Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Trolls Still Rejoice and David Kappos is Change We Can't Believe in

USPTO seal shot



Summary: The USPTO is shooting itself in the face and the new head of the USPTO does not seem to care, instead claiming that patents at the USPTO are "put[ting] Americans to work" (maybe American lawyers)

WE really did have some high hopes when we heard about David Kappos' appointment. As an IBM veteran we did not expect him to abolish software patents, but we initially hoped he would help improve patent quality or at least tackle the patent trolls. He appears to have done neither so far.



The USPTO has failed many small businesses, especially when it comes to software companies. As Simon Phipps put it a short while ago (a works for a software startup now):

Software patents are broken and the only possible justification for having them is self-defence (which is itself a risky accumulation of armaments that could fall into hostile hands in the future). It seems plenty of important members of both the Linux Foundation and the Open Invention Network make public assertions claiming they believe that assertion, so there should surely be no objection to equipping both of these trade associations with firm, meaningful sanctions.

The question is, what form should those sanctions take? It's very hard for a trade association to take a position in cases like the Oracle-Google lawsuit. But both organisations have membership rules, and membership in both is a valuable asset. Perhaps OIN and the Linux Foundation need to make membership conditional on members taking no first action against each other with software patents?


According to the pro-patents Patently-O patent filings increase rather than decrease at the USPTO. This is not indicative of success, not from an economical and scientific point of view. To a lawyer this is fine news and also to the USPTO, which makes money out of granting and gardening patents. The people at the USPTO are lowering their standards and broadening their scope in order to make more money, so the patent trolling 'industry' is thriving and David Kappos thinks that patents create jobs (for lawyers maybe, as well as USPTO staff). He is clearly confused about patents based on this new Kappos interview, which turns into a debate about software patents only in the comments. Let's take just one paragraph from Kappos and break it down.

Kappos says: "Well, that's exactly right. The reason is because patents create jobs."

That's a thoughtless statement because it does not take into account businesses which are ruined or made poorer due to patents.

“Businesses needn't have monopolies and needn't exclude rivals from the market in order for the market as a whole to offer jobs.”Kappos continues: "Patents enable innovators to put products and services in the marketplace and to hire people."

They could do that without patents. That's just the fairy tale we keep hearing from lawyers. Kappos is one of them. Businesses needn't have monopolies and needn't exclude rivals from the market in order for the market as a whole to offer jobs.

Kappos then says: "They create opportunity and they put Americans to work."

"Americans," eh? Does that confirm that, as Glyn Moody put it last year, patents are “a neo-colonialist plot to ensure the continuing dominance of Western nations” or is that something else?

Kappos finished this paragraph with: "And so every patent application that's sitting here in our agency is potentially American jobs that aren't being created."

"Not in FOSS, they don't. This is old-think," said Pamela Jones in Groklaw. Kappos must get his facts straight. He seems to have been immersed in the same old propaganda we always see in lawyers' blogs. The USPTO is supposed to represent and to serve the interests of science and technology, not the meta-industry created artificially by the patent system this accompanies. Based on this new blog post, even some lawyers would publicly admit that patents have gone the wrong way in the United States. Software patents need to go.

Based on my 40 years of experience in the computer system development, much of it before software patents were introduced, I believe that the alleged connection between such patents and the stimulation of innovation is tenuous at best and probably negative.


How about gene patents? There is another article about these too:

Back in March, we headlined our discussion of the district court judgment in the Myriad case “Pigs Fly.” Guess what?—they’re still aloft. On August 4, in a highly technical patent case that, appropriately enough, involved “porcine virus DNA,” one Federal Circuit judge—dissenting Judge Timothy B. Dyk—suggested that he might agree with the basic principle of the Myriad holding: that isolated DNA sequences are not necessarily patentable.


When even nature (human life) becomes a patent, then it's rather clear that the USPTO needs to be rebuilt from scratch or abolished. It's doing almost nothing to promote progress in society anymore. As gnufreex shrewdly put it the other day, "Patents are an alien conspiracy to stop technological progress on Earth"

Most great ideas come from small companies. A lot of people would agree with this. Hurting those companies is the worst one can do and software patents do exactly that. Hulu, which is relatively small, was left to do the squashing of software patents in the courts, not the USPTO, which leaves the expensive process to the outside lawyers:

A federal court in California has invalidated a patent by plaintiff Ultramercial, LLC as not covering patentable subject matter. Specifically, the court applies a test the Supreme Court recently drew up in its landmark decision, Bilski v. Kappos, over business method patents. The test is whether a patent covers a "machine-or-transformation." In invalidating the patent, the California district court rules that the patent in question is not aimed at a computer-specific application, that the Internet is not a machine, and that the mere act of storing media on computer memory doesn't tie the invention to a machine.


There are always those looking for short-sighted excuses to file software patents and this new example shows a misconception. The author complains about Facebook, conveniently not thinking about the other side of software patents -- that one which affects small companies in particular (being attacked by others' patents, especially those with a comprehensive portfolio, as Richard Stallman explained elegantly).

We are pretty good at providing patents for specific engineering methods or sophisticated inventions. We even do allow a software patent to stand from time to time. However, there are many ideas that are simply embraced, and extended by the gorillas.


Facebook has just bought a load of patents [1, 2]. Any company with a real product (i.e. not a patent troll) cannot easily sue Facebook without getting attacked in exchange/return. The problem with Facebook is that it can sue back. This whole thing works well for nobody except trolls and lawyers. To Facebook it is also a form of shield -- a shield from real competition (with actual products), that is.

Speaking of patent trolls, Soverain looks like a software patent troll in the making. We'll keep an eye on it. More patent trolls and agitators are named in this new list:

3 Stocks that Could See a Windfall of Cash from Patents



[...]

Note: All three of these companies appear to be racking up impressive licensing deals that will, over the long-haul, generate compelling free cash flow growth


Investors -- like lawyers -- don't care about science. They view patents merely as some mechanism with which to enrich themselves. Acacia has just gotten more money to harvest patents and attack companies with them. Even Patent WatchTroll (Gene Quinn) calls Acacia a patent troll, ironically not realising what a troll he himself really is. Patent WatchTroll says that "[p]atent Trolls are just a cost of doing business for big tech; a nuisance that isn't worth engineering around." Pamela Jones responds to it in Groklaw by writing: "Translation: just pay up. So what if it's an unproductive drain on the economy and on innovation. The worst part is, he's not even kidding."

It's people like Patent WatchTroll who make the USPTO the utter mess it has become. It serves greedy solicitors and it harms scientific progress whilst relying on reality distortion fields to hide this.

"People naively say to me, "If your program is innovative, then won't you get the patent?" This question assumes that one product goes with one patent." —Richard Stallman

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Meme] 'Secure' Boot in a Nutshell
Ask Microsoft if it is "safe" to boot Linux
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting Guest Writers (Intimidation)
Some high-profile people have told me that the serial defamer is a "monster" (their word), so why would Neil Brown wish to help him?
 
