Passing a law for the sake of “doing something”
Summary: Examples of some new reports that deal with the suggested patent reform in the US and why it is misguided
The debate about software patents in the US is more or less dead or marginalised. Everyone is talking about patent trolls instead. Masnick and other folks noticed that too and they — like us — emphasised that Obama is evading the broader issues. Here is a more optimistic take on it:
When we wrote about President Obama’s plan to deal with patent trolls, we noted a few areas where it was a bit weak and could be improved. In particular, the lack of an independent invention defense and using independent invention as evidence of obviousness would be quite useful in stopping abuses of the patent system. However, I’m a bit confused by Christopher Mims’ complaints about Obama’s patent plan being useless against patent trolls. I think Mims is a bit confused. He claims that there are two real problems with the patent system, and this plan addresses neither: (1) the patent office is understaffed and there’s a backlog of patents and (2) the fact that we grant software patents at all.
The second bit is actually true, as Obama will allow companies like Oracle, Apple and Microsoft to continue attacking Linux with software patents. This is not the solution. How about the recently-concluded Versata case [1, 2, 3] which has just been concluded? Neither company is a troll. To quote a new article:
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ruled that Versata Software’s patent claims against SAP be cancelled as they are ‘unpatentable’.
Versata filed a lawsuit against SAP in 2007 alleging that the German firm’s pricing software infringed a number of its patents.
This is a case where patent scope — not scale of the plaintiff — ends spurious litigation. SAP is not even a US-based company. The USPTO‘s granting of patents is the problem. Here is another report which says “Versata can appeal and SAP has yet to get a $345 million judgment overturned” (no need for any penalties here).
Mr. Feld, a longtime opponent of software patents, was recently distracted by the debate about trolls. Here he is writing again about trolls:
I’ve been asserting for at least six years that patent system is completely broken for the software industry. I’ve given numerous examples, dealt with the issue first hand as patent trolls have tried to extort many of the companies I’m an investor in, and I’ve had many public discussions about the topic.
On my run on Sunday, I listed to This American Life – When Patents Attack… Part Two! It is easily the best and most detailed expose I’ve ever heard on this issue. If you care to really understand how patent trolls work, spend an hour of your life and listen to it.
Why not focus on patents’ scope? This is what he has done for ages. The problem is the patent system, not just litigation (which is the consequence of improper scope). As one person correctly put it: “It’s not just entrepreneurs who bear the direct costs of the dysfunctional U.S. patent system, but consumers as well.”
Here is another new article which focuses not on patents but on litigation. It says: “Patent trolls are the bad guys of the moment. They’re the outfits that buy patents and then sue companies that supposedly infringe on them. Last week, the White House announced a bunch of initiatives to thwart them. Trolls don’t actually make the products covered by those patents. But because patent litigation is expensive and time-consuming, most companies that are prey to a patent troll lawsuit choose to throw money at the trolls to settle even if they think they’d win in court. The result is that the trolls are nearly unstoppable whether their patents are legitimate or not.”
The solution is to explore why those patents are issued in the first place and consider banning such patents. Patent trolls are most commonly using software patents, but nobody seems to be pointing that out. Just look at the status quo in nations without software patents. █
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There are still patents on the progress bar…
Summary: Little progress made with policy moving in the right direction, but by no means the right and absolute solution to USPTO incompetence
THERE ARE interesting rulings out this week. A very vocal proponent of software patents asks about the Versata case [1, 2, 3], “Did the PTAB Just Kill Software Patents?” Well, yes. And it matters. “On Tuesday, June 11,” he writes, “the Patent Trial and Appeals Board issued a ruling in SAP America, Inc. v. Versata Development Group, Inc., which is the result of a Covered Business Method challenge to U.S. Patent No. 6,553,350 filed by SAP on September 16, 2012. The PTAB, per Administrative Patent Judge Michael Tierney, determined that “Versata’s ’350 claims 17, and 26-29 are unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101.” Looking more closely at the ruling, however, makes it clear just how significant this ruling will be. The breadth of the 101 determination is shocking and virtually guarantees that 101 will be used by patent examiners to effectively prevent software patents from issuing altogether.”
“The ruling was limited, so it is too early to celebrate.”Here is a news report about it (AOL). This gets somewhat overshadowed by news about a SCOTUS ruling. An inaccurate report from Rupert Murdoch’s press says “The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes isolated from the body can’t be patented, a victory for doctors and patients who argued that such patents interfere with scientific research and the practice of medicine.”
This is only part of the story, as we’ll explain in days to come. Kevin Granade told me “they affirmed that isolated, unmodified DNA is unpatentable, but ruled the *transcription* of the same as cDNA patentable [...] the reporting has it wrong, the ruling regards all unmodified DNA, not just human DNA. Effectively a key lying on the ground is unpatentable, but if you make an impression you can patent the mold. Very unfortunate.”
The Guardian botched it too. The ruling was limited, so it is too early to celebrate. It’s like celebrating patent trolls getting the attention of Brand Obama. There is no action yet from the White House (just words [1, 2, 3, 4]) and it would not be the resolution of the problems, either. As this new post put it, this is not enough. To quote just the opening:
Patents may have once seemed like a good idea. At least it seemed that way to the Venetians, who in 1474 declared the publication and protection of the “works and devices” of “men of great genius” would encourage others to apply their genius and ultimately benefit their society as a whole.
This noble idea may have had a place in the Italian Renaissance, but wind forward 539 years and we have a patent system infested with “patent trolls” and seemingly endless disputes between software and technology companies expending billions of dollars over ideas that involve neither genius nor benefit to society.
The problem is scope being expanded to things which did not exist when the patent system was conceived. It predates understanding of germs, let alone genetics. It also predates software, let alone computing machines (equivalent of pen and paper). █
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And Schumer Should Focus on the Correct Target (Software Patents), Not Trolls
Summary: Alluding to the fact that politicians pursue a corporate ‘reform’ (benefiting large companies) rather than the obvious reform which the USPTO needs
Somebody called Steph Kennedy contacted me a few days ago. I had an amicable exchange with this person who runs the IP Troll Tracker site — a site which like us seems to realise that the Schumer 'reform' once again got derailed. He now speaks primarily about trolls rather than software patents/scope, which he focused on before. As Steph put it in her unique style, “I suppose on the one hand this is good news…all those software patents people don’t want issued? Well, they’ll languish forever now with the patent office reviewing cases for a living. It’s kind of like when Congress gets deadlocked: that’s a good thing because if they can’t agree? They can’t make more stupid laws.
“Throwing crazy-stupid legislation together so that you can tell your corporate constituents that you are trying to solve their problem? That’s what politicians do.”
“Motorola is a defence mechanism, not an offence mechanism to Google, but EU regulators are too misguided to see this.”She is throwing a wobbly Schumer’s way. He no longer proposes a good reform. Here is another misdirected reform coming from the US government. And another. Why the sudden focus only on trolls? As Masnick’s site puts it: “Of course, even before the law was officially on the books, it looks like Vermont’s Attorney General has already sued a patent troll under existing consumer protection laws (raising questions as to why the new law is necessary). In this case, the troll is one we’ve written about a few times. Remember the series of rotating shell companies that had
claimed that businesses who had a networked scanner need to pay $1,000 per employee? Yeah, that one.”
Here is another report about Congress targeting trolls in isolation. Politicians serve corporate interests, only going after trolls, the side effect of a rogue system. Trolls are, on occasions, a proxy for large corporations, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Microsoft seems to be doing it, Apple hardly ever does (there are a few examples where Apple does this, e.g. MPEG-LA). Google won’t use proxies like Microsoft and Apple do and it states this clearly, upfront.
Motorola is a defence mechanism, not an offence mechanism to Google, but EU regulators are too misguided to see this. completely missing the source of this issue and instead going after the victim which is trying to defend itself by expensive deterrence plan.
It is worth noting that Steph misunderstood some of the points I had made prior to the post in question, based on her response to me (posted some hours ago). Patent Troll Tracker was a lawyer, not her. The point I was making is that refocusing on trolls is often something that lawyers, politicians and lobbyists do, whereas bloggers often fall right into the same trap and lose sight of patent scope as the principal issue. The one point I disagree with Steph is that she says some companies are “actually selling off some of their patents to the trolls themselves (possibly and potentially Google and definitely Ericsson).”
Actually, while Ericsson is a good example which we covered before [1, 2, 3], she should mention Apple and Microsoft, not Google. Name even one troll which was fed by Google. None, right?
“Throwing crazy-stupid legislation together so that you can tell your corporate constituents that you are trying to solve their problem? That’s what politicians do.”
–Steph KennedyA good example of an Apple- and Microsoft-backed patent troll is Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll. How come Congress does not tackle this extortion operation? Too big to jail or even address. As Steph put it a few weeks ago, this troll makes nothing except propaganda. She wrote: “What long-term positive PR that IV thought they were going to accomplish with this survey is anybody’s guess.”
As long as the USPTO is controlled by giants like software patents booster IBM, nothing will change for the better without a real fight.
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, an IBM veteran who endorses software patents, continues to post his pro-patents dross. These are the people who, sadly enough, control the politicians. A politicians who works for common interests is not a politicia but an activist. Strong action is needed to fix patent scope; Congress just isn’t doing it, █
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Summary: The collection of opinions from notable figures and sources that analysed the CAFC decision regarding a software patent in the US
Excessive optimism in NZ will do not good for the cause of software patents elimination. Software patents have been weakened in NZ, but they are not dead. The same is true for EU. Loopholes remain, and they remain by design.
A couple of days ago we mentioned the CAFC (US) ruling/s, noting that it helps legitimise the status quo because mixed messages are sent, offering no decent clarity. It was a missed opportunity. CAFC was not only lobbied by multinational corporations but also front groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which is funded by Microsoft for lobbying (for software patents of course). Here is the original ruling/s
[PDF] (text version here). Grant Gross wrote in IDG that the ruling/s could be the end of software patents. It could, but won’t. “The case generated briefs from Google, Facebook, Newegg and software trade group BSA, with some tech companies arguing the Alice patents should be invalid,” he writes. And based on this report, perhaps the headline in particular, Nicolas Charbonnier wrote: “Most Apple and Microsoft patents are hereby invalidated and worthless. Have a nice day.”
The article from Groklaw was more in-depth than most and it transcribed /extracted the content of the PDF, making it more accessible and searchable. Pamela Jones wrote: “I remember the first time we wrote on Groklaw that software and patents need to get a divorce. Remember? So long ago, and how everybody laughed at us. I remember that too. I am thinking about Apple and Microsoft and all the software patent bullies. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Restrained optimism is better than excessive optimism, but let’s survey some other optimists. Jones wrote by citation/blockquote, attributing Moore: “Let’s be clear: if all of these claims, including the system claims, are not patent-eligible, this case is the death of hundreds of thousands of patents, including all business method, financial system, and software patents as well as many computer implemented and telecommunications patents” (that is why it’s such a big case).
Brian J. Love, a Law Professor at Santa Clara University, said: “Ultimate analysis of CLS Bank: Back where we started, in that panel draw still determines who wins 101 appeals in software cases.”
Poul-Henning Kamp, “Author of a lot of FreeBSD, most of Varnish and tons of other Open Source Software” (to use his own description of himself), said it “Looks a lot like the end of pure software patents to me” (source).
The Oregonian correctly pointed out that the court was split on the issue. To quote: “The nation’s top patent court issued a deeply divided opinion Friday on how to determine whether software is eligible for legal protection, reflecting the broader debate that has split the computer industry.
“The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which handles all patent appeals, issued a 135-page decision by 10 circuit judges that included five viewpoints and “additional reflections” from Chief Judge Randall Rader.”
AOL said that the “Federal Circuit Rules Software Invention Unpatentable” and this is inaccurate if applied to the whole, in generality. This gives false expectation that something will happen despite there being no major change.
The bottom line is, as the EFF points out, patentability of software needs to be addressed by the SCOTUS again. The decision there needs to be less than a two-way tie this time around. █
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When corporations are allegedly people and corporate lawyers — people whose professional agenda is to prop up ‘IP’ — are writing the laws
Summary: No signs of real change because hearings involve lawyers of large corporations rather than representatives of public interests
The USPTO remains a farce of a system which strives to assimilate patent offices all around the world to itself. It needs to be stopped or else we will all face the consequences, be those consequences visible or not. A lot of what we buy costs little to manufacture, but since we pay patent tolls prices can be inflated considerably.
Groklaw writes about the House hearing we were referring to the other day. It is a debate for lawyers only, based on this summary which states:
Thursday was the hearing on abusive patent litigation by the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. By abusive patent litigation, they mean trolls — or as one calls them when one holds one’s pinky genteelly in the air, NPEs, nonpracticing entities. I put out a call for one of Groklaw’s own to attend and let us know what happened. Webster was able to attend, and he has provided an eyewitness account for us in his own inimitable style.
The chairman of the hearing, US Representative Bob Goodlatte, opened with a statement, as did several members of the subcommittee with a little speechifying of their own, and then the invited witnesses of the day each told about their company’s experiences with abusive litigation, except for one, a lawyer whose firm represents trolls and who opined that the patent system is working well overall. If you click each of the following names of the witnesses, you can download as a PDF the written testimony each provided in advance:
* Mr. Mark Chandler, Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary, Cisco Systems, Inc.
* Ms. Janet L. Dhillon, Exec. VP, General Counsel and Secretary, J.C. Penney Company, Inc.
* Mr. John G. Boswell, Sr. VP, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, SAS Institute, Inc.
* Mr. C. Graham Gerst, Partner, Global IP Law Group, LLC
* Mr. Philip S. Johnson, Sr. VP and Chief IP Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
* Mr. Dana Rao, VP and Assoc. General Counsel for Intellectual Property Litigation, Adobe Systems, Inc.
Mark Bohannon, Red hat’s Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy, wrote about this hearing as follows:
As President Obama pointed out in February, the patent reform legislation Congress passed several years ago hasn’t “captured all the problems” and the bill “only went about halfway to where we need to go.”
“[Patent trolls] are a classic example. They don’t actually produce anything themselves,” the President said. “They’re just trying to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”
It is important to keep contacting policy makers on this important issue. If you haven’t done so, let the members of the Judiciary Committee in both the House and Senate hear from you. Your voice is important and can make a difference.
Your voice is important and but unfortunately you cannot make a difference. Why? Because unless you have the name of some giant corporation next to your name and you claim to have a degree in law, these people will treat you like dirt and will never give you a platform, let alone any influence.
The FSF is about to have a more suitable public event about patents — one where actual scientists participate. Here are the details which the FSF published this week:
Chicago, IL – Room 1040, 10th floor, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, Philip H. Corboy Law Center, 25 E. Pearson St., Water Tower Campus, Loyola University Chicago
Going back to Groklaw, Posner, a critic of the patent system and of software patents in particular [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is mentioned in this article which alludes to the patent fight against Android:
Motorola has now filed its response to Apple’s appeal of Judge Richard Posner’s decision to toss out Apple’s claims against Motorola (and vice versa), and it adds its own cross appeal [PDF] on the vice versa part — especially challenging the implication of Judge Posner’s ruling that there can be no injunctive relief for FRAND patent owners ever, as a categorical rule.
A blanket denial of the right to seek injunctive relief, Motorola argues, violates patent law, contradicts eBay v. MercExchange [PDF], where the US Supreme Court held that it was error to come up with a categorical rule that “injunctive relief could not issue in a broad swath of cases”, and violates the original expectations of donors of technology to standards bodies. In fact, it says any such rule would violate the US Constitution, which provides that Congress shall have power to secure exclusive rights for inventors, and in the Patent Act Congress came up with, it says every grant to a patentee includes the right to exclude others. Motorola asserts that it has never waived its rights to injunctive relief and states that there is no language in its ETSI agreements requiring it to do so. Motorola argues that there should continue to be a case-by-case analysis under eBay, with judges having discretion to make such decisions based on the particular facts of each case.
Fair warning, though: the PDF is 737 pages. The actual brief is one-tenth that, 73 pages, so I’ve done that part of it for you as text. The rest is a collection of patents at issue, judge’s orders in this case, and one from a related Apple v. Motorola litigation in Wisconsin, which is where this case began, before being transferred to Illinois and Judge Posner.
Posner, a US judge, has so far been the exception when it comes too his views on these patent battles and software patents, which he opposes. The house hearing had nobody like Posner in it; it was just a bunch of lawyers bickering and gloating over patents.
Here is LG using patent FUD against its biggest national rival. It’s about software patents:
The Samsung Galaxy S4 possibly uses a new type of eye-tracking software that LG believes violates one of its own patents.
LG on Tuesday claimed that its South Korean competitor may have violated the company’s patent which pauses video clips when a user turns their head away from the video they are watching.
During the Samsung Galaxy S4 event last week the company announced the new feature as one of the smartphones best new options.
Samsung however was very clear in stating that it does not actually use eye-tracking technology but rather facial recognition software.
Apple too is reportedly being hit by patents relating to software:
The Wall Street Journal reports that patent holding company Intertrust Technologies Corp. has filed suit against Apple, accusing the Cupertino-based company of infringing on 15 of Intertrust’s patents related to “security and distributed trusted computing.”
Publications like the Wall Street Journal view the patent problem as trolls hurting large corporations such as Apple. But it’s not the real issue. It’s just a symptom of the real issue. The multinational corporations try to change the law to benefit corporations, not trolls and not anyone else. People should be outraged by this. █
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Summary: Australia and New Zealand are having software patents phased in by multinational corporations in the same way as in Europe
THE PRESIDENT of the FFII has resumed keeping track of the Unified Patent Court, which would affect us here in the UK, amongst other countries. This disturbing new post says that “Vince Cable signs Unified Patent Court agreement in Brussels: patent attorneys call for a proper economic impact survey before the agreement is ratified”.
Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, a longtime opponent of the Unified Patent Court, wrote that “Only Gandalf can protect Europe from the Unitary Patent”. He says that “with #UnitaryPatent EU has waived even more prowers to #EPO,” which is something that Glyn Moody finds “really depressing” and “fortunately,” he says, “I’m still convinced that #UnitaryPatent will never ever enter into force…”
Sédrati-Dinet worried when “@montebourg ha[d] signed agreement on a #patent court exposing French firms to the threats of #patentTrolls” and Mark Summerfield said that “Sir Robin calls claims that European #patent would save money ‘lies’, based on assumption that you would patent across all Europe.”
André Rebentisch, also from the FFII, wrote: “Berlin Airport everywhere: Business Europe says let’s adopt #Unipat Court in neglect of technical difficulties http://www.europolitics.info/business-competitiveness/patent-if-the-system-is-not-operational-it-won-t-be-used-art348322-45.html …”
Separately he wrote: “Yesterday speech of Commissioner Michel Barnier on unitary patent http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-13-132_en.htm?locale=en …” (Barnier is one of the principal architects and boosters of this whole mess).
Here is part of Sédrati-Dinet’s detailed analysis of this subject:
Now that, despite all legal, political and economic issues, the European Parliament has approved the regulation on the unitary patent, just as anticipated, it is time to move away from the legislative battle. The unitary patent has still a long way to go before becoming applicable. It is likely that it will be nothing more than a stillborn child. Meanwhile, the threat is hovering over European innovation and growth. It is time now to see whether and how Gandalf’s magical powers can overcome dark forces of Mordor.
New Zealand has been following the same trajectory as the EU because the “forces of Mordor,” as Sédrati-Dinet calls them (referring perhaps to multinationals), sought to make the 'as such" trick a matter of law and then, through trade agreements (so-called uniformity and unification) they try to export/import primarily US-based software patents. It is the same in Australia, which has gone along a similar route (being somewhat of a US client state, as the Julian Assange story helped show).
Here is a noteworthy new article about what happens in New Zealand:
Recently I wrote about looming changes to New Zealand’s patent laws that could have a dramatic and lasting impact on the future shape of New Zealand’s tech sector.
The hope held out by many was that software would be excluded from being covered by patents, however it now appears that the government is likely to change patent legislation so that software can be patented.
Even though the Commerce Select Committee and numerous industry experts have all recommended that software be excluded from patentability, amendments made to the bill after pressure was placed on the government could be sufficiently vague that software could end up being patented.
Yes, just like here in Europe. Be prepared for NZ and Australia to sign some more ‘free’ ‘trade’ agreements to help pave the way to a global patent system where software is patentable (as covered here many times before). That is, unless we rise up and stop this global, as in worldwide, madness… █
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Summary: New lows for the USPTO as public opinion shifts against it and patent lawyers, the rising robber barons in technology, struggle to keep the status quo
The patent lawyers crowd finds that “Micron has just received its own patent covering a “system and method for controlling user access to an electronic device.” U.S. Patent No 8,352,745 issued in January 2013 but claims priority to an original application filed in February 2000 and lists Jim McKeeth as inventor.”
But Apple insists it has invented the concept.
Pamela Jones suggests: “This is why the solution to the software patent problem is to get rid of all software patents. We can’t just have the USPTO pick better ones to grant while denying the silly ones. Clearly, they have no clue which is which.”
The USPTO is under a lot of pressure these days and it does feel the heat based on its actions. Another lawyers’ site touches the subject by saying that “Fed. Circ. Aims For Clear Rules On Software Patents”. Mark Cuban’s views on the subject are quickly spreading to more outlets:
Outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban is not happy with the current state of the American patent system and he is speaking out against its current state.
In an interview with TechCrunch Cuban says the current patent system is full of “dumb*ss patents [that] are crushing small businesses.”
Mark Cuban feels so passionate about his patent fight that he has teamed up with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to “eliminate stupid patents” that leave company’s shelling out millions of dollars for the right to use basic technology advances.
According to Cuban he is simply trying to “get the message to politicians that patent trolls are costing taxpayers… and small businesses money that could otherwise be used for innovation and creating jobs.”
Cuban [1, 2, 3] gave money to the cause, which he deserves credit for. He did this out of self interest, but many share his pain, so his battle of self interest is the opposite of patent lawyers’.
Over in New Zealand, Matt Adams from pro-software patents firm AJ Park [1, 2, 3, 4] keeps promoting the other side’s ’cause’ (so-called “patent buff” is just a patent profiteer) because just some months ago when
Craig Foss stuck his nose in matters he does not seem to understand the lawyers thought they had gotten the upper hand. Let’s fight to ensure they never get their way. █
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Summary: Action against patent trolling seems imminent, but the behaviour of companies like Apple is largely overlooked for now
Parasitical elements in a government-backed scheme are being tackled by the government, which is still investigating the matter. Apple has been suing Android, which it views as a top rival. The aim is to tax (make more expensive) or castrate Android. As one report put it last week:
At the end of August, Apple Inc seemed on top of the world. Fresh off a resounding $1.05 billion U.S. legal victory over arch-foe Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the company was gearing up to launch the fifth iteration of its iconic iPhone. Just a week prior, its market value had surpassed Microsoft Corp’s and it became the most valuable technology company in history.
Things have gotten worse for Apple since then. Samsung phones easily outsells Apple ones and Apple’s public identity, that of somewhat of a troll, did its reputation a lot of damage. Trial misconduct [1, 2] does not help, either. As Groklaw put it:
Yet in a later media event at Gizmodo where anyone could ask him questions, Hogan was asked a question about whether he had considered if the patents should have issues, which he answered by contradicting the above instructions:
Demon-Xanth: Did you have the opportunity to ask “Is this something that should be patentable?” during the trial?
Velvin Hogan: @Demon-Xanth No, however it was not the function of this jury to ask that. We were bound to use the law as it is today. The patents were issued the judge instructed us not to second guess the current patent system.
Samsung said he was “deliberately dishonest”.
The Federal Trade Commission, which we wrote about in [1, 2], misses the point; it should know by now that the problem is not trolls, it’s the system. But addressing the problem by debating it would be a good start:
The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice will hold a joint public workshop on Dec. 10, 2012, to explore the impact of patent assertion entity (PAE) activities on innovation and competition and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy.
“Professor Chien relates (at around 33:55) that in 2012, 61% of all new patent litigation was brought by trolls, that is by entities that don’t make anything,” remarks Pamela Jones. Here is a new article about the cost of patent trolls:
Patent trolls drain businesses of billions of dollars a year. And if you have a website–any website–you are a potential target. Here’s what you need to know if they come after your business.
Here is another article:
For the first time, individuals and companies that do not themselves make anything – commonly known as “patent trolls” – are bringing the majority of U.S. patent lawsuits, according to a study by a California law professor.
The Federal Circuit is said to have another chance to change course and do the right thing:
Federal Circuit Declines Chance to Eliminate Split Involving Standard of Review, Prompting Blistering Dissent
“Not surprisingly,” Judge Moore explained, “given the clear direction from the Supreme Court, the regional circuits are unanimous that the issue of objective reasonableness under Rule 11 is to be reviewed deferentially by the appellate courts.”
The software patents booster calls it a troll turning point:
On Friday, December 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential opinion in Raylon v. Complus Data that gives hope to defendants everywhere who face objectively baseless patent infringement claims.
It seems like the FTC and some high courts still have an opportunity to change course. Let’s wait and see. The problem is, there are patent lawyers everywhere, at all levels. They try to guard the status quo and make things worse by assimilation, e.g. in Europe and New Zealand. █
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