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USPTO Proves Independent Inventors Low Priority

14 Oct

Independent inventors watch with amazement as the USPTO shows its true colors. The first thing cancelled by the USPTO? – Yes, the Independent Inventor Conference. http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/events/Alexandria_Main.jsp

Independent inventors know where they stand in the priority of the USPTO, at the back end of the line. There already was little doubtafter the “Fast Track For Fat Cats” program was adopted to let the rich to, literally, jump to the front of the line for processing while independent inventors go to the back of the line for processing.

Now, if IBM wanted a conference by the USPTO, say to Pat Leahy themselves on the back about the A-IBM-A, would they be as quick to cancel? No that was held on time as scheduled. http://www.uspto.gov/news/speeches/2013/rea_AIA_anniv.jsp

Other meetings will be held  http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/notices/Madrid_Protocol_Seminar.jsp,

or just pushed back. http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2013/13-28.jsp

Government of the people, by the rich, for the rich. Something got replaced there.

 

 

 
 

NSA can break your encryption.

06 Sep

The NSA is reported to be able to routinely crack encrypted trade secret communications.

IP attorneys take note.

I suppose if you sue the Government this means you are pretty much at a disadvantage, not only assymetry in size but in data protection.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/us/nsa-foils-much-internet-encryption.html?_r=0

 
 

Microsoft desperate to slow down Google, wins another token patent suit against Motomob

05 Sep

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-57601432-75/microsoft-awarded-$14.5m-in-motorola-patent-licensing-suit/

Losing the commercial battle badly to Google’s Android devices, MS turns again to patent litigation. $14.5 million is not chump change to most companies, but to Google it is a partial victory as MS sought $29 million.

 
 

Do playlists for streaming sites violate compilation copyright? Suit contends they do.

05 Sep

In a lawsuit that seem to have a reasonable ground under copyright law for contributing to/inducing copyright infringement, a compilation copyright owner (Ministry of Sound) has sued Spotify for allowing a playlist duplicating the collection of songs on an album covered by a compilation copyright.
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/04/ministry-of-sound-sues-spotify
Since compilation copyrights cover the arrangement of songs, seems logical to think that unauthorized playlists constituting that exact arrangement might infringe the compilation copyright since the playlist copies the creative essence of the copyrighted compilation. And, to boot, the playlist enables the compilation via links to streams for the content.

 
 

Big software and the White House and AIA – the circle of life (or death) for the American patent system

29 Aug
So that no one has any disillusions about whether the White House is firmly in the grasp of the tentacles of big software, the Chief IP Enforcement Coordinator at the White House (Victoria Espinel) has just been given a lucrative position as head of the Business Software Alliance where she will now be in charge of stomping on small businesses in favor of big software.
We thought big software had a hold on Obama and his staff when David “IBM” Kappos, patent strategist at IBM, was nominated by Sen. Patrick “IBM” Leahy and appointed by Obama to be Director of the PTO, we thought it more when the White House and the IBM controlled PTO supported Patrick “IBM” Leahy in his push for adoption of the pro-big software earmark-riddled AIA legislation to gut the patent system, help Wall Street and help certain law firms and make patents even more a game for politically connected fat cats, we thought it confirmed when Kappos bailed immediately after implementation of the AIA and took a plush job with AIA lobbyist  law firm Covington & Burling ([see http://www.cov.com/news/detail.aspx?news=1759]where Espinel came from – no surprise) . The small inventors of America, who are arguably the ones really creating American jobs, really stand no chance with this Congress and this Administration and their desire to please big software and the lobbyist law firms for big software. It makes you wonder if Thomas Jefferson was right about patents when he argued against James Madison’s plan to have them in America. You see Jefferson felt they would become a tool of the rich to thwart the natural right of people to ideas of inventors disclosed to them  (Jefferson, like many of our founding fathers, was a Deist who believed in a natural rights theory of property – see http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_8s12.html) Jefferson did not want patents to be awarded to just fat cats as they were for King George, who awarded patents to courtiers not to inventors. Jefferson was sufficiently concerned that the compromise that got the first patent law through put Jefferson as the first “patent examiner”, even before he became President, a position where he was one of three, two of which had to approve an invention to become a patent and thus was in effect managing the patent system [http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080220/020252302.shtml].

But cheer up, the Republican’s record on patents is perhaps even worse.

 
 

US Patent Office finally (after nearly 20 years) has PDF patent images online – or does it?

24 Aug

From our “premature-announcement” dept.

GAPS (Google Patents) http://www.google.com/advanced_patent_search has had PDF for years, as has http://www.pat2pdf.org/, Free Patents Online http://www.freepatentsonline.com/search.html and practically every other patent search service. PDF patent images are the standard for courts and pdf patent images are readily available nearly everywhere else, so the USPTO announced it has dropped the archaic use of TIFF images and joined the modern world with PDF patent images. Now perhaps the PTO can gradually upgrade its obsolete search engine, perhaps to be more like Google’s or other free services.

Now if they really wanted to update their online services, perhaps the PTO could even make patent authoring software, such as www.teampatent.com (created by Rocky Kahn and his staff under NSF grant funding and even used by the EPO examiners for examining patents and automating office actions) has had freely available online for years, that would be customer service. Some of us, me included, think the PTO is too beholden to IBM and other big business interests to fulfill its opportunity to encourage small innovators who are the real engine for technological advancement and new jobs (at least new American jobs).

However, despite the announcement,blasted out by email today (8/24/2013) as follows:

“Patent on the Web Upgrade

The USPTO has upgraded the USPTO Full Text and Image Database. It now uses PDF images instead of TIFF images which provides several new benefits including the ability to print full documents. Patent images may be viewed, printed and saved using a standard PDF-equipped browser. A separate TIFF plug-in is no longer required. In addition to the standard page-by-page viewing, users may now also click on a “Full Document” button to retrieve all the patent images at once.”

 a quick check of the link in the notice on 8/24/13 (date of the announcement) reveals the USPTO still uses TIFF images instead of PDF images and require a TIFF viewer like AlternaTIFF or Quicktime. Lack of credibility aside, the PTO is long overdue in switching to PDF, the overwhelming standard of the government and business world, as PDF provides several new benefits including the ability to print full documents rather than do it laboriously page by page. As the notice says if the PTO actually does what it says it already did, patent images may be viewed, printed and saved using a standard PDF-equipped browser. If the PTO actually does what it say it already did, a separate TIFF plug-in will be no longer required. In addition to the standard page-by-page viewing, users may now also click on a “Full Document” button to retrieve all the patent images at once.

I see the PTO is still using TIFF images in PatFT as of the date of the announcement of the switch.

http://patft.uspto.gov/netahtml/PTO/patimg.htm

I, for one, would prefer the PTO to just work out some deal with Google and let Google run the PTO full text search engine so it could be done properly and save the PTO millions of dollars in the process. Those millions could much more usefully go to hiring more examiners in the backlogged art units than paying for an obsolete search engine with limited capabilities and a poor interface.

 
 

Amazon’s Domain Name Troubles Threaten ICANN Program

07 Aug

Corporate counsel are attacking ICANN for backtracking on the gTLD program and changing the rules to disallow famous trademarks as domains if countries claim rights. Rejecting .amazon and .patagonia makes corporations wonder if seeking gTLDs is viable. A corporate boycott of ICANN’s gTLD program is brewing that could derail the program.

See Corporate Counsel article on this.

 

The Death of the US Patent System – an Obituary and Proposed Resurrection

01 Aug

First we had the world’s best patent system and American ingenuity was the envy of the world.

Next, we let the best Congress money can buy steal patent fees to cripple the PTO, and made the patent laws so complex they became a rich man’s sport designed to protect only big business from new startups and innovators.

However, some inventors still used the patent system to advantage so the best Congress money can buy, to better protect big business and stifle small inventors, passed the Anti-Inventor-Act of 2011 (misnamed the AIA or America Invents Act) designed to prevent and kill patents, which should more properly be called the America Stops Inventing Act or ASIA since that is who it benefits. [see the 1st and 4th post at http://www.burdlaw.com/blog/?m=201109 where "I warned about this"]

Since patent assertion was now made a rich man’s sport, small and medium sized inventors turned to Patent Assertion Entities that have the financial clout to pursue patent litigation by aggregating enough patents to make it worthwhile. Big companies (especially importers that do no inventing and want to sell on price alone) that want to be able to ignore patents and just steal inventions like people steal copyrighted material on the Internet – have been targeted by these PAEs and don’t like it. Some of the PAEs are, in fact, bullies that intimidate with suits designed to extract settlements. It takes a bully to fight a bully sometimes. Of course, Amazon or eBay or Walmart don’t think of themselves as “bullies”, but any inventor who has tried to stop them knows otherwise.

Not surprising! When Congress screws up the patent system, which Congress really does not understand anyway, this sort of mess is inevitable. Now, the best Congress money can buy, is being asked by the patent infringers to stop all the “low quality claims”, “frivolous litigation”, “abusive litigation”, “questionable business method patents” or whatever other terminology marginalizes real inventors and in essence just means “we are stealing your inventions and we don’t want to pay”. The White House is duped into following this, as when it comes to Congress and the White House “money sails and justice fails”. After all, it takes money to buy negative TV campaign ads to get re-elected and that is the real priority. So we see the Asian goods emporiums like Amazon, Dell, eBay, Google, Kroger, Eddie Bauer, J. Crew, Macy’s, Safeway, Wal-Mart. Note there is not an inventive company among them! They are patent thieves who get new ideas by just copying what real inventors create. Again, they don’t do research except to see what sells and what ads work best, so they need to steal patented inventions and they don’t want to pay those who do invent, as paying inventors reduces infringer’s profits.

What is the solution to this mess? We had it back in 1793-1836. A patent registration system that quickly issues patents without the examination. However, as was realized by 1836 someone needs to guard against issuance of patents on “inventions” that do not warrant a patent. That is why the PTO was established, to do it impartially. If we had only added a patent office that conducts examination, determines validity/invalidity, and determines infringement/non-infringement so that we had some tribunal that knew what it’s looking at and what it’s doing. The average patent examiner could do the examination in a day and determine validity or invalidity in a day and the infringement analysis in probably an hour.  We could have a fair, objective and reliable answer in less than a week and everyone could move on with certainty and small inventors and big inventors alike could be confident they would get fair treatment.

Of course, we would need to guard against politicians corrupting the PTO. It is very disappointing when IBM’s patent strategist is appointed as the Director of the PTO and then immediately sets about lobbying for and then implementing the Anti-Inventor Act of 2011. It makes small inventors wonder if there is any way to keep big business from stacking the deck against them. For now, the answering is a clear NO, there is NO such way.

 
 

Former GC of NMPA appointed GC of US Copyright Office

30 Jul

The music publishing industry is now even more strongly represented at the US Copyright Office, as the former NMPA (National Music Publishers’ Association) General Counsel [and former HFA GC] is now the Assoc. Registrar and General Counsel of the Copyright Office.

http://www.copyright.gov/bios/jacqueline_charlesworth.html

 
 

Congress diverts patent fees despite AIA promise not to divert.

30 Jul

Hate to say “We told you so.” Congress is stealing the higher PTO fee revenues for other programs and the PTO is putting its “improvement” programs on hold due to the resultant lack of funding. Same old same old. Congressional lies and corruption.

In our opposition to the AIA we predicted Congress would see the USPTO as a revenue stream to be spent and would divert fees despite the promises of Senator Patrick “IBM” Leahy and former PTO Director David “IBM” Kappos to the contrary. You remember, IBM Kappos assuring the AIA was needed so the PTO could keep its revenues and would be properly funded and could cut down its backlog and that Section 22 of the AIA made sure that would occur. I predicted the PTO revenue fund would be raided and that the promises to the contrary were lies. Surprise, they lied and just as we predicted, the increased fees are being diverted. The PTO has announced that it will stop hiring, stop the branch offices and the backlog will not decrease, but that the higher fees will remain in place.

Unfortunately, our predictions have been proven accurate. Congress is using “Sequestration” to steal money from those paying increased patent fees who agreed to support increased fees in return for Congressional promises to use the money exclusively for the PTO.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-29/congress-betrays-3m-to-google-over-patent-fees-with-cuts.html

No surprise really that Congress welches on a promise to patent applicants or that Congress steals $148,000,000 of PTO revenues for other programs, just sad that no one listened when we were saying the loophole that might allow that needed to be closed so Congress could not welch on its “promise.” After all, this is the best Congress money can buy. And, if there is not enough money to buy them, they steal some.

Here is what I said back in Sept. 2011 about Sec. 22 of the AIA:

“Sec. 22. Patent and Trademark Office funding.  Establishes the USPTO Public Enterprise Fund (replaces the Appropriation Account) as a revolving fund available to the Director without fiscal year limitation. Requires all fees paid to the Director and all appropriations for defraying the costs of USPTO activities to be credited to the Fund. Requires fees charged or established by the Director to be collected by the Director and available to carry out USPTO activities until expended. Directs fees from specified sources to be deposited in the Fund, recorded as offsetting receipts, and available to cover appropriate expenses. [This is the fund that would be set up as a means to capture all PTO revenue and expenses and make a ready fund available for easy diversion by congressional money grabbers eager to fund earmarks in totally unrelated areas by making inventors pay for them. This is an idiotic provision that will obviously run up patent fees and hurt American inventors of all sizes. So, we have to give another point to the idiots. This actually hurts everone, so Bigs & Foreigners +38, Small Guys-22, Idiots -16] Requires the Director to submit an annual report to Congress including: (1) the USPTO’s operating plan, expenses, and staff levels; (2) long term modernization plans and related progress updates; and (3) the results of an annual independent audit of the USPTO’s financial statements required by this section. Requires the Director to annually: (1) notify Congress of its spending plan, and (2) submit to the President a business-type budget as prescribed by regulation for the federal budget. [This annual report is obviously designed to make the PTO budget subject to annual appropriation so that PTO fees can be diverted to earmarks. That hurts everyone. Bigs & Foreigners+37, Small Guys-23, Idiots-17]”

See my full review of the AIA at the time it was passed, here: http://www.burdlaw.com/blog/?m=201109

This is one time when it hurts to be proven right. It is times like this when we see that the AIA really was what we called it from the start, the “ANTI-Inventor Act” rather than the “America Invents Act.”