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

11.30.08

Patents Roundup: Patent Failure, Rambus Ambush, and Death by Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Patents at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s Not Working

THE FOLLOWING new article does not necessarily focus on software patents, but on the whole, the article does address an important issue that leads to patenting by large and wealthy companies whose so-called ‘innovations’ are not actually theirs. A portion of the article that speaks of software specifically tackles the issue of litigation burden, mostly costs.

Quicker, cheaper solutions needed for patent law

[...]

A further possibility, which is being trialled in the US in relation to software patents, is to expose patent applications to comment from those in industry. This would enable interested players to draw prior art to the attention of the examiner, and potentially also to identify ambiguity or lack of clarity. This would presumably assist examiners greatly in dealing with complex and new technologies.

The second major protection for the system is to ensure that those who wish to challenge the validity of a patent have access to a cost-effective dispute resolution mechanism. Typically, running a hotly contested patent case in the Federal Court can cost upwards of $2 million and take over a year to get to trial. On this basis, smaller players and issues that affect smaller markets will be shut out.

A particular district (or two) in Texas continues to be a major loophole and therefore a major part of this issue.

How to Attract Patent Litigation

If you’re a federal district court, that is.

The answer? You need something not every federal district has. The Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas have them. The Northern District of California has them. The Districts of Pennsylvania (Western), Georgia (Northern) and Illinois (Northern) have them. In fact, so many U.S. District Courts have them that its getting difficult to keep up. Like so many things in life, at first its an advantage to have them, and eventually it becomes necessity.

Black Sheep

Digital Majority, by pointing to this slightly older post, shows just how a single company or a minority of a much larger group can stand in the way of a reasonable system.

Except for the few patent holders and Accenture, the tax strategy business community has been largely anti-patent – going so far as to lobby congress to introduce legislation to create a specific exception that would block enforcement of those patents.

Another company that gives a bad name to patenting is Rambus, whose ambush is almost unprecedented and is causing a lot of trouble in several industries.

Judge Ronald M. Whyte of the US District Court, Northern District of California in San Jose, who has already presided over other cases involving Rambus and Hynix, has now reached a number of decisions, which were preceded by a legally and technically interesting 42-page set of findings. According to the court findings, DDR2, DDR3, GDDR2, and GDDR4 SDRAM chips made by Hynix, Micron, Nanya and Samsung infringe claim 16 of Rambus patent 6,266,285, granted on July 24, 2001; where GDDR3 memory is concerned, only Hynix, Micron and Samsung are affected. Rambus had also filed complaints over patent infringements related to nine further US patents, but Judge Whyte denied them for the most part.

If Rambus, which is a struggling and therefore merciless company, gets its way, this will be a serious injury to the integrity of the whole system. It would raise question with regards to the aim of patents and whether or not they are beneficial.

Sick Patents

Back in March we showed that collaboration in the drug-developing industry is seen as preferable by an increasing number of companies that set aside their patents and adopt what they refer to as an “open source” approach. This marks a turning point where science benefits the most and those whose illnesses depend on science likewise.

There is a stream of new articles at the moment which are very critical of patents in the medical field, particularly those that prevent access to vital medicine. Here is the story as told by Reuters.

The Commission said it had found documents during the inquiry, which contained admissions from brand-name companies that they had tried to stop generics, and many examples of obstacles being placed in way of less-expensive competitors.

A catalyst for action here is indeed the Commission, which rarely seems to intervene in this area. It’s nothing to sneeze at when patents kill.

Glyn Moody labels the situation “patently outrageous” and one of our readers, pointing to this interesting story on the BBC, said: “My take from it is what I have suspected all along. At least in the EU (and theoretically in the US), anti-trust law overrides patent protections. The EU is considering anti-trust action against the big pharmacy companies. This is good news especially since I consider that, since Microsoft does so little that is original, the big pharmacy companies have a better case than Microsoft has.”

Other coverages of this include:

1. Commission accuses drug developers of blocking rivals

The inquiry has revived calls for the creation of a single European Union patent, an issue that regulators have struggled with for 30 years due to disagreements over the languages used. Kroes said that the preliminary findings of the sector inquiry supported the case for a community patent, which she argued could help avoid litigation and cut costs.

2. Sick babies denied treatment in DNA row

BABIES with a severe form of epilepsy risk having their diagnosis delayed and their treatment compromised because of a company’s patent on a key gene.

It is the first evidence that private intellectual property rights over human DNA are adversely affecting medical care.

It is true that some patents may result in unnecessary deaths.

Medicals

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

What Else is New


  1. South Korea's Government Will Show If Microsoft Loves Linux or Just Attacks It Very Viciously Like It Did in Munich

    Microsoft's hatred of all things GNU/Linux is always put to the test when someone 'dares' use it outside Microsoft's control and cash cows (e.g. Azure and Vista 10/WSL); will Microsoft combat its longstanding urge to corrupt or oust officials with the courage to say "no" to Microsoft?



  2. Links 19/5/2019: KDE Applications 19.04.1 in FlatHub and GNU/Linux Adoption

    Links for the day



  3. The War on Patent Quality

    A look at the EPO's reluctance to admit errors and resistance to the EPC, which is its very founding document



  4. Watchtroll, Composed by Patent Trolls, Calls the American Patent System “Corrupt”

    Another very fine piece from Watchtroll comes from very fine patent trolls who cheer for Donald Trump as if he's the one who tackles corruption rather than spreading it



  5. Unified Patent Court Won't Happen Just Because the Litigation Microcosm Wants It

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) hopefuls are quote-mining and cherry-picking to manufacture the false impression that the UPC is just around the corner when in reality the UPC is pretty much dead (but not buried yet)



  6. Links 17/5/2019: South Korea's GNU/Linux Pivot, Linux 5.1.3

    Links for the day



  7. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 4: Happy Birthday to the Kötter Group?

    This year the Kötter Group commemorates the 85th anniversary of its existence. But is it really a cause for celebration or would a less self-congratulatory approach be more fitting? And does it create the risk that a routine tendering exercise at the EPO will turn into Operation Charlie Foxtrot?



  8. Links 16/5/2019: Cockpit 194, VMware Acquires Bitnami, Another Wine Announcement and Krita 4.2.0 Beta

    Links for the day



  9. The EPO's Key Function -- Like the UPC's Vision -- Has Virtually Collapsed

    The EPO no longer issues good patents and staff is extremely unhappy; but the Office tries to create an alternate (false) reality and issues intentionally misleading statements



  10. Stanford's NPE Litigation Database Makes a Nice Addition in the Fight Against Software Patent Trolls

    As the United States of America becomes less trolls- and software patents-friendly (often conflated with plaintiff (un)friendliness) it's important to have accurate data which documents the numbers and motivates better policy; The NPE (troll) Litigation Database is a move towards that and it's free to access/use



  11. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 3: “Ein kritikwürdiges Unternehmen”

    A brief account of some further controversies in which the Kötter Group has been involved and its strained relations with German trade unions such as Verdi



  12. EPO Had a Leakage Problem and Privacy of Stakeholders Was Compromised, Affecting at Least 100 Cases

    The confidentiality principle was compromised at the EPO and stakeholders weren't told about it (there was a coverup)



  13. Links 15/5/2019: More Linux Patches and More Known Intel Bugs

    Links for the day



  14. False Hope for Patent Maximalists and Litigation Zealots

    Patent litigation predators in the United States, along with Team UPC in Europe, are trying to manufacture optimistic predictions; a quick and rather shallow critical analysis reveals their lies and distortions



  15. The Race to the Bottom of Patent Quality at the EPO

    The EPO has become more like a rubber-stamper than a patent office — a fact that worries senior staff who witnessed this gradual and troublesome transition (from quality to raw quantity)



  16. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 2: Meet the Kötters

    An introduction to the Kötter Group, the private security conglomerate which is lined up for the award of a juicy EUR 30 million contract for the provision of security services at the EPO



  17. Links 14/5/2019: Red Hat Satellite 6.5, NVIDIA 430.14 Linux Driver and New Security Bug (MDS)

    Links for the day



  18. Links 14/5/2019: GNU/Linux in Kerala, DXVK 1.2, KDE Frameworks 5.58.0 Released

    Links for the day



  19. Q2 Midterm Weather Forecast for EPOnia, Part 1: Urgent Shitstorm Alert

    Experts at the European Patent Office's (EPO) weather observation station have just issued an urgent alert warning about a major shitstorm looming on the horizon



  20. Patents That Were Gleefully Granted by the EPO Continue to Perish in Courts

    The decreasing quality of granted European Patents already becomes a growing problem if not a crisis of uncertainty



  21. Links 13/5/2019: ExTiX 19.5 and GNU Radio Conference 2019

    Links for the day



  22. The Microsoft Guide to the Open Source Galaxy

    Thou shalt not...



  23. Microsoft Would Kill the Goose for Money

    Microsoft is just 'monetising' Open Source by using it as 'bait' for Microsoft's proprietary software; those who we might expect to antagonise this have effectively been bribed by Microsoft



  24. Links 13/5/2019: Nanonote 1.2.0, OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, and GNUnet 0.11.4

    Links for the day



  25. Professionally Incompetent EPO Management

    The EPO remains an awful employer, with top-level management largely responsible for the loss of talent and even money



  26. Links 12/5/2019: Linux 5.1.1, GDB 8.3, KStars 3.2.2 Released

    Links for the day



  27. Did Battistelli 'Steal' ~$100,000,000 Euros From the EPO?

    While enjoying diplomatic immunity the thug from CEIPI (who is back at the EPO as a jurist) passed millions if not billions (over the long run) in liabilities; this was done with total and inexcusable impunity, no effective oversight



  28. The Biased EPO Does Not Want to Hear From Anyone Except Those Who Pay the EPO

    The EPO's corruption and violations of the law are a threat to everyone in the world; the EPO only ever listens to those who pay for "access" or those who embrace the "religion" of the EPO



  29. Team UPC Has Run Out of Arguments, So Now It's Just Writing Anti-Brexit Rants With Testicles in the Headlines

    Nothing has worked for firms that crafted and lobbied hard for the Unified Patent Court (UPC); after necrophilia a new low is being reached



  30. Making the Patent System About Productive Actors (Again), Not a Bunch of Law Firms and Trolls

    The US patent system is going out of shape and out of tune, just like the EPO when Battistelli came to it, dismantling the rule of law and even judges whom he did not like


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