12.04.15

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US Patent Lawyers Stressed, Still Complaining About Alice Case and the Potential Sunset on Software Patents

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sunset

Summary: As the dawn of a new, post-software patents era is upon us, those who were making money from conflict are bemoaning the state of affairs

In order to salvage whatever reputation it has left, the USPTO must follow the example of SCOTUS (US Supreme Court) and limit the granting of patents on software. This doesn’t mean that software patents are already dead, but little by little we may be getting there. It’s only bad news for society’s richest people.

“This doesn’t mean that software patents are already dead, but little by little we may be getting there.”According to the bankers’ media, Goldman Sachs now uses patents versus competition from the likes of Bitcoin. “Goldman Sachs,” explains this article, “has made a patent application for a cryptocurrency settlement system in a move that underlines bank hopes that the architecture behind bitcoin can revolutionise global payments.

“The application for a new virtual currency, dubbed “SETLcoin” by the bank, said it would offer “nearly instantaneous execution and settlement” of trades involving assets including stocks and bonds.”

“They are abstract and are therefore not suitable or worthy of patent grants.”We previously wrote many articles here about patents which relate to electronic payments. The challenges are being tackled not with innovation but with patent monopolies. Remember that the famous Alice case too involved a bank (CLS Bank). Patent lawyers are incidentally whining again, alleging that the sky is falling because the Supreme Court did its job and told the public the truth about software patents. They are abstract and are therefore not suitable or worthy of patent grants.

“”Innovators” is what the lawyers basically call monopolists, for the most part.”Here we have another legal firm, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, calling the possible end of software patents (or the beginning of the end) “wreaking havoc” as if it’s the most terrible thing to even happen (to them at least). To quote their new article: “The Alice Corp. decision and its progeny have been wreaking havoc at the USPTO. In addition to increasing costs, it has cast a shadow on our patent system. Innovators are seemingly unable to get patents without jumping through the ill‑defined “abstract idea/significantly more” hoop. Worse still, if your application ends up classified as a Business Method application, you could face a never‑ending string of § 101 rejections for the time being. Clearly, new approaches are needed to get past perfunctory rejections that dismiss claims as mere abstractions.”

“Innovators” is what the lawyers basically call monopolists, for the most part. In their minds, more patents absolutely imply more innovation. It’s nonsense. By lowering the bar (and the accompanying fees) every patent office can increase the number of patents. This does nothing for innovation. In many cases, innovation can only be retarded by this.

So, after this dramatic opening they say: “Rejections under § 101 generally contain a statement about what “abstract idea” the claims represent, along with a statement that any “additional elements” do not constitute “significantly more” than that idea. It’s quite difficult to get over this first hurdle. The Interim Eligibility Guidance from July asserts that abstract ideas “need not be old or long‑prevalent.” Combined with the Supreme Court’s statement in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, 134 S.Ct. 2347, 2354 (2014), that “all inventions . . . embody, use, reflect, rest upon, or apply laws of nature, natural phenomena, or abstract ideas,” it is clear that the USPTO considers very few claims to not include some abstract idea.”

And rightly so. USPTO is doing what’s long overdue because it must become more harmonious with courts’ decisions, otherwise confidence in patents will decline and almost every patent granted by the USPTO will be viewed as bogus, invalid, incapable of withstanding scrutiny in court.

“Some articles in the media are overwhelmingly dominated by views of profiteers to whom terms like ‘innovation’ mean nothing; they never innovated anything in their lives, they just engineered disputes, threats, and lawsuits, often on behalf of some large and powerful institutions.”At the end, watch how the lawyers are selling themselves to help confuse examiners and get around the rules: “request an interview with the examiner to get clarification as to which elements are abstract. In your next response, argue that the technological elements of the claims are outside of that abstract idea. This will force the examiner to more clearly explain the rejection, which will prepare your application for appeal or – better yet – result in the withdrawal of the rejection.”

Meaning, pay a patent lawyer (i.e. a parasite) to see how you can patent software despite increasingly hostile rules (examination guidelines).

Yesterday at a Christmas party I had a chat with a retired MSP from London (he used to work as a programmer with Fortran before becoming a manager). When I explained to him some of these issues he ended up saying that if patent lawyers end up dried of income, he would very much applaud it. Some articles in the media are overwhelmingly dominated by views of profiteers to whom terms like ‘innovation’ mean nothing; they never innovated anything in their lives, they just engineered disputes, threats, and lawsuits, often on behalf of some large and powerful institutions. Litigation is not production.

“Never confuse motion with action.”

Benjamin Franklin

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