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09.18.18

Qualcomm’s Escalating Patent Wars Have Already Caused Massive Buybacks (Loss of Reserves) and Loss of Massive Clients

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: Qualcomm’s Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

Qualcomm loses Apple’s business and drops NXP deal. What’s next?
Reference: Qualcomm loses Apple’s business and drops NXP deal. What’s next?

Summary: Qualcomm’s multi-continental patent battles are an effort to ‘shock and awe’ everyone into its protection racket; but the unintended effect seems to be a move further and further away from ‘Qualcomm territories’

ARMED with patents, including software patents from the EPO and USPTO, Qualcomm embarked on a misguided crusade which was bound to drive away clients and reduce interest in its patent pool. A few hours ago it was noted that “Apple Moves Away From Qualcomm” (even further than before) and according to Florian Müller, who followed the respective cases closely, there’s a new lawsuit in Germany, based on a European Patent:

With a view to a Qualcomm v. Apple patent infringement trial in Munich on Thursday I contacted the Munich I Regional Court to check on the time. As for the biggest issue in that case, may I refer you to my recent post on how thin air can “practice” claim limitations unless the name of the game is the claim.

On the same occasion, I inquired about any Qualcomm v. Apple first hearings that might come up in the near term. Unlike other German courts, the Munich court holds a first hearing, not as formally focused on claim construction as a U.S. Markman hearing, prior to patent trials. A spokeswoman for the court kindly informed me that a first hearing in two parallel cases, targeting different Apple entities, has been scheduled for March 28, 2019.

The patent-in-suit in both cases is EP1988602 on a “mobile terminal with a monopole[-]like antenna.”

Knowing the usual Munich timelines, it appears that the new complaints have only been filed recently. I guess just before the main summer vacation season here, or at least not long before.

“These sorts of multi-continental patent battles aren’t particularly new, but they serve to highlight the sort of thing that the EPO in Germany probably looks to facilitate, even if that would mean a lot more patent trolls, attacks on generics and so on.”In a later post Müller wrote that ITC “staff raises public-interest concerns over ban of Intel-powered iPhones sought by Qualcomm” and “staff says none of the 3 remaining patents-in-suit (from Qualcomm’s 2nd ITC complaint against Apple) is infringed. Apple [is] on [a] winning track.”

“CCIA raised these concerns in our public interest filings,” Josh from the CCIA said, so “I’m glad the ITC staff sees the same issues with exclusion in this case. (Not to mention infringement.)”

Quoting Müller, who was busy writing more than usual yesterday:

This morning, opening statements were delivered at the start of the evidentiary hearing in the investigation of Qualcomm’s second ITC complaint (request for U.S. import ban). The complaint was filed last December. An earlier complaint by Qualcomm against Apple is at a more advanced procedural stage: a final initial determination (a preliminary ruling by an Administrative Law Judge, which is however subject to Commission review) was originally due last Friday, but after the ALJ originally in charge retired, Chief ALJ Bullock took over and extended the deadline by two weeks. In that earlier case, the Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII, commonly referred to as “the ITC staff”) recommended an infringement finding with respect to one patent. Staff recommendations are not binding on ALJs, and even ALJs don’t make the final decision: the Commission itself does. But what the staff says is often adopted.

We have been critical of ALJs who ignored rulings from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Federal Circuit later dealt with the inter partes review (IPR) in question. The matter of fact is, Qualcomm is trying to increase pressure and improve its chances of “winning” by filing actions in several courts and in several continents — not so unusual a trick. Apple did that the Samsung and Huawei too is trying it against Samsung right now. But as Müller pointed out, the judge in the US is well aware that Chinese patent law is different and in some sense harsher than American law. Müller compares this to the case of Microsoft v Motorola — one which we covered at the time. To quote:

With respect to China, let’s face one thing: every U.S. judge knows that the rule of law, just like democracy, works differently in China. Huawei’s lawyers portray the Chinese proceedings at 100% fair and comprehensive. Samsung’s counsel obviously didn’t suggest that the proceedings were unfair, nor did Judge Orrick say so in his order. The Federal Circuit will be diplomatic, too. But that doesn’t mean that the appellate judges won’t have their private and unspoken opinion anyway.

The strategic issue here is the one I mentioned in the headline: coerced FRAND rate-setting arbitration. In order to distinguish Huawei v. Samsung from Microsoft v. Motorola (with Samsung being the new Microsoft and Huawei being the new Motorola), Huawei points out that Microsoft said it would accept a court-determined FRAND rate without insisting on adjucation of all the defenses that Samsung is pursuing (though Judge Robart actually did hold some Motorola patents invalid anyway). But beyond differences between Huawei and Microsoft regarding the preconditions for rate-settings (which I simply attribute to the fact that the standards at issue in Microsoft v. Motorola were not nearly as critical to Microsoft’s business as the ones in Huawei v. Samsung are to Samsung’s core business, thus Microsoft was prepared to pay for invalid and non-infringed patents and exclusively concerned about injunctive relief), Huawei must deny that it is an unwilling licensor (not in the sense of unwillingness to extend a license, but to do so on FRAND terms) engaging in hold-up and instead argue that Samsung is an unwilling licensee engaging in hold-out.

These sorts of multi-continental (or cross-continental) patent battles aren’t particularly new, but they serve to highlight the sort of thing that the EPO in Germany probably looks to facilitate, even if that would mean a lot more patent trolls, attacks on generics and so on.

09.17.18

Links 17/9/2018: Torvalds Takes a Break, SQLite 3.25.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.2 released

    On behalf of the Apache SpamAssassin Project Management Committee, I am
    very pleased to announce the release of Apache SpamAssassin v3.4.2.
    This release contains security bug fixes. A security announcement will
    follow within the next 24 hours.

    Apache SpamAssassin can be downloaded from
    https://spamassassin.apache.org/downloads.cgi and via cpan
    (Mail::SpamAssassin).

    Our project website is https://spamassassin.apache.org/

    Our DOAP is available at https://spamassassin.apache.org/doap.rdf

  • Valve Prepares Open-Source Moondust Repository

    Back in June, Valve announced “Moondust” as a new VR technical demo to showcase their hardware efforts (primarily with the Knuckles EV2 VR controllers) and consists of some mini games. It looks like this tech demo might be soon open-sourced.

    If you missed Valve’s original announcement of Moondust, you can find it on SteamCommunity.com granted this tech demo is primarily aimed at VR-enabling game developers.

  • Zinc Launches UK’s First Open Source Blockchain-Based Hiring Software

    London: Zinc, a UK based start-up, today launches its blockchain based hiring software, which promises to eliminate many of the inefficiencies associated with recruitment within the technology sector. Available to the public from today, Zinc has been successfully tested in beta with customers including GoCardless and Booking.com.

  • Lumina Networks Expands Engineering Management to Drive Product Innovation and Open Source Leadership

    Open source networking leader Lumina Networks today announced the addition of three industry leaders to their engineering team. Avinash Parwaney joins Lumina’s executive team as VP of Engineering. Parwaney is formerly from Cisco where he was Senior Director of Engineering. Prem Sankar Gopannan has joined Lumina as Director of Engineering and Iyappa Swaminathan has joined as Director of Technical Product Management.

    “I am pleased to welcome Avinash to lead the Lumina engineering team. He brings a wealth of real-world experience in large scale service provider networking,” said Andrew Coward, CEO of Lumina Networks. “Avinash will help Lumina accelerate our open source-based networking platforms and applications from proof of concept trials into production deployment. The addition of Prem and Iyappa to the team will further strengthen our ability to help lead the open source networking community, driving innovation and productization.”

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Initial Flatpak support arrives for Windows Subsystem for Linux
    • Aussie banks dragged into the ‘open source’ era via GitHub

      The open banking Data Standards Body, which is being run by the CSIRO’s Data61 unit, is using the online service to manage feedback and comments for the technical standards that will govern the movement of data in the new economy. All decision proposals and final decisions for the open banking standards will be published on GitHub.

    • eBay Replatforming to Kubernetes, Envoy and Kafka: Intending to Open Source Hardware and Software

      eBay have discussed how they are conducting a replatforming initiative across their entire technology stack, which includes building and releasing as open source both the new hardware and software created. Open source is “fueling the transformation” of eBay’s infrastructure, and they intend to use cloud native technologies like Kubernetes, Envoy, MongoDB, Docker and Apache Kafka.

      As part of a three-year effort to replatform and modernise their backend infrastructure, eBay has recently announced that they are building their own custom-designed servers “built by eBay, for eBay”. The plan also includes making eBay’s servers available to the public via open source in the fourth quarter of this year. Although many large scale technical organisations and cloud vendors custom build their own hardware, including Google, AWS and Azure, they do not typically release this as open source. eBay have stated that they “are using servers and hardware that we designed, reducing our dependence on third parties”.

    • EU antitrust ruling on Microsoft buy of GitHub due by October 19
  • BSD

    • [llvm-dev] [7.0.0 Release] The final tag is in

      The final version of 7.0.0 has been tagged from the branch at r342370. It is identical to rc3 modulo release notes and docs changes.

    • LLVM 7.0 Is Ready For Release

      The LLVM/Clang 7.0 release had been running a bit behind schedule and warranted a third release candidate, but this week LLVM 7.0.0 is now ready to ship.

      Release manager Hans Wennborg announced minutes ago on the mailing list that the 7.0.0 release has been tagged in their source tree. This ends up being the same as last week’s 7.0-RC3 except for release notes and documentation updates.

    • LLVM Developers Still Discussing SPIR-V Support Within Clang

      One of the features that didn’t materialize for LLVM / Clang 7.0 is the SPIR-V support within the compiler toolchain.

      While there has been a SPIR-V / LLVM translator out-of-tree and various developers at different vendors have been discussing for months the prospects of adding SPIR-V intermediate representation support to LLVM/Clang, it has yet to materialize.

      The latest developer discussion is to have a roundtable talk on the SPIR-V integration at the 2018 LLVM Developers’ Meeting. This year the LLVM Developers’ Meeting is happening at the San Jose Convention Center from 17 to 18 October.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgaria prepares to build its own central code repository

      In November, Bulgaria’s state eGovernment agency SEGA (Държавната агенция „Електронно управление“ ДАЕУ) will award a contract for building the country’s open source code repository. SEGA began studying submitted proposals this Tuesday. The repository, to be based on Git, will be hosting source all software newly developed by or for Bulgaria’s public services.

      [...]

      Published under the European Union Public Licence (EUPL) the Data-Gov-BG provides custom code for Bulgaria’s open data portal, including documentation about access and reuse of public sector information. The portal uses CKAN – open source software for data repositories.

  • Programming/Development

    • An “obsessive,” “anti-imperialist” Turing Complete computer language with only one command

      Daniel writes, “An obsessive programmer, frustrated with not only the inefficiencies of mainstream OSes like Windows, but what he sees as their ‘imperialistic oppression,’ built an entire operating system using a subleq architecture. Subleq is a OISC, a language with only a single command. It lacks the most basic features of programming languages, and yet is Turing Complete.

    • PHP 7.3-RC1 Released, Benchmarks Looking Good For This Next PHP7 Update

      Released this week was the first RC milestone for the PHP 7.3 feature update due out before year’s end. This weekend I ran some fresh PHP benchmarks looking at its performance.

      The PHP 7.3 release candidate is made up of many fixes ranging from memory corruption and segmentation faults to undefined symbols and other problems. The list of changes can be found via the NEWS entry.

Leftovers

  • How traveling abroad with kids showed me how to fix U.S. transit

    Ridership is down on nearly every major public transit system in the country. The argument is that agencies have failed to invest in basic upgrades which would have improved service and frequency. But on the other hand, these agencies can’t be effective when governments continue to prioritize cars—both financially and physically.

    Sweden, for example, subsidizes infrastructure improvements meant to eliminate the need for cars as part of a nationwide strategy to eliminate traffic deaths. The U.S. subsidizes widening highways.

    But what most Americans don’t know is that, in most cases, riding public transit is the best way to get public transit back on track. Especially if it helps get a car off the road during rush hour.

  • Fortnite helped cause 5% of UK divorces this year

    The company did not specify how Fortnite contributed to the separations, though its highly addictive, time-consuming nature is a sure contender. Addiction to drugs, alcohol, and gambling are often cited as reasons for relationships ending, and as digital technology increasingly takes over our lives, many argue that social media is as addicting as drugs.

  • Fortnite Battle Royal Game Cited As Cause For Divorce

    I seriously feel games are going to take over this world real soon. Earlier, it was Fortnite coaching where parents paid up to $20 for their kids to get better in the game, now this!

    According to a recent report by U.K divorce resource site Divorce Online, over 200 couples have filed divorce citing Fortnite game addiction as the root of their split.

  • Is fortnite becoming a relationship wrecker?

    Fortnite is all over the news right now as one of the most addictive digital games ever played.

    It’s not only teenagers that are being affected by its drug like qualities.

  • Pornhub traffic took a beating during iPhone XS and Apple Watch reveals

    The iPhone reveal saw Pornhub traffic drop a staggering 11.3 per cent on Apple devices and 4.4 per cent on Android. The Apple Watch Series 4 was also briefly popular (down 9.9 per cent and 3.7 per cent) before talk moved onto the health benefits, at which point viewers were inspired to have a brief 20-minute workout back on Pornhub.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Cryptocurrency mining attacks using leaked NSA hacking tools are still highly active a year later

      Yet, more than a year since Microsoft released patches that slammed the backdoor shut, almost a million computers and networks are still unpatched and vulnerable to attack.

    • Leaked NSA exploits are still used to infect at least 919K servers with cryptojacking malware [Ed: Microsoft gave the NSA back doors. It was inevitable that crackers who do not work for the US government would get in too.]

      Although Microsoft indicated that they have closed the backdoor used by this ransomware, more computers globally are not fully secured to prevent the infection by the malware. Interestingly, the hackers have shifted their game from asking for ransom and are now infecting new computers with cryptojacking malware.

    • Cybersecurity Is Only 1 Part of Election Security

      The DEF CON 2018 Voting Machine Hacking Village aimed to raise awareness in voting security through a full day of speakers and panel discussions along with a challenge for attendees to hack more than 30 pieces of voting equipment. A partnership with rOOtz Asylum offered youths between 8 and 16 years old an opportunity to hack replicas of the websites of secretaries of state to demonstrate that even hackers with limited years of experience can easily compromise critical systems. The goal was to break as many voting machine pieces as possible in order to draw attention to the vulnerabilities that will be present in the upcoming 2018 elections.

      The focus on election equipment, however, ignores the greater danger caused by hacking into the diverse collection of sensitive information that flows through political campaigns and the electoral process, and using that to influence and sow distrust among voters. While changing a vote or voting results can be traced back to a particular stakeholder, changing people’s understanding of facts is far more insidious.

    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 114 – Review of “Click Here to Kill Everybody”

      Josh and Kurt review Bruce Schneier’s new book Click Here to Kill Everybody. It’s a book everyone could benefit from reading. It does a nice job explaining many existing security problems in a simple manner.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • PAM HaveIBeenPwned module
    • Remote code exec found in Alpine Linux

      Users of Alpine Linux are advised to update their installations – especially those used for Docker production environments – after a researcher found a remotely exploitable bug in the distribution’s package manager.

      Alpine Linux is popular with Docker users due to its small size and package repository.

      Crowdfunded bug bounty program BountyGraph co-founder Max Justicz managed to exploit Alpine .apk package files to create arbitrary files which could be turned into code execution.

    • What is Wireshark? What this essential troubleshooting tool does and how to use it

      Wireshark is the world’s leading network traffic analyzer, and an essential tool for any security professional or systems administrator. This free software lets you analyze network traffic in real time, and is often the best tool for troubleshooting issues on your network.

      Common problems that Wireshark can help troubleshoot include dropped packets, latency issues, and malicious activity on your network. It lets you put your network traffic under a microscope, and provides tools to filter and drill down into that traffic, zooming in on the root cause of the problem. Administrators use it to identify faulty network appliances that are dropping packets, latency issues caused by machines routing traffic halfway around the world, and data exfiltration or even hacking attempts against your organization.

      [...]

      While Wireshark supports more than two thousand network protocols, many of them esoteric, uncommon, or old, the modern security professional will find analyzing IP packets to be of most immediate usefulness. The majority of the packets on your network are likely to be TCP, UDP, and ICMP.

      Given the large volume of traffic that crosses a typical business network, Wireshark’s tools to help you filter that traffic are what make it especially useful. Capture filters will collect only the types of traffic you’re interested in, and display filters will help you zoom in on the traffic you want to inspect. The network protocol analyzer provides search tools, including regular expressions and colored highlighting, to make it easy to find what you’re looking for.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Drone assassins are cheap, deadly and available in your local store

      Aug. 5, 2018. In the heart of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, Nicolás Maduro was delivering of a rousing speech. He stood high on a podium, speaking to a parade of military troops. The event was broadcast live on national TV. An hour in, the Venezuelan president flinched. His eyes widened. An unexpected object flew by.

      It was a drone, carrying explosives along the city’s historic Bolívar Avenue. Allegedly, this was an assassination attempt using a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle — the kind of drone you can buy from any electronics store — fitted with explosives.

      Jai Galliott, a nonresident fellow of the Modern War Institute calls the event in Caracas a “modern form of assassination.”

    • CIA drone program expands across Africa

      The US Central Intelligence Agency’s drone program in Africa is expanding, the New York Times said on September 10.

      Just south of the Libyan border, a covert military base in Dirkou, Niger has been deploying fleets of drones on surveillance missions for several months, a Defense Department spokeswoman, Major Sheryll Klinkel told the NYT.

    • The US expand their drone base in Djibouti in spite of rising local ‘anti-American sentiment’.

      The United States have built another large hangar to house unmanned aircraft at Camp Chabelley in Djibouti, despite Defense Secretary James Mattis announcing in August that he would wind down special operations on the African continent a year after four US troops were killed in Niger.

    • U.S. Spies Rush to Protect Defectors After Skripal Poisoning

      When a suspected hit man for Russian intelligence arrived in Florida about four years ago, F.B.I. surveillance teams were alarmed.

      The man approached the home of one of the C.I.A.’s most important informants, a fellow Russian, who had been secretly resettled along the sunny coast. The suspected hit man also traveled to another city where one of the informant’s relatives lived, raising even more concerns that the Kremlin had authorized revenge on American soil.

      At F.B.I. headquarters, some agents voiced concern that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, himself a former intelligence officer known to reserve scorn for defectors from their ranks, had sent an assassin to kill one he viewed as a turncoat. Others said he would not be so brazen as to kill a former Russian spy on American soil.

  • Finance

    • Time Magazine Acquired by the Benioffs, Founders of Salesforce.com

      Salesforce.com Inc. founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne agreed to acquire Time magazine from Meredith Corp. for $190 million in cash, joining Jeff Bezos among tech billionaires buying venerable print publications.

      The move thrusts the brash 53-year-old entrepreneur, who helped lead the shift of software to an on-demand model, into a new role: media baron.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Former CIA officer blasts Devin Nunes for ‘enabling our indecent president’

      Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) campaign to retain his House seat took another blow Thursday, when former CIA officer Evan McMullin endorsed Democrat Andrew Janz — and slammed Nunes in the process.

      McMullin, who is also a former House Republican staffer, wrote on Twitter that “Andrew Janz is an honorable man who has made a career of upholding the law.”

      He added that Janz will “do a much better job” for the district than Nunes, whom McMullin said “ignores the district, while promoting himself and enabling our indecent president.”

    • From assassinations to CIA mind control: new show investigates how artists tackle conspiracy theories

      “When you don’t have all the information, you’re left to fill in the blanks, and so people come up with these crazy theories,” says Doug Eklund, the co-curator of possibly the first ever exhibition to tackle art and conspiracy theories. “The way that I look at the subject of conspiracy is, it’s about aspects of history that are hidden,” Eklund says. “I think of it as almost a political occult.”

      Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy at the Met Breuer includes around 70 works by 30 artists, made between 1969 and 2016 (up to, but not including, the last presidential election), looking at covert power and the ways governments and citizens interact.

    • Retired admiral resigned from Pentagon advisory committee after writing open letter to Trump

      Retired Adm. William McRaven, former head of Special Operations Command, resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board last month after asking President Trump to revoke his security clearance.

      Defense News first reported McRaven’s exit Thursday and the Pentagon confirmed to CNN that he resigned four days after publishing his op-ed.

      In his editorial for The Washington Post, McRaven tore into the president for revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, calling Brennan “one of the finest public servants I have ever known.”

    • Reports: Bill McRaven resigns from Pentagon board after op-ed criticizing Trump

      Bill McRaven, former chancellor of the University of Texas System and a current UT-Austin professor, resigned on Aug. 20 from the Pentagon’s technology advisory board, multiple news outlets reported Thursday.

      His resignation came four days after The Washington Post published an opinion piece he wrote that criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan.

      “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” McRaven wrote. “If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.”

    • Curbing politicization, returning now to espionage

      Former CIA Director John Brennan recently lost his top secret security clearance, a move that will negatively impact his ability to make money in the lucrative world of U.S. government contracting.

      Mr. Brennan complained bitterly that his First Amendment free speech rights were violated by the action — a ridiculous argument since Mr. Brennan remains a paid commentator and speaks his mind freely on NBC and MSNBC national news networks seemingly at will. In fact, the lack of a clearance will enhance Mr. Brennan’s ability to speak out on issues he thinks are important.

      Not being read in to current intelligence means Mr. Brennan needs to worry less about mixing classified information with his on-air remarks or tweets and thus lowers the risk of breaking the law.

    • Enough Gossip. Where are the Trump Whistleblowers?

      I served 24 years in such a system, joining the State Department under Ronald Reagan and leaving during the Obama era. That splay of political ideologies had plenty of things in it to disagree with or even believe dangerous. Same for people in the military and the intelligence agencies, who, for example, were sent to train Afghan mujaheddin under one president and then kill them under another, more significant than wonky disagreement over a trade deal. An amoral president, in Anonymous’ words? How about one who set Americans to torturing prisoners to death?

      In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, some inside government were privy to information about the non-presence of weapons of mass destruction, and understood the president was exaggerating the case for war if not lying about it. Three senior officials resigned from the State Department and left a clear marker in the history books the policy was wrong. Another State Department official, a former Marine, resigned in protest over the war in Afghanistan. He stated in the New York Times (a signed letter, not an anonymous Op-Ed) “[I] tried and failed to reconcile my conscience with my ability to represent the current administration. I have confidence that our democratic process is ultimately self-correcting, and hope that in a small way I can contribute from outside.” More than a decade earlier, four State Department officials quit over the Bosnian conflict, also via public letters of resignation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Bozell Warns Rep. Jordan: Social Media Perpetrating ‘Greatest Worldwide Censorship’ in ‘History of Man’ [Ed: Social Control Media was always about policing speech online; it is wrong to allege, however, that the censorship there only muzzles so-called 'Conservatives' as it's far broader than this.]

      In a conversation with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Facebook Live on Wednesday, Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell declared the recent censorship of conservatives “the greatest worldwide censorship” of free speech in “the history of man.”

      “In recent months, there has been a debate that has now exploded on the national scene dealing with the subject of censorship and the power of a handful of tech companies,” Bozell said. “When you consider that Twitter and Facebook have over a billion of an audience – NBC News has four million, Twitter and Facebook have a billion – it’s worldwide.”

    • Illinois Prisons ban Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book on Attica
    • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book Censored In Illinois Prisons

      Attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of historian Heather Thompson, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy was censored by Illinois prison officials.

      Attorneys from Uptown People’s Law Center and Sidley Austin filed the lawsuit. It alleges that this censorship is “arbitrarily applied,” as the book was sent to three different prisons and censored only at Pontiac and Logan Correctional Centers. It argues this censorship is a violation of Thompson’s First Amendment right to communicate with incarcerated people, as such communication should only be restricted when there is a legitimate penological interest. The lawsuit also claims that Thompson’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process was violated because she did not receive notice of this restriction, and as such was not provided an opportunity to challenge it.

    • Lawsuit Challenges Censorship of Book on Attica Prison Uprising

      Two Illinois prisons have censored Blood in the Water, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by historian Heather Ann Thompson about the 1971 Attica prison uprising. Today, the Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center where I work is filing a lawsuit to challenge this unconstitutional and unethical censorship.

      Communication with prisoners is vital to ensure they know what is occurring on the outside — as well as to ensure that those on the outside know what is happening inside prisons. If injustices inside prisons are not brought to light, they won’t be corrected.

      By their very nature, prisons isolate those they lock up. It is difficult for the press, let alone the general public, to learn what is going on inside prisons, and it is equally hard for people in prison to learn what is happening beyond the prison walls. This was most recently made apparent by the difficulty reporters had covering the recent nationwide prison strike, timed by prisoners to commemorate the 1971 uprising by prisoners at Attica prison, which lasted from September 9 to 13.

    • Don’t Miss: ‘Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret’

      The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) in partnership with PEN America will present the third annual Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret in 13 cities as a part of Banned Books Week (September 23-29), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

    • Literature and the prison system: art for change and justice

      “The Section of Disapproved Books” grapples with prison system censorship through collaborative processes

    • Lisa Loomis & Justin Silverman: High School Censorship
    • Did BHS break the law by censoring student newspaper?

      The student newspaper at Burlington High School, the BHS Register, broke a story Monday about school guidance director Mario Macias being charged with unprofessional conduct by the Agency of Education.

      But Tuesday, school administrators censored the article, according to paper staff.

      “The BHS Register is like very, very accessible to the students. So I think it, like, shouldn’t be taken down. It makes sense that they would report it and the students would hear about it first,” said McKenna Weston, a BHS student.

    • Student journalists slam censorship, call for administration to respect the law

      Burlington School Board members heard from livid student journalists, former employees and parents on Thursday, who took the district to task for keeping a director of guidance on staff after the Agency of Education filed misconduct charges with the state’s licensing board.

      Three student editors of the high school’s paper, the Register, which on Monday night broke the story regarding the Agency’s charges against Mario Macias, were first to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

    • VT school to adopt new policy after accused of censorship
    • School to Adopt New Policy After Accused of Censorship

      A Vermont school district says it will adopt a new policy in line with a state law aimed at protecting student journalists after students accused the Burlington High School of censoring a recent school newspaper article.

      Last week the principal asked the students to take down a story they broke on the student newspaper website about a school employee facing unprofessional conduct charges.

      They took the story down on Tuesday and later vowed to fight the school’s action based on the new law. The principal said Thursday that the students could repost the story since the story had appeared in other media.

    • Eminem’s Most Ruthless Lines on Machine Gun Kelly Diss “Killshot”

      The devil is back, my God! Nothing fully charges the battery in Slim Shady’s back quite like a good ol’-fashioned street fight. Eminem courts more smoke than a firefighter. He likes his beef red, rare, and bloody, and anyone who dares get in the kitchen with him better not bring too many napkins. Machine Gun Kelly did just that last week, when he dropped “Rap Devil,” a song and accompanying video made in response to a shot Em fired at MGK on his new album.

      MGK ran right in with a fully loaded clip and a song that was honestly better than anyone who hasn’t paid money for an MGK show expected it to be. But Eminem isn’t Drake—there was never any question of whether he’d respond. It was just a matter of when, and how viciously, on a scale from “The Warning” to one of those Benzino drone strikes.

    • Calls for protest in Kuwait as banned book list reveals extent of censorship

      Kuwaiti liberals are calling for demonstrations on Saturday against what they describe as staggering levels of book censorship which has blocked an estimated 4,400 titles from reaching the state’s bookshops and libraries during the past five years.

      #Banned_In_Kuwait and #Don’t_Decide_For_Me have trended on Twitter as authors and followers of literature protested against the authorities’ decision to ban works including One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Marquez as well as books by Palestinian Mourid AlBarghouti and Egypt’s Radwa Ashour.

    • ‘FREADom’ banned book distribution celebrates free speech

      As part of its 23rd annual celebration of reading, free speech, and artistic expression, the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU of Pennsylvania will distribute banned and challenged books around the city Sept. 23-29.

      The ACLU has teamed with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the Book Fairies for “F READ om,” a series of free events in honor of national Banned Books Week.

      “Self-expression is an essential part of the human condition and an essential part of the American experiment. We as Americans honor freedom of speech and encourage it in the broadest possible terms. It serves our political, artistic, religious souls. Any attempt by government to curtail speech is a denial of human dignity,” Marshall Dayan, ACLU Greater Pittsburgh Chapter president, says in a release.

    • Banned Book Read-Out: CCBC event focuses on right to read
    • Casting a spell on censorship
    • China Makes Significant Censorship Decision on Hip-Hop Culture

      While Justin Bieber might be a worldwide sensation, there’s at least one country where he is no longer welcome: the People’s Republic of China, whose government recently released a shocking set of standards regarding what media is morally fit for public consumption. As part of an overreaching crackdown on “low taste content,” the country has recently banned most references to hip-hop culture as well as musicians, celebrities, actors, and other performers with tattoos, or whose lifestyle is considered to be out of line with the ruling party’s standards of morality.

      According to Gao Changli, the publicity department director at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT), there are four major”absolutes” (or rules) that outline the Chinese state-run media’s standards for decency as stated to The Independent: “Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble. Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene. Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class. Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity.” Furthermore, in an interview, the Chinese state-run news media outlet Sina reported that the regulator now “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip hop culture, sub-culture and dispirited culture.”

    • Decline in violence coincides with unprecedented censorship: CPJ report

      The media in Pakistan is not showing an accurate picture of critical issues facing the country. The reason, according to a special report published by the Committee to Protect Journalists, is increasing instances of self censorship by journalists.

      The report, released earlier this week, also finds that the number of red lines that ought not to be crossed is higher than expected. These include not just the usual suspects: national security policies, civil-military ties, enforced disappearances, insurgency in Balochistan, Pashtun activism for basic rights and civil liberties and religious extremism, etc, but also issues with no apparent bearing on the high politics of state institutions. In this latter category, the CPJ report includes reporting on labour rights and peasants’ struggle for land ownership. It refers to the threats received by a Karachi-based journalist for covering labour-related malpractices of foreign brands. The journalist was told that reporting on labour rights is anti-state, the report says. Similarly, it documents the case of an Okara-based correspondent who was wrongly implicated in multiple terrorism cases for covering peasant protests in support of their claim over vast tracts of agrarian land held by the armed forces.

      While the report finds a drop in instances of violence against journalists, including murders, it correlates the finding to i) security agencies’ crackdown on terrorist outfits in western provinces and on militant wings of parties like the Muttahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and, ii) an unprecedented suppression of editorial autonomy across newspapers and private TV channels allegedly by elements within the security establishment.

    • ‘Impotent silence’, a Chinese priest and censorship of Catholic sites

      Vatican News sites, Ucan, AsiaNews.it all blocked. Yet the Chinese constitution defends religious freedom. The considerations of a priest, whose personal blog has been taken down.

    • Help release the FBI’s files on its wartime “Postal Censorship” program

      Back in August, MuckRock user Paul Galante requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on its wartime “Postal Censorship” program. This week, the Bureau responded, having located approximately 83,000 pages. Despite the fact that the files will be released electronically through the FBI’s supposedly cost-saving portal, the Bureau is insisting Galante pay $2,485 in duplication fees.

    • Student editors: BHS administration to restore article review policy

      The editors of the Burlington High School student newspaper say that Principal Noel Green is reinstating a student media policy which requires administrative review of stories they plan to publish.

      But the editors and press advocates say the policy, which was in place for the student newspaper before the passage of so-called “New Voices” legislation in 2017, violates the Vermont law.

      Green has not responded to a request for comment. Nor has Burlington Superintendent Yaw Obeng.

    • Our Opinion: Censorship in Burlington

      On Monday, four student journalists at The Register, the Burlington High School student newspaper, broke the news that the Vermont Agency of Education had filed six counts of unprofessional misconduct charges against BHS guidance director Mario Macias.

    • Chinese Star Fan Bingbing Has Disappeared

      The latest clue emerged Tuesday after a state-affiliated think tank and Beijing university ranked Fan dead last in their annual “Social Responsibility Report,” citing her “negative social impact.”

    • Has China’s most famous actress been disappeared by the Communist Party?

      Imagine if one day Jennifer Lawrence was walking the red carpet in Los Angeles and the next she vanished completely with no word about where she was.

      It might sound ludicrous, or terrifying, but it’s the reality in China, where one of the country’s most famous actresses has disappeared without a trace amid an uproar over tax evasion by celebrities.

      Fan Bingbing, one of China’s highest-paid and most bankable stars, has appeared in both Chinese and Western films, including the multimillion-dollar X-Men franchise.

    • Censorship? Chinese movie star disappears
    • Chinese Actress Fan Bingbing Has Gone Missing
    • Chinese actress vanished following tax evasion rumors
    • Actress vanishes amid China culture crackdown
    • Google queried by House members over reentering Chinese market, complying with censorship regime
    • Bipartisan House group presses Google over China censorship
    • Google Under Fire: Centralization, Censorship, Crypto Startup Complaint and Resignations
    • Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers
    • Google’s prototype Chinese search engine connects users’ activity to their phone numbers, report claims
    • US Congress Grill Google On China Censorship Plans
    • Google employees quit over controversial China search engine project, report says
    • Senior Google Scientist Resigns Over “Forfeiture of Our Values” in China
    • Google Cloud’s new AI head comes with his own ties to the Pentagon’s Project Maven
    • Google Scientist Resigns Over Censored Search App for China
    • Frank Vernuccio, Substituting Censorship and Lies for Debate
    • Let’s Be Very Clear About What Breitbart’s Leaked Google Video Shows
    • The Real Google Censorship Scandal

      This week on the right-wing site Breitbart News, a video surfaced of one of Google’s weekly “T.G.I.F.” meetings, where employees and the leadership engage in heated debates over everything from healthier snack stations to the election of Donald Trump.

      Breitbart News described the 2016 video as a “smoking gun” because it showed Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder, telling everyone how he felt about the new leader of the free world.

      Spoiler: Not good.

      “Myself, as an immigrant, as a refugee, I certainly find this election deeply offensive, and I know many of you do, too,” he said in his flat, nasal voice. He was obviously rattled, as were the other top Google executives on stage with him. “I think it’s a very stressful time, and it conflicts with many of our values.”

    • Leaked Google video adds fuel to censorship fire

      Some of Google‘s top executives made critical remarks of President Donald Trump shortly after his election in 2016, according to a leaked video published by Breitbart.

      In the video, which was the company’s first all-hands staff meeting following Trump’s election, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said he found Trump’s victory “deeply offensive” and added that the election “conflicts with many of our values.”

      “There are two dominant reasons to be upset,” Brin says in the video. “One is because so many people apparently don’t share many of the values that we have. I guess we’ve known that for many months now… and secondly confronting the reality of an administration that’s now forming and, look, we have no idea what it’s going to do.”

      [...]

      In response to Breitbart leaking the video, a Google spokesperson said people were expressing personal views, and that nothing in the video suggested “any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products,” according to Bloomberg.

    • Google Denies Bias After Video Shows Sergey Brin ‘Upset’ Over Trump’s Election

      A right-wing news site published an internal video from 2016 showing top Alphabet Inc. executives expressing disappointment about the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, potentially giving conservative lawmakers and activists new fuel for their allegations that the internet-search giant is politically biased.

      Website Breitbart published a more than hour-long video of an all-hands meeting at Alphabet’s Google that happened soon after the election. Google co-founder Sergey Brin says “most people here are pretty upset,” and “myself as an immigrant and refugee I certainly find this election deeply offensive.”

    • On internet censorship, China can tell the US: told you so

      Maybe China’s authoritarian leaders were on to something after all.

      In 2011 and 2012, the Chinese government began imposing a series of tough new restrictions designed to rein in what was then the country’s most popular and freewheeling social media platform, Sina Weibo.

      It began with new rules making all weibo (microblogging) account users register with their real names and identity numbers, aiming to end one of microblogging’s most popular features – its anonymity. It made internet companies liable for content spread on its platforms. Individuals and groups were prohibited from using the internet to spread rumours, disrupt social stability, subvert state power or to organise or incite illegal gatherings. Scores of websites were shut, weibo accounts closed and microbloggers jailed.

    • Bebe Neuwirth, Noma Dumezweni, And More Join BANNED TOGETHER: A CENSORSHIP CABARET

      Banned Together is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, Almost, Maine, Rent and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by John Weidman (Assassins, Pacific Overtures) and JT Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts) directed by Ari Edelson (Building The Wall, 24 Hour Plays) Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret will be performed in thirteen cities across the U.S. as a part of Banned Books Week (September 23rd-29th), the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Lenovo CEO: ‘We’re not a Chinese company’

      We took the opportunity to ask the global CEO of the company, Yang Yuanqing, affectionately known around the office as ‘YY’ a question that has been bugging us for a while.

      After ZTE was brought to its knees recently by accusations of privacy violations and with Huawei facing bans from supplying sensitive areas in the US, Lenovo, the other really big Chinese player in the space, has had a fraction of the flack from certain quarters.

      Why? They’re all Chinese companies, aren’t they?

    • Here come connected vehicles and urban analytics: what do they mean for privacy?

      As sensors on connected cars become more sophisticated, and the data they provide more fine-grained, so the usefulness of that information will increase, and with it applications in everyday life. For example, insurance companies are already offering reduced premiums for those willing to install so-called “black box” systems in their vehicles. These are essentially specialized versions of the connected vehicle tracking devices discussed above, and contain similarly personal data. The danger is that what are undoubtedly useful systems that can improve our cities and save us money could also become yet another way to undermine our privacy.

    • UK spy agency that violated human rights to launch startup accelerator in Manchester

      Britain’s spy agency GCHQ is found to have violated human rights just three days after announcing an open call for startups to join its accelerator in the Greater Manchester area in 2019.

    • Top Euro court: UK’s former snooping regime breached human rights

      The UK government breached human rights rules by failing to ensure proper oversight of its mass surveillance programmes, according to the European Court of Human Rights.

      In a judgment handed down today, the court said the safeguards within the government’s system for bulk interception of communication were not robust enough to provide guarantees against abuse.

      The court said this violated the right to privacy under the European convention – as did the way in which GCHQ obtained communications data from service providers.

    • UK guilty of human rights abuse, ECHR finds in groundbreaking surveillance case

      GCHQ, the British government’s intelligence and security organisation, has breached human rights in its mass surveillance programme, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said in a landmark ruling on Thursday (13 September).

      The ECHR found that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the respect for one’s private and family life, was violated as the UK did not take out the necessary measures to ensure that only individuals relevant to the government’s security operation were watched.

      The court also observed that of the data under surveillance, no safeguards were put in place to ensure the protection of confidential material that was obtained, breaching Article 10, freedom of expression. The judges found that the data retrieved by GCHQ’s surveillance program “could reveal a great deal about a person’s habit and contacts.”

    • Big Win: Britain’s GCHQ Spygrid Violates Right to Privacy, ECHR Rules

      A major court ruling on Thursday said that the UK had violated European law, serving as a victory to privacy advocates worldwide. The news comes days after five nations charged with global surveillance released a memo urging tech companies to use workarounds to internet encryption.

      The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Thursday that Britain’s Cheltenham-based surveillance bureau, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had violated personal privacy laws.

      The Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom case concerned complaints lodged against GCHQ on the bulk interception of communications, intelligence sharing with foreign governments, and obtaining communications data from communications service providers, a press statement said.

    • “Bulk interception” by GCHQ (and NSA) violated human rights structure, European court docket suggestions

      The swimsuit change into brought by Gargantuan Brother Survey, Amnesty Worldwide, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a quantity of different civil liberties organizations from Europe and North The United States, as successfully because the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and others. “The resolution sends a transparent message that the same surveillance packages, equivalent to those performed by the NSA, are also incompatible with human rights,” claimed ACLU legal educated Patrick Toomey. “Governments in Europe and the United States alike have to seize steps to rein in mass spying and undertake prolonged-past due reforms that the truth is safeguard our privacy.”

    • UK mass surveillance violates right to privacy, rules European court
    • UK GCHQ violated human rights

      GCHQ’s methods in carrying out bulk interception of online communications violated privacy and failed to provide enough surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights (ECHR) has ruled in a test case judgment.

      But the Strasbourg court found that GCHQ’s regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal. It is the first major challenge to the legality of UK intelligence agencies intercepting private communications in bulk, following Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations.

      The long awaited ruling is one of the most comprehensive assessments by the ECHR of the legality of the interception operations operated by UK intelligence agencies.

    • GCHQ Found To Be In Breach Of Privacy Rules

      “If these invasions of privacy go unchecked, we risk setting the path for a tomorrow that apes China, a country where the government is using cyber-surveillance to remove all privacy from an individual’s life.”

    • Man charged with fraudulently billing NSA for contract work
    • Orlando man accused of fraudulently billing NSA for at least $250,000

      A Florida man who worked for a National Security Agency contractor in Maryland has been charged with submitting fraudulent timesheets that billed the federal government at least $250,000 for work he didn’t perform.

      U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office on Thursday charged Todd Andrew Leasure with making false statements.

      A court filing says Leasure submitted false timesheets in which he claimed to have worked on a services contract more than 1,500 hours more than he actually did between 2014 and 2017.

    • Police: Florida Man Fraudulently Billed NSA For Contract Work

      A Florida man who worked for a National Security Agency contractor in Maryland has been charged with submitting fraudulent timesheets that billed the federal government at least $250,000 for work he didn’t perform.

      U.S. Attorney Robert Hur’s office on Thursday charged Todd Andrew Leasure with making false statements.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Reader addresses issue of security clearance for former CIA officials
    • US Sanctions Against Venezuela Force Abby Martin’s “Empire Files” to Shut Down

      Recent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the Trump administration have forced the Empire Files program, hosted by American investigative journalist Abby Martin, to shut down. The decision to officially announce the show’s end came after blocks on wire transfers originating in Venezuela and sent to the U.S. were recently imposed, thereby cutting off the show’s primary source of funding. Issues with funding caused by the U.S.’ Venezuela policy had, however, been a problem for some time, leading Martin and her staff to halt production in late May. While Martin and her team had hoped conditions would improve, the recent sanctions make that such a distant possibility that the decision to shut down the show was made on Wednesday.

    • Qualified Immunity Contradicts Congressional Intent. It’s Time To Kill It Off.

      The doctrine of qualified immunity was conjured up by the US Supreme Court in 1982 and victims of rights violations have been paying the price for more than three decades. The doctrine was created by the Court, not by Congress. This is an important distinction, especially since qualified immunity directly contradicts the liability Congress created as an avenue of redress for citizens.

      Congress specifically said anyone who uses governmental power to deprive others of rights can be sued.

      [...]

      The arguments for keeping the qualified immunity intact are weak. Holes have been poked in these by multiple lawyers and law profs, but the doctrine lives on, propped up by the parade of litigation that would certainly result if government employees were held directly responsible for their actions.

      One of the weakest of the arguments is that the removal of qualified immunity would result in long stream of impoverished cops. As this amicus brief submitted for a QI-centric Supreme Court case points out, government employees are rarely, if ever, held directly accountable for their actions. It’s almost always taxpayers paying other taxpayers for rights the government violated.

    • Is there a myth of free speech on social media?

      Apple, Facebook, Spotify and Youtube banded together this week in a decision to stop hosting audio and video content from Alex Jones, a controversial conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars.

      Denounced by some as censorship and supported by others as a reasonable enforcement of company policies, the move has again raised questions about the control a small handful of social media companies have over what constitutes acceptable speech online.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Nation’s Second Biggest Cable Company Probably Won’t Get Kicked Out Of New York State After All

      Back in July, New York State took the historically-unprecedented step of voting to kick Charter Communications (aka Spectrum) out of New York State. Regulators say the company misled them about why the company repeatedly failed to adhere to merger conditions affixed to the company’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, going so far as to falsify (according to the NY PUC) the number of homes the company expanded service to. The state has also sued the company for failing to deliver advertised broadband speeds, for its shoddy service, and for its terrible customer support.

      But the threat to kick Charter out of the state appears largely to have been a negotiation tactic, as the two sides are now purportedly making progress and engaging in “productive dialogue” as they attempt to hash out their differences.

  • DRM

    • International Day Against DRM takes action for a Day Without DRM on September 18th

      DRM is the practice of imposing technological restrictions that control what users can do with digital media. DRM creates a damaged good: it prevents you from doing what would be possible without it. This concentrates control over production and distribution of media, giving DRM peddlers the power to carry out massive digital book-burnings and conduct large-scale surveillance over people’s media viewing habits.

      Organized by the Defective by Design team, IDAD has occurred annually since 2006. Each year, participants take action through protests, rallies, and the sharing of DRM-free media and materials. Participating nonprofits, activist groups, and companies from around the world include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group, Public Knowledge, the Document Foundation, and others (for a complete list, see: https://dayagainstdrm.org). These groups will share the message by writing about why DRM is harmful, organizing events, and offering discounts on DRM-free media.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Guest Professor: Arguing the Scandalous Clause

        The arguments against the scandalous clause are several. Trademark law, it is argued, should concern itself with consumer efficiencies and commercial goodwill—not the psychological protection of children or the majoritarian morality. Consumers choose whether they will view a mark; so by trademarking a scandalous image, no one is forcing anything on anyone. Besides, it’s inevitable that children will hear and see much worse in schools and on the internet. Furthermore, given the diverse moral views in society, a moral-based criterion seems very subjective to enforce. Trademark eligibility, it is argued, should not reflect the moral code of the PTO, a judge, or anyone else for that matter. It should reflect laissez-faire ideals: if there is demand, let the market supply it. So go the arguments.

        [...]

        As already stated, these reasons do not necessarily imply that Congress should have enacted the scandalous clause. Indeed, the clause may be criticized for various reasons. The clause certainly calls for subjectivity in its enforcement—as much subjectivity as enforcing the distinction between descriptive and suggestive marks; assessing the presence of secondary meaning; or determining that a mark has become generic. The clause certainly does not represent a laissez-faire approach—much like the regulation of public television and airwaves (restricting pornographic and vulgar content), or the very trademark system itself (creating an artificial monopoly). The clause certainly does not further source identification—just like the clauses that prevent registration of government flags or insignia, portrayals of deceased presidents, portrayals of living individuals, and surnames. The clause may even result in market inefficiency—although not as much inefficiency as results from trademark’s dilution rights. All these problems with the scandalous clause may be lamented and bemoaned, but they do not suggest that Congress has abused its discretion by abridging the freedom of speech. These problems are relevant to a much different discussion—a discussion about whether we—through Congress—should change this law. They do not inform the discussion about whether the Constitution gives courts power to reject our will.

    • Copyrights

      • South Africa: Copyright Amendment Bill Could Be Finished Next Month

        The committee is still deliberating on the public submissions received after it published specific clauses of the Copyright Amendment Bill for comment, committee secretary Andre Hermans told Intellectual Property Watch in a recent phone interview.

        “Our intention is to finalise in the month of October,” Hermans said.

        The Copyright Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament in May 2017.

        The Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry has met several times since last month, sifting through and debating the merits and practicalities of the submissions it has received. During this process, the committee again identified clauses of the Copyright Amendment Bill to be re-advertised and as a result, specific clauses dealing with the accreditation of collecting societies have been published for comment.

      • U.S. Wants Prison Sentence for Facebook User Who Pirated ‘Deadpool’

        The US Government is recommending a six-month prison sentence for a California man who uploaded a pirated version of the movie Deadpool to Facebook. In just a few days the copy was viewed 6,386,456 times. A strong sentence is needed to deter the defendant, other Facebook users, and the public at large, the US argues.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Helps Prevent Frivolous Software Patent Lawsuits

Posted in America, Patents at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…it is therefore opposed by those who profit (hundreds of dollars per hour) from these frivolous lawsuits

Coins

Summary: PTAB with its quality-improving inter partes reviews (IPRs) is enraging patent maximalists; but by looking to work around it or weaken it they will simply reduce the confidence associated with US patents

THE reputation of the USPTO will depend on its patents. A few days ago we learned, based on an article from Brittany Shoot (Fortune), that OxyContin “drugs lords” make billions getting you addicted to drugs (with the state’s approval) and then they want a patent monopoly on getting you off these drugs. This is outrageous, yet the USPTO sees no “scandalous” thing here; it only sees “scandals” in particular trademark applications because these might seem rude.

It also looks like another bogus software patent has just been wrongly granted by the Office. Aquiire published a press release about it. How about this other press release, this time from MKThink, which speaks of “technologies for analyzing business intelligence applied to physical assets, environmental factors, and cultural dimensions.” Not abstract? Talari Networks also pushed out a press release [1, 2] and this one is almost certainly about software patents. Last among this bunch we have a press release [1, 2] from a firm that’s suing over patents on “Virtual SIM (vSIM) technology,” i.e. probably software-implemented and thus invalid under Section 101 (35 U.S.C. § 101). To quote:

The holding company of Skyroam, Inc. (www.skyroam.com), SIMO Holdings Inc., has filed a lawsuit on June 15, 2018 against UCloudLink Network Technology Limited America, brand-named GlocalMe, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that UCloudLink is violating SIMO’s intellectual property by selling its infringing WiFi hotspot devices. The lawsuit cites unauthorized use of patented technology, which is prohibited by law, and is intended to protect SIMO’s significant investment in Virtual SIM (vSIM) technology.

Why does the Office keep granting such patents? They breed pointless lawsuits that often end when the underlying patents get invalidated, eroding confidence in US patents as a whole.

Will the USPTO raise the patent bar? It doesn’t look like it. Iancu is making a mess of the Office and patent maximalists rally to get a patent maximalist in charge of PTAB. “Like other members of the PTAB, the Chief Judge is appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the USPTO Director,” they note, recommending/urging patent maximalists that this site targets to apply for the job.

They’re being rather shallow; maybe they can get Rodney Gilstrap to apply for the job. Wouldn’t that be funny? No other judge has earned anywhere near the same level of notoriety. Even politicians have called him names. Rodney Gilstrap was named in this new article a few days ago. To quote: “An unprecedented hearing took place in Marshall’s federal court, Wednesday, as two Chief Judges — Barbara Lynn and Rodney Gilstrap — sat at the bench together, simultaneously…”

Judge Gilstrap again in the news; he’s a friend of patent trolls in his district and he justifies that by saying that it’s good for his town. Never mind justice itself.

Anyway, going back to PTAB, days ago we saw the exception rather than the norm when it comes to software patents; such patents typically perish at PTAB, but this time around PTAB permits software patents on “toolbars” and patent maximalists rejoice:

MyMail Ltd. beat a challenge to a patent related to computer toolbars at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday, a win that comes as MyMail seeks to overturn a court ruling that the patent is invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice test.

The board said in a final inter partes review decision that it was not convinced the disputed patent claims were anticipated or obvious. The IPR was brought by Unified Patents Inc.

Watchtroll has also found the exception, taking stock of another rare decision 3 days ago:

On Monday, September 10th, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final decision in an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding petitioned by telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corporation to challenge a patent held by electronic program guide developer Rovi Guides, a subsidiary of TiVo. The panel of administrative patent judges (APJs) in the case issued a mixed claim finding which nixed 20 of 24 challenged claims but upheld claims covering a buffering feature which Rovi is seeking to license with Comcast.

Watchtroll hasn’t changed its tune. It’s still lobbying against IPRs and looking for scandals/dissent. Basically anything that can lower patent quality. The same goes for Patent Docs, which yesterday advertised the webinar of the litigation ‘industry’ with bulletpoints like: “What guidance do Federal Circuit and PTAB decisions give patent counsel on the application of BRI?”

And in Chicago it advertised another webinar with bulletpoints like “Staying on Top of Recent Developments at the PTAB” and “PTAB Strategy in a Changing Environment: Claim Construction, Amendments and Section 112(6)…”

Also in Chicago: The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) — not quite what it sounds.

The Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC) is among those involved in other events advertised yesterday (some are not quite related). And while we’re on the subject of Chicago, Brian Leiter from University of Chicago Law School took stock of most cited authors in this domain, showing that Mark Lemley is by far the most influential scholar in this area (this is why Mr. Gross keeps smearing him; Lemley is ‘problematic’ to all the anti-PTAB campaigning).

The bottom line is, the USPTO is still granting patents that oughtn’t be granted while its new Director seems to be trying to scuttle PTAB. This is a recipe for disaster and that can only further reduce the certainty associated with US patents.

Abstract Patents (Things One Can Do With Pen and Paper, Sometimes an Abacus) Are a Waste of Money as Courts Disregard Them

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 2:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An abacus

Summary: A quick roundup of patents and lawsuits at the heart of which there’s little or no substance; 35 U.S.C. § 101 renders these moot

THIS almost final post (for today) is also the longest. It covers new examples in which the patent system — notably the USPTO in this case — presents recklessness or disregards for patent quality, legal certainty and so on. What good are patents if their legitimacy isn’t being assured and whose underlying economics are misunderstood (or worse — ignored)? Mere ideas aren’t inventions. Thoughts aren’t inventions, either. Nature is not an invention and merely discovering things which always existed in nature can’t be considered an invention (at best a discovery). The patent systems oughtn’t be misused or endlessly stretched to cover just about every conceivable thing because that would hold science as well as free thought back. Those who care about patents should shun the patent maximalists and aim to restrict the scope of patents. The same goes for copyrights and trademarks.

We start our journey with this bizarre new article that uses the term “IP”, probably conflating trade secrets, copyrights and trademarks with patents. Proactive Investors UK speaks of “patent licensing,” but this case appears to concern something like copyrights (which they vaguely allude to as “IP”). GAN must be extremely misguided if it thinks that it can win a patent lawsuit over software in the US, so on the face of it it boils down to bad reporting or bad communication (misleading on purpose) from Irwin IP LLP. What does the following mean by “technology”? Code? Mere ideas? Secrets? It doesn’t say clearly. To quote:

GAN claims that some internet gambling operators have been using its technology without permission, and it is now seeking “commercial settlements” for these alleged infringements

[...]

But it appears others have been using the software without permission, and the company said the offending firms had been “substantially and progressively placed on notice” of GAN’s patents.

Chicago-based law firm Irwin IP LLP will now seek “commercial settlements” for any infringements, which, along with patent licensing, represent a “potentially high-margin incremental income stream for GAN”.

We’ll come back to Chicago in a moment. The next and final post will deal with it.

Here is another baffling new article. They speak of a new stationary bike, but they actually describe software, not a bike. In their own words:

Last May, in-studio cycling business Flywheel Sports announced plans for a new stationary bike called the FLY Anywhere that would allow users to stream both live and archived cycling classes into the comfort of their homes, all while tracking performance and letting users compete with other riders.

To the folks at Peloton, it sounded familiar. A little too familiar. So on Wednesday, the company filed a lawsuit against its cycling rival, alleging that Flywheel had willfully infringed on Peloton’s patents in the development of its new toy. But the story Peloton spins about how that infringement took place is the most stunning part of all.

They’re preparing for a patent fight. One thing we know for sure: the law firms will win. They will get richer. At both ends.

Also mind Christopher Wood’s new article, which is actually marketing by law firms. It resorts to intimidation and scare-mongering tactics like this:

Harris related a story of a company making a pitch for investment at a Rockies Venture Club event, with the entrepreneur including a patent number in their slide deck. An investor at the event looked up that number, only to discover that the patent didn’t exist.

So what? Unless they’ll looking to invest in a patent troll, it’s rather improbable that a startup can pick on a large rival in court. Such legal fights favour the wealthier party.

Speaking or legal action, a law firm closely connected to Microsoft (Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP) took note of a lawsuit in which bogus software patents are being used to “assault” (their word) a rival:

In a recent development set against the backdrop of ever-increasing cloud competitor lawsuits, longtime provider of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and cloud-based Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions RingCentral filed a patent infringement suit last month against competitor Dialpad in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In its 22-page Complaint filed on August 27, 2018, RingCentral alleges direct and indirect infringement of four of its patents granted between 2010 and 2017 by several of its competitor’s VoIP offerings, namely Dialpad Standard, Dialpad Pro, Dialpad Enterprise, Dialpad Free, UberConference Free, and UberConference Business. RingCentral has been on the receiving end of its fair share of patent infringement suits over the last several years, but this appears to be the first case in which RingCentral has gone on offense as a patent plaintiff.

[...]

While RingCentral appears to have dominated the UCaaS space for some time, Dialpad—a relatively young San Francisco-based company co-founded as Firespotter in 2011 by Craig Walker (creator of Yahoo! Voice and Google Voice) and adopting its current namesake in 2016—has also amassed its share of accolades during its young existence. Along with RingCentral, Dialpad boasts its appearance on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 list, and was also a recipient of TMC’s 2017 WebRTC Product of the Year Award. Additionally, in 2016, TMC Labs awarded Dialpad a winner of its IT Innovations Award for their advancements in VoIP solutions.

It seems pretty clear to us that these are abstract software patents — the sort of thing Microsoft accumulates and leverages in bulk to thereafter blackmail large firms. On the tax evasion aspects of this, Reuters weighed in last week when it wrote: “The GILTI provision, meant to discourage multinational corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by holding intangible assets such as software patents abroad in low-tax countries, imposes an effective 10.5 percent tax rate on income from tax havens.”

We covered this scam many times before. It’s a side ‘perk’ of accumulating many bogus software patents.

Notable over the past week was actually the number of such patents being heralded to the world. This press release spoke of patents on “cloud computing, machine learning and IoT connectivity for HVAC optimization,” i.e. just buzzwords for software patents (bunk patents, worthless in US courts) . Here are some more patents on utter rubbish (technology giants like Google just striving to stockpile garbage for the numbers, presumably to cross-license without even assessing the patents individually).

Aaron Gin and Michael Krasniansky from McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP wrote about bogus software patents that get ‘dressed up’ as “AI” (as almost any algorithm can be). We wrote a great deal about so-called ‘AI’ patents and here come more of these clueless pieces with “AI” in the headline. “Machine bias is difficult to identify and eliminate,” say patent maximalists. One cannot patent algorithms, however, or at least not enforce them in courts. Bunk patents cannot be made any less bunk by adding buzzwords like “AI” to them. Lawyers know this, but they still try to convince us otherwise. From the paywalled article:

Vincent Violago and Nikko Quevada discuss [...] They also discuss patents and directed to bias mitigation, as well as the reasons machine bias is difficult to identify and eliminate

Another site of patent maximalists then said (with “AI” in the headline) that “[t]he emergence of artificial intelligence has coincided with uncertainty of the patentability framework for protecting such innovations.”

So they know that these are bunk, but they go along with it anyway. There was no “emergence of artificial intelligence,” just reemergence of it as a buzzword about a year ago. It’s a marketing strategy, much like “cloud”. They give new labels to old things. The buzzword just means algorithms in this context; “AI” can be just about anything, e.g. algorithm, which does something “clever” (however one defines that). There’s a new paper [PDF] titled “Ethics of Using Artificial Intelligence to Augment Drafting Legal Documents,” but that’s inherently different because it’s about using algorithms to manage and author patents. Even patent lawyers often conflate or confuse these things.

Law firms ought to stop assuming that US courts will respect software/algorithm patents because they won’t. See their track record. How about this from Jessica Zimmer? It’s about Hedera Hashgraph:

Hedera Hashgraph began life as an algorithm. But over the years since 2015 it morphed into a leviathan, raising around $100M on a $6bn valuation from institutional and accredited investors. After launch, it will be almost entirely independent from founding parent Swirlds, which is now one of the members of the Hedera Council and will have the same voting rights as other members.

The algorithm is probably not patentable, but that does not prevent the company from moving ahead and beyond that. Companies which stop innovating and depend only on a pile of patents may end up like Blackberry, which is nowadays behaving like a patent troll. This is the kind of headlines it has earned so far this month and its patents aren’t even legitimate. “BlackBerry’s patent 8,745,149 is invalid, Patent Trial and Appeal Board says in opinions posted on its electronic docket,” as was covered at the time (end of last month). This is what happens when one tries to leverage software patents against large firms; they don’t fold as they can afford to fight back and win.

A Microsoft-connected news site (“Motley Fool”) is meanwhile mischaracterising this Microsoft-like patent trolling. Leo Sun wrote:

Over the past five years, BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) has phased out its smartphone business and expanded its enterprise software portfolio. That turnaround strategy was painful, but it resulted in shallower revenue declines and rising non-GAAP profits.

Another pillar of BlackBerry’s turnaround is its effort to monetize its portfolio of over 44,000 patents through royalties and licensing fees. Some companies willingly paid those fees, but many others didn’t.

That barely helped cover any of the lost revenue. The person behind this strategy is no longer at BlackBerry. The bottom line is, those who pursue software patents and assume these to be worthwhile in court will be rather disappointed. Unless of course they wish to become patent trolls, preying on those opting for a quick settlement without fighting back in court.

“Blockchain” Hype and “FinTech”-Like Buzzwords Usher in Software Patents Everywhere, Even Where Such Patents Are Obviously Bunk

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 1:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On a computer” patents (lacking physical, concrete components and usually lacking novelty)

Singapore marina

Summary: Not only the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) embraces the “blockchain” hype; business methods and algorithms are being granted patent ‘protection’ (exclusivity) which would likely be disputed by the courts (if that ever reaches the courts)

THE EPO grants software patents even though it’s not supposed to. So does the USPTO in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) would certainly invalidate these with the Federal Circuit affirming these decisions.

“All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents”We’ve already expressed many criticisms of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), where patent maximalists and even software patents are being tolerated. The same goes for SIPO in China, but not quite the JPO and KIPO in Japan and South Korea, respectively.

Singapore is basically racing to the bottom with software patents, as confirmed only hours ago (“How Singapore Is Fast-Tracking FinTech Patent Applications”). A FinTech patent is just a software patent with a buzzword, yet apparently IPOS is happy to glorify such patents:

The box-office smash hit, “Crazy Rich Asians”, is on everyone’s lips (and social media feeds) nowadays. The Singapore-set Hollywood movie, featuring an all-Asian cast, comically peers into the lives of the one-percenters strutting their stuff in famously up-market Singapore. Love it or hate it, the movie nails one thing for sure: Singapore is a playground for the financially savvy; a haven for financial technology (commonly known as “FinTech”).

In this spirit, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) has launched a fast-track patent scheme determined to accelerate innovation for finance sector inventions. This one-year scheme, dubbed the FinTech Fast Track (“FTFT”) initiative, began in April and will end on 26 April 2019. Essentially, FTFT provides for expedited prosecution of FinTech patent applications – a much welcomed initiative for the sector.

[...]

As for the general question, a 2013 Working Paper by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment found that while participation was low, the priority given did speed processes up. As such, the initiative did succeed in accelerating development of clean technologies during the first years after the publication of the patents. As for Singapore, this blogger spoke with several FinTech patent examiners, who noted that to prevent abuse, priority for genuine Fintech patents is protected by trained examiners, who detect patent applications unrelated to FinTech but that are (mis)applied for under FTFT.

There’s no good reason to do this. The same goes for many other digital advancements in the area of finance, including Bitcoin and blockchains. Any “blockchain” patent is just another software patent, yet we keep seeing reports about such patents being pursued and sometimes awarded. Days ago we saw “Hedera Hashgraph, A Blockchain Distributed Ledger Tech Rival, Wants Patent Law Protection” and “Blockchain Market Continues to Grow as Record Number of Patents Were Filed in 2017″ (we covered the subject before).

All of these patents are bogus, bunk software patents. They’re a waste of time and paper. NBC Right Now is responsible for the latter article which says this:

According to a research report published by Global Market Insights, the blockchain market size is expected to surpass USD 16 Billion by 2024. The blockchain technology builds a secure record of transactions between two parties, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary. The technology was first applied in cryptocurrency and now, it is widely used in various industry. The market is expected to witness rapid growth as the technology can significantly reduce the cost of operation and enhance efficiency for businesses. As a result, the financial sector is expected to benefit the most from the development of the technology. Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC: VSQTF), Pareteum Corporation (NYSE: TEUM), Seven Stars Cloud Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSC), Appian Corporation (NASDAQ: APPN), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA).

Well, measuring adoption of something in terms of patent applications is lying. It’s hype.

Separately, an article was published to say that “China Accelerates Blockchain Patent Activity” — merely a reminder that China is the only large economy in the world which officially permits — at its own peril — patents on software. To quote the nonsensical sentences which precede it all:

In tech, innovation is everything. In innovation, intellectual property is, well, almost everything — it can be the hardware, the software, the processes that comes from the creative endeavor. You might consider patents a form of competitive advantage.

News came last week that, when it comes to patents tied to the blockchain landscape, Thomson Reuters has found that China, and Alibaba, have had an outsized showing, and seem to be accelerating their patent filing activity.

The said Reuters article was covered here last weekend. What it arguably shows is a bunch of large firms — including banks — looking to guard themselves from competition and therefore creating a patent thicket. How does this contribute to innovation? Moreover, how are such patents not abstract? Many of these firms just stockpile lots of these patents, knowing that if leveraged inside or outside the court ‘in bulk’ they would be hard (and expensive) to invalidate/disprove exhaustively. It’s troubling to see patent offices playing along. We’ve been talking about this for a very long time.

Qualcomm’s Patent Aggression Threatens Rationality of Patent Scope in Europe and Elsewhere

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 12:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Qualcomm’s European Patent (EP) 2954737

EP2954737

Summary: Qualcomm’s dependence on patent taxes (so-called ‘royalties’ associated with physical devices which it doesn’t even make) highlights the dangers now known; the patent thicket has grown too “thick”

THE EPO and USPTO have both granted software patents to hardware giants which disguised these as “physical”. We covered some examples earlier this year (including Qualcomm's, as above).

Here is the latest article (among many recently, specifically about Qualcomm) by Florian Müller, who told me he “talks about a dangerous precedent Qualcomm is trying to set in a German software patent case against Apple. On that basis, thin air would infringe a patent on a coffee filter if filtered coffee was poured in.”

This deals with “software patent claim limitations,” Müller explains, with a “dangerous precedent possible” for the following reasons:

The name of the game is the claim. There’s no German equivalent, at least none that rhymes, but I vividly remember Quinn Emanuel’s Dr. Marcus Grosch stressing this point when he was defending Motorola Mobility against Microsoft, particularly in the Munich appeals court. Now, as counsel for Qualcomm in a German lawsuit against Apple that will be tried on Thursday and involves the iPhone’s built-in Spotlight search technology, he’s espousing the very opposite position. The former anti-software-patent campaigner in me dreads and hates the notion of software patents being given overbroad scope in litigation–way beyond any reaonable claim construction.

Whatever may come out of that Munich case (technically, a host of cases asserting different members of the same patent family and targeting different Apple entities) is rather unlikely to move the needle in the intercontinental Qualcomm v. Apple dispute. Based on how a first hearing held went in May, even an infringement finding wouldn’t result in an immediate injunction: the case(s) would most likely be stayed over validity concerns. But Munich is one of Europe’s most important–and fastest–patent litigation venues, and Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann one of Europe’s influential patent judges (among other things, he’s a contributor to a leading reference on patent law). An infringement holding could set a dangerous precedent affecting many other cases before the Spotlight matter, if ever (since the patents-in-suit might all die anyway), would be appealed.

[...]

The word “only” is key here. Qualcomm’s counsel says: if a user only has usable communication channels (suzch as only one usable channel per user) in an address book, the search result will be limited to only usable communication channels. Unfortunately, there’s no Markman proceeding in Germany, where claim construction would be determined first and where disputed claim limitations would have to be interpreted by the court in writing. Otherwise I have no doubt–no doubt whatsoever–that this claim element here would have been deemed a filter (a word that, therefore, appeared multiple times in my May post on this matter).

“The former anti-software-patent campaigner in me dreads and hates the notion of software patents being given overbroad scope in litigation–way beyond any reaonable claim construction,” he said, having done a lot of advocacy against software patents in Europe more than a decade ago. As we’ve been emphasising since last year, Qualcomm is nowadays a leading voice for software patents; Qualcomm also leverages many such patents ‘in bulk’, doing what Müller called “Qualcomm’s double-dipping practice” just earlier this month (we lacked the time to cover it in isolation at the time; he also wrote about the massive buybacks that strive to shield the company from market collapse).

“When large companies leverage patents in such lawsuits they know that it would be too costly (and time-consuming) to challenge all underlying patents.”We’re sadly seeing — again and again — how Qualcomm and the likes it frame software as “hardware” or “physical”. Quality (lack thereof) is disguised by quantity. Müller said: “It wouldn’t be practical to have one or more courts make this determination for thousands of patents. And a motion for partial summary judgment is subject to rather strict page limits–the whole idea of summary judgment is that you raise an issue that the court can easily decide. Apple and the likes of Foxconn therefore picked three exemplary patents (from the ones Apple and the contract manufacturers tackled before).”

When large companies leverage patents in such lawsuits they know that it would be too costly (and time-consuming) to challenge all underlying patents. Examiners must remember that. Don’t give them ‘ammo’ so easily.

09.16.18

Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Lawyers' Tears

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around

THE new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Director is no friend of PTAB, unlike his predecessor. The Congress, as we noted some hours ago, is being approached by those looking to undermine PTAB. 35 U.S.C. § 101 has a lot to do with it, sometimes because of drug companies.

“There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs.”If the patent ‘industry’ cannot get PTAB and the Federal Circuit on its side, then it typically resorts to attacking both. Not a clever strategy

Days ago we saw RPX‘s press release titled “RPX Corporation Completes Transaction with Realtime Data” [1, 2]. The patent maximalist Matthew Bultman (Law360) then recalled a case which patent maximalists hoped would help friction, eroding access to PTAB and degrading productivity. To quote:

Defensive patent group RPX Corp. is asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a ruling that instructed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to use a broader test when looking for unnamed beneficiaries in patent reviews, warning the ruling has “massive implications.”

RPX filed a petition for en banc rehearing on Friday, nearly two months after a three-judge panel ordered the PTAB to reconsider whether Salesforce.com Inc. should have been named an interested party in inter partes reviews that RPX requested in 2015 challenging two regulatory…

This would have implications for Unified Patents as well. There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs. That’s what SAS proponents sought to accomplish while ‘hiding’ the decision on Oil States a few months ago. SCOTUS still stubbornly defends PTAB. SAS was no exception to this; it was just something for the USPTO to exploit (Iancu in particular) if the goal is to slow down PTAB, if not by fee hikes and 'decapitation' then additional workload per IPR.

“Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.”Recently we saw the Smartflash petition being promoted by sites like Patently-O. A petition to SCOTUS isn’t so extraordinary a thing; not many are successful, but the patent maximalists view this one as a threat to PTAB, so obviously Watchtroll has just promoted it as well, preceded by the usual propaganda:

In early August, patent owner Smartflash filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a case stemming from covered business method (CBM) review proceedings carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Smartflash is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether PTAB administrative patent judges (APJs) are principal officers of the United States who are subject to the terms of the Appointment Clause, whether CBM review of patents disclosed prior to passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and whether undisputed evidence that an invention is not unduly preemptive is relevant to answer questions of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

At issue in this petition are a total of 30 CBM reviews petitioned by Apple, Samsung and Google against Smartflash, which were instituted by APJ panels at the PTAB. Although the APJ panels in these cases found that petitioners did not establish a likelihood that Smartflash’s patent claims were invalid under on 35 U.S.C. § 102 grounds for novelty or 35 U.S.C. § 103 grounds for obviousness, they did find a likelihood that the patent claims were invalid on Section 101 grounds for being directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. In the CBM reviews, the PTAB panels applied the two-part Alice test to determine first that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of conditioning and controlling access to content based upon payment, and then second that the additional elements of the claims did not contain an inventive step, thus rendering the claims invalid under Section 101. Smartflash appealed the PTAB’s final written decisions and the Federal Circuit issued a Rule 36 affirmance upholding the PTAB’s decisions without an opinion.

These “decisions without an opinion” aren’t so unusual and less than a day ago we wrote about Patently-O‘s long-going lobby on the matter.

At the moment we generally see the patent maximalists working hard to shut down or at least weaken PTAB at the legislative, judicial, and executive levels. They also hope that Iancu, a Trump appointee from the patent microcosm (Trump had paid his firm), will simply disregard courts' decisions. Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.

IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joff Wild and BattistelliSummary: The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn’t being challenged in echo chamber ‘events’, set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation ‘industry’

TODAY we shall write a lot about patent scope, software patents in Europe and in the US in particular. It is generally a symptom of the patent system getting hijacked by those who were originally meant to service scientists. Roles have been reversed and scientists are now expected to provide “demand” (or cash flow) for lawyers, who sometimes just sue scientists without prior provocation (many patent trolls are just lawyers).

According to this hours-old blog post from Satoshi Watanabe, the patent trolls’ think tank (IAM), which is also a Battistelli mouthpiece (he’s an author and keynote speaker to them), is nowadays in Japan spreading the ‘religion’ (litigation ‘industry’ psyche). The think tank entertains accompanying ‘studies’ etc. “The chart compares the number and ratio of patent applications filed to Japan by US, Korean, and German companies,” Watanabe says, “respectively compared between a period of 2002-2006 and 2012-2016. The JPO studies all the patent applications which are filed both to US and Europe. The yellow bar in the chart indicates the number and ratio of patent applications whose counterparts were not filed to Japan, while the blue bar indicates those whose counterparts were filed to Japan. They obviously reduced patent application filings to Japan.”

So what? So there may be fewer monopolies. Is that a bad thing? It’s only necessarily a bad thing for the litigation ‘industry’. The USPTO is currently paying the price for over-granting for a number of decades.

Hours ago also came Watchtroll’s promotion of the EPO‘s charade with IPO, in which they promote software patents under the guise of ‘automobiles’ (as we last noted yesterday). It’s all about inflating the number of patents, irrespective of patent quality, merit, necessity etc. “The impetus for this interview,” Watchtroll admits upfront, “is the upcoming EPO Automotive and Mobility Seminar, which will be held in Chicago, IL, immediately after the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) 2018 Annual Meeting, on September 26-27, 2018. Romano-Götsch will be participating in this EPO program, providing a landscape and overview on the morning of September 26, as well as participating on a panel and providing closing remarks on September 27.”

It’s somewhat of an inner/insider joke at the EPO that those who get rewarded or promoted are those who suck up to Battistelli and Bergot. That makes one wonder about Romano-Götsch’s motivations. To participate alongside zealots like IPO says a lot about oneself.

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