Bonum Certa Men Certa

David Kappos Does Not Understand Why the USPTO is Broken

A ring



Summary: The USPTO claims to be working to resolve its problems, but it might only make things worse (patent saturation) rather than better

LORA Bentley from IT Business Edge says that the US patent office is trying to "streamline [the] application process" as though the issue with the office is that it doesn't issue patents quickly enough.

In a Mercury News piece at SiliconValley.com, writer Chris O'Brien details a conversation he had with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director David Kappos. Even Kappos admits the system is broken. "We are trying to work our way through a broken system," he told O'Brien. The goal is to improve the average time between application and approval from the typical three and a half years (which is how long Facebook waited for approval of its news feed patent) to a single year.


What's broken is scope, not pace or litigation (e.g. amassing damages for collection from several jurisdictions). It sometimes seems as though those who are greedy for more patents, namely lawyers, have hijacked the criticism and the call for a reform. They pretend that the USPTO is broken because it does not issue enough patents. Rather, the office should adjust scope, then the workload will not be an issue and there will be no backlog, either (or a much smaller one). David Kappos, the Director of the USPTO, once complained about "creating a new 20-year monopoly for no good reason." He was referring to patents that should not be granted, so how is streamlining the solution? It's not.

The USPTO ought to look at how a particular class of patents actually advances/hinders science and society, not how it helps protect a company from competition. In separate news, the USPTO ratifies a project that uses free labour (volunteers) to endorse or reject patents. How is that beneficial? Bad patents should just not be allowed in the first place.

The first change is that it looks like the Patent Office is going to open up the patent approval process in a pilot program by allowing for a sort of peer review using evidence of prior art or prior patents to be submitted to disqualify a current patent application filing.


This is not the solution, it's a band-aid on top of a broken system (just follow the symptoms). The USPTO should abolish many types of patents that do nothing to improve science. Software patents are just one example. Early in the week we wrote about Gregory Girard getting arrested. He had a software patent which was used for trolling, as this new article reminds us.

Last year, The Prior Art covered Garrod's side project, an unusual one for a PubPat attorney: he owns a patent-holding company, Bedrock Computer Technologies, which has enforced a software patent by suing several technology companies in East Texas.


Google should also drop its obsession with software patents, which it not only applies for [1, 2, 3] (trivial ideas even) but also harbours in YouTube. The same goes for Facebook, whose latest controversial software patent [1, 2] gives reasons for unrest.

Earlier this week, Scottish blogger and law lecturer Andres Guadamuz accused Facebook of aiming to protect "a trivial use of databases".

"It seems like the software patent standard in the US is so low that all one needs is to get a clever patent attorney to attach a lot of mumbo jumbo to mundane database functions and voila, you are given a patent," he wrote.


Another controversial type of patents would be gene patents. There's a broad spectrum of patents on life and nature; this is ridiculous as not only does it contribute nothing to advancement but it also increases deaths [1, 2]. "Commons Sense" is the title of this new post which is critical of such patents.

One of my recurring frustrations in making my case against gene patents is the failure by some to grasp the argument I am trying to make regarding the nature of "the commons". Perhaps I have been unclear, or maybe the approach I am taking to property law and justice is too far afield from those more frequently made to be immediately understood. Yesterday, however, I gave a guest lecture in an ethics course for ICT students (software programmers, mostly), and gained a lot from the experience. These students not only grasped the argument, but embraced it, and helped to clarify a subtlety that I need to elaborate upon in defining the "commons by necessity" that I believe genes and other parts of the universe belong to.

Briefly, to summarize, I argue that the justice of property rights derives from the logical and practical ability of people to enclose a space, and the need for a rival to use violence to dispossess a possessor of the space. Thus, property rights in land and movables are grounded in these brute facts. There is no such grounding for intellectual property rights. Moreover, there are parts of the universe that cannot be justly owned, and IP claims over these "commons by necessity" are unjust. These are parts of the universe which cannot be held exclusively by anyone, as a matter of brute fact. Examples include: the laws of nature, radio spectra, and genes which are de facto unencloseable. My thanks to Stephan Kinsella who helped me to realize that this applies, actually, to all ideas, and thus makes all IP law a similar incursion on an unencloseable commons by necessity.


Here is an informed opinion about the Eastern District of Texas, where many patent trolls choose to strike.

My friend Sawyer is back with another post in his series of talking about software patent issues. As I mentioned before, Sawyer is a real person named after our intrepid friend in LOST (I haven’t seen it this week – no spoilers please) who has agreed to help us navigate the parallel universe known as software patent land. I’m channeling Sawyer’s points of view as a public service announcement since he’s uncomfortable being named publicly – these are his words, not mine. Today’s post is on the famed “Eastern District of Texas” (EDTX), one of the most popular places in the United States for patent litigation.


To patent trolls, it's simply a matter of loopholes and economics. "How to Cut Your Patent Costs" is the title chosen by this person who described himself as: [emphasis is ours]

Rick Martin is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He entered law school at age 38, and now is a patent attorney in Colorado. He founded his firm in 1992 and has written hundreds of mechanical, electrical, and software patents over the past 25 years.


"Patent attorney"... and what has he actually contributed to science?

The USPTO is in serious trouble because lawyers and patent trolls (who are often lawyers) took over this system, which only rewards monopolies and lawyers; neither contributes to the betterment of science and the USPTO is looking to expand granting of monopolies (to use the phrase of Kappos) rather than reduce them. This system is self-defeating in a way.

Comments

Recent Techrights' Posts

Debian Developer at Sirius Was Under the Wrong Impression That Staff Must Check or Should See E-mail All the Time (24/7 Work Attention is an Occupational Health Hazard)
My personal and professional experience with a Debian Developer (DD) at work
Techrights More Productive Than Ever Before
Today we finally crossed the 1,900-page milestone
Europe's Adoption of GNU/Linux, by Country (Now About 6%)
in Switzerland, for instance, adoption of GNU/Linux has been profoundly low
Not Only Has Adoption of Windows Vista 11 Flatlined/Plateaued, Now It is Going Down!
Did many people delete Vista 11 and install GNU/Linux instead?
 
In defence of Albanian women: Outreachy & Debian favoritism scandal
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 04/03/2024: Old Crisis Looming, UPC Already in Infringement of Article 6 ECHR
Links for the day
The Right to Disconnect (Meme and Very Recent References)
relatively new press
Links 04/03/2024: Techno-Babble in Tech Job Ads and Vision Pro Already Breaking Apart
Links for the day
[Meme] 'Debating' People by Subscribing Them to Lots of SPAM
Rebuttal? No, spam.
From Sexual Harassment of Women to Yet More Cybercrimes
They can be prosecuted
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 03, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, March 03, 2024
Venezuela: Windows Below 70% (Laptops and Desktops), GNU/Linux Up to 7%
It's a lot higher in Cuba
ICYMI: ZDNet Financially Controlled by Microsoft
a history of censoring SJVN's Microsoft-critical articles
Argentina Joining the 4% 'Club' (GNU/Linux on Desktops and Laptops)
Data as ODF
Transparency Sets Society Free
"Convenient delusions" aren't bliss but temporary relief
[Meme] The EPO, Europe's Second-Largest Institution, Which is Contracting With Belarus
Socialist EPO
The European Patent Office's (EPO) Illegal Ban on Mass Communication Gets in the Way of Democracy
The scientific process (patents apply to science) must allow scrutiny, both from within and from the outside
Links 03/03/2024: Depression in Hong Kong, Sex 'Apps' and STIs
Links for the day
Links Gemini 03/03/2024: NixOS and NextCloud, Back Into Ricing
Links for the day
The Debian family fallacy
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
GNU/Linux Peaking in Europe, Android Measured as Higher or More Prevalent Than Windows
Android topping Windows
For Every Action There's a Reaction
Gates lobbying Modi
Like in Africa, Android Takes Control, Raking in Almost All the 'Chips' in Asia
So Microsoft has no OS majority except in Japan and Russia (and tiny Armenia).
Links 03/03/2024: Goodbye, Navalny (Funeral Reports)
Links for the day
Gemini Links 03/03/2024: A Wild Devlog Appeared and GrapheneOS Ramble
Links for the day
Gemini at 3,800+
total number of known capsules at above 3.8k
Be a Navalny
We salute Mr. Navalny
Mozilla Firefox is Back in ~2% Territories, Jeopardising Its Status as Web Browser to Test/Target/Validate With
Some new stats
[Meme] Russian Standards of Law: The Executive Branch Decides Everything
the president's kangaroo court
Up Next: The Tricky Relationship Between the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO and the European Patent Organisation (EPO)
We've moved from presidents who run a republic by consent to corrupt, unqualified, dictatorial officials who bribe for the seat (buying the votes)
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 02, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, March 02, 2024
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
Beware Imposter Sites of Techrights (Not Techrights.com or Techrights.org)
Only trust pages accessed through the domains controlled by us
Italy visa & residence permit: Albanian Outreachy, Wikimedia & Debian tighten control over woman
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock