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

12.02.08

Patents Roundup: From Microsoft’s Trolls to Obama Policies

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 6:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Section sign

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

Microsoft Patent Trolls

Transmeta is known to many F/OSS people because of Linus Torvalds, who used to work there. Well, the company is pretty much kaput, as disclosed roughly a month ago when it put itself up on display. Some of its assets are offered for sale now, so up for grabs are also several imaginary properties that are being grabbed by Microsoft's own patent troll.

IV was apparently there at the bargaining table with Novafora, which makes digital video processors. It’s putting $11.6 million towards the $255.6 million purchase price in exchange for some kind of rights to Transmeta’s low-power silicon patents, perhaps so IV can protect one of its investors.

Interestingly enough, this report comes from a known ‘Microsoft mole’ [1, 2]. Looking a little deeper between the lines, some connections can be drown: “William P. Tai informed the Board [...] of Transmeta [...] that he plans to retire [...] fulfill [...] commitments at Charles River Ventures, a venture capital firm [...]”

“Charles River Venture is connected to Intellectual Ventures, which is in turn connected to Microsoft.”Intellectual Ventures is listed right here under the online identity of Charles River Ventures. Charles River Venture is connected to Intellectual Ventures, which is in turn connected to Microsoft. The company was started by a former Transmeta board member, just after Intellectual Ventures had invested in his company and in Transmeta.

A reader of ours suggests the following chain of relationships: RPX Corporation -> Transmeta -> Intellectual Ventures -> Novafora -> Charles River Ventures.

Another company whose trail of dependencies seems tricky (subsidiaries, funding, and movement of employees) is Acacia. It sued GNU/Linux vendors shortly after inheriting top Microsoft staff and shortly after Microsoft’s CEO had threatened Red Hat, which was among those sued [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

Acacia has acquired some more patents with which to fight and it last raved about it over a week ago.

Acacia Research Corporation (Nasdaq:ACTG) announced today that its subsidiary, Acacia Patent Acquisition LLC, has acquired rights to patents relating to improved lighting technology.

There are some other news to watch out for because this patent troll has ‘Microsoft DNA’ inside. It needs to be watched.

US Patents System Challenged

It has been over a month since Bilski [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33], but discussions have not ended. This important decision continues to jeopardise very many software patents, which would fail the court test.

Worth noting, however, is that Bilski did not claim a computer implementation of the recited method or a software claim. Thus, the “machine” prong of the machine-or-transformation test remains untested by the Federal Circuit as a result of the Bilski decision. However, the Court noted that in order to pass muster under the machine prong, the use of such a machine must “impose meaningful limits on the claim’s scope.” Field of use or insignificant extra-solution activity will not suffice. Moreover, the process claim in issue in Bilski was found to “not … be a software claim.” It therefore also remains open as to how or if a software clam can be written to satisfy the transformation prong of the test.

Over at P2PNet, people are reminded that the term “intellectual property” should be avoided and patents be referred to as “intellectual monopolies” instead. “If thought can corrupt language, then language can also corrupt thought,” said George Orwell.

Instead of speaking of “intellectual property”, which invokes that feel-good idea of property and ownership, we should speak of “intellectual monopolies”. For this is precisely what copyrights and patents are: they are monopolies granted by governments for a limited period as part of a bargain – that, in return, those who are granted those monopolies hand them over to the public domain once the term of the monopoly has lapsed.

The Obama campaign (and administration to be) has summed up its stance/policy on intellectual monopolies as: “The Obama-Biden Transition Project respects the intellectual property of others…”

Reading the remainder of that statement, it reads very much like Biden’s known ties with the MAFIAA are rearing their ugly head. What does this mean for patents? Well, they have established a working group that includes Irving Wladawsky-Berger, but his lifetime employer, IBM, is not against software patents and he even wrote in his blog that “It is ironic that if software patents were disallowed altogether, it might cause legitimate software innovations to then be protected as trade secrets, and thus keep them away from open source projects.”

India and British Imperialism

Microsoft’s patent troll is already bugging India following a series of letdown when it comes to patent law [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. BT, which is still loosely tied to the British government, was previous seen participating in subversion of the law in India and now it’s the British government itself which applies for patents (monopolies) over there.

The UK government is seeking a patent in India for a defence invention called ‘modulation signals for a satellite navigation system’, which can measure satellite signals.

Europe Suffers from Loopholes

The Stop Software Patents push has identified ways in which the EPO seems to be escaping hard questions regarding software patents.

The European Patent Office does not only grant software patents, it also lobbies the legislators to validate them through the creation of a central patent court.

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway”.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Further to the action against big pharmaceuticals in Europe, there is also this rant.

These obstacles cost taxpayers money, up to three billion Euro a year, according to the Commission report.

The monopolies will not give up without a fight. They have means for perversion of justice.

Miscellany

A very notorious patent, Amazon’s 1-Click feature, celebrates a birthday of shame.

“Nine years ago Monday, Amazon kicked off the Holiday Season by slapping Barnes and Noble with a court injunction barring BN from using a checkout feature that Amazon said represented illegal copying of its patented 1-Click technology. ‘We’re pleased that Judge Pechman recognized the innovation underlying our 1-Click feature,’ said Jeff Bezos in a press release. But an Appellate Court wasn’t quite as impressed with Amazon’s innovation…”

Moving on to some patents that relate less to software, we also find:

1. InterDigital, Samsung settle 3G patent dispute

InterDigital and Samsung settled two long-standing patent-infringement lawsuits just as the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) was about to make a decision on whether to recommend banning imports of Samsung phones containing 3G phones.

2. Fairchild Semiconductor Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Infineon Technologies – Quick Facts

In the lawsuit, the company stated that it believes certain Infineon CoolMOS and OptiMOS branded products, as well as other Infineon IGBT and CanPAK products, infringe one or more claims of eight Fairchild patents.

3. German firm claims Xilinx, Avnet infringe patents

Pact has been focusing accelerators that plug into the processor socket of dual or quad processor motherboards to run multimedia applications such as video, audio, voice, and image transcoding.

Feel the innovation. The lawyers sure do.

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

2 Comments

  1. pcolon said,

    December 2, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Gravatar

    “It is ironic that if software patents were disallowed altogether, it might cause legitimate software innovations to then be protected as trade secrets, and thus keep them away from open source projects.”

    Better to keep it as a “trade secret”, force corporations to do their own “IP monopolies” policing without using public funds and let innovators and developers go about their business. Using the patent club to stifle ideas doesn’t help innovation.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 2, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Gravatar

    We are probably going to write an open letter to him.

What Else is New


  1. 2019 Surveillance Glossary

    Distortion of technical and nontechnical terms in this day and age of '1984'



  2. Openwashing Report: It's Getting Worse, Fast. Everything is Apparently 'Open' Now Even Though It's Actually Proprietary.

    The latest examples (this past week's) of openwashing in the media, ranging from 5G to surveillance



  3. GitHub is a Dagger Inside Free/Open Source Software (FOSS); This is Why Microsoft Bought It

    A year later it seems pretty evident that Microsoft doesn’t like FOSS but is merely trying to control it, e.g. by buying millions of FOSS projects/repositories at the platform level (the above is what the Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin said to Microsoft at their event while antitrust regulators were still assessing the proposed takeover)



  4. Microsoft Grows Within and Eats You From the Inside

    Microsoft entryism and other subversive tactics continue to threaten and sometimes successfully undermine the competition; Microsoft is nowadays doing that to core projects in the Free/Open Source software world



  5. Links 18/8/2019: New KNOPPIX and Emmabuntus Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 17/8/2019: Unigine 2.9 and Git 2.23

    Links for the day



  7. Computer-Generated Patent Applications Show That Patents and Innovations Are Very Different Things

    The 'cheapening' of the concept of 'inventor' (or 'invention') undermines the whole foundation/basis of the patent system and deep inside patent law firms know it



  8. Concerns About IBM's Commitment to OpenSource.com After the Fall of Linux.com and Linux Journal

    The Web site OpenSource.com is over two decades old; in its current form it's about a decade old and it contains plenty of good articles, but will IBM think so too and, if so, will investment in the site carry on?



  9. Electronic Frontier Foundation Makes a Mistake by Giving Award to Microsoft Surveillance Person

    At age 30 (almost) the Electronic Frontier Foundation still campaigns for privacy; so why does it grant awards to enemies of privacy?



  10. Caturdays and Sundays at Techrights Will Get Busier

    Our plan to spend the weekends writing more articles about Software Freedom; it seems like a high-priority issue



  11. Why Techrights Doesn't Do Social Control Media

    Being managed and censored by platform owners (sometimes their shareholders) isn’t an alluring proposition when a site challenges conformist norms and the status quo; Techrights belongs in a platform of its own



  12. Patent Prosecution Highways and Examination Highways Are Dooming the EPO

    Speed is not a measure of quality; but today's EPO is just trying to get as much money as possible, as fast as possible (before the whole thing implodes)



  13. Software Patents Won't Come Back Just Because They're (Re)Framed/Branded as "HEY HI" (AI)

    The pattern we've been observing in recent years is, patent applicants and law firms simply rewrite applications to make these seem patent-eligible on the surface (owing to deliberate deception) and patent offices facilitate these loopholes in order to fake 'growth'



  14. IP Kat Pays the Price for Being a Megaphone of Team UPC

    The typical or the usual suspects speak out about the so-called 'prospects' (with delusions of inevitability) of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, neglecting to account for their own longterm credibility



  15. Links 17/8/2019: Wine 4.14 is Out, Debian Celebrates 26 years

    Links for the day



  16. Nothing Says 'New' Microsoft Like Microsoft Component Firmware Update (More Hardware Lock-in)

    Vicious old Microsoft is still trying to make life very hard for GNU/Linux, especially in the OEM channel/s, but we're somehow supposed to think that "Microsoft loves Linux"



  17. Bill Gates and His Special Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein Still Stirring Speculations

    Love of the "children" has long been a controversial subject for Microsoft; can Bill Gates and his connections to Jeffrey Epstein unearth some unsavoury secrets?



  18. Links 16/8/2019: Kdevops and QEMU 4.1

    Links for the day



  19. The EPO's War on the Convention on the Grant of European Patents 2000 (EPC 2000), Not Just Brexit, Kills the Unitary Patent (UP/UPC) and Dooms Justice

    Team UPC continues to ignore the utter failures that have led to lawlessness at the EPO, attributing the demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to Brexit alone and pretending that it's not even a problem



  20. Links 15/8/2019: GNOME's Birthday, LLVM 9.0 RC2

    Links for the day



  21. 'Foundation' Hype Spreads in China

    Nonprofits seem to have become more of a business loophole than a charitable endeavour; the problem is, this erodes confidence in legitimate Free software and good causes



  22. Links Are Not Endorsements

    If the only alternative is to say nothing and link to nothing, then we have a problem; a lot of people still assume that because someone links to something it therefore implies agreement and consent



  23. The Myth of 'Professionalism'

    Perception of professionalism, a vehicle or a motivation for making Linux more 'corporate-friendly' (i.e. owned by corporations), is a growing threat to Software Freedom inside Linux, as well as freedom of speech and many other things



  24. Links 14/8/2019: Best Chromebooks, EPEL 8.0, LibreOffice 6.2.6

    Links for the day



  25. Being in Favour of Free/Libre Open Source Software Means Rejecting Software Patents

    Those who believe in Software Freedom cannot at the same time believe that software patents are desirable; we've sadly come to a point where many companies that dominate so-called 'Open Source' groups actively lobby for such patents, in effect betraying the community they claim to be a part of



  26. Links 14/8/2019: Apache Evaluated, HardenedBSD Has New Release

    Links for the day



  27. Planet Python is Being Overrun by Microsoft, Just Like PyCon and Python in General

    Microsoft is perturbing the Free/Open Source software (FOSS) world from the inside, promoting Microsoft's most malicious proprietary software from within that world while taking positions of power in powerful FOSS projects



  28. Coming Soon: The Innards of the Eric Lundgren Case That Microsoft is Desperate to Hide or Spin (by Defaming Lundgren)

    Microsoft is rather stressed about Eric Lundgren coming out of prison and telling how Microsoft put him there; right now Microsoft is mostly name-calling while seeking to control public dialogues



  29. Wrong Person in Charge of the Linux Foundation (and in Charge of Linus Torvalds)

    There are several glaring issues when it comes to the leadership of Linux's steward; for one thing, it lacks actual background in... Linux



  30. 2019 Tech Glossary

    This clavis refers to what the de facto definition may be, based on how (and when) media uses the words nowadays


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