03.15.16

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: SCOTUS, CAFC, and Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Removing software patents from the US patent system still not on the agenda in Washington

US Capitol

Summary: A quick overview of some news of interest from the US patent system, where software patents are still on the agenda (but not their official elimination)

SCOTUS

SEVERAL sites recently analysed cases destined (or likely) to reach SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court. Here is one such example. It doesn’t appear as though SCOTUS will entertain the question of software patentability any time soon, so the impact of Alice will stand unshaken/unchallenged.

“It doesn’t appear as though SCOTUS will entertain the question of software patentability any time soon, so the impact of Alice will stand unshaken/unchallenged.”It sure seems like a lot of practicing firms no longer pursue software patents to the same degree as before, neither in the courtroom nor in the patent office. The patent system itself, just like justice, is too slow and expensive. See this new article which says “Judge Indira Talwani emphasized the importance of timely intervention in any patent infringement suit, in a recent opinion out of the District of Massachusetts. In this case, an exclusive licensee of several patents was not permitted to intervene in a patent infringement suit, largely because its motion was filed many months too late.”

When patent cases take years to be settled (or decided on by a court) it contributes a great deal to uncertainty, not just legal costs, e.g. lawyers’ fees. Surely the lawyers and the courts love this a great deal. It’s what gives them job security.

Federal Circuit

“When patent cases take years to be settled (or decided on by a court) it contributes a great deal to uncertainty, not just legal costs, e.g. lawyers’ fees.”The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has contributed to the demise of patents on software in the US. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which introduced software patents in the first place and sometimes interacts with PTAB, has been the subject of focus in several recent posts from Dennis Crouch. Today he wrote that the “USPTO Stall[s] Implementation of Federal Circuit Decisions,” noting that “[a]ccording to Tam’s pi-day filed mandamus action, however, the USPTO Director has indicated that she will not comply with the Court’s until all potential appeals have been exhausted or expired. As such, the USPTO continues to refuse to publish the mark in the Official Gazette.”

Yes, great ‘justice’ right there.

Another very recent post from Crouch said that the Federal Circuit actually expressed reluctance to accept patents on certain computer games. To quote:

In reviewing the application, the Examiner Layno (Games art unit 3711) rejected these card games patents as ineligible under Section 101 – noting that the claim is “an attempt to claim a new set of rules for playing a card game [and thus] qualifies as an abstract idea.” The Patent Trial & Appeal Board affirmed that ruling – holding that “independent claim 1 is directed to a set of rules for conducting a wagering game which . . . constitutes a patent-ineligible abstract idea.” The particular physical steps such as shuffling and dealing are conventional elements of card-gambling and therefore (according to the Board) insufficient to transform the claimed abstract idea into a patent eligible invention.

It is good and increasingly reassuring to see that CAFC, under additional pressure from PTAB, sees the light on software patents and thus limits them.

Bizarre Patents

A lot of abstract patent applications are being accepted as valid in the US and even rather trivial ones (which children can come up with) end up being accepted by the USPTO, where quality control basically got thrown out the window. Earlier today we saw MIP talking to people whose business is patenting seeds/plants/life and then suing companies (or threatening to sue them). “A new patent shows how airfares may one day depend on your girth,” said this very recent headline as well and speaking of games, here is an article by Joe Mullin about a topic which he covered before and we thereafter mentioned. “Defendant Jordan Gwyther,” Mullin claims, “has said that the litigation could threaten the future of his favorite hobby: live action role-playing, or “LARPing.” Gwyther and his fellow LARPers recreate medieval battles, wearing armor and using foam weapons to stage fights in local fields and parks.”

“Crouch has just tackled the question of prior art, but when examiners are overworked and compensated for grants more than for rejections, does it surprise anyone that almost every US patent application ends up being successful?”Patents on games are probably a step too far, especially when they involve virtual equivalents of something that existed for many centuries (if not millennial timescale). Crouch has just tackled the question of prior art, but when examiners are overworked and compensated for grants more than for rejections, does it surprise anyone that almost every US patent application ends up being successful? The EPO is now aping this trend, quite unfortunately.

Software Patents

Over in the US, where Amazon has some of the world’s most notorious software patents (Amazon is trying to do the same in Europe), Amazon is now seeking patent monopolies on biometric authentication. Biometrics are passwords you basically cannot change, but Amazon patents the misguided idea nonetheless. See some of today’s headlines, such as “Amazon Wants the Patent for Pay-By-Selfie”, “Amazon seeks patent for buying items with a look”, and “Amazon Wants the Patent for Pay-By-Selfie” [1, 2, 3].

“These aren’t “Americans” but multinational corporations that are based in the US.”As one article put it, “Amazon has filed a patent application to allow users to pay for items by taking a selfie. The tech giant argues the move would improve people’s security as they carry out more and more tasks online.”

Amazon also works closely with the CIA ($600 million computing deal), so sending Amazon many of personal, grainy photos isn’t necessarily the smartest thing to do.

“Americans file more patents in Australia than Australians!” screams a new headline today, but is anybody surprised? These aren’t “Americans” but multinational corporations that are based in the US. How many of these patents are on software?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Jim Zemlin's Wife is Funded by Puppies (Microsoft)

    Jim Zemlin — like his wife — is bagging millions from Microsoft, but that’s clearly a conflict of interest for the Linux Foundation



  2. Links 18/05/2022: More Defections From WordPress to Gemini

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/05/2022: PikaScript and cURL's Annual User Survey

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 17, 2022



  5. Phoronix: Microsoft and Phoronix Sponsor (and Close Microsoft Partner) AMD All Over the Place

    When you’re taking massive 'gifts' from AMD (and also some from Microsoft) maybe it’s not surprising that editorial decisions change somewhat…



  6. EPO Has No F-ing Oversight

    Earlier today SUEPO mentioned this new article demonstrating that EPO President António Campinos can very obviously and blatantly violate the Code of Conduct of the Office without facing any consequences; there are translations too, so the report is now available in four languages



  7. [Meme] Linux-Rejecting Foundation

    The Linux Foundation never really leads by example; by default, it uses proprietary software



  8. Linux Foundation Almost Never uses Open Source

    The Linux Foundation uses proprietary software (look where they hire and take money from) and be sure they're probably not even aware of it



  9. Links 17/05/2022: Many More Games on GNU/Linux, YaST Development Report

    Links for the day



  10. Links 17/05/2022: Rocky Linux 8.6 and Budgie Desktop in Fedora

    Links for the day



  11. Patent Examiners Rising Up Against EPO Abuse

    Unhappy with the law-breaking autocracy (the EPO‘s management breaks the law as a matter of routine), fast-deteriorating working conditions and rapidly-decreasing quality of work (or lack of compliance with the law), workers have escalated further, topping off strikes and industrial actions with a large-scale petition



  12. [Meme] What Managers (Really) Mean by Acting Professionally

    The myth of 'professionalism' needs to die along with the façade of conformity as prerequisite for employment (Linus Torvalds can work just fine in a bathrobe in his own home)



  13. Internal Poll: 93% of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers Are Unhappy With the EPO

    On top of strike/s and industrial action/s there are now also petitions; at the EPO, almost all staff is "disgruntled" because of utterly corrupt and defunct leadership



  14. Links 17/05/2022: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Release Candidate

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, May 16, 2022



  16. Links 16/05/2022: FreeBSD 13.1 and Inkscape 1.2 Released

    Links for the day



  17. Archiving Latest Posts in Geminispace (Like a Dated Web Directory But for Gemini)

    Earlier today we saw several more people crossing over from the World Wide Web to Gemini; we're trying to make a decent aggregator and archive for the rapidly-expanding Geminispace, which will soon have 2,500 capsules that are known to Lupa alone



  18. Microsoft Vidal Does Not Want to Listen (USPTO is Just for Megacorporations)

    Microsoft Vidal knows her real bosses. They’re international corporations (multinationals like Microsoft), not American people.



  19. Links 16/05/2022: China Advances on GNU/Linux and Maui 2.1.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  20. Jim Zemlin: Chief Revenue Officer in 'Linux' Seat-Selling Foundation

    Board seats in the Linux Foundation are basically a product on sale, based internal documents



  21. Reminder: Linux Foundation's Last IRS Filing is Very Old (Same Year the CFO Left)

    People really need to ask the Linux Foundation, directly, why its filings are years behind; this seems like a sensitive subject



  22. Linux Foundation Does Not Speak for GNU/Linux Users

    There's a serious problem in the "Linux" world as the so-called 'Linux' Foundation claims to speak for us (the GNU/Linux community) while in fact speaking against us (on the payroll of those looking to extinguish us)



  23. IBM's Lennart Poettering on Breaking Software for Pseudo Novelty

    Recently-uploaded ELCE 2011 clip shows a panel with Linus Torvalds, Alan Cox, Thomas Gleixner, Paul McKenney, and Lennart Poettering (relevant to novelty or perceived novelty that mostly degrades the experience of longtime users, e.g. Wayland and systemd)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 15, 2022



  25. Links 15/05/2022: Linux 5.18 RC7 and Calls for More Mass Surveillance

    Links for the day



  26. Audio: Mark Shuttleworth Marketed to Young Males, With Sexy Pictures

    The Web is rotting away, old links become broken links within months or years, so I’ve decided to encode a 3-minute segment of the whole as Ogg



  27. What a Difference Half a Decade Makes (When Linux Foundation is 'Having Fun')

    Media shaming campaigns may have taken their toll on the founder of Linux, who is now bossed by someone who rejects Linux and is married to a Microsoft booster. Like Richard Stallman under FSF guidance (and conditions for return, mostly for fear of further media assaults and attack dogs), he has become a more publicity-shy and private person. The Linux Foundation has in effect reduced the founder of what it’s called after (Linux) into a weekly release manager and mascot, whose brand it is gradually diluting/cheapening.



  28. Links 15/05/2022: GNU libiconv 1.17

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) Cannot Be Reconciled With the Law

    Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC)? Impossible. But Team UPC counts on an endless torrent of fake news managing to convince you (and more importantly politicians) otherwise.



  30. Even Team Battistelli is Sometimes Admitting -- Out in Public! -- That Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Neither Legal Nor Desirable

    Daniel X. Thomas and other people who are “too old to punish” (consequences to their career profoundly minimised owing to seniority) are among those who push back against the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC); any sane person — not a career-climbing litigation zealot — can identify the pertinent facts and realise that what’s going on here is an injustice of unprecedented proportions in the patent discipline


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts