EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.29.08

The Fight Against Software Patents and Intellectual Monopolies

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Kernel, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is a fair bit of news on the subject of what the press wrongly calls "intellectual property". For starters, you are strongly encouraged to read this new article from the Guardian. It explains why “‘Intellectual property’ is a silly euphemism.”

And now, come to consider the fact that many companies fight to end software patents. This is major, if accurately described herein.

The End Software Patents Web site, here, highlights a long list of diverse businesses that have been sued for allegedly infringing software patents, including the Green Bay Packers, OfficeMax, Caterpillar, Kraft Foods , ADT Security Services, AutoNation, Wal-Mart , Walgreen , Barnes & Noble, Circuit City Stores , Ford Motor , E I du Pont de Nemours and Co. , and so on. In most cases, the companies have been sued because of certain basic, routine functions performed on their Web sites — the way images are displayed, the way data is gathered or transmitted — which are said to infringe software patents.

With so many spurious patents, it should hardly be surprising that a huge backlog gets reported by the USPTO, which very recently received an unnecessary funding boost.

Even with its increased hiring estimates of 1,200 patent examiners each year for the next 5 years, the US Patent and Trademark Office patent application backlog is expected to increase to over 1.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2011 the Government Accounting Office reported today.

With these astonishing numbers in mind, watch the following chart again.

Software patent on rise

Mind the following news article from Associated Press:

More than 60 companies and trade associations, including Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc., are members of Coalition for Patent Fairness. The coalition paid Patton Boggs to lobby Congress in support of patent legislation that passed the House last year but has stalled in the Senate.

Using the power of the lobbyist (political intervention), at least some of them want to abolish elements in the USPTO that harm their revenue while keeping some of the elements that are harmful to Free software (i.e. their rivals). This was argued elsewhere in the past and even pointed out by Digital Majority editors.

The worry here is that various ‘peripheral’ (Linus Torvalds calls them "external") issues exist that people like ourselves and others are still studying. Have a look at ways in which Microsoft intends to replace the cash cows' cashflow. It seems safe to suspect Microsoft still operates at a loss, overall. A change of strategy is crucial to Microsoft’s survival.

Remember what’s in Microsoft mind: patents. Watch the recent news about Blackboard, which was funded by Microsoft. For all we can tell, Microsoft views this as its newer strategy. Its latest SEC filing supports this assertion, to an extent. Then again, Microsoft is also a sufferer, as we were last reminded only 3 days ago.

Microsoft Corp. has challenged 24 of Avistar Communications Corp.’s 29 U.S. patents, the company said.

San Mateo-based Avistar said the challenge follows six months of unsuccessful business discussions.

Software patents and legislation might have greater effect on the success of GNU/Linux than only its technical merits. Those who refuse to acknowledge this do so at their own peril.

Related articles:

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. GitHub is All About Control

    GitHub is not a platform for sharing and collaboration but social control and manipulation of the Free software community



  2. 2019 in Review: Worst Year Ever for Software Freedom

    A look back (and ahead) as the year's end fast approaches, marking the end of a mostly bad year



  3. Links 15/12/2019: Hacker-Friendly Hardware Success Stories and Mozilla Woes

    Links for the day



  4. European Patents Losing Their Appeal, Lustre and Glamour

    Years of assaults on EPO staff — including EPO judges — have taken their toll and the quality of patents is nothing like it used to be



  5. Software Freedom and The U.S. Constitution

    “We need to stand for the freedom to not use the software — we need to enjoy that freedom without giving up the rest of the existing Free software ecosystem.”



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 14, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 14, 2019



  7. Links 15/12/2019: Wine 5.0 RC1 Released, KDE Frameworks 5.65.0, Qubes OS 4.0.2 RC3

    Links for the day



  8. It Matters a Lot What You Call the System

    Why the best name for the best operating system would be "GNU", not "Linux" (media has twisted the words so as to marginalise GNU and its politics/philosophy)



  9. Only the EPO Goes as Far as Bribing Publishers (the Media) to Promote Software Patents and Publish Fictional Stories

    The world’s patent offices are growing tired of granting software patents which courts later toss out (because these patents are not valid); not only does the EPO advocate such patents — typically using a bundle of buzzwords — it’s also bribing the media to help



  10. EU Needs to Show That It Cares About SMEs and Not 'European Champions' That Are Actually Foreign Monopolies

    Judging by the EU’s nearly blind and unconditional support for the management of the EPO — no matter how abusive and corrupt it has gotten — one has to wonder if the ex-EU official in charge of the EPO reveals a profound democracy deficit as well as growing dangers to Europe’s businesses — the productive firms to which patent maximalism often represents far more risk than opportunity



  11. Guest Article: The Free Software Movement Should Come Out From the Box

    "From now onwards we have to think from a user’s rights perspective and mobilise users of Free software. They should know what rights they ought to get."



  12. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 13, 2019

    IRC logs for Friday, December 13, 2019



  13. Links 13/12/2019: QEMU 4.2.0, GNU Guile 2.9.7

    Links for the day



  14. Links 13/12/2019: Zorin OS 15.1, Vim 8.2

    Links for the day



  15. Linux Foundation Has Outsourced All the Licence Compliance Stuff to Microsoft, a Serial GPL Violator

    OpenChain Specification/OpenChain Project and Automated Compliance Tooling (ACT) are yet more examples -- the latest of many -- of the Linux Foundation being outsourced to Microsoft, not only for code but also documentation and hosting



  16. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 12, 2019

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 12, 2019



  17. Copyleft: Keeping Code Free

    Now that news about "Linux" is dominated by promotion of proprietary software we ought to remember what perpetrators of such a strategy seek to eliminate



  18. Plans That Worked, Plans That Failed

    "I am still looking for good news, but the more good I try to find, the more nastiness I uncover. This is by far, Free software's worst year ever. 2019 Sucks!"



  19. Links 12/12/2019: KDE Applications 19.12, Qt Creator 4.11, New VirtualBox

    Links for the day



  20. Brand Dilution in Action

    Microsoft's proprietary software which spies on people and businesses is getting a "free ride" on the "Linux" brand; and nobody seems to care, nobody seems to notice how perverse that it



  21. At the EPO Money -- Not Quality -- is King

    Financiers are ruining quality



  22. The EPO's Strategic Failure 2023

    Potemkin social dialogue



  23. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 11, 2019



  24. EPO Promoting Software Patents in Countries Where These Are Illegal

    The EPO's vision of 'unitary' software patents (patents on algorithms in countries that disallow such patents, as per their national laws) won't materialise, but in the meantime a lot of Invalid Patents (IPs) are granted in the form of European Patents (EPs) and this is wrong



  25. We Support GNU and the FSF But Remain Sceptical and Occasionally Worry About an RMS-less FSF

    Richard Stallman (RMS) is not in charge of the FSF anymore (it's Stallman who created the FSF) and there's risk the decisions will be made by people who don't share Stallman's ethics or the FSF's spirit



  26. Links 11/12/2019: Huawei Lobbied by Microsoft (Because of GNU/Linux) and Microsoft Still Googlebombs Linux to Promote 'Teams'

    Links for the day



  27. Links 11/12/2019: Edge Native Working Group, CrossOver 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Instead of Fixing Bug #1 Canonical/Ubuntu Contributes to Making the Bug Even More Severe (WSL/EEE)

    Following one seminal report about Canonical financially contributing to Microsoft's EEE efforts — celebrated openly by GNU/Linux opponentsclosing bug #1 Ubuntu basically decided not that it was fixed but that it would no longer attempt to fix it (“wontfix”)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 10, 2019



  30. Today's Example of Microsoft's Faked 'Love'

    “On 7 September 2017, users began noticing a message that stated “Skype for Business is now Microsoft Teams”. This was confirmed on 25 September 2017, at Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference,” according to Wikipedia


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts