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11.17.18

Patent Maximalists in Europe Keep Mentioning China Even Though It Barely Matters to European Patents

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO white flag

Summary: EPO waves a “white flag” in the face of China even though Chinese patents do not matter much to Europe (except when the goal is to encourage low patent quality, attracting humongous patent trolls)

PRESIDENT António Campinos continues the tradition of his predecessor, posing with Chinese officials as if China is strategic to Europe’s patent system. Campinos and the man who gave him the job possibly fancy China because of its notoriously low standards/quality of patents, which in turn usher software patents into Europe (‘normalising’ this illegal practice, which is only legal in China).

“As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par)…”A European Patent Office (EPO) director, Peter Albrecht, speaks to patent maximalists, for one can assume that to become a director (or Director) at the EPO one must be a patent maximalist (to get promoted to that position if not just to keep that position).

As EPO insiders are well aware, China accounts for a very small proportion of European Patents (Japan is way ahead and tiny South Korea is just about on par), yet this propaganda site of patents on life/nature (Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review is exactly that) uses Albrecht as follows, citing a lobbying event/think tank called “LSPN Europe”. Here they go:

Last year, for the first time in European Patent Office (EPO) history, a Chinese company filed the most European patent applications, making an “impressive statement” on what companies in the country are doing, according to Peter Albrecht.

Albrecht, who serves as principal director of the EPO’s healthcare, biotech and chemistry sector, was speaking at LSPN Europe 2018 today.

In 2017, electronics company Huawei claimed the top filing spot with 2,398 patent applications, in a move that Albrecht said was a “surprise”. Huawei bumped Siemens (based in Germany) into second place, ahead of competitors LG, Samsung and Qualcomm.

In China those few very large companies are typically connected to the government and they have a lot of patents; this gives the false impression that China matters a lot to the EPO. But it doesn’t. Less than one in 20 European Patents/applications are Chinese in source/origin.

“IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”.”Meanwhile, CCIA‘s main patent person wrote that “[t]he [Chinese] media has come up with new Chinese coinages translating to ‘patent scoundrel’ ‘patent cockroach’ and ‘patent monster’.” Patent troll suddenly seems so dated and staid.”

This is also based on an old report from IAM (from a Chinese-speaking writer); IAM isn’t against trolls but against the narrative, i.e. against trolls being called “trolls”. IAM’s ‘PR’ campaign for IPEL, a patent troll looking to prey on China (see some background in [1, 2]), is hard to forget; it was recently mentioned again by Managing IP, another proponent of patent trolls.

The article cited by the above says:

A recent article titled “Why non-practicing entities are good for China” has attracted notice in the English-language IP blogosphere. Originally featured on Chinese IP news site Zhichanli, which is affiliated with litigation data provider IP House, the article puts forth the case that greater activity by foreign NPEs in China can lift the value of Chinese patents, boosting the entire innovation ecosystem. By contrast, it warns, “failing to embrace foreign NPEs would immediately tell investors around the globe that Chinese patents are a bad investment”.

The article was posted by Zhichanli’s news editor, but contains a note explaining that it was compiled based on “relevant” material and does not necessarily reflect the site’s own point of view.

Much of the article focuses on iPEL, the NPE helmed by Brian Yates and Rasheed McWilliams that announced it had raised $100 million to buy and monetise Chinese patents earlier this year and claims to own around 1,000 former Huawei and ZTE rights. iPEL is framed as a company that is entering the market to target overseas infringers that are “stealing intellectual property from Chinese companies”. The NPE could hardly come off better if the article were written by Yates himself.

We already published about a dozen articles about how China (or “CHINA!”) was exploited by patent maximalists to manipulate politicians and steer agenda/policy, based on fear, hate, jealousy, and stigma. Similar political strategies exploit “RUSSIA!” but Russia isn’t too keen on this domain, so the patent maximalists typically settle on “CHINA!”

