12.10.18

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Today’s USPTO Grants a Lot of Fake Patents, Software Patents That Courts Would Invalidate

Posted in America, Patents at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trump and Iancu

Summary: The 35 U.S.C. § 101 effect is very much real; patents on abstract/nonphysical ideas get invalidated en masse (in courts/PTAB) and Director Andrei Iancu refuses to pay attention as if he’s above the law and court rulings don’t apply to him

THE current state of 35 U.S.C. § 101 is encouraging and as we noted a couple of hours ago, 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn’t going to be revisited by SCOTUS.

On Sunday we wrote about the European Patent Office‘s obsession with “AI”. We have since then seen similar examples about patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, e.g. “AI-driven” here and “AI-driven network security” here (“BluVector Awarded Additional Patent for Machine Learning in Cybersecurity”). Those tricks are fast becoming rather common, even worryingly so. Those are very obviously bunk, bogus, fake, abstract software patents. Why is the Office still granting these, knowing courts would trash them? Here’s an example of a new patent on video processing and another of an Irish firm that went to the US to patent software on a very trivial ‘idea’ [1, 2]. Based on all these press releases and articles, quality control is lacking. Everything there sounds like bogus software patents that are going to be invalidated based on 35 U.S.C. § 101 in any court (if they reach that far) and should never have been granted in the first place. Here’s an example from exactly one week ago. “The virtual reel of modern machines goes back to a 1984 patent obtained by Norwegian mathematician Inge Telnaes, which brought the industry into the modern age and helped turn it into a “gold mine,” CDC says.

“Based on all these press releases and articles, quality control is lacking.”One thing we alluded to a few hours ago, albeit we prefer not to dwell on it, is the fact that Watchtroll himself (Quinn) is stepping down/out as chief editor at the end of this month (2 decades of patent maximalism must have led to frustration, seeing how things are going). His latest article it titled “Why do you want a Patent?” but it might as well say “Why do you STILL want a Patent?”

Looking at other sites of patent maximalists, they’re doing new ads for the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), a fairly radical organisation that lobbies aggressively for software patents. This same site also advertises USPTO events (example from yesterday) like this “USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series” (another example from yesterday). The Office does not understand quality, however, it just strives for revenue. To be fair, the EPO under António Campinos also abandoned quality; it’s granting software patents in Europe even if/when courts reject these. They just use or misuse buzzwords.

“Fintech is one of those fast-paced industries,” says this new article. “Currently, there are over 1200 FinTech businesses in Singapore, according to IPOS.”

“What will happen to the Office under Iancu if so many US patents continue to be rejected by courts? People will lose confidence in US patents, the presumption of validity will be lost.”And this is how they justify “IPOS grant[ing] first ever accelerated financial technology patent” (this is the headline); it’s about using the “Fintech” buzzword to get software patents in Singapore. “The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has granted the first accelerated patent under its financial technology fast-track initiative,” it says. They not only grant abstract patents; they even fast-track these.

We have meanwhile noticed Kate Gaudry and Samuel Hayim writing about 35 U.S.C. § 101/Alice rejections at the USPTO. “A concise set of statutes dictate the characteristics that a patent application must have to be allowed to grant as a patent,” they argue. But a grant is not enough; what would actual courts say? We worry that the arrival of Iancu signaled to many examiners that it’s OK to wave away 35 U.S.C. § 101 and pretty much ignore Alice. Just watch these latest roundups of newly-granted patents in the press [1, 2, 3]. I’ve looked through these very quickly and some of these new patents are absolutely absurd. Some are obviously bogus (legally speaking. e.g. Section 101 would bin them). What will happen to the Office under Iancu if so many US patents continue to be rejected by courts? People will lose confidence in US patents, the presumption of validity will be lost.

“A CEO of a company left after they had sued a rival using software patents.”We couldn’t help but notice this report from exactly one week ago. A CEO of a company left after they had sued a rival using software patents. To quote: “The announcement of Pittman as the company’s new CEO comes less than two months after Matterport confirmed to Inman it’s suing GeoCV, a rival 3D tour company, for patent infringement.”

This is neat software, no doubt, but all the patents on it should be voided as they’re bogus software patents on computer vision and visualisation (algorithms/maths). Suing with such patents in 2018 would almost assure loss of the patents, assuming the accused can afford the court battle. What misguided or dishonest law firm prodded for this?

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