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

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).

07.27.18

The Patent Trolls’ Lobby, IAM, is Concerned That China is Now Treating Patent Trolls as the Criminals They Really Are (Extortion)

Posted in Asia, Patents at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Set of handcuffs

Summary: China is restrictive enough to actually crack down on patent trolls, but it fails to realise that these trolls are a symptom of its poorly thought-through patent policy, which even permits patents on algorithms

China belatedly does what the US should have all along done. It treats patent trolls as criminals. Having granted far too many patents (the EPO copies that strategy, unlike the USPTO), there is now a much-expected rise of patent trolls, which are also being compared to “cockroaches” in China. Yesterday IAM wrote this update:

Last weekend’s announcement of criminal extortion charges for a married couple engaged in patent troll activity against pre-IPO companies in China has caused quite a bit of discussion in the IP world. According to prosecutors in Shanghai, the two individuals had engaged in clearly fraudulent acts including fabricating a backdated licence agreement and using it as the basis for a lawsuit. On the other hand, the way investigators described the case suggested that it was also the overall pattern of opportunistic patent assertions that landed the couple in trouble. All the details we’re aware of are available here.

Those sorts of tricks aren’t unique to China; the difference is, in a country like the US people get away with it and even lionised posthumously. IAM would try to make it sound like the exception so as to not alarm its stakeholders which are patent trolls as well. Now, if only China realised that the above is a sort of “karma” (they believe in incarnation, don’t they?) for patent maximalism…

Suffice to say, patent extremists like Watchtroll still envy China; writing about a hearing which is not about patents, last night Watchtroll published “House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Holds Hearing on China’s Threat to U.S. Innovation Leadership”. Are they just counting patents again?

07.25.18

As the Quality of European Patents Sinks António Campinos Must Heed China’s Warning, Not Copy SIPO/TIPO

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 3:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIPO and Battistelli
References: Battistelli and China, 2016 [1, 2, 3]

Summary: This epidemic of the short-sighted mindset wherein more patents are more “success” needs to be ended; but the new President of the EPO shows no signs of deviating from Battistelli’s race to the bottom (along with China)

TECHRIGHTS has covered the USPTO more than it has covered the EPO lately. The EPO became very quiet; there are hardly even any tweets or announcements. Like we said earlier this week, the agenda is similar and as we noted yesterday, António Campinos may be just a quieter version of Battistelli. Software patents continue to be granted in Europe and there’s no intention to change that under Campinos. It’s just patent maximlism all the way.

SIPO is reorganising, IAM said yesterday, and it also published this placement which serves to show that TIPO (Taiwan) grants low-quality patents which courts then invalidate. To quote this one example:

Nichia’s invention patent TW156177 relates to a light-emitting diode (LED) comprising a light-emitting component and a phosphor capable of absorbing some of the light emitted, as well as producing light of a different wavelength.

Another thing we covered yesterday is the belated realisation in China that patent trolling is a real problem. When patent quality is lowered — as empirical analyses have repeatedly shown — patent trolls spread.

Yesterday Patently-O promoted this recent scholarly paper about patent “Quality vs. Quantity” in China. Composed by Ana Maria Santacreu and Heting Zhu (Federal Reserve Banks – Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), the abstract says this:

Using three measurements of patent quality, we argue that there is still room for China to improve its innovative activities. Comparing the number of patent applications and patent grants across countries, we see that although the United States and Japan have been global leaders in innovation for a long time, South Korea and China are catching up fast. If China sustains its large innovation investment and shifts its focus from quantity to quality, together with an improvement in intellectual property rights, the likelihood of becoming one of the next innovation leaders could be much higher.

China allows software patents; two years ago it made the rules on this matter even more lenient, which meant that patent quality did not really matter (broadening scope did). China is one of the very few countries in the world that formally permit software patents.

Last night Managing IP, a site of patent maximlists, published an article titled “What is driving China’s AI patent filing boom?”

“AI” just means “algorithm” these days. The term no longer means what it used to and more often than not it’s a loophole for patenting software. The Indian media also did this last night, framing software as “AI” (as in algorithms; plus the hype/buzzword).

This report from the Times of India soon morphed; “develops” becomes “patents” in the headline, changing the meaning of the original article.

So going back to the EPO, what is its stance on software patents? Well, it seems like one just need to calls these “ICT”, “CII”, “AI”, “4IR” and so on. Then the EPO is perfectly happy to issue a patent, awarding/granting a monopoly on algorithms.

Mind this week’s press release which celebrates nothing but a patent grant. To quote:

Immuron Limited (ASX:IMC) (NASDAQ:IMRN) is an Australian microbiome biopharmaceutical Company focused on developing and commercializing orally delivered targeted polyclonal antibodies for the treatment of inflammatory mediated and infectious diseases. The Company is pleased to announce that the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to Grant a patent for the use of a composition for the treatment of Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This patent (EPO Grant No. 2424890) is entitled “Anti-LPS enriched immunoglobulin preparations for the treatment and/or prophylaxis of a pathologic disorder”). This patent is due to Expire in April 2030, with potential for supplementary protection and extension of this monopoly.

Do they know that the EPO‘s patent examination is besieged and many European Patents will later turn out to be bunk? Do they care? Well, they might start caring when their own patents (which they certainly view as “good” and “legitimate”) repeatedly perish in courts, costing them millions of euros. Low-quality patent grants cost dearly; both plaintiffs and defendants suffers, but only the lawyers benefit.

« 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