Saturday, August 25, 2018

Laundromats, wifi cafes still targeted by patent trolls; shell company industry still lobbies Congress to overturn "Alice"

Joe Mullin has an instructive “stupid patent of the month” column July 31 that continues to discuss the problem of “abstract patents”.

The latest case involves Upaid, a company in the British Virgin Islands, attacking laundromats for using prepaid cards or accounts. These accounts are associated with “Card Concepts” and “Laundry Card”. Quite mundane and proletarian indeed. 

I can remember that the prepaid card distribution industry was touted as a possible business opportunity for otherwise unemployed people in the post 9/11 job market recession.

EFF also discusses another case involving simply offering WiFi to customers in a hotel lobby or café.
And patent shell companies are trying to lobby Congress to roll back the Alice decision that limits “do it on a computer” patents.  So that’s another reason why small business and individual speech matters, to counter the bureaucracy of the lobbying industry – and partisanship.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Crowdfunding platforms saved from patent trolls by Alice decision precedent

Electronic Frontier Foundation reminds us today of the importance of Alice v. CLS Bank (2014, Supreme Court) in patent law:  implementing an abstract idea on a computer doesn’t make it patenable.  I would think Brett Kavanagh wouldn't have a problem with this decision. 
Today, EFF reports on the success of David Rose of startup-helper Gust, in suing Alpha Corp,. and thereby saving most of the crowdfunding platforms online (like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, probably even GoFundMe) which are especially important in the indie film business, from paying a tariff to a troll. Note that the litigation would have gone on in the Eastern District of Texas.
I’m not a fan of doing crowdfunding for causes (as Facebook constantly tries to push me to do), but the day could come when I need it, for my own movie.  But if stupid patents were really to be allowed, I could claim a patent on my screenplay analysis tables on my own blogs.