09.17.17

Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

Posted in America, Patents at 11:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unless you can actually see the supposed invention, it’s likely just code and thus invalid under Section 101/Alice

Coding

Summary: Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these

THE US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled against software patents in the summer of 2013. Things have changed profoundly since then. Each year it seems like the system — mostly but not limited to the legal system — is becoming more hostile towards software patents. They’re just not worth the time and money anymore.

“We’re talking about trolls and serial litigators here. They suffer badly and some have gone out of business (good riddance!).”Software patents are not officially dead. Moreover, there’s a threat of them coming back, for circles that are hostile towards software development try to prop them up again. Every single week we write about several of their concurrent attempts, ranging from legislative/lobbying to subversion/entryism. For them, it’s likely a fight for their very survival. We’re talking about trolls and serial litigators here. They suffer badly and some have gone out of business (good riddance!).

The reality of the matter is, companies like Apple patent all sorts of malicious software that’s being celebrated in their fan sites. They don’t want the public to think of it as software, but since this particular domain is my professional domain it’s clear to me that it’s pure softwar which they patent and the USPTO tolerates this. Here is another new example, this time from Virtual StrongBox, which was mentioned here before (last month). They patent pure software. It’s mathematics. They just phrase things in a way that’s intended to dodge or work around Section 101. Here we see another case of nonsensical, meaningless buzzwords like “technical effect”. A translation says “when software solves a technical problem you are definitely in the area where a patent is possible” (page in Spanish). The EPO is equally culpable here. How about this new example? The USPTO is once again granting software patents — something in the realm business methods/mathematics (abstract).

To quote this article:

Pittsburgh entrepreneur Mike Wagner is best known for his high-growth company which specializes in optimizing carrier pricing in real-time. Now, Wagner’s Target Freight Management has introduced a new technology to an industry with the announcement of their patent for Freight Innovation Density Analytics – or FIDA.

That’s mathematics. The USPTO facilitates a race to the bottom if it permits this kind of grant. Here is another new example, where software gets patented under the guise of the buzzword “deep learning”. There’s a gold rush for software patents under the guise o buzzwords like “AI”, “machine learning” and so on (I know how these things technically work and implemented them in the past; it’s purely mathematics/statistics).

In the next post we shall take a closer look at technology giants that amass software patents and misuse these against competitors (we say “misuse” because these patents are likely patent-ineligible, but it’s expensive to prove so).

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