01.06.13

USPTO Denies the Option of Eliminating Software Patents and Other Controversial Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: Fake choice offered by the USPTO in another meaningless public consultation

The farcical USPTO deals with “swpat [shorthand for software patents] and functional claims,” says one FFII person about this USPTO hearing. Henrion, the FFII’s president, says in response that the “USPTO already set the agenda here, substantive patent law is off topic.” He is right.

As we noted the other day, quantity over quality is the implicit motto at the Office. They get more money for lowering the bar. So many comments were posted regarding reports like this one, probably in vain (the USPTO is an echo chamber, with strong resistance to facts and public will):

In an announcement yesterday in the Federal Register the US Patent and Trademark Office invited the public to participate in a “software partnership” next month to “enhance the quality of software-related patents.”

Their very existence is a problem, not their “quality”. Neil McAllister, who now writes for the British press, says that “US Patent Office seeks public input on software patents’ future”. To quote the body of his article: “The agency says it would like input from software developers and the public as to what level of detail and specificity should be required in a software patent application to meet the definition of a “quality” patent – that is, one that clearly states what is covered.”

“This is a good example of rigged debates, where the option of banning software patents does not even exist (akin to Republicans vs. Democrats debates where the important issues are totally off the table).”This is a good example of rigged debates, where the option of banning software patents does not even exist (akin to Republicans vs. Democrats debates where the important issues are totally off the table). Pamela Jones wrote about this too. Yes, legal folks too realise this and regarding a piece from Julie Samuels (at a pro-patents site), Pamela Jones writes: “This is very sensible except for one thing, and it’s like a pimple on the nose. Algorithms are mathematics. Period. Mathematics are not supposed to be patentable subject matter. Thus, this suggestion works against helping the courts to understand that simple and unchangeable truth, dividing the question instead into “good” patentable mathematics versus “bad” and unpatentable mathematics. And over time, you will regret endorsing patentable math.”

Here is a US company arguing against the notion that abstract ideas and principles should be patentable:

San Francisco online real estate company Trulia has filed its initial response to Zillow’s patent lawsuit, arguing that the case should be dismissed because the business method in question — Zillow’s online home valuation tool known as the Zestimate — is not patentable.

How about design and shape patents as they are described in here:

Stockton says design patents also pack more of a damages punch than regular patents because, if they are infringed, a court must award damages based on the value of the whole invention — not just a patented feature.

It looks like sooner or later companies and people will rebel against the USPTO, whose main function became to serve trolls, lawyers, and monopolists (multinationals). Remember the rounded rectangles which Apple claims to ‘own’? How does monopolising it improve anything? Appearance should not be patentable. Sometimes even the multinationals suffer (turf wars), as seen here in the news:

While lots of folks have been declaring the 3D movie obsession dead for a while now, the studios still love 3D movies. In this age where they’re looking for ways to create formulaic premium experiences that get people to go out to the theaters, they seem to have jumped on the 3D bandwagon full force. Of course, as with all things Hollywood embraces too strongly, that’s now leading to backlash, mainly because rather than do it well and where it makes sense, the big studios are basically just looking to add 3D to whatever they can and hope people will pay the premium. It’s a short term strategy, but Hollywood execs aren’t exactly known for their long term outlooks.

…Or even the benefit to the public. The bottom line is, patents make society far worse off.

Linus Torvalds once said: “People disagree with me. I just ignore them.” Patent lawyers, including the USPTO, are pretty much the same. So it’s time to get more assertive in fighting them. They’re not listening anyway. They deflect criticism using various means and PR instruments; the latest hearing is one such instrument.

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