“The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from.”One has to be careful about these thinly-veiled xenophobic tricks or pseudo-patriotism if not overt nationalism. They make China seem like a potent threat based on patents that aren’t even prevalent in the West. But such is the agenda of sites like IAM, which does this to India as well; they wrote about Dolby in relation to India some months back and days ago they issued the latest ‘PR’ for Dolby’s patent aggression (in their site and in Twitter).

The EPO needs to ask itself who or what it serves; as it stands at the moment it serves neither Europe nor science and instead it serves patent trolls/lawyers, irrespective of where they come from. Obviously that’s a problem — one that well-educated patent examiners can recognise and routinely warn about publicly.

10.26.18

The EPO is Trying to Make Software Patents Look and Feel ‘Healthy’

Posted in Asia, Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”, —Marshall Phelps, Microsoft (at the time)

Summary: India’s loopholes for software patents aren’t too easy to exploit, unlike the EPO’s because of the management, which goes out of its way to make software patents in Europe really easy to attain

THE EPO‘s loopholes for software patents in Europe have long been faux relation to a “device”, which makes the algorithms not ‘pure’ software “as such” (or “per se” in India). We wrote a lot about it, even more than a decade ago.

This new article by Rajeev Kumar and Pankaj Musyuni says that the Indian “Patent Office has also been developing examination guidelines in different technology areas, and, based on the stakeholder’s feedback, revised the guidelines for computer-related inventions in June 2017. The revised guidelines were significant for patent applicants since the revision involved the removal of the requirement that software patents can be claimed only in conjunction with novel hardware.”

“The above ‘article’ from LexOrbis is pure marketing and Mondaq masquerades as a news site. Its business model is charging money for law firms to be syndicated in ‘news’ form.”Whatever they mean by “novel hardware” (usually just some general-purpose computer on which the algorithm is run/executed). LexOrbis is a frequent proponent of software patents in India, as we noted before [1, 2]. So whatever it says on this subject ought to be taken with a grain of salt. They just try to sell services, such as software patent applications. The same goes for Managing IP, which is like a front group of this whole ‘industry’, albeit in Europe. After several EPO tweets to that effect, combining software with something about “medical” or “health” (we wrote about it earlier this week; last week the EPO attempted to associate software patents with “green” and “environment”), Managing IP comes out with this article titled “Life sciences firms reveal how AI could disrupt patent strategies” (euphemisms galore).

Combing their "Life sciences" nonsense with the buzzword which is “AI”, sites of the patent extortion (or litigation) ‘industry’ push patents on life and on maths in tandem. They’re shameless about this sick EPO agenda, which we last saw in yesterday’s EPO tweets. To quote the summary (there’s a paywall):

In-house counsel at life sciences companies reveal how machine-learning innovations are driving uncertainty over future filing strategies

They’re alluding to algorithms; I know this, having done programming in the area of machine learning a decade and a half ago during the Ph.D. programme. They hope that by throwing some words like “medical” they will manage to dress up computer programs as “ethical” and make patents on these seem “ethical” as well. As if lives are being saved by these patent monopolies. That’s just objectionable, but then again consider the objectionable people who nowadays run the EPO. António Campinos is just a quieter Battistelli.

Apropos or vis-à-vis, mind this new press release about a “medical” European Patent. It’s worth noting that the Associated Press (AP) disseminates such press releases as much as I’ve never seen before. Has AP been reduced to a ‘spam farm’ of press releases? A new business model? Business ads disguised as news using the “AP” brand? It’ll backfired surely because it can cheapen the brand, making “AP” synonymous with ads. Yesterday we wrote about how law firms hijacked and are presently paying the media to relay their marketing in 'article' form. The above ‘article’ from LexOrbis is pure marketing and Mondaq masquerades as a news site. Its business model is charging money for law firms to be syndicated in ‘news’ form. AP is apparently going down a similar route.

09.17.18

“Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 1:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On a computer” patents (lacking physical, concrete components and usually lacking novelty)

Singapore marina

Summary: Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the “blockchain” hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent ‘protection’ (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)

THE EPO grants software patents even though it’s not supposed to. So does the USPTO in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) would certainly invalidate these with the Federal Circuit affirming these decisions.

