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

07.20.08

Microsoft Sued Over Patents Again, Linus Complains, USPTO Welcomes P2P[atent]

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Interview, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and Software Patents

There have been some interesting developments in the past day or so. First and foremost, Microsoft is being sued again and this time it’s due to encryption.

Microsoft Corp. is being sued by a closely held company for allegedly infringing two encryption patents in the Windows operating system.

Maz Technologies, based in Wilmington, Del., “suffered damages as a result of the infringing,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Tyler, Texas. Maz seeks an injunction against Microsoft and unspecified damages.

It is a Texan court, as usual. That’s where all the patent trolls go. This suit goes on top of a pile that includes the recently-disclosed lawsuit over the competition- and Web-hostile Silverlight (mentioned previously in [1, 2]).

GNU/Linux and Software Patents

Mark Radcliffe finally explains the Red Hat settlement, which is important because he is a top gun for the OSI. This settlement was previously discussed in [1, 2, 3, 4].

Some months ago, Torvalds expressed his concern about patents and he is doing it again in this fragment from a new interview.

RM ‘Do you think software patents are a good idea?’

LT [Linus Torvalds]: ‘Heh – definitely not. They’re a disaster. The whole point (and the original idea) behind patents in the US legal sense was to encourage innovation. If you actually look at the state of patents in the US today, they do no such thing. Certainly not in software, and very arguably not in many other areas either.

Quite the reverse – patents are very much used to stop competition, which is undeniably the most powerful way to encourage innovation. Anybody who argues for patents is basically arguing against open markets and competition, but they never put it in those terms.

So the very original basis for the patents is certainly not being fulfilled today, which should already tell you something. And that’s probably true in pretty much any area.

But the reason patents are especially bad for software is that software isn’t some single invention where you can point to a single new idea. Not at all. All relevant software is a hugely complex set of very detailed rules, and there are millions of small and mostly trivial ideas rather than some single clever idea that can be patented. The worth of the software is not in any of those single small decisions, but in the whole. It’s also distressing to see that people patent ‘ideas’. It’s not even a working “thing”; it’s just a small way of doing things that you try to patent, just to have a weapon in an economic fight. Sad. Patents have lost all redeeming value, if they ever had any. ‘

By the way, be cautious when it comes to Linus forgers. There are people out there on the Web pretending to be him and I received an E-mail from Linus a few days ago confirming that his identity is being stolen. The legitimacy of comments in particular must always be questioned. Linus hardly ever comments in blogs.

Patent Riot in the Making?

Peer-to-Patent was mentioned here a couple of days ago and the day before that. It has just received some recognition from the USPTO, which published the press release that’s appended at the bottom. Also, mind this bit about the Wall Street Journal pushing for a patent reform for years. [via Digital Majority]

Ironically, and humorously, the post is in the department titled we-could-have-told-you-and-did dept.. One of the many issues in patent reform has arisen from the unwillingness of some in the IT area to write down what they have done, and, more importantly, to read what others have written down. The kdawson post seriously neglects the PAST positions of the WSJ on patent reform, and thus becomes another piece of evidence of the unwillingness of some in the IT community to understand what has already happened.

The Fight Against RAND

IP-Watch has a couple of new articles that discuss the issue of RAND (in standards in particular) and how it is — ironically enough given its name — used to discriminate against competitors. Here is the first article.

The inclusion of intellectual property rights in standards also is creating an anti-competitive effect, said panellists at the 30 June seminar in Geneva, hosted by the South Centre.

Recall the BSA's role in lobbying. The BSA is funded by Microsoft. Along with IDC, ACT and other servants of Microsoft, they pretend to be assisting small businesses (the ‘little guy’) rather than the monopolies.

The Commission promised to consider how the EU patent fee structure could be designed for easier access by small and mid-sized firms, and to try to provide IPR support services for small companies in their countries.

Nothing in intellectual monopolies can support “small and mid-sized firms.” Their goal should be the elimination of such a system. For details on how patents affect the small ‘inventor’, patiently watch this good talk from Richard Stallman. The story about the ‘small guy’ in need of ‘protection’ is little more than just a fairly tail that’s used to protect a pyramid scheme of human knowledge.


USPTO Extends and Expands Peer Review Pilot
Initiative to test impact of public input on improving patent quality opens to automated business
data processing technologies (business methods)

Washington, D.C. – The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced it will extend the duration, increase the maximum number of applications, and expand the scope of applications eligible to participate in the Peer Review Pilot. The pilot, launched in June 2007, encourages the public to review volunteered published patent applications and submit technical references and comments on what they believe to be the best prior art to consider during the examination. The expansion and extension of the pilot is effective today.

The pilot was initially restricted to patent applications in the computer-related arts (those classified in Technology Center 2100). The scope of the program is now expanded to include applications in the automated business data processing technologies, or business methods, class 705. Technical experts in the computer and business methods-related arts registering with the peertopatent.org Web site will review and submit information for up to 400 published patent applications, up from 250 as originally announced. No more than 25 separate applications will be allowed from any one person or organization, up from 15 in the original announcement.

“The USPTO continues to support the Peer Review Pilot to help it fulfill its promise as a way to help get the best prior art expeditiously before the examiner,” noted Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. “Extending and expanding the pilot to include business method patent applications will add more participants to the pilot and help us and the public better assess the effectiveness of Peer Review.”

The pilot is being conducted in cooperation with the Peer-to-Patent Project, organized by the New York Law School’s Institute for Information Law and Policy. The pilot is extended for an additional 12 months and will end on June 15, 2009.

To date, companies participating in the Peer Review Pilot have included IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Intel, GE, Red Hat, Cisco, Yahoo!, and others. With the expansion of the pilot, Goldman Sachs has volunteered to join as a participant.

“We support the Peer Review Pilot and commend the USPTO’s decision to expand the program to include financial sector innovation, which has been one of the most difficult areas to locate relevant prior art.” remarked John Squires, chief intellectual property counsel at Goldman Sachs. “Expansion of the pilot into class 705 will allow the Office to access considerable industry expertise and holds promise for improving patent quality and the shortening of long pendency times.”

Existing law allows the USPTO to accept prior art from the public, but it doesn’t allow the public to submit any commentary related to the art without the approval of the applicant. Thus, consent will be obtained from all applicants whose applications are volunteered and selected for the pilot. Applicants agree to have their patent applications posted for up to four months (but no less than three months) on the www.peertopatent.org Web site. Expert volunteers from the public then discuss the applications and submit prior art they think might be relevant to determining if an invention is new and non-obvious. The prior art submission is limited to 10 references.

So far, the pilot’s first 31 applications have been examined. More than half of the examiners who examined an application in the Peer Review Pilot so far thought the prior art submitted by the peers was helpful during examination. More than one-third of the examiners used peer-supplied prior art in the first action on the merits. Nearly 75 percent of the participating examiners said they believed the program would be useful if it were incorporated into regular Office practice.

For this pilot, applications are assigned to an examiner for examination as soon as a submission is received from the peertopatent.org Web site. This shortens considerably the time it normally takes from filing an application to a first action on the merits in the areas where the pilot is occurring.

For further information on the program and to review the Official Gazette notice, visit http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/peerpriorartpilot/.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  2. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  4. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  5. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  6. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."



  7. 'President Bill Gates' Wants to Punish Not Only Google After Using “Extensions” to the Web to Reinforce Microsoft's Monopoly (Antitrust Violations Are a Microsoft Thing)

    In gross distortion of facts and of history and in a rather incredible fashion (very shameless and insulting) the corporate media tries to paint Bill Gates as an antitrust hero that will save the world from monopolies



  8. Donald Trump Helped Bill Gates Increase His Wealth by More Than 50%, Especially During the Pandemic

    Contrary to ridiculous narratives disseminated by nutty accounts all around the Web, Gates and Trump are no foes but 'partners in crime'



  9. Our 14th Birthday is Coming

    We're turning 14 shortly and we need ideas from readers (things that can be done to mark the event and celebrate 'on-line')



  10. In Spite of IBM's Difficult Past and Particularly Dark History, Under Arvind Krishna’s Leadership It Has Only Shown Signs of Improving

    This winter, 6 months after Arvind Krishna’s tenure as CEO began, we can generally say that things seem to have improved and we look forward to further improvements



  11. Links 25/10/2020: GNU Taler's IETF Milestone, RISC OS 5.28 and New Ubuntu Community Council

    Links for the day



  12. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 24, 2020



  13. Links 24/10/2020: GDB 10.1, Kodachi 7.4, Wine 5.20

    Links for the day



  14. Celebrating Code of Conduct Violations

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  15. The Militarised Elephant in the Room Still Commands a Lot of Free Software Development

    We take a difficult (albeit in-depth and perfectly factual) look at IBM's past and present; considering this is the company that controls Red Hat (which in turn controls many key projects in GNU/Linux) we need a better understanding of the real context, not PR fluff and marketing



  16. Juve Patent's Love of Patent Trolls and Their Misinformation

    The press 'gutter' known as Juve (basically propaganda disguised as 'news' since years ago) has gotten to the point where the publisher is just an extension of lawyers and liars



  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, October 23, 2020



  18. Look How Many Tux I Give!

    "Long live rms, long live (Hyperbola) GNU/BSD, and happy hacking."



  19. Embrace, Extend, and Extensions: Two New Reasons to Delete GitHub, Which Microsoft Ruined for Everyone (Except the Copyright Cartel and Other Censors)

    GitHub is being turned into a garbage dump with malicious masters (or monsters, or mobsters); many people are denied access for using the 'wrong' browser and developers/projects are being censored (not for doing anything wrong or illegal, either)



  20. [Meme] When EPO Staff Claims to be 'Ill' or 'Sick'... During a Pandemic's European Peak

    Gotta check and verify that those 'lazy' EPO examiners aren't just faking being ill (in order to not meet "production" targets)



  21. The EPO Has Relegated or Lowered Itself to Extremely Poor Standards

    Today's EPO continues to reaffirm the image of global weakness; having failed to improve the working conditions and quality of the work (its actions did the exact opposite), it's nowadays begging China to send over lots of workload irrespective of quality or merit and it is outsourcing the functions of the Office to the United States



  22. Links 23/10/2020: Turing Pi 2, GNU Parallel 20201022

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 22, 2020



  24. Links 23/10/2020: 'Groovy Gorilla' Everywhere in the News

    Links for the day



  25. For Better 'Tech Rights' in the United States (and the World at Large) the 'Orange Man' Needs to Go

    With less than a fortnight before election day we explain our stance from a purely tech-related rationale



  26. [Meme] Microsoft Never 'Brought' Skype to GNU/Linux (It Just Bought Skype) and It Never 'Brought' Edge to GNU/Linux Either (Google Did)

    Foolish media or gullible 'journalists' are giving Microsoft credit for other people's work; this isn't the first time either, but it helps perpetuate lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" (so who cares about facts anyway?)



  27. It's Going to be a Long, Long Winter

    Today we revert back to lock-down mode; we're reflecting and pondering what comes next



  28. TechRadar is an Irresponsible Clickbait and Misinformation Site Disguised as 'News'

    TechRadar is no tech and no radar, either. It's just an opportunistic click-harvesting machine, disguised as a source of "news"; today we deal with the latest example (among many).



  29. Links 22/10/2020: LibreOffice 6.4.7, Septor 2020.5, Ubuntu 20.10 Released, FreeBSD Quarterly Status Report

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 21, 2020


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