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06.12.16

Samsung’s Patent Cases Matter to Design Patents (Scope), to Android, and by Extension to GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, Corel, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung has the power to put an end to a controversial type of patents that are similar to software patents

Gates
Slide to unlock: novel or medieval?

Summary: A couple of new developments in Apple’s dispute about the ‘design’ of Samsung’s Android phones, which emulate extremely old concepts in digital form

WE are definitely not friends of Samsung (never have been), but some of its patent cases in recent years (especially against Microsoft and Apple) have had profound implications/impact.

“How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place?”Here is Professor Mark Lemley sharing his “brief for 50 IP professors on design patent damages in the Samsung v. Apple Supreme Court case” (local copy to ensure it endures the test of time). This is one of several such cases that involve Apple and Samsung. Florian Müller wrote that this is about as absurd as Microsoft’s patent bullying “over tiny arrow”. To quote the relevant part: “This is one of the patents Microsoft is presently asserting against Corel. Last summer I reported on Corel drawing first blood by suing Microsoft over a bunch of preview-related patents. A few months later, Microsoft retaliated with the assertion of six utility patents and four design patents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation named one of Microsoft’s design patents-in-suit the “stupid patent of the month” of December 2015 because it merely covered the design of a slider. But that patent isn’t nearly as bad as U.S. Design Patent No. D550,237, which practically just covers a tiny arrow positioned in the lower right corner of a rectangle. If you look at the drawings, particularly this one, note that the dotted lines mark the parts that aren’t claimed. What’s really claimed is just a rectangle with another rectangle inside and that tiny graphical arrow in the bottom right corner.”

“This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist.”How on Earth were such patents granted in the first place? It’s not surprising that USPTO patent quality has declined so badly and so quickly and there are new patent quality studies regarding the USPTO. Will any similar studies look closely at EPO patent quality as well?

According to an Apple advocacy site, patents on design might not reach SCOTUS after all. This is bad news to all who hoped that SCOTUS would put en end to design patents once and for all.”Samsung Electronics welcomes support for overturning U.S. court ruling in Apple case,” said this new article, which along with others said “Justice Department Urges High Court Overturn Award to Apple Over Samsung Smartphones”. This sounds good on the surface, but unless the SCOTUS Justices rule on this, the perceived legitimacy of design patents may persist. As Müller put it: “Reading all amicus briefs in Samsung v. Apple (design patent damages). Momentum behind call for reasonableness is very impressive.” It looks very likely that if the SCOTUS rules on this, it will help demolish many design patents by extension, in the same way that Alice at SCOTUS put an end to many software patents in the United States. “A federal appeals court awarded about $500 million in damages to Apple for design patent infringement,” recalled one article, demonstrating just how much money can be at stake due to one single patent. “Design patent owners shouldn’t get 100% of the profits when only 1% of the product infringes, EFF tells court,” according to the EFF’s Twitter account and accompanying blog post that says: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court today to reverse a ruling that required Samsung to pay Apple all the profits it earned from smartphones that infringed three basic design patents owned by the iPhone maker.

“Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits.”“The $399-million damage award against Samsung, upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the Apple v. Samsung patent lawsuit, should be thrown out, EFF told the court in an amicus brief filed today with Public Knowledge and The R Street Institute. Forcing defendants to give up 100% of their profits for infringing designs that may only marginally contribute to a product’s overall look and functionality will encourage frivolous lawsuits and lead to excessive damage awards that will raise prices for consumers and deter innovation.”

Don’t fall for the corporate media’s narrative of Apple as the victim even when software patents are to blame. Apple is the aggressor, whereas Samsung — like Google — is hardly ever initiating patent lawsuits. We hope that Samsung will take this all the way up to the Supreme Court (more expensive to Samsung but collectively beneficial to all) and eventually win. The net effect might be the end of many design patents in the US. Those patents so often threaten GNU/Linux or Android products, as we have repeatedly shown here over the years. Will Samsung do a public service here?

06.06.16

Samsung’s Case at the Supreme Court Will Have Ramifications for Free Software, Amici Curiae Submitted

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Patents, Samsung at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung

Summary: A look at some of Samsung’s ongoing high-profile patent cases which involve Apple

“The Samsung case [one of several ongoing cases] is particularly interesting,” said Standard Law the other day, “because it turns on the “non-discrimination” prong of RAND. Little case law on what ND means.”

RAND (or FRAND) is an anti-Free software (FOSS) loophole. It’s how proprietary software giants like Apple and Microsoft every so often try to exclude FOSS while calling this reasonable, non-discriminatory and fair (i.e. a series of euphemisms, one longer than the other). In practice, RAND is means UnReasonable and Discriminatory, sometimes UnFair too (FRAND). It’s typically about software patents.

“RAND (or FRAND) is an anti-Free software (FOSS) loophole.”“In a statement to Patently-O,” it has just been said, “Samsung argued that “If the current ruling is left to stand, it would value a single design patent over the hundreds of thousands of groundbreaking technology patents, leading to vastly overvalued design patents.” The itself brief cites Professor Rantanen’s 2015 essay for the proposition that the high damage is likely result in an “explosion of design patent assertions and lawsuits.””

In the mean time, another (new) article by Jason Rantanen explores CAFC appeals — a stage that Samsung has already been through. It will soon reach the Supreme Court (the design patent case at least).

Sharing Samsung’s Supreme Court brief, one said a few days ago that we now have access to “Samsung’s Supreme Court brief addressing the question of whether section 289 of the Patent Act requires the disgorgement of the defendant’s total profit from sales of design patent infringing products, or only the profit attributable to the infringing component.”

“For all we know, not a single case at SCOTUS will present the chance/opportunity to challenge software patents, or override Alice as a precedent.”Patently-O still keeps track of new Supreme Court patent cases and there is a new short article by Dennis Crouch which zooms in on one particular case. He wrote: “On remand from the Supreme Court vacatur, the Federal Circuit has reaffirmed its prior NuVasive decision and – in the process limited the reach of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision of Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1920 (2015).”

For all we know, not a single case at SCOTUS will present the chance/opportunity to challenge software patents, or override Alice as a precedent. The case of Samsung is about design patents and one new article says that “in the next five years the chances are this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. So what has this continuing battle demonstrated about patent law?”

“It’s going to be interesting to see which companies will oppose Apple’s ludicrous design patents (probably Google and Facebook, judging by what happened before).”The deadline for amici curiae has passed and Samsung can now wait and prepare for this important case that will hopefully determine design patents are out of line. As a bit of background on this: “More than two months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States granted Samsung’s petition for writ of certiorari (request for top-court review) regarding design patent damages, which was supported by Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Tomorrow [last week actually], Samsung has to file its opening brief. At this level of proceeding the parties’ positions, theories and arguments are largely known, but it will be very interesting to see what priorities they set, what case law they can find in support of their positions, and which amici curiae (“friends of the court”) will support them.”

We are still not aware of any information related to this, maybe because the amicis have not yet been published. It’s going to be interesting to see which companies will oppose Apple’s ludicrous design patents (probably Google and Facebook, judging by what happened before).

Speaking of certiorari, Patently-O reports that “Hospira explained that both the district court weighed the secondary indicia of non-obviousness and found them “not sufficiently strong to overcome the showing of obviousness arising from an analysis of the prior art.” To Hospira, the petition was basically a request that the Supreme Court conduct its own factual analysis.”

The very fact that the Supreme Court is not revisiting any software patents cases (so far) may serve to suggest confidence in the Alice case, much to the chagrin of Big Business lobbyists.

04.14.16

Codiciósos Acumuladores de Patentes de Software Caen en Picada en Los EE.UU

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 10:58 am por el Dr.

Going down

Sumario: Casi dos años después de la histórica decisión Alice compañías que se embarcan de manera grade en las patentes de software (y regalías de patentes) están perdiéndo su preeminencia en elsistema de patentes de los EE. UU.
De acuerdo a este nuevo informe de IAM, Samsung es ahora el número 1 en las patentes de los EE.UU. (total). IBM está cayendo por la escalera con bastante rapidez en medio de despidos y vale la pena mencionar que IBM es ahora un agresor patentes. Ataca a las empresas legítimas, con las patentes de software como arma [1, 2] (estrategia de patentes típico de las empresas que estan en decadencia). Hablando de estas empresas, Microsoft está en el número 4 en su país de origen, tras haber perdido impulso no sólo como empresa (ahora en su mayoría una sanguijuela y parásito de patentes), sino también como un solicitante de patentes.

La buena noticia de todo esto es que, tradicionalmente, como muchos sitios señalan correctamente, las empresas coreanas no son agresivos con patentes. Samsung no es una excepción a esto. Además, que Samsung es una empresa productora (hardware), por lo que no muchos de sus patentes pertenecen al software. Samsung utiliza una gran cantidad de Linux en sus sistemas; en algunos casos se desarrolla sus propios sistemas operativos como Bada Tizen, o en lugar de confiar ciegamente en Android.

Otro informe IAM admitió que no era correcto. Habíá afirmado previamente que el troll de patentes de Ericsson se estaba cambiando el nombre/reformado de nuevo, pero esto resulta ser falso. IAM luego dice que algunas personas en Taiwan consideran hacer lo mismo (la creación de un troll propio, como el Licensing de Microsoft o Unwired Planet en el caso de Ericsson), pero sobre todo cita a las personas que se benefician de un litigio, no tecnólogos. Bueno, eso es clásico solamente de parte de IAM …

Mirando a algunos sitios centrados en patentes más creíbles, rápidamente nos enteramos de más de burbuja estallándo en este ámbito de las patentes. “La decisión del juez Dyk y unidos por el Juez Principal Prost y el juez Taranto afirma el despido de un tribunal inferior on-the-escritos de demanda por infracción de patentes de GTG,” dice Patently-O. “La celebración es que el procedimiento reivindicado para el análisis de ADN para el desequilibrio de ligamiento no es elegible para reclamar la manera más eficaz una ley de la naturaleza. La idea básica se deriva del descubrimiento de los inventores de que las regiones codificantes (exones) típicamente se correlacionan con “enlaces” ciertas regiones no codificantes (intrones). [...] GTG es una empresa australiana que había demandado previamente a unas pocas docenas de compañías por infringir la patentes 179. Las demandas se han reexaminado (a petición de Merial) y la patentabilidad confirmado.”

Actualmente, las patentesd de software no son tan potentes como solían ser (en las US courts/PTAB) lo muestran. Esperamos que las decisiones de los años venideros enviáran la señal de que hay poco/inexistente incentivo para las patentes de software, irrespectivamente de la laleniencia de la USPTO.

04.12.16

Software Patents Hoarders Going Down in the United States

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 10:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Going down

Summary: Nearly two years after the historic Alice decision companies that rely a great deal on software patents (and patent royalties) are losing their prominence in the US patent system

According this new IAM report, Samsung is now number 1 in US patents (total). IBM is falling down the ladder rather quickly amid layoffs and it is worth mentioning that IBM is now a patent aggressor. It attacks legitimate companies, with software patents as a weapon [1, 2] (typical patent strategy of failing companies). Speaking of failing companies, Microsoft is at number 4 in its home country, having lost momentum not only as a company (now mostly a leech and patent parasite) but also as a patent applicant.

The good news about all this is that traditionally, as many sites correctly point out, Korean companies are not aggressive with patents. Samsung is no exception to this. Morever, Samsung is a producing company (hardware), so not so many of its patents pertain to software. Samsung uses a lot of Linux in its systems; in some cases it develops its own operating systems such as Bada or Tizen, rather than blindly rely on Android.

Another IAM report admits that it was wrong. It previously claimed that the patent troll of Ericsson was being renamed/reshaped again, but this turns out to be false. IAM then says that some people in Taiwan consider doing the same thing (creating a troll of their own, like Microsoft Licensing or Unwired Planet in the case of Ericsson), but it mostly quotes people who profit from litigation, not technologists. Well, that’s just IAM…

Looking at some more credible patents-centric sites, we quickly learn of more bubble-bursting in this area of patenting. “The decision by Judge Dyk and joined by Chief Judge Prost and Judge Taranto affirms a lower court’s dismissal on-the-pleadings of GTG’s patent infringement claim,” says Patently-O. “The holding is that the claimed method for analyzing DNA for linkage disequilibrium is ineligible for as effectively claiming a law of nature. The basic idea stems from the inventors discovery that coding regions (exons) typically correlate with “linked” certain non-coding regions (introns). [...] GTG is an Australian company that had previously sued a few dozen companies for infringing the ‘179 patent. The claims have been reexamined (at Merial’s request) and patentability confirmed.”

Nowadays, software patents aren’t quite as potent as before (in US courts/PTAB) and it shows. We hope that the coming few years’ decisions will send out the signal that there’s little incentive to software patenting, irrespective of USPTO lenience.

04.07.16

Samsung to Potentially Challenge Design Patents in the US Supreme Court While Filing Patent Applications for Designs

Posted in America, Apple, Courtroom, Law, Patents, Samsung at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defensive, offensive, or just outright dumb and unnecessary? Hypocritical for sure.

Gates

Summary: Dumb patents on very dumb/trivial ideas (like gate-locking, or slide to unlock) still a subject which the higher US courts deem worthy of Supreme intervention (while Samsung itself joins the problem with new patent filings)

KOREAN giant Samsung, the market leader in the Android space, is an attractive target for patent lawsuits, even though conventionally Korean companies aren’t combative patent aggressors themselves (they don’t deserve the pricey defendant’s treatment). There’s no escaping the aggressors for Samsung, which even got attacked using EPO patents on software and designs (Samsung won as the EPO patents turned out to be bogus, i.e. erroneously granted).

“There’s no escaping the aggressors for Samsung, which even got attacked using EPO patents on software and designs (Samsung won as the EPO patents turned out to be bogus, i.e. erroneously granted).”Samsung is pursuing design patents of its own now, based on the latest news, e.g. [1, 2, 3] (we found more than a dozen articles about this one) and Apple’s attack on Samsung using design patents is still a subject of discussion, even 2.5 weeks after it was news. This one new blog post says: “Oral argument has not yet been scheduled, but I imagine it will be held sometime in October or November after the Court returns from its summer recess. For now, at least, it seems likely that the Court will still consist of only eight, not the full complement of nine, justices.”

By extension, a lot of design patents will be considered/assessed by SCOTUS, but why were they being granted in the first place? Designs are often covered by laws other than patent law. In the context of patents it’s common for callback functions, i.e. software (behaviour), to be incorporated into the static (visual i.e. plottable) design.

“In the context of patents it’s common for callback functions, i.e. software (behaviour), to be incorporated into the static (visual i.e. plottable) design.”As we pointed out here a long time ago, design patents are in many cases just a subclass of software patents, hence they both need to go away. MIP does not quite agree and in a very recent post about “design rights” (not quite the same as design patents) it said: “After attending the recent INTA/AIPPI conference on “Designs: Into the Future”, James Nurton summarises what there is to love about designs – and also a few reasons not to love them. On the following pages, we also look in depth at the recent Trunki decision in the UK and the pending Apple v Samsung case in the United States”

The Trunki case has been mentioned many times in our daily links. It’s truly dumb and some might call it outrageous. But it’s not about patents. There is hardly a connection/parable here. Either way, to conflate or interject it into the Apple v Samsung would only mislead.

04.05.16

Massive Cases Launched by Patent Trolls in the US Almost Always About Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 9:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Texas map

Summary: A roundup of recent news about patents and stories about patent trolls that use software patents against large companies

TECHRIGHTS is not against patents; it is against particular patents, or put another way, there are types of patents that are exceptionally problematic (because of other protections) and scientific fields (or domains) that should not have patents on them because these are inadequate for technical and economic reasons (technical because they retard development or innovation and economic because there’s insufficient evidence that they bring about overall prosperity or increase/improve competitiveness).

“Samsung fights on because Apple too infringes/steps on a lot of Samsung patents (many of them on software).”Dr. Glyn Moody bemoans patents on genes today (he wrote a whole book on the subject), IAM writes about patents on drones today, and an interesting new article by Joe Mullin speaks about a patent troll, SimpleAir, which attacked Google and wanted $85 million for a stupid software patent. He notes that “a SimpleAir expert said that Microsoft had likely paid $5 million to license the ’914 patent.” (to be fair, it’s not just a Microsoft thing because, to quote Mullin, “SimpleAir used its “push notification” patents to file waves of lawsuits in 2008 and 2013 against companies like CBS, eBay, Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, and MySpace.”)

“It really ought to be widely accepted (it’s increasingly realised in industry) that a lot of the problems stem from software patenting, not just trolls.”Now consider VirnetX‘s case against Apple, which sees Samsung on the same side as Apple, in spite of the Supreme Court level Apple lawsuit against Samsung and other such cases (the EPO‘s clueless President doesn't seem to know what Apple does in European courts). What we deal with here is a software patent used by a troll to amass money at the expense of companies which actually create something. A new article titled “How the Samsung vs Apple Supreme Court battle affects Android” says that “Apple successfully sued Samsung for iPhone patent infringement in 2012, but now the real battle has begun. Despite Apple’s pleadings, the Supreme Court – the highest court in the United States – is reviewing the case. As this is the first patent case taken up by the court in more than 120 years, the outcome would have a massive effect on smartphone design in the future – the Galaxy S8 included.”

When it comes to Apple and Samsung, both companies have a lot of patents. If Apple was purely a patent troll (or relied on trolls as satellites), then for Samsung to retaliate would be virtually impossible and settlement money would be coughed out faster. Samsung fights on because Apple too infringes/steps on a lot of Samsung patents (many of them on software).

It really ought to be widely accepted (it’s increasingly realised in industry) that a lot of the problems stem from software patenting, not just trolls.

03.28.16

Patentes de Software en los US – Cuando son Propiamente Desafíadase en una Era de Extrema Leniencia de la USPTO – Simplemente Mueren

Posted in America, Apple, Patents, Samsung at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Publicado en America, Apple, Patentes, Samsung at 11:50 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

La sin precedentes barra de baja examinación en la oficina de patentes de Estados Unidos hizo una gran cantidad de patentes de software sospechosas o totalmente falsas

Rubber stamps

Sumario: Sellando unas felices examinaciones en cuanto se trata de patentes de software, esta teniendo su tardío efecto en los aplicantes quienes ven sus patentes o inválidadas or masívamente devaluados después de que la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos (SCOTUSP) las evalúa

“La definición de un Troll de patentes es totalmente simple,” escribió una persona temprano esta semana, haciendo eco a lo que algunos de nostros define “[cref 90921 PAE” estos dias. Es “cualquier compañía que hace la mayoría de su dinero usando patentes al amenazar con litigatión.”

Eso es exactamente lo que el “licensing de Microsoft” esta haciéndo. Microsoft ahora tiene su in-house troll de patentes, or PAE, de lo que escribimos la semana pasada.

“Eso es exactamente lo que el “licensing de Microsoft” esta haciéndo. Microsoft ahora tiene su in-house troll de patentes, or PAE…”Afortunadamente la consecuencias de la mayoría de trolles (or PAES) esta en las rocas por Alice. Las patentes de software no pueden dejar de morir, en ambas PTAB y en las cortes. La USPTO últimamente permite que casi cualquier cosa sea patentada (la EPO tiene que observar esto y tomarlo como algo precaucionador), pero simplemente por que una patente es otorgada, no significa que sea válida si/cuando es desafíáda de la manera apropiada, especialmente si esta patente cubre o se relaciona al software.

“Esta decisión de la PTAB invalidándo los reclamos de la patente IV bajo 101 es transtornada,” escribió un abogado de patentes, linking a esta decisión contra Intellectual Ventures, el TROLL de PATENTES de Microsoft y Bill Gates, así como el troll de patentes MÁS GRANDE DEL MUNDO.

“La única patente buena es la patente muerta.”“La hermana de esta patente,” añadió este abogado (citando la patente #9050977), “Conseguí una Rechazo 101” o como este tweet lo pone: “This reads like an un-patentable mental process that drivers do-just “done on a computer”. http://www.pat2pdf.org/patents/pat9290181.pdf” [patent #9290181]

La única patente buena es la patente muerta. Otro nuevo ejemplo de patente de software muerta es esta. Para citar el blog de Docket Rport:

En una escrita decisión final, el Jurado encontró recmaos de un contenido electrónico de distribución no-patentabje bajo
35 U.S.C. § 101. “La ’patente 464 describe que publicaciones electrónicas fueron comúnmente repeditas en una forma leíble por computadora en storage magnético o óptico diskettes y distribuídos a tiendas o por ventas directas de correo. Así el concepto de distribución de publicaciones (contenido), ha sido conocido mucho antes que la patente ´464. Más aún acordamos con el petitioner que distribución de publicaciones (versus publicaciones electrónicas), han sido conocidas por largo tiempo… [Nosotros] determinamos que los reclamos están dirigidos al concepto ABSTRACTO de distribuír contenido electrónico, o más específicamente, a seleccionar, transportar, guardar y enseñar contenido electrónico.”

Es buenho ver noticias como la de arriba porque no sólo devalúa existentes patentes de software pero también reduce el incentivo de llenar aplicaciones por nuevas patentes. ¿Hará SCOTUS lo mismo con las patentes de diseño pronto?

El Caso Apple-Samsung

“A diferencia de Apple, esta compañía Asiática actualmente produce cosas, no simplemente hacen propaganda y rediseñan sus logos.”Vis-à-vis diseño de patentes and patentes de software at SCOTUS, siguiendo talvez miles de reportajes de los medios en casos como este, IDG sirvió para confirmar lo que Florian Müller había pronósticado, principalmente esto. De la historia de IDG: “la Jueza Lucy Koh está preoucpada que el resultado del juicio pueda ser cuestionado después de una revisión de la Corte Suprema” (extraído por Müller).

¿Habrá alguna vez paz? Bueno, todo eso depende de Apple, quién comenzó toda esta guerra total con sus patentes de software y diseño (usuamente GUI software). Esto es lo que pasa entre compañías Asiáticas como Samsung ahora mismo: “Midea y Toshiba anunciaron la semana pasada que ellos han firmado un memorandum de entendimiento por un tratado el cual vería a la más larga compañíá China fabricante de apáratos para el hogar adquirir la mayoría del gigante Japonés bienes blancos.” A diferencia de Apple, esta compañía Asiática actualmente produce cosas, no simplemente hacen propaganda y rediseñan sus logos. Apple ahora gasta un montón de dinero en abogados de patentes; no nos sorprende el porque sus productos están obscenamente con sobreprecio (costos asociados con propaganda sin fin y abogados de patenes son pasados al consumidor).

03.24.16

Software Patents in the US — When Properly Challenged in an Age of Extreme USPTO Leniency — Simply Die

Posted in America, Apple, Patents, Samsung at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The unprecedentedly low examination bar at the US patent office made a lot of software patents suspect or altogether bogus

Rubber stamps

Summary: Stamping-happy examination when it comes to software patents takes its belated toll on applicants, who see their patents either invalidated or massively devalued after the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) weighed in

“The definition of a Patent Troll is quite simple,” wrote one person earlier this week, echoing what some use to define "PAE" these days. It’s “any company that makes the majority of its money using patents by threatening litigation.”

That’s exactly what “Microsoft licensing” is doing. Microsoft now has its own in-house patent troll, or PAE, which we wrote about in the previous post.

“That’s exactly what “Microsoft licensing” is doing. Microsoft now has its own in-house patent troll, or PAE…”Fortunately, the tool of most trolls (or PAEs) is on the rocks because of Alice. Software patents just can’t stop dying, both in PTAB and in the courts. The USPTO nowadays allows virtually anything to be patented (the EPO too should watch out and treat it as a cautionary tale), but just because a patent is granted doesn’t mean it’s valid if/when properly challenged, especially if this patent covers software.

“This PTAB decision invalidating IV patent claims under 101 is deranged,” wrote a patent lawyer, linking to this decision against Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ patent troll, as well as the world’s biggest patent troll.

“The only good software patent is a dead one.”“The Sibling Patent to This One,” added this lawyer (citing patent #9050977), “Did Get a 101 Rejection” or as this tweet puts it: “This reads like an un-patentable mental process that drivers do-just “done on a computer”. http://www.pat2pdf.org/patents/pat9290181.pdf” [patent #9290181]

The only good software patent is a dead one. Another new example of a dead software patent is this one. To quote the Docket Report blog:

In a final written decision, the Board found claims of an electronic content distribution patent unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101. “The ’464 patent describes that electronic publications were commonly replicated in computer-readable form on magnetic or optical storage diskettes and distributed to retails stores or by direct mail sales. Thus, the concept of distributing electronic information products (content) was known prior to the ’464 patent. Further, we agree with Petitioner that distribution of publications (versus electronic publications), has long been known. . . . . [W]e determine that the claims are directed to the abstract concept of distributing electronic content, or more specifically, to selecting, transporting, storing, and displaying electronic content.”

It is nice to see news like the above because it not only devalues existing software patents but also reduces the incentive to file applications for new ones. Will SCOTUS do the same to design patents soon?

Apple-Samsung Case

“Unlike Apple, these Asian company actually produce things, not just advertising and refining their logos.”Vis-à-vis design patents and software patents at SCOTUS, following perhaps thousands of media reports such as this, IDG served to confirm what Florian Müller had foreseen, namely this. From the IDG story: “Judge Lucy Koh is concerned that the outcome of the trial could be questioned after a Supreme Court review” (excerpted by Müller).

Will there ever be peace? Well, that all depends on Apple, which started this whole war with its patents on software and design (usually software GUI). Here is what happens among Asian companies like Samsung right now: “Midea and Toshiba announced last week that they had signed a memorandum of understanding for a deal which would see China’s largest home appliances manufacturer acquire the majority of the Japanese tech giant’s white goods business.” Unlike Apple, these Asian company actually produce things, not just advertising and refining their logos. Apple now spends a lot of money on patent lawyers; no wonder the products are obscenely overpriced (costs associated with endless advertising and patent lawyers get passed down).

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