Bonum Certa Men Certa

False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

Hope street



Summary: Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions

35 U.S.C. ۤ 101 remains strong in the United States. Courts follow it. There are new examples. Some were publicised earlier this week; we posted two batches of daily links yesterday (double the usual) and we no longer deal with the matter as meticulously as last year because EPO affairs are more urgent than the USPTO's.



"Long story short, even if we ignore racketeering and extortion 'behind the scenes' (that's the majority of troll activity) and only focus on what becomes public (actual lawsuits), trolls still dominate."In the previous post we quickly noted that António Campinos continues granting European software patents because like the man who gave him the job he does not care about patent quality, only quantity. Maybe he strives to be like China, where patent filings exceed a million per year.

More low-quality patents would certainly mean more frivolous and baseless litigation. Patent trolls can exploit such patents to receive "protection money" without ever going to court or filing a lawsuit. They just make threats. On some occasions they do in fact proceed from threats to actions. Statistics published earlier this week (by RPX) show that the majority of new patent lawsuits get filed by trolls. It's always the case. They are the majority of lawsuits; they make nothing at all; all they do is blackmail companies/people and sometimes sue. Lex Machina also has some new data. As Michael Risch put it yesterday: "I did want to drop a brief note that the Stanford NPE [trolls] Litigation Database appears to be live now and fully populated with 11 years of data from 2007-2017. They've been working on this database for a long while. It provides limited but important data: Case name and number, district, filing date, patent numbers, plaintiff, defendants, and plaintiff type. The database also includes a link to Lex Machina's data if you have access."

Long story short, even if we ignore racketeering and extortion 'behind the scenes' (that's the majority of troll activity) and only focus on what becomes public (actual lawsuits), trolls still dominate. They do nothing for innovation and a lot against it. Sometimes they're stopped without them even filing a lawsuit, owing to Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs).

"They've stooped rather low to generate pretense of "good news" or "hope"."The upside is, software patent are nowhere near making a comeback and litigation numbers continue to fall, owing largely to 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101 . Anticipat has just published some new spin, echoed by the likes of Janal Kalis; Anticipat's folks are lying by omission, as usual, or intentionally spinning the numbers. They don't count IPRs but instead focus on mere patent applications i.e. not actual US patents. They've stooped rather low to generate pretense of "good news" or "hope".

Likewise, here in Europe, the chronic liars from Bristows (this time Edward Nodder) want us to think the dead UPC is suddenly resurrected because "change is [made] the training required to qualify as a patent attorney" in one small country with not so many European Patents (low on a per capita basis, too). The blog has been silent for so long, so here's what they said yesterday (and will probably pay other sites to syndicate):

The Austrian parliament has reported here that it adopted amendments to the Patent Attorney Act on 9 May 2019. One change is to the training required to qualify as a patent attorney. Currently there is no requirement to have studied law at university, the legal knowledge being acquired through practical training. Under the new requirements, law (including Austrian and European) must have been studied at a university (the course content to be governed by a decree), and the duration of practical training will be shorter.


And that's it; from the above Bristows came up with "Austria’s change to patent attorney training will enable representation in UPC" (their headline). This has nothing to do with UPC, but when Team UPC is ever so desperate they might even mistake EPC for UPC. Or focus on Austria, which does not even register on the EPO's chart (warning: epo.org link) based on number of patents. Germany got 20,804 patents last year, compared to 535 in Austria (that's 0.4% of the total at 127,625).

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