04.14.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

Killing Patent Quality and Encouraging ‘Covert’ Software Patents Using the Buzzwords Du Jour

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Du JourSummary: The epidemic of buzzwords and/or hype waves that are being exploited to dodge or bypass patent scope/limitations, as seen in Europe and the US these days

THE granting of software patents seems to have become routine at the EPO — to the point where large law firms publicly assert that it’s now easier to get such patents from the EPO than from the USPTO. It’s a travesty because software patents are unofficially forbidden in Europe. It’s like they swapped roles. Good for the US, bad for Europe.

Watch what the EPO has just formally said: “European patent applications related to smart, connected objects are rising rapidly, achieving a growth rate of 54% in the last three years.”

“It’s a travesty because software patents are unofficially forbidden in Europe.”They have tagged this “Industry 4.0″ (buzzword) and “4IR”, which is what the EPO calls software patents these days, so they basically brag about granting bogus software patents. This is where supposed ‘growth’ comes from: bogus software patents.

We aren’t bashing EPO examiners; we know they’re primarily victims of really terrible management. Battistelli destroyed the EPO and he'll be receiving two more years of salary as a bonus for it. There’s no justice in this world. If there was, he would be detained like his padrone.

Anyway, some good people remain at the EPO. They’re technical people, i.e. they’re not top-level management (Team Battistelli is almost consistently nontechnical and under-qualified).

“We aren’t bashing EPO examiners; we know they’re primarily victims of really terrible management.”The other day Shiri Burema and Rene van Duijvenbode (NLO) wrote about EPO oppositions again, this time too — like the last time (very recently) — in a sponsored self-promotional ‘report’ at IAM. EPO oppositions, as we noted here before, skyrocketed. It’s not a modest incline but an explosion. These oppositions come from stakeholders and they represent strong opposition to a lot of patent grants. Patent grants are being disputed by the thousands!

The Opposition Division at the EPO has in fact just thwarted a bad patent. The company with a stake in it issued a press release as a response to that with a slightly modified headline reprinted here. To quote:

In its official opinion, the opposition division of the European Patent Office found the Turzi blood separation patent, which is licensed to Regenlab, to be invalid on the grounds of added matter, lack of novelty and lack of sufficient disclosure

[...]

In this preliminary opinion, the opposition division of the EPO found the Turzi patent to be invalid on the grounds of (i) added matter, (ii) lack of novelty, and (iii) lack of sufficient disclosure. With respect to the prior disclosure issue, the Opposition Division of the EPO found that “it is shown beyond any reasonable doubt that the product was available prior to priority, a prior use had taken place and the features of the product could be investigated.”

This is actually the “happy ending”; how many times are staff assigned/belonging to the Opposition Division unable to properly deal with this due to heavy workload? As we pointed out before, the number of oppositions skyrocketed; the Opposition Division did not grow proportionally as far as we’re aware. What does it mean? That simply means that many bad patents will continue to slip in and some legitimate oppositions slip through (fail).

“That simply means that many bad patents will continue to slip in and some legitimate oppositions slip through (fail).”Examples? Evidence? We have some new anecdotal ones…

The EPO wrote this a couple of days ago: “How relevant is patenting to the world of AI? That’s one of the topics at this event in Munich…”

Well, “AI” is what the patent microcosm often calls software patents these days; this is done in order to disguise the fact that it’s nothing but patent-ineligible algorithms. AI is just that. Earlier today we wrote about “blockchaining” of software patents at the EPO. But there are other hype waves and tricks, “AI” is just one of which.

“Well, “AI” is what the patent microcosm often calls software patents these days; this is done in order to disguise the fact that it’s nothing but patent-ineligible algorithms.”Taking a new example from the US, see the patent microcosm writing about “Artificial Intelligence” and “AI” (both in the headline) in relation to a “medical device” (also in the headline). It sounds like a familiar trick; call algorithms “AI”, then say they run on a “device” and add words like “medical” to make it sound like life is at stake. Judge Patrick Corcoran had dealt with a case similar to this just before he was attacked by Battistelli.

Here’s another new example, found just earlier today. “In biopharma,” it says, “patents are everything. In tech? Not so much. Which is why it was unusual to see a company that’s trying to turn software into medicine announce this week that it’s bagged several patents.”

“Judge Patrick Corcoran dealt with a case similar to this just before he was attacked by Battistelli.”“A digital medicine company tries to adopt pharma’s patent game,” said the headline, attempting to sort of conflate two separate disciplines. Having come from the software world and earned a Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics, I think I have reasonable grasp/understanding of both. Quite frankly, this is nonsensical. What next? Saying that DNA is “code of life” and thus the equivalent of computer programs? This kind of tiresome journalism, whose goal is to glorify patents (all of them), merely discredits patents. It makes people ask all sorts of ‘funny’ questions. Questions like, “can thoughts be patented?” (or life itself)

Here’s another new example about something called the “Silver Edison Award”. Calling an award after the patent troll who was more of a businessman than an inventor? Edison is not what people are led/left to believe. It’s almost like mythology.

On the subject of software patents, watch what China’s SIPO has just done; it has just granted more software patents because they don’t really care about patent quality over there. From the announcement:

Says it received patent licenses (No. ZL 2015 10624219.3, ZL 2015 1 0611519.8), for USB device monitoring method and device based on USB interface granularity, and 32-bit progress and 64-bit progress alternate injecting method and device

Well, they use the word “device” several times, but it’s really about monitoring. Should monitoring something be patent-eligible? In China, anything goes.

“What next? Saying that DNA is “code of life” and thus the equivalent of computer programs?”Network analytics? Well, that too can become a patent, apparently. Never mind if it seems like it’s another case of bogus software patents (“KDE was patented as the first real-time…”) and the US has Alice. How about this new one from SIOS? The USPTO has just granted more dubious software patents because the applicant (mis)used the word “apparatus” (the typical loophole). From the self-promotional press release:

U.S. Patent No. 9,772,871, titled “Apparatus and method for leveraging semi-supervised machine learning for self-adjusting policies in management of a computer infrastructure,” is the first of eight core innovations developed and implemented in SIOS iQ and covered by this patent. It validates the ability of SIOS iQ to perform unsupervised learning of an environment and its behaviors for use in IT operations for purposes such as automating performance root cause analysis, while permitting human input to be used to adjust its models.

There’s no hardware there.

“Calling an award after the patent troll who was more of a businessman than an inventor?”Speaking of loopholes like “device”, “apparatus” or “medical”, how about greenwashing? The EPO does quite this a lot nowadays. Patents are being painted as “good for the environment”. Gareth Dixon from software patents proponent Shelston IP Pty Ltd has just published this ad (‘article’) titled “Making use of expedited examination for “cleantech”” (buzzword again).

“In recent years,” he says, “IP “buzzwords” have included superconductors, gene patents, business methods and computer software. Society’s ever-increasing environmental awareness now dictates that “cleantech” is the latest vogue.”

“Patents are being painted as “good for the environment”.”He himself admits that these are “buzzwords”. We appreciate the honesty — something we rarely saw at Shelston IP Pty Ltd. They’re perhaps the most vocal lobbyists for software patents in Australia and New Zealand. We wrote about them many times before.

As another popular buzzword, consider “cloud”. Unified Patents has a new report about trolls (“NPEs”) with software patents that are disguised as “cloud”. They are striking hard as “the volume of Cloud litigation increased more than 33% from 339 cases (between 2014 and 2015) to 454 cases (between 2016-2017) during the same period that overall patent litigation posted a 42% decrease,” Unified Patents explained some days ago. From the “Overview”:

In stark contrast to recent filing trends, the volume of Cloud litigation increased more than 33% from 339 cases (between 2014 and 2015) to 454 cases (between 2016-2017) during the same period that overall patent litigation posted a 42% decrease. From 2012 to 2017, NPE litigation activity for Cloud technologies remained consistently high (greater than 92% of all Cloud litigation) and amounted to a total of 1,058 cases over the last 5 years. Litigation involving various Cloud technologies fluctuated and notably, Cloud litigation involving Storage & Synchronization increased from 7% (2016) to 27% (2017).

The CCIA too has just bemoaned patent quality in the US, showing an “[i]llustration of a metal rose from a design patent” and then stating:

In an ideal world, patent examiners are perfect neutral arbiters. They find the best prior art and always make the right decision as to whether an idea is new and entitled to a patent. In this world, we wouldn’t need inter partes review or validity challenges in court—examiners would get it right the first time.

The reality, of course, is that examiners are humans. They make mistakes. They miss prior art or are unable to access it it. Some are better at the job than others. And, according to a new study from Yale’s School of Management, just like other humans, they sometimes exhibit biases. In particular, the study concludes that examiner biases result in fewer and narrower patents being granted to female inventors.

Given these sorts of flaws in examination, along with the structural incentives to grant marginal patents and the opportunities to improve patent quality identified by the GAO, the first priority for the Patent Office’s new Director should be to focus on improving examination.

Sometimes we’re amazed at how shallow design patents can be. Copyright law should cover these instead. Not patent law.

“Patent maximalism is a global problem, but we’re disappointed to see the EPO falling for it hook, line, and sinker.”The bottom line is, patent quality must matter. Growth in patents just for the sake of growth is not the yardstick to go by or the goal to strive for.

Patent maximalism is a global problem, but we’re disappointed to see the EPO falling for it hook, line, and sinker. The EPO used to be far better than this.

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. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League - Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?

    We take stock of "captured states" that voted in favour of unlawful "Strike Regulations"



  2. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 26, 2021



  3. Beatriz Busaniche Speaks Up in Defense of Richard Stallman

    Beatriz Busaniche sent us this comment in July 2021. She wrote it originally in Spanish. Here are both the original text and our translation to English.



  4. Links 26/10/2021: SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1 and Multi-Distro Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  5. Links 26/10/2021: Vulkan 1.1 Conformance for Raspberry Pi 4 and Tor Browser 10.5.10

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Sounds Legit

    When not cheating on the wife, the EPO‘s “doyen” cheats in the exams and makes it into the epi Council, in effect working “[t]owards a common understanding [sic] of quality” with “patent attorneys nominated as “assessors” by the EPO, epi and BusinessEurope” (notorious lobbyists for dictators, litigation, and monopolies, neither business nor science)



  7. [Meme] Mayoral Patent Office Chief

    As it turns out, political 'double-dipping' isn't just a thing in North Macedonia, Austria, and EPOnia



  8. Romania's Patent Office (OSIM): Nine Different Chiefs in Just Eight Years

    The Romanian State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM), being the equivalent of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the sense that it covers both patents and trademarks, is a very flaky institution with no shortage of scandals; for our English-reading audiences we now have a summary of a decade’s worth of blunders and leadership changes



  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania

    Romania’s patent office has been in flux this past decade, occasionally led by people with no relevant experience, but rather political connections (like EPO President António Campinos) and sometimes forged documents and fake degrees



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, October 25, 2021



  11. [Meme] “Social Democracy” at the EPO

    Some comments on the current situation at the European Patent Office from Goran Gerasimovski, the new EPO Administrative Council delegate for North Macedonia and Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Centar (a municipality of Skopje)



  12. [Meme] António Campinos Visits the OSIM

    António Campinos visits OSIM Director-General Ionel Muscalu in February 2014



  13. [Meme] [Teaser] Meet the President

    Later today we shall see what Romania did for Battistelli



  14. Links 26/10/2021: Latte Dock 0.10.3 and Linux 5.15 RC7

    Links for the day



  15. Gemini Protocol's Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

    'Solderpunk' is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence



  16. Bulgarian Like Bavarian Serfdom

    Bulgarian politics seem to have played a big role in selecting chiefs and delegates who backed Benoît Battistelli‘s unlawful proposals, which treat workers almost like slaves and ordinary citizens as disposable ‘collaterals’



  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria

    Today we examine the role of Bulgaria in Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO (as well as under António Campinos, from 2018 to present) with particular focus on political machinations



  18. Links 25/10/2021: New Slackware64-current and a Look at Ubuntu Budgie

    Links for the day



  19. Links 25/10/2021: pg_statement_rollback 1.3 and Lots of Patent Catchup

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part III — A Story of Plagiarism and Likely Securities Fraud

    Today we tread slowly and take another step ahead, revealing the nature of only some among many problems that GitHub and Microsoft are hiding from the general public (to the point of spiking media reports)



  21. [Meme] [Teaser] Oligarchs-Controlled Patent Offices With Media Connections That Cover Up Corruption

    As we shall see later today, the ‘underworld’ in Bulgaria played a role or pulled the strings of politically-appointed administrators who guarded Benoît Battistelli‘s liberticidal regime at the EPO



  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 24, 2021



  23. Links 25/10/2021: EasyOS 3.1 and Bareflank 3.0

    Links for the day



  24. The Demolition of the EPO Was Made Possible With Assistance From Countries That Barely Have European Patents

    The legal basis of today's EPO has been crushed; a lot of this was made possible by countries with barely any stakes in the outcome



  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania

    We continue to look at Benoît Battistelli‘s enablers at the EPO



  26. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  27. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  29. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  30. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission


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