11.01.08

Patent Problems: Google Unresolved, Bilski Resolved, EPO to be Resolved?

Posted in Europe, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

Google and Junk/Software Patents

A LOT OF PEOPLE think of Google as a Free software (or open source) company. It is almost nonsensical because Google is mostly a proprietary software company. Its main product is the distribution of services. Some of its recent big products, such as the Android platform and the Chrome browser, are claimed to be “open source”, but there are some snags to that too.

Perhaps more troubling than Google’s cloud-ifaction of Free software (exploiting a loophole that AGPL closes) is the fact that Google is filing for software patents without much regret or hesitation. Matt Asay mentioned this the other day.

Google has been a fairly benevolent steward of its intellectual property thus far, and let’s hope that continues. But if Google has the opportunity to squash Microsoft’s cloud efforts even as Microsoft seeks to head off threats from Google’s forays into “desktop” applications, I’m not sure I’d be betting on benevolence.

Watch this video.

Ogg Theora

The gentleman who speaks for Google offers a rather poor answer. That’s because he seems to describe patents as desired barriers and monetisation avenues, as opposed to something defensive. Others at Google might wish to claim that all those software patents they’re obtaining (even in countries where these are not legal, with two recent examples in India) are needed for defence, but patent trolls are not deterred by it. In fact, the trolls keep getting their way. Here is some news about The Ariba case, which marks a victory for the notorious patent on electronic auctions.

The case in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas revolved around an Ariba patent covering key functions for electronic auctions and found infringement and a second patent also pertaining to electronic auctions.

Is this the type of world Google envisions? A world where every trivial idea (usually unoriginal) is assigned ownership? Google is already exploiting a lot of knowledge that was shared and built upon.

Bilski

The Bilski ruling was wonderful news and we’ve put the full text right here. As expected, there are heaps of coverage about this — coverage which we ought to include here for future reference. Here’s the Wall Street Journal.

In a closely watched case, a federal appeals court in Washington D.C., today made it much harder for companies and individuals to get patent protection on abstract processes developed for businesses, such as tax strategies and investment methods.

BusinessWeek outlined the story with some concise background.

The business strategy at issue in Bilski was developed by two individual inventors, Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw. But the case drew interest and court filings from dozens of large corporations. Some, like IBM Corp., argued for tightened standards that would sharply limit what IBM in-house patent counsel David Kappos described as “runaway issuance of nontechnological process patents.” Others, such as technology services and consulting giant Accenture, defended patents stemming from such areas as financial services and organizational behavior as central to innovation in a 21st century economy.

The effect on software patents was mentioned in Reuters.

A U.S. patent appeals court ruled on Thursday that business methods, such as Amazon.com Inc’s one-click to buy goods on the Internet, cannot be patented.

The case was closely watched by software makers, Internet companies, investment houses and other businesses.

Patently-O wrote:

For software and business methods, the question will remain as to whether a general purpose computer is sufficiently particular to qualify as a “particular machine.” “We leave to future cases the elaboration of the precise contours of machine implementation, as well as the answers to particular questions, such as whether or when recitation of a computer suffices to tie a process claim to a particular machine.” As Professor Duffy noted in an earlier Patently-O article, the PTO Board of Patent Appeals (BPAI) has already answered this question: “A general purpose computer is not a particular machine, and thus innovative software processes are unpatentable if they are tied only to a general purpose computer.” See Ex parte Langemyr (May 28, 2008) and Ex parte Wasynczuk (June 2, 2008). More commonly, the claim may tie the software to computer memory or a processor – is that sufficiently particular? I suspect this fact pattern will arise shortly.

More coverage can be found in: [credit to Digital Majority]

EPO

Alison Brimelow

Reduction of patenting scope is possible in Europe as well, but it may take some time before answers arrive.

The ongoing row related to software patenting has finally reached the European Patent Office (EPO) Enlarged body of Appeal which incidentally is the highest appeals body in the EPO.

[...]

