12.09.19

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Mandatory Education for Those Who Use and Misuse Buzzwords Would Go a Long Way

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 12:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent maximalists are among the biggest culprits

Buzz me up!
Buzz me up!

Summary: In an age of substitution — where marketing terms replace meaningful words and concepts — it has gotten more difficult to have honest debates, for example about the scope of patents

OVER THE past year the European Patent Office (EPO) often promoted software patents disguised not only as “hey hi” (AI) but also “blockchains” (in both cases there are two aspects to it; one pertains to patent searching and another to patent applications). Hours ago we found this report which talks about blockchains (the real thing) and bemoans the gold rush to patents on algorithms. To quote:

Over the last few years, the number of patent applications filed for blockchain technology has been on the rise globally, with the U.S dominating the charts. According to reports, the notable patent filers in the blockchain technology space have been banks. But, don’t patents question the very existence of blockchain? A technology that is supposed to be open, permissionless and transparent?

Along the same lines, James Gong, the Co-founder of LongHash, has said that “patents go against the spirit of blockchain technology.” In the latest LongHash post, Gong stated,

Not only that; in the US that goes against 35 U.S.C. § 101 (which USPTO administrators like to sweep aside and ignore). In Europe we have Team Campinos/Battistelli misusing the term — a concept they clearly don't even understand (see this talk from Campinos, complete with nonsense such as “CII”, “4IR”, “IoT”, “AI” and “Blockchain”).

“Off-the-shelf implementations of algorithms such as these have long been available, even before Microsoft’s GitHub existed (the article perpetuates the idea that GitHub is the only thing which counts).”We’ve entered a dangerous era in the patent world. WIPO (UN) issues reports that glorify patents on buzzwords (“hey hi”), they’re always calling everything “IP” (patents are not property) and they deliberately conflate things, such as blockchains for storage and search and blockchains as precondition for patent grants (pseudo-novelty to bypass strict limits on patenting).

Hours ago we also saw that Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP’s Theodore Claypoole had published this nonsense in Lexology and other patent maximalists’ journals. It uses the term “Open Source” along with “IP” and “Machine Learning” (what many in this profession call “hey hi”). To quote:

Businesses know that machine learning systems and artificial intelligence programs can be customized to meet a company’s specific needs. Most are at a loss to know how to begin developing them. Many are worried about teaching a machine learning system their pivotal secrets and losing rights to the system itself.

We have talked and written extensively on the risks of artificial intelligence that many business executives may be too intimidated to seek its rewards. This hesitation is unwise and unnecessary.

Probably the best way to resolve these concerns is for companies to start building their own AI for improving internal processes. While the prospect may seem foreign and scary, a universe of open source tools exists to make it easier.

Off-the-shelf implementations of algorithms such as these have long been available, even before Microsoft’s GitHub existed (the article perpetuates the idea that GitHub is the only thing which counts). I know this as someone who worked in that area for over a decade and a half. The above perpetuates several other falsehoods, which basically glorify statistical analysis, training and pattern matching as something new and innovative when it face it goes many decades back. The main difference is the availability or cost of computational resources available to us at scale.

“Our society is quickly devolving into a pool of marketing terms (“apps”, “cloud” and so on), so having meaningful technical discussions — e.g. in the patenting domain — is too difficult. The lawyers prefer it that way (BlahLaw).”It seems reasonable to conclude that patent offices and law firms could really use some training or education about those buzzwords they keep dropping. Public officials too could use some lessons to avoid being bamboozled. Our society is quickly devolving into a pool of marketing terms (“apps”, “cloud” and so on), so having meaningful technical discussions — e.g. in the patenting domain — is too difficult. The lawyers prefer it that way (BlahLaw).

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