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. Cementing Autocracy: The European Patent Office Against Democracy, Against Media, and Against the Rule of Law

    The European Patent Office (EPO) actively undermines democracy in Europe, it undermines the freedom of the press (by paying it for puff pieces), and it undermines the rule of law by giving one single tyrant total power in Eponia and immunity from outside Eponia (even when he breaks his own rules)



  2. Links 28/9/2016: New Red Hat Offices, Fedora 25 'Frozen'

    Links for the day



  3. Team Battistelli Intensifies the Attack on the Boards of Appeal Again

    The lawless state of the EPO, where the rule of law is basically reducible to Battistelli's ego and insecurities, is again demonstrated with an escalation and perhaps another fake 'trial' in the making (after guilt repeatedly fails to be established)



  4. After the EPO Paid the Financial Times to Produce Propaganda the Newspaper Continues to Produce UPC Puff Pieces, Just Ahead of EU Council Meeting

    How the media, including the Financial Times, has been used (and even paid!) by the EPO in exchange for self-serving (to the EPO) messages and articles



  5. Beware the Patent Law Firms Insinuating That Software Patents Are Back Because of McRO

    By repeatedly claiming (and then generalising) that CAFC accepted a software patent the patent microcosm (meta-industry) hopes to convince us that we should continue to pursue software patents in the US, i.e. pay them a lot more money for something of little/no value



  6. The US Supreme Court Might Soon Tighten Patent Scope in the United States Even Further, the USPTO Produces Patent Maximalism Propaganda

    A struggle brewing between the patent 'industry' (profiting from irrational saturation) and the highest US court, as well as the Government Accountability Office (GAO)



  7. Patent Trolling a Growing Problem in East Asia (Software Patents Also), Whereas in the US the Problem Goes Away Along With Software Patents

    A look at two contrasting stories, one in Asia where patent litigation and hype are on the rise (same in Europe due to the EPO) and another in the US where a lot of patents face growing uncertainty and a high invalidation rate



  8. The EPO's Continued Push for Software Patents, Marginalisation of Appeals (Reassessment), and Deviation From the EPC

    A roundup of new developments at the EPO, where things further exacerbate and patent quality continues its downward spiral



  9. The Battistelli Effect: “We Will be Gradually Forced to File Our Patent Applications Outside the EPO in the Interests of Our Clients”

    While the EPO dusts off old files and grants in haste without quality control (won't be sustainable for more than a couple more years) the applicants are moving away as trust in the EPO erodes rapidly and profoundly



  10. Links 27/9/2016: Lenovo Layoffs, OPNFV Third Software Release

    Links for the day



  11. The Moral Depravity of the European Patent Office Under Battistelli

    The European Patent Office (EPO) comes under heavy criticism from its very own employees, who also seem to recognise that lobbying for the UPC is a very bad idea which discredits the European Patent Organisation



  12. Links 26/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC8, SuperTux 0.5

    Links for the day



  13. What Insiders Are Saying About the Sad State of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Anonymous claims made by people who are intimately familiar with the European Patent Office (from the inside) shed light on how bad things have become



  14. The EPO Does Not Want Skilled (and 'Expensive') Staff, Layoffs a Growing Concern

    A somewhat pessimistic look (albeit increasingly realistic look) at the European Patent Office, where unions are under fire for raising legitimate concerns about the direction taken by the management since a largely French team was put in charge



  15. Patents Roundup: Accenture Software Patents, Patent Troll Against Apple, Willful Infringements, and Apple Against a Software Patent

    A quick look at various new articles of interest (about software patents) and what can be deduced from them, especially now that software patents are the primary barrier to Free/Libre Open Source software adoption



  16. Software Patents Propped Up by Patent Law Firms That Are Lying, Further Assisted by Rogue Elements Like David Kappos and Randall Rader (Revolving Doors)

    The sheer dishonesty of the patent microcosm (seeking to bring back software patents by misleading the public) and those who are helping this microcosm change the system from the inside, owing to intimate connections from their dubious days inside government



  17. Links 25/9/2016: Linux 4.7.5, 4.4.22; LXQt 0.11

    Links for the day



  18. Patent Quality and Patent Scope the Unspeakable Taboo at the EPO, as Both Are Guillotined by Benoît Battistelli for the Sake of Money

    The gradual destruction of the European Patent Office (EPO), which was once unanimously regarded as the world's best, by a neo-liberal autocrat from France, Benoît Battistelli



  19. Bristows LLP's Hatred/Disdain of UK/EU Democracy Demonstrated; Says “Not Only Will the Pressure for UK Ratification of the UPC Agreement Continue, But a Decision is Wanted Within Weeks.”

    Without even consulting the British public or the European public (both of whom would be severely harmed by the UPC), the flag bearers of the UPC continue to bamboozle and then pressure politicians, public servants and nontechnical representatives



  20. Released Late on a Friday, EPO Social 'Study' (Battistelli-Commissioned Propaganda) Attempts to Blame Staff for Everything

    The longstanding propaganda campaign (framing staff as happy or framing unhappy staff as a disgruntled minority) is out and the timing of the release is suspicious to say the least



  21. Links 23/9/2016: Latest Microsoft and Lenovo Spin (Now in ‘Damage Control’ Mode)

    Links for the day



  22. White Male-Dominated EPO Management Sinks to New Lows, Again

    Benoît Battistelli continues to make the EPO look like Europe's biggest laughing stock by attempting to tackle issues with corny photo ops rather than real change (like SUEPO recognition, diverse hiring, improved patent quality, and cessation of sheer abuses)



  23. Journalism 102: Do Not Become Like 'Managing IP' or IAM 'Magazine' (the Megaphones of the EPO’s Management)

    Another look at convergence between media and the EPO, which is spending virtually millions of Euros literally buying the media and ensuring that the EPO's abuses are scarcely covered (if ever mentioned at all)



  24. Journalism 101: Do Not Believe Anything That Benoît Battistelli and the EPO's Management Say (Also Don't Fall for the UPC Hype)

    A survey/review (or an overview) of recent articles about the EPO and why they're wrong (mostly because they parrot the official lies from Battistelli's department)



  25. Patent Law Firms, David Kappos, and IAM 'Magazine' Still Shelter Software Patents by Cherry-Picking and Lobbying

    Amid the gradual collapse of software patents in the United States there are disingenuous efforts to bring them back or maintain a perception that these patents are still potent



  26. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Going Places and Suing Microsoft Rivals, Microsoft Wants More 'Linux Patent Tax'

    Microsoft-connected patent trolls like Larry Horn's MobileMedia are still attacking Microsoft rivals and Microsoft wants more money from Korea, after it attacked Linux with software patents over there (notably Samsung and LG)



  27. Links 22/9/2016: Linux Professional Institute Redesign, Red Hat Upgraded

    Links for the day



  28. Links 22/9/2016: Red Hat's Latest Results, GNOME 3.22 Released

    Links for the day



  29. The Patent Law Firms in the US Relentlessly Lobby for Software Patents Resurgence by Placing Emphasis Only on Rare Outcomes

    Decisions against software patents continue to be ignored or intentionally overlooked by patent law firms, which instead saturate the media with the few cases where courts unexpectedly rule in favour of software patents



  30. Links 21/9/2016: Lenovo Helps Microsoft Block GNU/Linux Installations

    Links for the day


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