No, Your Site Likely Does Not Need WordPress
I was one of the first users of WordPress
GNU/Linux in Cameroon: Rising Steadily While Windows Falls From 99% to Just 6%
If one also counts mobile (mostly Android)
Monkey See, Monkey Share
on deprivation of users
From 0.17% to 10% or More (GNU/Linux in Dominica)
Dominica isn't well known, but it does seem to have embraced Chromebooks in recent years
Links 28/05/2024: Tensions in East Asia, UK Mandatory National Service
Links for the day
Gemini Links 28/05/2024: NetCrawl and Living in Lagrange
Links for the day
Guardian Digital, Inc (linuxsecurity.com) Handed Over Its Web Site to Chatbots That Generate SEO Garbage
They need to be called out on it
statCounter Sees Microsoft Windows at Below 1% in American Samoa
Not even 1%!
Windows Down to 60% of Guam's Desktops/Laptops and Down to a Quarter Overall
No wonder Microsoft is panicking
Today in UEFI 'Secure' Boot Debates (the Frog is Already Boiling and Melting)
Over at LQ today
[Meme] A "Modern" Web's Message in a Bottle
So-called 'security'
Brittany Day: Still Chatbot Slinging, Producing Fake 'Articles' About "Linux"
random garbage produced (and censored) by Microsoft
Almost 4k Gemini Capsules, 5th Anniversary Only Weeks Away
The Web will continue to deteriorate
Microsoft: $1 Million a Day for Contempt of Court Orders (Justice Department)
Microsoft behaves as if it's 100% exempt from laws
Catbodia? In Cambodia, Microsoft's Windows Fell to All-Time Low of Less Than a Quarter.
Cambodia is leaving Microsoft behind
[Meme] Deadnaming
Guess who uses a name that was deprecated well over a decade ago?
New Press Report Explains Microsoft Severance and Quiet (Undisclosed) Layoffs
Some people will call this "loophole", whereas others will opine that it is outright illegal (but kept secret to circumvent scrutiny)
Global South is Android/Linux (Windows Era Has Come to an End Already)
I've decided to take a quick glance at South American trends for all operating systems
[Meme] Unified Patent Troll
Unified Patent Court remains illegal and unconstitutional
The European Patent Office is Sinking
Officials (or national delegates) at the European Patent Organisation have long been warned about this (by staff representatives from the European Patent Office), but they ignored the warnings
Summer in the Air
We have a good pace going on owing to health, positivity, inertia and good software tools
GNU/Linux Activity in Belize
From an economic point of view, Microsoft needn't worry about Belize, but when it comes to preserving the Windows monopoly/monoculture Belize matters
Links 28/05/2024: Back to MP3, NVIDIA Sued by Authors
Links for the day
Gemini Links 28/05/2024: Bad Beach and TLS
Links for the day
Microsoft Windows Fell From 100% to Just 7.5% in Sierra Leone
Based on statCounter
In Benin, Microsoft's Windows Fell Below 10%, GNU/Linux Surged to 6% or Higher on Desktops/Laptops
That's nearly 7% - a lot higher than the average in Africa
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 27, 2024
IRC logs for Monday, May 27, 2024
Delayed Series About Dr. Richard Stallman
A lot of the attacks on him boil down to petty things
[Meme] Elephant in the Asian Room
With ChromeOS included GNU/Linux is at 6% across Asia
GNU/Linux in Bangladesh Up From 0.5% to Over 4% (Windows Slid From 95% to 18%)
Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely-populated countries
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting Several Webhosts (in Collaboration and Conjunction With Mentally-Ill Flunkies)
Every attempt to nuke the current hosting failed, but it's still worth noting
Links 27/05/2024: One Month Left for ICQ, More Openwashing Highlighted
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Back to GNU/Linux, Librem 5 Assessed
Links for the day
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Mostly Recovered From a Day's Downtime (Malfunction)
Some of the material we've published based on the statCounter datasets truly annoys Microsofters
Google: We Don't Have Source Diversity, But We Have Chatbot Spew in Place of Sources (and It's Not Even Accurate)
Search engines and news search never looked this bad...
[Meme] Security is Not a Failure to Boot (or Illusion of Security Due to 'Unknown' System)
Red Hat is largely responsible for this mess
What is Secure Boot?
Security means the user feels safe and secure - i.e. confident that the machine would continue to work following a reboot or a system upgrade (or kernel upgrade)
StatCounter (or statCounter) Has Been Broken for Nearly 24 Hours. Who Benefits? Microsoft.
StatCounter is broken right now and has been broken for nearly 24 hours already
Links 27/05/2024: Chatbots Generate Hateful Output, TPM Performance Scrutinised
Links for the day
David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH) Realises What He Should Have Decades Ago
seeing that DHH is moving away from Apple is kind of a big deal
Reinvigorating the Voice of GNU/Linux Users (Not Companies Whose Chiefs Don't Even Use GNU/Linux!)
Scott Ruecker has just announced his return
"Tech" in the Context of Even Bigger Issues
"Tech" (or technology) activism is important; but there's a bigger picture
A Decade of In-Depth Coverage of Corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO)
The world needs transparency and sunlight
Hopefully Not Sunset for StatCounter
We hope that StatCounter will be back soon.
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 26, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, May 26, 2024
Links 27/05/2024: Self-Publishing, Patent Monopolies, and Armed Conflicts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 27/05/2024: Tethering Connection and PFAs
Links for the day
Imagine Canada Enabling Rapists to Harass Their (Rape) Victims
This analogy is applicable because abusers are empowered against the abused
A 3-Year Campaign to Coerce/Intimidate Us Into Censorship: Targeting My Old "Tweets"
This was basically an act of vandalism no better and no worse than UEFI restricted boot
Links 26/05/2024: Google 'Search' Morphing Into Disinformation Factory, Discussion of Maze of the Prison Industrial Complex
Links for the day
In the Pacific (Mostly Islands Around Oceania) GNU/Linux Grew a Lot
Microsoft cannot compete fairly
A Toast to Tux Machines
Food ready for the party, no photos yet...
IBM/Red Hat Failing to Meet Its WARN Obligations in NC (STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA), or Perhaps It's Constantly Delaying the Layoffs
IBM isn't named even once
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 25, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, May 25, 2024
GNU/Linux in Greenland
The sharp increases for GNU/Linux started last summer
The Sheer Absurdity of the EPO's Career System Explained by EPO Staff
"Staff representation has previously pointed this out to management, and the career system has been the reason for several industrial actions and litigation cases initiated by SUEPO."
[Meme] Productivity Champ Nellie Simon: It Takes Me 3+ Weeks to Write 6 Paragraphs
Congrats to Nellie Simon!
It Took EPO Management 3+ Weeks to Respond to a Letter About an Urgent Problem (Defunding of EPO Staff)
The funny thing about it is that Nellie Simon expects examiners to work day and night (which is illegal) while she herself takes 3+ weeks to write a 1-page letter
Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers
they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system"