Judge says 'common sense' not enough to invalidate patent in Arendi v. Apple & Google

Posted:
in General Discussion
Judges cannot invoke "common sense" when considering the validity of a patent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled on Wednesday, impacting a case pitting Arendi S.A.R.L. against Apple and Google.




A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office review board made a mistake when it used only "common knowledge and common sense" to invalidate an Arendi patent, the Court of Appeals said according to Bloomberg. The court argued that such sentiments "cannot be used as a wholesale substitute for reasoned analysis and evidentiary support," overturning the prior ruling.

The patent in question involves the way a computer app displays a document while searching for outside infomation, a given example being a name detection system that finds and inserts associated addresses.

Arendi has leveled infringement accusations against a host of companies, another one being Samsung. To undermine Arendi, defendants asked the USPTO to review the patent, scoring an apparently brief victory.

In July, however, the appeals court did uphold a USPTO decision to invalidate a second patent. Other challenges are still awaiting USPTO review, and will have to be resolved before Arendi's lawsuits can continue.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Arrrrrgh! Good grief. It is laughable that a judge dismisses common sense as an argument for anything related to patents.
    latifbpceek74baconstangnolamacguynetmagejbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Makes sense. All good ideas (patents) seem obvious or "common sense" AFTER you see it. It's why people go "why didn't I think of that?" when they see something new (and usually simple/straightforward).
    mdriftmeyerlatifbpRoger_Fingaschiamike1jbdragondaven
  • Reply 3 of 17
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,370member
    This patent sounds like Mail merge which has been around since the early 90's. MS has had this as part of Word for a very long time, you can put in a text field that word would read and then look at an excel or database file an insert the appropriate address. I use to use this to do xmas letters and cards why back.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,676member
    Makes sense. All good ideas (patents) seem obvious or "common sense" AFTER you see it. It's why people go "why didn't I think of that?" when they see something new (and usually simple/straightforward).
    Yup, thank goodness for the Federal Appeals Court to step into patent issues, part of the same Federal Circuit who in 2005 "limited the use of dictionaries to determine what words mean in patents, since inventors can make up their own definitions.Evidence the Federal Circuit really isn't a fan of common sense? Seems like it. 
    edited August 2016 netmagegilly017
  • Reply 5 of 17
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,949member
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=Arendi&OS=Arendi&RS=Arendi

    Just the first of several from Arendi (Luxembourg), this one filed in 2010. You have to scroll through several screens of references before you get to the description. Here's one of the good ones that's been in use forever:

    "In recent years, with the advent of programs, such as word processors, spreadsheets, etc. (hereinafter called "word processors") and operating systems, such as WINDOWS.TM. operating system, MACINTOSH.TM. operating system, etc., users may require retrieval of information, such as name and address information, etc., for insertion into a document, such a letter, fax, etc., created with the word processor or for contact management at the operating system level. Typically, the information is retrieved by the user from an information management source external to the word processor, such as a database program, contact management program, etc., or from the word processor itself, for insertion into the document. Examples of such word processors are WORD.TM., NOTEPAD.TM., EXCEL.TM., WORDPAD.TM., WORDPERFECT.TM., QUATROPRO.TM., AMIPRO.TM., etc., and examples of such information management sources are ACCESS.TM., OUTLOOK.TM., ORACLE.TM., DBASE.TM., RBASE.TM., CARDFILE.TM., etc. 

    However, the information in the database must constantly be updated by the user. This requires the user to learn how to use and have access to the database. In this case, a change in the information, such as change in an address or a name, etc., requires the user of the word processor to implement this change in the database, or alternatively, the change is made to the database centrally by a database administrator."

    Sound familiar to a whole lot of existing software applications? I guess the USPTO still uses a typewriter so they wouldn't know anything about word processing programs interacting with databases, which are updated by users.
    netmagejbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 17
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 323member
    This is 'murica.  Common sense has been extinct for quite some time.
    gilly017jbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 17
    ceek74 said:
    This is 'murica.  Common sense has been extinct for quite some time.
    The Lawyers saw to that. The Law is the Law no matter how stupid it actually is.
    This is why every american who is more than about 1 year old is a FELON and must be locked up right away.
    This is because simply going about your normal business every day is a crime if you look at it only from the POV of a Lawyer and the Law.

  • Reply 8 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,676member
    rob53 said:
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=Arendi&OS=Arendi&RS=Arendi

    Just the first of several from Arendi (Luxembourg), this one filed in 2010. You have to scroll through several screens of references before you get to the description. Here's one of the good ones that's been in use forever:

    "In recent years, with the advent of programs, such as word processors, spreadsheets, etc. (hereinafter called "word processors") and operating systems, such as WINDOWS.TM. operating system, MACINTOSH.TM. operating system, etc., users may require retrieval of information, such as name and address information, etc., for insertion into a document, such a letter, fax, etc., created with the word processor or for contact management at the operating system level. Typically, the information is retrieved by the user from an information management source external to the word processor, such as a database program, contact management program, etc., or from the word processor itself, for insertion into the document. Examples of such word processors are WORD.TM., NOTEPAD.TM., EXCEL.TM., WORDPAD.TM., WORDPERFECT.TM., QUATROPRO.TM., AMIPRO.TM., etc., and examples of such information management sources are ACCESS.TM., OUTLOOK.TM., ORACLE.TM., DBASE.TM., RBASE.TM., CARDFILE.TM., etc. 

    However, the information in the database must constantly be updated by the user. This requires the user to learn how to use and have access to the database. In this case, a change in the information, such as change in an address or a name, etc., requires the user of the word processor to implement this change in the database, or alternatively, the change is made to the database centrally by a database administrator."

    Sound familiar to a whole lot of existing software applications? I guess the USPTO still uses a typewriter so they wouldn't know anything about word processing programs interacting with databases, which are updated by users.
    The Patent Office tried to invalidate it. The Federal Appeals Court wouldn't allow "common sense' as reason enough.
    baconstangmike1mac fan
  • Reply 9 of 17
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    software patents are dumb. code is speech and should be copyrighted, but in general ideas shouldn't be patented, only implementations. 
    netmage
  • Reply 10 of 17
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,896moderator
    software patents are dumb. code is speech and should be copyrighted, but in general ideas shouldn't be patented, only implementations. 
    I must admit, as a holder of two software methodology patents myself, I just don't get the argument as to why software patents should not be allowed. What a patent protects, at the most basic level, is the hard work and resources that go into creating a new idea. Back in the Industrial Age, machines incorporated logic in mechanical workings. Today, that logic is called software and some of the most ingenious advances of the modern world are software advances. If IBM and others couldn't protect their ideas around big data analysis, if Oracle couldn't protect ideas around super fast sorting or database mirroring, would they be motivated to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into advancing the state of the art? Not so much if anyone could simply come along and steal those technologies. 

    Patents are linear and proportional in their protection of ideas. Consider those who would argue that something like slide to unlock is silly to protect with a patent. That it's an idea that isn't worthy of patent protection. But that's a fallacious argument; if its not worth much, then surely those who would infringe such a patent could simply apply a different method to solve the same problem. If you think a patented idea has no value then you should have no difficulty coming up with an equal or better idea. 

    I think someone who sits at a desk and designs a novel software method to, say, vary the timing on an automobile engine, which can make an engine run more efficiently and produce more power without having to redesign the engine should be offered the same protection for her idea as the same person using a CAD program to design a new and novel engine architecture that yields the same efficiency and performance boosts, the only difference being the novel engine design actually gets turned into a physical device (an engine) and therefore satisfies the notion of a utility patent better in the mind of a person who is stuck in the Industrial Age.

    Let's look at three scenarios:

    Scenario #1: the invention is implemented completely in hardware.

    Scenario #2: the invention is not able to be implemented solely in hardware, but requires a software element to control the hardware.

    Scenario #3: the invention is implemented completely in software, modifying the timing and control of existing engine components and engine monitoring and control elements that might have been used to adjust the engine's valve timing to yield sport versus economy mode, but never to adjust timing continuously.

    Let's just imagine, for the sake of argument, that any of these three means of inventing the first variable valve timing system were all possibilities. Variable valve timing clearly has value; it allows an engine to be more responsive to driver input while operating at higher efficiency.  The patent system exists to reward valuable innovation and invention. What's the argument for not providing those rewards in the second and third scenarios, above?
    realjustinlongSpamSandwichmac fan
  • Reply 11 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,676member
    software patents are dumb. code is speech and should be copyrighted, but in general ideas shouldn't be patented, only implementations. 
    I must admit, as a holder of two software methodology patents myself, I just don't get the argument as to why software patents should not be allowed. What a patent protects, at the most basic level, is the hard work and resources that go into creating a new idea. Back in the Industrial Age, machines incorporated logic in mechanical workings. Today, that logic is called software and some of the most ingenious advances of the modern world are software advances. If IBM and others couldn't protect their ideas around big data analysis, if Oracle couldn't protect ideas around super fast sorting or database mirroring, would they be motivated to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into advancing the state of the art? 
    A whole lotta software development and programming inventiveness took place without the protection of software patents. It's been a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things (1981) since software patents were even permitted. IBM, Apple, Oracle's predecessor SDL and dozens of other innovators in technology invested a lot of resources on coding and programs without software patents to protect them and big ol' Microsoft was well on it's way to market segment dominance before they ever got their first software patent. Any guess what year that was? 

    Just sayin'
    edited August 2016 netmage
  • Reply 12 of 17
    farmboyfarmboy Posts: 152member
    Arrrrrgh! Good grief. It is laughable that a judge dismisses common sense as an argument for anything related to patents.
    These are courts of law, not boards of arbitration. Common sense isn't at all common and isn't at all universal. That's why they use legal precedent. Further, Appeals courts don't rehear the whole trial, they rule on matters of law appealed from the lower courts.
    SpamSandwichmac fan
  • Reply 13 of 17
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,884member
    Makes sense. All good ideas (patents) seem obvious or "common sense" AFTER you see it. It's why people go "why didn't I think of that?" when they see something new (and usually simple/straightforward).
    yes, that sometimes is the case... but most of the things being patented lately are interpreted so broadly that they're effectively eliminating actual competition by covering every possible implementation. Instead of patenting implementations, they're patenting concepts. The patent office originally rejected software patents for this and other reasons, until lobbyists accomplished forcing them to allow software patents. The whole system is a disaster. It's wasting vast amounts of resources and killing competition.

    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

    It's not a viable system. There are plenty of economists and business people with this opinion, in case you think I'm pulling this out my ass or am promoting lawlessness (I'm not).
    netmagenolamacguy
  • Reply 14 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,676member
    dysamoria said:
    Makes sense. All good ideas (patents) seem obvious or "common sense" AFTER you see it. It's why people go "why didn't I think of that?" when they see something new (and usually simple/straightforward).
    yes, that sometimes is the case... but most of the things being patented lately are interpreted so broadly that they're effectively eliminating actual competition by covering every possible implementation. Instead of patenting implementations, they're patenting concepts. The patent office originally rejected software patents for this and other reasons, until lobbyists accomplished forcing them to allow software patents. The whole system is a disaster. It's wasting vast amounts of resources and killing competition.

    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

    It's not a viable system. There are plenty of economists and business people with this opinion, in case you think I'm pulling this out my ass or am promoting lawlessness (I'm not).
    You make a good point. Most of these software patents we read are purposefully as vague as allowable, and purport to cover a huge swath of possible products rather than anything specific. It's common for one big tech to describe their software or design invention as applying to "an electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), a novelty item or toy". That's far from a specific implementation in my opinion but that's where the courts have permitted software patent rights to expand to. 
    netmagenolamacguy
  • Reply 15 of 17
    sreesree Posts: 79member
    gatorguy said:
    dysamoria said:
    yes, that sometimes is the case... but most of the things being patented lately are interpreted so broadly that they're effectively eliminating actual competition by covering every possible implementation. Instead of patenting implementations, they're patenting concepts. The patent office originally rejected software patents for this and other reasons, until lobbyists accomplished forcing them to allow software patents. The whole system is a disaster. It's wasting vast amounts of resources and killing competition.

    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

    It's not a viable system. There are plenty of economists and business people with this opinion, in case you think I'm pulling this out my ass or am promoting lawlessness (I'm not).
    You make a good point. Most of these software patents we read are purposefully as vague as allowable, and purport to cover a huge swath of possible products rather than anything specific. It's common for one big tech to describe their software or design invention as applying to "an electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), a novelty item or toy". That's far from a specific implementation in my opinion but that's where the courts have permitted software patent rights to expand to. 
    Sorry, but that is not making too much sense. 

    So, are you saying that once you have thought up an idea and you realize that same mechanism can be used in many different places that you should protect only one of them and not all of them?

    For example, 'presence' is a concept that could be patented (it is that little indicator in chat applications which tells you whether the other person is available/offline/away etc.).  Now, if there is one way to implement presence and that same mechanism can used to do presence on chat, email, video calls, mobiles, PDAs, handsets etc. etc., do I need to put in a patent for each of those devices, even though I can readily visualize all the places it can be applied to? Does it not make sense for me to make it generic and say any 'communication device that needs presence'.?

    (I have five patents to my name, and I have come across many 'technical' folks whose understanding of patents is faulty). Patents don't typically protect a concept, they protect one way of implementing a concept. You are always allowed to patent another way of doing the same, and it happens all the time. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,676member
    sree said:
    gatorguy said:
    dysamoria said:
    yes, that sometimes is the case... but most of the things being patented lately are interpreted so broadly that they're effectively eliminating actual competition by covering every possible implementation. Instead of patenting implementations, they're patenting concepts. The patent office originally rejected software patents for this and other reasons, until lobbyists accomplished forcing them to allow software patents. The whole system is a disaster. It's wasting vast amounts of resources and killing competition.

    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

    It's not a viable system. There are plenty of economists and business people with this opinion, in case you think I'm pulling this out my ass or am promoting lawlessness (I'm not).
    You make a good point. Most of these software patents we read are purposefully as vague as allowable, and purport to cover a huge swath of possible products rather than anything specific. It's common for one big tech to describe their software or design invention as applying to "an electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), a novelty item or toy". That's far from a specific implementation in my opinion but that's where the courts have permitted software patent rights to expand to. 
    Sorry, but that is not making too much sense. 

    So, are you saying that once you have thought up an idea and you realize that same mechanism can be used in many different places that you should protect only one of them and not all of them?

    For example, 'presence' is a concept that could be patented (it is that little indicator in chat applications which tells you whether the other person is available/offline/away etc.).  Now, if there is one way to implement presence and that same mechanism can used to do presence on chat, email, video calls, mobiles, PDAs, handsets etc. etc., do I need to put in a patent for each of those devices, even though I can readily visualize all the places it can be applied to? Does it not make sense for me to make it generic and say any 'communication device that needs presence'.?

    (I have five patents to my name, and I have come across many 'technical' folks whose understanding of patents is faulty). Patents don't typically protect a concept, they protect one way of implementing a concept. You are always allowed to patent another way of doing the same, and it happens all the time. 
    Maybe it will make sense when I explain it further. I look forward to your response. 

    Just because a company might mention a dozen different devices does not mean they've actually considered any way their patented process could be used for one. IMHO it's often a "cover your butt" in case some other inventive guy comes up with something successful where you can grab some of his profits or push him out of the market altogether if he's treading on your patent that you had no idea to use for a product like his.

    Big companies understand how to control the process and artificially regulate the market thru IP. And no I'm not referring specifically to any particular company.

    As for "Patents don't typically protect a concept, they protect one way of implementing a concept. You are always allowed to patent another way of doing the same, and it happens all the time." 
    How would you justify a patent for a "specific implementation" that includes vague claims and unclear technical terms. IMO specific inventions should require specific claims and clearly understood terms and vocabulary. Do you disagree with that? While I don't care for the very expansive (but gradually being roped back in) software patent claims that have been allowed, the entire purpose of being vague is to make it extremely difficult for other inventive folks to patent their own unique implementations. 

    Whether you as an inventor EVER imagined some particular use, you 
    (not necessarily you personally. I don't know you) still may want to claim you did and demand payment for it or perhaps if it better serves you eliminate a competitive product from the market.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 17 of 17
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    software patents are dumb. code is speech and should be copyrighted, but in general ideas shouldn't be patented, only implementations. 
    I must admit, as a holder of two software methodology patents myself, I just don't get the argument as to why software patents should not be allowed. What a patent protects, at the most basic level, is the hard work and resources that go into creating a new idea. Back in the Industrial Age, machines incorporated logic in mechanical workings. Today, that logic is called software and some of the most ingenious advances of the modern world are software advances. If IBM and others couldn't protect their ideas around big data analysis, if Oracle couldn't protect ideas around super fast sorting or database mirroring, would they be motivated to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into advancing the state of the art? Not so much if anyone could simply come along and steal those technologies. 

    Patents are linear and proportional in their protection of ideas. Consider those who would argue that something like slide to unlock is silly to protect with a patent. That it's an idea that isn't worthy of patent protection. But that's a fallacious argument; if its not worth much, then surely those who would infringe such a patent could simply apply a different method to solve the same problem. If you think a patented idea has no value then you should have no difficulty coming up with an equal or better idea. 

    I think someone who sits at a desk and designs a novel software method to, say, vary the timing on an automobile engine, which can make an engine run more efficiently and produce more power without having to redesign the engine should be offered the same protection for her idea as the same person using a CAD program to design a new and novel engine architecture that yields the same efficiency and performance boosts, the only difference being the novel engine design actually gets turned into a physical device (an engine) and therefore satisfies the notion of a utility patent better in the mind of a person who is stuck in the Industrial Age.

    Let's look at three scenarios:

    Scenario #1: the invention is implemented completely in hardware.

    Scenario #2: the invention is not able to be implemented solely in hardware, but requires a software element to control the hardware.

    Scenario #3: the invention is implemented completely in software, modifying the timing and control of existing engine components and engine monitoring and control elements that might have been used to adjust the engine's valve timing to yield sport versus economy mode, but never to adjust timing continuously.

    Let's just imagine, for the sake of argument, that any of these three means of inventing the first variable valve timing system were all possibilities. Variable valve timing clearly has value; it allows an engine to be more responsive to driver input while operating at higher efficiency.  The patent system exists to reward valuable innovation and invention. What's the argument for not providing those rewards in the second and third scenarios, above?
    I think you missed the part where I said your implementation should be protected (copyright), but not the idea. this is how IP works in other industries such as novels and film. anybody can make a superhero movie. but no one can copy your character and dialogue. in the same way your novel engine timing code is yours, and if I manage to steal it from your office and use it in my app then sue me for copyright. but if I come up with my own code to do the same exact thing? cry me a river. 

    anybody should be able to write their own implementations of an idea, such as a shopping cart, one-click shopping, or other software methodologies. 

    as a software dev not having any any patents I think I'm in a less biased position than having my fortune derived from patents. 
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 18 of 17
    sreesree Posts: 79member
    gatorguy said:
    sree said:
    gatorguy said:
    dysamoria said:
    yes, that sometimes is the case... but most of the things being patented lately are interpreted so broadly that they're effectively eliminating actual competition by covering every possible implementation. Instead of patenting implementations, they're patenting concepts. The patent office originally rejected software patents for this and other reasons, until lobbyists accomplished forcing them to allow software patents. The whole system is a disaster. It's wasting vast amounts of resources and killing competition.

    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack

    It's not a viable system. There are plenty of economists and business people with this opinion, in case you think I'm pulling this out my ass or am promoting lawlessness (I'm not).
    You make a good point. Most of these software patents we read are purposefully as vague as allowable, and purport to cover a huge swath of possible products rather than anything specific. It's common for one big tech to describe their software or design invention as applying to "an electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), a novelty item or toy". That's far from a specific implementation in my opinion but that's where the courts have permitted software patent rights to expand to. 
    Sorry, but that is not making too much sense. 

    So, are you saying that once you have thought up an idea and you realize that same mechanism can be used in many different places that you should protect only one of them and not all of them?

    For example, 'presence' is a concept that could be patented (it is that little indicator in chat applications which tells you whether the other person is available/offline/away etc.).  Now, if there is one way to implement presence and that same mechanism can used to do presence on chat, email, video calls, mobiles, PDAs, handsets etc. etc., do I need to put in a patent for each of those devices, even though I can readily visualize all the places it can be applied to? Does it not make sense for me to make it generic and say any 'communication device that needs presence'.?

    (I have five patents to my name, and I have come across many 'technical' folks whose understanding of patents is faulty). Patents don't typically protect a concept, they protect one way of implementing a concept. You are always allowed to patent another way of doing the same, and it happens all the time. 
    Maybe it will make sense when I explain it further. I look forward to your response. 

    Just because a company might mention a dozen different devices does not mean they've actually considered any way their patented process could be used for one. IMHO it's often a "cover your butt" in case some other inventive guy comes up with something successful where you can grab some of his profits or push him out of the market altogether if he's treading on your patent that you had no idea to use for a product like his.

    Big companies understand how to control the process and artificially regulate the market thru IP. And no I'm not referring specifically to any particular company.

    As for "Patents don't typically protect a concept, they protect one way of implementing a concept. You are always allowed to patent another way of doing the same, and it happens all the time." : 
    How would you justify a patent for a "specific implementation" that includes vague claims and unclear technical terms. IMO specific inventions should require specific claims and clearly understood terms and vocabulary. Do you disagree with that? While I don't care for the very expansive (but gradually being roped back in) software patent claims that have been allowed, the entire purpose of being vague is to make it extremely difficult for other inventive folks to patent their own unique implementations. 

    Whether you as an inventor EVER imagined some particular use, you 
    (not necessarily you personally. I don't know you) still may want to claim you did and demand payment for it or perhaps if it better serves you eliminate a competitive product from the market.

    Sorry, didn't see your response until now. Seems a tad late :smile: 

    If the implementation of the concept is largely the same (with any differences being obvious), then it is equally applicable irrespective of the device that concept is used on. Let me give an example, let us say I come up with an inventive way to not drop a phone call even though the internal memory has crashed. Does it really matter if this implementation is used within a mobile phone or a desk phone or a laptop softphone? Now another person comes up with an innovative change where this can be used to keep the calls working on a full fledged server having thousands of calls. Are there not two patents now to achieve the same thing, and yet they are both applicable. 

    The problem with generic patents is with the USPTO not being rigorous enough. (Sometimes It almost feels like they are really tough on the good patents, and lax with the shitty ones. :smile:  ). 
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