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09.09.18

Renaming Patents on Algorithms to Make Them Look and Sound Less Abstract Than They Really Are

Posted in Deception, IBM, Patents at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Working around the law

David Kappos as lobbyist

Summary: How companies continue to receive software patents from the US patent office with substitution of words and an embrace of vague/broad buzzwords

THE EPO‘s gross misuse of trendy new buzzwords has been covered here many times before. But what about the US?

We are sadly seeing a lot of corporate front groups leaving the door open to software patenting; they just don’t say so explicitly. An example of this came less than a week ago from a patent maximalism site of ALM Media Properties, LLC. Ken Seddon, whose group is is like a wolf dressed up as a sheep, published an article titled “Why Would Big Tech Companies Give Away Free Patents? It’s a loaded headline/statement. There’s no such notion as “free patents”. Patents represent things which were taken away and unless these patents are invalidated, they’re not free. We generally cannot trust Seddon because when it comes to software patents, he’s not an opponent and might even be a proponent. Never mind if software patents are not compatible with Free software. Like OIN, these people advocate solutions that aren’t (except for proprietary software companies with loads of software patents of their own). “Though we live in a world where we’re trained to suspect anything that’s given away for free, there are valid and self-preserving reasons for tech companies to give away patents for free,” Seddon wrote. If they care about freedom or even zero cost (gratis), why did they apply for these patents in the first place? The truth of the matter is, they keep these patents under their own name. Terms and conditions may apply. Some companies like Red Hat claim to support Seddon’s group, but at the same time Red Hat is pursuing software patents of its own; what will happen if Red Hat gets sold this week? Those ‘free’ patents may suddenly become ammunition of an aggressive company like Oracle or — yet worse — sold to a patent troll.

The real solution and the only solution would be to eliminate these underlying software patents. Unfortunately, it has gotten harder to identify these because language has evolved to help dodge Section 101/Alice tests. Here’s a new article titled “Some Facts of High-Tech Patenting,” which says: “This study details the growth of patenting in software, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and related technologies in the twenty-first century, and the continuing dominance of inventors in large US, Japanese, and Korean companies. Researchers still need to understand the impact of such trends on social welfare more generally.”

Well, These are all software patents (call them “cloud” or “artificial intelligence” or “blockchain” of whatever). They’re hence invalid or bogus (to be invalidated in courts). Sometimes we find admissions of that. Robert Harrison (his description says he’s into “commercialisation focusing on matching intellectual property strategies with business success”) wrote a few days ago: “Interesting twist on #blockchain #patent with Alibaba filing so many. They are difficult to get granted in some countries and so advice is crucial to avoid wasting funds. https://twitter.com/news_mainstream/status/1037490757039480845 …”

“It’s about that fantasy that computers alone can manage patents, defeating the very purpose of a patent systen.”He mentioned “blockchain” in relation to Alibaba because about five days ago the company made the headlines. All of these are totally bogus software patents from Alibaba, IBM and Mastercard [1, 2, 3]. IBM has been hoarding many such patents (“blockchain” as a buzz-generating term for database). Lobbyist and IBM’s ‘mole’ David Kappos is meanwhile promoting software patents using this buzz as well. Here is an article titled “Recordals tipped to be one of blockchain’s main IP uses”. A few days ago it said:

Panellists including David Kappos at IP Week in Singapore agreed the most important IP use for blockchain will be to record registration in order to understand who owns patents and trade marks

This alludes to blockchain in relation to management of patent data rather than patents themselves, but still, we previously highlighted the overlap in this kind of propaganda. Janaína Simões (Brazil) published some piece last month (mentioned here last month) and it was still circulating in more sites last week (“Patent mining indicates promising routes for research”). It’s about that fantasy that computers alone can manage patents, defeating the very purpose of a patent systen.

Just before the weekend RPX Corporation wrote about a new legal action in the Eastern District of Texas. To name the many companies involved/sued:

Vindolor, LLC has expanded its sole litigation campaign with new suits filed against Disney Stores (2:18-cv-00375), NTW, LLC (d/b/a National Tire and Battery) (2:18-cv-00374), and Restoration Hardware (2:18-cv-00373) in the Eastern District of Texas. The asserted patent generally relates to using biometric authentication to create an “access code” based on a resulting identification profile, with defendants throughout the campaign targeted over their use of NFC-enabled point-of-sale terminals offering contactless payments. Vindolor alleges infringement through the accused terminals’ compatibility with various payment platforms, including “Microsoft Wallet, Wells Fargo Wallet, Masterpass, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and PayPal mobile” as used with a variety of Android, iOS, and/or Windows smartphones and related mobile apps.

The ‘ex’ Microsoft executive, Bart Eppenauer (Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.), wrote about another such lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas:

Two of the largest U.S. banks – Bank of America (“BofA”) and Wells Fargo – were sued for patent infringement by Wapp Tech Limited Partnership and Wapp Tech Corp. in the Eastern District of Texas in July 2018. The lawsuits allege infringement of three patents relating to mobile device application development and testing systems that simulate network characteristics indicative of mobile app performance. Just two weeks before the lawsuits against BofA and Wells Fargo, Wapp Tech sued both Micro Focus and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (“HPE”) on the same three patents. HPE and Micro Focus completed a spin-off and merger of HPE’s software business on September 1, 2017, valued at $8.8 billion. Wapp Tech now asserts that BofA and Wells Fargo infringe its patents by using testing systems of Micro Focus (formerly offered by HPE), including the Micro Focus LoadRunner load testing software and Micro Focus Performance Center. Wapp Tech accuses both Micro Focus and HPE of infringement for selling those products as well as the StormRunner Load cloud-based load and performance testing solution and Mobile Center mobile testing solution.

These are software patents, which is why the docket in the Eastern District of Texas was chosen. Why were such patents granted at all?

We’re meanwhile seeing new evidence that Google proudly hoards software patents which it calls “AI”. Google is just AI-washing software patents and so does Jim Hinton, who wrote: “The race to own #MachineLearning and #AI is on! US and CN way out in front.”

These are software patents i.e. invalid patents in the US (unlike in China). It is a race to the bottom, not to the front. And this cites IAM!

IAM has meanwhile published some new nonsense completely behind a paywall. It’s titled “How to build an effective IP strategy for AI.” (i.e. software patents that have no validity anymore).

We cannot quite rebut IAM because it’s hiding from scrutiny. Many patent propaganda sites (funded quite literally by patent trolls and law firms) are going ‘dark’ these days (inactive or barely active), more so after the summer. Sites gone ‘dark’ (completely paywalled except headlines) are closed to the outside world and limit their exposure. It’s quite self-defeating.

Anyway, here comes law firm Haseltine Lake, writing about software patents (bogus patents) disguised using buzzwords like “autonomous vehicles” (software). Based on their PDF newsletter, as covered by Managing IP with a partial paywall:

A newsletter published by Haseltine Lake reveals autonomous vehicle patent applications have soared since 2011, with Ford leading the way. It analyses applications and grants since 1999, filing jurisdictions, and the most active companies

A newsletter published recently by Haseltine Lake looks at patent filing data to extract information about trends in the area of autonomous vehicles.

Having worked in the field of autonomous vehicles, it’s pretty clear to me that they’re dealing with algorithms there. They call it “autonomous” or “smart” or “intelligence” or whatever, but it’s still just a bunch of algorithms, which are of course patent-ineligible. How about “business intelligence” patents? Days ago there was this press release about US Patent 10,025,837 B2 – “Systems and Methods for Intelligent Data Preparation and Visualization” and US Patent 9,727,836 B2 – “Systems and Methods for Generating Data Visualization Dashboards” (both sound like software). On optics/computer vision there was another new press release, this one celebrating US Patent 10,042,994 – “Validation of the Right to Access an Object,” US Patent 10,025,982 – “Collecting and Targeting Marketing Data and Information Based upon Iris Identification,” and US Patent 10,038,691 – “Authorization of a Financial Transaction” (software).

“Financial Transaction” means it’s related to business methods or the whole “blockchain” hype. We’ve grown used to but also tired of that. Why can’t examiners understand that algorithms are being painted as “objects” or “apparatus” just for the sake of bypassing Section 101? Judging by the numbers above, these are very newly-granted patents that were quite recently submitted (the numbers exceed 10 million). There’s no excuse for that after Alice.

09.07.18

IAM Media Engages in Trademark Violations While Trying to Misrepresent Free/Open Source Software in Relation to Software Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 4:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “I” in IAM stands for “Infringement” (apparently)

Summary: The site/group which is trying to lecture us all about “intellectual” “property” is itself failing to respect the relevant laws; to make matters worse, it’s liaising with groups of proprietary software vendors to mislead the public about the relationship between Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and patents, notably software patents

THIS post is about Battistelli’s friends at IAM, which habitually whitewashed EPO scandals and is generally promoting patent trolls’ interests. We’ll have a lot more to say about it this coming weekend.

This quick post is about something which happened earlier today.

The IAM account in Twitter said: “Can open source and patents coexist? That’s what experts from #OpenInventionNetwork, @Workday, @Uber and @RedHat will be discussing at Software IP on October 30 in San Francisco. Get your ticket here http://bit.ly/2QatL0l #SoftwareIP pic.twitter.com/OBUmBrBQqW”

Well, Red Hat is pursuing software patents but calls them "blockchains" amongst other thing; the rest of those in attendance are obviously misfits. Answering the question “Can open source and patents coexist,” of course they cannot, but OIN and the others want them to because they’re proprietary software companies and their front groups. They don’t care about Free software or freedom. They also perturb the meaning of Open Source to suit a primarily proprietary agenda.

IAM is a think tank of patent trolls, Microsoft’s patent trolls included. It also fronts for the patent microcosm, patent litigation ‘industry’ etc. They won’t allow people to use the “F word” (freedom). It didn’t take long for Simon Phipps (OSI President) to say: Interesting there’s no-one from OSI or FSF speaking.” He copies in the OSI and the FSF, the Free Software Foundation’s chief to be more specific or exact.

“By the way,” added an observer, “it got me thinking, isn’t this a case of trademark infringement of OSI’s Logo ? Doesn’t seem to fit those clear guidelines…”

That links to the OSI’s Web site.

Benjamin Henrion then joked that “the (R) has been removed at least.”

So now we know how IAM really feels about “intellectual” “property” (what it calls copyrights, trademarks and patents as though they’re all the same thing). Well, they have since then deleted this tweet, perhaps realising just how serious;y embarrassing this was; thankfully we made a copy and here is a copy of the image from their deleted tweet (the tweet’s text is quoted above):

IAM trademark

They make it seem as though “Open Source” is all giddy about patents. They did this before too. Why does the OSI even participate in anything with such a nefarious lobby group? That says a lot about OIN (nothing positive). We mentioned this before.

08.27.18

IBM Publicity Stunts Which Strive to Portray This Patent Bully as Generous, Playful and Fun

Posted in Deception, IBM, Patents at 12:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ignore IBM’s puff pieces about coffee and delivery drones; look for what these distract from

IBM logo on media

Summary: IBM seems to be trying to distract from its campaigns of patent blackmail, which mirror Microsoft’s patent strategy and are accompanied by heavy lobbying for software patents (those that IBM and Microsoft use for blackmail)

IBM’s USPTO-granted patents continue to be a laughing stock. Many of these are software patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) throws away a lot of them.

IBM’s patents are being challenged because behind the scenes IBM has been blackmailing a lot of companies; this sometimes culminates in IBM lawsuits. In fact, patent lawsuits from IBM are rather commonplace this year — to the point where a few days ago Mac Asay wrote about IBM in relation to its patent thuggery (while pretending to be a FOSS friend it’s lobbying for software patents and threatens FOSS companies). Asay suggests that IBM refrains from this blackmail and instead tries to create something. New examples of IBM’s blackmail campaign emerged only days ago:

Technology multinational IBM has taken a licence to a patent at the centre of a dispute with a San Diego-based provider of security solutions in the internet of things (IoT).

ZitoVault, which had brought a patent infringement lawsuit at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas), announced the settlement on Tuesday, August 21.

The San Diego-based company sued IBM back in April this year, accusing it of infringing US patent number 6,484,257, which covers ZitoVault’s CryptoSale software. The patent covers systems and methods that “provide a scaleable way to maintain a number of cryptographic sessions”.

Also see “ZitoVault Licenses CryptoScale™ Patent to IBM”; this was done by threats and pressure — the same thing Microsoft has been doing to FOSS for about a decade, e.g. shaking down Android/Linux OEMs.

“We’re guessing that IBM hired some PR agencies to help distract from patent news about its awful behaviour.”The above barely received any press attention however (certainly no mainstream press coverage). As a matter of fact, for almost a whole week (until the very end of last week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), the coffee-drone marketing stunt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] remained afloat; it’s akin to the Watson “AI” stunt and the BBC covered this PR not once but several times. Is IBM paying for this PR? We don’t want to bore readers with IBM’s PR, but they try to frame a patent of theirs as an invention that’s a gift to humanity and dozens of mainstream media publications played along. These are in fact software patents (i.e. fake/bogus patents) combined with something trivial like carrying a drink to a person. Why is the USPTO granting such patents and corporate media celebrating rather than ridiculing? We’re guessing that IBM hired some PR agencies to help distract from patent news about its awful behaviour. It is a form of googlebombing. They once tried it on me and it backfired spectacularly.

08.02.18

IBM’s Patent Aggression Celebrated by Law Firms, Condemned by Technical People

Posted in Deception, IBM, Law, Patents at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2016: IBM Comes Under Growing Scrutiny for Increasingly Acting Just Like a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs

Ginni Rometty

Summary: The predator which IBM has become under Ginni Rometty is rightly perceived as a dangerous parasite; sites of the litigation ‘industry’, however, treat IBM like some sort of champion, giving it speaking positions, media platforms and anything else it needs to espouse supposed virtues of software patents and shakedown with such patents (low-quality or bunk patents in large numbers)

THE decline of IBM led to a rush for patents. IBM has long dominated the USPTO ‘charts’, having pursued some of the most laughable patents (widely mocked by technical people on the Internet over the past 2 decades). Some of these patents were voided and let go of by IBM after they had caused a negative atmosphere (bad press).

But don’t think that IBM is being condemned by the “litigation community”; to them, IBM is some sort of “hero”, having “proven” that “monetisation” with “intellectual property” still “works”.

Ellie Mertens, a New York-based contributor to a patent maximalists’ site, wrote that “IBM’s win in its first patent suit to go to jury trial in 20 years may make efficient infringers think twice before rejecting licensing agreements, its lawyer John Desmarais says…”

“The ‘patent troll in chief’ is now being celebrated by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM.”So only amplifying IBM’s side of the story? As usual? “A jury awarded IBM $82.5 million in damages on July 27 for Groupon’s wilful infringement of four of IBM’s patents that relate to enabling e-commerce,” Mertens added. Did Mertens pursue Groupon too for a comment? It’s hard to tell because of the paywall. The Chicago Tribune wrote about this too (by Christopher Yasiejko), as did a lot of corporate media. We gave some examples of coverage when we mentioned the calls for an IBM boycott.

The ‘patent troll in chief’ is now being celebrated by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM. Days ago it wrote: “We are thrilled to have @IBM’s Cynthia Seal join us as a speaker for this year’s Patent Licensing (San Francisco, September 18). Get your ticket today to hear her discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of #PatentLicensing.”

Guess who covered the IBM aggression for IAM. It was patent extremist Richard Lloyd. This is what he said under the biased headline “IBM counsel hails big win against Groupon as another sign that the US patent pendulum is swinging back” (again amplifying the aggressors’ messages, never the defendants’). To quote:

The lead counsel representing IBM in its recently decided case against Groupon has characterised the company’s court victory on Friday in the dispute as a “shot in the arm for all licensors”. John Desmarais was speaking to IAM shortly after the verdict was handed down by the jury in the Delaware federal district court, which ruled that Groupon had willfully infringed on four e-commerce patents owned by the tech giant and ordered it to pay $82.5 million in damages.

Cynthia Seal and John Desmarais. These are the sorts of people whose side IAM is taking. Maybe IAM and IBM are similar not only in the acronym sense.

“Technical people aren’t so gullible, however, so they can see IBM for what it has really become.”As we noted before, the patents in question (those used against Groupon) are highly dubious. So are these patents, just mentioned the other day in a tweet which said: “Where #blockchain meets #drones: #IBM #patent US9875592B1: “The drone may perform an authentication procedure by scanning the person (or people) through visual, audio, biometric, or other means, and may send a signal to grant or deny access.””

That’s yet another software patent, but they ‘dress that up’ as “blockchain”.

Anyway, our main concern is that the media got stuffed by IBM, its lawyers, its front groups, and so-called ‘journalists’ who rather than study the underlying facts merely asked some law firms (patent maximalists) in order to relay the narrative IBM wants. Technical people aren’t so gullible, however, so they can see IBM for what it has really become.

07.29.18

Watchtroll Demonstrates Disdain and Scorn for Science and Technology; IBM is Happy to Cooperate

Posted in IBM, Patents at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watchtroll

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) tackles many low-quality patents and patent litigation has therefore gone down sharply; Watchtroll has resorted to derision of the system, reinforcing the widely-held belief that patent maximalists aren’t interested in science and technology but in trolling/litigation

THE patent extremists seem to be getting more extreme over time. Watchtroll is a good example of it because it nowadays attacks judges, puts “Shit” in its headlines and miraculously enough IBM the patent bully is still happy enough to associate with Watchtroll. That says a lot about IBM and how desperate it has become; it’s trying to warp itself into more of a “patent licensing” giant.

We don’t want to spend too much time talking about Watchtroll (like news channels that spend a lot of their time merely responding to or debunking Fox ‘News’), but for many patent extremists it is the ‘go-to’ site, so we cannot just altogether ignore it, either. We’ll just rebut ‘in bulk’.

“We don’t want to spend too much time talking about Watchtroll (like news channels that spend a lot of their time merely responding to or debunking Fox ‘News’)…”“Aveed®” (with the trademark included) was mentioned by Watchtroll two days ago in this article about the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and yesterday they returned to their obsession over China, even if that has nothing to do with patents. It’s just part of an alarmist strategy for altering laws, under the guise of “emergency”. We wrote many articles about this strategy before. Also yesterday we saw David Wanetick publishing a sob story in Watchtroll. “Inventors face disrespect, derision and hostility at every turn,” Watchtroll now says, conflating patents (of people who troll) with invention.

Alluding to the trade secrets litigation trend, Watchtrol’s Steve Brachmann mentioned it in passing and Jeremy Sherman together with Priyan Meewella then (on the same day) asserted that software disputes are over licensing rather than patenting. “Software licensing disputes are on the increase,” they said, “a trend that is being driven to a large degree by customers implementing new technologies without examining how this affects pre-existing agreements.”

Watchtroll did the usual moaning about patent obviousness and PTAB/CAFC bashing, knowing that PTAB isn’t going away and issuing yet more court-bashing (anti-CAFC) pieces would be counterproductive.

Ultimately, it’s sites like Watchtroll that attack the patent system (especially the court, i.e. justice), whereas we are the ones trying to maintain or restore its integrity, as per its original goals/purpose. We often wonder if Watchtroll realises how much damage it actively does to its supposed cause by reinforcing a ruinous stigma.

A Call to Boycott IBM Over Its Serial, Systematic Acts of Patent Aggression Using Dubious Patents in Large Quantities

Posted in IBM, Patents at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eyes Wide Open

Summary: Geeks are protesting against IBM’s aggressive patent policy, which is merely an effort to remain relevant by taxing companies whose offerings were all along better

TECHRIGHTS recently wrote about IBM's patent aggression and its progression to Groupon, which is the latest among many litigation or shakedown targets. This is what has happened to IBM in recent years; it’s a managerial malfunction — the decision to become a bully again (after a decade-long recess).

“IBM is a patent troll,” Benjamin Henrion wrote. “Boycott IBM,” he added. “Those IBM patents are so broad that they cover anything done on the web,” he noted, naming “5,796,967; 7,072,849; 5,961,601; and 7,631,346 https://www.casemine.com/judgement/us/5b21f31dbc833b0a886c5b53 …”

Christopher Yasiejko wrote about the latest development just before the weekend: (via Slashdot, which often criticises pertinent IBM patents)

A U.S. jury awarded International Business Machines Corp. $82.5 million after finding that Groupon Inc. infringed four of its e-commerce patents.

Friday’s verdict is a boon to IBM’s intellectual-property licensing business, which last year brought in $1.19 billion for the company, holder of more than 45,000 patents. Groupon fell 7.8 percent to $4.84 in New York trading.

IBM sued Groupon for $167 million, accusing it of building its online coupon business on the back of the IBM e-commerce inventions without permission. Midway through their first full day of deliberations in Wilmington, Delaware, jurors sided with IBM, finding that Groupon infringed the patents intentionally. The ruling means the judge can increase the damages award.

Over the years we’ve often taken a pro-IBM stance, but that totally changed a few years back when IBM became the leading lobbyist for software patents, a proponent of patent shakedown, and contributor to Watchtroll, which we’ll talk about in our next post.

07.26.18

Microsoft Patent Trolls and IBM Against 35 U.S.C. § 101 and for Software Patents, Blackmail

Posted in America, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 12:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They hardly even manage to keep it a secret any longer

Telling secrets

Summary: With the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 gaining traction and with Section 101 limiting the scope of patents in the United States we now see increased lobbying and trolling by companies on the decline — companies whose last remaining ‘asset’ is a large pile of software patents

THE enforcement of software patents has become very hard in the US. Many no longer bother with it, so litigation numbers dropped sharply. This is a positive development; unless or except for those who make a living from litigation (patent trolls, lawyers and so on).

“Copyrights do a good enough job protecting one’s code from misuse.”Our latest post on trade secrets certainly was a celebration of the shift away from patents, at least for software. Copyrights do a good enough job protecting one’s code from misuse. Here is some mainstream media coverage about this trend:

Trade secrets claims are an increasingly common avenue companies are using to safeguard their intellectual property rights.

Trade secrets litigation has grown as the digital age has made sharing information quick and easy. In addition, the Defend Trade Secrets Act, passed in 2016, raised trade secrets from simply a state law claim to a federal one.

“Intellectual property holders are increasingly aware they have this tool in their arsenal,” Michael W. De Vries, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg Law. De Vries has substantial experience representing clients in complex intellectual property disputes including patent litigation and litigation involving misappropriation of trade secrets.

We’ve already seen this law being used/leveraged in the context of software. One famous case concerns Sergey Aleynikov.

“Call these “AI” or “cloud” or “blockchain” or whatever, but these are still software patents and even holders of such patents know they’d be rendered invalid by courts (if brought into the context of litigation).”In the wake of Section 101 with Alice (SCOTUS) embodied in it we’re seeing a fall in success rates of software patent litigation. Call these “AI” or “cloud” or “blockchain” or whatever, but these are still software patents and even holders of such patents know they’d be rendered invalid by courts (if brought into the context of litigation). Here comes Stephen O’Neal (yesterday in a blockchain-oriented/cryptocurrency-centric site) ‘blockchain-washing’ a bunch of software patents. To quote:

Last week, news of at least three major players applying for blockchain-related patents emerged: Bank of America sought to legally protect its blockchain-based system allowing the external validation of data, Barclays filed two patent applications relating to the transfer of digital currency and blockchain data storage, while MasterCard’s application mentioned a form of a public blockchain-based method for linking assets between blockchain and fiat accounts.

As blockchain technology continues to be one of the most discussed things in 2018 and a subject for mass adoption, the number of crypto-related patents is steadily growing — and with patent trolls joining the game, a legal war over blockchain might occur in the future.

There are indeed “patent trolls joining the game,” but they too must know that those are software patents and therefore Alice is a threat to them. If they target (engage in extortion against) small companies, they will likely be able to avoid a legal battle. Other than that, they can hope and pray that Alice will just miraculously vanish. IBM lobbyists together with IPO have been working towards that for years; they have created a whole “task force” for this purpose, accompanying IBM’s massive war of patent aggression. IBM’s latest case of patent blackmail has been going public (due to a lawsuit). They do this to probably hundreds of firms behind closed doors and Bloomberg did a report about it last week, as did many other press outlets. Last week we saw IBM’s patent chief (Manny Schecter) associating with and contributing to Watchtroll again. Citing Watchtroll about Mayo/Section 101, he said: “The Court in Alice did not state what “something more” might be? Of course they didn’t. The Court declined to define “abstract” so how can one know what is significantly more than something as yet unidentified?”

“Algorithms are abstract,” I told him. Software patents “are therefore over [and IBM] needs to learn to deal with it and stop blackmailing the whole world.”

“It’s worth noting that both IBM and Microsoft not only attempt to leverage software patents for extortion; they also attempt to change the law to facilitate this massive (multi-billion) extortion racket.”As we noted here in the recent and distant past, Microsoft now pretends that it “loves Linux”, so Microsoft has ‘outsourced’ patent litigation against GNU/Linux to various patent trolls.

We’ve just noticed that there’s this Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101) case between Interval Licensing LLC and AOL (maybe the same “Interval” as Interval Research Corporation, the creation of Microsoft’s co-founder; according to Wikipedia they overlap). It’s a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case which Patent Docs covered earlier this week:

Interval Licensing brought an action against AOL and several other defendants in the Western District of Washington, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,034,652. In a previous ruling, all asserted claims of this patent were invalidated as being indefinite. At issue in this decision are claims 15-18, which were subsequently ruled invalid for failing to recite patent-eligibile subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

[...]

Applying step one of Alice, the Court quickly concluded that the claimed invention was directed to “providing information to a person without interfering with the person’s primary activity.” This, in and of itself, is an abstract idea according to the Court due to it being analogous to news tickers on television programs, for example. The Court also frowned upon the claim’s “broad, result-oriented” structure that “demands the production of a desired result (non-interfering display of two information sets) without any limitation on how to produce that result.”

So Alice stopped this Microsoft-connected troll, which previously also attacked Android. It’s worth noting that both IBM and Microsoft not only attempt to leverage software patents for extortion; they also attempt to change the law to facilitate this massive (multi-billion) extortion racket.

07.17.18

Software Patents Royalty (Tax) Campaign by IBM, a Serial Patent Bully, and the EPO’s Participation in All This

Posted in America, Europe, IBM, Patents at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO continues to advocate software patents, even at the USPTO (post-Alice)

A typefiend

Summary: The agenda of US-based patent maximalists, including patent trolls and notorious bullies from the United States, is still being served by the ‘European’ Patent Office, which has already outsourced some of its work (e.g. translations, PR, surveillance) to the US

THE EPO has not changed under António Campinos. Only the face changed, not even the nationality. We generally try not to mix posts about the US with posts about Europe, but this one will be the exception because the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on).

“…the EPO is going to the US again, as Battistelli used to do quite a lot (even hiring US-based PR firms, contracting US academics for preparation of his propaganda, setting up UPC propaganda events over there and so on).”For those who don’t know, the patent maximalists in the US have been hyping up some case known as Berkheimer, which we have written over a dozen articles about. In a nutshell, it’s some old (almost half a year) Federal Circuit case that spoke about fact-finding or weight of evidence considered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) when dealing with inter partes reviews (IPRs). As we explained right from the very start (publication of this decision), nothing but spin came out of it, courtesy of law firms with a selfish agenda. Yesterday even a European firm, Marks & Clerk (promoting software patents as usual) ‘pulled a Berkheimer‘ even though the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) pretty much said no to software patents. Remember that Marks & Clerk also supported policies of corrupt Battistelli and lobbied pretty hard for the UPC (it still does this). An article by Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson (Trainee Patent Attorney at Marks & Clerk) was published yesterday in Mondaq to say:

In summary, an examiner at the USPTO is now obliged to factually prove that any “additional features” of a claim are well-understood, routine, and conventional in order to support an “abstract idea” rejection. Hence, if a claim is novel and inventive, it should now be easier to show that it is also patent eligible (i.e. that it relates to patentable subject-matter).

It is widely acknowledged that the patenting of software-related inventions became more difficult in the US following the decision in 2014 of the US Supreme Court in decision known as “Alice” (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International).

It is still very difficult and several months down the line we know that Berkheimer has not changed anything concrete. It’s barely even mentioned as a precedent; Berkheimer is just some “appeal to authority,” routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software. Sadly, we’re seeing the ‘new’ EPO (of the new President) still doing what Battistelli used to do, basically aligning itself with the above liars. The EPO now works with software patents lobbyists like the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) on an event in the US — an event in which to promote software patents.

“…Berkheimer is just some “appeal to authority,” routinely used by law firms to lie to the public, urging firms to still pursue patent applications (or lawsuits) on software.”Hours ago the EPO wrote: “You can now register for the EPO’s Automotive and Mobility Seminar in Chicago, Illinois, on 26-27 September.”

Yes, the EPO goes to Chicago to speak about “automotive innovations on CII and AI,” two buzzwords that basically mean software patents. Here it is in the EPO’s own words: (warning: epo.org link)

In plenary sessions you will learn about the latest developments at the EPO in areas including quality, timeliness and search. Patentability issues will be a key focus, particularly those arising from the increasing reliance of mobility and automotive innovations on CII and AI, as well as common difficulties for US applicants. Expert advice and hands-on claim drafting exercises will enable you to save time and money and increase first-time drafting success.

This high-level event is organised in close co-operation with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

Got that? IPO and EPO work together now. For those who don’t know or don’t remember, IBM uses IPO to lobby against Alice (i.e. against the highest US court) while engaging in patent blackmail against many companies. Now there’s this new example of IBM’s blackmail campaign:

IBM is seeking $167m in compensation from Groupon, the e-commerce marketplace, over the alleged use of patented technology without authorisation.

The case is being heard at a federal court in Delaware where the jury is being asked to consider whether they agree with IBM’s contention that Groupon had employed IBM’s e-commerce technology without paying a license fee.

IBM contends that firms such as Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet are all said to make use of the same software, paying between $20 and $50m each for the right to do so but Groupon has challenged this analysis, arguing that the computer manufacturer is overreaching the scope of its patents.

This was covered in many other news sites today, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The real face of IBM isn’t what many are led to believe.

“The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it’s happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office.”The reason PTAB receives many IPRs against IBM patents is that IBM does much of the blackmail behind closed doors, as does Microsoft. They rely mostly on software patents, which are bunk. PTAB almost always invalidates these. All software patents should be voided after Alice, but they can only do this one patent at a time, based on a detailed (re)assessment.

The bottom line is, the EPO now works with a front group that works closely with IBM for software patenting. It is generally not a good sign and it’s happening weeks after Campinos took over the Office.

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