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08.26.16

Being for Patent Quality or Against Patenting Excess Does Not Make You Anti-Patents

Posted in Deception, EFF, Patents at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Black or white: either you’re a patent maximalist or you are “anti-patents” (or “anti-patent” as Watchtroll puts it, see below)

IP Watchdog and EFF

Summary: Like IAM, which tries to portray sceptics and critics of software patents as “anti-patents”, IP Watchdog (or Watchtroll as we call it) is ‘trolling’ the Electronic Frontier Foundation, simply because it expressed an opinion that patent maximalists cannot tolerate

Watchtroll’s site, being the usual loud-mouthed proponent of software patents (sometimes even very rude), responded to a topic on which we commented this morning. Daniel Nazer (EFF) noticed that this “New IP Watchdog post [is] slamming “DC Based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leftist anti-patent activist coalition”” (it’s not anti-patent, it is pro-patent quality, as are we).

Here is the relevant passage from the post: “Another incursion into research university governance and operations is now underway. And this time all research universities are affected. Led by the DC Based Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leftist anti-patent activist coalition that has initiated a 50-state legislative campaign to shrink research university patent licensing rights at the state level. (See) The measure’s purported objective is to prevent publicly funded university research patents from being licensed to so-called “Patent Assertion Entities” (PAEs, also known by the pejorative term “patent trolls”).”

Like IAM's editor in chief, they are also in denial about the trolls problem, just like people who are in denial about climate change (because this reality, once realised by the public, is a threat to one’s business).

The OSI took note and wrote about my article via Former OSI Dir. Jim Jagielski who wrote: “Shows the danger of s/w patents… is it time to finally squash them once and for all?”

Carlo Piana, a famous lawyer for Samba and generally a very nice intellectual (against software patents) wrote on Friday: Has anybody, ever, read a #patent on software without thinking “WTF”? Honestly. And now I have read like 100 of them. And I’m no developer.”

Benjamin Henrion (FFII) responded: “the state urgently needs to intervene between me and my keyboard to save innovation!”

The matter of fact here is clear; anyone with a keyboard and some rudimentary coding skills is affected by software patents and the population in general suffers from slowed innovation and artificially increased prices (often due to lawyers’ fees and patent trolls if not billionaire patent bullies such as Microsoft and Apple). We wrote about it this morning.

08.04.16

Multimedia Software Patents Declared Invalid in the United States

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The long and destructive tail of faulty or shoddy patent examination

A snake

Summary: A look at a highly destructive software patent (on podcasting) reaching a dead end only after the well-funded EFF stepped in and another new court decision which ruled a video streaming patent invalid

TECHRIGHTS spent many years writing about the infamous “podcasting patent” — a patent which was used to shake down many small businesses and even hobbyists. Not only was such a patent not justified to begin with; it deliberately targeted those without incentive to fight back in court (as it’s expensive).

The EFF stepped in some years back and two days ago it reported the latest in a press release by Daniel Nazer. It says:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will urge a federal appeals court at a hearing Thursday to find that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) correctly invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Personal Audio, which had used the patent to threaten podcasters big and small.

EFF is defending a USPTO ruling it won last year in its petition challenging the validity of key claims of Personal Audio’s patent. EFF argued, and the USPTO agreed, that the claimed invention existed before Personal Audio filed its patent application.

So even the USPTO, which granted this patent in the first place, agreed/admitted/acknowledged that it had made an error. How many people and businesses have so far been harmed (financial impact, health impact etc.) by this terrible judgment? Who will be held accountable for it? There will never be proper compensation, let along a refund. Even without Alice — as the above clearly notes that it boils down to prior art — this patent should never have existed.

Looking elsewhere in the news, patent lawyers (as usual, Tyrus Cartwright from Seyfarth Shaw LLP in this case) only cover (or cherry-pick, or scrape the bottom of the barrel for) cases that end up in favour of software patents*, but if one looks a little further at the latest in the docket (patent lawsuits, not PTAB), “Video Streaming Patents [Are Found] Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″. To quote: “The court granted defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s video streaming patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea. “[T]he claims are directed to an abstract idea because the claims are not directed to an improvement in computer functionality, and the physical components of the claim merely provide a generic environment for carrying out the abstract idea. . . . The court is not persuaded that the claimed invention results in an improvement to computer functionality. [Plaintiff] did not invent the technology that converts video files into streaming format. . . . Moreover, [plaintiff] was not confronted with the problem of how to combine conversion technology and the Internet, or how to associate identification tags with video files. At most, the claims merely automate a sequence of known steps using conventional technology so that a human is not burdened with various manual steps. . . . The ordered arrangement of such conventional features provides no discernable benefits to computer functionality. This stands in stark contrast to claims which achieved such improvements to computing technology.””

Software patents die every week if not every day in the US (PTAB decisions are more frequent than court decisions). Things have gotten so out of hand for software patents proponents that they doubt Yahoo’s patent portfolio is worth much at all; today Forbes asks, “could Pokemon Go’s profit engine be derailed by challenges to the software patents underlying the game?”

Well, not really. Nintendo can afford going to court and since software patents typically die there, Nintendo will endure. In fact, post-Alice it’s unlikely that any firm (even patent troll) will bother suing.
_____
* In this case [PDF], “patents-in-suit are directed to inventions that verify the delivery and integrity of electronic messages” as judged by PTAB, not actual courts. Not all avenues/means have been exhausted and the analysis is not as thorough as can be.

04.24.16

[ES] La Fundación de Frontera Electrónica (EFF) Continua su Batalla por la Sanidad de Patentes en los Estados Unidos

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en America, EFF, Patentes at 8:40 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Al atacar el caso Lexmark la EFF trabaja para derechos de impresión/tinta/tóner en general

Epson

Sumario: Una mirada a las últimas actividades de la EFF en el área de patentes, donde probablemente habrá mayor énfasis en los daños de las patentes de software y la necesidad de eliminarlas completamente

LAFundación de Frontera Electrónica es un aliado potencial en la lucha contra las patentes de software. Hemos escrito sobre su papel en la batalla por casi una década (Novell pagó a la EFF hace casi una década) y seguimos de cerca su progreso. Fundada por Mark Cuban para hacer este tipo de activismo (Cuban, quién lee Techrights, esta sobre todo en contra las patentes de software), creemos que algo grande puede salir de lo que hace el EFF.

Julie Samuels de la EFFescribió hace cuatro dias que todavía está luchando “contra las patentes estupidas” (no demasiado útil elegir la palabra “estúpidas” por ella lucha contra las patentes de software). “A pesar de modesta, pero importante, el éxito del programa al eliminar a algunos de las peores patentes”, escribió, “que es atacada por aquellos que se oponen a la reforma de patentes y al parecer creer que un monopolio del gobierno de 20 años no debería tener que soportar ningún tipo de control. En concreto, los representantes de ciertas industrias (por ejemplo, las industrias farmacéuticas y biotecnológicas) afirman que los IPRs son “escuadrones de la muerte de patentes” y han estado trabajando duro en el Capitolio tratando de hacer retroceder la eficacia del programa por el embotellamiénto de sus procedimientos “.

La EFF básicamente se involucra en el caso de las patentes de Lexmark (tratando de arrastrar al Tribunal Supremo) y está atrayendo /recibiendo cobertura de prensa apoyándola.

Escribimos acerca del términoescuadrones de la muerte de patentesen el pasado, e.g. en [1, 2, 3, 4]. Ellos usan otros maliciósos términospara describir la invalidación de patentes falsas y usan eufémismos para sus propios abusos.

La última batalla de la EFF parece ser atacar una materia sobre la que escribimos hace unas semanas [EN | ES]. La EFF básicamente se envolvió en el caso de patentes de Lexmark (tratándo de envolver en ella a laCorte Suprema) y está atrayendo /recibiendo cobertura de prensa apoyándola.Public Knowledgeescribió temprano esta semana: “Ayer, Public Knowledge llenó un amicus curiae brief con la Corte Supremaen el caso Impression Products v. Lexmark International. Al brief se unió la the Electronic Frontier Foundation y la R Street Institute.

“El caso se refiere a cartuchos de tóner de impresora que se rellenan y revenden. Lexmark sostiene que la reventa de cartuchos de impresora viola sus derechos de patentes. Impresion Products, empresa que reconstruye los cartuchos, sostiene que sus actividades están permitidas legalmente, porque los derechos de patente de Lexmark se agotaron en el momento de la venta de los cartuchos a los consumidores. El escrito de amicus presentado apoya la opinión de Impresión de que los derechos de propiedad de los consumidores deben anular los intereses de patentes de Lexmark”.

El titular de Cory Doctorow dijo “que las guerras de tinta de impresora pueden hacer de la propiedad privada de dominio exclusivo de las corporaciones” y aquí la humilde declaración del EFF (“La EFF pide a la Corte Suprema anular este fallo peligroso permitiendo a los propietarios de patentes para socavar la propiedad”).

Esto también fue cubierto por WIPR, que escribió: “La Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) ha urgido a la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. escuchar y rechazar una “decisión problemática” pasada a ella por una corte de apelaciónes que se centra en la exaustación de patentes.”
El titular de Cory Doctorow dijo “que las guerras de tinta de impresora pueden hacer de la propiedad privada de dominio exclusivo de las corporaciones” y aquí la humilde declaración del EFF (“La EFF pide a la Corte Suprema anular este fallo peligroso permitiendo a los propietarios de patentes para socavar la propiedad”).
Para citar a la EFF: “El caso de Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. y se refiere a la cuestión arcana, pero importante, del agotamiento de patentes. Esta es la versión de la ley de patentes de “primera venta”, la doctrina de la ley de derechos de autor que dice que una vez que un consumidor compra una copia de una obra, que es el dueño y puede hacer lo que quiera con esa copia. La ley de patentes es similar. Una vez titular de una patente vende un producto, no puede más tarde demandar que el uso o la venta de ese producto infringe su patente.

Hemos sido críticos (a veces) del enfoque de la EFF, pero en general, lo que la EFF está haciendo es mejor que nada en absoluto.

Al mismo tiempo, EFF pelea por otra causa (“Tribunal confirma que la EFF pueda levantarse por el Acceso Público a Expedientes de la Corte”).
“El mes pasado, explicó,” la EFF decidió intervenir en un caso de patentes con el fin de levantar el secreto de registros que se han mantenido indebidamente para evitar accesso del público. Ayer, el tribunal accedió a la petición de la EFF para intervenir, y al hacerlo, rechazó un argumento preocupante que fue puesto por el titular de la patente.
“El caso es de Blue Spike v. Audible Magic. Como señalamos en nuestro post del mes pasado, numerosos documentos, entre ellos al menos tres opiniones judiciales, han sido completamente ocultados al público. Los documentos sellados son altamente sustantivos, y de lo que podemos recoger, ayudarían al público a entender mejor qué es, exactamente, lo que Blue Spike afirma haber inventado.”
Hemos sido críticos (a veces) del enfoque de la EFF, pero en general, lo que la EFF está haciendo es mejor que nada en absoluto. Sólo desearíamos que hiciera más para abordar directamente las patentes de software en los EE.UU., sobre todo ahora que muchos de los gigantes de patentes presionan al gobierno (más sobre esto más tarde hoy).

04.23.16

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Continues Its Battles for Patent Sanity in the United States

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By taking on the Lexmark case the EFF works towards printing/ink/toner rights in general

Epson

Summary: A look at some of the latest activity of the EFF in the area of patents, where there probably ought to be increased emphasis on the harms of software patents and need for elimination thereof

THE Electronic Frontier Foundation is a potential ally in the fight against software patents. We have written about its role in the battle for nearly a decade now (Novell paid the EFF almost one decade ago) and we continue to monitor its progress. Funded by Mark Cuban to do this kind of activism (Cuban, who reads Techrights, is notably against software patents), we believe that a lot of good can come out of what the EFF does.

The EFF’s Julie Samuels wrote 4 days ago that she’s still fighting “Against Stupid Patents” (not too useful to choose the word “stupid” for one who fights against software patents). “Despite the program’s modest but important success at weeding out some of the worst patents,” she wrote, “it’s under attack from those who oppose patent reform and apparently believe a 20-year government monopoly should not have to withstand any scrutiny. Specifically, representatives from certain industries (e.g., the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries) claim that IPRs are “patent death squads” and have been hard at work on Capitol Hill trying to roll back the program’s effectiveness by dulling its procedures.”

“The EFF basically gets involved in the Lexmark patent case (trying to drag in the Supreme Court) and is attracting/receiving supportive press coverage.”We wrote about the use of the term “patent death squads” in the past, e.g. in [1, 2, 3, 4]. They use other malicious-sounding terms to describe invalidation of bogus patents and they use euphemisms for their own abuses.

The EFF’s latest battle seems to be tackling a subject which we wrote about some weeks ago [EN | ES]. The EFF basically gets involved in the Lexmark patent case (trying to drag in the Supreme Court) and is attracting/receiving supportive press coverage. Public Knowledge wrote earlier this week: “Yesterday, Public Knowledge filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court in the case Impression Products v. Lexmark International. The brief was joined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the R Street Institute.

“The case relates to printer toner cartridges that are refilled and resold. Lexmark argues that the resale of printer cartridges violates its patent rights. Impression Products, who remanufactures cartridges, contends that its activities are legally permitted because Lexmark’s patent rights were exhausted at the time of sale of the cartridges to consumers. The amicus brief filed supports Impression’s view that consumer ownership rights should override Lexmark’s patent interests.”

“Cory Doctorow’s headline said “Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations” and here is the EFF’s own humble statement (“EFF Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Dangerous Ruling Allowing Patent Owners to Undermine Ownership”).”This was also covered by WIPR, which wrote: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has urged the US Supreme Court to hear and overturn a “troubling decision” handed down by an appeals court that centres on patent exhaustion.”

Cory Doctorow’s headline said “Printer ink wars may make private property the exclusive domain of corporations” and here is the EFF’s own humble statement (“EFF Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Dangerous Ruling Allowing Patent Owners to Undermine Ownership”).

To quote the EFF: “The case is called Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc. and it concerns the arcane but important question of patent exhaustion. This is patent law’s version of “first sale,” the doctrine in copyright law that says that once a consumer buys a copy of a work, she owns it and can do what she wants with that copy. Patent law is similar. Once a patent owner sells a product, it cannot later claim that that product’s use or sale is infringing.”

“We have been critical (at times) of the EFF’s approach, but all in all, what the EFF is doing is better than nothing at all.”At the same time the EFF fights for another cause (“Court Confirms EFF Can Stand Up for Public Access to Court Records”).

“Last month,” it explained, “EFF moved to intervene in a patent case in order to unseal records we believe have been improperly kept from the public. Yesterday, the court granted EFF’s motion to intervene, and in doing so, rejected a troubling argument being put forth by the patent owner.

“The case is Blue Spike v. Audible Magic. As we noted in our blog post last month, numerous documents, including at least three court opinions, have been completely withheld from the public. The sealed documents are highly substantive, and from what we can gather, would help the public better understand what, exactly, Blue Spike claims to have invented.”

We have been critical (at times) of the EFF’s approach, but all in all, what the EFF is doing is better than nothing at all. We just wish it did more to directly tackle software patents in the US, especially now that a lot of patent giants lobby the government (more on that later today).

04.04.16

VENUE Act No es la Solución en Medio de EFF Noticias Acerca Intellectual Ventures y Garfum Es Tiempo de Enfrentárse a las Patentes de Software

Posted in America, EFF, Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en America, EFF, Law, Patents at 9:25 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSumario: Algunas noticias acerca de patentes con enfasis en la situación de la EFF presente estrategia, que no observa al meollo del asunto, patentability de Software en los Estados Unidos

HOY (o esta tarde) el focus será la USPTO. Hay un montón para decir del sistema de patentes de los EE.UU., ambas buenas y malas noticias. Como nuestros viejos lectores saben, no somos oponentes del sistema de patentes per se, somos oponentes de las patentes de software, las que no deberían ser otorgadas, por que el código es propiamente protegido por derechos de autor. Virtualmente todos los desarrolladores de software (basado en viejos reportajes y encuestas) están de acuerdo con nosotros en patentes de software. Difícimente es materia de debate dentro de la comunidad de software, sólo fuera de ella.

“Virtualmente todos los desarrolladores de software (basado en viejos reportajes y encuestas) están de acuerdo con nosotros en patentes de software.”Hace unos dias remarcamos en la Acta VENUE, el último exagerado proyecto de ley que pretende sólo abordar cuestiones incluso tratándose de una solución a medio cocer. El año pasado vimos Ley de Patentes e Innovación (¿recuerdan? Una de las muchas encarnaciones y esfuerzos [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Son tan sólo palabras de moda y se centran en los trolles de patentes, no se enfocan en la esfera de patentes. El esfuerzo tomado para llegar a esos acrónimos tontos (como PATRIOTA) muestra que se trata más de su comercialización alrededor de ella en vez de enfrentarse al verdadero problema. Como lo acaba de explicar Techdirt el Acta VENUE (Nathan Leamer y Zach Graves, los autores, no son personas de Techdirt), “no es el tipo de corrección integral al problema de los trolles de patentes de los Estados Unidos” que nos gustaría ver, el Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Ac abordan una pequeña parte del problema. El proyecto de ley, S. 2733, reduciría las rampantes compra de lugares que injustamente distorsiona los resultados legales al permitir que los demandantes seleccionen jueces amigables con anticipación”.

