Bonum Certa Men Certa

When Patent Lawyers Attack the Messengers for Stopping Software Patents, Ignoring Patent Law's New Post-Alice Reality

"Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes."

--Henry David Thoreau



Summary: Analysis of recent articles from patent lawyers, highlighting their bias and disregard for facts in this system which has become increasingly intolerant toward software patents

TECHRIGHTS has very serious concerns about media coverage of patent matters. The corporate media is still stuffed with lawyers, acting as experts despite a conflict of interests or vested interests (informing versus profiting). Asking patent lawyers about patent law is like asking oil and coal executives about global warming and preferable energy sources.



We have closely watched patent lawyer's Web sites, blogs, and news sites ever since the Alice case was concluded (one year ago at SCOTUS level). It wasn't quite over because then, almost immediately, there was a trial in the media, whereupon opinions on the outcome were publicly distributed and consensus was being shaped, mostly by biased lawyers. The comical thing about it is that lawyers twist the truth or distort the truth in order to defend their business, which involves bending the system or finding loopholes for getting around the rules (that is what people often pay lawyers for).

We were hardly astounded to learn that yet more software patents have died because of the Alice case. As Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP put it: "To determine whether the asserted patent fails to claim patentable subject matter under €§ 101, the court applied the Federal Circuit’s two-step Alice test."

This is an example of coverage which is rare because patent lawyers rarely cover legal cases where software patents get eliminated. As we have demonstrated many times before, they would rather emphasise cases where software patents withstand a court's scrutiny. It's lie by omission. It's worse than half-truths.

"Patents have become land mines (notoriously broad and inaccurate) rather than a form of protection from imitation/ripoff artists."Another site, a lawyers' site called Law 360, says that "co-founder of an online diamond sale facilitator wants the startup's lawyers tossed from a case accusing him of stealing its proprietary software, arguing in New York federal court Wednesday that one lawyer represented him for 16 years and the other is bound to be a witness." The phrase "stealing its proprietary software" serves to remind us that lawyers view software as a property that can be stolen, not merely copied. Another article from Law 360 focuses on Alice , turning to the software patents-friendly Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Titled "A Look At Everything The Fed. Circ. Has Said About Alice", the article serves to echo the pro-software patents arguments rather than remind us of the findings of the Court it got escalated/elevated to (the highest court in the US), by means of an overruling appeal.

The National Law Review says that "Another Sequenom Patent Appeal Heads To The Federal Circuit" and we are assuming that everything will be done by this court, as always, to legitimise the patent and by extension many like it. If only more lawyers' sites were sincere enough and objective enough to cover the many known cases where software patents are dropping like flies...

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, another law firm, has just published "Software Patents Are Still Very Useful Despite Alice, But Are Business Method Patents?" What a loaded headline. Actually, software patents lost in a very big way, much more so than after the Bilski case.

Gene Quinn, a vocal proponent of software patents, went the furthest (among the patent lawyers). In no effort to come across as professional or polite (or even moderately diplomatic for the courts' sake), he starts a long series of personal attacks on the intelligence of SCOTUS Justices as if he, a patent lawyer, is all that technical himself. "Naked Emperors" he calls them, stating:

Given that we live in an age of software innovation, where 50% or more of all innovation is in one way, shape or form related to software, why are many Article III and Administrative Judges declaring that software is not patent eligible? Perhaps a more important question is why is Congress letting these Judges get away with what they are doing? There is no legislative support for the existence of any so-called judicial exceptions to patent eligibility, yet Article III and Administrative Judges are striking down patent after patent in this economically vital area.


His arguments are clearly flawed and are easy to debunk (for instance the poor assumption that expansion of scope must follow digitisation of existing processes), but what we wish to highlight is the rudeness, arrogance, and poor attitude from some patent lawyers who view themselves as flag-bearers.

Another lawyer, a good lawyer (fighting for ethical software and against patents on software), expresses concern about a new ruling regarding willful or unwilling infringement of patents, noting: "Most engineers are aware that patent owners can sue those that infringe their patents. It may surprise them, however to know that a patent owner can also sue someone for only “inducing” another to infringe their patent. Luckily, in both cases, the patent owner only has a right to sue if the other party acted “knowingly.”

"As you might expect, the circumstances and facts that are deemed to prove knowledge are the subject of much litigation and many legal opinions. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court added another decision to the pile, and a distinction that the court drew on this question may surprise you. It should also particularly concern open source software developers..."

As a lawyer for the Linux Foundation, Andy Updegrove analyses the threat this poses to Free/Open Source software and he reminds of the injustices in current patent law, be it because of patent scope or the definition of infringement. Patents have become land mines (notoriously broad and inaccurate) rather than a form of protection from imitation/ripoff artists. A reset of this who system is well overdue, but large corporations won't permit it. Nor will patent lawyers who make a career out of this sordid mess...

Recent Techrights' Posts

IBM Sends Money to Microsoft
Red Hat basically helps sponsor the company that's a attacking our community
When the Cancer 'Metastasises'
We had a red flag
Attacks on the EPC: Reality and Fiction
EPO leaks
 
ZDNet (Red Ventures) Works for Microsoft (Redmond), Many Of Its Pages Are Spam/Advertisements Paid for by Microsoft
Here is the "smoking gun"
Wikipedia Demotes CNET Due to Chatbot-Generated Spew as 'Articles'; It Should Do the Same to ZDNet (Also Red Ventures, Also Microsoft Propaganda)
Redmond Ventures?
The Direction WordPress (GPL) Has Taken is an Embarrassment
it comes with strings attached
March in Techrights (EPO Litigation and More)
One theme we'll explore a lot when it comes to GNU/Linux is the extent to which communities truly serve communities
Don't Forget to Also Follow Tux Machines
We've split the material
Yandex Usage Has Surged Since the Invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft Fell to 0.7% (It Was 1.7% Before the 'Bing Chat' Hype Campaign)
In Soviet Russia, Bing searches user
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 01, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, March 01, 2024
Sellout Completed: Linux Foundation Converging With the Gates Foundation
not a joke
Hitler Rants Parodies on Steve Ballmer
Parody created using clips from Downfall (Der Untergang)
With Windows This Low (27% of the "OS" Market), Steve Ballmer Would Have Thrown Another Chair
The media produced many puff pieces about Nadella at 10 (as CEO), but what has he done for Windows? Nothing.
[Meme] The Naked President
EPO Suffers From Shrinkage
Understanding Cardinal George Pell prosecution, Institutional abuse & Debian cybertorture
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Links 01/03/2024: Many More Layoffs, "Funerals" for Software Patents in the US
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH 2024 and Dark Streets Tech Demo
Links for the day
Links 01/03/2024: Navalny Funeral and Media Under Attack
Links for the day
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Making Art and the Concept of Work Management
Links for the day
Schriftleitergesetz: Hiding the Holocaust with censorship
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] His Lips Moved
Here is your national "news" for today
statCounter: GNU/Linux Exceeded 6% in Asia Last Month (Compared to 4% Just 12 Months Earlier)
numbers may be biased
What the End of Journalism Looks Like
All on the same day
Links 01/03/2024: Microsoft 'Retiring' More Services and Raspberry Pi Celebrates 3rd Birthday (Launched on February 29th, 2012)
Links for the day
Women's Empowerment
Sponsored by Bill Gates
Gemini Links 01/03/2024: Speed Bumps and Analog Stuff
Links for the day
[Meme] Those Greedy EPO Examiners
Says the litigation industry, charging 300 euros an hour per attorney
EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged
To the Council, the EPO boasts about its wealth (seeking to impress by how much breaking the law "pays off")
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Thursday, February 29, 2024
IRC logs for Thursday, February 29, 2024
Links 01/03/2024: Misuse of Surveillance Against UK-Based Journalism, EPO Conflict Now in the Media
Links for the day
Taking a Break From Paid Promotion of the Illegal, Unconstitutional Kangaroo Court for Patents (UPC)
JUVE returns to its 'roots'?
FSFE admits losing funds from bequest by insulting and ignoring Fellowship representative
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Raspberry Pi Incus Cluster and Aya 0.5.0 Coming Soon
Links for the day
Links 29/02/2024: Layoffs at Apple, Expedia, and Electronic Arts
Links for the day
Gemini Links 29/02/2024: Web Enshittification and Firefox user-agents
Links for the day
Spiked Piece/Censoreed Piece: 'Microsoft Copilot is a gimmick', says top CIO
Issues relate to connectivity and cost
Enrico Zini, Mattia Rizzolo, Plagiarism & Debian
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock
[Meme] Clergy of GNU/Linux (Corporations Like IBM)
Volunteers as powerless "followers" of companies that "harvest" their labour
There Will Be Lots More Apple Layoffs (Already Years in the Making)
The corporate media still tries to shape the narrative to prevent panic or delay market hysteria
Latest SUEPO (Staff Union of EPO) Report For The Hague Reveals EPO Does Not Obey Court Orders, Refuses to Allow Workers to Freely Talk to One Another
working in a place where communication itself is restricted
[Meme] The Oppression Will Continue Until EPO 'Quality' Improves
wonder why EPO morale is so low?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, February 28, 2024
IRC logs for Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Outreachy, GSoC-mentors & Debian-Private may soon become public records in federal court
Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock