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09.04.08

Patent Shakeup: AT&T Protests, Free Software IP FUD, Microsoft Under siege

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Homeless car plate

Junk Patents Du Jour

Here is a new reminder of video/audio patents, which act as a barrier to everyone in this sordid mine field.

“H.324 Annex K (aka MONA) is the only standardized technology that achieves video session setup times close to one second, similar to voice calls…”

Here is another new patent that seems too trivial, abstract, and is pertaining to software. [via Digital Majority]

FatPipe Networks(TM), the inventor and multiple patents holder of WAN optimization, redundancy and security products, announced today that it has successfully secured its sixth patent. The U.S. Patent No. 7,406,048 protects the “tools and techniques for directing packets over multiple parallel disparate networks, based on address and other criteria.”

AT&T and a Patent Reform

AT&T is one of the worst-hit companies, but it ultimately flexes it muscle against a reform. It calls for change… for the worse.

Think the current patent process is corrupt, too open to abusive patent-seeking and unduly influenced by corrupt rent-seeking special interests? Well, AT&T is here to disabuse you of that notion…

But wait. It gets worse. According to this, there’s some gagging/suppression going on as AT&T sticks to the “you can’t make a photograph” insanity.

AT&T patent perpetrator tries to censor a blogger about their “pursuit of more patents”. The blogger has published a picture of an advertisement poster paid by “AT&T Intellectual Property” sponsoring the Democratic National Convention in Denver last week.

We wrote about Comcast just a short while ago. Readers are advised to add AT&T to their mental wastebasket. Not only does it support patent abuse, but it also suffocates those who show this to the public.

Patent FUD Against Free Software

There was an exceptional amount of legal FUD against Free software yesterday. This continues today. It comprises outright FUD and implied FUD (links below are rel=nofollowed):

Where is all that fear-inspiring nonsense coming from? And why now? There is a very high volume of these.

The articles seem to evade the issues of freedom and instead they concentrate on cost. It is, in general, pretty interesting that people seem to forget the values of free (libre) and instead focus only on short-term practical advantages. Both are important, but assassination of software patents is not an issue of lowering cost; it’s about a developer’s freedom to program to his/her heart’s content. Since when does typing down computer programs a possible crime?

Microsoft

FFII’s brilliant investigative research has come up with the observation that McCain is advised on the issue of patents by a man who is financed by Microsoft and its proxy. Unsurprisingly, he supports software patents.

McCain is advised by pro-software patent lobbyist Ray Gifford, ex-President of the Progress & Freedom Foundation (a Washington ‘think-tank’ notably financed by Microsoft lobby proxy CompTIA). Gifford was speaking in a conference Europe about the failed software patent directive with all the pro-software patent lobbyists. Progress & Freedom Foundation runs the IPCentral blog.

The Avestar case was mention here before under [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The very latest in this case is a good demonstration of what patents are for: lifeblood for dying companies, as opposed to something defensive.

Attempting a turnaround, Avistar Communications Corp. (DEMO 08) is trying to carve out an identity in the video conferencing world for a new marketing concept it calls “unified communications,” while fending off hostile actions by Microsoft Corp., which is challenging Avistar’s lifeblood – its patents.

[...]

Microsoft’s unexpected challenge “has caused absolute havoc for us,” said Simon Moss, who joined Avistar as CEO last January. “Some of the challenges have absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft technology.” Beyond that, Moss sites a mutual confidentiality agreement that the two companies signed, which prevents them from discussing specifics of the challenge. Meanwhile, “we’re continuing our dialog,” Moss said.

Microsoft must get no sympathy in this case. It is a major part of this problem and it uses its patents offensively [1, 2].

Microsoft patent

“Fighting patents one by one will never eliminate the danger of software patents, any more than swatting mosquitoes will eliminate malaria.”

Richard Stallman

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