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


IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

Posted in Asia, IBM, Patents, RAND at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just low-salaried labour/workforce for IBM

India IAM lobbyingSummary: Having ‘championed’ lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM’s practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

IBM is trying to change the USPTO, having had a Director in it for a number of years (he’s now working for IBM as a lobbyist). IBM is a patent bully and almost a troll (IBM still sells some products, so it’s premature to start calling it a “patent troll”).

IBM used software patents against Twitter (many did not notice that), extracting perhaps tens of millions of dollars without actually doing anything.

Florian Müller, an IBM critic, has just published this blog post about a core Twitter patent in the post-Alice era. “Worst-case scenario for Twitter,” he added, is that “some of its “own” patent claims might belong to Indian inventor, who could then sue Twitter.”

From yesterday’s blog post:

It could be that an Indian patentee ends up owning what was considered a core Twitter patent. But he’s not quite there yet. His U.S. Patent Application No. 15/053,889 is facing an Alice (§101) rejection by the examiner, which he is appealing (the appeal was filed in late November). Most recently, the examiner sought to defend his rejection in his mid-February answer to the appeal brief.

Twitter’s older and narrower patent was granted at a pre-Alice time; but the broader one was granted in 2015. The USPTO is clearly applying double standards so far, holding the same claims abstract in one case after not holding them abstract in another. That’s not good.

PTAB/district courts/CAFC would likely just say, “go away, opportunist/troll…”

They’re no longer tolerant of such patents.

Speaking of India, Dolby does not create anything concrete in India; nothing but patent lawsuits. But a person from Dolby, a speaker at an upcoming IAM event in India (possibly with the usual advocacy of software patents in India), will certainly enjoy yesterday’s puff piece that says:

Documents filed with the Delhi High Court show that Dolby Laboratories called off a dispute with Oppo last December after more than a year of litigation. For the US-based licensor of audio standards technology, the Oppo deal followed on two settlements with Indian defendants during the course of 2017.

Dolby made its first patent assertions in India in 2016, with Oppo and Vivo as its initial targets. In October that year, Delhi High Court Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw laid out an interim royalty payment regime requiring both defendants to deposit 34 rupees ($0.52 at today’s rates) with the court per device sold. According to SpicyIP, the court subsequently required the two Chinese brands to “furnish bank guarantees for the entire amount of the royalty payments due to the plaintiffs”.


Dolby’s latest cases demonstrate why FRAND and SEP issues will be high on the agenda here in Mumbai.

IAM has long lobbied for software patents in India, for FRAND, and SEP (see examples from last year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). IBM did the same thing in India (we wrote articles about that). IAM is the spin department/think tank (setting up lobbying events). It’s just using Dolby (above) as a “model” example by which to drive the agenda. IAM and IBM are often on the same wavelength; both are patent maximalists that want the public to think that patents and innovation are the same thing and only patent litigation (or ‘monetisation’) is the fulfillment of a patent.


IBM Has Become More of a Patent Broker Rather Than a Genuine Technology Company

Posted in IBM, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: IBM is becoming a lot more like Intellectual Ventures, namely a patent hoarder (tens of thousands of patents) looking to ‘monetise’ these patents using lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, feeding (arming) of patent trolls and so on

IBM likes to think of itself as ‘king of patents’ because for decades it was pursuing a lot of patents, including software patents, which the USPTO granted by the thousands (per year). What isn’t so well known, however, is how IBM uses these patents behind the scenes. It’s pretty brutal and it got a lot worse in recent years.

“The funny thing is that to people like these the trolls are heroes.”Finjan is a very malicious patent troll which was funded by Microsoft and as recently as last year was armed by IBM (IBM gave it patents to help the trolling).

Britton Davis and Max Colice wrote about Finjan yesterday. This troll is still being exploited by Watchtroll, which uses it to make a case for software patents and damages. The funny thing is that to people like these the trolls are heroes. To quote:

Patent damages law is one of the most complex areas in patent law and it is constantly evolving. Attorneys and courts often confuse the principles and get the law wrong. Further, even without the backdrop of constantly evolving and complex damages law, proving damages at trial is one of the hardest aspects of patent litigation. And properly apportioning damages can be one of the most difficult aspects of damages law to get right.


In Finjan, the Federal Circuit reached the opposite conclusion and remanded the case for failure to properly apportion the royalty base. Finjan, slip op. at 18-19. Finjan’s patent relates to virus detection software and creating a security profile for web addresses. Id. at 18. Finjan accused Blue Coat’s DRTR or “dynamic real-time rating engine” of infringing its patent. Id. The DRTR was itself part of a larger software product called WebPulse that helps companies set internet policies for their employees by categorizing different websites as containing different kinds of content. Id.

Finjan recently announced it financial results, after its stock/shares had collapsed over the years. Very many moons and even years ago Finjan actually had a product; it decided to become a proper patent troll about a decade ago and for IBM to send patents its way is worse than irresponsible; it makes IBM complicit in trolling.

“As Dropbox begins IPO process it has followed a familiar path in buying patents from IBM,” IAM wrote yesterday, having published this blog post that also mentions Facebook, Google and Alibaba (they left out HTC). To quote:

Dropbox filed the necessary paperwork for an upcoming IPO late last week, putting it on track to become the latest tech unicorn to go public. It is also on the long list of high-profile, multi-billion dollar start-ups that have acquired patent assets from IBM in the years leading up to a listing.

The file sharing business acquired 63 US patents and applications from IBM in 2016 in a transaction that was recorded on the USPTO assignment database last September. It has also bought assets from Intellectual Ventures, file-sharing rival SugaSync and, in a 2014 deal, picked up a portfolio of 105 US assets from Sony.

It’s quite likely that at least some of these patents would be worthless though; a lot of these are being invalided nowadays by PTAB.

We weren’t quite aware that Dropbox patents were also being bought from Microsoft’s patent ‘broker’ (troll) Intellectual Ventures. Now we know one thing that Intellectual Ventures and IBM have in common,


As Japan Moves Towards Reducing Patent Lawsuits and Curbing SEP Abuse Will the United States Follow Suit?

Posted in America, Antitrust, Asia, IBM, OIN, Patents, RAND at 2:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask Makan Delrahim

KDDI Corporation logo

Summary: Japan is getting tougher on standards-imposed patent traps (SEP), the US may be getting ready to do the same, and Japan’s KDDI Corporation joins OIN

WE recently wrote about Japan's growing comprehension of the SEP threat, unlike the US with Makan Delrahim (a lobbyist) in charge of antitrust matters. President Trump fills his swamp and it truly shows (just look at his USPTO Director pick, soon to speak at an IAM event). As IAM put it the other day: “Another speech from @TheJusticeDept’s Makan Delrahim suggesting US gov is looking very closely at use of antitrust enforcement in standard setting https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/assistant-attorney-general-makan-delrahim-delivers-remarks-college-europe-brussels” (think about Qualcomm for instance).

Watchtroll, in the mean time, is frustrated that on patents “Trump DOJ is on the same page as the Obama DOJ, which is hard to fathom given all the promises made by President Trump during his campaign.”

“The patent maximalists sure hope that chaos will be restored as they profit from that chaos.”Watchtroll now helps the lobby for patent chaos, hoping that republishing a letter will help it have impact. The patent maximalists sure hope that chaos will be restored as they profit from that chaos.

As we recently noted, Japan (and JPO) recognises that patent litigation isn’t desirable (unless you’re a lawyer) and this new report says that “Japan will soon implement a process that will swiftly resolve disputes over patents that are crucial to adhering to certain technical standards…” (that’s SEP)

This is a good thing. Consider the fact that, as IAM put it last week, Hitachi fed patents to “NPE Microconnect in the past several months.”

“…Japan is moving in the same direction as the US. The EPO, by contrast, moves in the same direction as China (SIPO).”“NPE” is a euphemism for patent troll and it’s worrying to think that a Japanese giant will resort to this. This is good for IAM and its paymasters of course, but what about Japan in general? IAM has just published this sponsored ‘article’ for Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office (Japan), so it’s clear that IAM is in the pockets of the Japanese patent ‘industry’ (litigation), not actual industry.

A week ago it was announced that KDDI, a communications service provider in Japan, had entered the Linux-centric Open Invention Network (OIN). A press release got disseminated (e.g. [1, 2]) to say:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that KDDI Corporation (KDDI) has joined OIN as a community member. As the first key communications service provider in Japan to enroll in the OIN community, KDDI is demonstrating its commitment to open source software and the associated development efforts that benefit the entire communications industry.

“The communications industry is continuing its rapid transformation. Linux-based platforms like ONAP, OPNFV, and OpenDaylight are beginning to enable carriers and enterprises to provision new levels of service functionality across cloud and software defined networks (SDN) at an unprecedented pace,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We appreciate KDDI’s participation in joining OIN and demonstrating its commitment to innovation and patent non-aggression in open source.”

OIN is not against software patents. It’s more of an IBM ‘hack’ which, according to Bruce Perens, is about protecting software patents from Linux rather than protecting Linux from software patents (quite an accurate description we might add).

Japan is one of IP5 (JPO is in it), so watching what happens there is definitely worthwhile. Japan has become a lot stricter on software patents and the courts not so plaintiff-friendly. In that regard, Japan is moving in the same direction as the US. The EPO, by contrast, moves in the same direction as China (SIPO).


IBM is Getting Desperate and Now Suing Microsoft Over Lost Staff, Not Just Suing Everyone Using Patents

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Famed Journalist Dan Gillmor Calls IBM the Inventor of Patent Trolling

Ginni Rometty

Summary: IBM’s policy when it comes to patents, not to mention its alignment with patent extremists, gives room for thought if not deep concern; the company rapidly becomes more and more like a troll

THE DAYS of IBM as a friend of developers are long gone. About a decade ago we were supportive of IBM for all sorts of reasons, including OpenDocument Format (ODF). But nowadays IBM is a patent bully which lobbies for software patents, just like Microsoft. Simply because IBM is “not Microsoft” (the same goes for Apple) does not imply that it’s benign or even desirable.

“…nowadays IBM is a patent bully which lobbies for software patents, just like Microsoft.”Our previous post was about Microsoft's patent bullying. It’s something it has in common with IBM and its battles over software patents (albeit on the defensive side) are being brought up this week (quotes from Enfish, LLC v Microsoft, a decision which was used a lot last year as an argument for software patents).

From one lobbyist of software patents (and patent thug) to another jumps Ms McIntyre. According to this report from this week: “In a motion filed today, McIntyre says IBM has no evidence she has or will misappropriate any IBM information and that the company is covered by an ongoing NDA. She also says she informed IBM of the Microsoft job offer in January, which was when she was terminated.”

“He’s linking to Watchtroll, as usual, and when he speaks of “improving the US patent system” he means facilitating patent blackmail by the likes of IBM.”IBM just shows how desperate it has become. How long before IBM has more lawyers than actual engineers?

What has IBM been reduced to? Watch this tweet from IBM’s Manny Schecter (the patent chief). It’s embarrassing. He’s linking to Watchtroll, as usual, and when he speaks of “improving the US patent system” he means facilitating patent blackmail by the likes of IBM. How convenient. He said: “Former Patent Commish Stoll describes tough sledding ahead for new Director Iancu in improving the US #patent system: What should USPTO Director Andrei Iancu do first?”

IBM is already lobbying through Mr. Kappos, a former IBM employee whom we wrote about last night. Iancu should watch out because Watchtroll and Schecter are trying to manipulate him rather than help him. So does Stoll, who was supposed to ‘retire’ 7 years ago.

“IBM is already lobbying through Mr. Kappos, a former IBM employee whom we wrote about last night. Iancu should watch out because Watchtroll and Schecter are trying to manipulate him rather than help him.”Schecter seems to be feeling some heat. He has just said: “Must be doing something right when both extreme pro-patent pundits and extreme anti-patent pundits are concerned about my views…”

“Patent policies of companies (or people who manage these policies) matter depending on the context,” I told him. The very fact is, IBM’s patent policies come to a large degree from him and his association with “extreme pro-patent pundits” (his words) like Watchtroll does him no favour.

Watch this reply which insinuates Schecter is doing “something wrong.”

“To intelligent people,” he said, “labeling and demonizing critics is a red flag that the merits of one’s ideology are questionable. Stick to the merits.”

