11.13.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, re Bilski and Reform

Posted in America, Asia, Bill Gates, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software Patents Turn Against Microsoft, United States

ONE week ago we showed two things: 1) Microsoft’s apparent disregard for prior art; and 2) the lawsuit that hit Windows Vista. It did not bode well for Microsoft, whose policy on patent is — quite frankly — becoming somewhat of a joke in the blogosphere and even some media circles. It makes patents as a whole look like a circus.

Microsoft Employee Admits That Patent Disclosure Is A Myth

Defenders of the patent system quite frequently point out that one of the main benefits (some claim the only benefit) of the patent system is “disclosure.” That is, because the patent system requires you to disclose your patent, the patent system is quite helpful in spreading ideas. This is a myth that’s easily debunked on a few points.

This Microsoft employee has ironically enough been the person to get the myth dismissed. It has always been said that disclosure seems better on paper than in practice and here we have a testimonial.

The patent lawsuit that came from China is now being covered by The Inquirer.

A CHINESE Internet company has sued Microsoft for patent infringement over its use of RSS* in Windows Vista.

What goes around comes around… and bites those who are greedy in the rear. Glyn Moody goes a step further and suggests that this intellectual monopolies regime might have an effect at an international level.

In the 19th century, America was a by-word for piracy of British ideas. In the 20th century, as its industry developed, it embraced intellectual monopolies, and became the most fervent advocate of maximalist legal regimes.

In the 20th century, China was a by-word for piracy of American ideas. In the 21st century, as its industry developed, it embraced intellectual monopolies, and became their stoutest defender. The news story above is but the trickle that presages the torrent.

Soon, America will be deluged with such suits, as China tries to leverage its huge industrial power. The consequence? America will become one of the most fervent advocates for *minimalist* intellectual property regimes. Yes, you read that correctly: just wait.

Microsoft’s (or Bill Gates’) participatory role and investment in a massive patent-trolling firm seems to be confirmed by one publication which suggests Microsoft is among the funding sources, not just Bill Gates (at a personal capacity). Here is an interesting observation from Matt Asay.

Of more concern was the TechFlash’s news that Bill Gates, Craig Mundie, and other top current and past Microsoft officials make a regular pilgrimage to the patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, to feed it ideas which it turns into patents. Regardless of what one thinks about patents, shouldn’t Microsoft be feeding itself with patents, not another company? In other words, shouldn’t it be the patent troll?

Microsoft is better off feeding shells, which cannot be counter-sued. The system is structured such that it permits trolls to exploit it endlessly (unless or until the system gets mended). An old myth spread by Bill Gates is that patents are alright because all the large companies can cross-license and live happily (never mind small businesses and the waste of time that patent applications are). Well, it doesn’t compute anymore, does it? Further, says Asay:

Patents are short-term monopolies (20 years) designed to give inventors sufficient time in which to recoup their R&D costs and turn a profit. Open source turns the 20-year patent term into two years, if that. As a relentless, ever-growing competitior, open source keeps the proprietary world in check and on its toes to a degree that the industry has never before seen.

Reform: The Sooner the, Better

BusinessWeek, a somewhat notorious ‘Wintel’ publication that forbids linking to it (!!), is now entertaining an article that accuses the Patent Office of stifling innovation rather than promoting it.

Patent Office Stifles Innovation

Information Age innovators need not apply. At least that’s the implied message being stretched like police tape across the door of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). The agency seems fixated on eliminating the last, true, sustainable American advantage: our capacity to innovate.

Sign of unrest, no?

Regarding business methods patents, even Microsoft resisted them, but much like IBM, it wanted to keep software patents in tact. Groklaw tells the story.

The Microsoft brief was filed along with Dell and Symantec, and it’s an attempt to get the court to deny the Bilski claims while at the same time trying to keep the court from going all the way and deciding software should not be patentable. There are some logic bumps along the way, as you will see. The court diverged from Microsoft’s argument about three-quarters of the way through, and it didn’t directly address software patents, except in one footnote, mainly because Bilski wasn’t about software. So it left unaddressed Microsoft’s chief argument about why software should patentable, namely because of what it does to a computer.

The FSF has just put forth a press release celebrating what it calls “a victory”.

As opinions form about the extent to which the Court ruling impacts the patenting of software, one thing is clear. The State Street ruling that in 1998 opened the flood gates to the patenting of business methods and software has been gutted, if not technically overturned.

Could re Bilski help the permanent burial of software patents in India, where multi-national companies continue to rely on loopholes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]?

Why, you may well ask, is the denial of patent to Bernie Bilski for a method of managing weather-related risk in commodities making the software open source community jump up in joy? A particularly happy lot is the lobby campaigning against software patents in India.

Analysis continues to arrive and it’s very important as it may be used extensively as a reference in future cases. From Digital Majority and Groklaw we have:

1. Patent decision: New Roadblock to Software/Tech Patents

On October 30th a leading U.S. federal court decided the major case of In re Bernard L. Bilski. This 100+ page court case could have a major impact on software and technology companies, especially those trying to obtain or enforce software patents in the U.S.

2. United States: Long-Awaited “Bilski” Decision Restricts Patentability Of Software, Business Methods

The Bilski decision is significant because it may affect a patentee’s ability to enforce existing patents, the prospects for pending patent applications and the decision whether to file new patent applications directed to so-called “business methods” and software-related innovations….

It has meanwhile come to our attention that Amazon is appealing the 1-click patent rejection. Is this not close to impossible given the re Bilski ruling?

For some background, see this old page

EPO rules for full revocation after a hearing in the opposition of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII e.V.) against Amazon.com’s infamous patent on the online purchase of gifts. The patent EP927945 is a descendant of the controversial One-Click Patent, which was granted to Amazon in the USA but was partially revoked there due to lack of novelty in October 2007.

The patent seems to be somewhere in between software and business methods. The USPTO should reject the appeal, citing the Bernard Bilski case at the very least. Prior art is another strong argument and so is obviousness.

Parrot
In the Amazon, parroting is inventing

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

3 Comments

  1. landofblind said,

    November 13, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Gravatar

    A CHINESE Internet company has sued Microsoft for patent infringement over its use of RSS* in Windows Vista.

    Instead of criticizing China for issuing “stupid patents” you again go after Microsoft even if in this case it’s the victim.

    Hypocrisy!

    Justice and truth only exist without hypocrisy! The ends never justify the means.

    You act just like them, you’re no better. Worse, you’re an hypocrite!

    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.

  2. xISO_ZWT said,

    November 13, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Gravatar

    Microsoft a victim? Don’t think so.

    When BillyG & Sweaty.B are in prison we’ll break out the champagne and celebrate.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Gravatar

    Instead of criticizing China for issuing “stupid patents” you again go after Microsoft even if in this case it’s the victim.

    Where in reference to this news did I “go after Microsoft”?

    I wrote “What goes around comes around,” suggesting that the Chinese plaintiff is as nonsensical as Microsoft typically is. They should get get their act together and eliminate those intellectual monopolies. The only sufferer would be lawyers that cash in on frivolous suits.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  2. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  3. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  4. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  5. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  6. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  7. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  8. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  9. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  10. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  11. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  12. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  13. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  15. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  16. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  17. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  18. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  19. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  20. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  22. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  23. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  24. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  25. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  26. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  27. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  28. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  29. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  30. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation


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