12.20.15

Software Patents Are Being Defeated to the Detriment of Large Multinationals, Their Patent Lawyers, and Patent Trolls Who Piggyback Them

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 7:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SFLC India

Summary: Updates on the patent situation in India and in the United States, with special emphasis on software patents, or vague patents on abstract concepts which are, in effect, reducible to logic/mathematics

INDIA’S ‘branch’ of SFLC was recently given credit here for helping to crush software patents, which multinational software giants like IBM or Microsoft (monopolists in particular areas) are actively lobbying for. SFLC.in managed to halt or at least slow down some very incredible forces. According to this new article from them (accompanied by the #NoSoftwarePatents hashtag): “On 14th December 2015, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Mr. Om Prakash Gupta, ordered that the recently released 2015 “Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)” shall be kept in abeyance till discussions with stakeholders are completed and contentious issues with respect to the 2015 Guidelines are resolved (order available here). SFLC.in highly appreciates the efforts made by the Indian Patent Office in considering the feedback given by civil society organisations and the Indian software product industry. . This is a very welcome, albeit first, step taken by the Government towards ensuring that the Indian software industry continues to enjoy the freedom to innovate and is not shackled by irregular patents granted in the area of software.”

“SFLC.in managed to halt or at least slow down some very incredible forces.”We wish to congratulate SFLC.in for its excellent work. Well done!

In the United States, ‘home’ of software patents, things are rapidly changing right now, as both software patents and patent trolls get somewhat of a smackdown, even without involvement by Congress*.

Chuck Soder, the technology reporter at Crain’s Cleveland Business, has just published this new article that says: “Judges across the country are striking down software patents in the name of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that is changing how some tech companies protect their ideas.”

“In the United States, ‘home’ of software patents, things are rapidly changing right now, as both software patents and patent trolls get somewhat of a smackdown, even without involvement by Congress.”Soder adds that “[j]udges are invalidating patents [...] and that’s “kind of scary,” according to Christopher Comiskey, a patent attorney at Thompson Hine, which is representing MacroPoint.”

Well, of course it’s scary to patent lawyers. They make money from patent wars and stockpiling.

“Though he [Comiskey] wouldn’t comment on that case,” Soder writes, “he noted that judges are making decisions on patent validity without citing outside evidence and expert testimony. That’s “disturbing,” given how much time and money companies put into getting those patents, Comiskey said.”

“Well, of course it’s scary to patent lawyers. They make money from patent wars and stockpiling.”Well, Comiskey is basically in the same category as patent parasites, much like trolls. Comiskey does not create anything, he is just trying to make living from litigation and sometimes by tricking examiners or judges (because many of these patents are not really patent-eligible as per the examiners’ guidelines)

Empirically speaking, software patents lead to patent trolling, which is an activity mostly centered around Texas [1, 2, 3, 4]. “In a first,” writes an expert in the area of patent trolls, “East Texas judge hits patent troll with attorneys’ fees” (referring to eDekka LLC, which we covered here before, e.g. in this recent or that older post). He says that “The most litigious “patent troll” of 2014 has been effectively shut down, and will have to pay attorneys’ fees to several defendants.

“Empirically speaking, software patents lead to patent trolling, which is an activity mostly centered around Texas.”“US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, who hears more patent cases that any other federal judge, issued an order (PDF) on Thursday saying that the behavior of eDekka LLC qualified as “exceptional,” and that the company should pay the legal fees of various companies it sued.

“Gilstrap’s courtroom is, arguably, the most surprising spot in the nation from which a patent troll slap-down might originate. The judge has been criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for making life unnecessarily difficult for patent defendants. He’s also invalidated relatively few patents under Supreme Court precedent set in last year’s Alice Corp. case, even as other federal judges have been tossing out software patents at a steady clip.”

The legacy of Alice stands out again. Is Benoît Battistelli’s EPO taking note? Any note “as such”?
________
* Talks about patent reform are nowhere in sight anymore, definitely not in those must-pass bills — those which CISA gets lumped into at the 90th minute; see our daily links for more details about that scandalous act by Congress (Friday’s news).

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