“We worry that sooner or later there will be nothing left of IBM other than a pile of patents and a long list of pending lawsuits.”Earlier this week, IBM’s friends at Watchtroll (extremists like Paul Morinville) did their usual shaming of patent reform and more of that China bashing (never mind if IBM sells a lot of its business to Chinese firms such as Lenovo).

We worry that sooner or later there will be nothing left of IBM other than a pile of patents and a long list of pending lawsuits. It’s then that IBM formally becomes a patent troll.


To Understand the Protection Racket Look Not at Microsoft But at Patent Trolls Which It Sponsors

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘enforcers’ are Finjan et al.

RacketSummary: An outline of patent activities which are connected to Microsoft, including the protection racket known as Azure IP Advantage

THE patent strategy which revolves around taxing GNU/Linux carries on at Microsoft. It’s alive and well, it's just 'dressed up' or marketed differently.

Erich Andersen (Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel at Microsoft, based in Redmond) will never say that Microsoft is running a racket. Maybe he’ll even convince himself otherwise. Having recently driven that crazy “AI” hype, Microsoft’s Andersen now says: “During this time when customers are rapidly adopting #AI solutions across industries to solve important problems, Microsoft is helping to protect those investments by offering #AI patents as part of #AzureIPAdvantage…”

“The patent strategy which revolves around taxing GNU/Linux carries on at Microsoft.”Also, linking to IAM, he wrote: “One year after the launch of #AzureIPAdvantage, our commitment to protecting @Azure customers from IP claims remains strong and unmatched in the industry…”

What he does not say, however, is that Azure IP Advantage is a misnomer; it’s actually a protection racket. This week, for example, he also promoted software patents by citing the EPO’s latest stunt, which frames such patents as “Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

“What he does not say, however, is that Azure IP Advantage is a misnomer; it’s actually a protection racket.”“No surprise here,” he wrote, as “patent filings up at the EPO in “Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies”” (that’s software patents, by IAM’s own admission). Those sorts of buzzwords, “AI” included (EPO prefers “ICT” and “CII”), are nowadays routinely used to dodge the negative publicity of software patenting. Suffice to say, software patents are at the very heart of the racket (Azure just runs code), but after Alice their value is questionable at best.

The other day, piggybacking the gender slant, this event promoted software patents, relying on a Microsoft-sponsored patent troll called Finjan for lobbying. Coreena Brinck said that the USPTO “recently handed down a decision where software was found eligible for patentable: Finjan v Blue Coat Systems Inc.”

We wrote several articles about that and it’s not what they claim it to be. This same case was also mentioned on February 5th by Peter Keros. He focused on patents as corporate welfare (what Microsoft is pursuing) when they’re not just a loophole/instrument of tax evasion (very common). To quote:

Damages for patent infringement must be apportioned to the infringing features of an accused product and supported by substantial evidence. Finjan, Inc., v. Blue Coat Systems Inc., No. 2016-2520 (January 10, 2018) (precedential). After considering subject matter eligibility and infringement of the asserted patents, the Federal Circuit reviewed the damages awarded by the jury, reversing awards unsupported by substantial evidence and affirming awards properly apportioned.

Finjan, Inc. v Cisco Systems has also just been brought up in the following context:

The court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s willful patent infringement claims for failing to sufficiently allege egregious behavior.

Microsoft-sponsored patent trolls keep harassing Microsoft’s competitors in court, fueling the above-mentioned protection racket. They want companies to either enter Azure or enter exclusive ‘clubs’ like AST. “AST members including IBM, Microsoft and Google,” IAM said the other day, “spend $2.5 million in latest IP3 patent buying programme,” noting:

AST has announced the results of its latest IP3 initiative which saw 15 of the defensive patent platform’s members participate, including Google, IBM, Microsoft and Ford.

In total they spent almost $2.5 million to buy 70 active assets in 19 portfolios with prices per lot ranging from $25,000 to $390,000; and an average selling price per family of $128,000. There was an average of 3.6 assets per family (up from 1.84 last year) with the largest lot that was acquired including 21 US patent filings (a lot could comprise multiple families).

IBM, Microsoft and other patent villains are basically at peace with each other because they all have a lot of patents; but what about smaller companies? Those are the companies that IBM and Microsoft go after, but not always directly. Several years ago Microsoft passed many of Nokia’s patents to this patent troll (MOSAID) and based on this new press release (via) Microsoft and Nokia keep feeding other patent trolls using key patents (like they did MOSAID). To quote:

This offering follows on the heels of the Telecommunications Portfolio I offering made in August of 2017 via AQUA Licensing. The previous portfolio consisted of 4,260 patent families. To date, buyers have been identified for a significant portion of the initial offering.

The new Telecommunications Portfolio II offering comprises 557 patent families, developed by Alcatel-Lucent / Bell Labs, Nokia Technologies and Nokia Networks.

These patents can thus be used to go after AWS clients or Microsoft rivals in the device space. Not everyone can afford membership in AST or RPX or whatever new pools they keep setting up. To avoid the perception that IBM is going to attack GNU/Linux with patents, the Open Invention Network (OIN) was set up more than a decade ago. Never mind if IBM sells patents to trolls like Finjan and OIN, by its own admission, cannot do anything against trolls.

The latest OIN addition is Hitachi, as announced in this press release a few days ago.

Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, and Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE:6501) (Hitachi) announced today that Hitachi has joined as a community member. As an innovation partner for the IoT era through the advanced Social Innovation Business that leverage OT (operational technology) and IT, Hitachi is demonstrating its commitment to open source software as an enabler of innovation across a wide spectrum of industries.

“Hitachi was an early and enthusiastic supporter of open source. It helps businesses modernize their industrial applications with technologies that rely heavily on Linux and embedded Linux, like the Internet of Things (IoT),” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. “Given its substantial patent holdings, we are pleased that Hitachi has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its IP strategy.”

They (OIN) may sound Linux-friendly, but they don’t fight software patents. It’s like an IBM (amongst others’) instrument/tool/front group. Here is what Linux Journal wrote about this:

Hitachi has joined the Open Invention Network, “the largest patent non-aggression community in history”. According to Norihiro Suzuki, Vice President and Executive Officer, CTO of Hitachi, “Open source technology, especially Linux, drives innovation in areas that are critical to the customers that we serve, including technologies such as servers, storage, cloud, converged applications, big data and IoT. By joining Open Invention Network, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to open source technology, and supporting it with patent non-aggression in Linux.” See the press release for more information.

“Microsoft does not love Linux. In fact, Microsoft hates Linux. It just doesn’t want people to see it, so attacks on GNU/Linux typically come through consultancies such as Accenture and patent trolls like Finjan.”OIN will not be able to protect clients of Microsoft’s rivals (or Microsoft’s rivals themselves) when some troll like Finjan or MOSAID (now known as Conversant) runs after them, so it’s a pretty toothless defender. Generally speaking, we expect many more lawsuits like the above. As Microsoft rarely sues directly (anymore) we’re left to analyse the passage of patents, passage of staff (like in Acacia) and the overall strategy.

Microsoft does not love Linux. In fact, Microsoft hates Linux. It just doesn’t want people to see it, so attacks on GNU/Linux typically come through consultancies such as Accenture and patent trolls like Finjan.

Fake ‘Articles’, ‘Debates’ and ‘Webinars’ From Lobbyists Including IBM’s David Kappos, IPO and IPLAC

Posted in Deception, IBM, Patents at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: The Patent Microcosm is Setting Up a Huge Number of Anti-§ 101 Events in an Effort to Thwart Alice and Promote Software Patents

Money stack

Summary: Some of the familiar faces and groups turn up to lobby for patent maximalism, to bash PTAB and so on (serving their sponsors, who are patent bullies and patent law firms)

THE USPTO, which finds itself increasingly ‘supervised’ by PTAB (which affirms or overturns examiners’ decisions), is no longer granting patents as leniently as before.

Patent maximalists are therefore regrouping to “discuss the state of software and business method patent-eligibility in 2018″ in a new so-called ‘webinar’. We have seen many such ‘webinars’ lately. Many are about Alice and their goal is to nuke Alice. But it has not worked. Not yet anyway…

As it turns out, former USPTO Director David Kappos is basically still lobbying for patent maximalism. He writes papers in favour software patents while collecting money from oligarchs and large corporations such as IBM. This software patents lobbyist of IBM actually spent many years working exclusively for IBM and he now uses his USPTO connections in an effort to alter policy. He still lobbies; he has this new article, whose disclosure omits his lobbying activities. It says: “David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP; he previously served as Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where he led the passage and implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011. ”

What about his lobbying business? Funny how that’s just conveniently left out. On February 8th (yesterday) there was this “IPO Webinar–Early Reports and New Ideas on Exhaustion,” as one patent maximalist put it.The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), which is closely connected to IBM [1, 2], is a patent radicals’ front group, so this “webinar” promised to be pure lobbying. Patent Docs said the following about it: “The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) will offer a one-hour webinar entitled “Exhaustion Tamed? Early Reports and New Ideas after Lexmark” on February 8, 2018 from 2:00 to 3:00 pm (ET). Jorge Goldstein of Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, PLLC; Brian Kacedon of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP; and William Krovatin of Merck & Co Inc. will discuss strategies and recent court cases..”

Notice who’s there. The patent microcosm. As usual, they are attempting to dominate or monopolise every single ‘debate’. Some of them are Koch-funded. The Kochs have an interest in Oil States — a case to be decided later this year by the highest US court. Watch how IPLAC (patent maximalists in the north of the US) ‘debates’ this case (also yesterday). Stacked panel to ‘discuss’ a key case? You bet:

The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) Young Members Committee will be presenting a panel discussion entitled “There Will Be Blood (and Beer): A Brief Panel Discussion on Oil States Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC” on February 8, 2018 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm (CT) at the offices of Foley & Lardner in Chicago, IL. The panel will discuss Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC, including the proceedings before the Supreme Court, and offer commentary on the issue of whether inter partes review violates the Constitution by extinguishing private property rights through a non-Article III forum without a jury.

In our previous post we wrote about the UPC lobby doing similar things in Europe. They set up their own exclusive ‘events’ or ‘forums’ or whatever they want to label these; the real purpose is to mislead and lobby officials.


The Efforts to Work Around 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Why IBM is So Afraid of § 101

Posted in America, IBM, Law, Patents at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM’s actual business has been sent to China (notably Lenovo)

Lenovo notebook

Summary: § 101, which invalidates the lion’s share of software patents in the US, is still the subject of most Internet debates; that’s because restriction/limit on patent scope and almost nothing else really worries the patent microcosm

THE decline/demise of software patents is really hurting IBM because IBM invested/wasted a lot of its cash reserves on a pile of worthless software patents, which are basically worse than worthless. Those patents are bunk, more so after Alice.

We are not arguing that the USPTO stopped issuing software patents. It still issues them (it’s just harder), but courts typically reject these. Yesterday we saw this article titled “Materialise makes software that powers 3-D printing” in which it said that “Materialise now has 165 patents for its software, manufacturing and medical device products.”

How many of these allude just to software and are thus worthless? There’s also an attempt to characterise software patents using all sorts of buzzwords and hype. From the past week alone: “Now Trending in Patent Examination: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology”, “Filing figures suggest blockchain-related patents boom” and “Financial Services Companies Are Rushing to Patent Blockchain Solutions”. Disguising software patents as “blockchain” isn’t so novel a concept. The applicants or the law firms try to get examiners to say, “well… OK, I don’t get it, I’m not sure what that means, so I’ll grant a patent.”

Here’s one from the weekend: “FOSDEM 2018 blockchain devroom raises questions and discusses #Patents #Povery #Law #Energy #Diversity and #Inclusion aspects of blockchain technology.”

Well, blockchain is software, so forget about patents. Sure, these get granted, but as far as we’re aware, none have been tested in court (yet).

Then there’s the “AI” wave, which IBM keeps riding with publicity stunts like “Watson”. Nobody invented “AI” and its buzzword ‘branches’ (data-driven training/learning). The concepts are very old, but over time there’s more computing power at hand. The corporate media really ought to stop using the “AI” hype because it is being exploited for patent propaganda, such as this from today.

There’s a constant effort to work around Alice and patent software. Watchtroll, for instance, published this thing yesterday, claiming to have come up with new loopholes. It says that the USTPO “recently issued a bulletin explaining that on January 25th, a revised MPEP — Ninth edition (Revision 08.2017) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) was made available on the USPTO website.”

