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. Calling Proprietary Software, Software Patents, Lock-in (Like OOXML) and DRM 'Open'

    What Microsoft et al. call 'Next-Generation Open Media Formats' are basically neither open nor acceptable (it's DRM) and what Microsoft apologists dub 'Open Source Tools' are just another example of a Microsoft Office openwashing Trojan horse



  2. Recycled Old News About Vista 10, Stressing That Not Only '10' is Spyware But All of Windows is

    How Microsoft propagandists are spinning Microsoft's gross and potentially illegal privacy violations as a reason to 'upgrade' to Vista 10



  3. Links 1/9/2015: Manjaro Linux 0.8.13, Netrunner 14.2 LTS

    Links for the day



  4. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  5. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  6. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  8. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  9. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  10. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  11. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  12. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  13. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  15. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  16. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  17. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  18. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  19. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  21. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  22. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  23. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  24. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  25. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  26. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  27. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  28. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  29. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  30. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    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