[A2k] PATNEWS: Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones

Erik Josefsson erik.hjalmar.josefsson at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 07:49:19 PDT 2012

Greg Aharonian is a dear old opponent from the EU swpat wars. Maybe some 
of you remember:

    *Gregory Aharonian and Software Patents: Propagating a Disease,
    Selling a Medicine*

Unfortunately the medicine he is selling is prior art. Rant for rant, 
here's one of Hartmut's takes on Greg:


I'd say that as long as there is no standardised level of abstraction 
(you could say a "standardised patent language") in which you express 
software innovation, prior art discussions are as doomed as discussions 
on inventive step (which is as high, as you know, as twice the length of 
a rope). Greg makes that point exactly in his email below.

Now, for reasons I don't understand, very few efforts have been made on 
the US side to argue that programs for computers are not inventions, 
even if there is implicit support for that theory in US law (see SFLC's 
amicus to Bilski) and even if that was the EPC language that finally 
killed the software patents directive in 2005.

It's the subject matter test: innovation expressed in source code and 
performed on a general purpose computer is not an invention.

It's not difficult legally, and its not intellectually difficult either. 
Patents on software should simply not exist. Actually they normally 
don't since they are cancelled by cross licensing cartels, and they 
don't exist i the GPL stack. So what's the problem?

Fix that, and you'll fix the patent system, at least for the software 

The Greens/EFA retabled some of the swpat directive amendments to the 
Patent Package to reinforce the the subject matter test in EU-law, as it 
is written and used to be understood in EPC countries.

We'll see how that goes :-)

Please support the campaign http://unitary-patent.eu


*Amendment 56
Article 3b
1. European patents with unitary effect shall be granted for any 
inventions, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, 
involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application.

2. The following in particular shall not be regarded as inventions 
within the meaning of paragraph 1:

    (a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
    (b) aesthetic creations;
    (c) schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing
    games or
    doing business, and programs for computers;
    (d) presentations of information.

The goal of this amendment is to codify into EU Law, provisions defining 
an invention as set up by the European Patent Convention and other 
international agreements. The wordings of the amendment is compliant 
with the EPC, and moreover is enhancing the EPC own wordings, by 
clarifying some difficulties that have resulted in divergent 
interpretations by various national courts. Hence, this amendment 
contributes to the goal of having a unified enforcement of European 
patents with unitary effect.

*Amendment 57
Article 3c
1. A set of instructions for solving a problem by means of an automated 
system consisting only of generic data processing hardware (universal 
computer), also called "program for computers" or "computer-implemented 
solution", is not an invention within the meaning of the substantive 
patent law applicable to a European patent with unitary effect, 
regardless of the form under which it is claimed.

2. A claimed object may be an invention within the meaning of the 
substantive patent law applicable to the European patent with unitary 
effect only if it contributes knowledge to the state of the art in a 
field of applied natural science; an invention is a teaching about 
cause-and-effect relations in the use of controllable forces of nature.

This amendment defines some rules of patentability in the same way as 
voted by the European Parliament on September 24 2003 on its first 
reading on the software patents. The wordings of the amendment is 
compliant with the EPC, and moreover is enhancing the EPC own wordings, 
by clarifying some difficulties that have resulted in divergent 
interpretations by various national courts. Hence, this amendment 
contributes to have a unified enforcement of European patents with 
unitary effect.

On 01/09/12 01:21, Jamie Love wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From:<patnews at ns1.patenting-art.com>
> Date: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:13 PM
> Subject: PATNEWS: Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones
> To:
> !20120831  Apple's new crappy patent on disabling cellphones
> After twenty years in this business, I still do not understand why no
> one, and I mean no one, takes patent quality seriously.  Applicants don't,
> patent offices don't, legislatures don't, academics can't, patent bar
> groups could not care less, hedge funds don't waste their time (patents
> are junk bonds - all you have to assume is that at least one is good),
> patent brokers don't (same reasoning as hedge funds), and the press still
> hasn't figured out how to include a patent number in an article about a
> patent.  Do applicants, beyond rarely, do reasonable prior art searches
> for their applications?  NO.  Do patent offices actually believe their
> nonsense about their progress improving patent quality and search tools
> (sadly, YES).  The system is a big freakin joke when it comes to patent
> quality.
> Case in point.  As part of the coverage of the Apple/Samsung lawsuit
> (a decision ruined by the patent law delusions of the jury foreman -
> no way is the $1 billion judgment going to stand), some pundits are
> referencing Apple's stream of patents, occasionally mentioning a few.
> Slashdot today does so, and mentions an Apple patent so full of dreck
> to be a classic example of the contempt everyone has for patent system,
> especially patent quality.
> Patent:
>      Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device
>      U.S. Patent 8,254,902
>      Apple                     (filed 28 June 2008, issued 28 August 2012)
> (side note: also good example that patent pendency is about four years).
> The patent cites 18 patents and 3 non-patent prior art items, which for
> the technology and late priority date is grossly inadequate.
> What's the invention?  From the abstract:
>      Apparatus and methods for changing one or more functional or
>      operational aspects of a wireless device, such as upon occurrence
>      of a certain event.   ... This policy enforcement capability is
>      useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable
>      noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a
>      movie theater),
> You see this at the end of claim 1:
>      ... the first module detecting that the wireless device is within
>      the first range and the identified one or more modifiable portions,
>      and to cause notification for a user of the client wireless device
>      to be provided via the client wireless device; and wherein the
>      modification of the at least one of the first set of functions is
>      performed after said notification.
> Whoopee shirt. Location-based modification of a device.  As if that has
> never been done before.
> Let's spin Greg's one-minute-patent-busting-wheel-of-crap and see what
> we find (which neither Apple nor the PTO found, or cared to find):
>      Realtime, location-based cellphone enhancements, uses and applications
>      U.S. Patent Application 2007/032225
>      PUBLISHED February 2007 (16 months before Apple filed)
>  From the abstract:
>      Enhancements of and to cell phone operations are based in while or
>      in part on determining the location of the cell phone.  Systems
>      and methods select and determine locations or areas of importance
>      or relevance, and based on that information and other programmed
>      facters affect or alter the operations of the cell phone.
> How, for example?  Figure 9:
>      - SUNDAY 8AM to 11AM
>      - NO CELL RING
> Because you might be in a church (a religious theater for sake of an
> obviousness argument).  And the patent application goes on and on and
> on with pages of applications of this idea of changing a cellphone's
> behavior based on its location.
> Worse yet, this patent application itself is crap.  As part of the
> one minute search (apparently the PTO doesn't allow examiner more than
> one minute of search time), we stumble across this Microsoft patent,
> also uncited in the issued Apple patent, because after all, who gives
> a freakin frack about patent quality:
>      Context-aware and location-aware cellular phones and methods
>      U.S. Patent 7,076,255
>      Microsoft (issued July 2006 - two years before Apple applied)
>  From the abstract:
>      ... cellular phones are configured to wirelessly receive
>      information that pertains to their current context or
>      location.  The phones then automatically use the information
>      to modify one or more cellular phone behavior's, e.g., by
>      turning the phone off, changing the ringer's pitch, or
>      placing the phone in a vibrate mode.
> Now, the Apple claims are more server-oriented, while the Microsoft
> claims are more client (determinations at the cellphone), but moving
> apps back and forth between clients and servers was long ago not
> novel, utterly obvious, and idiotic to try to claim.
> How the heck did the USPTO miss two dead-on prior art patents, and allow
> this patent to issue?  Answer?  The PTO is making zero progress with
> regards to patent quality.  The PTO is still using dishonest measures
> of patent quality, and dishonest standards of contractor perforamce with
> regards to all things searching at the PTO.  Patent quality is still a
> joke at the PTO.  And with most applicants.
> Which means they also view innovation as a joke, because it is mostly
> the "best" innovation that ends up being patented.  If they don't
> respect the patents on the innovation, they certainly don't respect
> the innovation.  No wonder global economies are so screwed up, when
> the salvation, innovation, is treated as a joke.
> Large companies should not be clogging the patent system with these
> non-innovations, and the PTO shouldn't not be issuing them as patents.
> Quality must mean something, or else let's all become dishonest
> copyright lawyers (you have to be dishonest to take 17 USC 102 seriously)
> and have a registration system.
> Seriously folks, grow up.
> Greg Aharonian
> Internet Patent News Service
> Call for patentability/invalidity/opposition/clearance search services
>      for infotech/commtech/medtech/greentech/business methods
> In the United States, call me at:   001-415-981-0441
> In Brazili (Leao IP), call me at:   011-55-51-3022-5175
> Client of Article One?  Whatever they overcharge you over $6000 for an
> invalidity search, I will give you a 20% discount - no questions asked.
> Article One charging you $25,000?  I will do it for $10,000.  All of
> my searches are flat fee. Email me the special URL - get a bigger discount.

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