None of this really changes anything. They’re talking about semantics. So does Charles Bieneman, who days ago wrote that “CAPTCHA Patent Claims Survive Alice Challenge,” albeit only at a district court (i.e. the lowest possible level). To quote:

Patent claims directed to “generating a completely automated test to tell computers and humans apart” – i.e., improvements to what you’ve seen on the Internet as “CAPTCHA” – have survived a motion to dismiss alleging patent-ineligibility under 35 USC § 101 and the Alice abstract idea test. Confident Technologies, Inc. v. AXS Group LLC, No. 3-17-cv-02181 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 23, 2018).

If they want to seriously debate § 101, then they ought to look at higher courts, such as the Federal Circuit.

Regarding an IBM patent recently rejected under § 101, one troll friend wrote: “Its ]sic] Tuesday, so of course IBM has #patent application improperly rejected under §101 at PTAB, by ignoring 90% of language and boiling them down to simply claiming “logical parsing of information” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017008361-01-30-2018-1 …”

IBM has been losing a lot of software patents lately. PTAB invalidates them every week. “IBM is the only operating company that breaks the top-10,” Patently-O wrote the other day in “Firms with the Most Registered Patent Attorneys and Agents”. Well, IBM is operating less and less over time. Dan Gillmor recently called IBM “a company that basically invented patent trolling and employs platoons of patent lawyers,” having watched the company for decades.

From Patently-O:

According to these records, Finnegan has the most total practitioners while Knobbe has the most patent attorneys. IBM is the only operating company that breaks the top-10. The top 25 firms represent ~8% of all registered patent practitioners. The newest patent attorney on the list is Hallie Wimberley, a first-year associate at Reed Smith. My former firm (MBHB) is now up over 100.

Janice Mueller, writing in Twitter the other day, said: “Delicious irony that IBM now #6 on this list. They were one of the anti-software patent leaders in 1970s. Times do change.”

“IBM is now the biggest lobbyist for software [patents] everywhere,” I replied, “not just the US” (she agreed on that). IBM is like a troll almost. It’s not there yet, but it's already feeding trolls.

Can § 101 put an end to most of IBM’s aggression? We certainly hope so. § 101, based on this tweet, is still being used a lot by PTAB. Another § 101 tweet noted that it’s not § 101 but § 103 that did the trick: “Examiner’s Rejection of Philips Imaging Patent Application Claims under 101 Was Reversed by PTAB; 103 Rejection Affirmed: https://storage.googleapis.com/pbf-prod/pdfs/2018-01-23_13260533_175904.pdf …”

Charles Bieneman’s colleague, Kevin Hinman, wrote about 35 U.S.C. § 112. There’s also this new post regarding § 112 (“aspirational claiming”) and regarding Crane Security Technologies, Inc. et al v Rolling Optics AB § 287 got brought up in the Docket Navigator. There’s more than just § 101 at play; here’s § 287 as explained by Hunton & Williams LLP’s Daniel G. Vivarelli, Christopher J. Nichols and Suzanne P. Hosseini. This too falls under AIA:

The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) made various changes to the “marking statute” (35 U.S.C. § 287(a)) to permit virtual marking of patent numbers, effective for any lawsuit that was pending on or commenced after September 16, 2011. The purpose of marking an article is to provide constructive notice to the public that it is patented. More importantly, failure to mark an article can preclude the tolling of legal damages for patent infringement until effective notice is given. Ultimately, “[a patentee] is entitled to damages from the time when it either began marking its product in compliance with section 287(a) [i.e., providing constructive notice], or when it actually notified [the accused infringer] of its infringement, whichever [is] earlier.” Thus, in the event of a failure to mark, § 287(a) provides that “… no damages shall be recovered by a patentee in any action for infringement, except on proof that the infringer was notified of the infringement and continued to infringe thereafter, in which event damages may be recovered only for infringement occurring after such notice.”

Yesterday (or last night) Watchtroll also wrote about § 121: “The safe-harbor provision of 35 U.S.C § 121 is a defense against a double patenting rejection. If it applied, the ‘272 and ‘195 patents could not be used as prior art against the ’471 patent.”

On § 102 (AIA) Gregory Sephton and Anna Schoenfelder (Kramer Levin) wrote:

Over the last few decades, the United States has been incrementally harmonizing its patent law with the rest of the world. Those efforts continued with the signing of the America Invents Act (“AIA”) in 2011. For example, the AIA created a first inventor-to-file patent system, while all but eliminating the best mode requirement. One area where we have not moved as far towards harmonization with the passing of the AIA as some initially thought is patent invalidity based on an “on sale” bar.

What’s worth noting here is that the patent microcosm is typically focused on just one section, namely 101. This is what typically tackles abstract patents such as software patents. What does that obsession imply? They’re mostly concerned/infatuated with patent maximalism, more so than matters like “damages”. That says a lot about them.


How a Microsoft-Sponsored and IBM-Armed Patent Troll Is Used by Lobbyists of Software Patents

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 3:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Finjan started suing a lot of companies after Microsoft had paid it in 2005

Microsoft and Finjan

Summary: In an effort to make § 101 seem as though it’s tolerant towards software patents, patent law firms and front groups of trolls cherry-pick what they like in the largely-failed lawsuit against Blue Coat Systems

The relatively new euphemism, "public IP companies", is being promoted by patent trolls and their fronts (such as IAM). They keep looking for new identities. Finjan is one such troll — a troll which has been financially backed by Microsoft for a very long time and last year received more ammunition (from IBM [1, 2]).

Unfortunately, as we noted last week, the patent microcosm uses this troll in order to badmouth § 101 and promote software patents (we shall say more about that in the weekend). For example, a few days ago Dilworth IP’s Shin Hee Lee and Anthony D. Sabatelli published this article in which they wholeheartedly embraced a truly disgusting troll. The patent microcosm, i.e. people who profit from agony and litigation, wants to thwart the (near) ban on software patents and it found itself a ‘champion’:

On January 4th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office updated their webpage on subject matter eligibility with two new supplementary documents providing further guidance under 35 U.S.C. §101. The two new documents are useful summaries and references for practitioners and others having an interest in the area.


On January 10, 2018, the court decided Finjan, Inc. Blue Coat Systems, Inc., where upon de novo review it affirmed a district court finding that the underlying software-based subject matter was indeed patent eligible.

What they choose not to mention are the many patents which § 101 did, in fact, invalidate. They cherry-pick just the one thing that suits them. We predicted they would attempt this (as soon as the decision had been published). We first covered the outcome 13 days ago.

Hours ago IAM also did this puff piece for Finjan (not even remotely an effort at journalism). It starts with repetition of talking points from a press release:

Finjan has already recouped the $2 million it spent on acquiring a small package of patents from IBM last year as part of a deal which saw the cyber security business form a new subsidiary, Finjan Blue. The news emerged as the company announced its results for the fourth quarter and for 2017 as a whole, revealing a big jump in revenues to more than $50 million – including around $15 million in net income. It was, in short, a banner year for one of the small band of public IP companies (PIPCOs) that has thrived despite recent legal and regulatory headwinds in the US.


At the time of the announcement, Finjan CEO Phil Hartstein revealed that not only would the new subsidiary be looking to license the IP but that it was also interested in how the acquired patents might be able to support its product business, Finjan Mobile. “This deal augments our licensing business but also adds value to the product side,” Hartstein explained to this blog.

But on a recent call with analysts to discuss the latest results, Hartstein disclosed that such had been the licensing interest in the assets that the PIPCO had shifted its efforts “to existing licensing and settlement discussions in a positive way, with revenues allocated into Finjan Blue having already offset the current invested expense”.

The deal with IBM and licensing agreements that Hartstein and his team put in place last year with the likes of FireEye and Sophos reflect Finjan’s progress in monetising its IP, but, as with many PIPCOs, it has been far from all plain sailing. Most recently the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a large part of a $39 million damages award against Blue Coat had to be remanded back to district court. That was just the latest stage in what is proving to be an extremely convoluted litigation battle between the two companies.

What they describe as “convoluted litigation battle” alluding to “two companies” is actually one company and one troll, where the battle is fought in just one direction (Finjan has no products to actually sue over) and the courts mostly reject the troll’s claims. But don’t expect IAM et al to tell the full story. They don’t tell, they sell. They sell agenda; they’re funded by trolls.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts