Those who have mastered monopolisation, not sharing, cannot be expected to behave as trusted partners
Part of the duopoly (with Visa)
Summary: Free/Open Source software in the currency and trading world promised to emancipate us from the yoke of banking conglomerates, but a gold rush for software patents threatens to jeopardise any meaningful change or progress
ANY company that built its presence/niche/empire on proprietary software sooner or later finds out that it is not sufficient in the face of competition that is based on sharing. Proprietary software is unable to compete with Free/Open Source software. Apple’s patent war on Android (Linux and Open Source), for example, is not new. We used to write a lot about it when it started (Apple v HTC) and Apple is gradually losing more and more of its battles (the higher up they do, the lesser the success rate, as the latest Supreme Court decision served to show — a decision to be discussed tomorrow). Even so-called ‘friends’ of GNU/Linux, Amazon for instance, are pursuing loads of software patents that are occasionally being used.
At the end of last year we gave new examples of software patents being used against Free/Open Source software in finance — the very topic which got this site started in the first place. Worrying about the same type of issues (the attack on Bitcoin/Blockchain [1, 2, 3]), yet another site wrote about it just before the year ended. To quote:
Creating a ‘Blockchain Industry:’ Patenting the Blockchain
Patent filings for blockchain technology have more than tripled since 2014; this spike includes patents filed by cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase, payment processors like Mastercard, and banks like Goldman Sachs and the Bank of America.
According to a report conducted by law firm Reed Smith, the most popular areas for these patent applications are payment systems: both for traditional forms of money and for systems that will be used to trade cryptocurrencies or digital tokens. Mastercard, by way of example, recently filed four blockchain patents for separate steps along authenticating a transaction on the blockchain.
Given the behaviour of IBM as of late and its ambitions in this space (not to mention clients such as Goldman Sachs), it wouldn’t shock us if Big Blue too became not just a participant in the patent gold rush but also a serial patent bully (recall TurboHercules v IBM). This isn’t a wish but a growing concern; all that patent hoarding, as noted in a variety of Bitcoin-themed news site, will likely culminate in some legal wars and out-of-court settlements, leaving the same old oligopolies in tact. That’s just protectionism, not innovation. These patents are not trophies to them; they intend to use them one way or another (they’ll probably claim “defensively”). █
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They even organise events to push their agenda
Summary: The latest facts and figures about software patents, compared to the spinmeisters’ creed which they profit from (because they are in the litigation business)
atest [Section] 101 Statistics Show Improved Validity Prospects at Dist. Cts, Not CAFC or PTAB,” said a patent attorney the other day, reinforcing our response to Mullin's article (titled “These three 2016 [CAFC] cases gave new life to software patents”). The reality in the US right now is undeniably bad for software patents, which are being chopped at PTAB’s block and CAFC’s block. Patent maximalists are trying to pretend otherwise and we repeatedly rebut their arguments, only to see these arguments resurfacing over and over again, courtesy of the usual suspects. If the lies are repeated often enough, then maybe prospective applicants (or clients in need of legal representation) will actually believe them.
“The reality in the US right now is undeniably bad for software patents, which are being chopped at PTAB’s block and CAFC’s block.”The other day we saw this new article titled “Assessing USPTO’s Memo On Software Claim Patent Eligibility”; we keep wondering if USPTO officials will become as rational and realistic as US courts. Right now they just strive to rubberstamp whatever they can and those who pay the price for it are both plaintiffs and defendants; only patent law firms profit from it.
“This method of presentation involves storing and processing applications or parts of applications at a user’s local personal computer rather than at a remote server.”
–PatentDocsAs a side note — although an important note nonetheless — we can’t help but notice that IBM keeps trying to corrupt the system though its former Director, who had worked for IBM beforehand. IBM definitely used to be a (GNU/)Linux friend. Now it’s just an Apple promoter/pusher and a malicious patent aggressor. Yes, IBM has been rather busy going after small companies using software patents. Some of these companies, seeing what a menace IBM is becoming, belatedly turn to PTAB in an effort to invalidate these patents of IBM. Here is one report about IBM’s software patent that will quite likely be invalidated: “The ’967 patent relates to a method for presenting applications in an interactive service featuring steps for generating screen displays of the service applications at the reception systems of the respective users. This method of presentation involves storing and processing applications or parts of applications at a user’s local personal computer rather than at a remote server. This helps avoid possible server bandwidth issues that can be caused by the server being required to serve too much data to multiple users simultaneously. The ’967 patent lists many applications that can take advantage of this method of presentation, including games, news, weather, movie reviews, banking, investments, home shopping, messaging, and advertising.”
