Time to give Battistelli the sack
Summary: An informal but timely progress report shows that Battistelli has made no progress whatsoever and all the injustices remain in tact, in spite of the warnings from the Administrative Council (mid March)
WE already wrote about Battistelli's failure to appease the Administrative Council two weeks after he was warned. Well, two months have just passed and Battistelli is as evil and crooked as ever. In fact, his attacks on staff representatives apparently stretch far beyond just the EPO (well after dismissal). Battistelli has nothing whatsoever to redeem himself; nothing was done to repair the damage because a weak SUEPO is what Battistelli wants.
“Battistelli has nothing whatsoever to redeem himself; nothing was done to repair the damage because a weak SUEPO is what Battistelli wants.”“For example,” says this new comment, “a recently dismissed member of the staff representation is seeking work as a patent attorney. The President will be able to prohibit that for two years, without compensation.”
This does not surprise us as we mentioned this before although we didn’t know staff representatives too were affected. It’s one prominent example of divergence from international labour protections. “Merpel catches up with developments at the EPO,” IP Kat has just said, “in the Boards of Appeal, employee dissatisfaction and sanctions, and more…”
“Nothing at all was resolved.”Well, remember that in spite of the rules, which are written very clearly, Battistelli suspended a high-level member of a Board of Appeal. Where is justice when it comes to him? In fact, it increasingly looks like Battistelli defamed a judge and might be sued for it. Battistelli was all along just a tyrant, as were his minions in management who relentlessly attacked staff representatives. He has done anything he could to demonise his exposers at the EPO (even outside the EPO) and some believe that the Boards of Appeal are next in the firing line. To quote what Fritz wrote: “These very staff regulations, including the investigation guidelines, have been seen a pen accepted by the AC. Si who is toto blame? The same will happen with the regulations for the BoA.”
Here are some remarks about the impact on SUEPO, in light of the PDF response to the regulations/guidelines for investigations (as HTML):
“All or nothing strategy” is the the best description I’ve heard so far about what is going on at the EPO.
Despite the clear instruction to come to an agreement with both unions, we have heard nothing about an initiative to even begin a conversation with SUEPO. They are still waiting for a response to their proposal of a agreement made a long time ago. My prediction is that the AC members will be told in June that SUEPO, to the great regret of management, simply refused to talk and nothing could be done.
Dear AC members, if you want the truth, SUEPO’s willingness to talk with you will without a doubt have few bounds.
The AC requested the EPOffice President:
¨to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation¨.
The disciplinary sanctions and proceedings were and still are unfair and in conflict with fundamental human rights.Battistelli never will accept a neutral external reviewer or arbitration/mediation because he fears the truth and loses his face. Battistelli only could accept a reviewer/mediator he can choose and have influence on.
The AC requested further: ¨pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions¨ and ¨to submit to the AC a draft revision of the Staff Regulations which incorporates investigation guidelines (including the investigation unit) and disciplinary procedures which have been reviewed and amended¨
Also here happened NOTHING. I am afraid that in the view of Battistelli and his clan the Staff Regulations are okee and not in conflict with fundamental human rights. For him it is not necessary to react to the proposal of the SUEPO because the SUEPO has a total different and unacceptable view of how the Staff Regulations should be. Moreover Battistelli and his team do not want to loose their faces. Faces they have already lost a long time ago.
Just because Battistelli keeps a low profile, as he was instructed to do (apparently but not certainly by the damage control experts) ,does not mean anything was resolved. Nothing at all was resolved. Battistelli called off the (probably illegal) pension cuts affecting one staff representative, but that’s purely it. He failed at everything. It’s time for him to go next month. Maybe some protests or a strike coinciding with the Administrative Council’s meeting will help get across such an uncontroversial message. █
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And the microcosm of patents lawyers helps CAFC by selective coverage and accompanying hype that is hardly justified
Summary: The highly biased Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) rules in favour of a software patent, so the crowd of patent lawyers (or their sites) goes wild and makes it seem like an Earth-shattering development that suddenly makes software patents very eligible in spite of Alice/§ 101
CONCERNS about the EPO‘s rogue management and the EPO scandals are globally justified as these matters impact not only Europe. And it’s not just because the EPO is not a European body (it’s international/globalist) but because it inspires moves in other countries/continents, where labour rights gradually get abolished/eroded and patents get expanded in terms of scope, number, injunctions, damages, and so on.
“New USPTO Patent-Eligibility Guidance Not So New,” according to this pro-patents site. Lawyers’ sites which comment on USPTO guidelines would rather have us believe nothing has changed. This one says that “this memorandum simply lays out the by now well-known two-part Alice/Mayo test, spells out explanations that examiners are supposed to give when making Section 101 rejections, and provides examiners with responses to arguments that applicants may make. Applicants may find this guidance useful in pressing examiners for better explanation of rejections based on allegedly unpatentable subject matter. However, I suspect applicants will continue to be frustrated by the seemingly subjective, and undeniably unpredictable, nature of many rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”
“The USPTO does not care what the Supreme Court says.”Will this patent office stop issuing software patents at long last? We doubt it. The USPTO does not care what the Supreme Court says. It’s pretty much the same at the EPO, where the EPC is repeatedly ignored (on multiple levels).
EPC rules are being ignored/crushed by Battistelli with his lousy leadership (while he makes up the EPO rules/guidelines with zero oversight) and in the mean time we learn that: “The CAFC in Enfish v Microsoft employed the EPO technical test to define what, if anything, was abstract.”
Worth noting, as we have indicated before, is the gross deception (by omission) from lawyers’ sites. When decisions are made against software patents in the US the lawyers’ blogs and sites are mostly quiet; but they’re all in hype and joy otherwise, amplifying the news. This is why the lawyers’ sites were all over this case a few days ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], with headlines like “Federal Circuit Clearly Says Software Can Be Patentable” and summaries such as this: “A Federal Circuit panel (Judges Moore, Taranto, and Hughes) has unambiguously stated that some — one might even say much — software is patent-eligible, reversing findings of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 101 for two patents “directed to an innovative logical model for a computer database.” Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., No. 2015-1244 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2016) (opinion by Judge Hughes). In addition to reversing a summary judgment of Section 101 invalidity, the court vacated a summary judgment of invalidity under 35 U.S.C. § 102, and left intact a summary judgment of non-infringement. But the reason why this case will be a big deal is the holding — and analysis — pertaining to the patent-eligibility of software inventions.”
“Then came the think tanks (the think tanks of patent maximalism), like one that supports not only patent trolls but also software patents.”“The EPO tech feature test is 40 years old,” one person wrote. “Why didn’t CAFC use it before and avoid all this jurisprudential bullshit?”
As Benjamin Henrion put it, “because the EPO test is garbage.”
Another opponent of software patents asked, “US Court now using EU rules?”
A later question was, “so they just take rules from other Countries when they decide to?”
“The GAO Report has already cited the role of Software Patents in the problem,” it was added, “FTC Report will probably say the same” (the patent maximalists slam it before it’s even released).
“In her Dissent in Bilski,” said one patent attorney, “J. Moore said that the abstract test would swallow circuit court decisions. It did. Hence, Enfish Today.” Another tweet said: “Enfish v Microsoft et al.–Only 1 of 2 Fed Cir Decisions Holding Software Eligible under 101; Held Software Not Inherently Abstract”
“Suffice to say, patent maximalists were celebrating, expounding, and emphasising the news.”Then came the think tanks (the think tanks of patent maximalism), like one that supports not only patent trolls but also software patents. To quote: [1, 2] “Some much-needed sanity in #patent law: Fed Cir says today in Enfish v. Microsoft that #software NOT automatically “abstract” under 101 test [...] unfortunately, Alice left much to interpretation by courts & PTO, who took it as anti-software patent mandate” (still slamming the Supreme Court because, once again, CAFC is trying to promote software patents, which it made up or introduced in the first place).
Here is a press release about the case. Suffice to say, patent maximalists were celebrating, expounding, and emphasising the news. This is their time to deceive, mislead, and engage in shameless self-promotion/marketing. IAM wrote: “Since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Alice, many in the patent market have been searching for a case that provides some greater clarity on the Justices’ thinking or, at the very least, doesn’t simply see the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirm a lower court ruling and invalidate the patent in question. Those cases have been few and far between but the market took some encouragement this week from the CAFC’s decision in Enfish LLC v Microsoft, when the majority ruling explicitly stated that Alice did not simply eliminate broad swathes of software from patent eligibility.”
“So many sites, almost all of which are run by patent lawyers and their batsmen, are celebrating and emphasising this case because they love software patents and conveniently ignore the cases where the opposite is concluded.”Here is what Gene Quinn’s site and IP Kat wrote. So many sites, almost all of which are run by patent lawyers and their batsmen, are celebrating and emphasising this case because they love software patents and conveniently ignore the cases where the opposite is concluded.
National Law Review went with the headline “CAFC Finds Software Patent Eligible Under 35 U.S.C. §101″ and Andrew Chung from Reuters said “Federal Circuit revives patent, expands software eligibility”.
Software-related patents will survive challenges to their validity despite a U.S. Supreme Court precedent that has led to the widespread cancellation of patents, if they improve the way computers operate, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.
In a dispute involving Enfish LLC and Microsoft Corp, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit revived two Enfish patents on an advanced database, agreeing with the company’s Cooley attorneys that the technology improves the functioning of a computer and thus deserved to be patented.
As Microsoft lobbies so hard for software patents, losing this case is possibly good news to Microsoft. One might argue that they’re winning by losing here. This case isn’t about patent trolls but about patent scope and the former “patent reform is minimal,” Benjamin Henrion reminds people, “real reform involves discussing patents for software.”
“Why did it rely on the EPO? It seems totally improper a thing to do.”Right now there’s just one case that shows digression (moving in the opposite direction) as “patent courts are always biased.” (especially true in the case of CAFC, which is full of well-documented corruption)
“In a rare win for a software patentee,” Patently-O wrote, “the Federal Circuit has rejected a lower court ruling that Enfish’s “self-referential” database software and data-structure invention is ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as effectively an abstract idea.”
Why did it rely on the EPO? It seems totally improper a thing to do.
In other cases — not the type of cases that patent lawyers want the public to know about, § 101 kills patents because it’s about an “electronic device to obtain clinical trial data that would otherwise be collected by pen-and-paper diary” (to quote the decision, not the Docket Report):
The court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss because the asserted claims of plaintiff’s clinical drug trial patents encompassed unpatentable subject matter and found that the claims were directed toward an abstract idea.
Another § 101 article from the Docket Report says “Popularity of § 101 Motions Weighs Against Certification for Interlocutory Appeal”. To quote: “The court denied defendant’s motion to certify for interlocutory appeal an earlier order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of patentable subject matter because, although there was a controlling question of law that would materially advance the litigation, the court exercised its discretion not to grant appeal given the popularity of 35 U.S.C. § 101 motions.”
The bottom line is this: Most decisions which involve § 101 wind up eliminating software patents. But reading the patent lawyers-dominated media (or their own ‘news’ sites) one might give the opposite impression. █
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Publicado en America, Courtroom, Law, Patentes a las 6:46 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Las Cortes de los EE.UU continúan rechazándo patentes de software, pero a la USPTO no le importa y continúa emitiéndolas de todas maneras
“LinuxFest Northwest 2016: Las Patentes de Software después de Alice: Una larga y triste cola” [via Montana Linux, que dice “Deb Nicholson habló acerca del estado de las patentes de software en los EE.UU después del veredicto de la Corte Suprema en el caso clave Alice vs. CLS Bank case.”]
Sumario: La “línea de producción”, que la USPTO ha degenerado a (limitarse a aceptar casi todo lo que entra) pasándo los costes de los procesos espurios al público (externalidad para ser gravados por los monopolistas, trolles, y los abogados de patentes) y la nueva información sirve para destacar esta gran injusticia que está motivado por la codicia y el control corporativo de la USPTO (cautiverio a manos del proveédor)
El Profesor Dennis Crouch, todavía se mantiene al corriente de los “casos pendiéntes de patentes en la Corte Suprema” (hay casos de patentes interesantes a nivel de SCOTUS en el camino), trayéndo actualizaciones sobre las adaptaciones de la USPTO a resoluciones como Alice, que básicamente trajó el fin a una gran cantidad de patentes de software (la USPTO debería obedecer los fallos judiciales y terminar las patentes de software, pero es demasiado codiciosa para hacerlo). Los artículos constituidos por Dennis Crouch son en realidad muy informativos ya que nos ayudan a rastrear cómo las cosas están cambiando (la obra del Profesor Crouch es académica/científica, por lo que no tiene mucho que ganar personalmente del maximalismo de patentes). Al escribir sobre lo último en el caso de Fitbit, un sitio de abogados de patentes dice: “Como una actualización de nuestros 13 de abril de, el año 2016 entrada del blog, la Comisión de Comercio Internacional de Estados Unidos juez administrativo (ALJ) Dee Lord ha concedido la determinación de resumen que las pretensiones formuladas de dos de las patentes restantes de la quijada en su acción contra el artículo 337 de Fitbit se dirigen a la materia inelegible bajo 35 USC § 101.”
“No es díficil ver el porqué de que las grandes corporaciónes estén en armas.”
Este es básicamente el último legado de alto perfil de Alice, que la USPTO (a diferencia de los tribunales, incluido SCOTUS) todavía está tratando de ignorar. La USPTO sigue teniendo discusiones sobre el tema. De acuerdo con un nuevo fragmento de texto encontrado por Benjamin Henrion hace unos días, la USPTO dice “Funciones que no son funciones computadora genéricas, por tanto, no son significativamente más que una idea” (PDF en el mismo).
¿Intentará la USPTO obedecer los decretos de la corte? ¿O es tán reacia/pícara a aceptar que las cosas han cambiado? Su antiguo director, el néfasto David Kappos, actual Delfin de la Sagrada Familia de Patentes (IBM, Microsoft, Apple, HP entre otros) está actualmente cabildeándo contra la Corte Suprema a favor de sus amos – un movimiénto que contribuye a la percepción de corrupci ón en el sistema en su totalidad.
“Otro nuevo análisis del Profesor Crouch refuérza la idea de que la oficina de patentes debería enforzar las fronteras de las patentes, y restr íngir su esfera.”
No es díficil ver el porqué de que las grandes corporaciónes estén en armas. Dennis Crouch, el académico pro-patentes, ha hecho algunas cartas de investigación y gráficos que muestran que el porque el sistema de patentes fue creado por no lo es más. El análisis de Crouch ha demostrando cómo las grandes empresas obtienen la mayor parte de las patentes (primer autor más jefes, etc y las personas que quieran obtener parte del crédito), no los desarrolladores independientes (lo mismo en Europa) y añade la siguiente interpretación de los números/gráficos:
El objetivo principal del sistema de patentes es fomentar la innovación – “. Promover el progreso de la ciencia y las artes útiles” Para mí, la naturaleza de la paternidad de la invención es una actividad fascinante: ¿cuáles son los factores que llevan a la invención y cuáles son los resultados de la invención ?
Un cambio importante en los últimos decenios en términos de los inventores que figuran en las patentes de EE.UU. es el aumento de la calidad de inventor en equipo. En 1975, la gran mayoría de las patentes de Estados Unidos se emitieron a un único inventor. Desde entonces, ha habido una tendencia constante hacia más inventores-por-patente. Alrededor de 1990, llegamos a un punto en el que, por primera vez, más de la mitad de las patentes de EE.UU. que aparecen múltiples inventores. Esa tendencia hacia más inventores por patentes continúa en la actualidad.
La perforación hacia abajo, el aumento se observa en las patentes con tres o más inventores. La siguiente tabla muestra el porcentaje de patentes de utilidad, ya sea con un inventor que aparece (pendiente negativa doble línea) o tres inventores que figuran + (pendiente ascendente línea). La caída en el primero se correlaciona casi exactamente con el aumento en el segundo. A lo largo de este tiempo, el porcentaje de las patentes de dos inventor se ha mantenido estable en torno al 25%.
Otro nuevo análisis del Profesor Crouch refuérza la idea de que la oficina de patentes debería enforzar las fronteras de las patentes, y restr íngir su esfera. Sin embargo, su enfoque, sin embargo, es el número de demandas por patentes, que muestra un descenso muy pronunciado el los últimos diez años (las barreras de patentes tal vez caendemasiado bajo, lo que permite prácticamente todas las aplicaciones de patentes sean aceptadas, o más del 90% de ellos). Él llama a esto “Patentes de Tamaño Adecuado“, y añade:
Muchas de las políticas progresistas se centran en la reducción de las disparidades (ingreso, la riqueza, la educación, y oportunidades) que reflejan alguna injusticia social entre los de arriba y los de abajo de nuestro espectro social. Los conservadores suelen reconocer los vacíos, pero no están de acuerdo acerca de si el resultado se califica como la injusticia, así como sobre el papel del gobierno en la redistribución.
política de patentes a menudo es más fácil de implementar que la política social (sobre todo en comparación con otros cambios en la ley de propiedad), ya que una nueva generación de patentes emerge cada veinte años y la vieja generación no se cuelga-en torno a la protección y la dirección de la riqueza, sino que se funde con el destino nos alcance de la dominio público.
En algunos aspectos, sin embargo, las patentes están revirtiendo la tendencia social y paso a una uniformidad y menos diversa – al menos por algunas mediciones externas tales como el tamaño del documento, las reclamaciones por patentes, y esté pendiente de persecución.
Para reformular la última frase (arriba), las patentes están revirtiendo la tendencia corporativa y convirtiéndose de baja calidad y más triviales. Esto significa que aquellos que son pobres serán más pobres y los que son ricos y poderosos tendrá más municiones para marginar a los chicos pequeños (o chicas). Cada vez más chicos pequeños (o chicas) estarán bajo más amenazas de más patentes en manos de las grandes corporaciones. Esto significa que pierden el control; que están siendo dominados. Las patentes falsas que son posibles para invalidar en un tribunal son demasiado caras para invalidar, ya todos aquellos que están en contra se enfrentan a enormes daños que no pueden justificar las facturas legales (por lo que se asientan el caso o quiebran). ¿Para esto se creó el sistema de patentes? Seguramente fué lo contrario. Lo más triste es que la EPO también se está convirtiendo poco a poco en lo mismo gracias a Battistelli, sus chácales y políticos corruptos.
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Publicado en Asia, Law, Patents at 2:51 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Aunque Infosys está teniéndo dudas aparentemente (o afirmaciones contrarias)
Sumario: Una mirada a ¿quién dentro de la India está promoviéndo las patentes de software y porque
ƇON las patentes de software en la India estándo cada vez más en la agenda (debido a cabilderos/grupos de presion por las patentes de software proveniéntes del extranjero) debemos prestar atención de cerca a lo que sucede en ese país. Las cosas pueden empeorar mucho allí (lo que más tarde se extenderá a otros países), los chacales (grupos de presión) de las grandes corporaciones de otros países tratan de cambiar sin descanso la ley de un país que ellos perciben como si fuese de ellos con opción de compra (con una población grande y no demasiado difícil de sobornar comparación a otros lugares debido a las diferencias económicas). Ahora tenemos que mirar muy de cerca los que cooperan en estos esfuerzos a nivel nacional, es decir, desde dentro de la industria de la India. Una de estas empresas es Tata. Escribimos sobre Tata en 2010 en relación con sus ambiciones de patentes y que anteriormente también habíamos comentado sobre sus conexiones con Microsoft. La empresa, a veces, muestran signos de mirar más allá de software propietario y tratando de abrazar al software libre/código abierto (FOSS), sino ¿qué tipo de aliado podría ser la empresa si ahora persigue patentes de software? De acuerdo con los medios de comunicación de la India, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], el maximalismo de patentes está altaménte en la agenda de Tata este nuevo reporteemarca esta pelea como una entre “grandes de IT” y “empresas surgiéntes”. Para citar:
Las líneas de batalla se perfilan en la industria de la tecnología de las patentes de software como los peces gordos y nuevas empresas que debaten sobre si debería permitirse patentar el software. En una reunión organizada por el gobierno esta semana, una guerra de palabras estalló entre los arranques tradicionales centradas en los servicios de la India de la industria IT y nuevas empresas, ambas de los cuales tienen preocupaciones acerca de las reglas.
Si bien los arranques dijo que permitir cualquier tipo de patentes obligaría a los costos de litigio y de la licencia en ellos, la industria de IT y las compañías multinacionales de tecnología argumentaron que la ley actual que no permite patentar el software está dando lugar a una pérdida de la propiedad intelectual y las inversiones de la país.
En el centro de la cara-off es un conjunto de pautas que la Oficina de Patentes introdujo en agosto de 2015 para las invenciones informáticas (CRI), e implementada en febrero de este año después de una gran reacción de nuevas empresas y empresas de software del producto. Las directrices sugeriéron que si un software es novedoso, o inventivo o es tangible, y tiene buen efecto técnico o aplicación industrial, entonces puede ser patentado.
Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys y Wipro, que también estuvieron presentes en la reunión, no respondiéron a los correos electrónicos en busca de comentarios.
Wipro and Infosys estuviéron haciéndo el cabildeo de Microsoft en la India, e.g. on OOXML,así que su silencio habla por ellos y su inpopular posición en la materia. Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro e Infosys son todavíade facto Microsoft proxies o sus actuales departamentos periféricos en Indiay ellos necesitan ser rechazados, no sólo por corrupción. Aquellos que se oponen a las patentes de software necesitan entender la dependencia de fuerzas del exterior tales como Microsoft para entender mejor esas políticas.
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US courts are constantly rejecting software patents, but the USPTO doesn’t seem to care and continues to issue them anyway
“LinuxFest Northwest 2016: Software Patents After Alice: A Long and Sad Tail” [via Montana Linux, which says “Deb Nicholson talked about the state of software patents after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Alice vs. CLS Bank case.”]
Summary: The ‘production line’ which the USPTO has devolved into (just accepting nearly everything that comes in) passes costs of spurious litigation to the public (externality to be taxed by monopolists, trolls, and patent lawyers) and new information serves to highlight this gross injustice which is motivated by USPTO greed and corporate control (vendor captivity)
Professor Dennis Crouch, still keeping abreast of “Pending Supreme Court Patent Cases” (there are interesting SCOTUS-level patent cases on their way), brings updates about USPTO adaptations to rulings such as Alice, which basically brought the end to a lot of software patents (the USPTO should obey court rulings and end software patents, but it’s too greedy to do so). The articles composed by Dennis Crouch are actually quite informative and they help us track how things are changing (Crouch’s work is academic/scholarly, so he hasn’t much to personally gain from patent maximalism). Writing about the latest in the Fitbit case, a patent lawyers’ site says: “As an update to our April 13, 2016 blog post, US International Trade Commission administrative law judge (ALJ) Dee Lord has granted summary determination that the asserted claims of two of Jawbone’s remaining patents in its Section 337 action against Fitbit are directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”
“It’s not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms.”This is basically the latest high-profile legacy of Alice, which the USPTO (unlike courts, SCOTUS included) is still trying to ignore. The USPTO is still having discussions about the subject. According to a new bit of text found by Benjamin Henrion a few days ago, the USPTO says “Functions that are not generic computer functions and therefore amount to significantly more than an idea” (PDF therein).
Does the USPTO intend to ever obey court rulings? Or is it too rogue to accept that things have changed? Its former director, David Kappos, is now actively lobbying against the Supreme Court on behalf of huge corporations — a move which contributes to the perception of corruption in this whole system.
“Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope.”It’s not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms. Dennis Crouch, the pro-patents scholar, has done some research and plotted charts which show that what the patent system was created for ain’t so anymore. Crouch’s analysis is showing how large corporations get the lion’s share of patents (first author plus bosses etc. and people who want to get some of the credit), not independent developers (same in Europe) and he adds the following interpretation of the numbers/chart:
The primary goal of the patent system is to encourage innovation – “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” For me, the nature of inventorship is a fascinating pursuit: what are the factors that lead to invention and what are the results of invention?
A major shift over the past few decades in terms of inventors listed on U.S. patents is the rise of team-based inventorship. Back in 1975, the vast majority of U.S. patents were issued to a single inventor. Since that time, there has been a steady trend toward more inventors-per-patent. Around 1990 we reached a point where, for the first time, more than than half of US patents listed multiple inventors. That trend toward more inventors per patents continues today.
Drilling down, the increase is seen in patents with three or more inventors. The chart below shows the percentage of utility patents with either one listed inventor (downward sloping double line) or three+ listed inventors (upward sloping line). The drop in the first almost exactly correlates with the rise in the second. Throughout this time, the percentage of two-inventor patents has remained steady at around 25%.
Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope. But his focus, however, is the number of claims per patent, showing a very sharp decline about a decade ago (patent barriers perhaps falling far too low, allowing virtually every patent application through, or more than 90% of them). He calls this “Right Sized Patents” and adds:
Many progressive policies focus on reducing disparities (income, wealth, education, and opportunities) that reflect some social injustice between those at the top and those at the bottom of our social spectrum. Conservatives often recognize the gaps but disagree about whether the result qualifies as injustice as well as about government’s role in redistribution.
Patent policy is often easier to implement than social policy (especially compared with other property law changes) because a new generation of patents emerges every twenty years and the old generation does not hang-around protecting and directing wealth but instead melds into the Soylent of the public domain.
In some ways though, patents are bucking the social trend and becoming more standardized and less diverse – at least by some outward measurements such as document size, claims per patent, and prosecution pendency.
To rephrase that last sentence (above), patents are bucking the corporate trend and becoming low quality and more trivial. It means that those who are poor will be further impoverished and those who are rich and powerful will have more ammunition with which to marginalise the small guys (or girls). More and more small guys (or girls) are under more threats from more patents and more corporations. This means they lose control; they’re being dominated. Bogus patents that are possible to invalidate in a court are too expensive to invalidate, and those whom they’re asserted against don’t face huge damages which can justify the legal bills (so they settle or close down the shop). Is this what the patent system was created for? Surely the opposite. The saddest thing is that the EPO too is gradually becoming more like that. █
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Although Infosys is having second thoughts apparently (or contradiction in statements)
Summary: A look at who inside India is promoting software patents and why
WITH software patents in India being increasingly on the agenda (due to software patents lobbyists from abroad) we must pay close attention to what happens in India. Things can get a lot worse there (later to spread to other countries), as lobbyists of large corporations from other countries relentlessly try to change the law of a country which they perceive as theirs to own (large population and not too difficult to bribe compared to other places owing to economic gaps). We now need to watch quite closely those who cooperate in these efforts domestically, i.e. from within the Indian industry. One such company is Tata. We wrote about Tata in 2010 in relation to its patent ambitions and we previously remarked on its connections to Microsoft as well. The company does, at times, show signs of looking beyond proprietary software and trying to embrace some Free/Open Source software (FOSS), but what kind of ally can the company ever be if it now pursues patents on software? According to Indian media coverage, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], patent maximalism is high on the agenda at Tata and this new report frames the fight as one waged between “IT bigwigs” and “startups”. To quote:
Battle lines are drawn in the technology industry over software patents as the bigwigs and startups spar over allowing patenting of software. At a government-organised meeting this week, a war of words erupted between India’s services-focused traditional IT industry and product software startups, both of whom have concerns about the rules.
While startups said allowing any kind of patents would force litigation and licence costs on them, the IT industry and multinational technology companies argued that the current law that doesn’t allow for patenting of software is leading to a loss of intellectual property and investments from the country.
At the heart of the face-off is a set of guidelines that the Patent Office introduced in August 2015 for computer-related inventions (CRI), and eventually rolled back in February this year after a huge backlash from startups and product software companies. The guidelines suggested that if a software has novelty, is inventive or tangible, and has proper technical effect or industrial application, it can be patented.
Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys, which were also present at the meeting, didn’t reply to emails seeking comment.
Wipro and Infosys were doing Microsoft’s lobbying in India, e.g. on OOXML, so we imagine that refusal to comment is due to their unpopular position on the subject. Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys and still de facto Microsoft proxies or actual peripheral departments in India and they need to be shunned, not just because of corruption. Those who oppose software patents need to understand the dependence on outside forces such as Microsoft to better grasp these policies. █
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The ‘Microsoft syndrome’ strikes or spreads to IBM, its cross-licensing buddy
Photo source (modified slightly): The 10 Most Powerful Women in Technology Today
Summary: Deservedly if not belatedly too, more and more pundits come to recognise the rogue element which is IBM, having promoted software patents all around the world, utilised software patents aggressively (to attack/marginalise/tax rivals), lobbied the government to antagonise the Supreme Court’s decision on Alice (using former IBM staff which it had somehow snuck into the USPTO), created bogus solutions to the side effects (such as patent trolls) and so on
“Patent Trolls have already begun to try & discredit the FTC PAE Report & it’s not even been released yet,” Anti-Software Patents wrote earlier this week. All this while the software patents lobby trash-talks SCOTUS (and one particular Associate Justice in particular), PTAB, an Australian report against software patents etc. As we showed here in recent days, IBM played a major role in this lobby. Are they thugs or trolls? Or both maybe?
“Patent Trolls have already begun to try & discredit the FTC PAE Report & it’s not even been released yet”
–Anonymous“PTABWatch”, a blog of patent lawyers (Marshall Gerstein & Borun LLP) now evokes David Kappos again (his lobbying is now funded by massive patent aggressors including Apple, IBM, Microsoft etc. but he came from IBM) and to quote the relevant portion: “In a recent speech at a Federal Circuit Judicial Conference, David Kappos, former Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, suggested § 101 should be abolished because recent case law in this area has resulted in “a real mess.” Like many practitioners, Mr. Kappos reiterated that courts can ensure basic concepts are not patented while protecting innovation by applying other areas of patent law to make sure patents are novel and non-obvious. Consistent with Mr. Kappos’s criticisms of the developing case law on § 101, Sequenom recently has sought the Supreme Court’s review of the Federal Circuit’s application of § 101 in the Ariosa decision, and many companies and industry organizations have filed amicus briefs supporting Sequenom. What will happen remains to be seen, but there is a growing and significant consensus (among practitioners at least) that something needs to be done at a higher level to clean up this “real mess.” Until such time, this blog will keep a close watch on the developments of decisions relating to §101 in IPRs and how patent eligibility is being viewed at the PTAB and the courts.”
It should be clear that the same forces which lobby for software patents often, unsurprisingly, oppose patent reform. Pieter Hintjens, who has not much time left to live, reminisces: “well, they were just lying. IBM was the one that broke the US patent system to allow software patents.”
“IBM was the one that broke the US patent system to allow software patents.”
–Pieter Hintjens“IBM says software patents drive OSS development,” he recalls (from a 2009 article). We never forgot that.
Now that IBM openly attacks companies using software patents John C. Dvorak publishes the article “IBM Is the World’s Biggest Patent Troll” in which he says:
IBM’s real value is with the R&D folks who have helped IBM top the list of companies with the largest number of US patents granted year after year. This has never stopped growing. Last year it was 7,355 patents granted for IBM (followed by 5,072 for Samsung and 4,134 for Canon, with a big drop-off after that to Qualcomm with 2,900 and Google with 2,835).
The patent system is out of control since many of these patents are idiotic software algorithm or blocking patents, designed to keep others away from certain technologies. The point, though, is that IBM has been leading this pack for over two decades and shows no signs of slowing down. That is unless you think 7,355 is slowing down from its 2014 tally of 7,534 patents. In 2013, it secured a mere 6,809.
These numbers are outrageous when you stop to consider that patents were intended to protect small inventors and companies. Now the system is used to dominate that small fry. Good work, USPTO.
Many of IBM’s current patents are about data analytics and so-called cognitive computing, like Watson. It in turn collects “over” a billion dollars a year from licensing, which sounds low to me. I say this because on its licensing page, IBM claims to have 250,000 experts who will work with you to find the right patents for your company.
Those experts likely generate at least $100,000 in business each every year, which I think is conservative. You do the math and that’s $25 billion. This makes sense when the company claims to drop $6 billion into R&D each year. In fact, it would not surprise me if most of its revenues were from licensing, and far more than $25 billion. IBM’s overall revenues are around $82 billion.
With puff pieces like this new one about IBM, no wonder few people care to have noticed what IBM recently turned into (amid layoffs).
“Just last week, the Federal Circuit declined to fix this problem, leaving it up to Congress or the Supreme Court to act.”
–EFFPatent trolling is a very serious problem in the US and CAFC, which brought software patents to the US, refuses to stop these trolls [1, 2]. The trolls typically use software patents. Here is an MIP report about it and here is the EFF expressing frustration over it: “As the law stands now, patent owners have almost complete control over which federal district to file a case in. That’s a major problem. It lets patent owners exploit significant differences between courts, an advantage that the alleged infringers in patent suits don’t have. It effectively leads to outcomes being determined not by the merits of a case, but rather by the cost of litigation. Just last week, the Federal Circuit declined to fix this problem, leaving it up to Congress or the Supreme Court to act.”
“Mossoff just can’t help attacking the messenger for trying to stop patent trolls.”Trolls’ apologists aren’t idle either right now. Consider Adam Mossoff, who works for some kind of patent maximalism think tank (“The Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property at Mason Law promotes the scholarly analysis of IP rights and the creative innovation they make possible,” by its own description), so it’s not too shocking that he keeps protecting patent trolls, attacks their critics, and now picks on the EFF. Mossoff just can’t help attacking the messenger for trying to stop patent trolls. This isn’t a new thing from him.
“How to Kill a Patent Troll” is a new article which speaks about what patent trolls are and then promotes the IBM-connected RPX as the solution. It’s not the solution at all. To quote portions from this article:
Anecdotally, NPEs are trolls. But Cohen, Gurun, and Kominers wanted some hard proof. For that, they turned to data from RPX Corporation, which maintains a database on NPE litigation going back to 1977. (RPX also offers its clients a novel and slightly odd solution to patent trolling: It buys patents from NPEs before they start suing others for licensing fees. RPX asserts they are not themselves patent trolls.)
Both the RPX data and other sources make it clear that NPEs are predominantly trolls, mainly because of who NPEs go after: cash-rich tech companies. Cohen, Gurun, and Kominers calculate that the likelihood of getting sued by an NPE is roughly 16 percent among companies with the most cash, roughly double the baseline rate. By comparison, the likelihood of getting sued by a practicing entity—that is, a company that actually worked to create its patents—is less than five percent. NPEs are also more likely to sue firms with small legal teams and those dealing with other lawsuits. In other words, they go after companies with the biggest wallets and the fewest available minutes.
They conveniently neglect to mention that RPX is now a powerhouse of huge ‘patent trolls’ such as IBM. Not good advice at all… this is even more useless than OIN, which was also (co-)created by IBM and was originally led by IBM staff, Jerry Rosenthal. █
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Arrogance apparently runs deep inside EPO veins
Summary: The latest developments regarding some of the criminal complaints and civil lawsuits against Topić (above), who is now a Vice-President at the European Patent Office (EPO)
EPO management vainly disregards judges, it doesn’t just attack them (e.g. dismisses or suspends them if it does not think that they're loyal enough to Battistelli, in spite of complete independence).
