09.16.08

Patents Roundup: Renewed Backlash, GPLv3 Beyond 3,000

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Patents at 8:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Systems Under Fire

It’s already known that the American industry, just like the rest of the world, is growing wary of the US patent system. An article has just been published to explain this backlash and outline the problem, but not without a solution (also to be found here).

Some of the biggest players in the technology industry complain that the U.S. patent system is broken — putting too many patents of dubious merit in the hands of people who can use them to drag companies and other inventors to court.

And Blaise Mouttet, a small inventor in Alexandria, Virginia, thinks he knows why. The problem, he said, is that “there are too many lawyers and not enough inventors involved with the patent system.”

So Mouttet is taking part in an experimental program launched in June 2007 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and backed by the technology industry that is intended to give the public — including inventors — more of a voice in the system.

In Europe, there is a protest coming and not just activists will participate. Actual staff of the patent office will protest against their own employer, which says plenty about the severity of their crisis. They will be joined by the Stop Software Patents protesters.

The Stop Software Patents website carries a copy of a press release put out by SUEPO – the union representing European Patent Office examiners – to coincide with the one day strike of EPO staff and a protest to be held in Brussels, both of which are scheduled for this Thursday, 18th September.

According to this release: “The confidence of the workforce in the EPO President, Alison Brimelow, and her Vice-Presidents is very low. According to internal staff survey conducted in June 2008, only 6% of the workforce have confidence in the management qualities of this body. And only 9% of the patent examiners believe that Brimelow and the Vice-Presidents actively promote patent quality.”

To those who live nearby and can attend the protest, T-shirts will be available.

100 T-shirts with the Red Dove and the Stop Software Patents slogan arrive tomorrow at the Brussels office, so pre-order yours! The previous yellow one is a collector now.

Microsoft, Patent Trolls, and GPLv3

Microsoft’s good friend Acacia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] has just been crowned top-of-the-league patent troll. This ought to show just what type of company is now being run by former Microsoft executives in its higher ranks.

Acacia Technologies is the most litigious non-practising entity/troll (delete according to preference) in the United States. According to research done by PatentFreedom, which is featured in an article to be published in the next issue of IAM, Acacia has been involved in a total of 308 cases in the US courts, 239 of which have been filed since 2003. In second place is Rates Technology Inc, which has been involved in 130 cases – although just 38 have been over the last six years.

The licence which defangs patent trolls is continues to be adopted pretty well. GPLv3 has just crossed the 3,000-projects milestone, according to Palamida’s count.

After over a year of tracking GPL3 adoption, we would like to announce that 3000 projects have adopted version 3 of the GNU GPL License. The strong adoption rate represented by this milestone shows the continued acceptance of this license by the Open Source and Free Software communities. We’d like to thank everyone that has been involved with this project. Without your hard work, none of this would’ve been possible.

In order to resolve this problem completely, software patents will need to be dropped altogether.

“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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A Single Comment

  1. landofbind said,

    September 16, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Gravatar

    An article has just been published to explain this backlash and outline the problem, but not without a solution.

    And what solution might that be? Prey tell us, Roy. Prove that you even read the article.

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

    This lovely quote contradicts that article and your statement.

    O lovely, t-shirts. Why not raincoats? The winter is coming. That protest is nothing but useless noise and have nothing to do software and business patents. They just want more money!

    Note: comment has been flagged for arriving from an incarnation of a known (eet), pseudonymous, forever-nymshifting, abusive Internet troll that posts from open proxies and relays around the world.

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