Bonum Certa Men Certa

China's Shot in Its Own Foot Repeats the United States' Error on Software Patents

Ancient Chinese tablet



Summary: Chinese policy on software patents and the acceptance of patent trolling is bad news not just for China but for companies everywhere, as they too become vulnerable to trolls and to Chinese companies that file cases in the West

NOT ONLY the EPO and USPTO wrestle with the question of software patenting, as we last noted in our previous post. According to this new article (behind paywall), "US-based IP owners [read trolls] to look to Europe as a place they can get better, more effective rights," Benjamin Henrion wrote today.



"It's a real problem and it can destroy what's left of Europe's software industry (discouraging development and/or investment)."We have been warning about this for a while and we already see patent trolls coming to the UK, emboldened by the EPO's bad policies. It's a real problem and it can destroy what's left of Europe's software industry (discouraging development and/or investment). Do we want London to become another EDTX?

Texas, based on this new tweet, attracts 'business' like patent lawsuits. By not serving justice but instead serving trolls and aggressors it now welcomes 'business' from Asia. "Hitachi filed patent suits in EDTX v Huawei and ZTE," IP Hawk wrote and IAM commented on it as follows: "Japanese company takes on Chinese companies in EDTX. Can't happen very often."

IAM is both a proponent of patent trolls and a tracker of them in east Asia as of late (many articles about it, some of which we wrote about before). China/Far East trolls are a growing problem also for Western companies because some large Chinese firms already take their lawsuits to EDTX (Texas) and demand a lot of money. China's state-connected telecom 'arm', Huawei, reportedly liaises with a large patent troll, InterDigital, which we covered here before (even a decade ago). To quote IAM's article: "When Huawei and InterDigital revealed that they had entered into a broad worldwide licensing agreement recently, it brought to an end a years-long dispute over standard-essential patents that at times had been rather ugly. Now, relations between the two companies couldn’t be more different as they look to partner on future research and development efforts – and, potentially, on monetising patents, too."

"Why is China doing this after working to expose Microsoft's patents that had been used to extort Android device makers across China?"The trolls epidemic sure spreads fast in China this year. "Enemies no more," one person wrote, "patents bring InterDigital &Huawei together. Consequences could be significant."

It's especially important if one considers what kind of patent these are. Henrion says "no glory for the trolls." However, for them it's quite a win and definitely more glory (when the giant of China gives legitimacy to a such a giant troll). This gigantic deal will probably help InterDigital go after a lot more companies, even in China.

Why is China doing this after working to expose Microsoft's patents that had been used to extort Android device makers across China? Well, China seems eager to destroy the progress it made by letting SIPO off the hook, pursuing just quantity (not quality) of patents, very much like Battistelli at the EPO.

This new article by Peter Leung was publishes yesterday and said "China Looks to Boost Protection for Software Patents". Have they made it official now? To quote Bloomberg:

A draft revision to China’s patent examination guidelines released late last month will likely make it easier to get software and business method patents.

Other proposed changes to ease the standard for amending granted patent claims should also help patent holders and, especially, patent assertion entities, practitioners say.

The draft guidelines follow developments that some have interpreted as evidence of China’s maturing and improving environment for IP owners. The guidelines are not law but rules for instructing examiners at China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on how to properly examine patent applications.


It's hard to see what China has to gain from this; SIPO definitely gets more power and money, but at whose expense? Moreover, why has SIPO not learned no lessons from the USPTO's mea culpa?

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