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

07.30.08

Snapshot of the Software Patents Situation in the US, India, EU

Posted in America, Asia, EFF, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United States

There may be some changes on their way. There’s no telling when/if they’ll be coming to the USPTO, but in the mean time there’s chaos, as well illustrated by today’s picks over at Digital Majority. Here is one such example, which is a junk patent (never supposed to have been granted in the first place) being put up for auction, surely for someone to use it offensively.

Investors will have the opportunity to acquire the patent on a revolutionary personalization system that is set to go to auction in September. The patented system will change the face of targeted marketing and research by offering more accuracy than anything else available today.

The EFF with its patent-busting efforts carry on trying to squash some of the more notorious patents, but as Stallman once said about such strategies, “fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.” Here is the description of another bad patent.

So just what is this wonderful sales method? In a nutshell, the patent claims ownership over the idea of finding out what a customer wants, electronically finding out what you have that matches that customer’s needs, electronically collecting information about the stuff you have to offer the customer, and putting that information into a pitch to the customer.

Recall those dreadful wish list patents [1, 2]. It’s the verge of granting ownership to ideas that can be implemented in elementary school (while ignoring prior art).

India

The renewed threat of software patents in India was mentioned over the weekend and help is now being sought.

Interestingly, Infosys and TCS are in favor of software patents. Those who followed the OOXML fight on this blog would know that both these organizations had voted in favor of Microsoft’s OOXML proposal. If there are articulate FOSS developers in the Mumbai LUG, I would request them to be present at the 7th August 2008 meeting and explain to the group why software patents are against the interest of the developer community.

There’s some more dissection of this here. [via Digital Majority]

Business aptly seems to drive law; finally, the Murthys and Ramadorais of Bengalooru have spoken up. According to an article in the Financial Express, IT majors Infosys and TCS have reacted strongly to a call made by the open source community, particularly Red Hat India and All India Peoples Sciences Network, for dropping a clause in the draft patent examination manual which according to the latter gives a backdoor entry for software patents.

The fight never ends. When critics fall asleep, monopolies will try to grab control.

Europe

A few days ago, the EPO was praised for its stance on software patents, but Digital Majority is more pedantic. It’s claiming that the EPO uses tautologies and it’s showing some examples of nasty patents.

Maybe the European Patent Office has a different dictionary than I have.

[...]

Nevertheless, their high quality propaganda falls down once you start to mention some trivial software patents, such as the progress bar:

[...]

or the contextual menu granted to Philips:

Here is another nice find from Digital Majority:

Write patents, get tax cuts

As of 1 January 2008, the Belgian government introduced a tax deduction of 80 % with unlimited carry forward under the corporate income tax for income derived from patents licensed by a company based in Belgium.

Now, who said patents are bad? They make you save 80% on taxes. How on earth can it be bad?

Perhaps most significant, however, is the following new development that yet again involves Commissioner McCreevy, the man who loves monopolies. This seems to be another back door to software patents and poor-quality patents in Europe.

The European Commission has proposed creating a single strategy for the protection of industrial property rights in Europe. The Commission wants to integrate its strategy for industrial property rights and encourage smaller businesses to protect rights.

What ever compelled to pass and push for such changes? Is it the endless lobbying in Europe from Microsoft's ACT, whose recent activity in Europe was carefully documented here?

Fresh in the news: watch a State Senator that apparently got bribed to fight ‘the little people’.

US Department of Justice prosecutors have alleged that Stevens received more than $250,000 worth of gifts and services from VECO and its executives, including an extensive renovation of his home in Girdwood, Alaska. That work included a new first floor, garage, wraparound deck, and new plumbing and electrical wiring. They also said he was given a new Land Rover in exchange for an old Ford Mustang, as well as a professional gas barbeque grill, assorted furniture and a complete set of mechanics tools.

It’s rather clear that money needn’t necessarily exchanged hands. Sometimes it can be favours and gifts, such as those that Microsoft showers crtitics with. ‘Soft briberies’ were mentioned here before, as well.

Someone should take a closer look at what’s happening in Europe, especially amid very aggressive lobbying and complaints about it from some [1, 2].

More information on McCreevy and other cronies can be found in:

Since when are Commissioners representing Intellectual Monopolies?

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

7 Comments

  1. self_liar said,

    July 30, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Gravatar

    Hi Roy

    I know this is not a place for this but look this:

    http://go-oo.org/discover/

    A OO fork with a lot of M$ capabilities

    Look the authors ; )

    Novell is a bad company.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 30, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Gravatar

    Novell is a bad company.

    s/bad/mcrosoft/

    This was predictable. Thanks for the headsup.

  3. maerklin said,

    July 30, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Gravatar

    > A OO fork with a lot of M$ capabilities

    The go-oo.org builds are used in Debian, Gentoo and Ubuntu; also the Mac OS NeoOffice is based on it.

    You, too, are probably using it but that doesn’t stop you from bad-mouthing the company behind it, eh?

  4. Sebastiaan Veld said,

    July 31, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Gravatar

    > A OO fork with a lot of M$ capabilities

    Old news. It’s not a fork, it a OO build with patches that are not yet accepted upstream (since accepting patches by Sun seems to be sooo slow).

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 31, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Gravatar

    Do you know why they are not accepted?

  6. David Gerard said,

    July 31, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Gravatar

    Because Sun run OOo like a cathedral, even while talking up the advantages of the bazaar.

    1. Sun are ridiculously slow taking in the patches of others. This is why the Novell fork existed – it started as the Ximian fork, many years ago.
    2. Sun refuse to accept contributions to OOo where you have not signed the copyright over to Sun in such a way that they can proprietise it. I realise this is what Novell do with Mono, but that doesn’t make it a good idea either.

    It’s open source – when a project is being badly hampered by being run as a cathedral, a fork run as a bazaar is just the thing.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 31, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, and based on what I’ve read, there’s danger that Novell’s buggier fork will incorporate various features that Microsoft wants in it, too.

    With Novell, there’s Microsoft money on the table (Sun is another story). Trust erodes because OOo is a “biggest competitor” to Microsoft (it says so explicitly). I wrote some more bits about it this morning. They shelter Windows, OOXML, .NET/VBA, etc.

What Else is New


  1. Links 27/4/2015: Debian 9 Named, Linux 4.1 Reaches RC

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft is Interjecting Itself Into GNU/Linux and Free Software News, Even Events and Foundations

    Microsoft's entryism strategy is proving effective as Microsoft successfully embeds itself inside the idealogical competition, subverting the competition's overall message and diluting the competition's focus on Free software



  3. The Unethical Business of Selling Fear of Free/Libre Software Bugs (Black Duck, Sonatype, and Symantec)

    The spreading of fear of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is now a growth industry, so proprietary opportunists are eager to capitalise on it, even if by distorting the truth



  4. Patients' Data at Risk as NHS Reinforces Its Microsoft/Accenture Stockholm Syndrome

    The worst privacy violator in the world and the firm behind LSE failures are pocketing as much as £0.35 billion of British taxpayers' money to acquire access to very sensitive data of British people



  5. Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

    Links for the day



  6. Links 25/4/2015: Debian LTS Plans, Turing Phone Runs Linux

    Links for the day



  7. Who Kills Yahoo? It's Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

    The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what's going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!



  8. EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

    The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay



  9. Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

    A look at the 'new' Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform



  10. Microsoft's Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

    Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn't get its way



  11. Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/4/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 is Out, Debian 8.0 Out Very Soon

    Links for the day



  13. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  14. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  15. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  16. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  17. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  18. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  19. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  20. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  21. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  22. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  23. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  24. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  25. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  26. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  27. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  28. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  29. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  30. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available


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