Maximalists are what some call “Extremists”
Assuming that more patents (a la USPTO) lead to more happiness
Summary: A look at China’s race to the bottom (decline in quality) when it comes to patents, assuming quite wrongly that quantity is more important than quality and severe penalties for perceived infringement will spur innovation
PATENT maximalists, who are stereotypically (as per the stigma) patent lawyers, try to equate economies with patents. Some equate innovation or progress with patents. The media which they control (author) is often a source of humour or a subject of ridicule. Watch how this EPO-funded blog, for example, urges startups to waste their money on patents right now. Suicide advocacy?
“China plans to take measures to curb the patent infringement over internet,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, “ISPs to take censor the net for patmafia” (patent mafia).
“Patent maximalists, who are stereotypically (as per the stigma) patent lawyers, try to equate economies with patents.”Here is the respective article which says: “Almost four months after the submission of the draft Patent Law Amendment Bill of China proposed by SIPO, which passed through the Bureau Affairs Meeting of SIPO in late August 2015, the Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) of the State Council released this draft on 2 December 2015, for further public consultation. In the meantime, the Bill has been developed as a Preparatory Project in the Legislative Programme 2015 of the State Council from the Research Project in the last year. The above signs indicate that the Amendment Bill can be expected to be finally passed by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in two or three years.
“The Chinese government has paid increasing attention to the importance of intellectual property in recent years. In June 2014, the Standing Committee of the NPC heard the Report on the Implementation of the Patent Law and emphasized that the Patent Law Amendment Bill should focus on enhancing the protection of patent right and on coordination and convergence amongst laws. To that end, the latest draft Bill includes, amongst other things, provisions aiming at strengthening patent enforcement, enhancing protection of design patent, perfecting service invention system, promoting exploitation and utilization of patent, and giving more power to the Patent Reexamination Board.”
“China’s SIPO is making a mistake here; it’s the same as USPTO mistakes, notably the reduction in patent quality so as to eliminate the backlog and just approve almost every application, to the point where the number of granted patents nearly doubles in just a few years.”China, as we noted here some weeks/months ago (on numerous occasions), is lowering patent quality for the sake of quantity. This is widely known a problem. As IP Watch (critic of patent maximalism) put it the other day, “China Continues High Growth In IP Filing, But Is There More To The Story?”
China’s SIPO is making a mistake here; it’s the same as USPTO mistakes, notably the reduction in patent quality so as to eliminate the backlog and just approve almost every application, to the point where the number of granted patents nearly doubles in just a few years. Did innovation magically double in a number of years? If not, then what we clearly have here is a system gone awry. █
Send this to a friend
Monopoly on abstract ideas or algorithms is clearly a bad idea
Summary: News about patents on software, covering the US, India, and Europe, where trends are going in the opposite direction (patent scope broadened rather than restricted, e.g. barring abstract software patents)
THE historic decision from SCOTUS regarding Alice revolutionised the USPTO in the sense that software patents are no longer so easy to grant. Previously, based on some statistics, as much as 92% of patent applications in the US were eventually met with a grant (in other words, almost every application was “successful”, so it was a de facto rubber-stamping operation, left for the courts to actually deal with). Call it rubber-stamping or rubbish-stamping (putting a stamp on every bit or rubbish); the outcome was that legal fees would be passed to accused defendants. Patent lawyers were happy and large companies with a dedicated team of full-time lawyers didn’t mind much; the main sufferers were small companies with limited financial means and a prohibitive budget. This could bankrupt them. The patent maximalists now show in pictures two of the world’s worst patent systems (China and US) with a small number of grantees and the number of patents granted to each, showing who really benefits from such a sordid system.
“Software patents have no place in India.”The lobbyists from the US, people who are fronts for the likes of IBM and Microsoft, have been trying hard to expand this madness to software powerhouses such as India (where software patents are not allowed). This new article from the Indian media says that “Qualcomm Inc, US-based semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunication products globally, has been denied an Indian patent for an ‘invention’ regarding a technology for distributing personlised electronic coupons (e-coupons) to a slew of mobile devices through servers.”
Software patents have no place in India. This has been very clear, more so than in Europe. Neel Chatterjee and Sid Venkatesan in the mean time, writing at AOL, said yesterday that:
The second trend has been the fallout following the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which caused reverberations throughout the patent landscape by leading to the invalidation of many software patents. The Alice decision makes clear that patents cannot claim abstract concepts without adding anything inventive.
