Bonum Certa Men Certa

IBM and Its Terrible Software Patents, Which Are Disguised as 'AI', 'Cloud', and More Recently 'Blockchain'

Watchtroll (Quinn) has just published a portrait of his (bottom)

Watchtroll himself (Quinn) angry



Summary: The blockchain hype which facilitates the patenting of many algorithms is being noticed; but what might the courts decide on such questionable patents, which even PTAB is likely to invalidate pretty quickly?

THE EPO favours particular software patenting buzzwords which the USPTO adopted as well. "Blockchain" is one of those, albeit blockchains are mostly hype, much more so than a buzzword per se (there's a clear technical concept behind blockchains but almost everything with a database can be spun as "blockchain" -- same for algorithms as "AI").



"...blockchains are mostly hype, much more so than a buzzword per se (there's a clear technical concept behind blockchains but almost everything with a database can be spun as "blockchain" -- same for algorithms as "AI")."Over the past couple of years we've composed several dozens of posts about patents that are labeled "blockchain/s" (here's an overview from January). We thought it would be a passing fad or a temporary bubble; but it still hasn't burst, not entirely anyway. It certainly will when some of these patents are assessed and rejected, repeatedly even, by lower and higher courts in Europe and the US. For the time being, many of these patents are just 'harvested' or 'stockpiled', often by notorious patent trolls and giant corporations looking to guard themselves from emerging trends/competition. They don't want to risk having these patents considered by courts. Earlier this weekend this cryptocurrency-themed Web site wrote about "Blockchain IP [sic] Protection". Those sites just keep hyping "blockchain/s" and this one said: "Formerly identified as IPCHAIN Database, Vaultitude is an Intellectual Property (IP) management and protection platform that implements blockchain technology. Through its new standards of IP management and protection, the platform provides innovators, artists, inventors, scientists, and companies with an effective tool containing different core features."

The lawyers' 'community' (or 'industry') has long obsessed over "blockchain/s" for two reasons; first, it saw it as an opportunity to ride a wave to patent software and second, in our humble assessment, it has been led to believe that distributed databases -- a concept few of these lawyers even understand -- would somehow (magically) revolutionise their field/profession. The latter isn't a justifiable belief and the former is a temporal reality; wait until it blows in their face -- or rather -- in their clients' face. Imagine investing millions if not billions in some worthless patents.

"...wait until it blows in their face -- or rather -- in their clients' face. Imagine investing millions if not billions in some worthless patents."As should be widely known by now, IBM is still pursuing worthless, useless software patents. IBM loses its mind over it and now spends a fortune lobbying for software patents (IBM has become a lot worse than Microsoft in that regard). IBM wants us to think that "blockchain/s" patents are worth pursuing while its front group OIN does the same. A few days ago at Bitcoin Exchange Guide we found coverage titled "IBM Continues Distributed Ledger Future Securing 2 Crypto Patents" (don't worry, these are worthless software patents).

Assuming IBM can use such patents in bulk against some small companies, IBM might be able to dodge a court battle (i.e. no scrutiny for these software patents). To quote:

Blockchain integrity and security is something that is always constantly talked about and hotly discussed. Recently, the technological giant IBM has acquired two crucial and influential patents that will change the marketplace of cryptocurrency security.

[...]

This ultimately allows for a more citable and understandable definition of a checkpoint. Moving forward, many companies will look to this as a key building block for companies wishing to utilize and create blockchain technology. When IBM goes to make any product in the future they will likely rely on this patent because it is at the core of just about all blockchain technology.


It's pretty obvious that these are software patents. Who is IBM kidding? Hasn't it been 'lectured' by PTAB enough already?

As one PTAB critic (patent attorney) noted the other day: "IBM loses another patent application to 101 at the PTAB: https://anticipat.com/pdf/2018-05-14_12615476_178455.pdf …?"

"It's pretty obvious that these are software patents. Who is IBM kidding? Hasn't it been 'lectured' by PTAB enough already?"There's also this nugget of information: "Of 16 IBM Cases with 101 Rejections Decided by the PTAB from May 2017-May 2018, 14 Examiner 101 Rejections Were Affirmed and 2 Examiner 101 Rejections Were Reversed."

So many of IBM's patents -- not just the "blockchain/s" -- are likely worthless. They're just waiting to be voided (if PTAB gets petitioned to do so).

IBM really hates Alice. IBM nowadays writes rants for Watchtroll -- a pretty extremist site -- in which it is ranting about PTAB, Section 101 and so on. IBM has, in effect, become a patent radical. Here's the latest Alice rant from Watchtroll. Sanjeev Mahanta wrote the following just 2 days ago:

In mid-2016 the Federal Circuit issued two decisions, Enfish v. Microsoft (“Enfish”) and Rapid Litigations v. Cellzdirect (“Cellzdirect”), in which it provided additional information and clarification on the inquiry for identifying an abstract idea (Enfish) and a law of nature (Cellzdirect). In these decisions, the court found claims patent eligible based on the determination that they were not directed to a judicial exception in step one of the Mayo/Alice two-step subject matter eligibility test. Analysis under step two was therefore not necessary. The court observed that the formulation by the U.S. Supreme Court of a two-stage inquiry – involving first determining whether the claims at issue are “directed to” a patent ineligible concept – implied that the “directed to” inquiry was a substantive inquiry, and not limited to simply asking if the claims involved a patent-ineligible concept. Enfish at 10. As the Federal Circuit continues to refine the standard for subject matter eligibility, it is of interest to see how these decisions are influencing the outcome of patent eligibility disputes. Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals (“Vanda”), decided April 13th, 2018, provides an interesting example in this regard.

[...]

Judge Prost next compared the claims to the claims in Mayo to determine how much weight should be given to the recitation of specific dosages of iloperidone. Recall that in Mayo, the claims were directed to a method of optimizing therapeutic efficacy for treatment of an immune-mediated gastrointestinal disorder. Id. at 2-3. The method required (a) administering a drug providing 6-thioguanine to a subject having the disorder; and (b) determining the level of 6-thioguanine in the subject. The claim further recited that the level of 6-thioguanine less than about 230 pmol per 8×108 red blood cells indicated a need to increase the amount of the drug subsequently administered to the subject and the level of 6-thioguanine greater than about 400 pmol per 8×108 red blood cells indicated a need to decrease the amount of the drug subsequently administered to the subject.


Watchtroll himself (Quinn) would not be as softly-worded as the above (Mahanta is actually a scientist, unlike Quinn), but watch what Watchtroll wrote about 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101 (Alice) in relation to the recent SAP case (a case which we covered at the time). Watchtroll wrote [via] (and notice the bizarre choice of picture) that "SAP had filed a declaratory judgment action in 2016 alleging, among other things, that the patent claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,349,291, owned by InvesetPic, were are invalid because their subject matter is ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101. Ultimately, the district court determined that the patent claims in question were directed to an abstract idea and lacked an inventive concept necessary to save the invention under 35 U.S.C. ۤ 101."

"All this "blockchain" nonsense isn't patent-eligible. It's abstract; those are software patents."Mind the nature of this patent. Did they not anticipate such an outcome? Days ago, linking to the Bloomberg "blockchain" hype, this one person wrote: "Staying positive but this is a race to nowhere. Our Courts are hostile and unpredictable to pure software type inventions like blockchain. If you get lucky at the @USPTO the patent can quickly be shot down by a District court judge."

Well, get used to it. All this "blockchain" nonsense isn't patent-eligible. It's abstract; those are software patents.

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