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

06.25.08

Patents Roundup: Good News, Bad News

Posted in Europe, Google, Interoperability, Microsoft, Patents, SUN at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Many stories about software patents make an appearance at the moment (it’s clearly a hot topic) and there’s little time to expand on them, so here is just a sample of news worth reading if you care about the legal fight against Free software.

Patents Down in Europe, Sun

It was interesting to discover that patents in Europe are on the decline, but the reasons for this decline was discomforting. [via Glyn Moody]

European Patent Office issued fewer patents in 2007

[...]

Nonetheless, the EPO staff’s morale seems to have never been lower. A survey conducted among several thousand staff members found that only 4 per cent have faith in the management board. Only 6 per cent said they were satisfied with their direct superiors and the president. The auditors have also long been complaining that they are chronically overworked.

We previously wrote about Sun's view on software patents. While not much has changed, it’s reassuring to find this:

On his blog, Sun’s general counsel Mike Dillon provides an explanation as to why his company took the decision back in 2005 to reduce the number of patent applications it files…

Aside from our focus on patent quality, there is another reason we are filing fewer patents. It has to do with our business model. Unlike some companies, we don’t have a corporate goal for revenue derived from patents (and patent litigation).

UNIX-basedFor a company that suffers financially and reduces its workforce perpetually, the above seems like a bold statement. Reasons below.

Downturn/Recession Turns “Defensive” to Offensive

Digital Majority turns its readers’ attention to this article.

Why Patent Applications Increase in a Down Economy

[...]

In September, in a case known as “Re: Comisky,” the U.S. Patent Office held the inventor’s method for conducting mandatory arbitration involving legal documents was not patentable, essentially finding that a business process that does not require the use or implementation of technology, but depends on steps of human intervention, can not be awarded a patent.

Europe’s Back Door Again

Glyn Moody is well aware of the little scheme that’s apparently cooking in the EU. It’s partly about shoving in some software patents by the backdoor, using the help of Commissioner Charlie Mccreevy:

…where those “opportunities” almost certainly amount to sneaking in software patents by the backdoor.

Be alert for more of this stuff: the price of freedom is eternal vigilance etc. etc. etc.

Watch Don Marti’s critique of the Commission’s toothless and lawless (as in tiger) fight against RAND and the likes of it. We highlighted this problem before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

You can’t have it both ways: if “Intellectual Property” should be treated like actual property, then you put it at risk when you use it in a crime. The European Commission isn’t picking on a US-based company for no reason here. In fact, the Commission generally advocates for expansions of exclusive rights in information that tend to benefit US-based companies at the expense of Europe. And in this case, the Commission didn’t even limit Microsoft’s use of the patent system. It only limited the company’s ability to make vague anticompetitive threats based on unspecified parts of a large patent portfolio, and handed over some protocol information that Samba was in the process of working out anyway.

A common-sense patent regime would limit the tools available to future software monopolists, and might make the next antitrust action unnecessary.

Copyrighted Datasets

Here is an interesting observation from Brendan Scott. He points out that his local laws may impose artificial barriers on interoperability.

The current authorities still hold that the reproduction of a data set, even for the purpose of interoperability, will be an infringement if there is copyright in the data set. Moreover, the courts have simply looked for a causal connection between the original work and the reproduction. The re-implementation of a work by piecing it together from observation may still result in an infringement.

The legislature has introduced an interoperability exception but it seems to be worded in a way limited to reproductions for the purpose of gaining information – and therefore doesn’t seem to be a lot of help in practice.

What would that mean if not only copyrights were involved? What if someone obtained a patent on a data transformation tool, which describes mapping between fixed objects? Watch this one from the news.

Start-up sues Google over e-mail switching tool”

Google was named on Monday in a trade secrets lawsuit alleging that the company’s business software unit copied a tiny start-up’s tool for moving customers off of Microsoft software onto Google’s.

LimitNone filed a complaint in an Illinois circuit court alleging that Google at first began promoting the smaller firm’s tool for migrating Microsoft Outlook customers to Gmail, then copied the idea and went into competition with it.

It sounds as though LimitNone got back-stabbed by Google, but patent laws certainly would not work here. The idea is by no means innovative and the solution not unique (it’s mathematics in the sense that data gets systematically translated). It’s important not to let such cases permit junk patents to exist.

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. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  2. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  3. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  4. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  5. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  6. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day



  7. UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

    Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC



  8. The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

    An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide



  9. The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene



  10. Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

    The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed



  11. Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

    A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)



  12. Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

    Links for the day



  13. French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened



  14. The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

    With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)



  15. EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

    A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst



  16. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  17. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  18. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  19. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  20. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  21. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  22. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  23. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  24. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  25. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC



  26. Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

    The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers



  27. Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

    Links for the day



  28. The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

    The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one



  29. Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

    Cherry-picking one's way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation



  30. As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

    Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China's massive patent bubble, and Singapore's implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts