Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tech Dirt - Patent Not Sufficiently Broad Or Generic? Cloem Will Help You By Automatically Generating Dozens Of Nearly Identical Patents

Tech Dirt's article Patent Not Sufficiently Broad Or Generic? Cloem Will Help You By Automatically Generating Dozens Of Nearly Identical Patents  has "news about two startups that could upend intellectual property laws: Qentis (copyright) and Cloem (patents)."

Tech Dirt claims "Cloem's business model seems a bit more grounded in reality" and notes VentureBeat describes Cloem as providing "software that ... appears to linguistically manipulate a seed set of a client’s patent claims by, for example, substituting in synonyms or reordering steps in a process, thereby generating tens of thousands of potentially patentable inventions."

"Cloem is a mixture of patent experts and computer linguistic specialists. The key element of its potentially-patentable variations lies within 'seed lists,' which draw from a variety of sources, including (according to Cloem) 70,000,000 patent documents. Its algorithms then brute force together lists of 'new' patent claims, which can then be filed and used offensively or defensively."

Tech Dirt concludes "Cloem's business model seems custom-built for patent trolls who will be able to "expand" their already-broad patents to nail down even more IP turf. Cloem's service also makes it easy for non-inventors to jam up patent offices with me-too "inventions" based on minor iterations of existing patents."

In my opinion, the business model has significant issues:

Inventorship - The software generated claims make murky who invented. Can we safely conclude the inventor of the seed claim invented the computer generated set of claims? I am doubting the authors of the software intend to be named as inventors, read any part of the application, or interact with the inventors of the seed claim. So how could this business model scale?

Reordering steps of a method - In general, the order the steps are recited in a method claim does not dictate a certain order. Yet the assumption is reordering the steps gets you different protection.

Lack of accounting for prior art - You must be aware of the prior art to draft a claim that maximizes the protection.

No value in filing dozen of nearly identical patents - Filing dozens of nearly identical patents will only trigger double patenting rejections and if not caught in examination will serve as a valid defense in court.

No perceived users - Cloem is not a startup, but the article doesn't identity a single patent troll that uses the software much less file dozens of nearly identical patents with thousands of claims using this software.

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