Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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Co-sponsored by
IEEE NCA Consultants Network,
Baltimore Consultants Network,
Society on Social Implications of Technology,
Baltimore and NoVA/Wash. Computer Society,
and Region 2 PACE Committee

Congress has enacted sweeping patent reform that is adverse to small
inventors and entrepreneurs. How will this affect you? Let92%s explore
what the future holds with our panel of experts. Lunch and networking
reception are included. Student members may bring a guest at no
additional cost. Door prizes! Additional details at the link below.

When: Saturday, November 5 10am-2pm

Where: Loyola University Graduate Centers Room 260
8890 McGaw Road Columbia, MD 21045 USA

Cost: $10 IEEE members (advance), $20 general

Web Page: www.ieee-consultants.org

Registration: http://meetings.vtools.ieee.org/meeting_view/list_meeting/877=
1

Panelists: Dr. Lee Hollaar, Dr. Amelia Morani

We are still looking for a panelist who is a consultant able to speak
regarding the impact of this new law.  Anyone available in the area?

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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In what have congress changed the law?

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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The main ones are:

- A move to first to file rather than first to invent (which brings the
US into line with most of the rest of the world).

- Allowing the USPTOs to set its own fees in a way that in aggregate
covers its own costs.

- A mechanism to allow thirdparty submission of prior art subsequent to
publication of the patent.

Unfortunately the bill does almost nothing to combat trolls nor does it
get rid of the treble damages on wilful infringement setup.

-p
--
Paul Gotch
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Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

(snip on patent rule changes)

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As I understand it (not very well), though, it does remove the
submarine patent.  Isn't it now some number of years from filing,
instead of from approval?

-- glen

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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That one was fixed through a combination of a 1995 WTO treaty which
change the term to start from the day of filing not the day of grant
combined with a change in 2000(?) to publish most patents after 18
months rather than keeping them secret until they were granted.

Together they mean that there is no benefit in terms of term in
pushing the date of issuance into the future and that the patent will
almost certainly be published before it is granted.

-p
--
Paul Gotch
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Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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** - A move to first to file rather than first to invent (which brings
the
** US into line with most of the rest of the world).

Believe it or not, but we need "first to file": it just makes life
simpler for everybody, including small guys

** - A mechanism to allow thirdparty submission of prior art
subsequent to
** publication of the patent.

I can predict exactly what happens: PTO will be flooded with junk
"third-party" submissions of "prior art" completely irrelevant to
patent claims (There was a bounty prize on invalidating Amazon's "one-
click patent" some years ago which produced tons of junk "prior art"
and not a single invalidating reference)
Poor, poor patent examiners...

** Unfortunately the bill does almost nothing to combat trolls nor
does it
** get rid of the treble damages on wilful infringement setup.

And who are those evil "trolls" ? Have you seen one ?
Are they some PhDs on a loose not employed by corporate monstrosities,
just sitting in their basements and filing evil patents on their own ?
How can you allow this in America ?
Or maybe they are some shrewd investors who buy patents from those PhD
and then use those patents to beat the shit out of fat corporate
infringers ?

And why treble damages for willful  infringement should be removed ?
To encourage willful infrigement ???
I say: make willfull infringement a criminal offense
(Hint: it's awfully hard to prove willful infringement nowadays)


Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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Simpler isn't always better. This change makes it possible to patent
work done by someone else, with no recourse for the actual inventor.
What used to be theft is now legal. This certainly will make things
easier for the courts but one obvious consequence is that there will
be increased secrecy surrounding any research that might lead to
patentable developments.

Given the bias toward corporations and globalization displayed by
governments lately, I am deeply suspicious of the motives behind any
change like those made to the patent law.

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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I'm arguing for first to file.

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Um rather than the system being flooded with junk patents which are
massively costly and time consuming to invalidate afterwards? I've much
rather the patents were never awarded in the first place even it it
does mean the PTO have to do a lot of sifting of paper.

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Yes. However clearly I can't go into details of specific cases. The
system at the moment is setup on the basis of mutally assured
destruction.

A sues B over infringement
B counter sues A over infringment

A and B both produce widgets and their businesses will be adversely
affected if they have to stop shipping widgets. Therfore A and B settle
out of court and sign a cross licensing agreement.

Now C, a 'Patent Troll' doesn't have anything widgets to counter sue
over all they do is litigate until either their patent is invalidated
or they win. The amount of time an money spent on this is such that
for many companies it is cheaper to settle and pay royalties on an
invalid patent than it is to get it overturned.

This is then used as precident to attack other people using the same
patent 'look they licensed it it must be valid' pay up or else.

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Because the actual effect of this is that you build something and you
*do not* do any kind of search to see if you need to license anything
and need to pay royalties. If you do do a search and miss something
then it's impossibly hard to prove that you didn't find the patent in
question and aren't willfully infringing it.

-p
--
Paul Gotch
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Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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"Therfore A and B settle out of court and sign a cross licensing
agreement."

Not anymore...

Big corporate monstrosities are now beating the shit out of each other
in patent courts and ITC, trying to get *injunctions* against each
others products (e.g. Apple vs.Samsung, Apple vs. HTC etc etc etc)
Also, many of them collect huge patent royalties on someone else's
products - e.g. Microsoft lining its pockets with patent royalties for
Android - Google's flagship product. (Is Microsoft a patent troll or
what ?)

Don't you love it ?  I certainly do :)



Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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That's atypical. Steve Jobs was philosophically opposed to Android
and would rather litigate than settle.

For example Apple vs Nokia settled eventually.

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The MS situation is annoying because MS are licensing 'unspecified' IP.
There are almost certainly valid patents in there but there are also
probably lots of invalid ones. The most litigated patent of the lot in
there is the VFAT long file names one. MS managed to get FAT32 used as
the default file system on many flash devices and then started litiging
afterwards. This is morally dubious but trolling per say.

What you don't see is that a normal handset has IP from perhaps 30
companies inside it and the majority of the software cost is license
fees for patents. All you see are the ones that actually end up in
court due to brinkmanship on one or other side.

-p
--
Paul Gotch
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Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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The MPEG-LA, and associated parasites, have no problem requiring
payment of royalties for expired or unrelated patents.

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Drug dealers should have patented that business model years ago.

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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Yes, increasingly MS is a patent troll.  They own a selection of dubious
patents, and use standard troll racketeering techniques to squeeze
protection money out of Android phone and tablet manufacturers.  The
fact that the patents involved are not revealed is classic patent troll
behaviour.  These manufacturers don't have many patents of their own to
fight back, or for cross-licensing deals.  Even if they have patents
that MS arguably infringes on in its own phones, why would they care?
No one buys them anyway, so they have nothing significant to lose.

<http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/08/05/microsofts-android-business-brings-in-3-times-as-much-money-as-windows-phone/


Of course, patent trolling is not MS's core business - but it is an
increasing part of their business.

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Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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Well, that's because Apple invented the smart phone, along
with the wheel, and hot water; *how* *dare* these copycats
swoop in and steal our preciousss IP! (I can definitely
picture the Apple board taking turns playing Gollum.)

Patents and copyright are a net loss for society.

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
On 26 Oct 2011 13:02:45 +0100 (BST), Paul Gotch


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This can't be fixed since it is not practical for a small inventor to
do an exhaustive search of existing IP prior to filing, and doing so
would hopelessly contaminate the inventor, anyway.   The idea of
"willful" rather than inadvertent infringement has legs, I think, if
it can be shown proven that the infringement was willful.

Otherwise the default position is almost necessarily that one does not
do a prior art search prior to filing.   Removing treble damages for
willful infringement just makes it easier for those who really do
infringe willfully.


Eric Jacobsen
Anchor Hill Communications
www.anchorhill.com

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

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By which you mean 'would tell the inventor what works and what
doesn't, meaning that he just needs to licence it rather than invent
it'.  Six months in the lab can save you an afternoon in the library
and all that.

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Surely it is prior to *inventing* that you should do the prior art
search, so that you know which patents you could licence instead of
doing the tedious invention.  That would be easier if it were
compulsory to licence all patents under reasonable non-discriminatory
terms, and *that* is the direction in which patent reform should go -
mostly people infringe patents because the original inventor isn't
willing to licence them on generally-reasonable terms.

Tom

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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"mostly people infringe patents because the original inventor isn't
willing to licence them on generally-reasonable terms. "

Whaaaaaat ??????

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

(snip, someone wrote)

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I would guess that more often it is because one doesn't realize
that something is covered by a patent.  Either one doesn't know
at all, or assumes that a known patent doesn't cover the specific case.

One well known infringement case was the Kodak instant camera.

Kodak, in trying to compete with Polaroid, designed a camera
that, I would guess, they believed didn't infringe.  It is pretty
hard to believe that they didn't know about Polariod.  (Actually,
Kodak made the negative material used by Polaroid, so they pretty
much definitely knew.)   Polariod sued and, eventually, Kodak lost.
(You still see Kodak instant cameras in thrift stores.)

To avoid generating a mirror image, Polaroid cameras reflect the
light off a mirror before it hits the film.  Kodak, instead,
designed a system that exposes through the back with the print
visible from the front.  I presume they thought that difference
would avoid the Polaroid patent.

On the other hand, cobalt-doped ferric oxide magnetic tape was
specifically developed to avoid the patent on chromium dioxide.
Tape that worked with recorders designed for CrO2 tape could be
made, cheaper and maybe even better.  As far as I know, that
was never considered infringing.

-- glen

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
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I seem to remember hearing about companies where reading or searching
patents wasn't allowed, I assume as a defence in case they accidently
infringed on some patent

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snip

-Lasse

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)

(snip)
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As I understand it, that doesn't work.  Well, possibly it works
against willful infringment, but consider Kodak claiming that
it didn't know about the Polaroid patent while making negative
material for Polaroid.  

I was told some time ago that one might just as well read them.
That it will be assumed that one has anyway.

-- glen

Re: Patent Reform Town Hall Meeting (Balt/Washington Area IEEE Consultants Network)
On Thu, 27 Oct 2011 14:30:48 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@fonz.dk"

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Yup.   Not only to prevent accusations of willful infringement, but to
try to maintain some semblance of an intellectual "clean room" for
research and avoid so-called "contamination".


Eric Jacobsen
Anchor Hill Communications
www.anchorhill.com

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