Patent Grants

 

The chart below shows the number of utility patents issued each quarter with data through August 2014 (2014 Q3 uses an estimate for September 2014).  You will note that the number of patents issuing continues to rise.

The USPTO issues new patents each week on Tuesdays morning.  Of the top-twenty weeks with the most issued patents on record, all twenty occurred so far in 2014 (with one third of the year still remaining). PatentsPerQuarter2014

149 thoughts on “Patent Grants

  1. It seems to me that claims are getting to issue, even though they are not clear. I wonder why that is.

    I think it is because the courts tell the USPTO what is fit to issue, and unless the claim is insolubly ambiguous, it is fit to issue. That strikes me as unfortunate.

    It is all very well for a judge to find a claim in dispute clear enough, after having had the assistance of learned counsel taking the court all the way through the PTO wrapper. But that doesn’t help the public, faced with an issued patent and struggling to make sense of the claim. It doesn’t do much for the opinion of persons skilled in the art on the usefulness of the patent system, when they are asked to opine on what the patent specification in view means to them.

    Invoking the file wrapper history has pernicious aspects as well as helpful ones. That it can free up the path to early issue might not be altogether a good Thing though.

    1. Where is this strawman that unclear claims are there in part because file wrapper invoking is an aspect of freeing the path to an early issue?

      What early issue are you on about?

      1. It takes time to debate issues of definiteness and written description. The more such time taken, the greater the pendency and the longer it takes, to get to issue. If issues of definiteness and written description could somehow be sidelined, the PTO could get more cases quickly through to issue, and thereby satisfy its critics.

        Can they be sidelined? I think they can, by requiring the interested public to scour the entire wrapper, every time it wants to gather an inkling of what any particular issued claim actually means. Compliment! Giving the customer work that, hitherto, the Service Provider itself performed, is a very modern way to manage a workload

        It is my experience at the EPO that prompts me to raise the issue. Europe insists that patents to issue be clear, without having to turn to the wrapper. That requirement does tend to put stresses on the pre-issue exam debate, and typically lengthens it. But it’s worth it.

        1. It appears that my reply was too brusque – but in essence, MaxDrei, your supposition is unfounded. The fact that the matter is even in the wrapper at all means that the matter has been gone through.

          You raise a scare that is not there – in colloquial terms, this falls under the categorization of FUD.

  2. I’d like to see that chart with the tops of the lines in a different color showing what percentage of those were software patents. It would be interesting to see the change over time as we became a society more invested in computing.

      1. Can you define “software patents.”
        As a proxy, you can use computer-related patents. If so, you can use any patent issued in Tech Centers 2100 (“Computer Architecture, Software, and Information Security”), 2400 (“Computer Networks, Multiplex communication, Video Distribution, and Security”), and 2600 (“Communications”). I would also include anything in 3620, 3680, and 3690 (“Electronic Commerce”).

        That should capture the vast majority of computer-related patents.

        1. How about U.S. Patent No. 8,804,839?

          1. A method for image prediction of a multi-view video codec, comprising: obtaining information about a representative disparity of a first view picture comprising a plurality of slices with respect to a second view picture comprising a plurality of slices; obtaining information about two or more regional disparities of two or more slices of the first view picture with respect to two or more slices of the second view picture; and coding or decoding the first view picture using the information about the representative disparity and the two or more regional disparities, wherein the coding or decoding the first view picture comprises differential coding or decoding, respectively, in which differences between the representative disparity and disparities of the other slices in the first view picture are used.

          Is this a “computer-related” patent? If so, why? It doesn’t recite a computer, or in fact any type of embodiment. It certainly recites a method that can be programmed as software, or can be implemented as a circuit. But it might not be used in a computer with a processor – might just be used in a hardware encoder, as part of a data transmission process – i.e., basic signal processing.

      2. Group 1: Software.

        Why not just list all patents that have claims with “programmed” or “computer readable” in an independent claim.

        Group 2.

        Functional claiming.

        Try “configured to,” “adapted to,” “so that.”

        Then see how many in group 1 are in group 2.

        The PTO should stop issuing all such patents pending a review.

            1. Not only is it allowed it is the only rational way to claim many inventions.

              The little anti twerps won’t ever deal with a real example with functional claiming because they rely on the ignorance of the Google judges and Shadow Director Lee.

        1. The PTO should stop issuing all such patents pending a review.

          That’s simply not going to happen:

          “Defining something… by what it does rather than what it is… in our view,there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the use of such a technique in drafting patent claims.” In re Swinehart (CCPA 1971).

          “As noted by the court in In re Swinehart, 439 F.2d 210, 160 USPQ 226 (CCPA 1971), a claim may not be rejected solely because of the type of language used to define the subject matter for which patent protection is sought.” (MPEP 2173.01)

          “A patent applicant is free to recite feature of an apparatus either structurally or functionally.” In re Schreiber (CAFC 1997).

          “Claims using relative terms such as… ‘adapted to’ are insolubly ambiguous only if they provide no guidance to those skilled in the art as to teh scope of that requirement.” Power-one, Inc. v. Artesyn Techs., Inc. (CAFC 2010), citing Datamize LLC v. Plumtree Software, Inc. (CAFC 2005).

          “Of those decisions, 376 decisions included “configured to” language in at least one feature that was argued by the Appellant and, thus, addressed by the Board. In 344 decisions (91%), the Board gave full weight to the features following the “configured to” language. In 18 decisions (5%), the Board gave the features reduced weight by usually stating that “configured to” is an intended use and the prior art must merely be “capable of” performing the recited features. In 14 decisions (4%), the Board gave no patentable weight to the features by usually stating that the phrase does not further distinguish the claimed apparatus from the prior art.” ( link to patentlyo.com )

          1. In 18 decisions (5%), the Board gave the features reduced weight by usually stating that “configured to” is an intended use and the prior art must merely be “capable of” performing the recited features.
            How many of those decisions were written by Thu Dang? I suspect an unusually high proportion. APJ Dang has apparently never heard of Typhoon Touch or Nazomi v. Nokia.

            Dennis — you’ve got the data. We just need the application numbers.

          2. Those are some incredibly cr ppy cases, David. Poorly reasone garbage stretched thin and ripe for the trash heap. Enjoy it while you can, grab that cash with both hands cuz the salad days of b.s coddling and pretending you were born yesterday are coming to a close.

            1. the salad days of b.s coddling and pretending you were born yesterday are coming to a close.
              You were saying that 5 years ago, and you’ll be saying it 5 years from now. Some things never change …

          3. David, it is interesting, don’t you think, just how the Federal Circuit seems to think that it can totally ignore Supreme Court case law with impunity?

            Functional language at the point of novelty has been held by the Supreme Court to be indefinite, and to violate both written description and enablement. The first case on point is none other than O’Reilly v. Morse, continuing with Perkins Glue, General Electric v. Wabash Appliance, United Carbon, and Halliburton.

            So it is simply not true that a inventor may claim his invention functionally. It never has been. He might claim old elements functionally. But he cannot claim the invention functionally. And that is when the functional language occurs at the exact point of novelty. See, Faulkner v. Gibbs.

            1. 1952 Act and what Congress says about the use of language that is functional easily trumps the Court and the cases you cite to Ned (at the very least, such trumps the version of Ned-IMHO-caselaw from those cases).

              The CRP-run away from valid counterpoints-CRP again merry-go-round in full motion yet again from you Ned.

              PS: the invention is still the claim as a whole, and your use of PON here is still a canard.

              1. the invention is still the claim as a whole

                All that means is that you can’t shove aside a claim element without an explanation as to why the element is b.s.

                Otherwise we’d see more claims like the claim that Yawnboy proposed the other day, e.g., claims that recite “wherein the improvement over the prior art is technological” or “wherein the claim is non-obvious”. You know, stuff that some sleezeball mouthbreathing lawyer might try to pawn off on a naive client.

                You’re familiar with that sort of thing, aren’t you, Billy? Of course you are.

            2. Okay, Ned, let’s look at the claim at issue in each of your cases:

              O’Reilly v. Morse (1854)

              Claim at issue: “The use of the motive power of electro-magnetism, however developed for marking or printing intelligible characters, signs, or letters, at any distances.”

              Holland Furniture v. Perkins Glue (1928)

              Claim at issue: “Any process of making glue, excepting where the starch or starchy product or carbohydrate subjected to the process, is degenerated to the extent described [in the patent], whereby the process results in the good as animal glue described.”

              General Electric v. Wabash Appliance (1938)

              Claim at issue: “A drawn filament for electric incandescent lamps or other devices, composed substantially of tungsten and made up mainly of a number of comparatively large grains of such size and contour as to prevent substantial sagging and offsetting during a normal or commercially useful life for such a lamp or other device.”

              United Carbon v. Binney and Smith (1942)

              “Substantially pure carbon black in the form of commercially uniform, comparatively small, rounded, smooth aggregate having a spongy or porous interior.”

              Halliburton v. Walker (1946)

              Claim at issue: “In an apparatus for determining the location of an obstruction in a well… having therein… means associated with said pressure responsive device for tuning said receiving means to the frequency of echoes from the tubing collars of said tubing sections to clearly distinguish the echoes from said couplings from each other.”

              In all of these cases, the claim at issue recited a property or result, i.e., the thing achieved by the process or component. However, claiming a step or component according to what it does, i.e., its function, is different from claiming it according to what it achieves, i.e., its result.

              ===

              Let’s do some A/B testing:

              * Functional claim (eligible): “A method of curing rubber, comprising: using a computer to estimate curing using the Arrhenius equation; and opening the boiler when the curing reaches a desired degree.”

              * Result-oriented claim (ineligible): “A method of curing rubber, comprising: controlling a boiler using the Arrhenius equation to control the boiler with greater precision.”

              * Functional claim language (eligible): “A composition comprising: 80% calcium bicarbonate and 20% sodium chloride.”

              * Result-oriented claim (ineligible): “A composition comprising: a solution of calcium bicarbonate and sodium chloride that exhibits a boiling point above 150 C.”

              * Functional claim (eligible): “A method of producing a chemical, comprising: passing a contaminated sample of the chemical through a filter having pores having a pore size of 12 nanometers.”

              * Result-oriented claim (ineligible): “A method of producing a chemical, comprising: using any process to remove, from a contaminated sample of the chemical, impurities larger than 12 nanometers.”

              * Functional claim (eligible): “A method of compressing data, comprising: identifying an element occurring at least twice; and replacing the element in the data with a symbol; and storing in the data an association of the element with the symbol.”

              * Result-oriented claim (ineligible): “A method of compressing data by removing repeating elements to produce a smaller data set that can be reconstructed without data loss.”

              Do you see the difference? Do you understand that in all of the cases that you routinely cite, the (C|c)ourt condemns claim language that is oriented toward the result?

              ===

              Finally, it’s worth noting that every case that you have cited:

              (1) Predates the 1952 Patent Act;

              (2) Predates the era of modern computing; and

              (3) Predates the entire set of tumultuous 101 case law, dating back to Gottschalk v. Benson.

              Your arguments about a categorical restriction on functional language are unsupported by any case law that does not exhibit these deficiencies. This is why your position cannot be taken seriously.

              1. David Stein: * Functional claim language (eligible): “A composition comprising: 80% calcium bicarbonate and 20% sodium chloride.”

                If you think that is functional claim language, David, then you are even more clueless than I thought, which is saying a lot.

                claiming a …component according to what it does, i.e., its function, is different from claiming it according to what it achieves, i.e., its result.

                In fact it’s pretty much the same issue and the PTO has a longstanding practice (inconsistently applied of course) of ignoring limitations that recite “results” when evaluating claims that fail to recite any objective structural differences between the claimed apparatus/composition and the prior art. That’s as it should be. 101 does not permit the patenting of new “functionalities.”

                The issues raised by functional claiming in method claims are somewhat different because, presumably, the recited steps themselves are “functional” … otherwise why recite them? But again, a claim that recites only old steps followed by some new result (or preceded by a new function recited in an otherwise weightless preamble) is a j nk claim, and quintessentially so.

              2. David, in a method claim, ACTS are not functional. SO THAT is. Most of the “ineligible” method claims you list are of the “so that” variety.

                With apparatus, describing its structure in terms of what it does is functional.

                Regarding ’52, you have to consider the introduction of 112(f) that seemingly authorized functional claiming. That was what the CCPA and the Federal Circuit thought. But the Supreme Court has never weighed in.

                And, you better believe that O’Reilly v. Morse is still good law.

                1. Regarding ’52, you have to consider the introduction of 112(f) that seemingly authorized functional claiming

                  WRONG Ned – the use of functional terms is allowed in more than just 112(f).

                  You know this. I have shown you case law discussing it (In re Orthokinetics for example.

                  Stop dissembling on these material points of law.

                2. ACTS are not functional. SO THAT is. Most of the “ineligible” method claims you list are of the “so that” variety.

                  Wait, what? “Acts” are not “functional?”

                  In the data compression claim above (“A method of compressing data, comprising: identifying an element occurring at least twice; and replacing the element in the data with a symbol; and storing in the data an association of the element with the symbol”) – are you honestly taking the position that the steps here aren’t recited using “functional language?” If they’re not recited “functionally,” then do you consider them “structural?” And what is the “structure” recited there?

                  Regarding ’52, you have to consider the introduction of 112(f) that seemingly authorized functional claiming. That was what the CCPA and the Federal Circuit thought. But the Supreme Court has never weighed in.

                  The language of 112(f), and its predecessor 112p6, is clear: “An element in a claim for a combination may be expressed as a means or step for performing a specified function without the recital of structure, material, or acts in support thereof.”

                  It seems like you’re hoping that the Supreme Court would “weigh in” by declaring that they don’t like this provision and will not apply it – i.e., that the Supreme Court would hold that an element MAY NOT be expressed as a means for performing a function without reciting the structure.

                  If that’s your hope… then I can only reference the basic principle of statutory construction that courts (including the Court) cannot interpret a statute in a manner that directly conflicts with its plain language and meaning.

                3. David, 112(f) has never been construed by the Supreme Court and I think the Feds are misapplying it.

                  For one, Frederico believed that surrounding a single means claim with nominal elements was not within the statute. What did he mean by this? One of the things he could’ve meant that is if everything in the claim is old but the one element and there is no new cooperation among the new and the old, then essentially the claim is to a single means and it is not authorized by statute.

                  Also, Frederico believed that the new statute was not inconsistent with Halliburton except perhaps to the extent that it authorized the use of means plus function in “new combination” claims because you have to consider is remarks about single means claims.

                  Another problem I have with respect to the Federal Circuit interpretation of section 112(f) is its nonliberal interpretation of corresponding structure and equivalents with respect to old elements. Prior to ’52, when an old element was claimed functionally, almost anything that could fulfill the function in the combination was considered to be an equivalent. The Federal Circuit however seems to like to construe equivalents very narrowly regardless of whether or not an old element is being claimed.

              3. David Stein,

                In the data compression claim above (“A method of compressing data, comprising: identifying an element occurring at least twice; and replacing the element in the data with a symbol; and storing in the data an association of the element with the symbol”) – are you honestly taking the position that the steps here aren’t recited using “functional language?” If they’re not recited “functionally,” then do you consider them “structural?” And what is the “structure” recited there?

                David, methods by definition use old apparatus. The apparatus is contextual, not the invention.

                A method or process consists of one or more acts. An act is by definition an action.

                In a process claim, a statement that X does something is an Act. Such is not “functional” within the meaning of the law.

                Doing something to achieve a result is however “functional” withing the doctrine.

                “So that.”

                1. Doing something to achieve a result is however “functional” withing the doctrine.

                  Ned, these definitions that you’re using continue to get more and more weird.

                  Let me explain why your definitions are odd:

                  (1) “A method, comprising: storing data on a medium.

                  That, to you, is not “functional language.” It’s also not “structural,” which raises a problem since, in the law of claim drafting, every limitation is either “structural” or “functional.” Instead, you call it an “act,” which you define as an “action.”

                  (2) “An apparatus, comprising: a storage driver that stores data on a medium.” Suddenly, this is now “functional language,” because the exact same words are used in an apparatus claim.

                  (3) “An apparatus, comprising: a storage driver and a medium, wherein data ends up being stored on the medium.” That is also “functional language.” And irrespective of the fact that (2) recites an action performed by the storage driver and (3) simply recites a result that is somehow achieved, you view both (2) and (3) as providing the type of “functional language” that cases like GE and Halliburton prohibit.

                  Do I understand your position correctly?

                2. David, just to be clear, the “kind” of claim to which the Supreme Court objected were claims that were functional at the point-of-novelty. The Supreme Court has not condemned claims having functional language that is descriptive in nature or defines old terms in terms of functional language so long as they are not otherwise indefinite.

                  “A storage driver that stores data on a medium” as part of a apparatus claim could be describing an old element. There is no fundamental problem with such a claim element in the combination claimed. The problem occurs when one is trying to claim novel structure in terms of what it does rather than what it is.

                  When speaking of method claims instead, the apparatus is assumed to be old. One defines a method by a series of acts. However even method claims can be functional-at-the-point-of-novelty if instead of defining an act, the claim claims a result regardless of the act.

                  But circling back, it is totally acceptable to use functional language in apparatus claims to describe old elements or further describe structural elements. The Supreme Court only condemned functional language at the point of novelty to claim new structure, not in terms of what it is, but in terms of what it does.

  3. Billy, please tell everyone how you would advise a client who came to you with an “innovation” about a “new display”, where the only thing “new” about this “display” is (wait for it) the information being displayed.

    Please tell everyone how much you’d charge for preparing and prosecuting these “display” claims.

    I’m really looking forward to your answer, Mr. “Ethics”.

  4. Fishsticks looks like we are catching up from the 2003-2009 slump

    Don’t forget about the even bigger “slump” from 1850 to 1980!

    Too funny.

    1. It’s really not that funny at all Malcolm, as it has been pointed out to you previously (I know this because I was the one that pointed it to you): that “slump period is directly tied to the Office attempts to Reject its way out of the growing workload.

      But then again, you are one that attempted to deny that the Reject-Reject-Reject era ever actually happened…

          1. (Oh, and also previously told to you was the little fact that the Reject-Reject-Reject era was NOT limited to one art unit – like you are attempting to dissemble)

        1. Faster than an IPR, more powerful than a computer brain, able to leap steps of logic with a single phrase, it’s Hindsight Milly. Able to write a claim to any invention that was with a single post. Beloved by Ned.

          Hindsight Milly,”Infringers have no need for fear. Hindsight Milly is here!”

  5. top-twenty weeks with the most issued patents on record, all twenty occurred so far in 2014

    Surely future historians will look back upon 2014 as the scientific renaissance that the numbers tell us it must be.

    Some normalizations would be great. Here are a few possibilities:

    It should be normalized to the number of constitutional, statutory, non-obvious, enabled, described and definite inventions that were issued in that period. That’s the only graph that matters. I suspect that graph would be more interesting.

      1. Looks like about 85k, but that’s just a guess based on the graph. Glad I could help.

        Oh, good. Then we can retire the federal circuit’s involvement completely. I didn’t know the office had a 100% accuracy record.

        1. Given that the federal circuit’s involvement runs at afar less than 2% of all active patents, I am glad that you are glad (regardless of any actual accuracy rate, right?).

          1. Given that the federal circuit’s involvement runs at afar less than 2% of all active patents

            Hahaha, and I suppose you draw the conclusion that because they uphold what? About half of the patents they see that 99% of the patents out there are valid? Or that the other 98% don’t modify their behavior based on the outcome of the 2% of cases?

            1. “What you suppose” is beyond anybody’s sane guess Random. The use of the word regardless kind of indicates that the amount of patents before the court is such a small number that your attempted point of humor falls rather flat.

              You would have been better off making fun of yourself as an examiner for letting such patents get to the courts in the first place, but admitting that you aren’t doing your Fn job kind of takes the zing out of any of the jokes you might tell, doesn’t it?

              1. You would have been better off making fun of yourself as an examiner for letting such patents get to the courts in the first place, but admitting that you aren’t doing your Fn job kind of takes the zing out of any of the jokes you might tell, doesn’t it?

                Ha! In every other case you’d argue that I’m ridiculous in rejecting too much, but here I must be the one letting bad patents issue. I am the only one who works here, so you must be right.

                You’re funny today.

                1. Random doesn’t even know enough to know that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. But, he is friends with Hindsight Milly.

    1. ….why?

      Isn’t more data better? Why do you want to suppress the more data that will (in the best Paul Harvey tones) tell the rest of the story?

      1. Isn’t more data better? Why do you want to suppress the more data that will (in the best Paul Harvey tones) tell the rest of the story?

        I’d love more evidence for arguments either way. What’s the standard for admitting evidence again, oh legally minded one?

        It’s basic statistics that you’re going to come to wrong conclusions when you normalize for only one or two variables in a multivariable system because the other variables confound the result. Especially when you can’t tell whether those variables are dependent or not.

        The graph shows patents per year. You want to normalize it to non-continuations per year, fine. But if you want to comment on that difference because you think that “tells the rest of the story” you’re scientifically mistaken. It tells so little to begin with, don’t strip it of whatever meaning it has.

        1. What has the standard for admitting evidence have to do with having more data from Prof. Crouch?

          LOL – you are going to now start preaching on multi-variate analysis? That you think that more data creates some type of scientific mistakes is quite hilarious already.

          Let me grab some popcorn first.

          1. What has the standard for admitting evidence have to do with having more data from Prof. Crouch?

            I knew you’d step in it. Data shouldn’t be given to fact finders when the effect of supplying the data would be more prejudicial than probative. Irresponsible people don’t get to play with matches. You’re reaching for a match.

            That you think that more data creates some type of scientific mistakes is quite hilarious already.

            You’re not asking for “more data” you’re asking for a specific type of data in an effort to prove a particular hypothesis. You have an idea that ice cream prevents crime, so you’re asking only for the data on ice cream and crime. Sure enough you’re going to find an inverse correllation, and you’re going to conclude that ice cream prevents crime. Normalizing issuances with application filings, as it otherwise has no other probative value, is an attempt to justify the notion that issuances lead to more disclosures. That is simply not the case, for the same reason that ice cream doesn’t prevent crime.

            Can I ask, if you don’t know law and you don’t know the scientific method, how is it you came to be on this board?

            1. Given that the existing data has already been shown to have been misused by the anti-software blogs, I’d say that your argument suffers a fatal flaw.

              Not that such is new, by the way.

            2. Can I ask, if you don’t know law and you don’t know the scientific method, how is it you came to be on this board?

              You can ask all you want as long as you realize that you are operating under some serious misguided ASSumptions about what I know, since I do know both law and the scientific method.

              And no – read what I asked for – I asked for more data.

            3. Billy’s funniest critique is that the graph is biased because it doesn’t show the number of rejections over the same time period. “Shame on you, Dennis!”

              LOL

  6. Some of this morning’s sooper awesome patents:

    1. A system for enhancing perception of a motor vehicle’s mark emblem, comprising: at least one mark emblem mounted on the exterior of a motor vehicle; … an electronic visual imaging device for displaying an image related to the at least one mark emblem; and a speed sensor and speed sensor switch for detecting whether a vehicle on which the system is mounted is moving at or below a selected speed limit. [the term “mark emblem” is meant the unique emblem on a particular make of motor vehicle that functions as a trademark]

    Never mind the 101 problems raised by hinging patentability on “emblems” and displays “related” to the emblem. This j nk is anticipated by a car with a hood ornament, a dashboard displaying the emblem, and a cop with a radar gun. W t f???

    8,823,531

    1. An apparatus having an active cooling system, comprising:
    electronic circuits; an enclosure for housing the electronic circuits;
    a fan for blowing air through the enclosure; an orientation sensor for sensing a parameter indicative of an orientation of the fan; and
    logic configured to determine, based on the parameter sensed by the orientation sensor, whether a direction of an airflow induced by the fan is within a predefined range of a direction of buoyant airflow, the logic further configured to transmit a notification signal indicating whether the direction of the airflow induced by the fan is within the predefined range.

    Functionally claimed j nk o f the lowest order. Love the use of the term “logic”, though. An apparatus that comprises “logic.” Riiiiight. Sometimes the truth just leaks out. I wonder why they stopped with this “buoyant” airflow business. Why not a fan comprising “logic” that tells me when I’m missing the tennis semifinals, or that tells my grandma when to sell her Peanut the Elephant beanie baby for maximum profit?

    8,823,737

    1. A medical image display comprising:

    a first region displaying a medical image of a heart and having a color coded overlay displayed on the medical image of the heart, the color coded overlay representative of strain values; and

    a second region displaying non-image data related to the medical image of the heart displayed in the first region, the non-image data color coded to associate the non-image data with the color coded overlay, the non-image data plotted on a graph as a function of time.

    Wow. Anybody still want to pretend that people aren’t trying to protect information with patents? Try to believe that incredible piece of j nk got out of the PTO. Holy. Freaking. Crap.

    This took 5 minutes of browsing. I’m cherry-picking the short claims but there’s plenty of long-winded garbage that’s just as vapid. Check out 8,823,793 for a “System and Method of Performing Security Tasks” patent that is one of many reams of examples of functionally-claimed information processing gar bage.

    1. Love the use of the term “logic”, though. An apparatus that comprises “logic.” Riiiiight.

      Um, yes. From Merriam-Webster: logic: the arrangement of circuit elements (as in a computer) needed for computation; also : the circuits themselves. Those look like elements of an apparatus.

      1. Those look like elements of an apparatus.

        I’ve no doubt that the “logic” refers to circuitry. I’ve also no doubt that a description of the structure of that circuity is completely absent from this “apparatus” claim. And I’ve no that this magical circuitry is the only novel feature of this remarkably “logical” fan.

        1. It’s pretty much only “magical” if you pretend that you can have new capabilities with the same “oldbox” and no changes whatsoever…

          Oh wait, is this where you insert your canard about claims being in ONLY STRUCTURE mode….? Can we just jump to the point that you actually provide a legal citation for this belieb of yours?

          /eye roll

          1. It’s pretty much only “magical” if you pretend that you can have new capabilities with the same “oldbox” and no changes whatsoever…

            Pretty sure it’s the di pshirt who drafted those claims who’s doing the “pretending”, Billy.

              1. software really does work in the real world

                Sure it does, after some skilled person or person(s) writes, tests, and debugs the software.

                Nobody is arguing otherwise.

                But precisely none of that skill is reflected in the patent claim. That’s what is being discussed. Maybe you thought you were spewing your drivel on some other blog where people debate whether computers exist. That would explain a lot of your bizarre ranting here.

    2. Wow. Anybody still want to pretend that people aren’t trying to protect information with patents? Try to believe that incredible piece of j nk got out of the PTO. Holy. Freaking. Crap.

      Wow. That one is pretty bad. At a minimum, the claim clearly covers printed matter embodiments.

        1. lol – printed matter….

          You don’t think that the claim covers an appropriately printed piece of paper with a printed transparent overlay? Please explain.

          1. Nah DanH/Leopld – my comment was more global in nature, given that the person you were talking to is one that insists most on dissembling on the exceptions to the judicial doctrine of printed matter (even as he volunteered an admission against interests as to knowing and understanding controlling law) – and did not have anything to do with the immediate patent claims at hand.

            It’s one of those things that you have a hard time seeing though.

            1. my comment was more global in nature … and did not have anything to do with the immediate patent claims at hand.

              So does that mean you agree that the “medical image display” claim is a piece of jnk?

              1. Don’t know and haven’t bothered with the immediate case.

                I would rather talk about the more meaningful law aspects – you know, not the minutia of a single patent.

                1. Don’t know and haven’t bothered with the immediate case.

                  LOL. You get handed a really easy opportunity to establish a “minutia” of credibility and you reject it. Amazing.

                2. Nothing “amazing” about it. You want to try to put words in my mouth on an argument on a particular case that I have not made, and I simply told you “no.”

                  It’s neither “amazing,” nor anything else. Why do you seem to have such a hard time with it? Are you afraid?

                3. Maybe the “credibility” that DanH/Leopold should be more concerned about is getting the overall law right first.

                  You know – helping Malcolm out.

                4. a particular case that I have not made

                  Billy likes to avoid the low-hanging fruit so he focus on his giant pie in the sky. Mmmmm, yummy! What flavor is it today, Billy? I assume it’s still that same brown color…

      1. At a minimum, the claim clearly covers printed matter embodiments.

        Even if it was construed to cover only “electronic displays”, the problem remains. You can’t use a patent to protect information “displayed” by an old device for displaying information.

        This is the basic fundamental stuff that the computer-implementers need to wrap their atrophied brains around and acknowledge that they understand. When they ignore the problems presented by j nk like this (which they do, habitually), it’s impossible to take them seriously and very easy to conclude that they are simply dishonest hacks concerned only with padding their wallets.

        And then they cry about how they are getting pounded by the actual courts, and the court of public opinion, because nobody else is capable of understanding how awesome they are.

        1. Even if it was construed to cover only “electronic displays”, the problem remains. You can’t use a patent to protect information “displayed” by an old device for displaying information.

          No argument from me. There’s no way I’m advising a client that it should try to enforce that claim.

          Hey AAA JJ – what do you think?

    3. I thought that that last claim was directed to displaying information in a particular way, not to the underlying information itself.

      Oh well, you must understand this a lot better than everyone else. Thanks for the insight.

      1. that last claim was directed to displaying information in a particular way, not to the underlying information itself.

        It’s not a method claim (although that hardly matters for the purpose of the “innovation” being claimed here).

        It’s a claim to an apparatus. Specifically, it’s a really, really old and conventional apparatus: a display. The only difference between this display and the old display is the information being displayed. You can’t protect information with a patent. It’s ineligible.

        That’s the end of the analysis. There are a lot of claims like this. They are all j nk and anybody that pays for them is an id i 0t.

          1. If you mean Arrhythmia Research Technology, Inc. v. Corazonix Corp., then the answer is no. Those claims were directed to methods and apparatus for processing electrocardiograph signals, not to a display of information.

              1. I thought those signals were on a display

                If you have an argument in defense of apparatus claims describing old devices displaying new information, Billy, then make it. Use your best English. Ask your mommy to help you.

                Otherwise nobody really cares to see you wa nk yourself off on your b.s. innuendo for the billionth time.

          2. Wasn’t Arrythemia about a display as well….

            Is this your attempt at a rebuttal argument, Billy?

            If so, you really should consider hiring a patent attorney to help you with this stuff before you make an even bigger fool out of yourself.

              1. To me it looked like a question. Geesh – and you complain about my English skills….

                Actually, those of us with English skills usually end questions with a question mark. Just so you know…

        1. Interesting. The patent says that the difference is not the information being displayed, but the way that the information is displayed. I guess you know more about it than the inventor does though.

    4. logic configured to determine…whether a direction of an airflow induced by the fan is within a predefined range of a direction of buoyant airflow

      Hey, we’ve got an invention here. Patent please.
      That looks pretty obvious. What makes it non-obvious?
      This logic here, that determines if the direction of airflow is proper, the rest is in every other computer in the world.
      Well that mere statement doesn’t seem to enable it. What is that enabling logic?
      Oh, anyone could make it, now that I’ve enlightened humanity with the end result to achieve.
      So, you’ve applied a solution of making sure the airflow is right to solve the problem of determining if the airflow is right for cooling purposes? That sounds pretty obvious. People have been trying to orient their fans in a channel properly since fans were first created.
      Oh, no no, nobody would have thought of that if I didn’t suggest it. Plus mine is on a computer. A computer doing it and a person doing it are different things.
      So what you’re saying is you’ve added the idea of a computer doing what a person has always done, and what you agree anyone of computer skill could have carried out.
      Patent please!
      Um, 101 and 103 rejection.
      The sky is falling! You’re destroying America!! Rabble Rabble!

    5. MM, I think there are a lot of patent attorneys who never really learned to write claims in the Rich era because any old functionally claimed gar bage would do. The PTO some time ago must simply given up fighting Rich and the Federal Circuit.

      The rule of thumb was expressed in the overruled (by Donaldson that the PTO did not appeal to the Supreme Court) In re Arbeit: a function cannot distinguish the prior art in an apparatus claim.

      1. MM, I think there are a lot of patent attorneys who never really learned to write claims in the Rich era because any old functionally claimed gar bage would do.

        No doubt, Ned. And they got addicted to it. Now they believe they are entitled to it.

        Well, we can rest assured at least that the tears that they are going to cry will fill up the reservoirs in the West. That’s a win-win for everybody.

    1. …because the Amish want everyone to know that this whole “electronics/software” thing is highly over-rated, but, um, can’t email Prof. Crouch directly.

      😉

      1. …because the Amish want everyone to know that this whole “electronics/software” thing is highly over-rated, but, um, can’t email Prof. Crouch directly.

        They don’t care, they have a patent on horse-driven mail delivery that is functionally claimed well enough to render all email infringing anyway.

        1. They don’t care, they have a patent on horse-driven mail delivery that is functionally claimed well enough to render all email infringing anyway.
          Except that their patent expired 124 years ago. Oh no!!

          1. Except that their patent expired 124 years ago. Oh no!!

            I’ve seen this advanced by other people. The constitution allows for an inventor to be given rights to his invention for a limited period of time. The fact that the time period runs doesn’t excuse congress from limiting the patent to his invention, they’re still required to give a patent only on his invention.

            You’re just admitting the issue by taking that route, especially when I assume you know that the same thing happens in computer tech all the time, where 20 years is nigh forever.

            The fact that its easier to prove my argument with hindsight, by the way, is a point in my column not yours, because the system needs to be set up so that overbroad patents can’t chill the public until they poke the wrong hornet’s nest and get into court.

            1. The fact that its easier to prove my argument with hindsight, by the way, is a point in my column not yours
              The fact that I’m dealing with well-settled law is a point in my column not yours.

          1. Congress lacks the power to grant a patent that would cover email to an amishman engaging in horse-drawn mail delivery.

            d@mm those mechanical/functional claims that are allowed by law…

            Sounds like in this case, that would be a “Nope.”

  7. Think how many functionally-claimed software patents there must have been issued in this record-breaking quarter. Cue MM rant in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …

  8. It will be interesting to see the impact on issuances later this year from the pull-back of allowable applications for reconsideration by allegedly Alice based 101 rejections, as well as the extent of delay of prosecution of other applications on that basis. I.e., until the extent of these rejections settles down with Board and Fed. Cir. decisions against PTO overreactions?

  9. Also how many of these are of foreign origin? Isn’t that the biggest driver of the growth?

    1. I think you will find that the number of foreign-based applications have been hovering around the one-half mark for many years.

      1. For as long as I can remember, filings at the EPO are split roughly 50:50 between European applicants and the rest. International filers see some point in filing at the EPO.

        Conversely, most filings in Japan and China are domestic. What does that tell you? That Asians are more inventive than Europeans? Do you wish the USA to be more like China?

  10. Some normalizations would be great. Here are a few possibilities:
    1. Disregard continuation applications
    2. Normalize by the number of pending applications
    3. Normalize by the number of filed applications

    1. maybe graph with 90% on the scale… 😉

      also normalize by divisional practice – awhile back the Office went through a request for divisional craze, and I suspect many applicants never bothered to rejoin claims in one patent.

      1. Good point re divisionals. I only had a few of those crazy divisionals, but I do a lot of cases that I know will (and prepare for) attract a restriction.

    2. Why is it that you and your friends are so afraid of this graph? It is what it is. And I thought that more patents was a good thing.

      1. LOL – afraid…?

        Who said anything about being afraid?

        The flip side is that reality intrudes and data like this has been used as anti-patent fodder when an understanding of the complete picture is not attempted. A little thing called context (and in the best Paul Harvey tones, the rest of the story) goes a long way to preventing the dissembling spin from starting.

        But you and I have already had that conversation, DanH/Leopold.

        1. Who said anything about being afraid?

          I did.

          A little thing called context (and in the best Paul Harvey tones, the rest of the story) goes a long way to preventing the dissembling spin from starting.

          Normalizing the data so that the chart shows something completely different is not providing “context,” it’s simply showing something different. None of the comments here have added any “context,” but several have suggested that they want the data suppressed. That’s what people do when they’re afraid.

          1. You do not understand this notion of context – and as I recall, did not understand the FUD engendered by the anti-software people who ran with out of context information the last time we discussed this.

            I see that you are still living in denial.

            So sad.

            (and I do not see ANY indications of suppression of dat – if anything we want MORE – I guess by your, um, logic, that makes us the opposite of afraid, right? 😉 )

          2. Completely different? LOL On what planet are any of the normalizations that I’ve suggested directed to any data other than ACTUAL grant rate – the stat that this graph purports to show?

  11. Can you show an “age of application” of grant per quarter?

    I am wondering if the jump is time related – is the Office clearing out more items that had been caught in examination cycles or conversely, are the grants biased more to newer apps (or perhaps no time bias at all exists).

    1. There’s a good chance that the emphasis on working on RCEs is playing into this, since there’s a greater likelihood that an RCE will be allowable just by virtue of having been through the wringer a couple of times.

  12. the “horror”…

    OT, but someone should tell Prof. Hricik that his Supreme Court dubious quality amicus briefs thread 404’s out.

    (it’s a great story btw, and highlights the concern that has been expressed about placing too much power with the Royal Nine)

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