Monday, January 01, 2018

Does USPTO's own fee set-up unintentionally encourage patent trolling?

Timothy B. Lee has an important article on Ars Technica, referring to a Brookings study, on how the current fee system at USPTO may unintentionally incentivize the USPTO to keep issuing low quality patents, to “trolls”. Lee mentions EFF’s series “Stupid Patent of the Month”.

The basic idea is to collect an application fee (and renewal fee) but not an issuance fee.


A Twitter response called USPTO’s current system “penny wise and pound foolish”. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Trump's MAGA phrase is trademarked (did he really?)

Apparently Donald Trump trademarked “Make America Great Again” back in 2015, before his presidential run, just as he had tried with “you’re fired”.  (Maybe “He’s fired” like in the NFL protests.)

Heather Long had reported this in October 2015 on CNN, here.   

TESS yields the following result.   "Grate"?  Were we punked?   Fake news? 

I think allowing trademarks on common phrases is dangerous policy for business, especially new startups. 

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Ajit Pai's thinking on net neutrality could some day force more business owners to turn to franchises for branding

The retreat from network neutrality regulation could have a bearing on trademark and branding issues.

If telecom companies really do make it harder for small companies to be accessed with the same ease and speed as big companies (which the telecom companies “promise” not to do now) over time, you could see more pressure on small businesses to join franchises, which would have the clout to bargain for better service.   This sounds a lot like health care, doesn’t it!

Ownership of franchise units tends to be passed down in families, and there are expos on it.  But it doesn’t appeal to people who didn’t grow up with it.

Many small businesses are proud of their own brands in their local communities.  This would be true of businesses ranging from groceries to bars to independent bookstores.  Many need sites or blogs (and to follow the strategic ideas of “Blogtyrant”) to advertise their businesses to their own customers. 

Whether Ajit Pai’s thinking really is good for all business and especially for Trump’s “MAGA” ideas of doing more manufacturing in the US really remains a good question.  The Republicans ought to look at economic realities and not just ideology and party tribalism.   

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The stupid patent that could not survive EFF's own Halloween

Here is EFF’s Halloween patent, the “155 Patent”, indeed one of the “stupidest” on record.
Merely providing a printing service via a communications network claimed to be patentable, back around 1999. Here’s the EFF story by Vera Ranieri.
I can imagine right off how that could relate to print-on-demand book publishing, which I use.

If you stretch this far enough, my own making my older books free on PDF’s and allowing others to print them would seem to fall under it. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Could patent trolls affect the development of artificial intelligence?

Jeremy Gillula and Daniel Nazer of Electronic Frontier Foundation have a major speculative “stupidest patent of the month” story on how patent trolling could affect artificial intelligence development, even by someone like Elon Musk.

The article notes patent applications by both Google and Microsoft that could be broad enough to stymy artificial intelligence.

It’s hard to get how a concept for automating something can become a patent without the very specific workable machinery to make it happen.

I could claim that “passive marketing” of my books and blogs through search engines without spending ad money is itself patentable, worth hiring a troll attorney, using my “Do Ask Do Tell” books.  (Combine that with Reid Ewing’s little film in 2012, “It’s Free”.) Sorry, I am a supporter of EFF. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Even email confirmation of orders attracts patent trolls

This “stupid patent of the month” that went after “Fairytale Brownies” harassed a company founded in 1992, suddenly and recently.  The EFF story is by Vera Rainier.  

The patent claimed to have invented a shipment notification email that includes PII. 

Trolls claim to have invented conceptual functionality, or what a workplace friend used to call “functionable”.

I’m reminded of the “brownies and elves” dichotomy in my own kindergarten in 1949.
I also wonder if Blogtyrant’s ideas on email lists could somehow stumble on a troll.  Maybe not in Australia. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Now inter-app permissions gets claimed by a patent troll

Electronic Frontier Foundation points out another “stupid patent of the month” this time, apparently from JP Morgan, about a mobile app merely asking permission to hook up with another app.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a story by Daniel Nazer, Aug. 31, here

Since I am in the middle of a probable home sale and condo purchase, all cash, I’m attracting mail offering bridge loans.  One piece came from JP Morgan.