04.01.18

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Patents Roundup: Abject Lack of Proper Patent Justice and Updates From Microsoft’s Patent Trolls and Patent Strategist

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio” —Marshall Phelps

Ex-Sun chief dishes dirt on Gates, Jobs
Reference: Ex-Sun chief dishes dirt on Gates, Jobs

Summary: A rundown/roundup of some of the interesting cases and stories, which generally help highlight the wrongs in a system that ought to be improved if its real goal is justice and legitimacy rather than coercion, protectionism, and sometimes racketeering

THERE are legal cases or stories that merit a mention but not a whole article/post. There are thousands of ongoing patent lawsuits in the US (with thousands more being filed each year), hundreds of thousands patents granted by the USPTO annually, and many stories of patent extortion (outside the courts). The ratio between patent extortion (shakedown) and patent lawsuits is difficult to estimate because the former is covert; estimates, however, say that there are several times more of the former than the latter. Below we take stock of some minor posts, stories, summaries, and observations.

Word Limits

“The ratio between patent extortion (shakedown) and patent lawsuits is difficult to estimate because the former is covert; estimates, however, say that there are several times more of the former than the latter.”When the patent courts get overwhelmed by piles of spurious papers (with little substance or relevance) they often feel compelled to act differently. Is this another lawyers’ trick? Maybe. But according to this, there are word limits in briefs now (as some briefs as not brief anymore).

To quote:

One problem with the Court’s approach here is that it made no determination as to whether the incorporation-by-reference was problematic in this situation. In particular, Federal Rule Appellate Procedure 28(i) permits incorporation by reference in consolidated cases involving multiple appellants or appellees.

Concision matters because one side often uses disproportionate amounts of paper to ‘out-pocket’ the other side, in essence using financial muscle to gain legal leverage. This is wrong. Then there’s the option of endlessly appealing decisions to bankrupt the other side if not put sufficient economic pressure for that side to surrender.

“Concision matters because one side often uses disproportionate amounts of paper to ‘out-pocket’ the other side, in essence using financial muscle to gain legal leverage.”Remember that for justice to be served it must not discriminate based on finances. In practice, however, it almost always does. Money buys legal outcomes not just legislation.

Ex Parte Reexamination

Putting the non-English legalese aside (another way for lawyers to deter people from representing themselves), let’s look at Parallax Group International, LLC v Incstores LLC — a case by a company which we mentioned here 15 times before. Here’s some more non-English legalese: “The court sua sponte stayed plaintiff’s patent infringement action pending ex parte reexamination to conserve judicial resources.”

“Remember that for justice to be served it must not discriminate based on finances.”Sua sponte is just a lawyer’s way of saying “on its own motion,” which means that Parallax needs to wait. We previously remarked on all those nonsensical words/phrases, like inter partes review, ex parte reexamination, sua sponte and estoppel.

No, these lawyers don’t speak Latin or anything, they just try to make life more complicated for clients so that they get hired again and again. Maybe some of them try to impress with pseudo-multilingual skills (which rarely exist).

PTAB

Speaking of inter partes reviews, which is just a ‘fancy’ way of saying petition to reassess/review a granted patent after an applicant secured the grant, Michael Loney said a few days ago that “PTAB institutes first derivation trial” and to quote:

After more than 50 petitions, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has instituted a derivation trial for the first time, challenging a patent for a spacer frame used in insulated glass windows

The Patent Trial & Appeal Board has instituted trial to a derivation petition for the first time, in Andersen Corporation v. GED Integrated Solutions (DER2017-00007).

The rather misleading term “derivation trial” is what the Office defines here. It’s worth noting that 50 petitions had been filed before action was actually taken!

Patent Trolls

Aggressors and patent trolls have gotten ever so desperate to bypass TC Heartland (last year’s decision by SCOTUS) and drag patent lawsuits to trolls-friendly courts (or districts, or district courts). In Peerless Network, Inc. v Blitz Telecom Consulting, LLC et al, according to Docket Navigator, “[t]he court granted defendants’ alternative motion to transfer for improper venue because defendants did not have a regular and established place of business in the district.”

“Under a faithful reading of the statute,” the court said, “the Court must conclude that whatever a ‘place of business’ is, it is not a shelf.”

“No, these lawyers don’t speak Latin or anything, they just try to make life more complicated for clients so that they get hired again and again.”How many more ‘artistic’ interpretations will be attempted so as to bypass TC Heartland? It almost never works.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll

Microsoft’s patent troll Finjan will “Host a Shareholder Update on April 5, 2018,” it says in a new press release. That’s 4 days from now. What will be discussed? Who to sue next? Will Microsoft help bankroll the litigation? Or say who to ‘punish’ next? Will people who pay ‘protection’ money to Microsoft find themselves protected from this troll?

And in related news, Forbes has given a blog to Marshall Phelps, who is responsible for Microsoft’s and IBM’s patent aggression strategies. Forbes also gave blogs to literal patent trolls from Dominion Harbor, which says a lot about Forbes. In his latest post Phelps says: “Everybody knows that strong patents help decide the winners and losers of business competition — which is why companies applied for roughly 600,000 of them last year (though only half that number were granted)…”

“…Forbes has given a blog to Marshall Phelps, who is responsible for Microsoft’s and IBM’s patent aggression strategies.”The person who is responsible for patent bullying at two of the largest and most aggressive ‘patent companies’ says it “help[s] decide the winners and losers of business competition,” so maybe he should also join a large military contractor and explain how dropping lots of bombs “help[s] decide the winners and losers” of wars… since he evidently lacks any sense of morality.

$235 Million Verdict

The latest reminder that actually reading patents, i.e. making an infringement willful, can be very extremely expensive? Here it is:

Following a jury verdict of willful induced infringement of plaintiffs’ congestive heart failure treatment patent and damages of $235 million, the court granted defendant’s renewed motion for judgment of noninfringement as a matter of law because substantial evidence did not support the jury’s finding that defendant induced doctors to infringe

Large firms such as Microsoft openly say that they intentionally ignore patents of other companies for this reason. Does that not defeat the whole purpose of a patent system then? The whole basis or premise of this system was that it would help disseminate if not preserve human knowledge.

Somaltus LLC v The Noco Company, Inc

As always, whenever there’s patent mess only lawyers will profit. They’re guaranteed to win financially (even if they lose a case). It’s therefore in their best interest to make things messy and keep them that way. “Following plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal,” shows this new example, “the court denied defendant’s motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff’s litigation positions were not unreasonable.”

“As always, whenever there’s patent mess only lawyers will profit.”Whoever pays the fees, that won’t matter to the lawyers. It only matters to the companies they represent (at both ends). Maybe that can help more companies rethink the role of the status quo and whether it suits them or not. If not, maybe they should support reformist actions from the EFF, CCIA, HTIA (High Tech Inventors Alliance) and the likes of these. PTAB helps a lot already and it’s not hard to show support for it. Recently, our support of PTAB earned us threats of legal action. We’ll write about it later this week.

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