Posts Tagged: "computer technology"

Computer history, nothing abstract to be found

Computers, processors, memories and transmission equipment are devices or machines. All these machines, as configured systems, have a documented history of addressing concrete technical problems that were difficult to overcome.  Ultimately, computing machines are characterized by what they do, or by their architecture. This article illustrates some of the historical issues in developing programmed and programmable machines.

EPO ready for the first Unitary Patent as soon as the ratification requirements are met

One of the great aspects of the Unitary Patent is that it follows the normal EPO procedure up to grant. And indeed, the search and the examination processes will be precisely the same as those you’ve been used to with the current EP and PCT procedures, and will be performed by the same examiners. One of the strengths of the EPO is that we allocate examiners to applications according to their technical expertise, regardless of the filing route through which applications arrive. It will only be at the end of the procedure, when the application proceeds to grant, that applicants will have to indicate if they want to have a single Unitary Patent instead of a bundle of patents for individual member states, as is the case for the European patent. So it’s extremely straightforward, cost effective, and much simpler to administer post grant than the current European patent. My impression is that many U.S. applicants already understand the logic and advantages of this very well, sometimes even a little better than European applicants, as the geographical size and the GDP of the market covered by the Unitary Patent is very similar to that of the U.S. patent.

Exclusive with Grant Philpott: Patenting Computer Implemented Inventions in Europe

We try to be precise and stick to CII because “software” in itself is a term which lacks precision. It can refer to a high level program, a machine level program, or it can be an executable program. But if we speak about a computer-implemented invention the core of the discussion is rather on the technology. We have a general purpose computer and we program it, and when it runs it executes the instructions and performs certain functions. So the essence of our approach is to ask what the software does. Software of course can do a variety of things, many of which can be totally out of the patentable area if they’re purely abstract or purely business oriented. But when software solves a technical problem you are definitely in the area where a patent is possible. That is the core element of our approach.

Intel R&D increases lead to 36% jump in U.S. patent grants

The recent earnings release from Intel also indicates that the company is increasing its investment in research and development. Intel reported that R&D expenditures were $12.7 billion over the course of 2016 and $3.3 billion during the fourth quarter. This was up from the company’s $12.1 billion investment in R&D during 2015 as well as $3.1 billion invested during 2015’s fourth quarter. Intel spent more on R&D than it did on marketing, general and administrative (MG&A), where the company spent $8.4 billion during 2016 and $2.2 billion during the recent quarter. Intel’s full year guidance for 2017 indicates that the company expects to spend a total of $20.5 billion on both R&D and MG&A this year.

IBM receives most U.S. patents for 23rd consecutive year

IBM once again has topped the list of annual U.S. patent recipients, receiving 7,355 patents in 2015. This is the 23rd consecutive year IBM has received more U.S. patents than any other entity in the world. More than 8,500 IBMers residing in 50 states and territories and 46 countries are responsible for IBM’s 2015 patent tally. IBM inventors who reside outside the U.S. contributed to more than 36 percent of the company’s 2015 patents.

Are Patent Computer Systems Ready for U.S. Patent 10,000,000?

Over the next several weeks the USPTO will award U.S. Patent 9,200,000, which will occur just less than 8 months after U.S. Patent No. 9,000,000 was awarded. At this pace the ten million threshold will come sometime in June 2018. Why even think about U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000 at this time? The simple answer is because it will add one more digit – an eighth digit – to utility patent numbers. Since the dawn of the computer age, computer systems have handled only 7 digit patent numbers. Without deliberate consideration and action moving to an eighth digit may not be as smooth a transition as you may want to believe.

Software Patent Basics: What Level of Description is Required?

The key to any software patent application is to describe the invention with enough technical detail, system specifics and process information so that a computer programmer could take the disclosure and code the software without having to make any independent, creative decisions. Essentially, you want your patent application to be a design document. This is critical because it is the design of the software — the architecture of the system, how the algorithms are strung together, the rules, calculations and manipulations — that are patentable. Software code is not patentable. You can and should get a copyright on the software code as written, but the invention does not reside in the code. The computer programmer is merely a translator that takes your invention and writes it into code that the computer can execute.

The Year of the Cloud: Cloud Computing Goes Mainstream

Even as more of us are becoming acquainted with the idea of the cloud, many of us are still woefully ignorant of what the term actually means. For example, a survey by cloud software developer Citrix Systems showed that 54 percent of respondents did not believe that they used cloud-based computing, even though 95 percent of them actually did. Almost as many respondents confused the cloud metaphor, believing that stormy weather could actually interfere with cloud systems. Cloud computing is set to take a much more prominent role in our technologically savvy society. Providing advanced computing applications through networking channels severely reduces the IT needs of homes and businesses who want to use more powerful software programs without installing them on a client computer. With more than $131 billion in economic activity for the cloud computing sector in 2013, more business infrastructure and software services should be taking to the cloud than ever before.

Building Better Software Patent Applications: Embracing Means-Plus-Function Disclosure Requirements in the Algorithm Cases

The disclosure requirements for these types of patent applications has been a moving target for years, which means that whatever the most stringent disclosure requirements are should become the target regardless of the types of claims you file. To ensure your software patent application has appropriate disclosure of the invention you should accept — even embrace — the requirements for having an appropriate means-plus-function disclosure. By meeting the strict standards set forth in the mean-plus-function algorithm cases you will file more detailed applications that have better disclosure and which will undoubtedly support more claims, thus making the resulting patent or patents more valuable.

Patent Drafting: Defining Computer Implemented Processes

So what information is required in order to demonstrate that there really is an invention that deserves to receive a patent? When examining computer implemented inventions the patent examiner will determine whether the specification discloses the computer and the algorithm (e.g., the necessary steps and/or flowcharts) that perform the claimed function in sufficient detail such that one of ordinary skill in the art can reasonably conclude that the inventor invented the claimed subject matter. An algorithm is defined by the Patent Offices as a finite sequence of steps for solving a logical or mathematical problem or performing a task. The patent application may express the algorithm in any understandable terms including as a mathematical formula, in prose, in a flow chart, or in any other manner that provides sufficient structure. In my experience, flow charts that are described in text are the holy grail for these types of applications. In fact, I just prepared a provisional patent application for an inventor and we kept trading flow charts until we had everything we needed. Iterative flow charting creates a lot of detail and the results provide a tremendous disclosure.

The PTO Paradox: A Gatekeeper Mired in the Past

I believe it is time for the PTO to jump aboard the ship of the future and use document and data search techniques now being employed in the litigation and national security arenas. Many tools (software approaches) exist that multiply effort and get smarter with each go around. I believe these tools should have a place at the PTO. Search techniques that build on what others have done and that search not just publications, but file histories as well, would give examiners a leg up when trying to assess patentability and truly understand what references can and should be cited to demonstrate. Machine translation of foreign language art would also be very useful. The abstracts just do not provide enough for an Examiner to go on for foreign references. And, in many areas, foreign art is the best.