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10.15.18

Corporate Media’s Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We can’t let these people get their way with patent maximalism and UPC

The three Frenchmen

Summary: A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host’s plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills

OUR USPTO coverage reached an unexpected halt last night at around 6PM. Our host is shutting down soon. He’s an old friend of mine who hosted the site as a favour for nearly a decade. Speaking to alternative hosts, it seems likely that our hosting costs would at least quadruple. It’s a painful experience. I barely slept; it’s hard to fall asleep. Certain readers, some of whom connected in one way or another to the EPO, expressed concern about the downtime (almost half a day). The problem is far broader than a downtime, caused by a routing issue among other things.

“This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.”Techright is turning 12 in a few weeks. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to this site. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just want to reaffirm and reassure to readers that the site has always been financially independent. That’s never going to change.

I can envision some readers asking questions like, what about “the cloud”? As if sending one’s blog to some private company can assure independence… there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are many ways in which a centralised blogging platform censors those who participate, with a broadening brush by which they sweep away particular voices.

“The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.”
      –Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier
Florian Müller‘s latest two articles, The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung) and Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions,” are as usual hosted by Google. Just before the weekend he wrote about a notorious European Patent of Qualcomm. He’s very supportive of our work covering the EPO (we’ve published nearly 3,000 articles about the EPO alone).

“Your server does not respond.”
      –Anonymous
Like we’ve said here several times since September, publishers are struggling, even the patent maximalists’. IAM, for example, went sort of ‘dark’, i.e. everything behind paywall, except pure commercials and intentional propaganda. As an example of the latter, see what turned up in Google News yesterday. IAM wrote this:

‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

This repeated the two famous lies. Also published yesterday was this short blog post from Kluwer Patent Blog (they barely publish in long form anymore). It’s akin to the “shoot with patents first, ask questions later” attitude of UPC. Adrian Crespo wrote that (in Spain at least) “a defendant wishing to object to an injunction for invalidity reasons must put forth “very clear and evident indicia” of invalidity. For that reason, the Court of Appeal focused on a relatively straightforward objection on grounds of added matter.”

This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.

Meanwhile, over at Mondaq, a French law firm that habitually promotes itself over there speaks of the EPO and INPI. Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier (August & Debouzy) compare one terrible patent office to another:

Incidentally, this would also allow the INPI to “smooth” the number of examination requests it will receive in the medium term, which would facilitate the implementation of the strengthened substantive examination and the opposition procedure, while maintaining sufficiently short deadlines (which is a decisive parameter for the attractiveness of the French system).

The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.

It is widely known that INPI doesn’t really assess quality of patent applications; they’re presumed valid. Imagine what the UPC would look like if the French-led UPC ever went ahead, possibly with Battistelli as its chief. France has been reserved a leadership position, the EPO promotes this, its current President is French and in two decades it’s like France clings onto power at the EPO for 16 years.

We are open to ideas as to how sponsor the hosting costs for the server; I don’t wish to be paid for my writings about the EPO (by anyone), but the costs of underlying infrastructure may need coverage. I spend over 80 hours per week on the sites (not including my daytime job). Things aren’t sustainable and we need to keep watching the affairs of the EPO and patent scope in general. There’s too much at stake.

09.23.18

Interlude: The Need to Counter Misinformation From the Patent and Litigation ‘Industry’

Posted in Patents, Site News at 10:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SEP corrects/corrections officer

Summary: 24,500 posts reached; so we pause and reflect, seeing that many sites/blogs of patent maximalists gradually ebb away

LONG before we even had a wiki (around 2008) we wrote about the USPTO and later about the EPO. The site began as a reaction to patent assaults on Free/Libre Open Source software, dating back to the Microsoft/Novell deal. Our style has always been the same; we try to debunk and challenge misinformation, presenting overlooked and/or suppressed points of views, facts, sometimes leaked material. The site grew pretty rapidly and before the “social media” hype it was able to attract a lot of comments, sometimes over a hundred per day. We used to write about Free/Libre Open Source software, to use the most “inclusive” term. Later we focused almost entirely on patents, seeing that there was a vacuum to fill in the absence of refutations to the patent ‘industry’. Groklaw, a site which used to write a great deal on this matter (from a Free/Libre Open Source software-centric perspective) took a long break around 2010 and then a permanent break a few years later. The advent and growth of so-called ‘social media’ has since then reduced the frequency of blogging online. A lot of blogs that had been active for many years became less active or completely inactive — a trend we continue to see as IAM goes ‘dark’, Watchtroll writes almost half what it did a year ago, various law firms’ blogs going silent, and recently even Docket Report (part of Docket Navigator) going silent. There have been no updates there for one month and one day (last post is dated August 22nd).

Patent Docs has also been slowing down, albeit not as considerably as some other blogs. Patent Docs probably publishes more ads than articles, however, and many are totally off-topic (e.g. posts about fashion and animals, not patents). Today it ‘wrote’ (published ads) about the abomination which is SEPs (Standard Essential Patents) among other things like the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty). But those are all ads. They outnumber the actual articles.

Techrights still publishes more or less as often as ever before (we peaked around 2009). Some time soon we’ll reach 25,000 posts (that’s more than 2,000 per year, on average). We never relied on any form of sponsorship, so money plays no role in it. It’s idealogical and the guiding ideology is science, progress, cooperation.

08.01.18

10 Years of IRC

Posted in Site News at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ten meters

Summary: It has now been ten whole years of non-stop chat, all of which logged and published fully in the interests of transparency

THE summer of 2008 saw the arrival of the IRC channels, 2 years after the site had begun preparing/writing/publishing articles. Today I glanced at logs from the first day (when readers and contributors started chatting in real time). Microsoft and OOXML were still a hot topic at the time. Those were the days…

5 gigabytes of text later and we’re still at it.

Nowadays we are increasingly focused on topics like the EPO and USPTO, seeing that progress is gradually being made. I occasionally hear from readers who have been following us since the very beginning 12 years ago. Thanks for the loyalty.

05.27.18

Techrights at 24,000

Posted in Site News at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

My beloved mountains

Summary: Techrights has nearly reached 24k blog posts (just a couple of days away), marking the latest milestone in a long history of relentless activism/journalism

TWELVE YEARS, 24,000 blog posts, i.e. about 2,000 per year, on average. I was in my early 20s when I started and here we are still dealing with the same (or similar) subject, notably software patents. Before focusing on EPO we focused a lot on the US patent system (mostly patent scope, not scandals) and prior to that Microsoft and Novell, primarily their notorious patent deal. There’s hopefully nothing that can prevent us from reaching 20 years and 40,000 posts; it looks like a lot of media lost its momentum/footing because of social [control] media, but we’re still doing fine and attracting as many readers as ever. Thanks to all those who have supported us since the very beginning in 2006.

05.24.18

Privacy Statement

Posted in Site News at 11:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Today, May 25th, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into full effect; we hereby make a statement on privacy

AS a matter of strict principle, this site never has and never will accumulate data on visitors (e.g. access logs) for longer than 28 days. The servers are configured to permanently delete all access data after this period of time. No ‘offline’ copies are being made. Temporary logging is only required in case of DDOS attacks and cracking attempts — the sole purpose of such access. Additionally, we never have and never will sell any data pertaining to anything. We never received demands for such data from authorities; even if we had, we would openly declare this (publicly, a la Canary) and decline to comply. Privacy is extremely important to us, which is why pages contain little or no cross-site channels (such as Google Analytics, ‘interactive’ buttons for ‘social’ media etc.) and won’t be adding any.

Shall readers have any further questions on such matters, do not hesitate to contact us.

05.06.18

Covering Software Patents For 12 Years

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With 23,907 blog posts so far, soon to cross the 24k mark, we carry on going

Techrights grid

Summary: From our focus on Microsoft back in 2006 we have moved on to EPO affairs and we’ll soon turn 12

TECHRIGHTS was born as a response to Microsoft’s patent aggression back in 2006. That was way before EPO scandals and way before patent reforms at the USPTO (AIA), not to mention Bilski, Alice, TC Heartland and Oil States at SCOTUS.

Having written two articles about Microsoft’s patent aggression yesterday (last night [1, 2]), we certainly hope that readers don’t fall for PR campaigns like “Microsoft loves Linux”, the “new Microsoft” and so on.

“Monday evening,” said Soren Spicknall from Microsoft, “come to @MSFTChicago [Microsoft "Building Decentralized Tech Tools for Democracy"] to hear from @DemocracyEarth” (citing this page). He exchanged some messages with me after I had challenged him on Microsoft’s very negative record with democracy. I told him that Microsoft is good at crime, not democracy. I also cited Microsoft’s ruthless assault on Free software in voting machines, which is well documented. All he could then do is pretend that it has nothing to do with him (the “not my department!” defense).

“Thankfully, there are several good sites out there which challenge the status quo.”Here we are in 2018. I try hard not to cover Microsoft as much as I used to (it’s tempting, but the company is becoming irrelevant) and instead I focus on the EPO, leaving much of these US affairs (Microsoft included) mostly aside until weekends. It’s easier to catch up in weekends and cover less urgent matters ‘in bulk’, so to speak.

Thankfully, there are are good sites out there which challenge the status quo. Aside from Patent Progress (CCIA) and Unified Patents there’s also the Docket Navigator with its selective reports on cases of interest. Among the latest:

Sub Zero Franchising, Inc. v Frank Nye Consulting LLC, d/b/a The Arctic Scoop et al

The court granted defendants’ motion for more than $360,000 in sanctions under Rule 11 and 28 U.S.C. § 1927 against plaintiff’s counsel because plaintiff’s standing allegations and pre-suit investigation were unreasonable.

BASF Corporation v Johnson Matthey Inc.

The court denied plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s expert report from a law professor, but allowed plaintiff to file an early Daubert motion.

Resh, Inc. v Skimlite Manufacturing Inc. et al

The court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claim for a declaration of patent infringement for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

We have decided that in the coming week if not weeks we’re going to focus on new EPO scandals, particularly with emphasis on the “inventor of the year” nonsense and Battistelli’s abusive affairs in France. There’s a lot more to be dug out there and with Battistelli’s immunity having less than 2 months ‘on the clock’ we certainly hope that he will be held accountable for his abuses.

04.02.18

The Latest SLAPP From the Patent Microcosm Shows Just How Abusive Patent Extremists Can be Towards Their Critics

Posted in America, Patents, Site News at 3:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The reality of writing about patent “scams”

SLAPP
Image source/context: Strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP)

Summary: Reaffirming its commitment to a highly aggressive approach, the patent microcosm once again sends me legal threats (for merely writing about nefarious actions)

TODAY is Easter Monday here in the United Kingdom. We planned to take a break from publishing. But publishing is not easy for reasons other than motivation or need to rest etc. I certainly don’t wish to write about myself (too boring a topic), but sometimes I have no choice. I’d rather focus on the issues.

In relation to a patent “scam” which we last wrote about yesterday, TechDirt has just weighed in. It wrote about what happened a week ago. Yes, I immediately shared the letter with them, knowing that they are a famous victim of SLAPP (same person who had threatened me for my postings) and knowing that they are thus familiar with such matters.

“Readers should remember that the patent ‘community’ is all about lawsuits, so it’s only good at suing or threatening to (in order to coerce people), not really fearing disbarment for SLAPP.”As some background, Michael W. Shore is the main person behind misusing tribal immunity to secure dodgy patents. US politicians are already all over this, calling it all sorts of nasty things and creating legislation to stop this (it was in the news last week). TechDirt had covered this before and it was all over the news (New York Times etc.), so we’re not talking about some obscure issue. Many people in various blogs have called this a “scam”, which is why I put that word in quotes. A Federal judge called it a “sham”. PTAB recently ruled against it as well. There are many layoffs in Allergan these days, so they must be getting desperate. We in Techrights already wrote nearly 15 or 20 articles about this topic alone (some of these were very long). We focused on the tribes and we focused on Allergan, rarely remarking/writing about individuals (such as the lawyers involved).

Readers should remember that the patent ‘community’ is all about lawsuits, so it’s only good at suing or threatening to (in order to coerce people), not really fearing disbarment for SLAPP. Such disbarment very rarely happens. It’s like they feel immune (and enjoy impunity) from a political system that is dominated by lawyers. The said action is just the latest of the abuse I receive for covering patents. There’s more of it (this one I made public because it’s very obviously frivolous). The USPTO should get its house in order/check because those patents that it grants are fueling/empowering a bunch of bullies, who not only threaten companies (patent trolling and blackmail) but also reporters, bloggers, critics etc. Coming to their rescue are extremist sites like Watchtroll, which are so eager to ‘kill’ PTAB that they post attack pieces almost every day (today too there was a piece about PTAB, this time by Hans Sauer and Melissa Brand). PTAB bashers are crazy. Some have even become racist and menacing. They’re not pleasant people. They’re schoolyard bullies.

“Legal threats like these aren’t new; this has been done to me before, I think about half a dozen times (e.g. Charlatan Shiva, who claimed credit for inventing E-mail as soon as the real inventor of E-mail died).”Interestingly enough, the above-mentioned threat (good summary with background at TechDirt) came on around the very same day IP Kat published Right of publicity not a right to control one’s own image by censoring disagreeable portrayals, says appeals court in de Havilland case (how timely an article!).

Legal threats like these aren’t new; this has been done to me before, I think about half a dozen times (e.g. Charlatan Shiva, who claimed credit for inventing E-mail as soon as the real inventor of E-mail died). Readers certainly know that the EPO sent me several legal threats. It’s just legal bullying from reckless thugs whose intent to silence critics; even if there’s no lawsuit it’s supposed to ‘chill’ the critics and thereby suppress further reporting (or other activities). After the EPO had done what it did (legal threats) it only emboldened me to write even more about the EPO and the latest case (misuse of tribal immunity) will be no exception. I will write about it even more from now on.

“If you ‘dare’ write about patents critically (as in critical thinking, no puff pieces) and you make a difference/have an impact, expect to be bullied.”TechDirt has published the PDF that the bullies sent to me (as image; lawyers do not like sending a copy-paste-friendly version of their threats; they never do). I have no idea how he got my home address (whois.net has another address), so I am guessing that law firms might have some special access to some databases, but IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer). The PDF says it was sent by FedEx, but it was never sent (or at least not received), so it’s probably part of an intimidation tactic, sending someone to one’s home to ‘chill’ the person even further (or a relative like my spouse). I have received some rather nasty and borderline violent threats/letters lately and would rather not have my address out there for all to see. That is the kind of stuff which can chill not only the critic but also family members or other tenants. Pure evil.

What is the lesson of all this? If you ‘dare’ write about patents critically (as in critical thinking, no puff pieces) and you make a difference/have an impact, expect to be bullied. The EFF has already gotten sued (repeatedly in fact) by people whose patents it ‘dared’ criticise. It always won the cases. But at what cost (legal expenses)? To think that ‘tiny’ Techrights too has become a target may make it noteworthy. But that won’t silence us.

03.27.18

The Administrative Council of the EPO Continues to Reaffirm Complicity in Battistelli’s Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do Tim Moss and Sean Dennehey really wish to be publicly seen with these people?

UK-IPO and EPO

Summary: Team Battistelli is greasing up the British delegation, hoping that it would help legitimise the regime which even EPO staff isn’t tolerating, not to mention the effect on the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is dead as long as the United Kingdom isn’t ratifying UPCA

STAFF, such as patent examiners, received a slap on the face from the Administrative Council of the EPO last week. Rumours persist that layoffs are coming to the EPO, yet the boss who is responsible for it received a massive new bonus (like two years of full salary!).

“Battistelli already flew to Britain just to lobby his two predecessors, Lucy and Jo Johnson.”Adding insult to injury, the delegates of the pertinent nations, who attended last week’s meeting of the Administrative Council, now personally meet with Battistelli for some photo ops. It’s like they don’t really disapprove or reject him. Tim Moss from UK-IPO (Chief Executive of the UK Intellectual Property Office) did not look like he was going to challenge the Battistelli regime like his predecessor had done. Now we get assurance (or vindication) of that as not only him but Sean Dennehey (predecessor) and Gilles Requena (Bergot’s husband) are there too, along with the facilitator of the Battistelli regime, Raimund Lutz. We hoped that he would put up some resistance/distance, but he does not; instead he does a photo op with the crook. That 'collusion' with CIPA was sort of expected because CIPA is a core part of Team UPC, but why UK-IPO, which in some sense ‘competes’ with EPO? Battistelli’s or UK-IPO’s lobbying trip is a bad sign; we already know that the Unitary Patent is a major sham (crooked process and compromised/rigged votes); it’s also impossible after that Brexit vote (no matter which side one supported in that referendum). But yesterday’s puff piece (warning: epo.org link, see screenshot at the top) speaks of “preparations for setting up the new unitary patent system.”

“The puff pieces is all about Battistelli, as usual (the EPO’s Web site remains a shrine for that one person, a sort of cult of personalities).”What next? Will corrupt Battistelli keep lobbying ministers too? Is there a trip scheduled in which to lie to Sam Gyimah? Battistelli already flew to Britain just to lobby his two predecessors, Lucy and Jo Johnson.

The puff pieces is all about Battistelli, as usual (the EPO’s Web site remains a shrine for that one person, a sort of cult of personalities). “Mr Battistelli and Mr Moss,” it says, “discussed recent developments in intellectual property, including the recently released annual results of the EPO, progress on strengthening bilateral co-operation activities and preparations for setting up the new unitary patent system.”

So Battistelli also sort of lied about the results, as usual. Yesterday, the EPO was talking about patent statistics from the UK. It said: “Patent applications from the Netherlands up 2.7%, after a drop of -3.6% the previous year…”

“The meeting, based on the above summary, was the usual UPC lobbying.”“Because you gave a major discount to applicants,” I responded to them, “so it’s not really a rise, e.g. in revenue” (details in our rebuttal). On the same day the EPO also wrote: “Meeting with UK Intellectual Property Office @The_IPO highlights role of #patents in supporting innovation” (here’s that buzzword again, “innovation”).

The meeting, based on the above summary, was the usual UPC lobbying. For Dennehey too to attend and agree to a photo op with Requena, Lutz and Battistelli bodes badly for his reputation; some EPO staff actually liked him and trusted him because he was willing to listen to criticisms of Battistelli and sometimes voted against Battistelli’s proposals [1, 2].

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