04.10.17

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“In a Vehicle” (or Car): Disguising Software Patents as Something Physical

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like Martin Goetz who patented a sorting system [sic] in 1968 and others who were painting software patents with the “brakes” brush

Car brakes

Summary: Another emergent loophole for asserting that patents on software somehow have merit (not abstract), merely because of the context in which they are used

PATENTS on driving/driver-related activities have become a plague that not only feeds several high-profile patent trolls but also Google. A lot of cars now come with computers and companies like Microsoft exploit this for patent blackmail (lately against Toyota).

The other day the Docker Report published this outline of a § 101 case:

The special master recommended denying defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that plaintiff’s vehicle camera system patent encompassed unpatentable subject matter because defendant failed to establish that the asserted claims were directed toward an abstract idea.

That’s a shame. A lot of software patents these days get disguised as “with a car”, “on a car”, “in a car” etc. (one among several similar patterns pertaining to “device”, “phone”, “Internet”, “cloud”, “AI” and so on). These are still software patents.

“A lot of software patents these days get disguised as “with a car”, “on a car”, “in a car” etc. (one among several similar patterns pertaining to “device”, “phone”, “Internet”, “cloud”, “AI” and so on).”Jake Grove says in his new article (titled “Key IP Challenge: Protecting Vehicle Software”) that “[p]atents can provide broad coverage for software,” much to our surprise. Do patents cover software in the US? No, not anymore. Or barely (the outcome is typically negative when judged by courts, so only legal bills encumber both sides). These patents can be pretty worthless in the US these days. Just look at these latest figures from boosters of software patents, Fenwick & West. “With the close of the first quarter of 2017,” they say, “there have been some interesting patterns developing in AliceStorm.”

“Do patents cover software in the US? No, not anymore. Or barely (the outcome is typically negative when judged by courts, so only legal bills encumber both sides).”This was promoted by software patents proponents, as they give some Alice figures/updates with the expected slant (their obvious goal is to bring software patents back). They have clients who rely on this outcome, as this other new post discloses by saying: “My client SHzoom filed a request to make the Trading Technologies decision precedential. CQG attempted to leverage that motion as a further reason for the case to be reheard, arguing in their respose that “SHzoom’s Motion requesting that the panel’s decision in this case be made precedential should be denied. Its arguments further illustrate why CQG’s Petition for rehearing en banc should be granted.””

Trading Technologies is basically reduced to trolling.

The bottom line is, software is not patentable and examiners need to watch out for the trick of ascribing these to vehicles.

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