09.30.18

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Corporate Media Exploits Blockchain Hype to Promote Software Patents Painted as ‘Blockchains’

Posted in America, Deception, IBM, Patents at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As if distributed storage (the new “over the Internet”) makes everything novel and patent-worthy

Some distributed frames

Summary: The “blockchain” hype continues to be exploited by those looking to patent some software with storage or with databases, basically substituting that software component with the hype du jour

THE EPO and USPTO both mention blockchain patents, which are a form of software patents (and remember exclusion of software patents in Europe, Alice in the US, 35 U.S.C. § 101 and so on). Why are these silly patents being celebrated so much?

These patents are what we’ve come to refer to as ‘fake patents’, i.e. patents or applications that are just enough to fool the USPTO examiners into granting them (but not enough to fool courts). A few days ago an article titled “Top 7 Blockchain Patent Owners” was published, starting with: “Patents are tedious and complicated legal documents that protect crucial pieces of intellectual property. When something as revolutionary and widely applicable as blockchain comes along, everyone races to patent it. Today, some of the biggest financial services companies worldwide are working hard on blockchain patents. From Bank of America to Coinbase, these blockchain patent owners are changing—and controlling—the future of distributed ledger technology.”

This article with a copyright (“(C)”) image as the feature image is preceded by “America’s biggest corporations are building our blockchain future.”

It seems clear that the writer doesn’t know what patents are and how the system works.

In addition to this, over at Mondaq, Robert M. Meeks (Ward and Smith, P.A.) used these dirty tactics of calling everything by buzzwords, even “Blockchain Revolution” (like 4IR). Such patent lawyers/law firms tacitly admit that they know software patents are bunk and are therefore trying to call these “blockchain”. This latest effort:

The Blockchain Revolution: Time To Ramp Up Your Software Patenting Effort?

As you read this article, hundreds of startups and other organizations are working on blockchain applications in such areas as energy trading, data storage trading, peer-to-peer lending, and verifying professional or other credentials.

A lot of these organizations, including tech giants and large financial institutions, are seeking patents on these applications, a rush reminiscent of the one that occurred in the 1990′s and 2000′s with the advent of the World Wide Web and e-commerce. What are the current prospects for this new wave of blockchain-related patent applications?

These would be rendered invalid en masse one day, by means of extrapolation from precedent/s. Wait and watch.

IBM has meanwhile moved on from toys/drones as PR for its patents; this patent-bullying conglomerate is still misusing the “blockchain” hype to patent software and “IBM Patent Eyes Blockchain for Drone Fleet Security,” a headline said last week. To quote:

Computing giant and prolific blockchain researcher IBM has applied to patent a system that would use distributed ledger technology (DLT) to address privacy and security concerns associated with the increasing usage of drones in both commercial and recreational applications.

According to documents made public on Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), IBM first applied for the patent, the latest in its growing library of prospective blockchain applications, in March 2017.

“These patents are what we’ve come to refer to as ‘fake patents’, i.e. patents or applications that are just enough to fool the USPTO examiners into granting them (but not enough to fool courts).”These patents are obsolete. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), sometimes affirmed by the Federal Circuit, have already trashed a lot of abstract IBM patents. Surely IBM knows that all these patents that it’s amassing might impress examiners (who were previously bossed by IBM’s David Kappos), but courts would not be impressed.

Why do these examiners still grant such patents?

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