Have you ever despatched a motivational textual content to a buddy? If you’ve, maybe you tailor-made your message to an exercise or location by saying “Good luck within the race!” or “Have enjoyable in New York!” Now, think about doing this routinely with a compuuuter. What a terrific invention. Actually, no. That’s not invention, it’s our newest Stupid Patent of the Month.
U.S. Patent No. 9,069,648 is titled “Systems and strategies for delivering exercise primarily based suggestive (ABS) messages.” The patent describes sending “motivational messages,” primarily based “on the present or anticipated exercise of the consumer,” to a “private digital system.” The patent supplies examples similar to sending the message “don’t surrender” when the consumer is working up a hill. The examples aren’t restricted to well being or train. For instance, the patent suggests sending messages like “don’t concern” and “God is with you” when a “consumer enters a harmful neighborhood.”
The patent’s description of its invention is stuffed with foolish, non-standard acronyms like ABS for “exercise primarily based suggestive” messages or EBIF for “digital primarily based intelligence perform.” These foolish acronyms create an phantasm of complexity the place plain, descriptive language would reveal the mundane nature of the supposed invention. For instance, what the patent grandly calls EBIF seems to be nothing greater than normal pc processing.
The ’648 patent is owned by Motivational Health Messaging LLC. While this can be a brand new firm, no less than one in every of the folks behind it has been concerned in huge patent trolling campaigns earlier than. And the 2 named inventors have each been inventors on patents that trolls have asserted tons of of occasions. One can also be an inventor listed on patents asserted by notorious patent troll Shipping and Transit LLC. The different named inventor is the inventor on the patents asserted by Electronic Communication Technologies LLC. Those two entities (with their predecessors) introduced over 700 lawsuits, many towards very small companies. In different phrases, the ’648 patent has been issued to Troll Co. at 1 Troll Street, Troll Town, Trollida USA.
We imagine that the claims of the ’648 patent are clearly invalid below the Supreme Court’s determination in Alice v. CLS Bank, which held summary concepts don’t change into eligible for a patent merely as a result of they’re carried out in standard pc know-how. Indeed, the patent repeatedly emphasizes that the claimed strategies will not be tied to any explicit hardware or software program. For instance, it states:
The software program and software program logic described on this doc … which contains an ordered itemizing of executable directions for implementing logical capabilities, may be embodied in any non-transitory computer-readable medium to be used by or in reference to an instruction execution system, equipment, or system, similar to a computer-based system, processor-containing system, or different system that may fetch the directions from the instruction execution system, equipment, or system and execute the directions.
The ’648 patent issued on June 30, 2015, a full yr after the Supreme Court’s Alice ruling. Despite this, the patent examiner by no means even mentioned the choice. If Alice is to imply something in any respect, it must be utilized to an software like this one.
In our view, if Motivational Health Messaging asserts its patent in court docket, any defendant that fought again ought to prevail below Alice. Indeed, we’d hope that the court docket would strongly think about awarding legal professional’s charges to the defendant in such a case. Shipping & Transit has now had two payment awards made towards it for asserting patents which can be clearly invalid below Alice. And the Federal Circuit just lately held that payment awards may be acceptable when patent homeowners make objectively unreasonable argument regarding Alice.
In addition to the issues below Alice, we imagine the claims of the ’648 patent ought to have been rejected as apparent. When the appliance was filed in 2012, there was nothing new about sending motivational messages or routinely tailoring messages to issues like location. In one proposed embodiment, the patent suggests that a “consumer strolling to a gap could also be delivered ABS messages, together with reminders or directions on how one can play a selected gap.” But golf apps had been already doing this. The Patent Office didn’t think about any real-world cell phone functions when reviewing the appliance.
If you wish to search for prior artwork your self, Unified Patents is working a crowdsourcing contest to search out the most effective prior artwork to invalidate the ’648 patent. Aside from the nice and cozy emotions that come from combating patent trolls, there’s a $2000 prize pool.
Despite the weak spot of its patent, Motivational Health Messaging LLC would possibly nonetheless ship out demand letters. If you obtain such a letter, you possibly can contact EFF and we will help you discover counsel.
We have lengthy complained that the Patent Office promotes patent trolling by granting apparent and/or summary software program patents. The historical past of the ’648 patent exhibits how the Patent Office’s failure to correctly evaluation functions results in dangerous patents falling into the arms of trolls.
This story initially appeared on the EFF’s weblog.
This article sources info from VentureBeat