Summary: Even though much of the Australian and the international media focused on copyright-related findings of Australia’s Productivity Commission, the findings against software patents continue to be mentioned to this date
At the start of this month and end of last month we wrote about an Australian recommendation to abolish software patents for good. Some corporate media came to cover it several days later (even over a week later), under the headline “Australian Gov’t. Body Recommends Banning Software Patents”. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Australia’s Productivity Commission wants to exclude business methods and software from patentable subject matter under that country’s laws.
The APC’s draft report on Australia’s “Intellectual Property Arrangements” called for a patent law amendment to explicitly exclude those types of inventions from patent protection.
There is a “clear case” to disallow the patenting of software and business methods because there’s evidence that patents in those areas don’t encourage new or valuable innovation, the draft issued April 29 said. What’s more, such patents can impede competition.
Having contacted some Australian activists against software patents about this, I was surprised to see that they hadn’t noticed, probably because the media mostly focused on other findings of the Commission, mostly copyright-related. Here are Peter Caporn and Rebecca Hembling from Wrays, an Australia law firm, mentioning this aspect somewhere towards the end of their new analysis:
Business Methods and Software (BM&S)
The Commission suggests that their newly characterised technology subset ‘BM&S’ should be specifically excluded from patent protection. Patents on this technology is said to be ‘unnecessary’, a conclusion bound to inspire a robust response. The Commission has adopted a narrow view of how ip relating to business methods and software is used and the impact it has. It will be particularly interesting to see if the reasoning set out as support for this draft recommendation survives the submissions that it will no doubt attract in response.
It sure looks like much of the media either missed or overlooked this one particular aspect of the findings, which is somewhat of a shame. If nobody notices or takes into account such input, will it have a lasting impact? █
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Publicado en America, Asia, Australia, Deception, Europe, Patentes at 7:36 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Necesitamos más soplos, e.g. soplos UPC, para sacar a la luz a quienes están moviéndo a las mariónetas
Polución de patentes y “calentamiénto global de patentes,” como Benjamin Henrion ocasiónalmenete lo llama [1, 2]
Sumario: un sumario de noticias del fin de semana y hoy, con énfasis en los elementos dentro del sistema (o los medios) que impulsan políticas reacciónarias/recesivas que los beneficia financiéramente a costa de todos los demás
Hay progresos ocurriéndo hacia la justicia de patentes, aunque hay elementos egoístas que son parásiticos y no-productivos. Ellos batallan para mantener el status quo, e incluso hacerlo peor. Abajo están los últimos ejemplos.
El otro día mencionamos el último movimiento decepcionante de la CAFC, que en esencia defendió a los trolles de patentes en los EE.UU. (donde se usan las patentes de software por extorsión, incluso cuando estas patentes no resistir el escrutinio de un tribunal). Que la CAFC apoye a los trolles de patentes de soporte no sorprende a nadie dada la historia de CAFC. Joe Mullin reacciona de la siguiente manera: “los defensores de la reforma de Patentes que esperaban”apagar al Distrito Este de Texas ” estan con cara decepción de hoy, cuando el tribunal superior de apelaciones de patentes de Estados Unidos resolvió (PDF) en contra de una transferencia de lugar en una disputa entre dos empresas de alimentos.”
No esperen que la reforma de patentes provenga de la CAFC, el iniciador de ellas mismas. De ¿SCOTUS? Talvez. ¿Hay una apelación pendiente en la agenda? ¿Alcanzará esto a SCOTUS?
Hay una nueva moción para persuadir al gobierno Australiano para prohibir las patentes de software (oficialmente). Es parte de una moción más amplia que también sugiere algo de los siguientes cambios como cubrimos hace unos días:
En su proyecto de informe publicado el viernes por la comisión recomienda que se deben tomar medidas para “reequilibrar” las leyes de propiedad intelectual existentes con un nuevo sistema que equilibre los intereses de los titulares de derechos y usuarios.
La comisión dice que mientras que un buen sistema equilibra los intereses de los titulares de derechos y usuarios, sistema de IP de Australia se ha inclinado demasiado a favor de los titulares de derechos de propiedad intelectual vocales y naciones influyentes exportación.
El abogado de patentes de Mark Summerfield, junto con otros maximalistas de patentes (con quienes coquetea online), ya atacó/burló a la Comisión por haberse atrevido a hacer estas sugerencias. Tal vez pone en peligro su fuente de ingresos, que es básicamente guerras de patentes, la confrontación, ruido de sables, etc.
“Ahora que un Comité de Australia propuso la prohibición de swpats,” Benjamin Henrion observó correctamente, “IBM (Sagrada Familia) y otros agentes de patentes llama al movimiento” defectuoso “…”
Mencionamos al jefe de la patentes de IBM y su respuesta ayer (señalado hacia el final).
La India todavía está bajo fuerte ataque por los cabilderos de patentes (por casi un año, y se intensífico el último verano). Los medios Indios acaban de publicar esta opinión que se resume como sigue: “Para crédito de los hacedores de políticas que constantemente han estado rechazándo besar a este puerco llamado ‘patentes de software’, a pesar de estar maquillado con el lápiz labial de la ‘innovación’” (no sólo en software).
El artículo se titula “Cerdo con Lápiz labial” y “El cerdo en cuestión es el régimen de patentes de software que defienden algunos corporaciones multinacionales (CMN)”, señala el autor. Indios deben involucrarse en este proceso y proporcionar información con la que hacer frente a los grupos de presión, que nunca se c
La ‘Revista’ IAM, un maximálista de patentes, quiere que creamos que “trollear” es ahora “unidad de obtención de ingresos” (pidiendo ‘dinero de protección’, mientras que apenas, nada en absoluto desarrollan cualquier cosa). En relación con las patentes de software IBM en Corea (se llama a estas patentes “Fintech”) que insta al país, que es tradicionalmente no agresivo/asertivo en el sentido de las patentes, para trollear más. IAM en es financiado por los trolles de patentes (en parte). Como jodes IAM, como jodes …
En el continénte donde los oficiales de la EPO cabildean regularmente a los oficiales de la EU, a pesar de que la EPO es un cuerpo no-Europeo, hay un contínuo esfuerzo de implantar/enyucar las patentes de software a los estados miembors.
Aquí la MIP se esta conviertiéndo en la plataforma de los máximalistas de patentes quienes advocan por la UPC (para vender sus servicios). Bueno, de acuerdo a este tweet, el artículo es “promovido” (i.e. promocional) y dice:
La posibilidad de exclusión que ofrece el artículo 83 UPCA presta mucha atención a las opciones de los titulares de patentes se enfrentan con respecto a su estrategia de presentación. Nos centramos aquí en estrategias de defensa en el nuevo marco legislativo, en particular sobre las acciones ante los tribunales nacionales.
Estas incertidumbres hacen que sea difícil para las partes poner en práctica una estrategia defensiva. ¿Vale la pena invertir en una acción de nulidad ante un tribunal nacional, antes de la entrada en vigor de la UPC? Suponiendo que tales elecciones del impacto de un acción titulares de patentes en absoluto, tendrá que evitar por completo el uso de la UPC, o sólo impedir el uso de la UPC para una acción de nulidad?
Con las “incertidumbres de la UPC se hace díficil para las partes implementar una estratégia defensiva,” para que así recurran a los abogados de patentes. La UPC es muy buena para los agresores y abogados de patentes, es mal para el resto de nosotros.
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We need more leaks, e.g. UPC leaks, to shed light on who’s pulling whose strings
Patent pollution and “global patent warming,” as Benjamin Henrion occasionally calls it [1, 2]
Summary: A roundup of news from the weekend and today, with emphasis on the elements inside the system (or the media) which push for regressive policies that benefit them financially at the expense of everybody else
THERE is progress being made toward patent justice, albeit there are self-serving elements that are parasitic and non-producing. They battle to maintain the status quo, if not to make it even worse. Below are the latest examples.
The other day we mentioned the latest disappointing move from CAFC, which in essence defended patent trolls in the US (where they sparingly use software patents for extortion, even when these patents would not withstand a court’s scrutiny). CAFC supporting patent trolls shouldn’t be surprising given CAFC’s history. Joe Mullin reacts as follows: “Patent reform advocates who were hoping to “shut down the Eastern District of Texas” face disappointment today, as the top US patent appeals court ruled (PDF) against a venue transfer in a dispute between two food companies.”
Don’t expect reform to come from CAFC, initiator of software patents. From SCOTUS? Maybe. Is an appeal next on the agenda? Will this reach SCOTUS?
There is a new motion to convince the Australian government to ban software patents (officially). It’s part of a broader motion which also suggests some of the following changes, as covered some days ago:
In its draft report released on Friday the commission recommends that action must be taken to “rebalance” the existing IP laws with a new system that balances the interests of rights holders and users.
The commission says that while a good system balances the interests of rights holders and users, Australia’s IP system has swung too far in favour of vocal rights holders and influential IP exporting nations.
Patent attorney Mark Summerfield, along with other patent maximalists (whom he flirts with online), already attacks/mocks the Commission for daring to make these suggestions. Perhaps it threatens his source of income, which is basically patent wars, confrontation, saber-rattling etc.
“Now that a Committee in Australia proposed ban of swpats,” Benjamin Henrion correctly noted, “IBM and other patent agents calls the move “flawed”…”
We mentioned IBM’s patent chief and his response yesterday (noted towards the end).
India is still under heavy attack by the software patents lobby (for almost a year now, as it intensified last summer). India’s media has just published this opinion that’s summarised as follows: “It’s to the credit of policymakers that they have steadfastly refused to kiss this pig called ‘software patents’, despite it being dressed up in the lipstick of ‘innovation’” (not just in software).
The article is titled “Lipstick on a pig” and “The pig in question is the regime of software patents being advocated by some multinational corporations (MNCs),” notes the author. Indians will hopefully get involved in this process and provide input with which to counter the lobbyists, who never grow tired (they’re paid for it).
IAM ‘magazine’, a patents maximalist, wants us to believe that “trolling” is now “monetisation drive” (asking for ‘protection money’ while barely, hardly or not at all developing anything). In relation to software and BM patents in Korea (it calls these “fintech patents”) it urges the country, which is traditionally not aggressive/assertive in the patents sense, to get more trollish. IAM itself is funded by patent trolls (in part). Not nice, IAM, not nice…
In the continent where EPO officials regularly lobby EU officials, despite the EPO being a non-EU body, there is still an effort to bring software patents to European member states.
Here is MIP becoming platform of patent maximalists who do UPC advocacy (to sell their services). Well, according to this tweet, the article is “sponsored” (i.e. promotional) and it says:
The opt‐out possibility offered by Article 83 UPCA pays lots of attention to the choices patentees are facing with regards to their filing strategy. We focus here on defensive strategies in the new legislative framework, in particular on actions before national courts.
These uncertainties make it difficult for parties to implement a defensive strategy. Is it worth investing in an invalidity action in a national court, before entry into force of the UPC? Assuming such an action impacts patentees’ choices at all, will it completely prevent the use of the UPC or only preclude the use of the UPC for a nullity action?
With UPC “uncertainties make it difficult for parties to implement a defensive strategy,” so they turn to patent lawyers. The UPC is very good for aggressors and for lawyers; it’s bad for everybody else. █
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Summary: Australian advice against software patents, which can hopefully influence Australian politicians and put an end, once and for all, to all software patents in Australia
Australia’s long fight over the issue of software patenting was covered here in the not-so-recent past. It was about half a decade ago. See the following articles for instance, as well as this Wiki section (Australia):
We also mentioned Australia’s stance more recently in articles such as:
In a nutshell, while Australia does not officially boast tolerating patents on software, it does in fact allow many of them, unlike New Zealand.
There was some good news in this morning’s press coverage as according to this article, titled “Dump software patents, allow geoblocking bypass: Productivity Commission,” things may be about to change:
Australia should remove the ability to patent software and allow consumers to circumvent geoblocking of services like Netflix, the Productivity Commission recommended today.
The commission today published a set of far-reaching draft recommendations to the government to redress the balance of intellectual rights away from rights holders and in favour of users.
Among its recommendations, the commission said Australians should be able to access online content in a timely and affordable manner.
Echoing the findings of both the Harper competition review and the parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing, the Productivity Commission said restrictions by rights holders were having the opposite effect and actually encouraging internet piracy.
Australia’s patent system similarly needs an overhaul, according to the commission.
It believes the system is poorly targeted, with some “inventions” bordering on trivial and being protected for too long.
This creates low quality patents, stymies competition, and frustrates efforts of follow-on innovators while raising costs for the entire nation, the commission argued.
Business methods and software should not be able to be patented, the commission said, as it discourages software innovation and provides strong incentives to block competitors and hinder software development.
Australia currently affords “excessive” patent protection to business methods and software, with terms longer than development cycles, it said.
The commission pointed to the open source movement as providing incentives to innovate and disseminate new software without the need for patent protections.
As copyright also covers software, the commission said this raises the question about whether multiple forms of intellectual property protection is needed for computer code.
It said excluding business methods and software from the patent system would bring Australia in line with other nations.
Here is what CBS (US) wrote about it:
Business methods and software (BM&S) should be completely excluded from being patentable, the commission recommended, because the patent term is “far longer than the development cycle of BM&S”. It pointed to open-source software as proof of a more beneficial alternative for the community.
“[BM&S] patents have rarely spurred software innovation, but provided strong incentives for strategic behaviour to block competitors and hinder software development,” the draft report argues.
“In some cases, the BM&S is obsolete by the time a patent for it is granted … The open-source movement demonstrates that incentives to innovate and disseminate new software can occur in the absence of patent protections.”
