US Patent Office Gamed The System To Make Sure Patent 9 Million Wasn't A Crazy Troll Patent

from the looks-like-it dept

As I'm sure you were carefully anticipating, on Tuesday, April 7th, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued patent 9,000,000. As you of course are already aware, over the past few decades, the USPTO has been rapidly ramping up the number of patents it approves. That's why, even though patents only have a lifetime of 20 years from the date of application, 1/3 of all issued patents are still in force today. Think about that.

So, if you're wondering if patent 9,000,000 is a bad, trollish patent, you'll be happy to note that it's not a software or business method patent, but rather a kind of windshield washer system. Not only that, but there's a real company behind it that appears to be making a real product. Well, phew. The USPTO must be happy about that... Or, actually, the USPTO probably went through all the damn patents scheduled to issue on Tuesday to find one that wasn't controversial and magically named it number 9,000,000, though in any other week it would have been in a different batch. As patent blog 1201 Tuesday notes:

Because patents issue at discrete, weekly intervals, the PTO has time generally to group patents of the same “class” together in contiguous blocks of numbers. That’s why you usually don’t see a floor wax patent immediately next to a dessert topping patent. (Unless, of course, it's for both.)

Patent 9,000,000 today is in class 210, “Liquid purification or separation”. Yet, it interrupts a block of patents from class 514, “Drug, bio-affecting and body treating compositions”:

One of these patents is not like all those others... and it just so happens to be patent 9,000,000. Oh, and in case you're wondering, there were a bunch of other patents from class 210 "Liquid purification or separation" issued on Tuesday as well -- it's just that they're patents 8,999,153 to 8,999,176, all in a row. So it looks like the USPTO found that one nice, non-controversial patent and plucked it out of the 8,99,160ish range and plopped it directly in the middle of all of those "drug, bio-affecting and body treating compositions" and declared it, magically, 9 million, knowing that it might get a bit of attention.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 8:19am

    Meh. 9 million isn't that important of a number.

    Now when it gets to 10,000,000, that'll be a big deal!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      At this rate, I think that will be next month.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:25am

      Re:

      > Meh. 9 million isn't that important of a number.
      > Now when it gets to 10,000,000, that'll be a big deal!

      Recall the Y2K problem.

      Maybe the patent office computers will all go crazy* due to a similar P10M problem. That is, the counter for patent numbers only holds nine digits. Who would have ever dreamed there would even be one million patents. Do we really have that many remarkable innovations in the world around us?


      * I didn't want to say 'explode' because that might be taken as a terrorist threat. You seriously cannot even make jokes these days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 8:22am

    Couldn't this be used as an argument that the Patent Office knows that most of the patents are BS? We will rubber stamp all of these, but since this is a mile stone lets make sure it is a valid patent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 8:43am

    It's now OVER 9 MILLION!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Toreador, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:00am

    Citations needed even for this fluff.

    >>> "1/3 of all issued patents are still in force today." -- SO? Just a NUMBER without context. State the ratio for fifty years ago and explain how it's important.

    >>> "9,000,000 ... windshield washer system" -- Again, SO? First cite your evidence it's cherry picked, then state why that's evil.

    You're rabidly fixated on patents being evil, but too lazy to more than re-write a piece of fluff.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:06am

      Re: Citations needed even for this fluff.

      Umm, did you miss the evidence that it's cherry picked?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re: Citations needed even for this fluff.

        >>> Umm, did you miss the evidence that it's cherry picked?

        No, you missed Masnick stating "the USPTO probably".

        The link only states a conjecture.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Just Another Anonymous Troll, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:11am

      Re: Citations needed even for this fluff.

      1. It means that out of all 9 million patents, about 3 million were issued in the past 20 years. Please do your own darn research instead of screaming at the authors because you're lazy.
      2. RTFA.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Citations needed even for this fluff.

        Slightly more precisely, the same source for the "about 1/3" also said in October, 2014, that approximately 2.5 million US patents were still in force. Given the number of new patents that issue each year, the number is likely a bit higher than 2.5 million, but also likely not 3 million.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 7:35pm

      Re:

      Hilarious that you've resorted to using "TOR" nicknames to allude to yourself using TOR.

      Newflash, knucklehead. The fact that you're out_of_the_blue is still painfully obvious. Your plan to try and mask the presence of this pathetic persona fails, every time.

      Not forgetting that you and your copyright fanboy buddies all agree that using TOR to mask your IP address is against the law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 7:39pm

      No. Without insider info it can't be proven

      Even with insider info it probably couldn't be proven. BUT! He supplied plenty of circumstantial evidence that makes a good case for this patent having been cherry-picked, and that's enough for this purpose. We're not in court. He's not writing an article for a peer-reviewed journal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:13am

    BFD, even if it was taken out of turn for PR reasons. My bigger question is if this is a patent that TD believes might actually be valid, or is it yet another "How could the agency issue this blatantly obvious patent?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    dfed (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:14am

    Patent #9000001, however, was a "Method for practically gaming the USPTO patent system to achieve numerical synergy."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Squirrels Without Borders, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:22am

    They did it for 8,000,000 and 7,000,000 too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    aerilus, 10 Apr 2015 @ 9:39am

    the future of the american economy is intellectual property. because you can't steal an idea.......

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 10 Apr 2015 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      The whole point of the patent system is to steal ideas, as in removing other people's access to them even if they come up with them themselves. And most of those patents block other people's access to them even if nobody else came up with the idea first, by using generic jumbo-mumbo fitting anything.

      Sort of like stealing a base. If 99% of all bases are stolen, at some point you have to wonder if you are still serving the spirit of the game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Apr 2015 @ 12:41pm

      Re:

      the future of the american economy is intellectual property. because you can't steal an idea.......

      Because I really can't tell - is this serious, or sarcastic?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 11:41am

    What was wrong with Class 514?

    I can only conclude that the USPTO thinks all the almost-150 new patents in Class 514 are controversial. That's pretty sad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thrudd, 10 Apr 2015 @ 1:00pm

    sarcasm

    If its by a regular poster then it's sarcasm. If its the USPO then it is real.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Nice get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2015 @ 8:10pm

    got another link for that floor wax/desert topping?
    i can't see the clip from here, all i get is


    Geo Restriction
    Sorry! The content provider has not given us the rights to play this video in your location.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2015 @ 8:32pm

    f you're wondering if patent 9,000,000 is a bad, trollish patent, you'll be happy to note that it's not a software or business method patent, but rather a kind of windshield washer system.


    well..actually.. in this case i think it is a troll patent... after reading the patent it immediately came to my mind that this looks almost exactly like a water recycler, desalinization and purification device that's used in some countries to make clean drinking water.

    They just replaced the chlorine chemical agent in the distribution system with some concentrated windshield detergent.

    Water chlorination is still used for water treatment and sterilization in quite a few countries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 12 Apr 2015 @ 6:38am

      Re:


      well..actually.. in this case i think it is a troll patent... after reading the patent it immediately came to my mind that this looks almost exactly like a water recycler, desalinization and purification device that's used in some countries to make clean drinking water.


      If one is for drinking water and one is for washing windshields, that doesn't sound trollish. You may be setting the bar for newness a little too high.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2015 @ 10:17pm

        Re: Re:

        ok..lets try lowering it a bit...

        ever used a soda machine that can distribute different flavors of drinks? They use a very concentrated liquid as the juice base and they add water to that. CO2-enriched water usually, to make it fizzy.

        These guys just patented machines that combine a concentrated liquid with water to obtain another liquid, and with a water recycling system.

        Or another thing... floor washing vacuum cleaners that use water for washing also contain such a device in them, and they even use concentrated detergent and recycle the water that they use.
        The only major difference between washing a floor and a windshield is the vertical angle.

        so yes.. i think this looks like a bit obvious.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 13 Apr 2015 @ 7:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or another thing... floor washing vacuum cleaners that use water for washing also contain such a device in them, and they even use concentrated detergent and recycle the water that they use.

          The ones I'm familiar with don't, and I doubt any others do either. It's so much simpler to just store the dirty water.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CFWhitman, 14 Apr 2015 @ 6:42am

    The number alone shows the dubiousness of patents

    Really, just the fact that 9,000,000 patents have been issued says a lot about how valid they are likely to be. I have my doubts that there are 9,000,000 things in the history of mankind that are patent worthy.

    It's really gotten out of hand. Patents were not originally intended to be issued for new applications of existing technologies. The technologies themselves were supposed to be new.

    People don't seem to appreciate what this means. People seem to think that being the first to think of doing something makes doing that thing patentable, while in reality this makes it less likely to be patentable. It's not the novelty of the idea that makes it patentable, it's the novelty of method of accomplishing it that makes it patentable. Something that people have been trying and failing to do for years, or doing in a much less efficient manner than the one you came up with are the things most likely to be patentable. Those are the real inventions. How often do they happen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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