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. The Faces of 'The Cloud' (Surveillance in Clown Computing/Clothing)

    Consolidation of the world's computers/servers and the stories told by photo ops; we're particularly interested in IBM's relationship with Condé Nast, which owns The New Yorker and Wired



  2. Microsoft is Now in the Technical Advisory Board of the Linux Foundation

    Techrights politely takes note of the growing role (or roles) of Microsoft employees inside the Linux Foundation; there are now at least half a dozen people



  3. Two Things IBM and Microsoft Have in Common: Layoffs and Fake Hype Like 'Clown Computing' and 'Hey Hi' (AI) as Perceived 'Opportunity' for 'Growth'

    The infamous pair of monopolists, Microsoft and IBM, are both suffering during the COVID-19 lock-downs (no matter how hard they try to spin it and/or distract from it)



  4. IBM (Red Hat) Lectured FSF That It Needed More Diversity, But Was It Looking at the Mirror? IBM and Red Hat Are Even Less Diverse.

    Techrights examines Red Hat’s (IBM’s) hypocritical claims about the Free Software Foundation, founded by Richard Stallman back when IBM was the “big scary monopolist”; IBM employees were prominent among those pushing to oust Stallman from the GNU Project, which he founded, as well



  5. IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, June 05, 2020



  6. Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev

    That old anti-RMS letter, which called for his removal (or resignation) from GNU (RMS is the founder of the GNU Project), as characterised by metadata of signatories



  7. When You Realise People Who Don't Support RMS Do Not Really Support GNU, Either

    The (in)famous letter against Richard Stallman (RMS), which was signed by many Red Hat employees with Microsoft (GitHub) accounts, doesn’t look particularly good in light of recent revelations/findings; it increasingly looks like IBM simply wants Microsoft-hosted and “permissively” licensed stuff, just like another project it announced yesterday and another that it promoted yesterday



  8. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part III: What Happens When You Tell the Truth About Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

    One might not expect this from a so-called 'charity'; the Gates Foundation's critics are often met with unprecedented aggression, threats and retribution, which make one wonder if it's really a charity or a greedy cult of personalities (Bill and Melinda)



  9. Links 6/6/2020: Bifrost Meets GNOME, Wine 5.10 is Out

    Links for the day



  10. Links 5/6/2020: LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.3, Rust 1.44.0, and Hamburg's Pivot to Free/Libre Software

    Links for the day



  11. This Article About GitHub Takeover Never Appeared (Likely Spiked by Microsoft and Its Friends Inside the Media)

    And later they wonder why people distrust so much of the media (where paying advertisers set the agenda/tone)



  12. Raw: How Microsoft and/or the EPO Killed an Important EPO Story About Their SLAPP Against Techrights and Others

    Spiking a story about spiked stories about corruption



  13. The Linux Foundation 'Bootcamp' -- Badly Timed and Badly Named in June 2020 -- Only Uses Linus Torvalds Like a 'Prop' (for Legitimacy) While Promoting Militarised Monopolies

    Sometimes a picture says a lot more than words, especially in light of political events in the US and a certain Chinese anniversary we cannot name (Microsoft censors mentions of it)



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 04, 2020



  15. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part II: When Media That You Bribe Calls All Your Critics 'Conspiracy Theorists' (to Keep Them Silenced, Marginalised)

    The assault on the media by Bill Gates is a subject not often explored by the media (maybe because a lot of it is already bribed by him); but we're beginning to gather new and important evidence that explains how critics are muzzled (even fired) and critical pieces spiked, never to see the light of day anywhere



  16. GitHub is Not Sharing But 'Theft' by Microsoft

    Microsoft buying GitHub does not demonstrate that Microsoft loves Open Source (GitHub is not Open Source and may never be) but that it loves monopoly and coercion (what GitHub is all about and why it must be rejected)



  17. The Huge Damage (Except for Patent Lawyers' Bottom Line) Caused by Fake European Patents

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps granting fake patents that cause a lot of real harm (examiners are pressured to play along and participate in this unlawful agenda); nobody is happy except those who profit from needless, frivolous lawsuits



  18. Red Hat/IBM Got 'Tired' of RMS. Is It Getting 'Tired' of GPL/Copyleft Too?

    After contributing to the cancellation of Richard Stallman (RMS) based on some falsehoods perpetuated in the media we're seeing the sort of thing one might expect from IBM (more so now that it totally controls Fedora and RHEL)



  19. Links 4/6/2020: Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate, GNU Linux-libre 5.7

    Links for the day



  20. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 03, 2020



  21. Social Engineering of Free Software, Based on Corporate Criteria

    What "professional" nowadays means in the context of coding and honest assessment of technical work



  22. Weakening GNU/Linux by Disempowering Its Leaders and Founders, Replacing Them With Microsoft Employees and GNU/Linux-Hostile Moles

    The coup to remove (or remove power from) Stallman and Torvalds, the GNU and Linux founders respectively, is followed by outsourcing of their work to Microsoft’s newly-acquired monopoly (GitHub) and appointment of Microsoft workers or Microsoft-friendly people, shoehorning them into top roles under the disingenuous guise of "professionalism"



  23. Sword Group Violates Its Own Commitment by Working for the EPO

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps outsourcing its work to outside contractors (for-profit private entities) to the tune of hundreds of millions if not billions — all this without any oversight



  24. In 2020 Canonical No Longer Fights for Freedom

    Freedom requires a GNU/Linux distro other than Ubuntu, which seems unwilling or unable/incapable of speaking about and promoting the ideals of GNU/Linux



  25. We Need to Use the F Word (Freedom) to Promote Adoption of GNU/Linux

    "People get the government their behavior deserves. People deserve better than that." -Richard Stallman



  26. People Who Want to Explore GNU/Linux With Ubuntu See This Today

    "Wait, am I in a GNU/Linux blog or another Windows blog," a visitor might think... or, is Microsoft 'taking over' messaging at Canonical? (Same with code)



  27. Links 4/6/2020: Septor 2020.3, Nextcloud and Blender 2.83

    Links for the day



  28. Hey, Where's Red Hat (IBM)?

    Red Hat is conspicuously silent at these critical times (in its home country); Must be too busy hailing and cashing in on Trump's military (state) while dishing out shallow and self-contradictory diversity PR/fluff…



  29. Microsoft's Latest Vapourware About Supercomputers

    Microsoft has spent almost two decades dropping supercomputers vapourware on the media, but those misinformation dumps always turn out to be 100% hot air, no substance



  30. 2020: A Time for Resolutions or Revolutions?

    There are nonviolent means by which the current system can be corrected; we need to convince peers and relatives to change the way they behave and not cooperate with unjust elements of the system


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