Australia is evidently close to officially banning such patents, but only if it follows the Commission’s findings. This would be well overdue. Here is another article which speaks about patent scope a little more broadly:
Other recommendations include not extending the period of protection for registered designs, fine-tuning the trade marks and plant breeders statutes, belatedly including an Objects clause in the Patents Act, rethinking the controversial ‘innovation’ patents arrangements and bringing intellectual property transactions under Australian competition law. Efforts to streamline the regime will involve substantial investment in the Patents Office and dysfunctional Therapeutic Goods Agency. We can expect patent practitioners to savage the Commission’s stance on what it regards as trivial patents, alongside its call to deny business patents and software patents. ‘Big Pharma’ will again damn calls to wind back practices such as evergreening, extended periods of protection for pharmaceuticals and undue protection for test data.
Many other articles alluded to this but focused on pharmaceutical patents and/or geo-blocking for more attention to be placed on these other contentious issues [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19].
Is Australia going to do the right thing, which software developers actually want, and ban software patents? Contacting one’s representatives might help bring rise to bills to that effect in the Australian authorities. █
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Publicado en America, Patentes at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Sumario: Los medios de comunicación continúan siendo dominados por los abogados de patentes en vez de desarrolladores de software quienes hablan acerca (y promueven en el caso de los abogados) patentes de software
Los abogados de patentes quienes carecen de experiéncia práctica con el software parecen no entender los fundamentos de la ciencias de computación. Lo mismo va por los jueces de patentes. ¿Así que porqué perpetuamente tratán de venir con políticas de patentes de software, e.g. in India? Vean lo que IAM acaba de hacer. Esta semana todavía encontramos abogados de patentes dando “Esperanza” por las patentes de sofware en Australia (Jack Redfern and Matthew Ward from Shelston IP Pty Ltd). Estos artículos están compuestas y publicadas por abogados de patentes, a diferencia de los desarrolladores de software – los que realmente están afectados por este tipo de patentes. ¿Quiénes está tomando las decisiones aquí? A los desarrolladores australianos ya se les preguntó acerca de esto hace unos años y que votaron abrumadoramente contra las patentes de software (lo que es el mismo que en otros países).
“Estos artículos están escritos y compuestos por abogados de patentes, a diferencia de desarrolladores de software — aquellos que son afectados por tales patentes.”
Anoche encontramos nueva propaganda de patentes de sofware proveniente de Marks & Clerk (ellos son algunos de los peóres) y de Steve Lundberg (Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, P.A.), a quien mencionamos aquí hace unos dias a causa de su última intervención. Él es un propagandista de patentes (por muchos años) y se apoya en IBM ahora para su cabildeo (que tiene un sitio dedicado a la promoción de patentes de software).
“¿Cuándo va a la USPTO rendirá cuentas por ello y cuando los desarrolladores de software se levantarán para hacer frente a los abogados de patentes sobre sus actividades en materia de patentes de software?”
¿Qué pasa con los abogados de patentes ejerciéndo presión por las patentes de software, a diferencia de los desarrolladores de software, son sanguijuelas que sólo imponen impuestos sobre el software. Lundberg usa (o usa mal) palabras como “regalar” a pesar del hecho de que nunca dió nada y ni siquiera es un desarrollador de software en absoluto. Si él realmente hubiera solicitado su opinión a los desarrolladores de software, sabría que trabaja en contra de sus intereses.
Las Cortes han (una vez más) rechazado las patentes de softwareen las cuales los examinadores de la USPTOotorgaron erróneamente. Nadie gana aquí excepto los abogados de patentes, como es usual. Ambos lados perdiéron (casuálidades financieras significan empleados despedidos) y los equivalente a traficantes de armas, los abogados de patentes, hicierón un montón de dinero en todo un año de litigación. ¿Cuándo va a la USPTO rendirá cuentas por ello y cuando los desarrolladores de software se levantarán para hacer frente a los abogados de patentes sobre sus actividades en materia de patentes de software?Miren lo queel cabildero David Kapposestáhaciéndo ahora mismo en los Estados Unidos. Es despreciáble. Recuérden quienes pagan por todo esto.
“Si los desarrolladores de software no hacen uso de su libertad de expresión y su derecho a ponerse en contacto con sus políticos electos, las patentes de software en Europa seguirán siendo un problema creciente.”
No es un problema sólo en los EE.UU., pero cada vez más en Europa (donde Marks & Clerk, por ejemplo, provienen, al igual que IAM). Un lector de Finlandia nos ha dicho hoy. “Uno de los ministros del Estado fue en la radio ayer habló acerca de las patentes y la” innovación “. No soy capaz de encontrar una transcripción en cualquier idioma. Si usted tiene otros contactos en Finlandia, que podría ser capaz de proporcionar alguna información más. A partir de los comunicados de prensa, supongo que supuestamente van a decir que están promoviendo las pequeñas empresas y que va a tener algo que ver con las patentes, pero me preocupa que la intención es difundir las patentes de software. Pero, de nuevo, les digo no tengo ninguna transcripción “.
Probablemente tales ministros son también abogados y están siendo cabildeados/presiónados por los abogados de patentes y sus grandes clientes (grandes multinacionales como Nokia o Microsoft). Si los desarrolladores de software no hacen uso de su libertad de expresión y su derecho a ponerse en contacto con sus políticos electos, las patentes de software en Europa seguirán siendo un problema creciente.
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Summary: The media continues to be dominated by patent lawyers rather than software developers who speak about (and promote in the case of lawyers) software patents
PATENT lawyers who lack any practical experience with software don't seem to grasp the fundamentals of computer science. The same goes for patent judges. So why is it them who are perpetually trying to come up with policy on software patents, e.g. in India? See what IAM has just done. This week we still find patent lawyers giving “Hope” for software patents in Australia (Jack Redfern and Matthew Ward from Shelston IP Pty Ltd). These articles are composed and published by patent lawyers, unlike software developers — those who are actually affected by such patents. Who’s calling the shots here? Australian developers were already asked about this a few years ago and they overwhelmingly voted against software patents (it’s the same as in other countries).
“These articles are composed and published by patent lawyers, unlike software developers — those who are actually affected by such patents.”Last night we also found new patent propaganda from Marks & Clerk (they're some of the worst) and from Steve Lundberg (Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, P.A.), whom we mentioned here some days ago because of his latest intervention. He is a patent propagandist (for many years now) and he leans on IBM now for his lobbying (he has a site dedicated to software patents advocacy).
“When will the USPTO be held accountable for it and when will software developers rise up to confront patent lawyers over their lobbying for software patents?”What’s wrong with patent lawyers lobbying on software patents is that they, unlike software developers, are leeches that only ever tax software. Lundberg uses (or misuses) words like “giveaway” despite the fact that he never gave anything and he is not even a software developer at all. If he actually asked developers, he would know that he works against their interests.
Courts have just (once again) shot down software patents which the examiners employed by USPTO granted erroneously. Nobody won here except patent lawyers, as usual. Both sides lost (financial casualties can be laid off staff) and the equivalent of weapons traders, patent lawyers, got a lot of money throughout an entire year of litigation. When will the USPTO be held accountable for it and when will software developers rise up to confront patent lawyers over their lobbying for software patents? Watch what lobbyist David Kappos is doing right now in the United States. It’s despicable. Remember who pays him for this.
“If software developers fail to exercise their freedom of speech and right to contact elected politicians, software patents in Europe will continue to be a growing problem.”It’s not a problem only in the US but increasingly in Europe (where Marks & Clerk, for example, comes from, just like IAM). One reader from Finland told us today. “One of the state’s ministers was on the radio yesterday going on about patents and “innovation”. I’m not able to find a transcript in any language. If you have other contacts in Finland, they might be able to provide some more information. From the press releases, I gather that they are going to say that they are promoting small businesses and that it will have something to do with patents, but I worry that the intent is to spread software patents. But again, I have no transcript.”
It is likely that such ministers are themselves lawyers and are lobbied by patent lawyers and their largest clients (large companies like Nokia or Microsoft). If software developers fail to exercise their freedom of speech and right to contact elected politicians, software patents in Europe will continue to be a growing problem. █
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Software patents are still an issue not just in East Asia but also in Australia, though not in New Zealand
Summary: An outline of recent news regarding software patents, patent trolls, and other such aspects which have considerable impact on Free software development
“The Supreme Court should review an appeals court decision,” attorneys told Bloomberg BNA, “to clear up uncertainty about patenting natural discoveries that is chilling innovation.”
One must realise that the logic of “more patents mean more innovation” is based on false reasoning and wishful thinking from self-serving patent lawyers.
“One must realise that the logic of “more patents mean more innovation” is based on false reasoning and wishful thinking from self-serving patent lawyers.”A lawyers’ site, at around the very same time, wrote that “Sequenom Throws Diagnostic Method Patents At Mercy Of Supreme Court” (this isn’t about software patents but also rather abstract patents).
“It comes as no surprise,” says this site, “that Sequenom has filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, asking the Court to review the Federal Circuit decision that upheld the district court decision that held its diagnostic method claims invalid for failing to satisfy the patent eligibility requirements of 35 USC § 101. With no relief from Congress on the horizon, this filing puts at least the near-term future of diagnostic method patents at the mercy of the Supreme Court. Will the Court agree that its § 101 jurisprudence has been taken too far, or will it decide that diagnostic methods really cannot be patented?”
“Watch patent lawyers who are vocal proponents of software patenting still moaning about Alice.”Patently-O wrote: “The discovery here was that fetal DNA can be found floating around the blood of the pregnant mother and that the fetal DNA can be selectively amplified by focusing on the paternally inherited portion of its DNA (rather than the maternally inherited). Sequenom’s patent claims two simple steps: (1) amplifying paternally inherited DNA from a plasma sample taken from a pregnant female and then (2) detecting the presence of the DNA.”
“This week,” wrote one patent lawyer. “Patents Asserted in 4 US Dist. Cts. Survived Alice/101 Challenges; DE High Ct. Rejected Mayo/Prometheus Test.”
“It’s encouraging to see the long-term effect of the Supreme Court‘s decisions in 2014.”Any patent lawyer would be delighted about such news. Watch patent lawyers who are vocal proponents of software patenting still moaning about Alice. They are incapable of patenting software after Alice and they still try to find new tricks around the new rules.
It’s encouraging to see the long-term effect of the Supreme Court‘s decisions in 2014.
Alluding to the Federal Circuit (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit), the home and origin of software patents, people from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP wrote about a case we covered here before. The recent Lexmark case was also touched upon again by Patently-O; that was just a few days ago. Patently-O actually covers a lot of CAFC-related matters these days [1, 2] (the latter being Mag Aerospace Industries, Inc. v. B/E Aerospace, Inc.) and this article by Dennis Crouch says that “Shaw Industries v Automated Creel Systems involves several interesting issues involving inter partes review proceedings.”
“Well, actually, in many cases (often overlooked by the pro-patents circles), PTAB rightly invalidates patents erroneously granted by the USPTO.”Another newer CAFC article by Dennis Crouch says: “All three patents (all claims) were challenged in covered business method reviews and found by the PTAB to be ineligible under Section 101 (abstract ideas). In addition, two of the same patents (a subset of claims) were challenged in inter partes review proceedings, but in those cases the PTAB sided with the patentee and found the ISE had failed to prove invalidity (either obvious or anticipated).”
Well, actually, in many cases (often overlooked by the pro-patents circles), PTAB rightly invalidates patents erroneously granted by the USPTO. Let’s look at some new examples.
As we noted here before, the relatively new PTAB is crushing many software patents. Patently-O did cover the following example several days ago, noting: “In a straightforward decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the PTAB’s decision that Cree’s claimed down-shifted LED invention would have been obvious in light of a combination of three prior art patents. The basic problem with LED lighting is that it is easy and cheap (these days) to get blue light, but harder to produce light across the spectrum – especially reds. Cree’s patented approach used a blue LED that is wrapped in a “down-converting luminophoric medium.” The basic idea is that the blue light energy is absorbed by the medium and then released as white light. These Fluorescent and phosphorescent materials were already known and commercially available.”
Perhaps the biggest news regarding PTAB right now concerns Uniloc, which is a notorious patent troll; IAM still calls patent trolling “licensing market” (gotta love their euphemisms, as they make trolling sound so legitimate). As a trolls expert put it:
Patent that cost Microsoft millions gets invalidated
One of the oldest and most profitable patent trolls, Uniloc, has been shot down. Its US Patent No. 5,490,216, which claims to own the concept of “product activation” in software, had all claims ruled invalid by the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board (PTAB).
The process through which PTAB eliminated the patent is called an “inter partes review,” or IPR. The IPR process, created by the America Invents Act, is an increasingly popular and effective way for defendants to challenge patents outside federal courts.
The PTAB case against Uniloc’s patent was filed by Sega of America, Ubisoft, Cambium Learning Group, and Perfect World Entertainment. The board found that every claim in Uniloc’s patent was anticipated or rendered obvious by an earlier patent.
“The PTAB decision is inconsistent with two prior rulings by the Federal Circuit and with the opinions of seven patent examiners who previously upheld the validity of the ’216 patent in multiple reexaminations,” Uniloc president Sean Burdick told the Kansas City Business Journal, which reported the decision earlier this week. “Ultimately the PTAB gave undue credibility to a lone expert opinion that was authored by petitioners’ counsel. Congratulations to [opposing law firm] Erise IP for pulling wool over the eyes of the Patent Office.”
What’s noteworthy here isn’t the name of the troll or even Microsoft; it’s about PTAB killing software patents, just like a lot of courts after Alice. That’s great news. Inherently, the core issue is patent scope and software patents in particular.
A small step towards countering patent trolls by limiting venue shifts (a la Venue Act/VENUE Act [1, 2]) was mentioned the other day at MIP but in reference to CAFC. “The Federal Circuit ruling in Acorda v Mylan and AstraZeneca v Mylan,” MIP explained, “gives branded pharmaceutical companies more flexibility in their choice of where to file suit against generics” (as if that’s a good thing). CAFC was also mentioned by more vocal patent maximalists, who constantly bemoan the difficulty now associated with getting software patents (or successfully suing with them).
“Inherently, the core issue is patent scope and software patents in particular.”More noteworthy, however, was the mentioning of the Venue Act in corporate media (GOP-leaning). This attracted some strong reaction from Twitter [1, 2, 3]. Basically, unsurprisingly, right-wing news sites don’t like the Venue Act. “It is time to confront the bias against patent owners in patent ‘reform’ legislation,” wrote the author, later noting: “The absence of any acknowledgment that reform of the PTAB is just as pressingly important as venue reform by those pushing for the VENUE Act is a massive elephant in the room. Unfortunately, it is unsurprising. But this is only because it is the latest example of a strikingly one-sided, biased narrative of the past several years about patent “reform.””
It oughtn’t be so shocking that GOP-leaning papers such the Washington Times are against reform. We wrote about the GOP stance on patent reform many times before.
Software Patents in Australia
“It oughtn’t be so shocking that GOP-leaning papers such the Washington Times are against reform.”A country heavily influenced by the US (see trade agreements for recent evidence) apparently still allows software to be patented (we wrote a great deal about it in past years). As patent lawyers put it the other day (in International Law Office): “In the last few years three subject matters have been lurking on the fringes of patentability: methods of treatment, genes and software. The US Supreme Court has confirmed that, at least for the moment, none of these is eligible for patent protection.(1) In Australia, the High Court recently considered methods of treatment (which are generally patentable)(2) and isolated naturally occurring genes (which are not).(3) Now the High Court may have the opportunity to consider the extent to which software is properly the subject of patent protection in Australia.”
There is a software patents story coming out today. It’s coming from Patentology. It is titled “Upaid v Telstra – Here’s How We Deal With NPEs in Australia!”
To quote the article: “Upaid Systems Ltd is a ‘non-practising entity’ (NPE) – sometimes referred to as a ‘patent troll’ – which sued Australia’s largest telecommunications carrier, Telstra Corporation Ltd, back in August 2013 for the alleged infringement of two Australian patents relating to making online purchases of goods and/or services from mobile devices. More specifically, Upaid alleges that various subscription operations performed in relation to Telstra’s MOG online music streaming service (formerly Bigpond Music) infringe its patents when conducted using a mobile device. [...] As Upaid has discovered to its detriment, the Australian Federal Court Rules require substantial detail to be provided in relation to the activities said to constitute infringement. In short, in this country it is nowhere near enough to run around pointing fingers at alleged infringements on the basis that they might look, walk and quack a little bit like a claimed duck. You need to provide sufficient information, at the outset, to inform the accused infringer fairly precisely of the case they will be required to answer.”
“Yes, that’s what the US has been plagued with, and what UPC threatens to bring to Europe. Patent trolls just love software patents. Everyone is rendered sue-able (or possible to secretly settle with).”What we have here is a patent troll in Australia using software patents. Sounds familiar? Yes, that’s what the US has been plagued with, and what UPC threatens to bring to Europe. Patent trolls just love software patents. Everyone is rendered sue-able (or possible to secretly settle with).
Software Patents in China
International Law Office has this analysis from Taiwan about patent assignment and other such matters. China is increasingly relying on patent bubbles to put up or make up an illusion of growth (or piles of paper). It’s the mistake the USPTO has made by lowering standards. Too many patents are now suspect and the patent system simply lost credibility. Courts overrule it aplenty.
Take note of this new article from Lexology whose headline says “China Again Fastest-growing Origin for EPO Applications”. This is based on EPO lies (Mandarin-only patents), as we noted here before [1, 2]. As this new comment from the same day put it, “I can rely on EPO Examiners. But can I rely on EPO management? I’m not sure.” They have different goals; one group wishes to do proper examination and the latter — inflation, ‘growth’ (however it gets measured), and so on. One group is scientific (like climate change scientists), whereas the latter is recklessly capitalistic (like oil companies) without boundaries, without long-term thinking.
“China is increasingly relying on patent bubbles to put up or make up an illusion of growth (or piles of paper). It’s the mistake the USPTO has made by lowering standards. Too many patents are now suspect and the patent system simply lost credibility. Courts overrule it aplenty.”Well, patent lawyers just want patents in China (more money for them because it’s a big country), so in Lexology on Saturday we found this article titled “Patenting Software in China: What Do You Need to Know”. This also covers the EPO, despite software patents not being allowed in Europe. To quote: “This article provides practical tips of protecting software inventions in China, as well as discussions with trends in practice and comparisons among different patent offices, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), European Patent Office (EPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).”
Software Patents in Korea
Patent troll MPEG-LA, according to this article from IAM (very softly-worded when it comes to trolls), gets patent tax money in Korea (indirectly). Again, this is all about software patents. Wherever software patents are foolishly being tolerated the patent trolls quickly flock and tax everyone. It’s detrimental to whole economies and the tax is overlooked by almost everyone.
“Wherever software patents are foolishly being tolerated the patent trolls quickly flock and tax everyone.”Isn’t it sad that the US, which made software patenting possible in the first place (CAFC), is still influencing other countries on that matter, having them blindly accept software patents simply because the US does, as if US law is now universal law? █
“America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact – the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality.”
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Patent Pools, Patent Thickets, Patent Stockpiling, Patent Trolling, Patent Royalties, Patent Agreements, Patent Lawsuits etc. are the lifeline of patent lawyers
Summary: Patent lawyers are pooling together their collective influence in an effort to rescue or salvage software patents, which software professionals neither want nor need
“Software shouldn’t be patentable,” Christine Hall of FOSS Force wrote last night. “It’s already covered under copyright law, where it belongs.” That’s just how a lot of software professionals feel, not just FOSS proponents. So who benefits from (and lobbies for) software patents? Monopolists like Microsoft, their lobbyists, and their patent lawyers for the most part.
“Yes, even some large companies have gotten fed up (but not Microsoft).”According to this latest news (covered here a couple of days ago), “APPLE AND ERICSSON have agreed to a global patent deal that will end legal hostilities between the two companies.”
Yes, even some large companies have gotten fed up (but not Microsoft). “The specifics of the deal remain confidential,” says this report, “but it looks like Ericsson has come out on top of the negotiations after confirming that Apple will make an initial payment to Ericsson and then ongoing royalties.”
The Microsoft-controlled Nokia is said to have gotten something similar out of Apple. A lot of these mobile patents pertain to wireless communication, design, and user interfaces/software. These threaten what we have come to know and appreciate as mobile Linux, or FOSS platforms (such as Android) as zero-cost operating systems that commoditise phones and other gadgets, like portable small devices.
We are rather disturbed to see the degree to which patent lawyers dominate the debate in the media. Where are representatives of the software industry (meaning independent developers, not software behemoths with monopolies in their respective field/s)? Spokespeople for the interests of software developers are typically absent, whereas the giants have dedicated front groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
“Where are representatives of the software industry (meaning independent developers, not software behemoths with monopolies in their respective field/s)?”In two recent posts of ours [1, 2], Australia’s patent lawyers were shown with their biased opinions. They currently freak out a bit because software patents are losing their teeth in Australia, at a fairly high level. Truthfully, it can go to an even higher (the highest) level. As George McCubbin from Minter Ellison put it in his conclusion/concluding remarks: “RPL Central can of course still seek special leave to appeal the decision to the High Court, which, if leave was granted and the appeal proceeded, would likely resolve this issue in the short term at least.”
Minter Ellison is just the latest legal firm to write about this. Here is some background or context: “In its long awaited decision Commissioner of Patents v RPL Central, the Full Federal Court has rejected another computer-implemented invention for failing to constitute patentable subject matter. In doing so, Justices Kenny, Bennett and Nicholas overturned the decision of the trial judge, Justice Middleton, delivered in August 2013.
“Patent law needs to take into consideration whether patents in one domain or another actually offer a benefit to society and encourage development.”“The decision has implications for any software developers.”
Yes, well, since they provably hate these patents. There were online petitions in Australia about it (covered repeatedly in Techrights at the time), indicating that it’s good news for developers, maybe bad news for patent lawyers.
Patent lawyers from Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP (US) are doing ‘damage control’ right now, a year and a half after Alice. This other new article says: “There may be a glimmer of hope for owners of software patents as it is possible that the Federal Circuit is rethinking, or at least grappling with, the larger implications of Alice” (the software patents slayer).
They note that “may be a glimmer of hope for owners of software patents” as if it’s a disaster that software are dying (a disaster for patent lawyers for sure, but take note of the biased tone).
Another US-based legal firm has just published something related to this. “As background,” it says, “the patent relates to computer memory modules that comprise a printed circuit with upwards of a dozen “random access memory” (RAM) chips (sometime on both sides of the circuit board) for short-term storage.”
This, unlike what was covered above, actually involves some hardware. It is not something which a sole programmer can produce in a basement.
Patent law needs to take into consideration whether patents in one domain or another actually offer a benefit to society and encourage development. When it comes to software patents, evidence strongly suggests that they mustn’t exist and the US Supreme Court seems to agree. █
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