The decision has since been applied to invalidate many other software patents, ranging from patents covering financial techniques implemented using the Internet, ad-supported Internet content and many other computer-implemented concepts. These validity challenges are currently winning way more often than losing.
Alice’s broad impact has left software companies scratching their heads about how much to invest in software patenting, with at least some startups questioning whether to build a software patent portfolio at all. The IPR and CBM patent kill rates have only underscored these concerns.
Despite pressure from abusive EPO management, software patents are still not officially allowed in Europe. The EPO-funded 'journalists' know this and one of them continues (as before) to whitewash patent raiders, mafias, and thugs such as Sisvel. With phrases like “IP owners have also enjoyed injunctive and seizure success against alleged infringers at trade shows in other parts of Europe” one wonders how a raid can be characterised as “joy” or “success”. Previously, in Europe, Sisvel was confiscating (stealing) devices because of software patents, despite them not being eligible in Europe. This is just lawlessness — apparently lawlessness that EPO-funded writers can happily stand behind.
“Previously, in Europe, Sisvel was confiscating (stealing) devices because of software patents, despite them not being eligible in Europe.”Earlier today a software patents promoter from IP Kat (Annsley Merelle Ward) wrote about Merck and patents. “Accordingly,” she said, “Merck Global was entitled to an injunction against all defendants (joint tortfeasorship being found due to the inter-relating corporate structure of the defendants) to restrain infringement of Merck Global’s UK marks.”
Isn’t this wonderful? Patents on people’s lives. Merck is protecting its monopoly, price hikes/fixing (artificially-elevated costs), etc. It does this by means of patent aggression.
We often worry that the EU patent systems (notably the EPO if UPC ever becomes a reality) won’t retain any level of sanity and will instead deviate to fit the US system, inviting a lot of patent trolls. MIP is comparing EPO and USPTO post-grant practices, concluding that “the US process of post grant review shares many similarities with European opposition. However, the processes are not identical, with one of the most significant differences being the estoppel created by post grant review. Consideration of this difference between the processes must form a key pillar of any advice presented to clients on this issue, especially where there is the potential for future infringement proceedings.”
Well, if the EPO was ever to mimic or imitate the USPTO, then it needs to take note of the demise of software patents in the US. As this new article titled “Invalidating software claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ put it:
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held, in Recognicorp, LLC v. Nintendo Co. Ltd., et al, that claims to certain methods and systems for encoding/decoding image data are not patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Recognicorp is an illustrative example of the use of preliminary motion practice to dispose of patent cases on the pleadings and of how software-based inventions that are premised on seemingly simple algorithms are particularly susceptible to early dismissal.
The key part there says that “software-based inventions that are premised on seemingly simple algorithms are particularly susceptible to early dismissal.”
The future looks fine for opponents of software patents, but nothing should be taken for granted because patent lawyers and their big clients are already scheming, as we habitually show, to reverse the precedence set at the Supreme Court. They’re revolting against what they perceive as illegitimate challenge to their power and infinite wealth (which they hide in remote islands so as to evade tax). █
Send this to a friend
Companies can now literally steal other companies’ products because they claim that patent infringement is “theft”
Death penalty: killing people to demonstrate that killing is wrong
Summary: Companies from the US are trying to teach companies from China that ‘stealing’ (alleged patent infringement) is wrong by basically stealing (literally!) their products in a trade show in the US, even though both China and the US have a notoriously low bar for patenting (includes abstract concepts, as long as they’re not framed as such)
TWO countries where the quality of patents is notoriously low (hence a high number of patents) are China and the US. We wrote many articles about it before. Quite a few Chinese companies are now building up/amassing stocks of thousands of patents, catching up with their US-based counterparts (which manufacture all their products in China anyway). Who benefits from this? Conglomerates and their lawyers, at everybody else’s expense.
“Quite a few Chinese companies are now building up/amassing stocks of thousands of patents, catching up with their US-based counterparts (which manufacture all their products in China anyway).”Years ago we showed how trade shows had been transformed into raiding opportunities [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], causing a major scene out in public, degrading confidence, and destroying the reputation of certain events/trade shows. These raids are now a reality in the US because Onewheel from Future Motion decided to go litigious with patents and actually confiscate another company’s products, which it can make itself in China. This has raised quite a few eyebrows. What would attract east Asian companies to America (or the US), where you can officially — but without notice — be raided over patents? All this disruptive U.S. Marshals’ involvement because of patents alone? As a little background to this, see TechDirt‘s coverage: “One of the big stories coming out of CES this week is the bizarre situation in which US Marshals showed up here at the event yesterday and completely shut down the booth of a Chinese company, named Changzhou First International Trade Co. This happened after a judge granted a motion for a temporary restraining order, filed by US company Future Motion, following a seven minute hearing about the matter, in which Changzhou was not present and had no say. [...] In other words, there’s a fair bit of evidence to support that the patent infringement case is fairly strong. That said, it still seems quite troubling for US Marshals to then get involved and completely shut down Changzhou First International Trade Co.’s booth at CES right in the middle of the show, when the company doesn’t get a chance to present to the judge until January 14th, long after CES has packed up and left town.”
This story involves a Chinese company coming to the US. China and the US have some things in common when it comes to patents, as both countries’ patent offices (SIPO and USPTO) have very low-quality patents and approve almost everything (poor quality control). Patents for patents’ sake, regardless of the consequences! In the US, unless you’re a rich and highly determined defendant, you never know if a patent is worth something unless challenged for years in the courts. USPTO examination is being grossly rushed, so prior art search is somewhat of a joke. We wrote about this for years. There is this new article titled “U.S. and Chinese Courts’ Software Patent Requirements” and it says that “In China, software inventions that comprise only rules and methods for intellectual activities are not patentable. Thus, a claim that describes an algorithm, mathematical rules, or computer program “as such” and alone may not be patented. However, software inventions that comprise both rules and methods for intellectual activities and technical features of means in order to solve technical problems and obtain technical effects can be patented. Software that (a) uses a technical solution to (b) solve a technical problem concerning (c) a law of nature, may comprise patent eligible subject matter and are subject to patent law protection. The subject of the patent must pass the three part test and still must satisfy the basic requirements for patentability—novelty, non-obviousness, and usefulness—the same as in the U.S.”
“A lot of startups in the US are rightly worried about software patents.”Notice the use of the term “as such” and recall how Brimelow arguably brought to Europe or made it possible to bring to Europe software patents.
A lot of startups in the US are rightly worried about software patents. A couple of days ago somebody published “Arguments you can make against software patents as a startup CTO” [via Bessen and Henrion].
To quote some bits from it:
Most software engineers believe that software patents are bad for innovation, and shouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, this isn’t a good argument against filing for software patents, since it’s essentially a complaint about the rules of the game, but as a startup CTO you still have to play the game, regardless of what you think of the rules.
Many CTOs of seed or A-round companies find themselves under pressure from non-technical co-founders and investors to spend time and money on software patents. While I don’t always win the debate, I can say with confidence that the return on investment on all of this time and effort was precisely $0 in every case.
When people ask about my “IP defensibility” strategy, I generally argue for trade secrets. They’re free, require no effort, you’re not disclosing potentially important information to competitors, and they basically lack any of the other shortcomings I describe above.
IBM’s Manny Schecter/Schechter has just published this paper. It speaks about the effects of Alice on business method patents, not just software patents, which Schecter and his employer support [1, 2]. “Many sources track aspects of PTAB outcomes,” says the abstract, “but none have specifically analyzed CBM outcomes at both the institution and final decision stages by ground. Practitioners, policymakers, patentees, and petitioners can benefit from an empirical analysis of outcomes. Our study analyzes CBM outcomes according to the basis for the challenge and examines whether the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S.Ct. 2347 (2014) (Alice) makes § 101 grounds more popular in CBM petitions. We also investigate the effect of Alice on CBM petition filing and success. We determined that there were more § 101 challenges in CBM filings post-Alice.”
Patent lawyers are rightly worried (for themselves) that a lot of patents would no longer withstand challenges in/from a court of law. There is more uncertainty for them. Whether or not these patents are worth something, injunctions, embargoes and even raids remain a scary prospect to companies that actually produce things. █
“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
Send this to a friend
“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”
–Bill Gates about China
Summary: As India and China, whose combined population is now approaching 3 billion people, turn to Free/libre software there are efforts by Microsoft to put an end to all that and interject Microsoft (with very strong NSA links) into their national infrastructure and ICT systems
TECHRIGHTS does not write much about Microsoft anymore because Microsoft is frail compared to one decade ago. Nadella is now hinting at the possibility of ending Windows on phones altogether because of the massive losses. Android (and by generalisation Linux) won the war — a point made by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols earlier today.
“How stupid does Microsoft think the Chinese are?”Days ago we saw some disturbing articles which suggest Microsoft is trying to interfere with China’s migration to its distributions of GNU/Linux (see Microsoft influence in Asia). Microsoft — and occasionally Bill Gates personally — try to get Chinese people to put malware (most insecure ever) on their PCs. Despite the NSA “elephant in the room”, despite the cost, and so on. Vista 10 is not an operating system but malware calling itself an operating system. How stupid does Microsoft think the Chinese are? Every person with a clue knows that Vista 10 has been more or less designed to suck up data and dominate over the users. Microsoft Windows is going the way of the dodo and enters the territories of nagware, covert (forced) installs, and Microsoft boosters are at the moment trying to pretend that there is a way to opt out (that’s the themes of several articles from Microsoft’s messengers in the media). But as Empty Wheel pointed out earlier today, “Microsoft spreads FUD” to pressure people to move to Vista 10.
“If you’re an oldster IT person like me,” wrote the author at Empty Wheel, “you recall the Halloween memo scandal of 1998, documenting Microsoft’s practice of promulgating fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about competing operating systems in order to gain and control Windows market share. For more than a decade, Microsoft relied on FUD to ensure near-ubiquity of Windows and Word software products. Now Microsoft is using FUD not to prevent customers from using other products, but to encourage migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10, to reduce possible state-sponsored attacks on Win 7 systems.
“Microsoft is now lobbying China, however, based on various articles about its efforts to derail GNU/Linux in China’s public sector — as if they’ll foolishly take the bait.”“Personally, I think Microsoft has already been ridiculously ham-handed in its push for Win 10 upgrades before this latest FUD. If you are a Win 7 or Win 8 user, you’ve already seen attempts to migrate users embedded in recent security patches (read: crapware). I’ve had enough FUD for a lifetime — I’m already running open source operating systems Linux and Android on most of my devices. I would kill for an Android desktop or laptop…”
Empty Wheel is a good Web site that usually explores issues such as mass surveillance, espionage, and covert operations. It can definitely give the Chinese government very compelling reasons to tell Microsoft to go away and leave China alone. Microsoft is now lobbying China, however, based on various articles about its efforts to derail GNU/Linux in China’s public sector — as if they’ll foolishly take the bait. Let’s see how long it takes for the Gates Foundation to flex its lobbying muscles there.
“As Modi has been visiting Microsoft executives we sure hope he has the strength and the integrity to say “No” to Nadella.”Meanwhile, further south in Asia, Microsoft shamelessly attacks India’s technology policy, for merely ‘daring’ to not be kind enough to Microsoft. Recall these recent stories (especially from 2015) about Microsoft’s attacks on Free software in India. Microsoft India hates Free software and it constantly shows it. Remember what Microsoft did in India with EDGI. Also remember that Microsoft is trying to bring to India software patents, despite Indians not wanting these. Microsoft is lobbying in so-called conferences, with its CEO present (and supposedly his Indian roots are somehow supposed to compel Indian politicians to trust such a villainous company). To quote this new article, “Pramanik said that at a recent Microsoft conference which was attended by its global chief Satya Nadella, both communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and IT secretary JS Deepak had strongly emphasized the need for a policy that leverages the use of public cloud infrastructure.”
“Cloud” is just a nonsensical term that has become almost synonymous with or a byword for mass surveillance. To let Microsoft anywhere in India’s public sector would be worse than irresponsible. It’s a serious degradation of India’s autonomy, privacy, national interests, and national security. The same goes for China, and this is why China has been moving away from Microsoft and banning Windows, Office, etc. (especially the more recent versions with “cloud” — meaning surveillance — in them).
As Modi has been visiting Microsoft executives we sure hope he has the strength and the integrity to say “No” to Nadella. He should host everything locally, by Indian companies, using Free software, and without software patents (which in themselves are a huge threat to Free software). India has all the talent and the resources that it takes to be technologically independent in the realm of software. The same goes for China, especially so in the realm of hardware. █
Send this to a friend
“Free Basics”, which sounds like an effort to feed the poor in the UK (“Basics”), is part of the fake ‘philanthropy’, Bill Gates style, complete with tax avoidance and exploitation of the world’s poorest in an effort to expand market share for one’s own business and/or investments (e.g. Monsanto)
Summary: Response to Mark Zuckerberg’s shameful and self-serving attack on the Internet, as well as some basic information about the sham which he misleadingly calls ‘free’
INDIA has already had enough trouble resisting Gates’ relentless lobbying efforts for GMO in India (Gates is a Monsanto shareholder). Now it needs to resist similar attacks from Facebook and Zuckerberg (Facebook has almost the same owners as Monsanto).
“Just to brighten up the New Year,” wrote Eduardo Landaveri, who produced many Spanish translations of our articles, “the Indian’s resistance to the so-called “Free Basics”, please write something for them. It’s [a] critical time on the fight against digital colonialism.”
“If you do,” he added, “please include the graphic about “Baron Zuckerberg” – “Why do you Indians oppose my “Free Basics” plan of domination? After all you also are a bunch of dumb fucks like ALL my users. I just want to get you out of poverty. Please let me do it. I’m a good boy!”
Many Indians have already written about this subject (see our daily links) and dedicated sites recently set up to antagonise this act of digital colonialism. █
Send this to a friend
Those seeking to perpetually maximise the scope of patents are now on the retreat
Limits exist for a reason
Summary: Patent news from India, Australia, and the United States (the Eastern Texas district in particular), where parasites insist that when it comes to patents more is necessarily better
LEAVING the EPO aside for a moment, we now have time to cover the latest news about software patents in India, in Australia, and in the US. There is a worrisome growing movement, led to a large degree by large US multinationals (monopolistic corporations). It’s a distinguishable lobbying movement which is trying not just to preserve software patents in the US but also expand these to every country on this planet. It’s very clear to see what they are hoping to achieve and this has nothing to do with innovation, just protectionism and power.
“This is great for Indian software companies.”As mentioned here in recent days [1, 2], opponents of software patents now celebrate somewhat of a temporary/conditional win because, to quote the corporate media in India (Economic Times), “India’s patent office has put on hold guidelines that would have allowed patenting of software, a move being hailed as a big win for domestic startups.
“Indian law on granting patents for software is a gray area. In August, the Indian Patent Office interpreted the law to mean that if a software had industrial applications it could be granted a patent.”
“The lobbyists of the likes of IBM and Microsoft won’t be happy about it; neither will their patent lawyers.”The war is not over, but opponents of software patents bought some time and it seems apparent that their arguments are gaining traction among Indian politicians. This is great for Indian software companies. The lobbyists of the likes of IBM and Microsoft won’t be happy about it; neither will their patent lawyers.
Speaking of patent lawyers (parasites in the area of patents and often the couriers of large corporations with monopolies to protect), watch what patent lawyers based in Australia write about patent scope today [1, 2]. They are clearly upset that it’s not easy to patent software and “computer-implemented business methods” — whatever this may actually be (a combination of two controversial patent domains a la Bilski case). They’re whining about this down under in Australia. Curiously enough, no software developers who are Australian seem to worry; that’s because they don’t want such patents.
“Curiously enough, no software developers who are Australian seem to worry; that’s because they don’t want such patents.”In other patent news, two patent aggressors, Apple and Ericsson [1, 2], decided to stop fighting. As WIPR put it (based on this original statement):
Technology companies Ericsson and Apple have agreed to settle all outstanding patent litigation.
In an announcement today, December 21, both parties said they have inked a global cross-licensing agreement that covers standard-essential patents (SEP) owned by Ericsson and Apple and “certain other patent rights”.
Further details of the agreement were not disclosed, but both parties confirmed the deal will last for seven years.
Ericsson has been using patent trolls as satellites or proxies — a fact that we have supported/backed with extensive evidence in many of our previous articles (even years ago). Speaking of patent trolls, they too have a lot worry about right now. Over in Texas, the breeding ground of patent trolls, not only was the troll known as eDekka [1, 2, 3] stopped but it was also forced to pay. As Boing Boing put it: “The plaintiff-friendly East Texas district has long been patent trolls’ favorite place to file lawsuits, but one was so egregious that even their favorite judge has not only shut it down, but awarded costs against them.”
“It shouldn’t be overlooked that the large majority of patent trolls are using software patents.”WIPR wrote that the “US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has dealt a new blow to licensing company eDekka, ruling that a claim for a patent covering a computer storage system, which it asserted against more than 200 companies, was “objectively unreasonable”.”
The EFF has meanwhile asked the court to extend such judgments, saying in its announcement: “Getting a patent demand letter from a troll can be a scary experience. The letters often include a lot of legal jargon, not to mention a patent that is often impenetrable (at least, not without hiring an expensive lawyer to translate it for you).
“But suppose you are concerned that the patent may impact your business. After trying to reach an agreement with the patent owner and failing, you may be told by your lawyer that the next step is to go to court.”
It shouldn’t be overlooked that the large majority of patent trolls are using software patents. By eliminating software patents we can actually help stop a lot of the trolls. Obsessing over trolls alone sometimes misses the point. We’ve repeatedly stressed this key point for at least half a decade now. █
Send this to a friend
Summary: Updates on the patent situation in India and in the United States, with special emphasis on software patents, or vague patents on abstract concepts which are, in effect, reducible to logic/mathematics
INDIA’S ‘branch’ of SFLC was recently given credit here for helping to crush software patents, which multinational software giants like IBM or Microsoft (monopolists in particular areas) are actively lobbying for. SFLC.in managed to halt or at least slow down some very incredible forces. According to this new article from them (accompanied by the #NoSoftwarePatents hashtag): “On 14th December 2015, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Mr. Om Prakash Gupta, ordered that the recently released 2015 “Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)” shall be kept in abeyance till discussions with stakeholders are completed and contentious issues with respect to the 2015 Guidelines are resolved (order available here). SFLC.in highly appreciates the efforts made by the Indian Patent Office in considering the feedback given by civil society organisations and the Indian software product industry. . This is a very welcome, albeit first, step taken by the Government towards ensuring that the Indian software industry continues to enjoy the freedom to innovate and is not shackled by irregular patents granted in the area of software.”
“SFLC.in managed to halt or at least slow down some very incredible forces.”We wish to congratulate SFLC.in for its excellent work. Well done!
In the United States, ‘home’ of software patents, things are rapidly changing right now, as both software patents and patent trolls get somewhat of a smackdown, even without involvement by Congress*.
Chuck Soder, the technology reporter at Crain’s Cleveland Business, has just published this new article that says: “Judges across the country are striking down software patents in the name of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that is changing how some tech companies protect their ideas.”
“In the United States, ‘home’ of software patents, things are rapidly changing right now, as both software patents and patent trolls get somewhat of a smackdown, even without involvement by Congress.”Soder adds that “[j]udges are invalidating patents [...] and that’s “kind of scary,” according to Christopher Comiskey, a patent attorney at Thompson Hine, which is representing MacroPoint.”
Well, of course it’s scary to patent lawyers. They make money from patent wars and stockpiling.
“Though he [Comiskey] wouldn’t comment on that case,” Soder writes, “he noted that judges are making decisions on patent validity without citing outside evidence and expert testimony. That’s “disturbing,” given how much time and money companies put into getting those patents, Comiskey said.”
“Well, of course it’s scary to patent lawyers. They make money from patent wars and stockpiling.”Well, Comiskey is basically in the same category as patent parasites, much like trolls. Comiskey does not create anything, he is just trying to make living from litigation and sometimes by tricking examiners or judges (because many of these patents are not really patent-eligible as per the examiners’ guidelines)
Empirically speaking, software patents lead to patent trolling, which is an activity mostly centered around Texas [1, 2, 3, 4]. “In a first,” writes an expert in the area of patent trolls, “East Texas judge hits patent troll with attorneys’ fees” (referring to eDekka LLC, which we covered here before, e.g. in this recent or that older post). He says that “The most litigious “patent troll” of 2014 has been effectively shut down, and will have to pay attorneys’ fees to several defendants.
“Empirically speaking, software patents lead to patent trolling, which is an activity mostly centered around Texas.”“US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who hears more patent cases that any other federal judge, issued an order (PDF) on Thursday saying that the behavior of eDekka LLC qualified as “exceptional,” and that the company should pay the legal fees of various companies it sued.
“Gilstrap’s courtroom is, arguably, the most surprising spot in the nation from which a patent troll slap-down might originate. The judge has been criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for making life unnecessarily difficult for patent defendants. He’s also invalidated relatively few patents under Supreme Court precedent set in last year’s Alice Corp. case, even as other federal judges have been tossing out software patents at a steady clip.”
The legacy of Alice stands out again. Is Benoît Battistelli’s EPO taking note? Any note “as such”? █
* Talks about patent reform are nowhere in sight anymore, definitely not in those must-pass bills — those which CISA gets lumped into at the 90th minute; see our daily links for more details about that scandalous act by Congress (Friday’s news).
Send this to a friend
Unless China is truly the king of innovation whereas Europe as a collective whole just a distant fifth (behind Japan and Korea), the number of patents granted is mostly indicative of the ease of being granted patents in different parts of the world
Summary: Response to data from WIPO and interpretation by Managing Intellectual Property (MIP), where the number of patents granted is conveniently treated as proportional to (or surrogate of) level of innovation
THE latest WIPO data is out and it’s interesting because it shows that, as MIP put it, “China also received the highest number of patent applications” (utter junk patents, with little or no quality).
The USPTO with its notoriously low standards (acceptance rate is at around 92%) is second. Is this something to be proud of? We think not. In the US, 92% of patent applications are (eventually) considered a “success”, but what kind of success is this? That’s just the de facto definition or example of “rubber-stamping” organisation (like ISO), which is what China’s patent office effectively became when the bubble started off. Notice how friendly Benoît Battistelli is with China these days, his imitation of human rights abuses aside.
“The USPTO with its notoriously low standards (acceptance rate is at around 92%) is second.”China and the US are said to be at the “top” (at sites like MIP, the more, the merrier), then it’s Japan, Korea, and Benoît Battistelli’s EPO only at 5th. Remember when Microsoft threatened to turn to the Korean patent office at the expense of EPO because the EPO wasn’t granting enough patents (in bulk)? Well, the Battistelli-led EPO responded by becoming a lapdog of Microsoft. Measuring the quality of any patent office in terms of number of patents granted is patently misguided. It’s usually indicative no legitimate quality control, neither at prior art search nor triviality thresholds (some US patents are ‘sophisticated’ enough for a toddler to come up with).
“China also received the highest number of patent applications,” MIP wrote, 928,1777 out of a worldwide total of 2.7 million. This represented growth of 12.5% from 2013 to 2014.”
How many of those (nearly) million patents are actually true innovations and how many are just a waste of paper?
“Does it mean that Japan became less innovative? Probably not. Maybe it prioritises development over paperwork.”“It was followed by the offices in the United States, Japan, Korea and the EPO,” MIP wrote. “The top 20 office with the largest percentage growth was that of Iran (18.5%). Japan was the only major office to see a decline in patent filings.”
Does it mean that Japan became less innovative? Probably not. Maybe it prioritises development over paperwork. Other factors to consider are the scope of coverage, the cost of application, the cost of renewal, backlog size, patent lifespan etc. but these don’t vary all that much and are usually proportional to the size/breadth of the local economy so such factors average out.
This nicely ties into what we wrote this morning about EPO lobbying/promotion of the UPC (also noted earlier this week). Sifting through a lot of trolls and distraction in IP Kat comments (maybe a deliberate misdirection in these comments) we found the following informative comment:
all the rules for the UP were approved by the Select Committee today.
Another of this decisions behind closed doors?
Does anybody know if any objection raised during the discussion that occurred within this “selected” (by whom?) Committe will ever be made public?
For your information the “Select Committee” is a body formed pursuant to Article 145 EPC.
It comprises the delegates from the EPC Contracting States that have signed up to the EU Unitary Patent, i.e. most of the EU Contracting States.
If you want to find out more about what its members are up to then try contacting one of your MEPs or making a freedom of information request to the competent ministry in your country.
Well, patent lawyers still want more litigation, injunctions etc. That’s why they bat for the UPC in lawyers’ Web sites and hail it as though it’s the best ‘innovation’ since sliced bread.
“There goes Battistelli’s rave about ‘productivity’ and ‘production’ (usually proportional to number of grants) down the drain…”We hope that patent maximalism in Europe (which UPC is all about) will be challenged politically. Looking at today’s EPO news we only found this press release titled “Intec Pharma (NTEC) Receives European Patent Covering Accordion Pill Zaleplon“. This is one among many drug monopolies (it’s not at all clear if such patents offer benefits to society). The press release says that “the Company has been informed by the European Patent Office (EPO) that a European patent will be granted December 23, 2015 on the Company’s European Patent Application for a “Zaleplon gastroretentive drug delivery system.””
Remember what Baxter (EPO-connected) has been trying to patent for a number of years at the EPO. It turned out to be an example of good patent examination and good work by the boards (a very thorough prior art search), which contributed to repeated rejection of the patent application (pertaining to software). There goes Battistelli’s rave about ‘productivity’ and ‘production’ (usually proportional to number of grants) down the drain… █
Send this to a friend
« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »