió tomar sobre el tema y evaluar este tipo de patentes, que hace mucho tiempo que están reivindicados relacionados con las patentes de software de interface del usuario (además de devolución de llamada funciones). Otro nuevo artículo de IAM quiere que los lectores crean que los problemas de Apple son debido a que son lo suficiénte propietarios y trae a Tesla a la vista. Observa cómo se predican de nuevo: “Sin duda alguna, parece ser el caso de que, enfoque basado en la colaboración orientado hacia los ecosistemas de LeEco ha impulsado muy rápidamente hacia la parte superior de los sectores de alta tecnología de China. Pero el rechazo de la característica patentada de la estrategia de Apple – entre muchos, muchos otros – en total podría llegar a ser una elección prudente.”
El meollo del asunto es que, IAM promueve (no reporta) más y más patentes, más proprietario, menos compartido, menos paz, y más trolles de patentes, juicios de patentes, etc.
No sean engañádos por IAM. No es realmente un sitio de noticias. Simplemente dá a su limitada audiencia lo que quiere oir. Como un grupo de interés. Dejenlo allí para que el coro lo lea.
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IAM: the IP Pravda
Summary: A look at this past week’s ‘reports’ from IAM and what they teach us about IAM’s agenda
IT is amusing to see how abusive some journalists can get, e.g. when news becomes advocacy or lobbying while still under the guise or cover of “journalism”. Such is the case of IAM, which even receives money from patent trolls, not just patent lawyers (whose interests are widely known). IAM isn’t alone in this category and it’s unfortunate that a lot of self-described ‘news’ sources in this domain are so biased that they have become meaningless tripe. This is where Techrights typically weighs in and attempts to intervene/interfere with the echo chamber.
Last month we wrote about software patents on driving and right now, using Apple’s term ("thermonuclear") IAM underplays the risk or the issue, stating: “My guess is that despite increasing litigation in the sector between operating companies and continued suits launched by NPEs, we are not going to see what we saw in the mobile communications industry.”
“The bottom line is, IAM advocates (not reports) more and more patents, more proprietary, less sharing, less peace, and more patent trolls, patent feuds, etc.”“NPEs” means patent trolls — a term that IAM never uses because it's paid by them. Patents on the act of driving (not a novel thing) are a real problem and after Tesla gave up on many patents pertaining to electric cars IAM ‘magazine’ (patent maximalists in ‘journalists’ clothing) shows that it is upset at this act which changes the climate of fear from patent litigation. It even tells Chinese companies what to think (see the headline “Memo to China’s electric vehicle startups: hope is not an IP strategy”).
What is this? Preaching or reporting? Having borrowed terms from Apple, IAM also plays up design patents, despite them being controversial enough to reach the Supreme Court. “Interest in design patents has increased recently,” IAM says, “particularly following Apple’s success in asserting its design patents associated with the iPhone and the iPad. Apple discovered that a few relatively inexpensive design patents were just as effective against Samsung’s smartphones as its arsenal of utility patents on various phone and tablet functions.”
“Don’t be misled by IAM. It’s not really a news site.”Actually, no. The case still hasn’t been decided. Even the Supreme Court decided to take on the subject and assess this kind of patents, which long ago we claimed are related to software patents (UI plus callback functions). Another new article from IAM wishes readers to believe that Apple woes being due to it being too proprietary aren’t quite so and Tesla is again brought up. Watch them preach again: “It would certainly appear to be the case that LeEco’s ecosystem-oriented, collaboration-based approach has propelled it very rapidly towards the top of China’s high-tech sectors. But rejecting the proprietary strategy characteristic of Apple – among many, many others – altogether could prove to be an unwise choice.”
The bottom line is, IAM advocates (not reports) more and more patents, more proprietary, less sharing, less peace, and more patent trolls, patent feuds, etc.
Don’t be misled by IAM. It’s not really a news site. It just gives its limited audience what it wants. Like a think tank. Leave it for the choir to read. █
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Summary: Various strands of news about patents, focused on issues raised in the latter half of last week
WE habitually publish outlines of news about patent injustice. While we’re not inherently against patents, there are some domains that oughtn’t have patents in them because collective goals are being impeded rather than advanced by them.
Patents on Marijuana Plants
We start this roundup with the eye-catching article about patents on marijuana. To quote Vice: “On August 4, 2015, US officials quietly made history by approving the first-ever patent for a plant containing significant amounts of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, according to the patent’s holders, their lawyers, and outside experts in intellectual property law.
“One has to wonder how this relates to already-controversial patents on plants, putting aside the controversy surrounding legalisation of cannabis.”“Patent No. 9095554, issued to a group of breeders in California, “relates to specialty cannabis plants, compositions and methods for making and using said cannabis plants and compositions derived thereof,” according to the 145-page document, which is filled with charts, graphs, and reams of scientific jargon describing a range of hybrid strains with distinctive ratios of cannabinoids.”
One has to wonder how this relates to already-controversial patents on plants, putting aside the controversy surrounding legalisation of cannabis.
An article by Terry Ludlow, CEO at Chipworks, recently referred to patents as something one “develops” (rather than applies for after actually developing something), which probably highlights a common misconception about what patents actually are (many conflate them with physical objects — things that have had patents applied to them).
“Johnson’s assertion that maintaining high patent quality is important should be commended.”
Hewlett Packard (HP), as showed here in past years, promoted software patents even outside the US and MIP has this new interview with HP’s IP litigation counsel. “The California-based counsel shares her views on the state of the IP environment in the US and how professionals can contribute to improvements, particularly in the patent field,” wrote MIP. One part of the interview said this: ‘Johnson adds that “creating and maintaining a balanced patent system that promotes innovation and good, valid patents, while also ensuring that bad, low quality patents are not used to abuse the system and ultimately undermine its effectiveness” is one of the biggest challenges in patent law. She says: “There are three main US venues that address patent disputes – the ITC, PTO, and federal courts. IP litigation counsel in my position have to stay vigilant about understanding trends and the discourse around all three of these venues.”’
We don’t generally regard HP to be so bad on the patent front, either because it doesn’t attack companies using patents all that often or because it doesn’t lobby for software patents as often as companies like GE, Intel, Microsoft, and IBM (comparable in terms of scale). Johnson’s assertion that maintaining high patent quality is important should be commended. Later today we are going to show that Microsoft and IBM push in the opposite direction.
Marathon Patent Group and Satellite Strategies
“It’s important to understand that what we have here is a patent company (or troll) acting as a satellite for another — an increasingly-common loophole to ensure no reactionary lawsuits.”Regarding a case which was mentioned here recently, MIP writes a decent article and so does IP Kat, which said late on Friday: “Dynamic Advances parent company, Marathon Patent Group (a patent licensing company) , stated in its SEC filing that under the terms of the settlement Apple will be granted a licence for the patent and a 3-year covenant not to sue. In exchange, Apple will pay $24.9 million under the agreement, with $5 million of that sum payable upon dismissal of the litigation.”
It’s important to understand that what we have here is a patent company (or troll) acting as a satellite for another — an increasingly-common loophole to ensure no reactionary lawsuits. It’s an anti-deterrence tactic. This discredits the theory of “defensive” patents; how can patents be used defensively against entities which have no products at all? As the headline of this article from a trolls expert put it, “Apple pays $25M to a university—and the patent troll it cut a deal with” (summarised accurately and succinctly).
“So one can see that Marathon Patent Group is nothing but a new (ish) kind of troll.”“Apple has agreed to pay $24.9 million to a “patent troll”,” it says, in order “to end a lawsuit over its Siri voice system, according to documents filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Publicly traded Marathon Patent Group, whose business is focused on patent licensing and lawsuits, will split the settlement cash with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), the New York technical university that provided the patents.”
So one can see that Marathon Patent Group is nothing but a new (ish) kind of troll.
‘Killing’ Patent Trolls
The Week has published a new article titled “How to kill patent trolls once and for all”. Composed by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, who describes himself as “a writer and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center,” the article starts with some useful background: “Why are patent trolls so deleterious? Well, these companies exist for no other reason than to gobble up patents and then file frivolous lawsuits over semantic patent violations against any target they can find, with the hope of cashing in with a big settlement. Needless to say, this can wreck the finances of startup companies. (If you want more details, listen to this brilliant This American Life investigation of patent trolls from 2011.)”
“Militarisation of the world’s patent systems isn’t new; a lot of weapons manufacturers want a monopoly on ‘innovative’ new ways to kill people.”A commonly-cited (but controversial) study is then cited: “Patent trolls cost defendant firms $29 billion per year in out-of-pocket costs, according to one study. But the drag on innovation is much bigger than that. Think of all the fledgling companies that miss crucial time-to-market opportunities, and whose products don’t reach their full potential, because they have to fight patent trolls. Some would-be entrepreneurs are surely so frightened of patent trolls that they don’t even bother trying.”
The concluding words are these: “Always, always stand up to the bully. It’s the right thing to do, and it also happens to be the smart thing to do.”
That’s what NewEgg has been doing. It can at least afford to.
Militarisation of the world’s patent systems isn’t new; a lot of weapons manufacturers want a monopoly on ‘innovative’ new ways to kill people. A new article, “The Pentagon Turns to Intellectual Property to Protect U.S. Military Dominance”, wants us to believe that there’s something to be cheered for because ‘we’ (readers), supposedly as US citizens, are ‘protected’ by the patent system, which keeps ‘our’ military strong, as if rival armies (like China’s or Russia’s) will bow to some patent offices abroad and pay patent royalties to corporations that try to nuke their nation (if it wasn’t for mutually-assured destruction and other forms of deterrence).
“The excesses/abundance/saturations reduce productivity, waste resources, generally slow down development in various fields, and ultimately help nobody but patent lawyers and their largest clients (usually global monopolists).”
It’s not so unusual to find patent lawyers in the media. They keep spewing out their pro-war/feud (in the patent sense) propaganda and they try to ‘sell’ patents (applications, lawsuits and other such ‘products’), in the same way arms manufacturers do. An article which misses the point that not all patents are equal and similar, e.g. software patents, was published in the Canadian press a couple of days ago. “Patents are no barrier to innovation, despite the myths,” says the headline. Well, ask software engineers about it and see what they say. The author wrote that “Canadian entrepreneurs should be vigilant to protest against measures that would cripple our patent system to the disadvantage of innovators. This vigilance should extend to monitoring changes that may be proposed to our laws pursuant to international treaty negotiations.”
Well, actually, some patents may be good (we don’t deny this), but their breadth and number made them so shallow and impractical to keep track of. The excesses/abundance/saturations reduce productivity, waste resources, generally slow down development in various fields, and ultimately help nobody but patent lawyers and their largest clients (usually global monopolists). A Web site of lawyers in Indiana has just said “Indiana patent law delaying demand letters” and an Australian law firm celebrates “Growth, Growth & More Growth” in so-called ‘IP’ (growth for patent lawyers, not for the economy). The Australian, a paper owned by News Corp. (‘Conservative’), plays along with this type of agenda, having just published “Innovators miss the bus on filing home patents”. The Financial Express, in the mean time, calls “a market-oriented approach (corporate-leaning) to patent box regime. Because hey, who cares what the general public thinks, right?
“WIPO doesn’t care about development. It doesn’t care about people. It doesn’t even care about its own staff, which it sometimes drives to suicide.”In contrast to this, based on this report from Africa, there is some resistance from a minister. “A South African cabinet minister speaking at an international conference on intellectual property has challenged the view that protecting the rights of creators and inventors leads to innovation,” says this report. “Rob Davies, the country’s trade minister, raised eyebrows recently when he told the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – the global HQ of patents – that the role of patent protection in promoting innovation has been controversial.”
WIPO doesn’t care about development. It doesn’t care about people. It doesn't even care about its own staff, which it sometimes drives to suicide. It’s Gurry’s way or the highway, just like at the EPO where Battistelli (previously competed with Gurry for the WIPO position) believes he is a king, so no opposition — however minute — can be tolerated. █
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