“All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents”We’ve already expressed many criticisms of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), where patent maximalists and even software patents are being tolerated. The same goes for SIPO in China, but not quite the JPO and KIPO in Japan and South Korea, respectively.

Singapore is basically racing to the bottom with software patents, as confirmed only hours ago (“How Singapore Is Fast-Tracking FinTech Patent Applications”). A FinTech patent is just a software patent with a buzzword, yet apparently IPOS is happy to glorify such patents:

The box-office smash hit, “Crazy Rich Asians”, is on everyone’s lips (and social media feeds) nowadays. The Singapore-set Hollywood movie, featuring an all-Asian cast, comically peers into the lives of the one-percenters strutting their stuff in famously up-market Singapore. Love it or hate it, the movie nails one thing for sure: Singapore is a playground for the financially savvy; a haven for financial technology (commonly known as “FinTech”).

In this spirit, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has launched a fast-track patent scheme determined to accelerate innovation for finance sector inventions. This one-year scheme, dubbed the FinTech Fast Track (“FTFT”) initiative, began in April and will end on 26 April 2019. Essentially, FTFT provides for expedited prosecution of FinTech patent applications – a much welcomed initiative for the sector.

[...]

As for the general question, a 2013 Working Paper by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment found that while participation was low, the priority given did speed processes up. As such, the initiative did succeed in accelerating development of clean technologies during the first years after the publication of the patents. As for Singapore, this blogger spoke with several FinTech patent examiners, who noted that to prevent abuse, priority for genuine Fintech patents is protected by trained examiners, who detect patent applications unrelated to FinTech but that are (mis)applied for under FTFT.

There’s no good reason to do this. The same goes for many other digital advancements in the area of finance, including Bitcoin and blockchains. Any “blockchain” patent is just another software patent, yet we keep seeing reports about such patents being pursued and sometimes awarded. Days ago we saw “Hedera Hashgraph, A Blockchain Distributed Ledger Tech Rival, Wants Patent Law Protection” and “Blockchain Market Continues to Grow as Record Number of Patents Were Filed in 2017″ (we covered the subject before).

All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents. They’re a waste of time and paper. NBC Right Now is responsible for the latter article which says this:

According to a research report published by Global Market Insights, the blockchain market size is expected to surpass USD 16 Billion by 2024. The blockchain technology builds a secure record of transactions between two parties, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary. The technology was first applied in cryptocurrency and now, it is widely used in various industry. The market is expected to witness rapid growth as the technology can significantly reduce the cost of operation and enhance efficiency for businesses. As a result, the financial sector is expected to benefit the most from the development of the technology. Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC: VSQTF), Pareteum Corporation (NYSE: TEUM), Seven Stars Cloud Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSC), Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA).

Well, measuring adoption of something in terms of patent applications is lying. It’s hype.

Separately, an article was published to say that “China Accelerates Blockchain Patent Activity” — merely a reminder that China is the only large economy in the world which officially permits — at its own peril — patents on software. To quote the nonsensical sentences which precede it all:

In tech, innovation is everything. In innovation, intellectual property is, well, almost everything — it can be the hardware, the software, the processes that comes from the creative endeavor. You might consider patents a form of competitive advantage.

News came last week that, when it comes to patents tied to the blockchain landscape, Thomson Reuters has found that China, and Alibaba, have had an outsized showing, and seem to be accelerating their patent filing activity.

The said Reuters article was covered here last weekend. What it arguably shows is a bunch of large firms — including banks — looking to guard themselves from competition and therefore creating a patent thicket. How does this contribute to innovation? Moreover, how are such patents not abstract? Many of these firms just stockpile lots of these patents, knowing that if leveraged inside or outside the court ‘in bulk’ they would be hard (and expensive) to invalidate/disprove exhaustively. It’s troubling to see patent offices playing along. We’ve been talking about this for a very long time.

09.06.18

The Eastern District of Texas and Patent Courts Elsewhere Are Eating Huawei, But Huawei Also Uses These US Patent Courts to Prey on Its Competitors Outside China

Posted in America, Asia at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In China Huawei enjoys favourable treatment/courts because Huawei is connected to the government

Huawei

Summary: The flawed notion that US patent law would somehow guard the US from competition in Asia overlooks the simple fact that companies in the Far East, China included, can turn US courts against US companies

THE EPO has much to learn from the mistakes made in the US, resulting in many billions of dollars going down the drain (or into the pockets of lawyers and trolls who produce nothing). There’s no way to prevent oneself from being sued when the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants bogus patents whose validity would cost a fortune to not only dispute but also contest in court. “The resulting Intraspexion product lets enterprise legal departments prevent potential lawsuits before they even start,” says this new press release, marketing a product that almost certainly would not work. They sell a fantasy. There’s no way to track and properly understand millions of patents; moreover, once such patents are asserted in the form of a lawsuit, legal bills come flowing in. Even if one can predict such lawsuits, that cannot facilitate prevention.

The patent maximalists (who profit from excessive lawsuits/litigious culture) nowadays ‘name-drop’ China quite habitually. Like Donald Trump, they just use “China” as a dog-whistle by which to distract with an external bogeyman and push an agenda that has nothing to do with China. It has a lot more to do with Texas and the meta-industry of patent litigation in there. Here’s what a Dallas patent maximalism site published earlier this week. Media in eastern Texas is just celebrating what would likely get used by patent trolls around there — lots of bogus software patents that the USPTO should not have granted. We have meanwhile learned that PanOptis, which we covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4], sued Huawei successfully, owing to an Eastern District of Texas jury, i.e. a venue that markets itself as being patent trolls- or plaintiff-friendly and a jury that rarely understands technical matters. Appeal to the Federal Circuit would likely overturn this judgment.

A patent maximalists’ site wrote about it. Michael Loney said:

Eastern District of Texas jury awards $2.8m for infringement of four standard essential patents and $7.7m for infringement of one patent without a FRAND commitment

An Eastern District of Texas jury has awarded PanOptis $10.6 million in damages, finding that Huawei willfully infringed five PanOptis patents covering wireless communication technology. The case is Optis Wireless Technology v Huawei Technologies.

The term “FRAND” is nonsense; we’ll come to this again in a moment. It isn’t fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND); it’s the exact opposite.

Huawei isn’t really worthy of sympathy; Huawei fell for Microsoft's blackmail campaign and based on action in the Northern District of California — as covered as recently as yesterday — Huawei itself is a patent bully not only in Chinese courts but also American ones. Citing the example of InterDigital (it took 21,000 Technicolor patents some months ago) and Microsoft’s patent war on Android, this new post says:

As I mentioned a month ago, Samsung had a deadline last week for its response to Huawei’s Ninth Circuit appeal lodged with the Federal Circuit against the antisuit (actually, just anti-enforcement) injunction Judge William H. Orrick upheld in the Northern District of California in late June. The U.S. district court will hold a trial in December, and the purpose of the injunction is to bar Huawei from leveraging two Chinese patent injunctions (granted by the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court) before Judge Orrick has the chance to adjudicate a related claim.

Like in the court below, Quinn Emanuel, as counsel for Samsung, is defending the Microsoft v. Motorola it once sought to prevent as Motorola’s counsel, while Sidley, then counsel for Microsoft, is trying hard (but not convincingly so far) to distinguish one case from the other.

[...]

I remember that a Chinese court had held that InterDigital was entitled to SEP royalties far below what InterDigital was seeking then and Huawei is seeking now. But that’s the problem when a company is licensor in some cases and licensee in others: once the shoe is on the other foot, the positions one used to take and sometimes even the victories one scored in a different context backfire. Just like Huawei’s U.S. counsel from the Sidley firm is now struggling to distinguish Huawei v. Samsung from what may have been by far the most important triumph of the firm in connection with patent enforcement.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s counsel is making a lot of effort to describe the anti-enforcement injunction as no big deal. That’s necessary because of the international comity considerations involved: it’s about a U.S. court having enjoined a Chinese company (that elected to file a case in San Francisco), not about a U.S. court putting itself above a Chinese court, or putting U.S. law above Chinese law. As Samsung’s brief puts it, the U.S. district court merely sought to “protect its own jurisdiction to decide the controversy now before it” and to “ensur[e] that the U.S. case can also proceed unimpeded.”

