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

04.09.08

The Passionate Fight Against Software Patents Continues

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This post contains a collection of news items which provide insight into the latest on this topic.

Bilski and Software Patents

We mentioned Bilski the other day and soon afterwards we saw Red Hat's response to it. There are several other interpretations and the following article, “software patents could be killed off for good”, is probably worth pointing out.

TWO ADVOCACY ORGANISATIONS, the End Software Patents (ESP) and the Free Software Foundation (FSF), have filed an amicus curiae brief with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC) rehearing of the In re Bilski case, set to be heard on May 8, 2008. This rehearing could have significant implications and mean the death of software patents.

As you can see, the ESP is involved. In fact, it has just put up this press release in its Web site and so has The Free Software Foundation. The ESP is backed by many large companies, so it can hopefully lend a muscle to this fight. Groklaw wrote an article about Red Hat’s involvement and it’s very law-savvy.

I thought you might like to understand what is going on, as best as I can explain it. Here’s the ACLU brief [PDF]. Red Hat’s announcement indicates that it is asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to consider something dear to your hearts, whether or not, or to what degree, patents should be allowed on software, and its brief explains to the court the damage that software patents are doing to Open Source software.

For those wishing to explore this further, the articles above ought to help a little.

Patenting Objects

In the face of desperation over the state of the patent system, Béranger wrote this good item. It truly makes it all seem rather outrageous.

The plastic bowl and the patent attorney

[...]

It means that you shouldn’t be worried only about the possible patents infringed by the (open-source or not) software you’re using, but you should also be paranoid about whether some object you’re merely using (and you have paid for it!), such as your laptop or a plastic bowl or whatever else (a simple cardboard package as the ones used by Amazon.com is covered by 7 or 9 patents, don’t ask me what for!) is not infringing a patent.

Maybe it’s time to stop suing companies for alleged patent infringements in the software they use, and we should tell the lawyers that they could sue instead for the pegs, chairs, tables, office stationery, door knobs, lavatories and wash basins the company is using without verifying whether the manufacturer is not (even unknowingly) infringing a patent. They’re still valid patents for almost anything nowadays, especially in the United States.

The Lobbyist Epidemic

As we have repeatedly stressed here, formation of the law boils down to politics and wealth, not science. The rules are typically made by those who can afford to make changes without contradicting the constitution (or by stepping just around it, sometimes making amendments).

Watch Microsoft doing its thing.

Microsoft Corp. spent $9 million in 2007 to lobby for immigration and patent reforms, tax credits and cybersecurity among numerous other matters.

The software company spent $4.2 million in the second half of 2007 to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form posted online Feb. 13 by the Senate’s public records office. It lobbied on government purchases of software, including electronic health products, cybersecurity for critical infrastructures, high-speed Internet issues, online advertising and free trade agreements.

For further information about Microsoft’s attitude towards software patents, see these recent takeaways from Brad Smith's presentation at OSBC 2008. There are other reports about lobbying, which has become an industry worth billions of dollars.

John W. Thompson, chairman and CEO of Symantec, used part of his keynote address Tuesday at RSA 2008 to announce the merger of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance and the Information Technology Association of America.

Again, it’s worth stressing that Red Hat just recently announced that it would fight software patents. But what are its chances against several multi-billion-dollar companies that almost literally sponsor congress members (affecting not just in the US)? Can David defeat Goliath? How about several Goliaths working synchronously?

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. No, GNU/Linux Isn't at 3% and Windows Isn't at Over 90%, Either

    This ludicrous idea that "Linux" (however one defines it) enjoys just 3% of the "market" is false and it should be treated as laughable spin (it is being widely promoted this week, often by Microsoft boosters looking to make charts where Windows stays at above 90% and Vista 10 is 'gaining'... at the expense of Windows)



  2. Links 3/6/2020: Devuan Beowulf 3.0.0 and Tails 4.7 Released

    Links for the day



  3. Links 2/6/2020: New Firefox Release (77), Debian-based MX Linux 19.2, KDevelop 5.5.2, GNU/Linux Growth on Desktops/Laptops

    Links for the day



  4. Techrights Can Figure Out Source Protection/Anonymisation Whilst Operating Very Transparently

    We're still quite radically transparent whilst at the same time enjoying 100% source protection record; we're also improving the software we use to publish more quickly and efficiently



  5. IRC Proceedings: Monday, June 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, June 01, 2020



  6. This is How GNU Finally Dies

    "Brace for when GNU falls the way that OSI, FSF, FSFE, Mozilla, and the Linux Foundation did."



  7. Latest Microsoft Layoffs Spun as 'Innovation' (There's Always a Positive PR Angle)

    The public is expected to simply ignore the fact that Microsoft is laying off employees (again); instead we're expected to think it's all about Microsoft being very brilliant and innovative



  8. Microsoft Playing the Victim, Irrationally 'Hated' by Victims of Its Abuse

    We're meant to believe that those whom Microsoft bribes against are the opinionated 'haters' and Microsoft is a victim of 'hate'



  9. Links 1/6/2020: Linux 5.7, FOSSlife Born, LibreOffice 7.0 Beta1, Linux Mint 20 Making Early Promises

    Links for the day



  10. Linux Without Linus

    The Linux Foundation seems to be acting like Linus (Linux founder) is somewhat of a liability (forcing him to take a ‘break’ from his own project) while taking even the most notorious proposals from corporations, including those that called Linux a “cancer”



  11. What It Would Take for Linus Torvalds to Leave Linux Foundation Without the Linux Trademark and Without Linux

    It's nice to think that the founder of Linux can just take his project and walk away, moving elsewhere, i.e. away from the Microsoft-employed executives who now "boss" him; but it's not that simple anymore



  12. The Past Does Not Go Away, Except From Short-Term Memories

    People who are drunk on power and money (sometimes not even their own money) like to portray themselves as the very opposite of what they are; but in the age of the Internet it's difficult to make the general public simply forget the past and "move on..."



  13. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 31, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, May 31, 2020



  14. Links 1/6/2020: OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 2020.05, Linux Lite 5.0 Release, FreeBSD 11.4 RC2

    Links for the day



  15. It's a Common Mistake and Common Misconception/Error to Treat Microsoft as Just Another 'Large Company' (or 'Big Tech')

    What's wrong about Microsoft isn't its size; what's wrong with Microsoft is its behaviour, which isn't just illegal (crimes are the norm) but also hugely unethical



  16. Lessons of Michael Arrington (About Microsoft)

    Microsoft and Bill Gates have a long history bullying their critics; the quote above (or below) shows how even people who advertise with Microsoft are becoming the target of abuse



  17. 'Best' of Both Worlds: GNU/Linux Freedom + Malware With Keyloggers and DRM

    Running a Microsoft-controlled GNU/Linux instance under Vista 10 ("Windows Subsystem for Linux") in the age of virtual machines, dual boot and containers makes as much sense as chopping some carrots to go with the veal meal to appease vegetarian diners



  18. First They Bribe the Employer, Media Lynch Mobs May Follow

    The 'cancel culture' lynch mobs, which leverage social causes (or marginalised groups), remain a convenient means by which to oust one's political/business opposition; but money too is a massive contributing factor and the more one has of it, the easier it is to control media narrative and subversive focus



  19. Upcoming Series Teaser: The Bribery Operation of William Henry Gates III

    Bribery goes a very long way when it comes to the megalomaniac who pays the media to portray him as the world's most generous person



  20. Windows Ransomware Must Not be Unspeakable When People Die in Large Numbers Due to That (and Windows Has Intentional Back Doors)

    Loss of electronic patient records, ransom and downtime among the severe consequences of deploying Microsoft inside hospitals; yet the media rarely names the real culprit (manslaughter charges theoretically possible) and nobody gets punished except those who offer real solutions



  21. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, May 30, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, May 30, 2020



  22. Burning the House That Richard Stallman (RMS) Built: An Open Letter to GNU Maintainers Who Opposed RMS

    An open letter to people who petitioned RMS to step down and who outsource GNU projects to Microsoft (GitHub)



  23. Links 30/5/2020: Godot Editor Under Web Browsers, Alpine Linux 3.12.0 and EasyOS 2.3

    Links for the day



  24. EPO's Illegal Patents and Massive Corruption Go Unnoticed by Corporate Media and Sites That Cover Patent News

    Very major corruption scandals still emerge in Europe's second-largest institution and illegal patents get granted as well as promoted; somehow, perhaps miraculously, this no longer seems to bother anybody in the media (corruption and radical policies have been gradually 'normalised')



  25. Never Mind If GNU/Linux Works Better Inside Hospitals and Free Software Not Only Safer But Vastly More Efficient...

    With lives on the line one might expect hospitals to choose what's most secure and generally works best; but in practice there seems to be a leaning towards what bribes best



  26. Sick Alexander Ramsey is Using a Public Health Crisis to Lie About the Unitary Patent, Whose Fall Made Him Redundant and/or Obsolete

    Weaponised media continues to manufacture utterly ridiculous puff pieces for Team UPC, containing intentional lies from beginning to end



  27. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, May 29, 2020



  28. They Came, They Saw, He Died

    Microsoft is an inherently sociopathic company; today's story of AppGet is an important reminder that Microsoft has not changed and isn't changing (Maui is another week-old example of trademark-hijacking tactics by Microsoft)



  29. Microsoft-Connected CloudGuru Doesn't Care About GNU/Linux and Now It's Gradually Killing the BSD/Linux-Centric Jupiter Broadcasting (Bought by Linux Academy)

    Assuming Docker is being 'killed' by Microsoft (or at least hijacked to push Windows, Azure and so on) while the GitHub-hosted (Microsoft) CloudGuru, whose co-founder comes from Microsoft, ‘finishes the job’ with Linux Academy and its assets, it’s time to take stock of a pattern/trend that ruins the media too



  30. What Happened to Docker is a Cautionary Tale About the Not-So-New Microsoft

    It’s hardly shocking that Docker collapsed (mass-scale layoffs) after the company had gotten close to Microsoft and got rid of its very own founder (a Red Hat veteran) while the software is being killed off/co-opted by Microsoft (all over the news this week; we’ve omitted links by intention as it’s only puff pieces, no investigative journalism anywhere); we only ask one thing: is anyone paying attention and, if so, what are the lessons learned?


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