Dada la inclinación algunos tribunales o jueces a aceptar patentes de software abstractas, esto potencialmente tiene un efecto positivo en la resistencia a las patentes de software. Aproximadamente al mismo tiempo que el artículo de la EFF anteriormente, Techdirt también republicó un artículo de la EFF (EFF es un defensor del Acta VENUE por cierto) acerca del mayor troll de patentes de Microsoft, Intellectual Ventures, a que calificó de “Mega-Troll” y afirmando que “Golpea florista con la patente de programación Hazlo-En-Un-Ordenador” (patente de software).

“Este Troll de Patentes conectado a Microsoft también ataca a Linux y Android, como lo mostramos aquí antes.”Para citar a la EFF: “Cuando se trata de trolles de patentes ninguno es más grande que Intellectual Ventures. El behemoth basado en el estado de Washington está al centro de ambos trolling de patentes y el debate acerca de la reforma. Aunque clame promover la innovación, Intellectual Ventures está detras de la más vergonzósas campañas de trolles en años reciéntes. Famosa por esconderse detrás demiles de compañías de cubierta, creó Lodsys, el troll que asedió a pequeños desarrolladores de apps, y la Oasis Research litigación que apareció en Esta Vida Americana.

“Este mes, Intellectual Ventures presentó algunas acciones legales contra objetivos nuevos incluyendo JCPenney, Sally Beauty, y servicios de entrega de flores Transworld Floristerías. Estudiamos las patentes valer para ver si alguno merecía nuestro Premio a la Patente Estúpida del mes. Todos eran buenos candidatas, pero una en particular se destacó”.

Este Troll de Patentes conectado a Microsoft también ataca a Linux y Android, como lo mostramos aquí antes.
Esta actuando como una suerte de proxy de Microsoft, una entre varias. Intellectual Ventures también tiene una red de miles de firmas satelite, haciéndola un fantasma que es muy difícil/torpe para seguirle el rastro.

“Intellectual Ventures también tiene una red de miles de firmas satelite, haciéndola un fantasma que es muy difícil/torpe para seguirle el rastro.”Separadamente, basado en este post de la EFF, “Blue Spike es un contínuo jugadore en litigación de patentes. Lex Machina (un servicio que colecciona filing de patentes en todo el país) indica que hay más de 100 juicios relacionados a Blue Spike y ´sus´ patentes. No sorprende entonces que, la campaña deBlue Spike’s campaign ha atraído la atención de la prensa. Hemos escrito acerca de Blue Spike y sus patentes en conección con la serie “Estupida Patente del Mes”. Otros han escrito acerca de Blue Spike también.”

En noticias más positivas del EFF, en Twitter que dice: “Corte dispone que matón de patentes pague los honorarios del abogado del cliente EFF.” Aquí está el artículo correspondiente, que dice:

En una decisión que podría ayudar a otras víctimas de los litigios sobre patentes abusivo, un tribunal ordenó hoy que la Corporación Garfum.com debe pagar los honorarios de abogados de un cliente de la EFF. La corte encontró que el juicio por patente de Garfum carecía de mérito y fue litigado injustificadamente.

Volviéndo a finales de 2014, Garfum demandó un pequeño sitio web de fotografía llamada Bytephoto.com por violación de patentes. Garfum afirmaba poseer la idea de tener un “voto por el mejor” competencia, pero en el Internet. A pesar de que su absurda patente no era válida claramente en virtud de la decisión del Tribunal Supremo en Alice v. CLS Bank, Garfum exigía que los propietarios de Bytephoto, Ruth y Steve Taylor, que pagen unos $ 50.000. Teniendo en cuenta el elevado costo de defenderse incluso en una frívola demanda de patentes, los Taylor se enfrentarón a una situación difícil.

Esto ya fué cubierto por Joe Mullin, quién a seguido el rastro a trolles de patentes por una década. “La Electronic Frontier Foundation,” escribió, “ha advocado contra ridiculas patentes de software por más de una década, pero no fue hasta el año pasado que la organización tomo un pro bono cliente acusado de infringimiento de patentes. Un pequeño sitio web de videos llamado Garfum.com enjuició a la fotografo de Pennsylvania Ruth Taylor, diciéndo que ella estaba infringiendo la US Patent No. 8,209,618. Garfum, propiedad de un hombre de New Jersey llamado Michael Garofalo, diciendo que la patente era infringida por las competiciones de fotos que Taylor tiene en su website, Bytephoto.”

Vale la pena notar que delo que estamos tratándo aquí son patentes de software, de nuevo. ¿Porqué la EFF simplemente no se enfrenta a las patentes de software en vez de “patentes estúpidas” o “trolles de patentes” Mejor unirse a la pelea justa, mejor tarde que nunca.

04.02.16

VENUE Act Not the Solution and Amid EFF News About Intellectual Ventures and Garfum It’s Time to Tackle Software Patents

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reform jokeSummary: Some news regarding patents with emphasis on the EFF’s situation and current strategy, which overlooks the core issue, software patentability in the United States

TODAY’s (or this afternoon’s) focus will be the USPTO. There is a lot to be said about the US patent system, both good news and bad news. As longtime readers of ours know, we’re not opponents of the patent system per se, we’re against software patents, which oughtn’t be granted at all because code is properly protected by copyright law. Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents. It’s hardly even a subject of debate inside the software community, only outside of it.

“Virtually all software developers (based on old surveys and polls) agree with us on software patents.”Days ago we remarked on the VENUE Act, the latest hyped-up bill which claims to tackle issues even if it’s a half-cooked solution. Last year we saw Innovation and PATENT Act (remember it? One of many incarnations and efforts [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). They’re all just buzzwords and they focus on patent trolls, not patent scope. The effort taken to come up with those silly acronyms (like PATRIOT) shows that it’s more about marketing than about substance. As TechDirt has just explained VENUE Act (Nathan Leamer and Zach Graves, the authors, aren’t TechDirt people), “it isn’t the kind of comprehensive corrective to America’s “patent troll” problem that we’d like to see, the newly introduced Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act would address one small piece of the problem. The bill, S. 2733, would curtail rampant venue shopping that unfairly distorts legal outcomes by allowing plaintiffs to select friendly judges in advance.”

Given some judges’ or courts’ inclination to accept abstract software patents, this potentially has a positive effect on resistance to software patents. At around the same time as the above, TechDirt also reposted the EFF’s article (the EFF is a proponent of VENUE Act by the way) about Microsoft’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, calling it “Mega-Troll” and stating that it “Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” (software patent).

“This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before.”To quote the EFF: “When it comes to patent trolls, no one is bigger than Intellectual Ventures. The Washington State-based behemoth is at the center of both patent trolling and the debate around patent reform. Though it claims to promote innovation, Intellectual Ventures is behind some of the most outrageous troll campaigns in recent years. Famous for hiding behind thousands of shell companies, it spawned Lodsys, the troll that harassed small app developers, and the Oasis Research litigation featured in This American Life.

“This month, Intellectual Ventures filed some fresh lawsuits against targets including JCPenney, Sally Beauty, and flower delivery service Florists’ Transworld Delivery. We checked out the asserted patents to see if any deserved our Stupid Patent of the Month award. All were worthy candidates, but one in particular stood out.”

This Microsoft-connected troll also attacks Linux and Android, as we showed here before. It is acting as a sort of Microsoft proxy, one among many. Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.

“Intellectual Ventures also has a network of thousands of satellite firms, making it like a phantom that’s too cumbersome to properly track.”Separately, based on this post from the EFF, “Blue Spike is a repeat patent litigation player. Lex Machina (a service that collects patent litigation filings from across the country) indicates there are over 100 lawsuits involving Blue Spike and its patents. Unsurprisingly then, Blue Spike’s campaign has garnered press attention. We’ve written about Blue Spike and its patents in connection with our “Stupid Patent of the Month” series. Others have written about Blue Spike too.”

In more positive news from the EFF, on Twitter it said: “Court orders that patent bully must pay EFF client’s attorneys’ fees.” Here is the corresponding article which says:

In a decision that could help other victims of abusive patent litigation, a court today ordered that Garfum.com Corporation must pay an EFF client’s attorneys’ fees. The court found that Garfum’s patent suit lacked merit and was litigated unreasonably.