An statement issued by the EPO explained the move by mentioning “It is hoped that the answers to these questions will lead to greater clarity concerning the limits of patentability, thereby facilitating application of the EPC by patent examiners and enabling both applicants and the wider public to understand the law regarding the patentability of programs for computers”

Additional coverage in:

The staff of the EPO will certainlu like such issues to be resolved. Their complaint was that focus on quality patents was lost.

Software patents protest against EPO

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.”

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

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

What Else is New


  1. Links 30/11/2020: GhostBSD 20.11.28, Nitrux 1.3.5, Linux 5.10 RC6, GNOME Circle, Microsoft Collapses Again in Web Server Share

    Links for the day



  2. Alternatives to the World Wide Web, to HTML, to HTTP/S, and to the Internet

    Looking around the Web (yes, the Web) for alternatives to the Web (and the stack underneath the Web), we're finding that IPFS is mature and robust enough for our needs



  3. Management of the EPO Dragged to the International Labour Organisation Over Its Assault on the Right to Strike

    Opinion on strikes challenged by the Central Staff Committee of Europe's second-largest organisation; if strike rights are almost abolished there, what hope is there for the rest of Europe?



  4. [Meme] Management of the EPO Cannot Let the Staff Breathe or Smell Freedom

    Working for the EPO means giving up on one’s human rights; that’s the sort of conclusion many workers have reached



  5. “ViCo” is Nothing New (Not Even the Acronym), Done on 9/11 Last Year, Been Possible as Long as the EPO Has Existed

    Contrary to what many people are led to believe, the EPO isn't embracing innovation, it's just embracing COVID-19 and leveraging lock-downs (de facto house arrest to some) to impose an illegal practice on EPO staff and EPO stakeholders



  6. Release: Early Letters and Documents About Financial Hoax Disguised as EPO 'Study'

    It was over a year ago that staff representation at the EPO expressed concerns about what would later enrage workers — seeing that based on unscientific fabrications the EPO would take away what had been promised to them



  7. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 29, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 29, 2020



  8. Managing IP: Puff Pieces Galore for the EPO's Dictatorship (Complete With Buzzwords and PR Stunts)

    By giving a platform to notorious patent trolls and ‘engaging’ with the EPO‘s dictator (whom only 3% of EPO staff trusts) Managing IP is sort of giving away its real agenda, which isn’t journalism but conducting or assisting misinformation campaigns



  9. Links 29/11/2020: Genode OS Framework 20.11, Linux 5.11 Kernel Changes, and Latest in KDE Itinerary

    Links for the day



  10. Sincere Thoughts About Outreachy

    Outreachy's role in the Free software community and inclusion in the FSF's High Priority Projects, as seen from the eyes of a female coder from a minority group; she used to work for the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and she expresses concerns about what Outreachy has become



  11. Free Software Under Tyranny of Codes of Conduct as the Western Equivalent of Blasphemy Law (Corporations as the New Religion/Sponsors as Deities)

    The free speech crisis in Free software communities has enabled expulsion of opinionated people whose opinions truly matter; in their place we now have companies that bomb people, sometimes even kidnapping children and sterilising women because nothing says “Ethics” like naked fascism and corporate domination everywhere



  12. Release: 4 More Documents and Letters About the Financial Siege at Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    Documents disputing the accuracy of the "hoax" from António Campinos and the Mercers



  13. One Year Ago: The Last EPO Demonstration Before COVID-19

    About a year ago staff of the EPO apparently had its last protest (in front of the Isar building) before staff got ‘herded’ into homes, where workers became more isolated and even illegally spied on



  14. [Meme] Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) is an Attack on Europe and the European Businesses That Don't Do Litigation

    Litigation lawyers and patent zealots want to set Europe ablaze with legislation that they themselves crafted; thankfully, however, they face constitutional obstacles, no matter how many politicians they bamboozle and buy



  15. Reasons EPO Staff Decided to Go on Strike This Year (Before or Until Coronavirus Prevented It)

    An year-old letter from the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) to the President of the EPO; 7 reasons for going on strike are enumerated



  16. EPO Can Save Money by “Dropping Events Like the Inventor of the Year, Reducing the Number of Managers, Throwing Less Money at Consultants or Bringing the Boards of Appeal Back into Office Buildings.”

    Constructive suggestions from EPO staff, made just over a year ago and assembled into a letter to their EPO colleagues



  17. The Real Fate of the UPC 'Stunt' in Germany Will be Known Next Month (or Next Year) and There Are Substantial Constitutional Barriers in the Way

    Contrary to what Team UPC wants people to think, UPC(A) isn’t a “done deal” in Germany; they never actually addressed the substance of complaints and with help from Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in the Commission they’re just attempting a blatant coup



  18. Microsoft Removes Free Software From GitHub Again, This Time for Motion Picture Association (MPA)

    GitHub is proving to be more of a censorship site than a code-sharing site; with the GitHub takeover Microsoft became a 'censorship police' or force of occupation against its ideological competition; just weeks after the YouTube-DL debacle and further take-downs seeking to 'protect' broken DRM schemes (by banning code) we can see that Microsoft isn't defending developers at all; it's just protecting the interests of MPA, RIAA and other Biden circles from the interests of the general population, which sometimes circumvents perfectly circumventable 'DRM' schemes



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 28, 2020



  20. Help Make Techrights (and Other Technology-Centric Sites) More Robust to Censorship by Setting Up More IPFS Nodes

    We’re trying to improve the site’s availability (ensuring it can never be offline) and make it more censorship-resistant; people who adopt IPFS can make that happen while tackling the “bloated Web” and “centralised Internet” issues — all at the same time



  21. Microsoft Loves Linux and Android Apps Running on Windows Instead of GNU/Linux and Android Devices

    Microsoft loves Linux, they say; but as Microsoft's former VP James Allchin put it: "If you're going to kill someone there isn't much reason to get all worked up about it and angry -- you just pull the trigger [...] We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger."



  22. Links 28/11/2020: RenderDoc 1.11, GNOME 40 Scrolling Horizontally

    Links for the day



  23. Nine Documents About the Financial Siege Against EPO Staff (Past, Present, and Future)

    Today we release dozens of pages of letters and documents (internal to Europe's second-largest institution); they all focus on the betrayal and skulduggery, crushing staff in spite of what was originally promised (and what workers actually signed up for)



  24. EPO Senior Management (Cabal) “Essentially Deaf to the Proposals From Staff Representatives.”

    Representatives of EPO staff feel like the management of the EPO is "deaf" and uncaring; there's hardly any meaningful progress (or none whatsoever) when it comes to truly honest dialogue with real participation



  25. EPO Management, Led by António Campinos, Attempted to Stifle or Prevent Staff From Being Surveyed

    Battistelli's cabal, which covers up a lot of fraud and corruption, is attempting to prevent the staff from expressing an opinion (for insiders and perhaps outsiders to assess) because things are really bad and autocratic measures are seen as necessary to keep the lid on issues/abuses



  26. The European Patent Office's Central Staff Committee: Office Cannot Recruit Fit-for-Purpose Patent Examiners Anymore

    One third of EPO recruits are 'locals' (Germans), 0.2% are Swiss, 1% Scandinavian; the EPO as an employer became unattractive and it's unable to attract the staff it needs (as was projected and planned when the EPC was agreed upon)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, November 27, 2020



  28. Links 27/11/2020: Jolla is 7, Diffoscope 162, MNT Reform Production

    Links for the day



  29. The Time Coronavirus Helped EPO Management Prevent Staff From Protesting and Going on Strike (March 26th)

    "In view of the spreading of the New Corona Virus, the planned General Assemblies have to be cancelled," the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) wrote in the wake of the crisis across Europe back in March (weeks ahead of a planned strike)



  30. Guarding Your Privacy With E2EE: Primer

    "As with all security, there is assumed risk no matter how careful you are. There are no security guarantees but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try."


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