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. The EFF Back to Tackling Software Patents, Not Just Patent Trolls

    Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyers start targeting large companies that exploit patents for intimidation and extortion, not just patent trolling



  2. Microsoft Wants to Devour the Competition (Linux), Devour People's Data

    Refuting the "new Microsoft" propaganda and some ludicrous concept that Microsoft is now "playing nice"



  3. Benoît Battistelli Thinks 'President' is Above the Law, Decides to Ignore the Court's Ruling

    Staff of the EPO is given yet more reasons to protest tomorrow at the British Consulate, for the so-called 'President' of the EPO reminds everyone of the very raison d'être for the protest -- a vain disregard for the rule of law



  4. Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

    Links for the day



  5. Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

    Links for the day



  6. IRC Proceedings: February 8th - February 21st, 2015





  7. The EPO's Sham 'Internal Investigation' of EPO Vice-President Željko Topić's Affairs

    The EPO never investigated the Željko Topić affair, it only pretends to have investigated (one small aspect, i.e. cherry-picking) using a Benoît Battistelli-controlled group



  8. Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft AstroTurfing War on GNU/Linux is Still Going On, But Hidden Better, Uses API as Instrument of Lock-in

    The corruptible press continues to describe blatant attacks (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) against GNU/Linux and Free software as Microsoft 'embracing' Open Source



  10. Lenovo's Superfish Scandal is Spyware on Top of Spyware (Microsoft Windows), the Problem is Inherently Proprietary Software

    Shifting focus to the root problem, which is neither Lenovo nor its laptops but the non-free programs installed on hardware



  11. Benoît Battistelli Once Again Threatens EPO Staff That 'Dares' to Protest, Battistelli Exploits Terror Attacks to Pretend to Respect Free Speech

    The European Patent Office (EPO) President, Benoît Battistelli, reportedly started threatening -- as before -- staff that decides to exercise the right to assemble and protest against abuses, including the abuses of President Battistelli himself



  12. Links 20/2/2015: Android Studio v1.1, GDB 7.9

    Links for the day



  13. Links 20/2/2015: Bloomberg Joins Linux Foundation, ClearOS Community 6.6.0

    Links for the day



  14. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys Slams the European Patent Office for Structural Failings

    An important letter which we overlooked while writing yesterday's 4 articles about the European Patent Office (EPO); yet another key stakeholder complains



  15. Links 19/2/2015: Hewlett-Packard on Cumulus Linux, Previews of GNOME 3.16 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Techrights Under Attack Again, Shortly After Important EPO Articles

    Techrights highlights a pattern that is months old; Site faces availability issues shortly after reports about the European Patent Office and its abuses



  17. EPO Staff Protests Against Benoît Battistelli’s Lowering of Patents Quality (Scope Expansion and Software Patents for Profit)

    A protest in Munich in less than 6 days will target Mr. Sean Dennehey, who has helped Battistelli cover up his abuses and crush legitimate critics, whom he deemed illegal opposition as if the EPO is an authoritarian regime as opposed to a public service which taxpayers are reluctantly (but forcibly) funding



  18. Breaking: European Patent Office Sued by Its Own Staff in The Hague, Must Unblock Staff's Voices

    The crooked management of the European Patent Office (EPO) gets in legal trouble after repeated attempts to cover up abuses and suppress criticism



  19. Željko Topić's History in SIPO Leaves a Legacy of Alleged DZIV Vehicles (Bribes), Authorship Abuses, and Intimidation Against Reporters

    Another deep look at Željko Topić's background in Croatia, preceding his very notorious appointment to the EPO where he now serves as Benoît Battistelli's most controversial attack dog



  20. The Old Obsession With Patent Trolls Continues to Distract From Debate About Software Patenting

    A roundup of recent coverage about monopolies on algorithms in the United States



  21. Links 19/2/2015: 64-bit ARM Linux, Chinese New Year

    Links for the day



  22. Links 18/2/2015: Linux Report, FlightGear 3.4

    Links for the day



  23. EPO Scandals: The Story So Far

    An overview of articles about mischief, misconduct and breach of laws at the EPO



  24. Links 17/2/2015: TripleO, Pivotal

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/2/2015: SystemD 219, Frugalware 2.0 (Rigel) Released

    Links for the day



  26. Željko Peratović Slammed for Whitewashing Željko Topić After Publishing Important Piece on Behalf of Key Sources

    Response from Ivan Kabalin to Zeljko Peratovic's so-called "apology" which is both mysterious and seemingly inadequate as it does nothing to actually explain what was wrong (if anything)



  27. Benoît Battistelli Has Made Oversight of European Patent Office Absolutely Impossible





  28. Microsoft Already Killed Nokia, Don't Let It Kill Android Players Too

    Microsoft's strategy against Android mirrors the company's evil strategy that derailed MeeGo and Nokia



  29. Intel Continues to Attack Software Freedom Through UEFI

    The Trojan horse that Microsoft uses to cement its monopoly on desktops and laptops (making it hard or impossible to install and run GNU/Linux) is also being misused to block Coreboot



  30. Links 16/2/2015: Netrunner 15, Bridge Linux

    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