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

05.16.08

Patents Roundup: From the Fight Against EU Sanity to Novell, Microsoft, and Moonblight [sic]

Posted in America, DRM, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents, Vista at 1:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME trashAt this current pace, the USPTO will be falling down the wastebasket pretty soon (Grand Implosion™), so it remains important to ensure it does not take the EPO down along with it [1, 2]. Here are some highlights from the news.

All Your Typos Are [sic] Belong to Us

VeriSign got criticised out of this planet for profiteering from typos. Now it get the nerve to get a software patent on it.

VeriSign wins patent for Internet typo redirection

[...]

If VeriSign tries to demand licensing fees from others, patent lawyers could claim that similar services existed before Verisign’s was patented. In fact, VeriSign had cited those pre-existing services in justifying Site Finder.

All Your Curve Balls Are [sic] Belong to Use

Will you have a look at this one? It relates to Bilski [1, 2, 3, 4].

So is a curve ball patentable? No one really seemed to want to answer Judge Bryson’s question, and when they did answer the question there was not a lot of intellectual honesty. The answer, of course, should be that a “curve ball” is not patentable because it is still a baseball. There has been no transformation of the baseball in a physical way, so there is nothing new and/or nonobvious.

Microsoft’s Crusade for Intellectual Monopoly

It’s always rather amusing to find articles which speak of “export” when referring to imaginary things that they try very hard to characterise as “property”. All it deserves to be called is a “monopoly”, which in this case applies not to a complex process or a physical product but to human thought — imagination even. The other day we mentioned and commented on Microsoft's latest patent deal. A day later, Microsoft lovers take their shot at it as well, seemingly trying to create some fear (just what Microsoft needs). Here comes CNET to market some more patent deals:

With Microsoft’s announcement of yet another patent cross-licensing deal this week, it would seem nearly everyone has a deal with Redmond.

CNET has just been acquired, but it also has some promotional arrangements with Microsoft and you must be careful when reading anything from Ina Fried because it’s filled with bias. The reporter is apparently (almost evidently) close to Steve Ballmer. Mary Jo Foley, by contrast, can’t get anywhere near him because she occasionally ‘dares’ to criticise Microsoft (she told me so). Microsoft plays ‘reward and punishment’ with journalists, thereby encouraging them to say positive things, i.e. have more of that existing Microsoft bias. It’s just something to bear in mind, making it a rule of thumb. If you thought that press control in Russia was bad…

Hypocrisy at its finest, yet again.

From Digital Majority

Gratitude goes to Benjamin who has accumulated some good new finds. Here we have what seems like software patent troll du jour.

# May 12

# Fotomedia Technologies LLC vs. American Greetings Corp. et al
# Fotomedia Technologies LLC vs. Fujifilm USA Inc. et al

Plaintiff Fotomedia has filed two separate complaints for patent infringement against 50 different defendants.

According to the original complaints, Fotomedia owns the rights to three patents:

U.S. Patent No. 6,018,774 for a Method and System for Creating Messages Including Image Formation, issued Jan. 25, 2000.

U.S. Patent No. 6,542,936 B1 for a System for Creating Messages Including Image Information, issued April 1, 2003.

U.S. Patent No. 6,871,231 B1 for a Role-Based Access to Image Metadata issued March 22, 2005.

The first complaint names two dozen defendants that offer photo sharing Web sites which the plaintiff alleges infringe the patents, including American Greetings, DotPhoto, Phanfare, PictureTrail, BetterPhoto.com, Kaboose, BubbleShare, Printroom, Scripps Networks, Photogra, Fotki and Zazzle.

Reading further you’ll also find continued attempts to change patent laws in Europe. Typically, reappointments play a role and Sarkozy comes to mind as an example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The OOXML scandal was filled with such examples, as was last mentioned yesterday. At the moment in fact, Microsoft appears to be playing a similar card in a proxy fight against Yahoo’s board. But anyway, watch this from the news: (our highlights are in red)

Despite the hard work put into reforming the intellectual property landscape during its presidency of the EU in the first half of this year, Slovenia has admitted there won’t be a breakthrough under its stewardship.

[...]

The only country to oppose this idea is Spain, which has fought hardest against plans to simplify the linguistic requirements of the patent system. The country argues that Spanish is a more important language than both French and German, two of the official languages of the European patent system (the other being English), because of its use in Latin America. It fears that if patents aren’t available in Spanish, then Spain will become an economic backwater.

Spain to the rescue?

But the arrival last month of a new Spanish minister in charge of science and innovation, molecular biologist Cristina Garmendia, gives reason to hope for a change in the Spanish position, Konteas said.

“The Spanish government seems ready to change the focus of the economy from tourism and construction towards innovation-led pursuits. They seem to be going in the right direction.”

Talk about ‘agents for change’. The term is typically used with a positive connotation, unlike “crusader”, which is more imperialistic.

Lastly, have another look at these recent moves in the UK [PDF]. It’s not news, but it’s summarised thusly:

The Intellectual Property Office has revised its guidance on claims relating to computer programs, reflecting the more permissive stance taken by the High Court in the recent Astron Clinica case. The High Court has made a further pro-patentee ruling, this time in the case of Symbian’s application for an improved method of accessing a dynamic link library.

As reported in our last technology update, the practice of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) of flatly rejecting patent claims to computer program products has recently been overruled. The case law in the area, formulated in the 2006 Aerotel and Macrossan decisions (see our Internet & E-Commerce Update of November 2006) was clarified in January 2008 by the decision of the High Court in Astron Clinica & Ors (see coverage in our last Updated dated February 2008).

It is without doubt that the United States will relentlessly continue trying to ruin the European system until it’s ‘equally ruined’, which passes US disadvantage onto competing economies. To use the hypothetical analogy Peter Gutmann made up to explain DRM in Windows Vista, it’s like cutting off the legs or Olympic athletes and seeing who hobbles best on crutches. Still, better than having the Olympic games delivered via the DRM-crippled Silverblight/Silverbullet/Silverfish, right?

Need it be mentioned that Microsoft has many software patents on this technology? And if Mono’s patron and Microsoft partner Novell likes it, should everyone else accept it also? You ought to see the ‘warm’ welcome Moonlight receives at Digg (mind the comments in particular).

“One Free Software Foundation-backed group–aptly called the End Software Patents Project–is using the [Bilski] case as a platform to argue that no form of software should ever qualify for a patent. Red Hat also argued that the “exclusionary objectives” of software patents conflict with the nature of the open-source system and open up coders to myriad legal hazards.”

Court case could redefine business method, software patents

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. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  2. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  3. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  4. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  5. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  6. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  7. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  8. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  9. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  10. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  11. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  12. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  13. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  14. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  15. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  16. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  17. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  20. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  21. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  22. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  23. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  24. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  25. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  26. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  28. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO



  29. Team UPC Has Run Out of Arguments, So Now It's Just Writing Anti-Brexit Rants With Testicles in the Headlines

    Nothing has worked for firms that crafted and lobbied hard for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); after necrophilia a new low is being reached



  30. Making the Patent System About Productive Actors (Again), Not a Bunch of Law Firms and Trolls

    The US patent system is going out of shape and out of tune, just like the EPO when Battistelli came to it, dismantling the rule of law and even judges whom he did not like


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