More news from Croatia have landed on our lap and it’s quite revealing. It says a lot about Željko Topić as an individual, not just as a ‘professional’. Much like Willy Minnoye proudly proclaiming that he would ignore rulings from the highest Dutch judges, Topić apparently believes that he is above the law. He is not showing up in court (cases which he is losing) and based on additional information we have been given, this unacceptable behaviour continues to date. How can EPO stakeholders take seriously people who don’t believe in the rule of law (except when it suddenly suits them and they can distort the law to silence critics) if they’re trying to be granted patents which presumably would be enforced in a court of law?
“How can EPO stakeholders take seriously people who don’t believe in the rule of law (except when it suddenly suits them and they can distort the law to silence critics) if they’re trying to be granted patents which presumably would be enforced in a court of law?”“The origins of this story go back quite a long way,” told us a source, “as far back as 2007 in fact. This is a symptom of the Croatian legal system which is notoriously slow and where cases take many years to process (especially if there is some kind of political interference). It’s not that different from the EPO which may explain why Topić fitted in so well. He was probably able to give his boss some good tips on how to exploit a dysfunctional legal system to the detriment of EPO staff.
“The story begins back in November 2007 when the Croatian public sector union SDLSN (“Trade Union of State and Local Officials and Employees of the Republic of Croatia) reported on the “Bullying of ‘unwanted’ civil servants” at the State Intellectual Property Office.”
This was mentioned in an older article (with this translated 2007 report and suicide 'collateral damage' therein).
Our source continues: “The affair resurfaced in the Croatian press on 5 March 2012 when the newspaper “Jutarnji List” [shown above] published a short report which explained that SIPO employees who had been targeted by the “bullying” action in 2007 had filed a number of criminal complaints and a civil lawsuit against Topić.”
Here is an English translation of this article:
5 March 2012
Team selected for culling: Željko Topić, head of the SIPO for years, pursued in court
He established a special unit with 10 officials selected for dismissal
Željko Topić, Director of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), who has been linked to numerous scandals like buying a luxury Mercedes at the expense of the Institute, is under suspicion of having abused his employees.
An invented and displaced department
The findings of the administrative labour inspectorate from 25 January 2008 confirm that that on 15 October 2007 Topić deliberately selected a group of ten employees at the SIPO for transfer to a professional unit which he had established and called “The extraction and storage of non-administrative mail“. It didn’t bother the Director that none of his ten officials were qualified for the task of archiving as they included among their ranks IT experts, a professor of French, a Master of Engineering, senior economists and administrative lawyers.
Due to the “urgency of the work” ten officials were moved from Vukovara Street [SIPO headquarters] into offices in Sava Street 118 where, confused and outraged, they languished for twenty days without work. It was not until November 13th that the first document arrived but even then they could not do their job because the computer was not connected to the database at the SIPO headquarters.
Realizing that their transfer was actually a downgrading and a prelude to dismissal, in October 2007 the employees reported Topić to the labour inspectorate.
It was determined that Topić was not authorised to set up new departments and that the ten employees were not qualified for archiving. Topić tried to justify his actions in front of the labour inspectorate by claiming that these were employees who had performed their work badly but the inspectorate found that the last assessment of their work from 2003 was “very successful”.
One official committed suicide
The inspectorate ordered Topić to return the officials to their previous jobs which he did. But then one of the transferred officials committed suicide. Three criminal charges were filed against Topić and one civil lawsuit was initiated. The procedures are still ongoing.
“No information is available about the status of the criminal complaints,” we got told, “but the civil lawsuit which was filed some time around 2008 is still pending in 2016! Welcome to the Croatian legal system! EPO employees may have a feeling of dejà-vu…”
“EPO employees may have a feeling of dejà-vu…”
–AnonymousWe covered one such story only a day ago (this morning we published a Spanish translation).
Our source continues: “One of the lead plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit against Topić is Jadranka Oklobdžija who was the Chairperson of the staff union at the SIPO at the time in question (2007). According to reliable reports from Zagreb, Topić has been summoned to appear before the court in the civil proceedings on four occasions but each time he has failed to turn up.
“The latest hearing in the civil action took place on 1st April 2016. Topić was in Zagreb on the day but despite having been summoned, he didn’t bother to turn up in court for the hearing.
“So it seems that a new summons will now be sent directly to Topić at the EPO in Munich.”
–Anonymous“The judge seems to have got wind of the fact that Topić was in town and she questioned a representative of SIPO about his failure to appear. The SIPO representative said that Topić had arrived in Zagreb the previous day (31 March) and was due to return to Munich the following day (2 April). It seems that the judge was not amused at being treated like an “April fool”. She requested SIPO to provide details of Topić’s address at the EPO so that the court could send a summons to him in Munich. The SIPO representative objected to this but the judge overruled the objection and made an order that Topić’s address in Munich should be disclosed to the court. So it seems that a new summons will now be sent directly to Topić at the EPO in Munich.”
It sure looks like the EPO is unable to escape Topić’s past, no matter how hard it attempts to deny it, even punishing those who ‘dare’ or are brave enough to speak about it. █
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