GNU/Linux-powered devices are habitually being targeted by artsy design patents, but might this end soon?
Summary: A company which often takes pride in designers rather than developers (art, not technical merit) may lose that leverage over the competition if its questionable patents are taken away by the Supremes
THE SCOTUS, in its current composition at least (many nominations and appointments by Democrats — a trend that is now changing), has handed down some important decisions on patents over the past half a decade and most of them were favourable to patent reformers. Reformist scope-oriented measures such as restriction if not elimination of software patents are just the tip of the iceberg; a few months ago we wrote about the Lexmark case.
“This time around it’s about the second California Apple v. Samsung case (the one that went to trial in 2014, resulting in a $119 million verdict).”
–Florian MüllerFlorian Müller scooped an important story the other day. “I tried to find media reports on Samsung’s new Apple v. Samsung Supreme Court petition,” he wrote, “and couldn’t find any, so maybe I scooped’em all” with the blog post “Samsung is now taking the second Apple v. Samsung patent case to the Supreme Court”. To quote: “The first Apple v. Samsung case went all the way up to the Supreme Court and has meanwhile gone all the way back to the Northern District of California to take a new look at the question of design patent damages. But the steps to the Supreme Court are like a revolving door for this huge commercial dispute: a new petition for writ of certiorari (request for Supreme Court review) is already in the making! This time around it’s about the second California Apple v. Samsung case (the one that went to trial in 2014, resulting in a $119 million verdict).”
Someone disputed the number, saying that “it’ll actually be the third. They had another petition denied on a very technical issue.”
Müller insisted, however, that “by “second case” I meant the second case filed by Apple against Samsung in U.S. district court…”
“If this is all that Apple has left in its future plans (suing competitors), then it doesn’t look particularly bright; nor does it look innovative…”Techrights had been sceptical of Apple for a long time, even before Apple began attacking Android with patents (there was sabre-rattling even before that, e.g. against Palm). Apple and its nonsensical patents never end. Our sources at the EPO indicate that it’s not different in Europe, but we cannot publicly share any further details on that (in order to protect sources). Watch this article from CNN, published just 6 days ago. “Apple often patents interesting hardware or futuristic iPhone designs that may never see the light of day,” it says. “But in its latest patent granted on Tuesday, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) describes something a little less innovative, and already wildly popular.”
They’re ignoring prior art and also neglecting the fact that software patents are a dying breed. If this is all that Apple has left in its future plans (suing competitors), then it doesn’t look particularly bright; nor does it look innovative…
We look forward to that (potentially second) SCOTUS case which might, due to Apple, spell doom for design patents, which are often similar to software patents (in the GUI sense).
Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp.
“We look forward to that (potentially second) SCOTUS case which might, due to Apple, spell doom for design patents, which are often similar to software patents (in the GUI sense).”SCOTUS rulings on patents actually made a lot of headlines this past week, but this did not involve software patents or anything like that. Mayer Brown LLP, for example, wrote about Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp. (at SCOTUS) in lawyers’ media. “In an effort to curb efforts to circumvent patent protection,” they said, “the Patent Act imposes liability for infringement on anyone who supplies “all or a substantial portion” of a patented invention’s components from the United States for combination overseas. 35 U.S.C. s 271(f)(1). The Federal Circuit had held that a single component—in this case, of a five-component test kit—could be sufficiently important to a patented invention to constitute “a substantial portion.””
“The Supreme Court has reversed the Federal Circuit in Life Tech v Promega, ruling that manufacture and exportation of a single component of a patented invention assembled in another country is not enough for infringement in the US. However, as a concurring opinion and observers note, the Supreme Court did not indicate how much more than one is enough,” MIP wrote.
“IAM is basically ranting about this ruling because SCOTUS didn’t rule for patent maximalists.”IAM, the lobby of the patent maximalists (disguised as press whilst lobbying/preaching), wrote: “Yet again #SCOTUS left #patent community in the dark on a key part of its latest ruling” (misinformation).
Well, by “patent community” they mean something like “hedge funds of the patent world”, not a community per se. And nobody is really left “in the the dark”; it’s just a dark day for patent maximalists.
IAM is basically ranting about this ruling because SCOTUS didn’t rule for patent maximalists. To quote their blog post about it:
Seven US Supreme Court justices issued their latest patent ruling yesterday in a case that may not have been awaited with the same level of expectancy as next month’s oral arguments in the venue selection case TC Heartland, but which nonetheless showed them sticking to form. As ever with this court it was a case of what wasn’t said as much as what was outlined in the decision.
The case in question, Life Technologies Corp v Promega Corp, involved the supply of a single infringing component manufactured in the US by Life Technologies but then shipped to the UK for assembly. Promega sued citing the Patent Act’s prohibition of the supply from the US of “all or a substantial portion of the components of a patent invention” for combination abroad.
As for Patently-O, it said about Life Technologies Corp. v Promega Corp. that “[i]n a largely-unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court has ruled that the “supply of a single component of a multicomponent invention for manufacture abroad does not give rise to §271(f)(1) liability.””
“Patent maximalism is good for nobody except those who make a living from nothing other than patents (no actual invention, production and so on).”“Writing for the court,” Patently-O added, “Justice Sotomayor found that the “substantial portion” should be seen as a quantitative requirement and that a single component is not sufficient.”
The very fact that sites like IAM are upset about it should say quite clearly that it’s a good and positive development. Patent maximalism is good for nobody except those who make a living from nothing other than patents (no actual invention, production and so on). █
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This definitely impacts GNU/Linux when Microsoft shamelessly passes Nokia‘s patents, for instance, to active patent trolls
Pay us or face the consequences? Terror tactics or Mafia tactics?
Summary: Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its ‘protection’, which it names “IP Advantage” in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)
SOFTWARE patents are the most potent threat to Free/libre software. As we noted here just over a fortnight ago, Microsoft continues to use software patents to divide and conquer Free/libre software, essentially dividing it based on “safe” and “unsafe” (from litigation over patents). It’s that classic modus operandi that goes along the lines of, “pay us, or terrible things will happen…”
Corporate Counsel, a very popular site among lawyers, decided to write about Microsoft’s de facto attack (as above) but missed the main point. Having caught up with it nearly 3 weeks later, the summary (article’s body is behind walled gardens) says “Microsoft’s conversations with customers have led it to tackle an emerging risk through Azure IP Advantage, but others say the ‘umbrella’ program may not yet be legal necessity.”
“Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties).”Microsoft can send or unleash its many patent trolls (named here over the years, as recently as months ago) to make it more of a “legal necessity.” Microsoft can try to increase perceived and/or actual threat, making the only “safe” option for hosting of Free/libre software the option which is monthly payments to Microsoft (Azure subscription/veiled patent royalties). This strategy was last explained here two weeks ago and it shouldn’t be too hard to understand. It’s similar to what Microsoft attempted over a decade ago with Novell. We wrote literally thousands of articles on this topic. It doesn’t take a patent strategist to grasp it.
The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).
“The threat of software patents is still very much real, in spite of Alice (whose impact can end as soon as SCOTUS under Trump revisits the matter, caving in to anti-§ 101 lobbyists).”Just in the past few days alone we saw patent maximalists from Greenberg Traurig promoting software patents [1, 2], among other things. They definitely want software patents back and they relentlessly work towards that goal, as we show here almost every day. They keep setting up more and more front groups for that purpose and they try to scandalise public officials whom they don’t agree with. They essentially try to oust reformers.
Software patents in the US are still being advertised; they are also still being celebrated in press releases, e.g. this new one (aside from that other press release about their activity in Texas) which says “Jigsaw, a leading provider of virtual training and education technology, recently became the first e-learning software to receive a patent for its game-changing, multi-dimensional learning solution. The patent, granted December 20, 2016, was especially noteworthy, as software patents of any kind are difficult to acquire and only infrequently approved by the U.S. Patent Office. Jigsaw’s proprietary technology proved itself unique not only among virtual learning tools, but among all software products.”
“Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.”They sound like another Blackboard-like entity, which probably intends to sue the competition, including Free/libre software (remember the sabre-rattling and patent lawsuits from the Microsoft-connected Blackboard).
Here is another new press release which speaks about newly-granted software patents:
IOMAXIS LLC, a leader in innovative computing and communication technologies, announced today that it has been granted two new patents for novel security approaches in the area of cloud-based computing by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents, which give the company ownership of two unique approaches to identifying threats in cloud-computing environments, serve as part of IOMAXIS’ new cloud security practice. The establishment of the new practice provides commercial and federal clients unparalleled protection from internal and external threats within cloud-computing environments.
Recall what, in the area of server-side security, the Microsoft-connected (financed, like Blackboard) Finjan had done until as recently as earlier this year.
“If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)?”Let it be emphasised in case it’s not obvious. There are many entities out there, both large and small (as large as the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures), which are strongly connected to Microsoft and are habitually threatening, using software patents of course, Free/libre software projects and companies that develop/distribute/deploy/support/maintain these. If they start to sue and shake down more of these companies, raising the temperature in the room and making managers sweat a little, will Microsoft then step in to offer “Azure IP Advantage” for “intellectual property peace of mind” (a term it used ad infinitum back in the Novell days)? █
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OIN has in many ways contributed to the problem rather than or instead of working to tackle it
Summary: An update on patent trolls and the role played by supposed allies of Free/libre software, who in practice do everything to exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it
Trolls are a symptom of a big problem, typically the granting of far too many patents and too lenient a treatment (favouring the claimant) at the courts. This is why the US was so popular among patent trolls and China is now attracting if not giving birth to those same sorts of trolls.
Things are about to change for the better in the US. “Broad patent venue rules allowing corporations to be sued for patent infringement almost anywhere,” as this new article puts it, is a regime which will likely end soon (it’s reminiscent of what UPC proponents envision in Europe — a recipe for patent trolls in the EU and beyond).
“This is why the US was so popular among patent trolls and China is now attracting if not giving birth to those same sorts of trolls.”This new article refers to TC Heartland — a decision we eagerly await — and says this: “Broad patent venue rules allowing corporations to be sued for patent infringement almost anywhere are under siege both in Congress and in the courts. Yet, a non-patent case that was recently granted certiorari by the Supreme Court, although not widely noted in intellectual property law circles, may provide another potential front in this ongoing battle. [...] Based on the cert grant, the U.S. Supreme Court now appears set to decide when a claim sufficiently “arises out of or relates to” a defendant’s contacts with the forum state. Although Bristol-Myers is not a patent case, it involves the same specific jurisdiction criteria that the Federal Circuit has found satisfied in patent cases by product shipments into a forum. Therefore, it is possible that a Supreme Court decision that tightens the nexus between the claims and the defendant’s acts that is required to establish specific personal jurisdiction may curb patent owners’ abilities to bring suit in as wide array of fora as is possible under current Federal Circuit precedent.”
“OIN has become pretty useless and it’s likely that it was always this useless.”Some time later this year, assuming that new Justices grasp the damage caused by patent trolls, the whole business model of trolls is likely to collapse, having already suffered a great deal when Alice made their patents a lot weaker. We cannot rest on the laurels, however, as patent maximalists constantly try to sabotage all this progress and Make Trolls Great Again, as we last noted yesterday. Here, in this new article from Embry-Riddle, a person who makes a living by promoting patents (or patent maximalism) unsurprisingly promotes more and more patents. We see articles like these every day. This other new article, one from Beta News, is very wrong and misguided; it oddly enough calls or paints OIN as anti-trolls, even though OIN openly admits that it’s not (OIN is absolutely incapable of stopping trolls). Here is the key part:
More and more, we’re seeing businesses band together to find creative, efficient solutions to the patent troll problem.
Take OIN (Open Innovation Network) [sic, it's Invention] as an example. This organization operates in the open source community, cross-licensing patents to protect companies against litigation using Linux-related patents. Another example is the LOT Network, the non-profit community that I lead. More than 80 percent of patents litigated by patent trolls are acquired from operating companies through events like bankruptcies, M&A, or when a company is looking for an extra revenue stream. LOT members agree that if one of their patents falls into the hands of a troll, the other members get a free license. This acts as immunization for member companies — rendering a troll lawsuit involving that patent moot. At the same time, LOT Network does not affect the traditional uses of patents — like buying, selling, or even suing other companies.
One could argue that OIN helps weaken trolls by attempting to grab (buy) particular patents which would otherwise be given to trolls, but having seen how it works from the inside (long conversations more than half a decade ago), that just barely ever happens. It happened maybe once before (that we know of). OIN has become pretty useless and it’s likely that it was always this useless. Its stated goals are not its real goals. Recently, OIN pretty much endorsed a lobby for software patents, misleadingly named Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU). OIN often seems to have remained somewhat of an IBM front group, often aligned with IBM’s own agenda and even led by former IBM staff. Speaking of IBM, which is becoming an ally of Apple and a foe of GNU/Linux, its patent chief said the other day: “Patents should promote innovation regardless of inventor size (large co, small co, independent) and regardless of technology” (easy for him to say, coming from the largest patent assignee). Benjamin Henrion’s response to him can be see here; it’s all just mumbo-jumbo from IBM, equating patents with “innovation” — however one defines that thing. IBM uses its patents to bully competitors and extract ‘protection’ money from them. That’s hardly innovation.
“Recently, OIN pretty much endorsed a lobby for software patents, misleadingly named Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU).”Where was OIN when Acacia, a patent troll with connections to Microsoft, attacked GNU/Linux vendors such as Novell and Red Hat? As expected, patent trolls such as Acacia pivot/expand in China after SIPO and the courts had done damage to the country (diluting the patent system with low-quality patents). According to the trolls’ news site the “Texas-based NPE [which the headline calls "Acacia alumni NPE"] Longhorn IP announced this week that it has acquired a patent portfolio, including several China-only patent families, from a major Chinese telecoms company.”
Guess what will happen next… █
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Kangaroo courts don’t exist only in Eponia; In these politically-motivated grand juries, for instance, almost never is the accused found innocent.
Summary: The bizarre state of affairs at the European Patent Office, where being an honest and transparent person makes one incredibly vulnerable and subjected to constant harassment from the management
WE CURRENTLY have two ongoing series about the EPO and both pertain to health and employment. These series help shed light on what causes illness, depression, and sometimes even suicide (which still happens).
“The management wishes to keep people uninformed, helpless, and isolated.”At Techrights we have patiently studied such matters for a very long time (more than 2 years). We read a lot of documents about it, we heard many personal stories, and we have reviewed all the material we have, including documents, various attachments, formal publications, letters, tribunal decisions and so on. We’ve decided to cover such personal cases with anonymity although in practice it would often be impractical because cases are unique and each contains some clues (for those already familiar with them). It would be too obvious — more so in some cases than in others — who the complainer is. As such, and always with great prudence, we carefully review everything before publication and receive clearances. We decided that the disclosures’ risks (e.g. risk of reprisal and risks associated with exposure) are usually outweighed by the upsides (the principal downsides being retribution); these disclosures would help show grievances among staff, and at times staff representatives. Last year and the year before that we ended up releasing some details of ludicrous accusations against various staff representatives (an older series) and these hopefully helped illuminate the extent to which the Office adopted kangaroo courts — a fact later confirmed by ILO's tribunal.
Stories like these can help increase support among the staff for their staff representatives. These stories can also shed light on the horrible treatment of EPO staff and shift focus to the core of these matters (a la ILO, but without having to wait several years for determinations). People who have suffered injustice at the EPO are not alone. The management wishes to keep people uninformed, helpless, and isolated. It makes them weaker, incapable of collective action (e.g. defence). Gag orders are being used to accomplish this and here in Techrights we have to undo these ugly practices, which makes one wonder if the EPO is a patent office or a secret agency.
“…the management, in my humble opinion, bears great accountability for some deaths. This is a point that Bavarian television has already made.”Some cases are more tragic than others; what’s consistent, however, is lack of humanity at the top of the Office. Generally speaking, the EPO is inconsiderate, cruel, abusive, and arrogant; it doesn’t mind driving people to the verge of suicide or serious mental breakdown, even if just to ‘punish’ certain people or get rid of them. Vengefulness has become a hallmark of Team Battistelli, including all those French cronies. We will show examples in the future.
Taking some examples that we’ve already covered into account, especially considering a person who lost some parents and got nothing but abuse from the Office for it, I have strong opinions on it; it’s something that I can wholeheartedly state: the management, in my humble opinion, bears great accountability for some deaths. This is a point that Bavarian television has already made. The EPO’s management was very distressed about the public finding out about it, but not about the deaths themselves. Such is the nature of sociopaths.
The sociopath in chief, as is typical for sociopaths, tries to justify all this abuse to himself, maybe because of SUEPO having the moral high ground and him being incapable of ever accepting that he made grave errors. As convenient pretext or excuse, the sociopath in chief resorted to "sniper" and Nazi analogies, pretending that the Office he presides over is some sort of battleground for terror other than his own.
“Those who pursue justice are treated like criminals, whereas those who are exposed for criminality claim to be embracing “justice” to imprison the whistleblower/s and complainer/s.”Frankly, if not bluntly, the man is insane. He belongs in some hospital in Haar. But guess who is instead going to Haar pretty soon: Those who are mere colleagues of one who is alleged to have exposed the sociopaths (Team Battistelli), in particular one who faces corruption indictments in Strasbourg (which vindicates the accuser/s).
The reversal of roles here is a familiar one. Those who pursue justice are treated like criminals, whereas those who are exposed for criminality claim to be embracing “justice” to imprison the whistleblower/s and complainer/s. We saw this shortly after Trump’s inauguration (e.g. Yates), we still see that in Duterte (e.g. de Lima), and let’s now forget the basis for effectively ‘arresting’ Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London based on pure allegations of sexual misconduct when in fact they just want to stop his reporting and ultimately silence Wikileaks (decapitation tactics against a potent organisation with broad public support, having exposed both the left and the right over the past decade). █
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This cartoon was recently supplied by an anonymous contributor
Summary: The seriousness of the situation at the EPO and a call for action, which requires greater transparency, even if imposed transparency
“The sickness of the EPO,” told us one reader over the weekend, is a reality. “Intimidation has become an efficient management tool at the EPO to improve the sick leave statistics. Techrights also reported how individuals being long-term sick or invalid are put under psychological pressure and punished with a kind of home arrest.
“And the regime’s utter lack of empathy does not stop them from attacking disabled staff members. There is a recent case in The Hague where a disabled person was removed from a production unit. This is reality at the EPO in 2017.”
For those who are just joining/catching up with this series, here are the previous parts, which so far only scratch the surface:
“I’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of names of these “cooperating servants” serving in the OHS and Personal dept,” one source recently suggested. What for? Well, there is a point to be made and something for everyone to be made aware of. “The list must be “comprehensive” in order to have a small identifiable “footprint”,” our source explains. “Or I can provide you with a non-comprehensive list that you can complete from other sources before publication.”
At this stage, we openly call for anyone with relevant information to get in contact with us. Complete or partial data would be fine. Once published, other anonymous readers could fill in the gap for us. A better understanding of this situation, as well as accountability through transparency, is required. People’s lives are profoundly impacted by this. █
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Maybe Breitbart has something to offer at the EPO?
Summary: The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract — and certainly failing to retain — talented examiners
A few days ago we wrote about brain drain at the EPO (rebutting claims to the contrary), having already written a lot about the subject numerous times over the years, e.g. in:
One of our readers decided to weigh in, as he or she did:
About brain drain: of course there is a brain drain! The office was a place where you would start with little professional experience and remain until retirement, at 65. But these were the conditions 20 years ago. Now staff recruited at that time reach the 50 years limit and can leave on pension. I know many at ages between 50 and 60 therefore leaving under “early retirement conditions”. Of course with smaller benefits than retiring with 65, but is money everything? Certainly, not. 15 years of freedom are something valuable. And there are still chances that you can use your professional knowledge somewhere else. Your life is at stake here. What is the value of money if you wake up every morning with the feeling of being trapped in a golden cage or asking yourself if suicide wouldn’t be the best solution?
Unhappiness at the EPO — a subject we shall continue to focus on — has made the EPO a poisonous place to work in. It’s a bad employer to work for. Understandably, fewer people would even bother applying. █
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Patent prosecutors’ coup: Telling lies to politicians in order to rush them into accepting an undesirable (to member states) system
Reference: Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Summary: The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as “news”, continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year
THE UPC is always “real soon now”. It has been like this every year for a number of years and it’s part of an old and dirty strategy. Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.
“Team UPC even advertises job openings for jobs that do not exist and probably will never exist, adding to it a potentially felonious element.”Wouter Pors, partner of law firm Bird & Bird, was mentioned here many times over the years, for instance when he wrote about Battistelli and the UPC [1, 2]. Pors is not stupid; he’s actually an astute person, so whenever he too resorts to the inevitability brainwash from Team UPC (typically the likes of Bristows play this game) we’re rather disappointed. This new blog post by Wouter Pors (found via UPC proponents) in his pro-UPC site repeats what we’re expecting from shoddy lobbyists, with loaded sentences such as: “How to prepare for the upcoming Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, which are expected to start functioning on 1 December of this year?”
No, they’re not expected to start then (if ever, at all!). That’s just the line echoed by Battistelli’s PR department and Team UPC, which is itself financially-vested in this whole Trojan horse. If they keep repeating these lies, how many people will actually believe them? If we believed all the previous projections and forecasts for the UPC, we would be called foolish, but every prediction we have made about the UPC so far turned out to be true, including back in the days when UPC was called something else.
“Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable.”People must learn to recognise which blogs are little more than UPC propaganda/lobbying sites. There are several of them out there, including some that get co-opted (like IP Kat, at least until recently). Look out there not only for stuff that’s called “UPCBlog”; see these two new tweets [1, 2] linking to this blog post. “UPCBlog” says: “the Spanish Socialist Worker’s party (PSOE) -the opposition party- called on the Spanish government to reconsider joining the unitary patent and the UPC.”
Actually, nothing news here. Even Spaniards has already debunked this.
Team UPC seems to be recycling its own talking points — at times gross distortion of facts — in an effort to mislead politicians, making them convinced that the UPC is inevitable. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna recently published a paper, taking note of this ugly strategy. █
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Pseudo-intellectuals who lobby for their bottom line (pockets) want PTAB destroyed
Summary: A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting
THE progress made by PTAB, which faces record demand, makes patent maximalists squirm. That in itself is an indication that it is doing the right thing.
Remember the time Watchtroll used words like "impotence" to insult PTAB? That’s a classic! Watchtroll is so angry at PTAB right now that he (the founder) even resorts to bad grammar in the headline, “The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing” (don’t laugh, he may be having a tantrum which isn’t good for his already-questionable health).
“And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…”“The PTAB is a thoroughly broken tribunal incapable of being fixing,” says one whose entire worldview is broken. What PTAB does is it fixes a problem, but Watchtroll and his swamp now hijack the word "fix" and ascribe it to the tackling of PTAB itself, as we noted the other day. Amazing! Incredible!
What will Watchtroll do next in his efforts to dismantle patent progress? He already shames and spreads false rumours about the Director of the USPTO, in an effort to get her ousted/fired. It’s appalling and it’s painful to watch. And to think that companies like IBM actively support such attack sites says a lot about IBM…
“This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action.”Anyway, in more positive news about PTAB, “MyMail patent [gets] challenged in IPR2017-00967 filed by @unifiedpatents,” according to this new tweet. “For more information, go here…” (original link).
This is very interesting. So Unified Patents takes practical steps to help defendants; in this case, a patent gets challenged in an IPR filed by a collective actor/action. It’s a good approach, and it is aided by PTAB. This same approach, which was already embraced by the EFF at times, promises to deter if not eliminate some notorious patent trolls. To quote from the site of Unified Patents:
On February 24, 2017, Unified Patents Inc. filed a petition for inter partes review on a patent owned and asserted by MyMail, Ltd. In the IPR2017-00967 petition, Unified challenged the patentability U.S. patent 8,275,863 which teaches methods of modifying a toolbar to facilitate internet traffic.
If your patent is rubbish, don’t expect to change it ‘on the go’ in order to dodge invalidation. As this other new report notes: “Among the changes brought about by the America Invents Act (AIA) was the creation of new post-issuance review proceedings – inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR) and covered business method review (CBM)” and “Amending claims at the PTAB [is] a fool’s errand?”
Well, yes. It barely ever happens. PTAB should invalidate patents rather than allow them to be modified. Patents are not something dynamic that can just be edited as one goes along. We wrote about this before.
To be fair, inter partes reviews don’t always result in success, i.e. invalidation (that would destroy the perception of justice anyway), but the success rate is very high. Here is an inter partes review which involves not software patents. As Law 360 put it the other day:
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday declined to review claims in a Chamberlain Group Inc. patent on garage door openers, just a few weeks after the Federal Circuit said that a rival manufacturer had raised a “substantial question of invalidity” with respect to the patent.
PTAB denied two separate petitions from a unit of Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. seeking inter partes review of various claims in the patent. The petitioner, One World Technologies, argued that the challenged claims were invalid
So for those who think that PTAB is just blindly eliminating patents, it clearly does not do this. Many of the patents it invalidates these days are software patents and other abstract nonsense. That’s what courts at the highest levels have requested, e.g. in Alice (but not limited to it). Understandably, that’s what most petitions (IPRs) are filed to enforce.
PTAB has made a great first step against patent parasites that want to ‘own’ lives, too. The other day we wrote about the CRISPR case (covered here for a number of years) and it’s still making some headlines. “The eagerly-anticipated ruling from the PTAB of “no interference-in-fact” is a win for the Broad Institute in its CRISPR patent battle with University of California Berkeley. But much wrangling lies ahead over the rights to the gene-editing technology, including a potential appeal and likely licensing disputes,” wrote Natalie Rahhal for MIP.
Thankfully, PTAB expands beyond software patents and now tackles all sorts of patents that are working against public interests and ethics. PTAB, unless patent maximalists somehow manage to stop (or sabotage) it, will bring back patent sanity to the US. See what Patently-O wrote the other day about the promise of “[a] written decision on “every claim challenged””. Patently-O explains that “[t]he basic issue – under the statute, can the PTO (the PTAB acting as the Director’s delegate) institute inter partes review to a subset of the challenged claims? Or, does the requirement for a “final written decision as to every claim challenged” require that the Board grant or deny the petitions as a whole.”
This seems to be a method for slowing PTAB down and proponents of this approach are not too shockingly patent maximalists. █
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Further Recent Posts
- A US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Which is Hostile Towards Patent Maximalists May Closely Examine More Patents That Apple Uses Against Android
A company which often takes pride in designers rather than developers (art, not technical merit) may lose that leverage over the competition if its questionable patents are taken away by the Supremes
- As Long as Software Patents Are Granted and Microsoft Equips Trolls With Them, “Azure IP Advantage” is an Attack on Free/Libre Software
Microsoft is feeding enemies of GNU/Linux and Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) in order to sell its 'protection', which it names "IP Advantage" in a rather Orwellian fashion (same naming as back in the Novell days)
- Patent Trolls on Their Way Out in the United States and Their Way Into China, No Thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN)
An update on patent trolls and the role played by supposed allies of Free/libre software, who in practice do everything to exacerbate the problem rather than resolve it
- Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VIII: When Governed by Criminals, Truth-Tellers Are Cast as Criminals and Criminals as Justice Deliverers
The bizarre state of affairs at the European Patent Office, where being an honest and transparent person makes one incredibly vulnerable and subjected to constant harassment from the management
- The Sickness of the EPO – Part V: Shedding Light on Institutional Abuse Against Ill and/or Disabled Individuals
The seriousness of the situation at the EPO and a call for action, which requires greater transparency, even if imposed transparency
- The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider
The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners
- Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths
The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year
- The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind
A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting
- The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods
Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)
- Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'
Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)
- Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations
Links for the day
- IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'
The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn
- Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?
In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature
- Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It
The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts
- The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak
The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi
- Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision
Links for the day
- UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain
Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC
- The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides
An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide
- The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene
- Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”
The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed
- Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag
A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)
- Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24
Links for the day
- French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)
The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened
- The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights
With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)
- EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst
A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst
- Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless
Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days
- The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles
An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)
- Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC
The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse
- Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3
Links for the day
- EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall
Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers