I believe it’s not a good thing to be an inventor in the US and I hope that Trump’s “America first” will apply to inventors. Let me explain why.
My name is Jean-Paul Castille, I have a degree in Engineering from “Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers” (ENSAM), a major engineering school of France and I am an independent inventor. I am the president of Antor Media Corporation, a US patent licensing firm.
My career has been dedicated to invention, the development and commissioning of prototype systems in different areas of the industry.
I have invented and patented the basic technologies for the legal downloading and streaming of music and video over the Internet and telecommunication networks (US patent 5,734,961).
The ‘961 patent discloses methods and systems for transmitting information, such as music and video, stored as digital signals at central servers to subscribers over a high data rate telecommunications network. A subscriber station communicates with the central servers over the telecommunications network and presents a menu to the subscriber for selecting particular items to be streamed or downloaded from central servers in full. The invention solved the problem of the transmission of large amount of data to transmit by compressing information before transmission over the network, and then decompressing it at the subscriber station. The patent application was first filed in France in 1989, the French patent 89 07759 issued in France in 1991, the 5,497,502 patent issued in the US in 1995 and the ‘961 patent issued in 1998.
The Internet has started its development from 1995, and I have been recognized as a precursor in the field of the Internet and online music as the pioneers of online music such as Audiogalaxy and MP3.com used the technology described in my invention. I received a “Worldwide Invention Award” in 1995 from “Livre Mondial des Inventions” (Worldwide Invention Book) of France in recognition for my works in the field of online multimedia. This Award was granted every year until 2007 by an international jury to outstanding inventors on a worldwide basis such as the Philips Company for the invention of the Compact Disc, and to the Bosch Company for the automobile ABS (Anti Blocking System). I have been also granted a US green card in the category of “Persons with Extraordinary Ability” in recognition of the exceptional quality of my works, a category usually reserved to Nobel Prizes.
After the grant of ‘961 patent including claims covering systems and process in the field of online music and video delivery, my wife Odile Mougeot Castille and me have incorporated in the US Antor Corporation and subsidiary Antor Media Corporation (“Antor”) for licensing the ‘961 patent. It must be noted that Antor is not a troll, but a structure for defending my own work as an inventor. In order to license the 961’ Antor hired Andre Troner, a big name in the field of licensing, in order to license the ‘961 but this operation was not successful. Consequently, Antor hired in 2003 the law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski in Dallas and engaged in a litigation program for defending the ‘961. 7 cases have been filed against infringers in the Eastern District of Texas from 2003 until 2007. The defendants were big companies in the computer, cell phone, telecommunications, online music and/or video, internet industries and among them 25% settled. In reaction, the ‘961 has been subject to five ex parte reexaminations: 1st reexamination request was filed by Nokia, the 2nd by LG, the 3rd by RIM, the 4th by Kyocera, the 5th was anonymous. The proceedings including Appeals have lasted from 2005 until 2012 (see “In Re Antor Media Corporation”).
From the start the PTO turned against Antor and showed abuse of power, for example:
- The PTO granted the 5 reexams, although they should not have taken place as the criteria of SNQs of patentability had not been met, and made Antor’s ‘961 patent among the few patents that have been the subject of 5 reexaminations (1 in 1000) and made Antor the subject of obvious harassment.
- The reexamination proceedings, not including appeals, were supposed to be conducted with “special dispatch” but have been going on for 3.5 years, namely 2 times a normal reexamination term, and caused to stay the pending infringement litigations and an irreparable damage to Antor.
- The PTO has ignored licenses of the ‘961 patent to market leaders that were supposed to illustrate the non-obviousness of the invention.
- The PTO has been willing from the start to cancel ALL of the claims and not only those in litigation, showing a clear willingness to get rid of Antor’s ‘961. When Antor overcame a rejection the strategy of the PTO was to impose new rejections or new references which led to a myriad of unjustified different rejections (up to 27 rejections) and undue prior art references (up to 9 references).
The ‘961 claims have be finally cancelled after Appeals at the BPAI and the CAFC, but without surprise since once the PTO had built such a complex and inextricable case at the end of the proceedings it was quite impossible to win any Appeal.
Among other things, one can be amazed at the fact the reexams were requested by foreign companies only and were so easily granted by the PTO. It shows that foreign companies are very aggressive, consider the US as a nice playground for challenging IP because they know there is no patriotic or protectionist reflex and it accepts 90% of reexam requests. The situation may change as the Republican “stated that patents are property rights and theft of IP assets is a national security concern” see article of Peter Harter and Gene Quinn.
All this story shows there is something wrong at the PTO and it’s not surprising that a clash regarding a time and attendance fraud of Examiners has just been revealed by the Washington Post (see here). It’s not normal that I had to encounter such a Kafkaesque fight with the PTO, its abuse of power and arrogance must be stopped. We, the inventors are the workers of innovation and we deserve consideration, justice and our share of the benefits.
I feel as a part of the “forgotten” of the system. I hope the Trump administration will make the pendulum swing back and that “America first” will apply to inventors.