05.09.19

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Illegal Software Patents and Patent Trolls Well Served by European and American Patent Offices But Not Courts

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

Charles Darwin

Summary: Patent offices are departing from the rule of law; first it was the EPO and now it’s the USPTO under Donald Trump’s appointees, chosen based on nepotism

THE previous post alluded to EPO President António Campinos and his promotion of software patents in Europe (the European Inventor Award 2019 made such patents a contender for an award). But the EPO never speaks of or uses the term “software patents”; even “CII” is gradually being deprecated in favour of buzzwords like “4IR” and “AI”.

Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Day one was rounded off by #SearchMatters first panel discussion. A lively expert debate and really interesting questions from the audience tackled the issue of AI future developments in the context of #patent searches”

When the EPO says “AI” (as in this case) it means illegal software patents — so in essence it leverages buzzwords to break the law, or to violate the EPC.

Here’s another EPO tweet from yesterday: “The next opportunity to visit the EPO will be in Munich. If you want to know more about the EPO’s approach to #artificialintelligence”

Two things to point out here: 1) “AI” does not make software patents acceptable. They break/violate the law, EPC and beyond (caselaw included). 2) Guests at the EPO are subjected to illegal surveillance, so why visit? The EPO’s violations of domestic and international laws have always gone unpunished.

Meanwhile, a vocal patent attorney (Kalis) says that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) “Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications…”

He means software patents (which 35 U.S.C. § 101 trashes) disguised using buzzwords like “AI” for a fake sense of ‘novelty’. “Over the Past 24 Hours,” he adds, “the PTAB Posted a Lot of New Decisions. They Have Reversed a Lot of Examiners’ 101 Rejections and Affirmed Several AI Learning Patent Applications. Scroll down for the decisions. They are Posted in Several Groups.”

Among the examples: “The PTAB Affirmed a 101 Rejection of Machine Learning Claims in an AI Patent Application: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2018005866-04-03-2019-1 …”

“AI” nonsense again. Even at PTAB…

“Patent Trolls want to destroy PTAB & 101 so they can issue all the Software Patents they like,” a critic of software patents wrote this week.

This is part of the trend, where PTAB is the equivalent of the EPO’s Boards coming under attack. This attack has been ‘harmonised’ along both sides of the Atlantic. The Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) also participates in this attack. Yesterday Watchtroll published under the headline “Iancu: USPTO Guidance Gets 101 [35 U.S.C. § 101] Right; Time for Courts to Follow Suit…” (American Battistellism)

Actually, the vast majority of public comments (submitted to the USPTO) said it was wrong. The USPTO nowadays has its own Ajit Pai, however, so he is lying about public input. Almost all the comments received by the USPTO disagree with him, but here he is trying to tell courts what to do.

In addition, Watchtroll (which he’s close to) still issues personal attacks on PTAB judges all the time. That’s because trolls dislike justice (it stands in the way of their extortion). Benjamin Henrion quoted Iancu from the above (which we prefer not to link to directly): “In the end, all three branches need to be rowing in the same direction on something like 101″ (which translates [to]: “we need a law to make software patents great again,” as Henrion put it).

Also published on Wednesday by the EFF’s Alex Moss was this update about patent troll Uniloc:

Patent owners shouldn’t be allowed to keep basic facts about their patents secret—especially when they initiate litigation in courts, which are presumptively open to the public. Uniloc is one of the worst examples of such a company: it doesn’t make any products, but sues lots of others that do. Then, it hides its licensing agreements while demanding fees from hundreds of other companies that make products supposedly covered by the patents in their vast portfolio. But those secretive tactics may finally be coming to an end: a federal judge has ruled, for the second time, that Uniloc must unseal documents about how it licenses its patents.

In 2018 alone, Uniloc filed more than 170 patent infringement lawsuits against a wide array of technology companies that make products we all use. EFF has fought repeatedly for the public’s right to access court documents in patent cases, and we moved to intervene in Uniloc v. Apple—where Apple is arguing that Uniloc doesn’t have the right to sue—because the basic facts of patent ownership should not be shrouded in secrecy.

At an earlier hearing on Apple’s motion to dismiss Uniloc’s whole case, Judge Alsup called out Uniloc’s wildly improper sealing requests, saying, “There is no way this deserves to be under seal.” He then denied all of the sealing requests, and gave Uniloc a short time to appeal before making the documents public. We hoped that would change Uniloc’s approach to sealing, and afterwards, the company did file public versions of some of the sealed documents. But it still sought to hide information that there was no basis to seal, like the names of companies they had licensed. So EFF renewed its motion to intervene and opposed Uniloc’s motion for reconsideration.

An author from a patent maximalists’ publication said (quoting the above judge): “Judge Alsup unloads: “Patent holders tend to demand in litigation a vastly bloated figure in ‘reasonably royalties’ compared to what they have earned in actual licenses. … There is a public need to police this litigation gimmick via more public access.” https://www.almcms.com/contrib/content/uploads/documents/403/16984/Uniloc-v.-Apple.Alsup-motion-on-reconsideration1.pdf …”

Uncensored Alsup: patent holders are charlatans and frauds. Who other than Iancu defends the trolls? The other Trump appointee, Makan Delrahim. Appointed by the same con man who appointed Iancu (from the firm that used to serve his business). What a “swamp”. As Josh from CCIA put it yesterday: “Delrahim again on his “exercising your patent rights should never be an antitrust violation” while completely ignoring the context—when you’ve made commitments as part of an industry-wide coordinating agreement, it can be an antitrust violation to fail to uphold them.”

There’s a toxic state of affairs when the officials in charge are in the pockets of patent trolls and law firms rather than science and technology. This is the case both in Europe and in the United States (under Trump).

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