07.15.12

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Microsoft Front Group Lobbies on Patents in the United States

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The BSA reportedly infiltrates debates about laws that apply to the USPTO, overriding public opinion

THERE is an argument in Politico that non-technology ideas might soon get harder to patent. To quote: “The technology industry is closely watching a legal case that could make software patents harder to get — and some say that would be a good thing.

“The case, WildTangent, Inc. v. Ultra- mercial, revolves around a patent for something consumers have long been used to doing — seeing paid advertisements before viewing copyrighted material online, such as a video or a game. Such so-called business method patents have drawn fire in recent years for granting their holders exclusive rights to a particular way of doing business but not necessarily to any innovative technology.”

“This sounds like an attack on civil liberties, in patent form.”Also, back at the end of May, SCOTUS was mentioned in relation to software patents again, as noted by a longtime opposer of them. As harmful patent applications continue to be filed we realise that the matter must be resolved as soon as possible. To quote this one example: “The patent was first spotted by a NeoGAF user and essentially warns the player than an advertisement is about to interrupt their gameplay session. Once the ad has been shown, the player will then be returned to his/her game after a brief pause.”

Here is another malicious patent: “LJMU has been granted a patent by the US Patent and Trade Mark Office for novel software products for the rapid forensic analysis of computer hard drives.”

This sounds like an attack on civil liberties, in patent form.

“It is when front groups for large corporations and patent lawyers step in that we see a distortion of public opinion and policy.”Based on this other report, “[i]n testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Business Software Alliance (BSA) Director of Government Relations Tim Molino expressed support for rules proposed by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to implement the America Invents Act. Molino suggested only minor clarifying changes to the proposed rules to provide additional guidance to patent examiners and applicants, according to a press release by BSA.”

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a Microsoft front group. In this age of motion to stop software patents Microsoft and its allies work hard to keep them and spread them. It’s a sad reality. Here is another recent example of a move in the right direction (“Federal Circuit Upholds Jury’s Verdict Invalidating a Software Patent Under the On-Sale Bar of 35 U.S.C. §102(b)”). Given legal and public dynamics, it seems likely that software patents will diminish over time. It is when front groups for large corporations and patent lawyers step in, however, that we see a distortion of public opinion and policy. People need to speak to politicians.

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