Bonum Certa Men Certa

Latest Assaults on PTAB and More PTAB Bashing, This Time by Anticipat

Anticipat is showing signs of antipathy

Anticipat



Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which helps eliminate patents granted in error (a lot of software patents), is still besieged by the patent 'industry'

EXPECT many attacks on PTAB, the body which keeps the USPTO in check and enforces Alice very often (probably more than once a day, on average). Why is PTAB under attack? And why now? There's an upcoming case at the Supreme Court of the United States and the patent microcosm believes it can use that case to undermine PTAB, maybe altogether eliminate it. PTAB-bashing blogs like Watchtroll and Patently-O write about it all the time. They try hard to scandalise PTAB and encourage anti-PTAB briefs (to be submitted as a sort of lobbying, addressing the Justices).



Do not expect any of this to stop. It will get worse. It keeps intensifying. These are no "friends of the court" (amici) but enemies of science and technology. All they want to do is tax scientists and technologists (who generally support PTAB).

According to IAM's new blog post, there's a potential to finding a loophole like universities to dodge scrutiny from PTAB, harnessing immunity. We wrote about this example a few days ago (Allergan, a dodgy entity) and here are the details:

Allergan may just have driven a coach and horses through the inter partes review process at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. The company’s agreement to transfer the six patents underpinning its dry-eye treatment Restasis to the Saint Regis Mohawks has been widely reported since it was announced on Friday. Under the deal, the Native American tribe will receive a one-off payment of $13.75 million from Allergan, then annual royalties of $15 million. Over the lifetime of the assets concerned that could represent hundreds of millions of dollars – a sum which demonstrates just how valuable the pharma company believes those patents to be and how important it is they are kept away from the eyes of PTAB judges.

[...]

Because make no mistake, what is at stake here is not just the fate of six Allergan patents and some others owned by US universities, but the entire future of the PTAB as a viable tool for defendants to challenge patents asserted against them, or ones that they fear may be asserted in the future. Put simply, if Allergan can reach an agreement with a Native American tribe to protect its assets from PTAB scrutiny, so can every other patent owner in the US, operating in any kind of industry.


So basically, they're exploiting indigenous people to shield a bunch of patents. It's as dodgy as Hell and probably an insult to indigenous people, whose Traditional Knowledge (TK) is constantly under attack by patents, trademarks, etc.

In other news, also from Monday, this self-promotional blog post with an odd title (super-long headline) is trying to scandalise PTAB with statements like "PTAB Mocks Alice Supreme Court" (the very opposite is true). It's as if they try to incite the Supreme Court against PTAB ahead of the decision on PTAB...

They promote this nonsense elsewhere and it ends with "Anticipat Practitioner Analytics does just this. Click here for a free trial."

What's it all about? No scandal at all. To quote a couple of portions:

In ex parte Lynch, Appeal No. 2016-002985, the Board reversed a Section 101 rejection, holding that the claimed invention provides an improvement in the functioning of the computer. Specifically, the claimed invention allows a user to register for new websites without entering all of their information each time, but with the option of modifying the information if necessary. The Board seemed to acknowledge that the claims were directed to an abstract idea under step 1. But the Board held that the claimed conventional computer components when considered as an ordered combination do include an inventive concept sufficient to render the claims eligible for patenting. Finally, in an apparent mocking of the Supreme Court, the Board concluded that the claims include the talismanic inventive concept.

[...]

This case shows that abstract idea rejections are still tricky. But as shown here, it is not fatal to patent-eligibility for claims to recite conventional computer components as long as the ordered combination provides a specific improvement. This shows that understanding which legal authority relied on by the Board can be important in knowing how to reverse Examiners in other applications.


So basically, in short, just because PTAB sometimes overturns/reverses a Section 101 rejection the above would have us believe that it "Mocks Alice Supreme Court" (to quote the headline). The common criticism of PTAB, courtesy of the patent microcosm, is that it's overaggressive in applying Alice, so apparently, no matter what it does, the patent microcosm will blindly attack it. "Damned if you do, damned if you don't," as the old idiom or phrase goes. It should be noted that Anticipat's blog is less than a year old. Seems like a fairly new subversive opportunist.

We certainly hope that Justices will pay careful attention to who is opposing PTAB and why. Foes of prior decisions of theirs, e.g. Alice, are those who want to obliterate PTAB (so as to impede enforcement of Justices' decisions).

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