08.22.16

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The Collapse of Software Patents and Patent Law Firms Trying to “Overcome” Alice

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also: Why the EPO rapidly becomes the greater culprit

Cracked metal

Summary: The United States continues its gradual crackdown on software patents (which are viewed as abstract and thus unpatentable), whereas in Europe things are murkier than ever

THE US Patent Office (USPTO) begrudgingly comes to grips with the fact that software patents are a passing fad. If the Office continues to grant these and most of the time US courts deem these invalid, what will that say about the Office?

According to this, Alice has just had another belated casualty because “US Pat 5,841,115, Nutritional information system; Killed w/Alice by Google” (a software patent). Google is pursuing software patents on driving and there is growing concern that this “could raise risk of patent litigation” so Google should not be viewed as an innocent victim here. It is growingly part of the problem.

“…many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now.”In other news, “Patent Claims to Weather Alerts Not Patent-Eligible Under Section 101,” says a pro-software patenting site. “This is an unsurprising result in the post-Alice world,” it concludes. “Claims to alerting functionality can face stiff headwinds when challenged under Section 101, especially when not supported by a specification, or better, claim language, calling out technical improvements.”

One of the most vocal proponents of software patents in Europe took note of it and Watchtroll, probably the most vocal proponent of software patents in the US, is trying to promote ‘cheating’ the system to patent software in spite of Alice. We have come to expect that from Watchtroll, who is stooping quite low these days. They must be nervous and they are panicking as many software patents they helped clients get (past, not future) are worthless pieces of paper right now. Even the Federal Circuit, which helped bring software patents to the US in the first place, has become exceedingly hostile towards them. Here is a new comment from IP Kat:

Anything by the Federal Circuit is of momentary import and cannot be considered “the driver seat.”

This is a direct offshoot of what the Supreme Court has been doing and can be seen to be why the Court refuses to draw any clear lines. They Court simply does not want to be left out of any discussion of eligibility, even as it is beyond the Court’s allocated powers to write law in this area.

So, you may think that you are “moving beyond,” but that is merely a mirage, as you have never left what the Supreme Court has done (is doing) – and that is by design of the Supreme Court.

Do you really think that such critical terms as “abstract” and “significantly more” are left undefined lacking a reason?

NOTHING that the Federal Circuit does is of lasting import in the realm of eligibility. And this is so because basically they lack the backbone to call a spade a spade and to note when the Supreme Court has stepped beyond the Court’s authority when it comes to the difference between interpreting the law and writing the law.

Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.

“Much to our delight, things are improving in the US (patent scope improved/tightened), whereas in Europe we drift in the opposite direction.”“Laws in Brussels are written by MNCs (Multi-National-Corporations), and FRAND in DSM is part of it,” Benjamin Henrion wrote yesterday, linking to this upcoming talk titled “DSM, EIF, RED: Acronyms on the EU level and why they matter for software freedom” (some of these are used to sneakily bring software patents to Europe). From the abstract: “In the coming years, the EU is determined to bring its industries to the digital market and acquire a leading position on the global tech market. In order to achieve this ambitious goal of allowing Europe’s “own Google or Facebook” to emerge, the EU has come up with several political and legislative proposals that obviously cannot overlook software. Three or more magic letters combined in an acronym have, therefore, the power to either support innovation and fair competition, or drown the EU in its vendor lock-in completely. The terms “open standards”, “open platforms”, and Free Software are being used more and more often but does it mean that the EU is “opening” up for software freedom for real? My talk will explain how several current EU digital policies interact with Free Software, and each other, and what does it mean to software freedom in Europe.”

Well, FRAND brings software patents to Europe, in spite of them being illegal. Does Brussels even care? The same applies to the EPO under Battistelli’s regime. He certainly does not care about the EPC. He just ignores it. This is why increased focus on internal EPO affairs is worthwhile and the next couple of posts will contain new information about abuse at the top.

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