The unprecedentedly low examination bar at the US patent office made a lot of software patents suspect or altogether bogus
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?
“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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Wasting valuable courts’ time on some silly patents that are neither novel nor nontrivial (prior art below)
Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is going to deal with inane Apple patents that are being used in an effort to make billions of dollars (‘Apple tax’) out of a Linux-based operating system (Android) which competes against Apple’s
TECHRIGHTS has among its primary goals the abolition of software patents and the success of FOSS, which is ascending in Europe these days. This would be beneficial to software developers and probably for the public as a whole. The losers? Probably patent lawyers and their biggest clients, who refer to their patent portfolio as a “war chest”.
“We believe that real change can come from the courts, especially the high ones, which everyone must follow.”We recognise that significant change hardly comes from politicians anymore, as they are nowadays funded (especially in the United States) by the aforementioned “biggest clients”. We believe that real change can come from the courts, especially the high ones, which everyone must follow. Consider the long-awaited SCOTUS appeal regarding an Android case. Can SCOTUS bury so-called ‘design’ patents, which are essentially akin to software patents (usually a GUI with some buttons and unspecified callback functions for behaviour)? After Alice, which changed a lot, we sure hope so.
We have been covering Apple’s attacks on Android/Linux since the very beginning (the Apple vs HTC case). It’s still being dragged on, even several years after the death of Steve Jobs, which says a lot about Apple (they are still an aggressive patenting company). The expected decision on whether it shall be dealt with by SCOTUS was scheduled for Monday, after some people waited in vain on Friday. This has been covered to death in the media by now, so we won’t bore our readers with yet more of the mundane pertinent details (we covered these before anyway, including the laughable patents at hand [1, 2]).
“It’s still being dragged on, even several years after the death of Steve Jobs, which says a lot about Apple (they are still an aggressive patenting company).”To give just a short media survey/roundup, Spicy IP oddly enough chose to focus on another case. It said: “We’ve been given to believe that the Roche vs Cipla appeal came up at the Supreme Court today.”
An article by Joe Mullin, on the other hand, noted: “Are design patents for “carpets and wall-papers and oil-cloths” or smartphones?”
Korean English-speaking media said the obvious, FOSS proponents like SJVN spread the news early on, and maybe hundreds if not thousands of media outlets wrote about this as well. To quote SJVN: “Years in the making, the Supreme Court has agreed to listen to Samsung’s appeal of Apple’s design patent awards. [...] At first it looked like Apple won its design patent wars over Samsung. As time went on, that “victory” started looking more like a defeat as Samsung won its appeals. Now, Apple is in even more trouble. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has elected to hear Samsung’s appeal of the $548-million award lower courts gave Apple.”
“The expected decision on whether it shall be dealt with by SCOTUS was scheduled for Monday, after some people waited in vain on Friday.”To quote Florian Müller, who used to be a FOSS opponent (Microsoft/Horacio Gutierrez paid him for this) but later seemed to have flipped back to pro-FOSS, he wrote: “The Supreme Court of the United States has just published a decision it had already made on Friday (March 18): Samsung’s December 2015 petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) in Apple’s design patents case has been GRANTED with respect to question 2 (damages). As a result, the Apple v. Samsung damages re-retrial scheduled to begin later this month in the Northern District of California is almost certainly going to be postponed indefinitely, as Apple is seeking unapportioned infringer’s profits on all five products still at issue and won’t be entitled to that if Samsung prevails in the top U.S. court.”
“For my take on why design patents were neglected for such a long (and crucial) time,” wrote this person to Müller (whose expertise is this one particular case), linking to the paper about design patents. To quote part of the abstract: “This project, initially published as a two-part series of articles entitled ‘Design and Deviance: Patent as Symbol, Rhetoric as Metric,’ reveals the unrecognized power of gender and sexuality norms in the deep discourse of pivotal American case law on design patents.”
“A re-retrial was scheduled to take place in California in a week,” Müller wrote. “In light of the Supreme Court decision I’m sure Judge Koh will cancel it.”
The reason we quote Müller so extensively about this particular case is that, with respect, he did follow this case for many years. He later added:
- “Apple’s lawyers filed 10 pages to tell Judge Koh the re-retrial should go ahead despite SCOTUS cert presenting risk of re-re-re-retrial…” (source)
- “Now, I understand Apple’s lawyers in the sense they want to just dismiss Samsung’s Supreme Court case and say “hey, they ain’t gonna win it”” (source)
- “But when a case has already had a trial and a retrial, and needs a re-retrial, then the judge won’t take the risk of a re-re-retrial.” (source)
- “I actually thought it was not a bad thing to have a Korean-American judge in charge to understand cultures, documents etc.” (source)
- “What I accuse her of is upholding ultraweak patents. Injunctions: granted some, denied some, appeals court was moving target.” (source)
“Watch how some patent lawyers view things. It’s all about money to them (even a crude picture of dollars).”Here is an analysis by a Professor of Law (journalists tend to be clueless about these matters) and Patently-O‘s take from Jason Rantanen and Professor Crouch, who looks for some input through a survey.
Levy from CCIA (lobbying) wrote: “CCIA argued to the Court that this interpretation overreached in an unconstitutional way, and that the correct interpretation could be found by looking at a related statute, the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act.” Rob Lever, a journalist, said that: “The US Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to reducing the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages owed by Samsung to Apple in the blockbuster patent case between the world’s biggest smartphone makers.”
“We look forward to following the case and hopefully we shall see Apple walking away with nothing.”Watch how some patent lawyers view things. It’s all about money to them (even a crude picture of dollars). To quote a part of it: “It is penny-wise and pound-foolish to scrimp on “preparation and prosecution” of patents—which if the invention is any good, will be infringed and attacked—and then to spend hundreds of millions on patent infringement and validity and damages litigation and appeals.”
We look forward to following the case and hopefully we shall see Apple walking away with nothing. As usual, only the lawyers are guaranteed to win. █
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Publicado en America, Apple, Courtroom, Patents, Samsung at 12:43 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Sumario: Casos de patentes en Texas, prospecto de reforma de patentes, casos de Delaware, y algunas actualizaciones acerca de casos de gran importancia
Eastern District of Texas
BASADO en los últimos números de Lex Machina, cuyas figuras son típicamente usadas para oponerse a ligigación excesiva y apoyo por una reforma de patentes (simplemente miren quien está detrás de Lex Machina), indica que hay una reducción/decline en prospectos para litigación de patentes. Los máximalistas de patentes interpretan esto como sigue: ¨sabemos que los caso en los US estuvieron de nuevo arriba, no alcanzándo los niveles del 2013 pero todavía fue el segundo record. Sabemos que la actividad en Noviembre fue unprecedente gracias a nuevos, estrictos estandares de pelea a ponerse en efecto en Diciembre. Y también ha sido ampliamente reportado que incluso por sus propios estándares sobresalió en el Distrito Este de Texas, donde 44% de casos nuevos fueron traídos, y el Juez de ese Distrito Rodne Gilstrap quien se anotó un increíble 1686 nuevas demandas”.
“Alguos creen que una reforma en las juridicciones simplemente ayudaría a mitigar/limitar el problema.”El Distrito Este de Texas, la capital de los trolles de patentes, es absolutamente un pozo negro. Incluso se anuncia a sí misma como tal (barra baja de patentes en los tribunales).
Basado en este nuevo artículo from Heather Greenfield (de CCIA): “Senadores Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., y Mike Lee, R-Utah, han introducido a bill cuyo objetivo son los trolles de patentes llevando a cabo abusivos casos de patentes en el Distrito Este de Texas, considerado territorio amigable para aquellos cuyo negocio principal son los juicios de patentes en vez de hacer productos. El Distrito Este de Texas tomó 44 por ciento de todos los casos de patentes el 2015. Juez Gilstrap del Distrito Este esta basado en Marshall, Texas, que tiene una población de 24,000 people, sin embargo el esta a cargo de un quinto de todos los casos de patentes en los Estados Unidos.”
Ambos usan las mismas estadísticas y puntos de vista: “El Distrito Este de Texas tomó 44 por ciento de todos los casos de patentes el 2015.”
Algunos creen que una reforma basada en juridicción de patentes simplemente ayudaría a mitigar el problema.
Juicios en Texas Trials y Preguntas de Jurisdicción
Escribimos previamente acerca del caso Metaswitch/Genband y esta de regreso en los titulares de nuevo [1, 2, 3, 4]. Compañías reales (practicantes) de Europe estan siendo afectadas, nos deja preguntándonos por que le toma tanto tiempo al Congreso hacer algo. Uno sugirió una clase de reformas basadas en la vena de juridiscción/cambio, o sanciones en el. Una mejor solución identificaría em modelo de patentes mismas (patentes de software) y trabajan para aplastarlas.
“Un tipo sugerido de reforma se refiere a la jurisdicción/cambio de lugar, o sanciones en él.”Vean este nuevo artículo titulado “Venue and Personal Jurisdiction Updates” y tambien “ANDA llenado crea una Juridiscción Personal a nivel Nacional”, que la precede. Es acerca de génericos, envuelve a la CAFC, y dice: “Los echos aquí envuelven a Mylan buscando a la FDA aprobar su mercadeo de drogas genéricas que eventualmente serán vendidas en Delaware (como también en todos los estados de la Union). Al considerar esa acción, la courte encontró que tiene suficiente juridicción personal para casos irradiando de una aplicación de aprovación de ANDA.”
Aquí esta la parte acerca de jurisdicción: ¨En este caso de jurisdicción personal, el Circuito Federal ha afirmado el juicio emitido por al Corte de Delaware, que la corte tiene específica jurisdicción sobre dos casos paralelos de Mylan. En un super amplia tenencia la corte encuentra que cuando una compañía de genéricos llena una nueva aplicación por genéricos (ANDA) con la FDA, y que su llenamiento abre la puerta a la jurisdicción personal de cualquier estado donde la Compañía Genérica venderá la droga si es aprovada. Esto efectivamente significa que la compañía genérica puede ser enjuiciada en cualquier estado de la Unión.¨
“Una mejor solución identificaría em modelo de patentes mismas (patentes de software) y trabajan para aplastarlas.”Hablando de Delaware, vemos esta nueva actualización acerca de otro caso allí (detrás de la pared de pago). La parte accesible al público dice: “La compañíá de tecnología Wireless Novatel y una compañíá dueña de patentes que la acusó de infringir dos de sus patentes de communicaciones han acordado deshacerce de su caso, una semana después que un juez Federal de Delaware estrechó las pretensiones de la demanda y la tiró a cabo expertos de ambos lados.”
Delaware, a diferencia de Texas, esta al noete, y no es tan amigable como Texas en cuanto se trata de los demandantes.
Un artículo por Timothy Geigner cubre una materia que hemos tratado aquí dos veces antes. “Es frecuentemente reclamado,” Geigner escribe, “litigaciones de que patente y marcas es empleada frecuentemente como medida de simplemente alejar/bloquear competición libre.” Eso es exáctamente lo que tenemos aquí. Para citar su artículo:
El fundador de Global Archery, John Jackson, en el otro lado, aparece perfectamente voluntario de salir y describir su motivación por llenar un juicio de infringimiento de patentes y marcas contra a LARPing entusiásta que vende flechas no-letales al lado.
Pero primero veamos el marco. LARP representa juego de acción vivo, para aquellos que no lo saben todavía. Para ayudar en el rol de reescenificar batallas, LARPers usarán ¨armas¨ no letales, como espadas y flechas de espuma, y parecidos. Larping.org es un sitio de pasatiempos de fabricantes de tercera parte. Ahora, Global Archer tiene patentes en específicos diseños de flechas, que principalmente se refieren en la manera en que la cabeza de la flecha se asegura al mango. Una mitad del reclamo de la compañíá contra Larping.org es por infringimiento de esas patentes.
¿Porqué fueron tales patentes otorgadas en primer lugar? ¿Cuánto costaría al acusado probar que ellas son falsas?
Apple ha confíado en embargos, o amenazas de embargos, en order de forzar a compañías a pagarles por aparatos Android y/o remover funciones básicas (como un slider que abre la pantalla). La ITC ha sido usada por apple para ello, y Microsoft lo ha hecho también. Ambos están atacando a Linux (especialmente e aparatos) usando patentes de software. Este nuevo artículo sirve para reforzar estimados de tiempo dice que será el Lunes cuando conocerá si Apple [ref 89542 puede llevar Android (actualmente Samsung) a la Corte Suprema). Para citar:
Decisiones en el caso Apple versus Samsung de infringimiento de patentes ha oscilado ampliamente para ambos lados, sugiriendo que las cortes son incapazes de emitir juicios justos para el rápidamente-cambiate sector de alta tecnologíá. Pero dos expertos aconsejan tomar una perspectiva más amplia acerca cambios históricos en la ley de propiedad intelectual, uno de ellos probablemente todavía adelante.
La Corte Suprema de los US podría decider este Lunes (Mar. 21) si escuchará o no una apelación en diseño de patentes envuelta en el caso. ¨No muchos casos han percolado a la cumbre…[pero] hemos visto le perfil de derechos de diseño salir de las aguas al candelero,¨ dijo Christopher V. Carani, un socio e McAndrews Held & Malloy Ltd. (Chicago) quien se especializa en patentes de diseño.
Apple todavía esta tratándo duramente de extraer billones de dolares de Samsung, bajo una intensa presión de embargos y que no. Apple usó HTC como precedente contra Samsung. Si Samsung cae, ¿quién será le próximo en el camino de destrucción de Apple? También consideren el siguiente nuevo artículo:
ZTE se apresta a apelar un ban de exportaciones de los US
ZTE Corp de CHINA apelará unas duras restricciónes de exportaciones en los US impuestos la semana pasada, de acuerdo a una persona familiar con la materia, después de que el esfuerzo de cabildeo del fabricante de equipo de telecomunicaciónes falle de evitar las preocupaciones acerca de sus negocios.
El Departamento de Comercio de los US impuso restricciones a los proveedores de los US proveyendo cruciales componentes a ZTE por supuestas violaciones contra las sanciones contra Iran, un movimiento que disruptirá su cadena de provisión global.
“El Departmento de Comercio de los US y ZTE Corp están en continuas discusiones,” dijo un oficial mayor del Departamento de Comercio. “Estas discusiones han sido constructivas, y continuaremos buscando una resolucion.”
¿Quién se beneficia de tales embargos políticos? Seguramente Apple debe estar a favor, Este caso fue mencionado temprano este mes por IAM, que cree que se relaciona indirectamente a los embargos inducidos por patentes. ¿Cuán lejos irá el sistema de los Estados Unidos? Los embargos o sanciones no ayudan a los consumidores; ¿cuándo se darán cuenta de ello? y ¿cuándo el público se dará cuenta que el exceso de patentes perjudican a todos? █
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Summary: Texas patent cases, patent reform prospects, Delaware cases, and some updates on high-profile patent cases
Eastern District of Texas
BASED on the latest numbers from Lex Machina, whose figures are typically used to oppose excessive litigation and support patent reform (just look who’s behind Lex Machina), indicate that there’s a reduction/decline in prospects for patent litigation. The patent maximalists interpreted this as follows: “We know that new cases in the US were back up again last year, not hitting the heights of 2013 but still the second busiest on record. We also know that activity in November was unprecedented thanks to new, tougher pleading standards coming into effect in December. And it has also been widely reported that even by its standards it was a standout year for the Eastern District of Texas, where almost 44% of new cases were filed, and East Texas judge Rodney Gilstrap, who chalked up an incredible 1686 new lawsuits.”
“Some believe that jurisdiction-based patent reform alone would help mitigate/limit the problem.”The Eastern District of Texas, the capital of patent trolls, is quite a cesspool. It even advertises itself as such (low patent bar in the courts).
Based on this new article from Heather Greenfield (at CCIA): “Senators Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, have introduced a bill aimed at patent trolls filing abusive patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas, considered friendly territory for those whose main business is patent lawsuits rather than making products. The Eastern District of Texas took 44 percent of all patent cases filed in 2015. Judge Gilstrap of the Eastern District is based in Marshall, Texas, which has a population of 24,000 people, yet he hears about one-fifth of all patent cases in the United States.”
They both use the same statistics and talking points: “The Eastern District of Texas took 44 percent of all patent cases filed in 2015.”
Some believe that jurisdiction-based patent reform alone would help mitigate/limit the problem.
Texas Trials and Jurisdiction Questions
We previously wrote about the Metaswitch/Genband case and it is back in the headlines again [1, 2, 3, 4]. Real (practicing) companies from Europe are being hurt, so we’re left wondering what takes US Congress so long to take action. One suggested kind of reform pertains to jurisdiction/venue shifting, or sanctions on it. A better solution would identify the pattern in the patents themselves (software patents) and work towards squashing them.
“One suggested kind of reform pertains to jurisdiction/venue shifting, or sanctions on it.”See the new article titled “Venue and Personal Jurisdiction Updates” and also “ANDA filing creates Nationwide Personal Jurisdiction”, which precedes it. It’s about generics, it involves CAFC, and it says: “The facts here involve Mylan seeking FDA approval to market its generic drugs that will eventually be sold in Delaware (as well as every other state in the Union). In considering that action, the court found it sufficient for personal jurisdiction for cases steming from the ANDA approval application.”
Here is the part about jurisdiction: “In this personal jurisdiction case, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the Delaware Court’s ruling that the court has specific jurisdiction over Mylan in two parallel cases. In a super-broad holding, the court here finds that when a generic company files a new drug application (ANDA) with the FDA, that the filing opens the door to personal jurisdiction in any state where the Generic Company will market the drug if approved. This effectively means that the generic company could be sued in any state in the Union.”
“A better solution would identify the pattern in the patents themselves (software patents) and work towards squashing them.”Speaking of Delaware, see this new update about another Delaware case (it’s behind a paywall). The publicly-accessible part says: “Wireless technology company Novatel and a patent holding company that accused it of infringing two communications patents have agreed to dismiss their case, one week after a Delaware federal judge narrowed the claims in the suit and threw out experts from both sides.”
Delaware, unlike Texas, is up north, and it is not as friendly as Texas when it comes to plaintiffs.
An article by Timothy Geigner covers a topic which we touched here twice before. “It’s often claimed,” Geigner writes, “that patent and trademark litigation is chiefly employed as a measure to simply lock out otherwise fair competition.” That’s exactly what we have here. To quote his article:
The founder of Global Archery, John Jackson, on the other hand, appears perfectly willing to come out and describe his motivation for filing a patent and trademark infringement suit against a LARPing hobbyist that sells some non-lethal foam arrows on the side.
But first some background. LARP stands for live action role play, for those of you who didn’t know that already. To aid in the roleplaying of battles, LARPers will use non-lethal “weapons”, such as foam swords and arrows, and the like. Larping.org is a hobby site for LARPers, featuring interviews, how-to videos, etc. In their shop, they also sell LARPing gear, all of which I believe is resold from third party manufacturers. Now, Global Archery has patents on specific foam-arrow designs, which chiefly revolve around the way the foam arrowhead is secured to the shaft. One half of the company’s claim against Larping.org is for infringement on those patents.
Why were such patents granted in the first place? How much would it cost the defendant to prove them to be bogus?
Apple has relied on embargoes, or threats of embargoes, in order to get companies to pay Apple for Android devices and/or remove basic features (like a slider that unlocks a screen). The ITC has been used by Apple for this and Microsoft has done so too. They’re both attacking Linux (especially on devices) using software patents. This new article serves reinforce time estimates that say it will be Monday when we finally know if Apple [cref 89542 can take Android (Samsung actually) to the Supreme Court). To quote:
Decisions in the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement cases have swung widely to both sides, suggesting the courts are unable to make clear rulings for the fast-moving high tech sector. But two experts advise taking a broader perspective about historic shifts in intellectual property law, some of them probably still ahead.
The U.S. Supreme Court could decide as early as Monday (Mar. 21) whether or not to hear an appeal on design patents involved in the case. “Not a lot of design cases have percolated to the top…[but] we have seen the profile of design rights come out of the backwaters and into the limelight,” said Christopher V. Carani, a partner at McAndrews Held & Malloy Ltd. (Chicago) who specializes in design patents.
Apple is still trying hard to extract billions of dollars out of Samsung, under intense pressure of embargoes and whatnot. Apple used HTC as precedence against Samsung. If Samsung falls, who’s next in Apple’s path of destruction? Also consider the following new article:
ZTE set to appeal US export ban
CHINA’S ZTE Corp will appeal tough US export restrictions imposed last week, according to a person familiar with the matter, after the telecom equipment maker’s costly lobbying effort failed to allay concerns about its business.
The US Commerce Department imposed restrictions on US suppliers providing crucial components to ZTE for alleged Iran sanctions violations, a move likely to disrupt its global supply chain.
“The US Department of Commerce and ZTE Corp are in ongoing discussions,” a senior Commerce Department official said. “These discussions have been constructive, and we will continue to seek a resolution.”
Who benefits from such political embargoes? Surely Apple must be in favour. This case was mentioned earlier this month by IAM, which believes it indirectly relates to patents-induced embargoes. How far will the US system go? Embargo or sanctions cannot help costumers; when will this be realised and when will the public realise that patents excess generally harms everyone? █
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Credit: Bilski Blog
Summary: A bunch of stories of interest regarding the USPTO, which is the world’s most dominant patent office
THIS is the latest update regarding the US patent system, which increasingly shows some positive signs (getting tougher on software patents) but still facilitates a lot of avoidable aggression, and not just by patent trolls.
AliceStorm Versus Software Patents
“The US patent system (or Congress) needs to reconsider whether software patents should be issued at all.”Bilski Blog calls/dubs "AliceStorm" the phenomenon of patent squashing after Alice (2014). A lot of these are software patents, which are abstract. Looking at some of the latest posts about this [1, 2, 3] (the last one was cited here before), we now have the chart at the top. It shows that most of the time, by a large margin, Alice successfully buries software patents. The USPTO needs to heed the warning from courts (not just the Supreme Court but dozens more). The US patent system (or Congress) needs to reconsider whether software patents should be issued at all.
Apple and Samsung
Apple started attacking Samsung several years ago because Apple cannot compete based on merit. Apple wants to make Android more expensive and also Apple’s cash cow. That is similar to what Microsoft has been doing. “Samsung and Apple Were Top Targets for Patent Suits in 2015″ says a new headline from Fortune, noting:
The country’s two most popular phone makers, Apple AAPL and Samsung, are still getting smacked by dozens of lawsuits from so-called “patent trolls,” which are shell companies that make no products.
Meanwhile, a single district in Texas, which the late Justice Antonin Scalia once branded a “renegade jurisdiction,” continues to occupy an outsize role in this ongoing patent pileup.
Those are two of the most notable takeaways that can be found in a new report on U.S. patent trends in 2015. Published by patent analytics firm Lex Machina, the report adds new grist to a debate over U.S. innovation policy at a time when patent reform in Congress has foundered once again.
“With Alice still fresh in people’s mind (although apparently forgotten by some Justices, based on newly-circulated rumours), Apple is likely to lose.”“Blame Texas for the latest patent pile-up falling on Apple and Samsung,” says this person, cited by Florian Müller who added this Friday watchlist alert. Müller wrote: “Earlier this month (on Friday, March 4), the Supreme Court of the United States already had Samsung’s December 2015 petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) in Apple’s design patents case on its agenda. It’s nothing unusual for a case to be relisted, and it happened in this case. There was no weekly conference last Friday, so this cert petition will be discussed this week, and we’ll know the decision (unless there’s another relisting) on Monday morning.”
It is possible that SCOTUS will deal with at least one case that Apple brought against Samsung. With Alice still fresh in people’s mind (although apparently forgotten by some Justices, based on newly-circulated rumours), Apple is likely to lose.
Jawbone and Fitbit
Involving some more design and software patents, the Jawbone and Fitbit story was covered here several times in the past. Here is the latest on that: “For nearly a year Jawbone and Fitbit have been in the courts and Jawbone just threw down new allegations. In a motion to amend the original filing, Jawbone wants to add a new defendant to the case that formerly worked at Jawbone but defected to Fitbit, bringing a host of confidential information along with her. Jawbone also now contends that this person, along with previously named defendants, lied under oath that they had returned all confidential Jawbone information prior to leaving the company.”
“Nobody wins except the lawyers. These cases drag on for ages.”There is a lot more coverage about it this week [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and it comes to show just what a sordid mess patent wars have become. Nobody wins except the lawyers. These cases drag on for ages.
A new article by Dennis Crouch says about a particular low-profile case that: “The original panel found that the sale constituted an invalidating on-sale bar. Of interest here, the “sale” was Ben Venue’s “sale of services” to manufacture the patented product-by-process rather than sales of the product themselves. The original panel found no principled distinction between these concepts – thus applying the on sale bar. Because the ‘sales’ at issue were associated with MedCo’s ‘validation batches,’ the patentee has also now argued experimental use.”
“If patents are about common good rather than protectionism for a few, then China should follow the will of its people, not of its patent lawyers (whose clients are often foreign).”Notice how far patents can go; even “sale of services”, not just manufacturing or sale of manufactured goods. How far can this go? Western patents, as this article from MIP suggests, can also be imposed on manufacturing giants/superpowers such as China. Why would China even entertain this? It’s not in the interests of China, that’s for sure, as most companies already manufacture everything in China. They hardly have a choice. “In determining the scope of patent protection in China,” MIP wrote, “the question of support for the claims has come into focus, particularly for bio-medical inventions. Wenhui Zhang and Stephen Zou review some recent decisions” (from China).
As we noted in relation to India the other day, patents on medicine are in no way beneficial to the interests of a large population such as China’s. If patents are about common good rather than protectionism for a few, then China should follow the will of its people, not of its patent lawyers (whose clients are often foreign). █
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For the time being, only patent lawyers make a lot of money in the process and the public is paying for it
Summary: A look at recent news about Apple and its patent cases, which the company is trying to escalate up to SCOTUS, as is Samsung (depending on the case)
THE reality of patents is more complex than patent lawyers (and other patent maximalists) typically put it. Injunctions are never beneficial to the population (whether one calls them “customers” or uses the more derogatory word, “consumers”) and the costs of products are artificially elevated to make up for lawyers' fees.
“Apple wants not only its own phones to cost nearly a thousand bucks.”Alluding to this patent case against Apple, Patently-O writes that: “It will be interesting to See how Apple responds. The court asked for responses from Apple, Mangrove, and Director Lee to be filed next week.”
“This isn’t just a US problem by the way.”In another case, one in which Apple is a patent aggressor, the judge “issues a warning to Apple lawyers,” according to this recent report about Apple’s fight against Samsung (SCOTUS intervention may be next). Well, only the lawyers win in this case (or war), which has gone on for 6 years. Apple wants not only its own phones to cost nearly a thousand bucks. Along with Microsoft, the Microsoft-dominated (hijacked) Nokia and CPTN partners like Microsoft and Oracle, Apple tries to make Android equally expensive, using software patents for the most part.
This isn’t just a US problem by the way. The EPO‘s President (for now) Battistelli is clueless about the Office's operations and role in the Apple litigation. This cannot be seen as acceptable. █
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Never-ending legal battles with billions of dollars at stake and perhaps hundreds of millions in legal bills (soon)
It doesn’t matter who wins when one sells time and charges a lot by the hour
Summary: In Apple/Samsung patent wars (started by an increasingly jealous and nervous Apple), money flows mostly in a single direction (to neither Apple nor Samsung, only their patent lawyers) as possibility of appeal at SCOTUS is still being considered
BEFORE we continue EPO coverage we wish to get emerging news out of the way. As some people already know, Apple has just lost to Samsung. Here are some of the very earliest reports on this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. There will probably be hundreds more by Monday (look around here), but this in itself is enough to help people understand what’s going on. Some lawyers’ sites cover this as well, whereas a lot of people link to the original PDF published by the Court.
We don’t wish to bore readers with the technical details (these exist in the articles above), but let’s just say that it won’t be long before patent lawyers’ sites bemoan this decision as it damages faith in patents. Also expect many so-called ‘news’ sites from all over the world to just license ‘reports’ from AP and Reuters, probably quoting all sorts of patent lawyers rather than people like myself who actually develop stuff (such as software). Everybody loses (especially the so-called ‘consumers’) when engineers and programmers waste time figuring out how to ‘work around’ patents.
“The smartphone patent war: 1) obtain 10,000s garbage patents + 2) 100s of lawsuits == $ for lawyers & little else…”
–Professor James BessenProfessor Mark Lemley wrote that “The only patent valid and infringed is one of Samsung’s” (yes, how ironic!).
“Live by the patent sword, die by the patent sword,” Simon Phipps (OSI, Sun, Wipro etc.) wrote.
Professor James Bessen says it like it is with this tweet: “The smartphone patent war: 1) obtain 10,000s garbage patents + 2) 100s of lawsuits == $ for lawyers & little else”
“The only patent valid and infringed is one of Samsung’s…”
–Professor Mark LemleyProfessor Mark Lemley and Professor James Bessen are reasonably noteworthy voices of reason in today’s patents lawyers-saturated corporate media. Don’t expect the mass media to cover this too well. The journalists care a lot about this case because, just as with all that FBI publicity stunt (pretending Apple fights for privacy and security), it’s about Apple. Many people are obsessed with everything ‘i’ (iPhone and so on).
Once upon a time Florian Müller supported Apple in its fight against Android, but not anymore. “Apple lost 100%,” he wrote. He also said “I guess they’ll petition for rehearing.” These comments are noteworthy because he essentially defected or switched sides not too long ago. “Apple v. Samsung (2nd Calif. case) turned out just the way I predicted in January,” he later claimed, adding: “After affirmance of Judge Posner’s Apple v. Moto claim construction, the ’647 patent should have been dropped. I said it then.”
“It adds insult to injury for Apple that the Fed. Cir. has affirmed Samsung’s symbolic win (prevailed on a counterclaim),” he noted.
“It adds insult to injury for Apple that the Fed. Cir. has affirmed Samsung’s symbolic win (prevailed on a counterclaim)…”
–Florian MüllerAlluding to this news about Koh (some sites speak about Koh’s nomination, noting her rise to fame in the Samsung/Apple patent cases), Müller said: “The appellate track record of Apple v. Samsung gives Republicans plenty of reasons to oppose Judge Koh’s nomination to the 9th Circuit.”
Finally, said Müller: “I didn’t just interpret the appellate hearing right. Back in 2014 I made my disbelief in Apple’s 2nd case against Samsung very clear.”
A lot has changed since then, including the Alice case at SCOTUS (where the bigger Apple lawsuit might go soon). If Apple appeals, then it’s guaranteed that only patent lawyers will rejoice. Hey, somebody should tell Battistelli about this as he obvious isn't keeping track. █
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Publicado en Apple, Courtroom, Patentes, Samsung at 3:25 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz
El arrogante de Apple esta seguro que invento todo
Sumario: La imparable guerra de patentes contra Android no muestra signos de para, incluso después de varios años de la muerte de Steve Jobs, quién empezo esta guerra de patentes
Hace media década, después de vergonzósamente enjuiciar a HTC, Apple comenzo a enjuiciar Samsung, quien ya era un lider Android OEM, usando patentes y diseños de patentes las que frecuentement son indistinguibles de las primeras. Recuerden quien comenzó esta guerra. Siempre recuerde que no estaba hablando con Samsung para que licenciar patentes. Fue Apple bajo la megalomanía de Steve Jobs. Este caso pronto alcanzo a la Corte Suprema, SCOTUS, pero no hay confirmación todavía.
“La section final de la petición de Samsung [a SCOTUS],” Florian Müller escribió el otro día, ¨resalta la ¨enorme importancia nacional¨ de la petición. Esto suena a mic como ¨esto debería ser revisado, pero por lo menos debería haber una llamada por la opinión del Solicitor General (CVSG).” O tal vez tiendo a leer mucho entre las líneas.
¨Aprecio que ambos Samsung y Apple estan con voluntad de pelear esto hasta las últimas consequencias,¨ escribió esta persona. ¨El proceso es importante como el resultado¨ (y hasta ahora muy oneroso).
Apple ha sido atraído pesadamente a PTBA últimamente; escribimos acerca de PTAB a principios de mes en numerosas ocasiones. De acuerdo a este nuevo post de un blog, una patente biotecnológica esta cerca de ser revisada. Recuerden que muchas patentes, incluso algunas en Europa, fueron invalidadas en el proceso. ¨Un quinto de todas las peticiones a IPR fueron rechazadas de acuerdo a este reporte de PTAB del año 2015,¨ dice IP Watchdog. Para citar el post anterior, la dicha familia de patentes son las más famosas patentes de biotecnologíá. Con reclamos que cubren pasos básicos en generar antibióticos therapeúticos, estas patentes son porteras en la industria que han mostrado inprecedente crecimiento, más de la mitad de las 10 drogas más vendidas en el mundo son antibióticos terapeúticos. A traves de licensiatura a fabricantes de antibióticos, Genentech-one uno de los dueños de Cabilly patentes espera ganar un billón de dollares en regalías por ellas para el 2018.
Bueno, seguramente parece que Apple esta esperando ganar billones, no sólo un billon de dólares simplemente por regalías de patentes. Apple esta esperando en convertirse en una firma de patentes, mientras Android sigue creciendo, y es díficil de detenerlo sin inflar los precios de Android devices artificialmente. █
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