Bonum Certa Men Certa

The USPTO Continues to Snub the US Supreme Court and Issues Software Patents That Are Totally Bogus

US courts are constantly rejecting software patents, but the USPTO doesn't seem to care and continues to issue them anyway

"LinuxFest Northwest 2016: Software Patents After Alice: A Long and Sad Tail" [via Montana Linux, which says "Deb Nicholson talked about the state of software patents after the United States Supreme Court's ruling in the landmark Alice vs. CLS Bank case."]

Summary: The 'production line' which the USPTO has devolved into (just accepting nearly everything that comes in) passes costs of spurious litigation to the public (externality to be taxed by monopolists, trolls, and patent lawyers) and new information serves to highlight this gross injustice which is motivated by USPTO greed and corporate control (vendor captivity)

Professor Dennis Crouch, still keeping abreast of "Pending Supreme Court Patent Cases" (there are interesting SCOTUS-level patent cases on their way), brings updates about USPTO adaptations to rulings such as Alice, which basically brought the end to a lot of software patents (the USPTO should obey court rulings and end software patents, but it's too greedy to do so). The articles composed by Dennis Crouch are actually quite informative and they help us track how things are changing (Crouch's work is academic/scholarly, so he hasn't much to personally gain from patent maximalism). Writing about the latest in the Fitbit case, a patent lawyers' site says: "As an update to our April 13, 2016 blog post, US International Trade Commission administrative law judge (ALJ) Dee Lord has granted summary determination that the asserted claims of two of Jawbone’s remaining patents in its Section 337 action against Fitbit are directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. €§ 101."



"It’s not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms."This is basically the latest high-profile legacy of Alice, which the USPTO (unlike courts, SCOTUS included) is still trying to ignore. The USPTO is still having discussions about the subject. According to a new bit of text found by Benjamin Henrion a few days ago, the USPTO says "Functions that are not generic computer functions and therefore amount to significantly more than an idea" (PDF therein).

Does the USPTO intend to ever obey court rulings? Or is it too rogue to accept that things have changed? Its former director, David Kappos, is now actively lobbying against the Supreme Court on behalf of huge corporations -- a move which contributes to the perception of corruption in this whole system.

"Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope."It's not hard to see why large corporations are up in arms. Dennis Crouch, the pro-patents scholar, has done some research and plotted charts which show that what the patent system was created for ain't so anymore. Crouch's analysis is showing how large corporations get the lion's share of patents (first author plus bosses etc. and people who want to get some of the credit), not independent developers (same in Europe) and he adds the following interpretation of the numbers/chart:

The primary goal of the patent system is to encourage innovation – “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” For me, the nature of inventorship is a fascinating pursuit: what are the factors that lead to invention and what are the results of invention?

A major shift over the past few decades in terms of inventors listed on U.S. patents is the rise of team-based inventorship. Back in 1975, the vast majority of U.S. patents were issued to a single inventor. Since that time, there has been a steady trend toward more inventors-per-patent. Around 1990 we reached a point where, for the first time, more than than half of US patents listed multiple inventors. That trend toward more inventors per patents continues today.

Drilling down, the increase is seen in patents with three or more inventors. The chart below shows the percentage of utility patents with either one listed inventor (downward sloping double line) or three+ listed inventors (upward sloping line). The drop in the first almost exactly correlates with the rise in the second. Throughout this time, the percentage of two-inventor patents has remained steady at around 25%.


Another new analysis from Crouch reinforces the idea that the patent office should enforce patent boundaries, restrict scope. But his focus, however, is the number of claims per patent, showing a very sharp decline about a decade ago (patent barriers perhaps falling far too low, allowing virtually every patent application through, or more than 90% of them). He calls this "Right Sized Patents" and adds:

Many progressive policies focus on reducing disparities (income, wealth, education, and opportunities) that reflect some social injustice between those at the top and those at the bottom of our social spectrum. Conservatives often recognize the gaps but disagree about whether the result qualifies as injustice as well as about government’s role in redistribution.

Patent policy is often easier to implement than social policy (especially compared with other property law changes) because a new generation of patents emerges every twenty years and the old generation does not hang-around protecting and directing wealth but instead melds into the Soylent of the public domain.

In some ways though, patents are bucking the social trend and becoming more standardized and less diverse – at least by some outward measurements such as document size, claims per patent, and prosecution pendency.


To rephrase that last sentence (above), patents are bucking the corporate trend and becoming low quality and more trivial. It means that those who are poor will be further impoverished and those who are rich and powerful will have more ammunition with which to marginalise the small guys (or girls). More and more small guys (or girls) are under more threats from more patents and more corporations. This means they lose control; they're being dominated. Bogus patents that are possible to invalidate in a court are too expensive to invalidate, and those whom they're asserted against don't face huge damages which can justify the legal bills (so they settle or close down the shop). Is this what the patent system was created for? Surely the opposite. The saddest thing is that the EPO too is gradually becoming more like that.

Recent Techrights' Posts

Daniel Pocock: "I've Gone to Some Lengths to Demonstrate How Corporate Bad Actors Have Used Amateur-hour Codes of Conduct to Push Volunteers Into Modern Slavery"
"As David explains, the Codes of Conduct should work the other way around to regulate the poor behavior of corporations who have been far too close to the Debian Suicide Cluster."
 
Links 18/05/2024: Caledonia Emergency Powers, "UK Prosecutor's Office Went Too Far in the Assange Case"
Links for the day
Microsoft ("a Dying Megacorporation that Does Not Create") and IBM: An Era of Dying Giants With Leadership Deficits and Corporate Bailouts (Subsidies From Taxpayers)
Microsoft seems to be resorting to lots of bribes and chasing of bailouts (i.e. money from taxpayers worldwide)
US Patent and Trademark Office Sends Out a Warning to People Who Do Not Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats
They're punishing people who wish to use open formats
Links 18/05/2024: Fury in Microsoft Over Studio Shutdowns, More Gaming Layoffs
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 17, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, May 17, 2024
Links 18/05/2024: KOReader, Benben v0.5.0 Progress Update, and More
Links for the day
Microsoft-Connected Sites Trying to Shift Attention Away From Microsoft's Megebreach Only Days Before Important If Not Unprecedented Grilling by the US Government?
Why does the mainstream media not entertain the possibility a lot of these talking points are directed out of Redmond?
[Meme] UEFI 'Secure' Boot Boiling Frog
UEFI 'Secure' Boot: You can just ignore it. You can just turn it off. You can hack on it as a workaround. Just use Windows dammit!
The Market Wants to Delete Windows and Install GNU/Linux, UEFI 'Secure' Boot Must Go!
To be very clear, this has nothing to do with security and those who insist that it is have absolutely no credentials
In the United States Of America the Estimated Share of Google Search Grew After Microsoft's Chatbot Hype (Which Coincided With Mass Layoffs at Bing)
Microsoft's chatbot hype started in late 2022
Techrights Will Categorically Object to Any Attempts to Deny Its Right to Publish Informative, Factual Material
we'll continue to publish about 20 pages per day while challenging censorship attempts
Links 17/05/2024: Microsoft Masks Layoffs With Return-to-office (RTO) Mandates, More YouTube Censorship
Links for the day
YouTube Progresses to the Next Level
YouTube is a ticking time bomb
Journalists and Human Rights Groups Back Julian Assange Ahead of Monday's Likely Very Final Decision
From the past 24 hours...
[Meme] George Washington and the Bill of Rights
Centuries have passed since the days of George Washington, but the principles are still the same
Video of Richard Stallman's Talk From Four Weeks Ago
2-hour video of Richard Stallman speaking less than a month ago
statCounter Says Twitter/X Share in Russia Fell From 23% to 2.3% in 3 Years
it seems like YouTube gained a lot
Journalist Who Won Awards for His Coverage of the Julian Assange Ordeals Excluded and Denied Access to Final Hearing
One can speculate about the true reason/s
Richard Stallman's Talk, Scheduled for Two Days Ago, Was Not Canceled But Really Delayed
American in Paris
3 More Weeks for Daniel Pocock's Campaign to Win a Seat in European Parliament Elections
Friday 3 weeks from now is polling day
Microsoft Should Have Been Fined and Sanctioned Over UEFI 'Lockout' (Locking GNU/Linux Out of New PCs)
Why did that not happen?
Gemini Links 16/05/2024: Microsoft Masks Layoffs With Return-to-office (RTO) Mandates, Cash Issues
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 16, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, May 16, 2024
Ex-Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier Did Not Retire, He Just Left IBM/Red Hat a Month Ago (Ahead of Layoff Speculations)
Rather than retire he took a similar position at another company
Linux.com Made Its First 'Article' in Over and Month, It Was 10 Words in Total, and It's Not About Linux
play some 'webapp' and maybe get some digital 'certificate' for a meme like 'clown computing'
[Meme] Never Appease the Occupiers
Freedom requires truth. Free speech emancipates.
Thorny Issues, Violent Response
They say protests (or strikes) that do not disrupt anything are simply not effective. The same can be said about reporting.
GNU/Linux in Malaysia: From 0.2 Percent to 6+ Percent
That's like 30-fold increase in relative share
Liberty in Liberia? Windows Falls Below 10% and Below iOS
This is clearly a problem for Microsoft
Techrights Congratulates Raspberry Pi (With Caution and Reservations)
Raspberry Pi will "make or break" based on the decisions made in its boardroom
OSI Makes a Killing for Bill Gates and Microsoft (Plagiarism and GPL Violations Whitewashed and Openwashed)
meme and more
The FSF Ought to Protest Against UEFI 'Secure Boot' (Like It Used To)
libreplanet-discuss stuff
People Who Defend Richard Stallman's Right to Deliver Talks About His Work Are Subjected to Online Abuse and Censorship
Stallman video removed
GNU/Linux Grows in Denmark, But Much of That is ChromeOS, Which Means No Freedom
Google never designs operating systems with freedom in mind
Links 16/05/2024: Vehicles Lasting Fewer Years, Habitat Fragmentation Concerns
Links for the day
GNU/Linux Reaches 6.5% in Canada (Including ChromeOS), Based on statCounter
Not many news sites are left to cover this, let alone advocate for GNU/Linux
Links 16/05/2024: Orangutans as Political Props, VMware Calls Proprietary 'Free'
Links for the day
The Only Thing the So-called 'Hey Hi Revolution' Gave Microsoft is More Debt
Microsoft bailouts
TechTarget (and Computer Weekly et al): We Target 'Audiences' to Sell Your Products (Using Fake Articles and Surveillance)
It is a deeply rogue industry that's killing legitimate journalism by drowning out the signal (real journalism) with sponsored fodder
FUD Alert: 2024 is Not 2011 and Ebury is Not "Linux"
We've seen Microsofers (actual Microsoft employees) putting in a lot of effort to shift the heat to Linux
Links 15/05/2024: XBox Trouble, Slovakia PM Shot 5 Times
Links for the day
Windows in Times of Conflict
In pictures
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 15, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, May 15, 2024