Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patents Roundup: Unconstitutional Patent Reform, SCOTUS Ruling on i4i and University Patent Rights, More Calls to Abolish Software Patents

American flag



Summary: Latest news and commentary on patent monopolies (mostly from the United States)

Supreme Court Signals Pending Patent Reform Is Unconstitutional (by Dan Ravicher, a pro-Free software lawyer, following the i4i decision at the SCOTUS, whose recent decisions have been terrible [1, 2])

"Congress is, unfortunately, on the verge of passing the so-called "America Invents Act" (S. 23 and H.R. 1249) that would change our patent system from the "first to invent" system we've had since our founding, to a "first to file" system. This is not only harmful to small entrepreneurs, but it also violates the plain language of the Constitution, which requires patents be granted to "inventors", not "filers." To be sure, the Supreme Court just this week reminded us that the Constitution guarantees patent rights shall vest in inventors, not their employers. In a case involving Stanford University, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the very first sentence of his opinion for the Court, "Since 1790, the patent law has operated on the premise that rights in an invention belong to the inventor." The Chief Justice continued to write, "Although much in intellectual property law has changed in the 220 years since the first Patent Act, the basic idea that inventors have the right to patent their inventions has not. ... Our precedents confirm the general rule that rights in an invention belong to the inventor." Thus, the Supreme Court unquestionably believes that the American patent system is based on awarding patents to inventors. Scholars also agree that changing from the "first to invent gets the patent" system that we have today to a "first to file an application gets the patent" system being considered by Congress would violate the Constitution.

"So one is left to ask, why is Congress about to pass a law that would benefit large corporations, harm small entrepreneurs and violate the Constitution? I don't know, but maybe if you call your representative (212-224-3121) they can explain it to you."


SCOTUS makes patent holders happy, upholds $290M Microsoft verdict (by Timothy B. Lee, who is against the patent propaganda machine)

In a New York Times op-ed supporting Microsoft, UCLA law professor Doug Lichtman had argued that changing the standard of proof would "give relief to the countless businesses that today find themselves vulnerable to patents that shouldn't have been issued in the first place." A wide variety of companies and public interest groups, including Google, Red Hat, Walmart, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Apache Software Foundation, filed briefs echoing that point. But the Supreme Court decided that whatever the merits of these policy arguments, they couldn't overrule the text of the patent law and the courts' long history of employing the higher standard.


Roche Wins as High Court Limits University Patent Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a ruling that limits the patent rights of research universities, threw out Stanford University’s suit against a Roche Holding AG (ROG) unit over methods for testing the effectiveness of AIDS treatments.

Voting 7-2, the justices upheld a lower court’s conclusion that a scientist working at Stanford in Palo Alto, California, transferred his rights to the discoveries to a company whose line of business Roche later bought. Under the court’s reasoning, the transfer made the company a co-owner of three disputed patents.


Investors Speaking Up About Patents Harming Innovation

Dixon points out a key part of the problem is that so many patents are clearly obvious to anyone skilled in the art. He notes that any competent engineer could create what's found in the vast majority of software patents, and notes that the examiners simply aren't competent enough to recognize what's obvious. Dixon, who is both an investor and a long-term entrepreneur, certainly knows these things. What's amazing to me, honestly, is how few people in Silicon Valley actually think patents are a good idea any more. The system has become so distorted that most of the people they're supposed to benefit the most don't want them, but feel compelled to get them due to the system. What a massive amount of waste, leading to a mess that holds back innovation.

Wilson makes one other statement that I thought was interesting. He compared patenting software to patenting music, noting that neither makes sense.


Software patents should be abolished

The entire software industry works like this, and the use of patents is very rare relative to all software that’s written. The market rewards applied innovation, but doesn’t try to artificially inhibit competition. It combines the best parts of capitalism, collaboration, and a vast public domain.

Our industry is booming, innovation is rapid and rampant, and everyone’s making a living. The world could benefit immensely if more industries could innovate as rapidly and significantly as the software industry. We’re doing great, almost entirely without using patents.


The patent balance (Marco Arment is against aiming high like the FFII and FSF)

My sense is that most programmers would now argue against software patents, just as Marco has. We’re 30 years into the software patent system and seeing its downsides: the patent term is way too long for software; too many patents have been issued; and patent extortion is rewarded instead of punished. What’s gone wrong?

[...]

I said at the top that I’m sympathetic to the idea that software patents should never have been allowed. But whether they should have been allowed or not, they are a fact of life today and that’s not going to change. If you think the patent system is out of balance, you should work to put it back in balance, not chase after some fantasy of turning back the clock.


Recent Techrights' Posts

Flashback: Microsoft Enslaves Black People (Modern Slavery) for Profit, or Even for Losses (Still Sinking in Debt Due to LLMs' Failure)
"Paid Kenyan Workers Less Than $2 Per Hour"
Why We're Revealing the Ugly Story of What Happened at Libre-SOC
Aside from the fact that some details are public already
 
Links 25/07/2024: Paul Watson, Kernel Bug, and Taskwarrior
Links for the day
[Meme] Microsoft's "Dinobabies" Not Amused
a slur that comes from Microsoft's friends at IBM
From Lion to Lamb: Microsoft Fell From 100% to 13% in Somalia (Lowest Since 2017)
If even one media outlet told you in 2010 that Microsoft would fall from 100% (of Web requests) to about 1 in 8 Web requests, you'd probably struggle to believe it
Microsoft Windows Became Rare in Antarctica
Antarctica's Web stats still near 0% for Windows
Links 25/07/2024: YouTube's Financial Problem (Even After Mass Layoffs), Journalists Bemoan Bogus YouTube Takedown Demands
Links for the day
Gemini Now 70 Capsules Short of 4,000 and Let's Encrypt Sinks Below 100 (Capsules) as Self-Signed Leaps to 91%
The "gopher with encryption" protocol is getting more widely used and more independent from GAFAM
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 24, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Techrights Statement on YouTube
YouTube is a dying platform
[Video] Julian Assange on the Right to Know
Publishing facts is spun as "espionage" by the US government and "treason" by the Russian government, to give two notable examples
Links 25/07/2024: Tesla's 45% Profit Drop, Humble Games Employees All Laid Off
Links for the day
Gemini Links 25/07/2024: Losing Grip and collapseOS
Links for the day
LWN (Earlier This Week) is GAFAM Openwashing Amplified
Such propaganda and openwashing make one wonder...
Open Source Initiative (OSI) Blog: Microsoft Operatives Promoting Proprietary Software for Microsoft
This is corruption
Libre-SOC Insiders Explain How Libre-SOC and Funding for Libre-SOC (From NLNet) Got 'Hijacked' or Seized
One worked alongside my colleagues and I in 2011
Removing the Lid Off of 'Cancel Culture' (in Tech) and Shutting It Down by Illuminating the Tactics and Key Perpetrators
Corporate militants disguised as "good manners"
FSF, Which Pioneered GNU/Linux Development, Needs 32 More New Members in 2.5 Days
To meet the goal of a roughly month-long campaign
Lupa Statistics, Based on Crawling Geminispace, Will Soon Exceed Scope of 4,000 Capsules
Capsules or unique capsules or online capsules are in the thousands and growing
Links 24/07/2024: Many New Attacks on Journalists, "Private Companies Own The Law"
Links for the day
Gemini Links 24/07/2024: Face à Gaïa, Emacs Timers for Weekly Event, Chromebook Survives Water Torture
Links for the day
Why Virtually All the Wikileaks Copycats, Forks, and Rivals Basically Perished
Cryptome is like the "grandpa" of them all
A Total Lack of Transparency: Open and Free Technology Community (OFTC) Fails to Explain Why Over 60% of Users Are Gone (Since a Week Ago)
IRC giants have fallen
In the United Kingdom Google Search Rises to All-Time High, Microsoft Fell Nearly 1.5% Since the LLM Hype Began
Microsoft is going to need actual products or it will gradually vanish from the market
Trying to Put Out the Fire at Microsoft
Microsoft is drowning in debt while laying off loads of staff, hoping it can turn things around
GNU/Linux Growing at Vista 11's Expense
it's tempting to deduce many people who got PCs with Vista 11 preinstalled are deleting it, only to replace it with GNU/Linux
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
IRC logs for Tuesday, July 23, 2024
[Meme] Was He So Productive He Had to be Expelled Somehow? (After He Was Elected and Had Given Many Years of Work to Earn a Board Seat)
Things like these seem to lessen the incentive to devote one's life to Free software projects
GNOME Foundation is Causing Itself More Embarrassment With Secrecy Than With Full Transparency
It also arouses suspicion and hostility towards Codes of Conduct, which gave rise to 'secret courts' governed by large corporations
Links 23/07/2024: NetherRealm Layoffs and Illegitimate Patent 'Courts' (Illegal)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: AM Radio, ngIRCd, and Munin
Links for the day
A Lot of GNU/Linux Growth on the Client Side is Owing to India (Where GNU/Linux Has Reached 16%)
A lot of this happened in recent years
Insulting Free Software Users in Social Control Media (Proprietary, Bloated With Opaque JavaScript) is Like Insulting Amish on TV
Why bother? Don't take the bait.
When Wikileaks Sources Were Actually Murdered and Wikileaks Was Still a Wiki
when Wikileaks was a young site and still an actual wiki
statCounter: Dutch GNU/Linux Usage Surged 1% in Summer
Microsoft is running out of things to actually sell
Microsoft's "Results" Next Week Will be Ugly (But It'll Lie About Them, as Usual)
Where can Microsoft find income rather than losses as its debt continues to grow and layoffs accelerate?
Julian Assange is Still Being Dehumanised in Media Whose Owners Wikileaks Berated (With Underlying Facts or Leaks)
Wikileaks and Free software aren't the same thing. Nevertheless, the tactics used to infiltrate or discredit both ought to be understood.
A Month Later
We're optimistic on many fronts
Links 23/07/2024: Downsizing and Microsoft and Still Damage Control
Links for the day
Gemini Links 23/07/2024: Friends and Solitaire
Links for the day
Why the Media is Dying (It Sucks, No Mentally Healthy People Will Tolerate This for Long)
linking to actual news articles helps fuel the spam, too
Censorship in Eklektix's Linux Weekly News (LWN)
Medieval system of speech, where the monarchs (Linux Foundation) dictate what's permissible to say
10 Years of In-Depth EPO Coverage at Techrights (Many Others Have Abandoned the Topic)
Listen to staff
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, July 22, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, July 22, 2024