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

08.10.08

Software Patents: India, OIN, the Trolls, and the Monopolists

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, OIN, Patents at 8:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

India a Matter of Urgency

The software patents situation in India is not good. That’s the result of a quick assessment from FFII anyway. We last covered this here and here. It’s progressing and exacerbating as Microsoft strives to stuff committees and steal the country's voice. Those who are not combative will simply leave room for neo-imperialists to take over that empty space. Revenue comes at the expense of people’s freedom.

In response to this atrophy which is software patents, the India press has published this article.

PATENTLY ABSURD

[...]

Here’s what Gates wrote in an office memorandum in 1991. “If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. . . I feel certain that some large company will patent some obvious thing related to interface, object orientation, algorithm, application extension or other crucial technique.”

This was the year after Microsoft launched Windows 3.0, the first of its new operating systems that would become hugely popular across the world. Yet, three years down the line, Microsoft had changed from a kitten that was content with copyright protection to an aggressive patents tiger. In 1991, Microsoft had filed fewer than 50 patent applications whereas last year it was awarded 1,637 patents, almost a 12 per cent increase in the number of patents it received in 2006. According to IFI Patent Intelligence, the rise in Microsoft’s patents portfolio bucked the general trend in 2007 when the number of patents issued by the US Patents and Trademark Office dipped by 10 per cent. Apparently several thousand of the company’s filings are still pending.

All this may prompt the reader to conclude that there is indeed a direct correlation between IPR and growth — and wealth — as the company claims. Not true, says Mark H Webbink, a US Supreme Court lawyer who is a recognised voice on IT issues. Charting the company’s revenues, R&D spending and patent filings from 1985 onwards, he shows that the spike in patent filings occurred long after the Microsoft “had become well established and was being investigated for its monopolistic practices”. Webbink contends that patents did not spur the launch and rapid growth of the mass market software industry. On the other hand, patents have become a threat to software innovation, he warns.

This was also published here and it’s good to see such information reaching the mainstream press.

OIN Under Bergelt’s Reign

As mentioned before, the leadership of OIN had quietly changed, but there are some good initiatives lurking over the horizon.

Earlier this week we wrote about a sort of OIN equivalent for mobile Linux (‘fire blanket’ for patents). Well, it appears as though OIN itself will have a big announcement to make pretty soon.

In coming weeks, OIN will reveal more details of the site, which Bergelt described as “a production environment where we educate and train people to do this. We’ll work with them to make sure it’s put in a form that is acceptable.”

The effort will serve as a counterpart to OIN’s existing strategy, under which it provides its patents royalty-free to companies in exchange for a commitment that they won’t assert their patents against the Linux system. Its backers include NEC, IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. Google, Oracle and Alfresco are among the licensees.

Bruce Perens, who is well aware of Microsoft's patent plot, had this to say:

Plain old published source code is at least somewhat protective, just look for “Perens” in a full-text search of the USPTO database to see an example of where it’s worked. There are a few patents there that reference Electric Fence as prior art.

However, you can make more claims in a defensive publication than might be exercised by your source code.

Of Trolls and Sharks

Digital Majority has found this article which talks about “patent sharks”. It is important not to phase out terminology like “patent trolls” as that’s just what culprits like Ray Niro would want [1, 2]. It’s token proliferation. It’s dilution.

Technology firms face a serious menace: patent sharks. These predators collect patents through acquisitions in bankruptcy proceedings, licensing agreements, or their own R&D efforts. They hide their intellectual property–to deliberately trap tech firms into inadvertent patent infringements. Then they sue.

And the awards are typically huge. Pure patent holding company NTP, for instance, sued best-selling BlackBerry maker Research in Motion in 2006 for violation of NTP patents. Under threat of an injunction that would have shut down the mobile e-mail service, RIM settled for over $600 million–even though several NTP patents were later declared invalid.

Here is another brand-new example:

Apple, RIM, Palm sued over vague GSM patents

Quick, you ever heard of WiAV Solutions? You know, the owner or exclusive licensee of several vague patents on the use of GSM tech in smartphones? The company that doesn’t make anything or even have a web site, but files so many patent lawsuits that some companies have taken to pre-emptively filing suits for declaratory judgment against it?

When will it stop? Can the USPTO put an end to this?

Big Boys and Their Intellectual Monopolies

Brand power (trademarks) and secrecy (copyrights) is not enough for everyone, so patent muscle and other notional things are soon summoned. Facebook is turning out to be a patent pest. It has quite a monopoly in its area and a new report has revealed that, some time in the past, Facebook actually wanted to buy the competitor that it’s now suing, instead. They are in direct competition and these are obvious ideas with plenty of prior art.

Before Facebook sued the German social networking site StudiVZ last month for copying its “look and feel,” it had been in talks to purchase the site.

Apple is no exception, either. It is a software patent pest and we previously showed how it directly harms GNU/Linux development. The Register claims to be having a patent duel with Apple.

Apple will fill in some long-awaited missing features from its iPod and iPhone mobile players, a patent application published this week suggests. There’s just one problem: Much of Apple’s “invention” was dreamed up by Reg readers several years ago – and one embodiment is already on the market.

The patent system is a mess. Serenity now.

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

A Single Comment

  1. p.cole said,

    August 10, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Gravatar

    The short-term financial view of unethical corporate behavior practiced by the few monopolies (MS, Intel, etc.) will led not only to economic failure in general but will create a stigma against nationality, that is, the originating countries citizenship. We have seen this before; “The Ugly American, the Russian Fat Cats, the French Elite, the European Aristocrats” and so on.

    MS can see this coming but it’s taking a contrary road to the “new ecosystem”. Instead of working with GNU/Linux it it tries to sabotage it. Its transparent veiled of interoperability will not work no matter how much whore mongering it perpetuates through it payoffs.

    The so-called philanthropic Gates Foundation is nothing but a public relations backup to the Redmond giant among other things. Since when does a charity buy media outlets, invest in oil revenues, contributes unneeded funds to PACs and foreign lobbying efforts.

    Mother Theresa was a true philanthropist; Gates wouldn’t even qualify to be a pimple on her ass.

    Intel’s short-sightedness in helping to sabotage OLPC will come back to bite it. AMD, VIA, among others, will be flourishing (don’t forget “Lonsoon GodSon”. It doesn’t need to run MS software and GNU/Linux can port to it in a flash).

    People are not naturally dumb. Ignorance is a short term state that can be corrected through education with freedom of accessible information. Stupidity can only be fixed through violent trauma. In short, remember the Gandhi non-violent movement. FOSS steadily will move forward and will be the norm.

What Else is New


  1. Links 27/6/2016: Linux 4.7 RC 5, OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  2. From Alleged Organised Crime to Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Željko Topić's situation in Croatia illuminated by means of recent documents from the authorities



  3. Battistelli May Still be on the Way Out as Pressure Grows in Germany, UPC in Shambles

    Pressure on Battistelli is growing even from within circles that are traditionally protective of him and a long letter is sent to Dr. Christoph Ernst, who some believe will replace Battistelli



  4. Caricature: European Patent Office (EPO) Under Battistelli

    The latest caricature about the state of the European Patent Office (EPO)



  5. Techrights (Almost) at 10: From Software Patents to Novell and to Present Focus on EPO

    A short story about how and why we ended up writing so much about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the impact beyond Europe



  6. Patents Roundup: Bad Quality (USPTO), Bad Analysis (India), Bad Microsoft, Bad Actors (Trolls), Bad Scope (Software Patents), and the Ugly

    A mishmash of news about patents, mostly regarding the United States, and what can be deduced at the moment



  7. Links 26/6/2016: IceCat 38.8.0, Wine 1.9.13

    Links for the day



  8. With UPC Dead for Battistelli's Entire Remaining Term, No Reason for the EPO or the Administrative Council to Keep Battistelli Around

    Thoughts about what happens to the EPO's leadership after 'Brexit' (British exit from the EU), which severely undermines Battistelli's biggest project that he habitually used to justify his incredible abuses



  9. Links 24/6/2016: Xen Project 4.7, Cinnamon 3.0.6

    Links for the day



  10. Benoît Battistelli Should Resign in Light of New Leak of Decision in His Vendetta Against Truth-Telling Judge (Updated)

    Benoît Battistelli continues to break the EPO's own rules, not just national laws, as a new decision helps reveal



  11. Fake Patents on Software From Fake Australian 'Inventor' of Bitcoin and the Globally-Contagious Nature of EPO Patent Scope

    News from Australia regarding software patents that should not be granted and how patent lawyers from Australia rely on European patent law (EPO and UK-IPO) for guidance on patent scope



  12. Patent Lawyers Love (and Amplify) Halo and Enfish, Omit or Dismiss Cuozzo and Alice

    By misinterpreting the current situation with respect to software patents and misusing terms like "innovation" patent lawyers and others in the patent microcosm hope to convince the public (or potential clients) that nothing in effect has changed and software patents are all fine and dandy



  13. Looks Increasingly Plausible That Battistelli is Covering up Bogus and/or Illegally-Obtained 'Evidence' From the EPO's Investigative Unit

    Why we believe that Benoît Battistelli is growingly desperate to hide evidence of rogue evidence-collecting operations which eventually landed himself -- not the accused -- in a catastrophic situation that can force his resignation



  14. As Decision on the UK's EU Status Looms, EPO Deep in a Crisis of Patent Quality

    Chaotic situation at the EPO and potential changes in the UK cause a great deal of debate about the UPC, which threatens to put the whole or Europe at the mercy of patent trolls from abroad



  15. Another Demonstration by European Patent Office (EPO) Staff on Same Day as Administrative Council's Meeting

    SUEPO (staff union of the EPO) continues to organise staff actions against extraordinary injustice by Benoît Battistelli and his flunkies whom he gave top positions at the EPO



  16. Links 23/6/2016: Red Hat Results, Randa Stories

    Links for the day



  17. Interview With FOSSForce/All Things Free Tech

    New interview with Robin "Roblimo" Miller on behalf of FOSSForce



  18. Links 22/6/2016: PulseAudio 9.0, GNOME 3.21.3 Released

    Links for the day



  19. IP Europe's UPC Lobbying and the EPO Connection

    The loose but seemingly ever-growing connections between AstroTurfing groups like IP Europe (pretending to represent SMEs) and EPO staff which is lobbying-centric



  20. EPO “Recruitment of Brits is Down by 80%”

    Letter says that “recruitment of Brits is down by 80%” and "the EPO lost 7% of UK staff in one year"



  21. The Conspiracy of Patent Lawyers for UPC and Battistelli's Role in Preparing by Firing People

    The parasitic firms that lobby for the UPC and actually create it -- firms like those that pass money to Battistelli's EPO -- are doing exactly the opposite of what Europe needs



  22. Patent Lawyers, Having Lost Much of the Battle for Software Patents in the US, Resort to Harmful Measures and Spin

    A quick glance at how patent lawyers and their lobbyists/advocates have reacted to the latest decision from the US Supreme Court (Justice Breyer)



  23. Links 21/6/2016: Fedora 24 and Point Linux MATE 3.2 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  24. Supreme Court on Cuozzo v Lee Another Major Loss for Software Patents in the United States

    Much-anticipated decision on the Cuozzo v Lee case (at the highest possible level) serves to defend the appeal boards which are eliminating software patents by the thousands



  25. As Alice Turns Two, Bilski Blog Says 36,000 (Software) Patent Applications Have Been Rejected Thanks to It

    A look back at the legacy of Alice v CLS Bank and how it contributed to the demise of software patents in the United States, the birthplace of software patents



  26. EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

    ree speech when it's needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO's management by 'sanitising' comments



  27. Caricature: Bygmalion Patent Office

    The latest cartoon regarding Battistelli's European Patent Office



  28. Links 21/6/2016: GNU/Linux in China's HPC, Linux 4.7 RC4

    Links for the day



  29. Under Battistelli's Regime the EPO is a Lawless, Dark Place

    How the EPO's Investigative Unit (IU) and Control Risks Group (CRG), which is connected to the Stasi through Desa, made the EPO virtually indistinguishable from East Germany (coat of arms/emblem above)



  30. New Paper Demonstrates That Unitary Patent (UPC) is Little More Than a Conspiracy of Patent 'Professionals' and Their Self Interest

    Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna's latest paper explains that the UPC “expert teams” are in fact not experts but people who are using the UPC as a Trojan horse by which to promote their business interests and corporate objectives


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