This is pretty trivial. It’s akin to caching.
Now watch what David Kappos is cited as saying again. “US is losing the innovation war,” he is quoted by IBM as saying, “to China” (where IBM finds buyers for its failing business units, notably Lenovo).
“Kappos is a paid lobbyist,” Benjamin Henrion noted, “working for patent trolls such as Microsoft or IBM.”
“IBM’s Schecter would know,” I replied, as “he’s IBM’s patent chief ^_^ so [he] has the ‘receipts’…”
What we have here is IBM citing as ‘proof’ a former IBM staff who is now an IBM-funded lobbyist for software patents. Look how dirty (as in dirty play) these people are…
And as if the greater the number of patents, the better… who would be foolish enough to actually believe this?!
“China pushing for software patents,” Henrion noted in relation to another Schecter tweet, “apparatus claims relating to software can contain both hardware and “program” components…” (links to “China Files A Million Patents In A Year, As Government Plans To Increase Patentability Of Software”)
“Kappos is a paid lobbyist working for patent trolls such as Microsoft or IBM…”
–Benjamin HenrionChina is their new bogeyman. One of these people added: “But USA keeps working on UN-patentability of software. What’s wrong with this picture?”
Nothing is wrong with this picture. It’s a good decision. End software patents, end patent trolls.
“China is plain wrong on this,” Henrion wrote, separately noting (to Marietje Schaake regarding software patents in Europe) that it’s “like the unitary patent lie that it won’t affect software development.”
On a final note, worth seeing is this rant from Watchtroll and 'gang' about end of software patenting (or demise thereof). “Stepping Back from the Cliff: The Year Congress Didn’t Cave to the Anti-Patent Lobby” says the title. They’re currently taking stock of a terrible year for them [1, 2] — a year which saw the demise of patent trolls. Watchtroll continues to attack PTAB for doing its job and we can’t help wondering why IBM’s Schecter treats this like some kind of ambassador for his cause. Does IBM really want to be so closely associated with Watchtroll, who even resorts to attacking judges?
For a more balanced summary of recent events, see “Year in Review: The Top-Five Legal Developments of 2016″ (posted days ago). It has a section about software patents.
“…anti patent trolling would be better, even if trolling is considered pejorative.”
–Benjamin HenrionThose who are against software patents, notably people who actually write software, are not “anti-patent” as Watchtroll tries to put it. In fact, as Henrion put it, “anti-patent is a gross and blunt exaggeration here. […] anti patent trolling would be better, even if trolling is considered pejorative.”
Patent trolls, in the majority of cases, rely on software patents. Take the latter away to get rid of the former. █
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Steering policy in exchange for money, having acquired contacts and connections
Source: David Kappos interview with Intellectual Property Magazine (2010), modified by us
Summary: IBM, David Kappos, Watchtroll and the rest of this software patents bunch as seen in the news and in forums this past week and half (policy-shaping echo chambers disguised as debates or “roundtables”)
THE FORMER Director of the USPTO, David Kappos, came from IBM, one of the biggest patent bullies out there and also a worldwide lobbyist for software patents. It’s therefore hardly surprising that after his career at the USPTO Kappos continues to promote all the worst aspects of a patent system. A lot of the current mess, including the very low success rate of patent lawsuits, can be attributed to this fool. How did he even get this job? Maybe some connections in high places and pressure on Obama or something…
“A lot of the current mess, including the very low success rate of patent lawsuits, can be attributed to this fool.”Three years ago we said that the USPTO's software patents "roundtable" was rigged and last week we saw a similarly-rigged USPTO "roundtable" where no software developers were even present. It hardly ever gets any more farcical than this.
A few days ago we wrote about other new lobbying events that try to compel Congress to change the law in favour of software patents, in accordance with patent maximalists' Christmas wish list. The so-called IPWatchdog conference (we call it “Watchtroll”) was truly a disgrace because again it’s a case of patent law firms speaking about — not for — inventors. These firms want to gain at inventors’ expense. Remember that Watchtroll is to patent news what Brietbart is to world news; its founder is a blowhard who habitually insults judges and smears PTAB with sexual connotations. Watchtroll tries to meddle in patent law by truly despicable strategies and for self gain, not for scholarly purposes or anything like that.
Patent maximalists like Kappos, as it turns out based on his new article at Watchdog, support this kind of horrible Watchtroll think tank. In Kappos’ own words:
Recent changes to the U.S. patent system — emanating from both Congress and the courts — have pushed U.S. investment money overseas. To China, to be exact.
In his closing remarks to a recent Inventing America and IPWatchdog conference on dangers to the innovation economy, former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director David Kappos said that in 2015, patent filings in China exceeded those of the next 20 countries.
What’s noteworthy about this article is that here we have an IBM-funded former USPTO Director (now lobbyist for IBM) promoting software patents and then getting promoted by IBM’s patent chief, Manny Schecter. To quote the alarmist, “Kappos: investments moving overseas in response to state of U.S. #patent law” (untrue).
We wonder when IBM will realise that it’s a bad idea to pay a former USPTO official (who had worked for IBM beforehand) to be a software patents lobbyist. Institutional corruption is definitely what this is; that’s a textbook example of it. Now that he is out of his lucrative job he converts influence and connections into money, on behalf of billionaires. It’s a bit like revolving doors, except there is no direct affiliation (he operates via a proxy).
“If former officials are up for sale and they are meddling in the affairs of the Office, then it’s a classic case of “pay to play” and unless we call out the culprits they will continue uninterrupted.”As Benjamin Henrion put it, “this is propaganda at best.”
Well, Schecter and IBM ought to know this because they are the ones who paid for this propaganda. They are still paying Kappos.
“Kappos is a lobbyist who needs lessons in basic economy,” Henrion continued. “R&D done in China, good sold in the US” (indeed and moreover China is fast becoming a den of patent trolling).
The US patent system still suffers from a high level of corruption due to this man. If former officials are up for sale and they are meddling in the affairs of the Office, then it’s a classic case of “pay to play” and unless we call out the culprits they will continue uninterrupted. █
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Summary: An outline of one week’s news regarding software patents in the United States, with special emphasis placed on key foes and allies of GNU/Linux
The Lobby for Software Patents
THE USPTO can no longer grant software patents as routinely as it used to and some people are upset about it. These people, however, do not develop software.
“Sen Chris Coons,” according to this tweet, says that “Eroding patent protections for software and medical advances imperils American R&D, learning, health, and innovation,” but this coming from guy who never wrote a single line of code in his entire life does not mean much. Maybe he’s just funded by some large company that is pursuing software patents (like IBM and Microsoft). Moreover, with Watchtroll branding on the podium (see the photo), we assume that Chris Coons came there to serve patent maximalists, who have grown quite loud recently. Benjamin Henrion responded by saying that “software patents shifts R&D budgets to P&L.” (patents and litigation)
We are troubled to see the voices of the patent microcosm growing even louder in the wake of Trump’s election win. They want change and they want this change to harm software developers so that they can profit from (or tax) actual producers. IBM, we might add, is a growing part of the problem. Does IBM even realise to what degree it alienates the Free software development community by advocating software patents all the time? Does IBM truly realise that it aligns itself with patent extremists that insult judges and push for software patents based on self-serving lies? Does it care? Does IBM realise that by paying the former Director of the USPTO it participates in institutional corruption? And again, does it care? By lobbying to annul the Supreme Court’s decision and elevate less than a handful of Appeals Court (CAFC) decisions these people reveal their true face and selfish interests, which happen to harm every software developer around the world. It harms developers of both proprietary and Free/Open Source software.
CAFC on Software Patenting
Speaking of the Appeals Court, also published (albeit behind paywall) is this article titled “Appeals Court Casts Doubts on Smartflash’s Patent Win Over Apple” (we mentioned this before). “Two judges signaled the patents claim ineligible subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act,” says the summary. This article is mirrored here (also behind paywall). Section 101 certainly gets taken into account by CAFC, but patent law firms like Finnegan continue pushing the envelop on lies that software patents still have teeth in the US. It’s that usual cherry-picking of CAFC cases. Baker Botts LLP has just done the same thing. Don’t fall for it. In the vast majority of cases, including in 2016, CAFC rules against software patents and Section 101 remains very strong an argument against software patents. Watch this new docket report that says:
The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity on the ground that plaintiffs’ call center telecommunications patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter because the motion obscured patents’ complexity with reductionist simplicity.
The recurring theme here was covered in almost a hundred Techrights articles. It definitely seems as though software patents aren’t coming back any time soon (if ever), but the patent microcosm sure is trying to accomplish that.
IBM and Conservative Think Tanks
Adam Mossoff, who works for a Conservative think tank and has a history of rather aggressive patent views (we covered these in [1, 2, 3]), is trying to shame Congress into pushing for reinstatement of software patents, based on misinformation. “Today,” he summarised it, “Congress should save software again by expressly confirming that it is a patentable technological invention.”
If anything, software patents caused a lot of damage. But then again, judging by Mossoff’s paymaster, reliance on facts is almost a sin. Look where they stand on issues such as climate change.
“But this essential technology in our modern innovation economy is at risk,” Henrion quotes him as saying, responding with “yeah copyright replaced by patent trolls…”
Another person responded with “and look at the Patent Troll mess Software Patents has left us in…”
Exactly. Mossoff, as we pointed out here in the past, became a voice of patent trolls and the patent microcosm. He’s not a software developer and he merely ‘hijacks’ the voice of those who are with a nonsensical headline like “Congress Saved Software in 1980, and It Should Do It Again Today” (in a neo-Conservative Web site, of course).
This article seems to be one among several. The patent microcosm wants software patents back, unlike actual developers. Watchtroll is pressuring Congress on this subject also, most recently with yesterday’s headline (yes, a Sunday!) “Congress Can Save Software Patents by Repeating One of Its Successes”.
It’s just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo urging Congress to reinstate software patents and some of this mumbo-jumbo is promoted by IBM’s patent chief. Patent trolls proponents like Adam Mossoff are intentionally conflating software with software patents (one destroys the other) and then some IBM lawyers deems it cite-worthy? How stupid does IBM want to look here? It’s only going to harm the company’s relations with developers.
Google Against Software Patents, Unlike Microsoft
Contrast this with the following new article from Allen Lo, who is deputy general counsel for patents at Google. He published “Protecting Alice protects patent quality and technological innovation” and said in it:
The goal of the patent system, as set forth in the Constitution, is to promote the progress of the “useful arts,” which has always been understood to mean technological progress. Here at Google, we are proud of the many ground-breaking software inventions by our engineers that have allowed us to file a growing number of high-quality patents and establish a strong and valuable portfolio.
While Google and many other tech companies invest many billions of dollars in research and development (R&D) to make these inventions – and these patents – possible, not all software patents issued by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are of high quality. A series of roundtables recently convened by the PTO in Alexandria, Va.; Stanford University; and other locations around the country explored one of the most important tools for improving the quality of software patents and ensuring that only worthy patents are approved.
That tool arises from the unanimous 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, which established that software patent claims that recite a financial arrangement or broadly describe a function performed “on a computer” or “on the internet” are not eligible to be patented. Before Alice, applicants were obtaining patents from the PTO that were not based on any technical contribution or innovation, often not even providing an explanation of how they expected to achieve a result beyond stating that it would be done “on a computer.” Case law and PTO practices had swung too far toward allowing these low-quality claims to remain unchallenged, and a course correction was needed.
So we’ve covered IBM, Google, and what about Microsoft? Well, Microsoft is in the same boat as IBM when it comes to software patents and its patents have just survived CAFC’s scrutiny, based on this new report that says:
Microsoft has survived an appeal against a lower court decision that it didn’t infringe patents belonging to Impulse Technology.
Yesterday, December 8, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the ruling of the US District Court for the District of Delaware, granting Microsoft’s motion for summary judgment.
In 2011, Impulse sued Microsoft, alleging infringement of 15 claims of the asserted patents: US patent numbers 6,308,565; 6,430,997; 6,765,726; 6,876,496; 7,359,121; and 7,791,808.
Inverting the Narrative
Truth be said, large companies don’t mind the patent mess because they can afford to pay the legal fees and this whole mess harms small companies the most. Here is a 15-page PDF of a paper by Professor Lemley et al in which it’s said (by Patently-O) that “patent litigation outcomes vary according to the identity of the patentee” or to quote Patently-O‘s summary: “The sales market for patent rights continues to vex analysts – especially in terms of valuation. In their Patently-O Patent Law Journal article, Professor Mark Lemley teams up with the Richardson Oliver Group to provide some amount of further guidance.”
It’s no secret that there is gross discrimination in patent systems, even in the EPO.
Part of the patent microcosm, or pushers for software patents (Bilski Blog), chose to distort the narrative of software patents (for large businesses, in bulk) and instead went with this narrative which would have us read about the “little guys”:
From the beginning my application was rejected, and continues to be rejected, under Section 101, even though we have recently overcome all of the prior art rejections. As a result, I have become something of an accidental student of patent eligibility and as such was very interested in attending the USPTO’s Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Roundtable I on November 14, 2016. Prior to the roundtable, I had assumed that my application was something of an outlier, that there was something wrong with it and that was why it had been rejected. At the roundtable I learned that “it’s not me, it’s you” applies not just to exes but to the patent system as well.
The few speakers at the roundtable who did advocate on behalf of us “little guys” often mentioned how the “direct costs” negatively impacted micro-entities, focusing on the need for examiners to avoid using “blanket statements,” to be specific in their responses, and carefully ensure the law is being properly interpreted and applied on a case by case basis. As a solo entrepreneur, I couldn’t agree more with the need to “get it right the first time,” as this would substantially reduce direct costs for us. My impression is that the examiner’s first instinct is often to reject without any substantive reason, hoping we’ll simply abandon the process altogether, or better yet, pay the ever increasing, exorbitant fees (for me) involved in requests for continued examinations and the appeals process.
This thing which the USPTO called “roundtable” was just an echo chamber. See our article about it and then see this article from Scott Graham of The Recorder (behind paywall). To quote the outline: “A discussion Monday at Stanford University was an opportunity for big tech companies, entrepreneurs, bar associations and academics to hash out the impact of ‘Alice’ and other developments in patent eligibilty.”
This was cited by IBM’s Manny Schecter (IBM is still dissatisfied because there is no software patents certainty and IBM attacks small companies using software patents). There was “no software developer around the table,” Henrion told IBM’s Manny Schecter, “how broken is that?”
Well, this whole “roundtable” was nonsense, or an exercise in fake transparency, giving the illusion of public participation in decision-making while excluding the main stakeholders (who actually produce something).
“If you write code,” I told Manny in relation to this tweet of his, “maybe you’ll understand it’s mumbo-jumbo buzzwords” (he wrote “Abstract? Technological? Concrete? Practical application? Exactly. From #patent perspective these simply cannot be defined precisely.”)
Henrion added, “Tangible?”
All those silly words are so often used by non-developers who try to convince us developers that software patents are desirable.
The Trolls’ Lobby
Witness how Watchtroll’s site wants to crush patent reform and harm actual producers of software etc. The title says “Advice for the Trump Administration and New Congress: Protect Bayh-Dole and Restore the Patent System” and it’s more like the above pattern of lobbying, which we are seeing more of these days.
Not too long ago Watchtroll called reformers “Patent infringer lobby”, leading people in the patent microcosm to saying stuff like: “Patent infringer lobby pushes Trump to aggressively pursue “patent reform” https://lnkd.in/fasm8pZ Time to call out deliberate infringers.”
Well, time to call out Watchtroll who didn’t write any code, doesn’t know how programs work, yet lobbies for software patents.
“Nice bullshit spin on the issue,” wrote a technical person (Raphaël Jacquot) about the above. Henrion wrote, “restore software patents and patent trolling.”
Good for the patent microcosm after all, and we know at whose expense…
Speaking of trolls, Blumberg who used to work for for the world’s largest patent troll, Microsoft’s patent troll that’s connected to Ray Niro (who is now dead), is quoted by IAM as saying: “In our view, Germany is the new Eastern District of Texas. That’s the venue that gives us the most concern.”
Blumberg is now working in Lenovo, which is believed to have colluded with Microsoft to block GNU/Linux (they denied this after actually admitting this).
Concerns about Germany becoming another/new Eastern District of Texas are real because of the UPC ambitions, which will thankfully never reach London. Alexander Esslinger (a.k.a. Patently German) wrote about the above quote: “Really ? At least of owners of SEP’s it is not so easy to get an injunction in Germany based on interpretation of ECJ Huawei-ZTE…”
“Is that a bad thing,” I asked him. He later responded to that, but one must remember whose side he is on. He’s not interested in a sane patent system but a system from which he profits more. Like Bastian Best, who spreads misinformation (biased by omission; fails to mention those ~80% of CAFC cases that send software patents down the sewer), he wants more patent litigation in Germany so that he can profit from that. IAM is on the same side as them and it’s eager for everyone to celebrate patent trolling that’s coming from the Far East. Here is the latest example of that: “Barely a week after KAIST sued several major tech companies in what appeared to be the first ever patent infringement action initiated by an Asian university in the United States, another Korean educational institution has launched its own assertion campaign in the Northern Districty of California.”
Remember that these are non-producing entities that are funded by public money.
Citing Microsoft and its massive patent troll (Intellectual Ventures), IAM also pretends that lowering patent quality is a good thing:
Perhaps the most striking thing was how quickly some of China’s major tech companies have become sophisticated IP players. Xiaomi’s progress in particular has been remarkable and with former IV IP executive Paul Lin on board, the company has one of the most experienced operators in the local monetisation market.
Xiaomi’s deal with Microsoft, announced in May this year, was in the spotlight on day 1 as Lin joined the software giant’s Micky Minhas to dissect one of the leading IP-driven transactions of 2016. As part of that agreement Microsoft sold the Chinese company 1,500 patents, giving Xiaomi a much-needed boost to its portfolio as it weighs up expansion into the US. For all that conditions are widely seen to have deteriorated for many patent owners in the US, the deal shows that American assets will always remain a crucial part of any company’s IP strategy be it focused on freedom to operate or monetisation.
Xiaomi’s patent settlement with Microsoft was an attack on Linux and on Free software, as we explained at the time. Given China’s approach towards software patents (the opposite of what the US is doing), we’re not too shocked to see this happening, but that does not mean we have given up, either. █
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Also see: The Former Chief Economist of the EPO Warns That Battistelli’s Implicit Policy of Lowering Patent Quality (for Quantity) Will Bring Patent Trolls to Europe
Summary: A roundup of news about patent trolls, in particular their growth in east Asia and growing interest from parasitic firms like IBM and Microsoft (which have not so much left but a pile of software patents amassed in past years)
CHINA’S SIPO, which the EPO‘s President got close to (and increasingly imitates both in terms of degrading labour standards and poor patent quality), is becoming the generator of the world’s biggest platform for patent trolls. We have been pointing this out for a number of months now. It’s a harrowing scene because it means that an epidemic that (thus far) was almost exclusive to the US has spread like a pandemic to the world’s largest population.
A new article from John Collins and Steve Lundberg (yes, that crude software patents booster from Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner) is titled “Barrier to Business Patents Softening in China” and it reveals that China — like today’s EPO — encourages more patents irrespective of their quality and it already attracts patent trolls that utilise software patents. Has China learned nothing from the mistakes of the United States — mistakes that even government departments now openly speak of?
According to IAM, a site exceptionally sympathetic towards patent trolls (some of them pay IAM), says that “Qihoo 360 was actually the first company to have a GUI design patent granted.” Now it’s a highly litigious company, IAM says. With software patents, as expected, come the patent trolls to Asia, where patent quality nearly got abandoned (same mistake which the US had made). Here is another new example from IAM, though it does not use the “T” word. These trolls operate not only in China and as we pointed out before, some of them now go abroad and sue Western companies in plaintiff-friendly courts like those in Texas. They will certainly come to Europe as well, in due course. At the EPO, as we have repeatedly demonstrated, patent examination is too lax/lenient — a recipe for disaster for existing EP holders, if not future ones too. According to this tweet from the EPO: “Luis Ignacio Vicente del Olmo of @Telefonica : “The number of patent applications is increasing” #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/BcmVRxswtD”
Does that mean more innovation or aggressive patent thickets that lock the ‘small guy’ (or business) out of the market?
As another EPO tweet put it the other day: “Luis Ignacio Vicente del Olmo: ” A smartphone may include more than 5000 patent families” #EPOPIC”
Wonderful! “Luis Ignacio Vicente del Olmo speaks about new challenges for IP as a result of the new technological paradigm,” the EPO says, adding that: “Luis Ignacio Vicente del Olmo of @Telefonica talks about trends in #ICT sectors & transparency of patent data #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/wApNe223C1″
Some of that data comes to and from Asia, as this tweet notes: “Luis Ignacio Vicente del Olmo: “The European market is very attractive to companies outside Europe like from Asia & the US” #EPOPIC”
So how long before Chinese patent trolls come to Europe, even without that UPC (which would greatly assist them if it ever became a reality)?
IBM, which is already suing small companies using software patents, seems to salivating and drooling over litigation in China. See this tweet from IBM’s Manny Schecter, boasting that “China’s patent-lawsuit profile grows. http://www.wsj.com/articles/chinas-patent-lawsuit-profile-grows-1478535586 … via @WSJ” (article here but with limited access to non-subscribers).
“When a Canadian patent-licensing firm wanted to sue Japanese electronics company Sony Corp., it chose an unlikely venue: China.” That’s what the report says. IBM already sold quite a few pieces of its business to China and we can envision IBM trying to impose patent licensing deals in China, if not lawsuits too (for those not sufficiently ‘obedient’).
