Bonum Certa Men Certa

A Farce of a System: How SIPO, USPTO, and Increasingly the EPO Too Turn Into Filing Systems (No Proper Examination/Filtering Required)

Summary: A critique of the declining quality of patents in some of the world's biggest patent offices, where the aspiration seems to be neo-liberal in the economic sense

THE patent system -- collectively speaking -- isn't functioning like it was supposed to. Rather than encourage innovation it slows innovation down, in the same way that worldwide copyright laws these days grant a monopoly longer than a person's lifetime, meaning that the incentive to produce more creative works isn't quite there.



"Rather than encourage innovation it slows innovation down, in the same way that worldwide copyright laws these days grant a monopoly longer than a person's lifetime, meaning that the incentive to produce more creative works isn't quite there."Based on this bit of news, hardware patents are getting US companies sued, owing to the US patent system (but by Asian companies), which means that the US patent system isn't even necessarily serving the US, it serves a particular class of people in the US and abroad (corporations and billionaires).

Sites like IAM, maximalists of patents (by their own admission), keep trying to spin a negative as a positive by saying that in China "grants [are] growing more quickly than applications" (that's because China's patent office is increasingly a joke, more like a filing system than a patent system with examination phase/barrier). Then again, the USPTO is also like this, especially in recent years as some barriers to patenting got removed and patent numbers soared (nearly doubled). Might one get the impression that the USPTO is just a filing office now? No quality control. For trademarks and patents alike; the profit motive led to this (neo-liberalism). Professor Mark Lemley has just quoted J Breyer as saying that the USPTO "has been issuing billions of patents that shouldn't have been issued -- I overstate, but only some." http://1.usa.gov/1Wmel7j

Well, "billions of patents" sounds like a one-patent-per-person scheme of some kind. Given that some patents are trivial enough to have been automatically-generated by an algorithm or thought of by a primary schools student, this would not be so unthinkable (if the patent fees were less prohibitive).

"The reality of patents in the US is changing right now."IP Kat's Nicola Searle has just correctly noted that "I've been meaning to do a post for some time on why patents are a poor indication of innovation (I've mentioned it before but not really gone into detail.) It's not an anti-patent bias, it's a pro-good data approach. As for lobbying and patent strategies..."

Well, maybe it's time for Searle to do a post about it. It's the second time in about a week that she says something to that effect and patent lawyers get all worked up about it (in the comments section).

The reality of patents in the US is changing right now. It's long overdue. As this new press release puts it, “Software patents in the post Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) era are very difficult to attain from the USPTO." They're even more difficult to defend in a courtroom. To quote the whole paragraph:

“This patent covers an important element in the foundation of our mobile engagement platform and embodies the uniqueness of our gamification intellectual property,” said Blue Calypso CEO, Andrew Levi. “Software patents in the post Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) era are very difficult to attain from the USPTO. We anticipate expanding our patent portfolio to cover a broad set of intellectual property in this area as well as others.


"They care neither about justice nor innovation (which are basically marketing terms to them)."Worry not, however, as patent lawyers and their media are in there for 'the rescue'. They're attacking AIA, Alice, PTAB, and whatever else threatens the patent maximalists and aggressors. Here is the term "patent death squad" again, showing up in IAM's 'analysis' of Cuozzo at SCOTUS. Because yes, calling bogus, invalid patents "invalid" makes you an executioner? A "patent death squad"? We wrote about the overuse of euphemisms and demonisation terms here before. Sites like IAM are as guilty as anyone of bias. Here are ten more articles we found on the subject last night [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. MIP said that "The Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Cuozzo Speed Technologies v Lee, the first Supreme Court case to consider an appeal of a PTAB decision" (PTAB is itself already a kind of appeal, so how much more in terms of fees should be added to keep the poor inventors disenfranchised or broke?).

As one might expect, based on these examples from last night [1, 2, 3], patent lawyers are just trying to sell their services. They care neither about justice nor innovation (which are basically marketing terms to them).

"Once again we see CAFC getting involved, despite its track record of being applicant- or plaintiff-friendly (irrespective of the context and the law, e.g. on software patents). "More business for ‘IP’ lawyers is noted right now (even colours are becoming monopolies!) because more lawsuits and feuds are being measured in Europe. As part of yesterday's new series about trademarks at MIP [1, 2, 3] we found this one titled "EU design cases looking up" and it says: "2015 was a year of definite improvement over 2014 for design decisions from the Court of Justice and the General Court in Luxembourg. David Stone explains, however, that progress still needs to be made to provide certainty for designers and practitioners" (in the US design patent are under SCOTUS scrutiny, but that's not the same as registered designs). As Patently-O put it yesterday: "After Coleman’s appeal was docketed, the Federal Circuit disavowed the “factoring out” rule that many had read in Richardson. As discussed previously on this blog, in Apple v. Samsung and again in Ethicon v. Covidien, the court insisted that Richardson did not, in fact, require the elimination of functional elements from design patent claims."

Once again we see CAFC getting involved, despite its track record of being applicant- or plaintiff-friendly (irrespective of the context and the law, e.g. on software patents). CAFC is rife with corruption, especially in recent years (we covered this several times before). It's not much better than the EPO, which having subverted French media for propaganda a year ago is doing so again, in spite of the risks. Examination quality not only declined because of Battistelli's policies but there are also talks about replacing examiners with machines (that's how filing systems are likely to work, capable of duplicates detection at best).

"It’s not much better than the EPO, which having subverted French media for propaganda a year ago is doing so again, in spite of the risks."A reader has just reminded of us an old article from a well-known victim of this system, noting: "His talks are long (he has many others) but they start to explain, indirectly, what is going on with the EPO and similar disasters. The bottom line is that there is no democracy in Europe, the power structure is outside that and the real participants have active contempt for democracy."

When will there be democracy in Europe if ever at all? Right now few billionaires and non-EU corporations decide for all of us. It is becoming a lot like the US, where political parties are being 'bought' (or sold to the highest bidder/s), elections are up for sale, and the USPTO is little more than a corporate tool for very large corporations like IBM and Microsoft. As for China's system, need we say more?

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