The same blog also wrote about Qualcomm a day earlier. Just like Intel in the more distant past, Qualcomm faces antitrust/abuses scrutiny in Korea, Europe and the US (maybe China too one day). There are some press reports on the (US) FTC’s Qualcomm-’busting’ action, which merely compelled Qualcomm to reduce the prices a little. FRAND too is an injustice, as it’s merely a euphemism for something that isn’t Z-RAND (zero cost). It’s a patent tax. One front group said this:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pressed ahead with its challenge of Qualcomm’s licensing practices on Thursday, August 30, asking a California federal court to find that the company is required to license its standard essential patents (SEPs) to rival chipmakers.

The FTC filed its motion for partial summary judgment at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, on August 30. Qualcomm’s competition dispute with the FTC is due to be heard at trial in January 2019.

However, four months before the trial is due to commence, the FTC has asked the court for partial summary judgment that, under the fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing obligations Qualcomm committed to when it participated in setting wireless standards, Qualcomm must license its SEPs to rival chip makers.

The Commission’s lawsuit, submitted in January last year, alleges that Qualcomm had unlawfully maintained a monopoly in the market for baseband processors.

Sadly, Qualcomm will continue to tax the entire market. So will Huawei, even in the United States. This is in no way beneficial to customers or valuable for innovation purposes. It’s for rich shareholders of very affluent companies whose goal is to undercut, undermine and undertake the competition worldwide. As we pointed out last year, Chinese companies have begun turning US patent courts (and US patent law) against American companies in their own back yard, notably in the Eastern District of Texas. In order to improve matters one needs to question patent maximalists and their agenda; China now patents vastly more things than the US does because China (SIPO more specifically) barely even pretends to value quality of patents.

BlackBerry/Facebook Patent Battles Will be Won by Patent Lawyers on Both Sides at the Expense of Technical Staff

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lawyers want to make themselves relevant again, even if by totally frivolous litigation

Blue waves

Summary: Needless patent battles over abstract patents are fought between two companies whose legal departments look for action which is neither needed nor fruitful

SEVERAL months ago BlackBerry started suing again. It sued with software patents, not with anything-hardware related, and it did that in the US, which seems unwise after 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Facebook was one among several targets of these lawsuits.

Facebook’s history with software patents has been mentioned here over the years; it typically responds with patent lawsuits if threatened with lawsuits or ultimately sued.

“Only the lawyers (whose advice was taken when starting this mess) will make a fortune in the process. “The latest (as per this week’s news, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) isn’t surprising. Facebook is suing back. As BlackBerry and Facebook wrestle in courts over patents take it as a reminder that only lawyers will profit from this. Technical people will be able to do less, as their budget (salaries) may decline and only the “legal” departments will claim that it’s desirable. We saw the same thing in Apple’s battles against Samsung, which lasted many years and resulted in a feeble settlement, obviating the need for any lawsuits (none were necessary in the first place). As someone told me a few hours ago: “This whole notion of patent infringement by Facebook (and others) is a total nonsense. Companies hold large numbers of patents that overlap with those held by other companies. Lawsuits only come out to leverage the other company – either politically or for some trade gain.”

“The underlying patents are software patents which are toothless.”Media that is focused on patenting misses the point. To be fair to Facebook, BlackBerry started it. It’s reactionary/retaliatory for Facebook to sue BlackBerry. As WIPR put it:

Social media platform Facebook continued a patent war with BlackBerry yesterday, after it accused the Canadian company of infringing several inventions, including voice-messaging technology.

The complaint was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Facebook alleged that BlackBerry has infringed six patents: US numbers 8,429,231; 7,567,575; 6,356,841; 7,228,432; 6,744,759; and 7,302,698.