According to this new article from Liu, Shen & Associates, the notion of obligatory patent tax has already spread to China. “Standard essential patents have long been a hot topic in China,” they argue. “Hou Guang and Jia Hongbo of Liu,Shen & Associates explain the history and analyse recent developments…”
Standard essential patents (SEPs) block the use of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and much more. IBM used to lobby for this kind of mess in Europe and look where it led to; rather than stop SEPs/FRAND IBM told the European authorities that software patents promote FOSS innovation (which is of course a lie).
Design patents in Taiwan (arguably part of China, depending on who one asks) are discussed in another new article. Japan and China phased in this nonsense, as we noted the other day and sooner or later we expect China to overtake the United States in terms of patent trolling, including trolling in places/parts of the US where litigation is ubiquitous and low-quality patents are routinely tolerated (not just Texas, the trolls’ capital). See this article titled “As litigation increases, China follows Japan in exploring state-subsidised IP infringement insurance”. It says that “[p]atent authorities in both China and Japan have recently brought forth proposals for patent office-subsidised IP infringement insurance. SIPO says it will focus on offering protection to Chinese companies expanding outside the country, while the JPO anticipates local SMEs using its insurance product both offensively and defensively in China. As litigation increases in China, and more Chinese companies expand abroad, companies throughout the region need all the IP risk management tools they can get.”
What a total waste of resources and energy. They handicap their own economy.
Over in the United States, says this article from IAM, Rockstar (a patent troll connected to Microsoft) pursues more shakedown, even though the FTC deemed this damaging to the country. IAM, being the trolls’ apologist that it is (or denier of patent trolling), attacks the FTC’s study which bemoans patent trolls (for the second time in less than a month!) and says this:
One of the significant outcomes of the Federal Trade Commission’s recent report on patent assertion entities (PAE) is that it very clearly differentiated between two types of licensing business.
On the one hand there were the litigation PAEs, who use the threat of infringement litigation to drive a large volume of low-dollar settlements. They, it was strongly implied, largely engage in the kind of abusive practices that many in the patent community criticise and drive a high number of lawsuits.
We are increasingly convinced that IAM is very eager, with money from Microsoft-connected patent trolls on its table, to see patent trolls go global. IBM too seems to like the idea, as the company has little left other than a pile of patents (same as Microsoft). Some companies are simply transforming into megatrolls; see what Blackberry does in Texas because its products are failing to sell. █
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How shallow, spotted just hours after publication by Kappos
Manny Schecter works for IBM, the former employer of Kappos
Summary: Responses to the latest call against Alice (eliminator of many software patents), courtesy of the man from IBM (still paid by IBM) who was responsible for the policy that blindly approved a lot of software patents in the US
Our latest article about David Kappos (who has in essence been helping Microsoft's extortion of Linux using low-quality patents in large numbers) was well received by quite a few people. They know a lot better now what Kappos stands for and who pays him. Our many articles on the subject contributed to that. Interest groups and lobbyists are among the things we have been exposing for nearly a decade. Once exposed, they are a lot less capable of operating. Sometimes they need to rename.
As Henrion put it/told Manny Schecter (IBM), “he [Kappos] is a Microsoft/Apple spokesman.” He is also a former IBM employee who is now being paid by IBM for his lobbying.
This article from Kappos led to an article by Mike Masnick (via Professor James Bessen) shortly after we had mentioned it. Masnick said that “of course, if you’re former US Patent and Trademark Office boss David Kappos — who presided over a massive increase in patenting, which the Government Accountability Office recently noted was mainly due to basically no quality standards being used — this is a bad thing. Perhaps he takes it personally that the current patent situation really puts an exclamation point on the fact that he helped usher in hundreds of thousands of anti-innovation weapons that could be used to shake down actual innovators.”
Like the Battistelli-led EPO right now? AntiSoftwarePat highlights the part of the above article which says Kappos “presided over a massive increase in patenting… mainly due to basically no quality standards being used” (i.e. rubberstamping, with approval rates soaring). █
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Microsoft, IBM and few other large companies pay former USPTO officials to promote software patents
Summary: The latest lobbying from David Kappos, who blatantly exploits his connections in patent circles to promote software patents and work towards their resurgence after Alice v CLS Bank
LAST NIGHT we wrote about the demise of software patents in the US. The USPTO, which David Kappos had turned into more of a rubber-stamping operation (because of the growing backlog), finally had to accept that many patents were erroneously granted (if not fraudulently granted to increase measurable figures).
“The FTC PAE report should be the final nail in the coffin for Software Patents,” AntiSoftwarePat wrote last night in response to my article. He or she has been saying this for quite a while. PAE is a type of patent troll, for those who don’t know.
“He doesn’t want people to know what he does for a living in his capacity as a de facto lobbyist.”Kappos deserves at least some of the blame for the terrible status quo. So many patents at the USPTO are junk and patent trolls needn’t even go to court and face the burden of proof; they just target small businesses in secret (divide and rule) to shake these down using bogus patents. Kappos is absolutely fine with that and we wrote a lot about this nefarious activity of his quite a lot this year. He doesn’t want people to know what he does for a living in his capacity as a de facto lobbyist. Instead, says his own description of himself: “Dave Kappos is a partner at Cravath, Swaine and Moore LLP and previously served as under secretary of commerce and director of the United States Patent and Trade Office.”
He does not disclose he works for a front group funded by monopolists which support software patents. Yesterday, published in the Morning Consult Web site was this Kappos piece protesting Alice v CLS Bank. He took wonderful news, namely the gradual end of software patents in the US, and called it “the terrible” (not for software developers but for parasites like him and his ilk).
Once again he pretends it’s a loss to software innovation and other such malarkey. He does not disclose who pays him to utter this nonsense. Here is the ending paragraph:
Rather than celebrate or mourn the anniversary of Alice, we should recognize that its overly broad application stifles software innovation in fields that require major, sustained investments to address humanity’s truly daunting challenges—across industries from life sciences to information technology to transportation and beyond. There is some room for cautious optimism—recent decisions from the federal circuit in Enfish, Bascom and Rapid Litigation Management have upheld quality patents challenged on eligibility grounds—but unless the courts continue to provide clearer guidance, a long heritage of American innovation leadership will be at risk. We should seek balance by applying Alice narrowly, “lest [Section 101′s exclusionary principle] swallow all of patent law”— and let the other parts of the law do their work.
“When legislation and/or caselaw is up for sale we all lose.”It’s clear that he is asking for loopholes so that software patents can still be granted and asserted (successfully) in courts. It’s not about “clarity” (we explained this spin of his before and also showed the so-called whitepaper he published last year to reveal his bias on this topic). Quick to promote this article was IBM’s Manny Schecter, who is funding him through IBM (Kappos used to work at IBM, which now just pays him through a front group). Congratulating one’s own lobbyist again? Does he not see ethical breach amid all that patent aggression by IBM? Microsoft is paying Kappos as well and it too is attacking even Android/Linux using patents, as recently as a few days ago.
What will it take for these companies to stop bribing former officials and hide behind them while they lobby for the resurrection of software patents? Who are those people kidding? Can one file a formal complaint for “revolving doors” kind of abuse here? We might try soon, perhaps once we identify the best authority/institution to address regarding the unprofessional (and likely unethical if not in breach of contract) practice. When legislation and/or caselaw is up for sale we all lose. █
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Summary: A parade of misinformation as seen in Indian (but English-speaking) press this week as questions about patentability of software resurface
FOREIGN giants which operate in India (companies like IBM and Microsoft) just can’t help trying to repeatedly introduce software patents in India, aided by front groups and lawyers of theirs. Why on Earth is NASSCOM, which is connected to Bill Gates [1, 2, 3], participating in a debate in India regarding software patents or even just software? “NEW rules designed to boost India’s software industry will open for public consultation in a matter of days, say sources close to the matter,” said one new article among several this week (e.g. [1, 2). These mentioned software patents as well and some correctly noted that “this opens them [software companies] to patent trolls. Dealing with patent trolls here as India doesn’t have software patents.” The English here is problematic and then it says this: “So the conundrum for startups is whether to stay in India or not.”
“India is constantly being lobbied by big businesses that are not even Indian.”No, startups would be wasting their time pursuing patents on software. In practice, heavy-pocketed corporations from abroad want software patents. Indian startups do not. But don’t count on corporate media like the above to accurately represent the desires and needs of ordinary Indians. Neither should anyone trust NASSCOM, one among several Indian agencies that act like outposts and brought India nothing but EDGI.
India is constantly being lobbied by big businesses that are not even Indian. Watch what Microsoft has done to the Modi government earlier this year and last year. It shot down a Free/Open Source software policy. █
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