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IBM patent trolling patent application (uspto.gov)
109 points by revorad 2202 days ago | hide | past | web | 35 comments | favorite

Step 1: Go to http://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair

Step 2: Enter the captcha

Step 3: Type 11/696,104 as the "Application Number"

Step 4: Click the "Transaction History" tab

To summarize, the PTO issued a non-final rejection of the patent on 02/07/2009. IBM responded to that on 05/11/2009, which yielded a final rejection on 08/31/2009. IBM then requested to withdraw their response to the non-final rejection (the 05/11/2009 response). On 07/01/2010, IBM filed a new response to the 02/10/2009 non-final rejection, and the PTO issued its second final rejection on 09/13/2010.

IBM then made an amendment to their application, and requested a continued examination (read more about that at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/aipa/rcefaq.jsp). Then, they filed their appeal to the 09/13/2010 final rejection with the Board of Patent Appeals and Interference. The continued examination yielded the most recent non-final rejection, on 06/24/2011. IBM will likely respond in a few months, and there'll likely be another final rejection (the third) issued.

Now, it's still in the hands of the BPAI, which will likely affirm the rejection. After that, IBM can appeal the Board's ruling to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which will most likely side with the PTO.

It seems highly unlikely that IBM will be issued this patent, but if the final rejection is miraculously overturned, prosecution history estoppel will likely preclude IBM from doing anything meaningful with the patent, because as many of you have noted, there's plenty of prior art dated before April 2006.

I believe the appeal is withdrawn when you file an RCE. Great explanation otherwise though.

Yes, you are correct. Filing the RCE after filing a notice of appeal with the BPAI is the same thing as withdrawing your appeal and filing the RCE.[1]

More than likely, we can all look forward to a final rejection by the examiner sometime around October, at which point IBM will likely appeal to the BPAI once more.

[1] 37 CFR 1.114(d).

It appears I have met a fellow patent nerd.

IBM hasn't gotten the patent yet. It's been filed, but doesn't appear to have been awarded yet.

I'm divided over this. On one hand, it's a bullshit patent that shouldn't be awarded to them, like all business process patents. So getting the patent would be a pretty bad thing.

On the other hand, it would destroy the entire patent troll industry, especially if IBM used it offensively. That would be a great thing.

I think the prior art would rule this one null and void.

And yet, what does the data say about US patents and prior art?

It says: We developers are #^¢&ed!


The 1-click was granted in 1999, which I can't remember anyone doing for shopping carts back then.

1999 was still the hay days of the internet and merchants weren’t really making the checkout/buy process easy.

The 1-click is a good example of maybe an obvious method being patented rather than ignoring prior art.

It's worth mentioning that the USPTO, which everyone here thinks will allow anything, recently issued its fifth rejection of this application.

All this proves is that the USPTO will block a patent that could threaten the patent troll industry ;-)


If certain Monopolistic practices are directly illegal, what about more laws directed against Regulatory Capture?

> what about more laws directed against Regulatory Capture?

Umm, regulatory capture applies to legislatures as well, not just regulatory agencies.

Consider GE. Its $0 tax bill is not due to regulations, but to laws.

Any sensible income tax law will allow you to offset losses against gains. Otherwise it's just a revenue or cashflow tax, not an income tax.

> Any sensible income tax law will allow you to offset losses against gains.

Yes, but losses, gains, revenue, and expenses are not necessarily well-defined. (Heck - even whom is incurring those things is also variable.)

And then there's the big problem - the US govt likes to encourage (and discourage) things via the tax code. GE takes advantage of that as well.

Why doesn't a revenue tax make sense? It may well take a lot more money to regulate an industry involving a great many transactions.

The main problem with a revenue tax is margins.

If you apply the same rate of taxes to all companies with the same revenue, regardless of their margins you have your choice of putting all low margin business out of business by assessing a tax higher than they can pay (to collect reasonable revenues from the high margin businesses), or leaving a lot of cash on the table in high margin industries (which as a tax authority you probably don't like).

> Why doesn't a revenue tax make sense?

Suppose there are two companies. The first company buys resource A for 100$ to produce B. The second company buys B for 110$ and produces C, which it sells to the public for 120$. A merger of both companies would approximately half their total revenue, but wouldn't change their total profit.

We don't want the tax system to determine the optimal size of a company.

Maybe it does make sense in some circumstances, I'm no economist. But it's not what we have. We have an income tax. So it doesn't make sense for people to shit on GE for this.

Umm, regulatory capture applies to legislatures as well, not just regulatory agencies.

Pick one and see what can be done.

> Pick one and see what can be done.

Pick both - we already know what can be done.

If you're going to argue that this time will be different, you need to explain why. Heck, it would be nice if you understand, deeply, how things work now, what's been tried, and so on.

None of the existing problems are easy to solve.

If the USPTO got to keep the money it collected in patent fees that might be a problem, but if it got to keep the money it got in fees then maybe it would be able to do a better job examining patents. :|

Halliburton applied for a similar patent (#20080270152) a few years ago.

What's the purpose of these patents? Is it just satire or do they actually have legal value for counter suing patent trolls?

It's a lot of money to waste on satire. It would at least be an interesting court case if they got one of these patents issued and actually asserted it against a troll that was suing them.

Wouldnt that be cool, if IBM started going after patent trolls?

Actually, the real win for whoever actually got such a patent would be the "no tagbacks" effect.

Imagine for a moment that you were sued over a product or service another party claims infringes a patent of theirs. Then, you found out that some product they offer actually infringes one of your patents. Now, you're thinking you've got leverage to negotiate a settlement, but the other party refuses all your offers, until you're finally left with no choice to countersue. That's when you find out they actually have the patent on patent trolling! Not only can they sue anyone they like for the slightest whiff of possible infringement, but the defendant can't fight back without actually violating another patent!

Quite the trump card, if you can get it.

Fighting fire with fire hmmmm....

What's the purpose of these patents?

To stop other people doing it, would be my guess.

If someone were to patent troll you (other than IBM, I guess) you could say that they were performing a practice that they didn't have the rights to practice. Essentially "hey, only IBM can patent troll me".

obligatory userfriendly strip: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20030301

It's turtles all the way down.

Indeed. I should create a patent that describes the use of a patent to block patent trolling.

Just patent the patent-related patent.

I think what we really need is the patent on approving patents.

I wonder if they'll drop the ball on the prior art on that one?

Then consider this list of such filed patents (just filed, not yet awarded)


#20100082494 tops them all I guess.

Yo dawg, so a heard you liek patent trolling...

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