Bonum Certa Men Certa

Panic in Patent Maximalists' Circles as Both Trolls and Software Patents (TC Heartland and Alice) Are Dying

[Editor's note: I'm on vacation until next weekend and am thus unable to get a comprehensive look at all the reactions from patent-centric blogs, which no doubt are spinning, protesting against, and moaning about TC Heartland]

Summary: Response to some of the latest patent news, based on news picks from Benjamin Henrion (FFII) in the wake of TC Heartland

THE US courts, panels, and even the Office (USPTO) belatedly bust a decades-long patent bubble.



The think tanks, like IAM itself (a lobbying site funded by patent trolls and bullies), worry so much that they disseminate lies like this one: "If the US patent system is not rebalanced, significant long-term damage will be inflicted on the country's economy."

Nonsense. The very opposite is true as patent lawsuits from trolls (entities that produce nothing) have utterly damaged the country's economy (there are academic studies about that), with impact being worse on those who cannot afford court cases, i.e. the smaller businesses. "There has been much debate in recent years about the ongoing state of patent rights in the US," IAM wrote, "with some arguing that their erosion poses a serious threat to the country’s economy."

The mainstream debates actually spoke of the opposite effect (patent maximalism hurting the economy), but not debates organised by IAM and funded by trolls. "It was against that backdrop," IAM wrote, "that the International IP Commercialization Council (IIPCC) recently held its first event in the US focused specifically on IP policy."

Be sure that IAM will spin it in favour of patent maximalism. That's all the site ever does and the author in this case is the most vocal maximalist among the bunch.

Incidentally, this new lawsuit against McDonald’s, the company that has got a patent on making a sandwich (not a joke!), feels the wrath of bad patents that can be squashed with Alice. Surveillance software patents are easy to squash (this has been done before) and McDonald’s can afford legal defense. Here is how WIPR put it: [via Benjamin Henrion]

McDonald’s has been sued for patent infringement over its use of location-specific internet technology software.

The case was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division on Tuesday, May 23.

Internet Media Interactive Corporation claims its patent (US number 6,049,835), “for providing automatic access to preselected locations on the internet”, was directly infringed by McDonald’s.


It's one of those infamous "over the Internet" patents. It's a software patent. It will be rejected and invalidated. Wait and watch...

Who's in trouble still? Small companies or business owners to whom it's easier and cheaper to settle with trolls than to fight back.

Patent firms, in the mean time, are shooting the messenger (or the Office/courts) for rejecting software patents. See this new rant and mind the disclosure:

Kilpatrick Townsend attorneys Kate Gaudry, Ph.D. and Thomas D. Franklin recently presented at the Practising Law Institute’s 11th Annual Patent Law Institute regarding “Software/EE: Are We There, Yet?”.


So nothing to see here. People who profit from patent maximalism promote patent maximalists' agenda. When will actual software developers be given an opportunity to write articles on this kind of topic? Media coverage about patents is typically a farce (or marketing); that's why we write so much about it (at the expense of other important topics).

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