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

10.08.08

Patents Roundup: Bilski, Sun, Telecom, and Apple

Posted in America, Apple, Law, Patents, SUN at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

End of Software Patents Near?

A couple of important court decisions may constitute a change of law, but it’s too early to tell for sure. Bilski is due very soon and the SSP Web site suggests that immense lobbying is likely to ensue.

The outcome of the Bilski case, which should be published in October, might invalidate software patents in the United States:

Plager said he regretted the unintended consequences of the decisions in State Street Bank and AT&T. Those rulings led to a flood of applications for software and business method patents, he noted. If we “rethink the breadth of patentable subject matter,” he said, we should ask whether these categories should be excluded from patent protection.

If the CAFC are clever enough to follow the Supreme Court and kick software patents out, you might see the desperate large corporations and their patent department rushing to Congress. Especially if tomorrow the banks value their patent portfolio as void, and not useful to get any credit.

This month will be a fascinating one not just because of the many major releases of GNU/Linux (Mandriva 2009 is due any day now).

Sun-NetApp

Here is another potential victory for Sun Microsystems, which battles a software patent lawsuit targeted at an open source project.

Sun is crowing that a judicial ruling in the NetApp_Sun IP lawsuit has effectively invalidated another NetApp patent. The US Patent Office also appears to be rejecting NetApp’s key patents in the law suit. NetApp’s position looks like it’s crumbling.

The dispute began with NetApp claiming that Sun’s free distribution of its ZFS technology infringes NetApp’s six patents for its WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) technology. WAFL is a core component of NetApp’s SAN and filer products.

Groklaw has some more pertinent details about this case, which it has followed since the very start.

There’s news from the NetApp-Sun patent litigation front, and I think you’ll like it. Sun’s general counsel, Mike Dillon, posts the news that the US Patent Office has now responded to all six of Sun’s reexamination requests, which they filed based on prior art. We’ve been waiting for the order on the reexamination from the USPTO on the claims of ’292. Dillon’s the lawyer, not me, and he says the USPTO has now rejected all the ’292 claims, but I’d describe it from the Order [PDF] from the USPTO more that it found that the prior art “raises a substantial new questions of patentability” as to the claims. This isn’t yet the end of the process, but it’s still very good news for Sun, no matter how you describe it.

Telecom

Why have software patents if they won’t be used offensively, i.e. for profit? Why have software patents if they are only ever bound to a cross-licensing agreement (or a set of them)? Why even ‘defend’ a software patent if, as Comcast and Verizon now show, it’s better to call off the fight and issue a cease-fire? The following report makes one wonder if there was ever a true need for this type of patents in the first place.

Comcast and Verizon Communications have inked a deal under which the two companies have agreed to not sue each other over patent claims for a period of five years, according to company sources and published reports.

Ensuring fair competition using software patents is like ensuring public safety by distributing pistols for citizens to ‘protect’ themselves. Some weapons — whether real, physical, perceived or ‘intellectual’ — are just not worth having; having already got them in the US, they are simply worth burying (disarmament). The United States and the Soviet Union learned this the hard way after the Cold War.

Here is another fruitless patent lawsuit in telecom.

Verizon, which was seeking $404 million in damages against Cox, filed the infringement case against Cox early this year after winning a patent infringement case against VoIP provider Vonage Holdings. Verizon’s original filing against Cox cited patents it had exerted against Vonage, but it isn’t clear from media reports whether the Verizon-Vonage patents figured in the final Verizon-Cox decision.

This is innovation?

Delusions of Innovation

FFII points out that these notorious illusions around patents are likely to be coming from lawyers and it also warns about certain publications that strive to change public perceptions in favour of software patents.

The website LinuxInsider.com, closely associated with Technewsworld.com and Macnewsworld.com, has for a long time been an object of complaints. Writers at Groklaw et al treat it as a “Linux FUD site”. Recently it published lots of pro-software-patent commentaries, alongside with “neutral” news reports in which the anti-swpat-arguments are invented by the writer (no sources given) and of poor quality, whereas the pro arguments consist of extensive quotes from lawyers who usually have the last word.

This one particular Web site, LinuxInsider (its siblings new aside), was once an innocent domain, but it then got acquired by ECT only to be filled with Linux haters like pseudonym ‘Paul Murphy’ and Rob Enderle.

Bad Apple

Regardless of Apple’s products — whether readers of BN like them or not — its record with respect to software patents is pretty bad if not appalling. It keeps getting worse.

Steve Jobs Patents ‘The Dock’

“If you’re a PC, you may be unfamiliar with The Dock, the bar of icons that sits at the bottom or side of a Mac and provides easy access to Apple applications. But don’t count on it becoming a standard on the PC. On Tuesday, the USPTO awarded Apple — and inventor Steve Jobs — a patent for their User Interface for Providing Consolidation and Access, aka ‘The Dock,’ after a rather lengthy nine-year wait.”

Apple did not invent the concept of “The Dock.” It merely extended and enhanced existing ideas. That’s how most so-called ‘inventions’ come about — through inspiration. But Apple doesn’t care. It might as well just ruin Free software projects due to its greed for patents.

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

6 Comments

  1. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Gravatar

    The interesting thing about the Apple patent is that it was granted 9 years after it was filed in 1999.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Yes, that’s quite extreme, but some applications take half a decade. it’s because the system allows everything under the sun to become a monopoly.

  3. Yuhong Bao said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Gravatar

    “Apple did not invent the concept of “The Dock.””
    No it didn’t. The key was the magnification.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Gravatar

    Should that be patentable? As Richard Stallman might say, could a 7-year-old not figure out such ‘innovation’?

  5. seller_liar said,

    November 2, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Gravatar

    Patents is the most stupid invention of world. Patents are not used for respect invention because any people with sufficient money can “buy” inventions.

    If people can “buy” innovation there’s no invention.Any dictator of money can be the king of knowledge.

    Where’s the innovation?

    Please God ,stops the man greed.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 2, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Gravatar

    Empowerment of monopolies through new laws can only be fought through regulation.

    The system is collapsing at the moment as a result of deregulation, which led to white-collar fraud at a massive scale.

What Else is New


  1. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  2. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  3. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  4. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  5. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  6. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  7. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  8. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  9. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  10. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  11. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  12. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  13. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  14. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  15. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  16. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  17. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  18. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)



  19. Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to 'Globalise' a System of Monopolies on Everything

    Monopolies on just about everything are being granted in defiance of the EPC and there are those looking to make this violation ‘unitary’, even worldwide if not just EU-wide



  20. Unitary Patent (UPC) Promotion by Team Battistelli 'Metastasising' in Private Law Firms

    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  21. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  22. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)



  23. Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some 'slush funds'



  24. Links 14/9/2019: SUSE CaaS Platform, Huawei Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  25. Links 13/9/2019: Catfish 1.4.10, GNOME Firmware 3.34.0 Release

    Links for the day



  26. Links 12/9/2019: GNU/Linux at Huawei, GNOME 3.34 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Links 12/9/2019: Manjaro 18.1 and KaOS 2019.09 Releases

    Links for the day



  28. EPO: Give Us Low-Quality Patent Applications, Patent Trolls Have Use for Those

    What good is the EPC when the EPO feels free to ignore it and nobody holds the EPO accountable for it? At the moment we're living in a post-EPC Europe where the only thing that counts is co-called 'products' (i.e. quantity, not quality).



  29. Coverage for Sponsors: What the Linux Foundation Does is Indistinguishable From Marketing Agencies' Functions

    The marketing agency that controls the name "Linux" is hardly showing any interest in technology or in journalism; it's just buying media coverage for sponsors and this is what it boils down to for the most part (at great expense)



  30. Watch Out, Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Bought Tons of Git Repositories and Now It Goes After Linux

    Microsoft reminds us how E.E.E. tactics work; Microsoft is just hijacking its competition and misleading the market (claiming the competition to be its own, having "extended" it Microsoft's way with proprietary code)


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

Recent Posts