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. Breaking: EPO Vice-President Željko Topić Loses Defamation Case in Croatia

    The EPO's notorious Vice-President, whose appointment at the EPO is still raising some alarming questions, has just lost his case in Croatia (one of many cases), motivating us to accelerate coverage about the persona known as Željko Topić



  2. Qualys Starts Self-Promotional FUD Campaign, Naming a Bug That Was Already Fixed 2 Years Ago and Distros Have Covered With Patches

    Responding to the media blitz which paints GNU/Linux as insecure despite the fact that bugs were evidently found and fixed



  3. The Openwashing of Microsoft is Now Threatening to Eliminate the Identity of Free Software

    More openwashing of Microsoft, including in the corporate media, shows just to what great an extent and how quickly the old "Microsoft Open Source" Big Lie grows feet



  4. Links 27/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Dell Precision With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft's Media Attack on Free Software and GNU/Linux

    Brainwash war is still being waged by Microsoft and its friends to convince people that Windows is universally dominant and that Microsoft is now part of the Free software world



  6. Microsoft Accounting Practices After Fire Again, After Previous Abuses and Book-Cooking

    After the infamous IRS brawl comes another confrontation between Microsoft and the SEC, which is unhappy with Microsoft for seemingly cooking the books again



  7. Links 26/1/2015: Debian 8.0 “Jessie” RC1, Linux Kernel 3.19 RC6

    Links for the day



  8. Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  10. Links 24/1/2015: Zenwalk Linux Reviewed, Netrunner 14.1 Released

    Links for the day



  11. The Latest 'Microsoft is Open Source' Propaganda a Parade of Lies

    Microsoft myth makers continue their assault on what is objectively true and try to tell the public that Microsoft is a friend of "Open Source"



  12. Apple -- Like Microsoft -- Not Interested in the Security of Its Operating Systems

    Apple neglected to patch known security flaws in Mac OS X for no less than three months and only did something about that vector of intrusion when the public found out about it



  13. As Battistelli Breaks the Rules and Topić Silences Staff, New European Parliament Petition for Tackling the EPO's Abuses is Needed

    The neglected (by EPO) Article 4a of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Parliament petition/complaint against the EPO's crooked management



  14. Links 23/1/2015: Red Hat on IBM Power, Meizu Leaks With Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  15. Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

    Links for the day



  16. Microsoft is Dying Due to Free Software, Tries to Infect GNU/Linux With .NET and to Infect Moodle in Schools With Microsoft Office and OOXML Lock-in

    'Free' drugs (a proprietary software analogy) the new strategy of Microsoft in its latest battle against Free software, especially in schools where choice is a rarity (if not an impossibility), with the premeditated intention of forming dependency/addiction among young people



  17. Microsoft Symptoms of a Dying Company: More Boosters Depart, Back Doors Revealed, Microsoft's Outlook Cracked

    Bad news for Microsoft shortly before the marketing extravaganza served to cover much of it up



  18. The Collapse of European Patent Office Management Culminates With Resignations

    No blood is spilled, but even the management of the EPO is falling apart as the Director of Internal Communication is said to have just resigned



  19. New LCA Talk: Open Invention Network's Deb Nicholson on Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Deb Nicholson's LCA talk is now publicly accessible



  20. Links 22/1/2015: GNU/Linux Sysadmin Opportunities, TraceFS Introduced

    Links for the day



  21. Links 21/1/2015: Andrew Tridgell, Torvalds Being Baited

    Links for the day



  22. Vesna Stilin Renews Her Fight for Justice in Željko Topić Case (EPO VP)

    Željko Topić's abuses continue to cloud the legitimacy of the European Patent Office, in which he is a Vice-President



  23. Failure of the EPO Can Derail the Trojan Horse of Software Patents and Patent Trolls

    Dazzled by his endless pursuit of infinite money and power, Battistelli pushes for expansion of patent scope (geographically too), but he won't have it without a challenge



  24. Links 20/1/2015: Linux 3.19 RC5, 30 Years of FSF

    Links for the day



  25. Translations of Member of the European Parliament Complaining About European Patent Office (EPO)

    French, German, Dutch, and English translations of the article from Dennis De Jong



  26. Microsoft, the Back Doors Company, is Gradually Dying and Trying to Embrace the Competition

    The world is leaving Microsoft's common carrier (Windows) behind, so Microsoft, which is shrinking, tries to conquer Free software and GNU/Linux



  27. Battistelli's Latest Propaganda War Tries to Convince EPO Staff That Željko Topić's Many Criminal Charges Don't Exist

    Battistelli's right-hand man, Željko Topić, is now facing real danger of prosecution and possibly arrest in his home country, so Battistelli rushes to defend this thug's reputation



  28. Links 18/1/2015: Sailfish OS RoadMap, ownCloud Turns 5

    Links for the day



  29. Strategy of Litigation With Patents Has Collapsed Since SCOTUS Ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank

    The latest figures from Lex Machina show a massive decrease (-18%) in patent litigation last month; lawyers look for ways to spin the data in their favour



  30. Patent Lawyers Can't Help Rewriting Alice v. CLS Bank History

    The league of patent lawyers -- people who profit at the expense of software producers -- keeps brainwashing the public about the patentability of software (both the rationale and the potential)


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