Back in late 2014, Garfum sued a small photography website called Bytephoto.com for patent infringement. Garfum claimed to own the idea of having a ‘vote for the best’ competition, but on the Internet. Even though its absurd patent was plainly invalid under the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank, Garfum demanded that the owners of Bytephoto, Ruth and Steve Taylor, pay it $50,000. Given the substantial cost of defending even a frivolous patent lawsuit, the Taylors faced a difficult situation.

This has already been covered by Joe Mullin, who tracked patent trolls for about a decade. “The Electronic Frontier Foundation,” he wrote, “has advocated against ridiculous software patents for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until last year that the organization took on a pro bono client accused of patent infringement. A little-used video website called Garfum.com sued Pennsylvania photographer Ruth Taylor, saying she was infringing US Patent No. 8,209,618. Garfum, owned by a New Jersey man named Michael Garofalo, says the patent was infringed by the photo contests Taylor runs on her website, Bytephoto.”

Worth noting here is that we’re dealing with a software patent, again. Why doesn’t the EFF just tackle software patents as opposed to “stupid patents” or “patent trolls”? Better join the good fight, better late than never.

03.20.16

EFF Wants to Tackle the Patent Litigation Mess But Still Stops Short of Abolishing (or Working to Abolish) Software Patents

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Patent Busting project/initiative/campaign, which abolished one patent at the time nearly a decade ago, a long-forgotten strategy

Patent troll
Image credit: Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Summary: Patent trolls are still the subject of criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, even though some major companies such as Apple and Microsoft (even those that pay the EFF) are a big part of the problem with patents, and software patents in particular

YESTERDAY we published this article which covered jurisdiction reform as a path to mitigation/cessation of patent trolls, who habitually use software patents (still granted by the USPTO where there is no effective quality control) as a weapon in the Eastern District of Texas. The USPTO doesn’t seem to mind over-litigation as it helps drive demand at the patent office*.

The EFF has just published this recommendation (authored by Elliot Harmon) of the VENUE Act, which uses jurisdiction as a factor by which to throttle/impede trolls. Here is what the EFF wrote:

There’s a new bill in Congress that would finally address the egregious forum shopping that dominates patent litigation. The Venue Equity and Non-Uniformity Elimination Act of 2016 (VENUE Act, S. 2733) would bring a modicum of fairness to a broken patent system.

Forum shopping is a phenomenon that can appear when plaintiffs get a lot of latitude over which federal district to file a case in. Some plaintiffs make their choice based not on what federal district has the strongest connection to the dispute, but rather on which court they believe they have the best chance of winning in. A canny plaintiff will exploit differences between courts in her favor—differences in how they enforce certain rules, for example, or in their track records with a type of case. As anyone knows who’s been following the patent reform debate for very long, forum shopping runs rampant in patent cases.

The EFF correctly points out that this would not solve the problem but only slow it down a bit. What the EFF really needs to do is campaign against software patents — something which clearly it hasn’t been sufficiently interested in (we wrote a lot about this before, either praising or criticising the EFF’s approach/strategy). Justin Blows, a patent lawyer who likes software patents, writes that “Google has been awarded US patent 9,280,534 titled “Generating social glossary”. Broadly speaking, the invention is about scanning social media for new expressions and storing them in a glossary.”

This is similar to a Facebook patent which we recently covered here. Why are such software patents being granted in the first place? A clue might be in the footnote below.
_____
* “A PTO official said to me after my talk that trying to think about IPR with an overlay of prosecution will do nothing but harm,” wrote patent maximalists the other day. “He’s right,” they added. It sure seems like the wolf has been put in charge or the sheep of the wolf is guarding the hen now. They want more patents and more prosecution which drives demand for patents (elevating perceived value of patents).

01.31.16

EFF: “Las Patentes de Software Arruinan Todo”

Posted in EFF, Patents at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Posted in EFF, Patents at 9:27 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EFF logo

Sumario: La Fundación Frontera Electrónica parece estar retornando a un directo criticísmo de las patentes de software en vez de criticar grupos particulares o personas que las explotan, ejemplo los trolles de patentes.

A través de los años (desde 2006 cuando Novell pago servicio de labios a la EFF con un dinero) hemos apoyado y criticado el punto de vista de la EFF sobre las patentes de software. Últimamente escribimos hace unos días. Otros articulos en tales materias incluyen:

Basado en Este nuevo artículo from de EFF (publicado reciéntemente), no sólo la EFF es capaz de nombrar a los Trolles de Patentes explícitamente (siempre era acerca de ¨estúpidas¨ patentes y ¨trolles¨), también esta preparada para golpearlas. Para citar algúnos paragrafos:

En Diciembre más de 3,000 de ustedes se reunierón a apoyar una propuesta del Departamento de Educacion (ED) que haría sus recursos Educacionales mucho más accesibles a educadores y estudiantes en todo el mundo.

Ustedes no fueron los únicos: La Fundación de Sofware Libre, Creative Commons, Public Knowledge, la Software Freedom Conservancy, y numerosos otros grupos a favor del usuario hablaron fuerte. Juntos, mandamos un mensaje a alto volumen: La red de equipo está en el lado de educación abierta.

Leyendo a través de todos los 147 comentarios, un modelo emerge. Proponentes de la Web abierta, grupos de educación abierta y muchos educadores profesionales todos apoyan la idea de recusos solventados por el Departamente de Educación sean COMPARTIDOS CON LICENCIAS ABIERTAS (aunque tengamos diferencias en ciertos detalles). Aunque un grupo nos seguía confundiendo: las universidades. ¿PORQUÉ HAY ALGUNAS UNIVERSIDADES OPONIÉNDOSE A UN MANDATO QUE BENEFICIARÍA DIRECTAMENTE A SUS ESTUDIANTES Y FACULTAD?

Cuando cavas un poquito más, parece que esta oposición a licensia abierta no tiene que ver con el acceso de los estudiantes a recursos educacionales. Lo que en realidad sale a la luz es una lucha larga acerca de como las universidades usan patentes, más específicamente patentes de software. La Educación Abierta y al alcance de las mayorías simplemente esta en medio del fuego.

[...]

Las Patentes de Software Arruinan Todo

La expresión de la AAU cuestiona ¨si el Departamento tiene la autoridad legal bajo la 35 USC 212 para emitir un requerimiento para licensiar abiertamente todo el código fuente de sofware financiado con fondos de grants.¨ Esto es una referencia a una ley de 1980, comúnmente conocida como la Bayh-Dole Act. Antes que ella las Universidades no podían aplicar por patentes creadas usando fondos federales; en vez de eso, el gobierno era el responsable de patentar invenciones fundadas federalmente [.pdf]; cuando lo hizo así sólo las dejaba usar a otros bajo licencias no exclusivas.

Despues de Bayh-Dole, toda una industria de transfer de tecnología de las universidades apareció. Cada programa de transfer tiene sus propias políticas, algunas son más flexibles y amicables a los deseos del inventor que otras pero todas existen para vender o licensiar invenciones de facultad a terceros. Algunas de ellas ejercen sus patentes directamentte, como la Universida de Wisconsin-Madiso hizo en su juicio contra Apple.

Es importante notar aqui que la propuesta de la ED no toca las patentes de ninguna manera. Ya que la propuesta cubre software, es posible que los recipientes quieran aplicar por algunas patentes cubiertas bajo esas policies. No hay nada en la propuesta que los impida hacer eso: no toda licencia de open source que obligaría a la política requeriría que sus creadores desistan de derechos de aserción de patentes.

Recuerden que las patentes de software están dando combustible a los trolles, así que cualquier discución acerca de trolles de patentes frecuentemente evade el núcleo central en vez de ello trata los simtomas (para la alegría de las grandes corporaciones). La OEP fundada Iam ´magazine´ que maquilla a lo trolles de patentes, acepta dinero de ellos y les organiza eventos, esta disfrazando las patentes de abiertas ahora mismo (¨innovación abierta¨) y muestra que pasa cuando los espéculadores de patentes habla o otros de su misma calaña. Iam se ha convertido en una clase de PROPONENTE DE TROLLS Y MAXIMALISTAS. Es suave y tierno con los trolles y los llamados entidades asertoras de patentes. En el otro extremo hay sitios como IP Troll Tracker, que ahora felicita a Florian Müller por criticar el sistema de patentes de los Estados Unidos. En todo es bueno ver que la EFF ahora habla un poco más acerca de las patentes de software no sólo de trolles de patentes. Los animamos a hacerlo más frequentemente. La Fundación De Frontera Electrónica parece estar retornando a un directo criticismo de las patentes de software en vez de grupos particulares que las explotan, ejemplo los trolles de patentes.

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