The patents protect different technology developed by Facebook including instant voice messaging, telephone service configuration, computer security, personalised multimedia services, and a GPS management system.

Watch how these lawsuits go almost nowhere and likely result in some undisclosed (to the public) settlement that is beneficial (or desirable) to neither company. Only the lawyers (whose advice was taken when starting this mess) will make a fortune in the process. The underlying patents are software patents which are toothless.

08.28.18

Patents on Steroids: ITC is Rushing Embargoes Before the Facts Are Even Known

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 1:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hytera (company from Shenzhen, China) is barred — using patents — by a US company with six times as many employees (and a lot more US patents)

Hytera

Summary: When patents are put ahead of justice itself there’s greater risk that wrongly-granted patents and inappropriate allegations of patent infringement would result not only in lawsuits but also fast injunctions/embargo orders

WE have long argued that ITC helps US-based firms embargo foreign competition. It does this with prejudice and it’s almost always deciding against non-US companies. It’s doing it again.

“It does this with prejudice and it’s almost always deciding against non-US companies.”This time the ITC decided (“Notice of Initial Determination”) before the facts were even known; it’s like the EPO‘s “Early Certainty” (except for actual sanctions/embargo) and in the case of the USPTO the quality of patents is questionable and merits a review at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), perhaps with an appeal to the Federal Circuit. To quote one of three reports published about that yesterday [1, 2, 3]:

The US International Trade Commission has released its Notice of Initial Determination, regarding Motorola’s patent infringement case with Hytera. The intial determination was first unveiled in July, in favour of Motorola. ITC will now conduct a mandatory review of the initial determination and come out with a final one by 6 November.

Is this really justice or just a “mob lynch” like the nationalist trade wars of the Trump administration? Only yesterday we saw a front group of patent zealots (AEI) publishing “Chinese intellectual property theft” and IAM, the patent trolls’ think tank, saying that “Huawei [of China] transferred hundreds of patents to Qualcomm in months after NDRC settlement” (Qualcomm‘s patent aggression is widely documented).

“This is the sort of vision laid out by UPC proponents in Europe.”This isn’t about whether China or Hytera is infringing; it’s about whether ITC offers proper due process or just shoots first, asking questions later. We have already seen the ITC even ignoring PTAB rulings and causing financial damage/ruin. This is the sort of vision laid out by UPC proponents in Europe.

08.12.18

Software Patents, Secured by ‘Smart’ and ‘Intelligent’ Tricks, Help Microsoft and Others Bypass Alice/Section 101

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Patents at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Native American tribes (so-called ‘Indians’) are exploited by patent maximalists and India gets it right on software patents

Blue lagoon

Summary: A look at the use of fashionable trends and buzzwords to acquire and pass around dubious software patents, then attempting to guard these from much-needed post-Alice scrutiny

THE USPTO has limited somewhat the sorts of patents or number of patents it grants, partly owing to restrictions on abstract patents, which include software patents. This is the correct thing to do and software development powerhouses such as India got it right (there are almost no software patents in India).

Seeing the usual nonsense of LexOrbis (e.g. [1, 2]) the other day, we’re still meeting a familiar old pattern. Watch how Anil Kumar (LexOrbis) is promoting software patents under the guise of “mobile” (or “on a phone”). “In other words,” he said, “to be patent eligible, the mobile application should make the mobile device function in a certain way. The software code itself that achieves the function is not patent eligible. However, the functionality achieved by means of the software is patentable. On the other hand, the software code doing it can be protected under copyright.”

Copyright is the only thing software developers need and want. Looking at this other new article from India (one of a large bunch), it says that TCS wants to branch out a firm that “has more than 75 patents filed in the artificial intelligence (AI), machine-learning and intelligent-automation space..,”

These are abstract software patents that should not have been granted. India’s TCS somehow managed to get those. What would courts say? There is still lots of "AI" hype in patent boosting circles, trying to paint algorithms as “smart” or “intelligence” (“intelligent”) because of Section 101/Alice. Sometimes they mention “AI” in relation to prior art search (new example here; it’s the same old snake oil and this really does not deal with underlying understanding of antonyms etc.) and timetimes they basically allude to algorithms by calling them “AI” or “machine learning” or whatever.

Here is the patent trolls’ lobby (Timothy Au, IAM) writing about this in relation to Microsoft:

Microsoft and Alphabet currently own the most – and the highest quality – patents relating to machine learning, research commissioned by IAM has revealed. However, the data also shows that most companies are being outpaced by the technology’s rapid rate of development, and at this stage anyone could come from anywhere to claim a leadership position. Jointly produced by IP analytics platform PatentSight and ip-search, a commercial patent search service provider of the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, the research provides a detailed look at the machine learning landscape from a patent perspective.

Those are software patents. I know because I worked in that area.

The patent trolls’ lobby (Richard Lloyd in this case) also wrote about Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Intellectual Ventures (IV) using more proxies, e.g. Dominion Harbor, when he said: “This blog has closely followed the patent divestments that Intellectual Ventures has undertaken since the firm stopped buying for its most recent fund and looked to slim down its giant portfolio. Many of those assets have ended up in the hands of some familiar hands, with Dominion Harbor picking up the lion’s share and others going to entities linked to serial patent monetiser Leigh Rothschild. However, two recent assignments (seen here and here) recorded with the USPTO show the range of acquirers that have been looking to pick up what IV has on offer.”

“IV assignments to Native American tribe shows just how far it is casting sales net,” says the headline, but American tribes provide no protection from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), so what’s the point? An inter partes review (IPR) can still be filed against such patents. Earlier today Patent Docs advertised an upcoming “Webinar on Sovereign Immunity before the PTAB,” so basically they have a webinar on something that does not exist. Great! What a waste of time and money.

The general trend we’re seeing here is an attempt to sneak software patents through the system and then avoid reassessment of such patents. In effect they dodge justice itself.

08.07.18

Racing to the Bottom, the António Campinos-Led EPO Continues to Promote Software Patents, Just Like China

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shen (SIPO), Lutz, Battistelli, and Lamy at the end of 2016 in Saint-Germain-en-Laye

SIPO Lamy and Battistelli

Summary: The EPO is being transformed into ‘SIPO Europe’ [1, 2], a dangerous gamble which would leave European firms more susceptible to frivolous litigation and generally reduce the value of previously-much-coveted European Patents

THE number of patents granted by the USPTO is declining. That’s not a bad thing; what’s most important is the quality of granted patents. The opposite thing is happening at the EPO and based on the internal EPO communications/memos, António Campinos is perfectly happy to automate patent examination tasks and still increase so-called ‘production’, even by means that examiners warned about (it’s easy to work around or bypass algorithm-based prior art searches).

“Software patents in Europe were always our foremost concern and there’s no sign of them stopping.”This is a disaster in the making, but the Outsourcer in Chief Campinos doesn’t seem to mind. He’s copying China. Less than a day ago we saw recognition of the fact that China nowadays grants truly appalling patents. The EPO now goes down the same route…

“SIPO’s stats for the first half of 2018 highlight growth in patent filings but practitioners are concerned about quality,” Karry Lai wrote from Hong Kong in a patent maximalists’ site. Meanwhile, according to an ad from Watchtroll (posted yesterday), “USPTO Seeks Senior Counsel for China Intellectual Property Policy”.

Software patents in Europe were always our foremost concern and there’s no sign of them stopping. In fact, the EPO was promoting software patents less than a day ago when it wrote: “Régis Quélavoine, a director in Mobility and Mechatronics at the EPO, will discuss patenting computer-implemented inventions and artificial intelligence at the EPO at this event in Chicago…”

And then (on the same afternoon) the EPO 'dressed up' software patents as "artificial intelligence" when it wrote: “Over 350 experts from industry, academia, patent law firms and national patent offices attended the first-ever event on the impact of #artificialintelligence on the patent system.”

Worryingly enough, these sorts of tweets have become very frequent since Campinos took over (maybe more frequent than back in the Battistelli days).

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